Retirement planning is no laughing matter: WealthDriver CEO

Approaching the challenge of retirement income planning in a light-hearted way may be fun, but it’s unlikely to be an effective strategy, argues Sheryl O’Connorco-founder and CEO of technology company WealthConductor, in an interview with ThinkAdvisor.

“Retirement income planning is a deadly serious topic,” she says. “It’s scary.”

Engaging people through “games or fun videos” is “really insulting” – “and it won’t help people save more,” she claims.

According to surveys, what pre-retirees want is a personalized, written plan that gives them the assurance that they will overcome their “two main concerns” in retirement: the cost of health care and the survival of their money, according to O’Connor, winner of two 2021 LUMINAIRES ThinkAdvisor Awards in Executive Leadership.

Advisors specializing in the distribution stage of retirement planning “will be the ones to benefit from the greatest migration of assets from the accumulation stage to the distribution stage in the history of financial services,” says O ‘Connor in the interview.

“This is the biggest opportunity advisors have seen in at least 30 years,” she notes.

WealthConductor’s core offering is its IncomeConductor platform, which supports advisors with an income distribution strategy tailored to a client’s needs and goals.

In addition, it helps advisors position themselves as specialists in the distribution of retirement income.

The online software is made available to them on a subscription basis.

IncomeConductor is built around the “time-segmented steps” strategy, devised by O’Connor’s partner, Philip Lubinski, a seasoned certified financial planner who developed the asset clustering strategy, she says.

The company’s third co-founder is Tom O’Connor, Chief Marketing Officer.

Because the client and advisor work together to develop the IncomeConductor plan, clients “are more likely to buy into it,” says Sheryl O’Connor.

Before launching Hartford, Connecticut-based WealthConductor in 2017, she co-founded 3D Asset Management, an RIA where she built a turnkey asset management program designed to allow advisers to completely outsource their administration. of back office.

Earlier – from 1998 to 2004 – she was with The Hartford and MassMutual.

In the interview, she describes the distinctive features and benefits of IncomeConductor – including sending alerts to advisors that “there are certain risk-taking opportunities on the table” – and how it differs from other compartment strategies.

A former schoolteacher, O’Connor criticizes the industry for not “evolving properly”.

“It’s sticking to the old way of doing things. But we have to move on and realize that retirement is different today,” she says.

“We cannot continue to use the tools and strategies that we used for our parents’ generation for [today’s] generation,” she says.

Speaking by phone from South Windsor, Connecticut, O’Connor said, “There’s a lot of talk in the industry about financial wellness, financial education and customer engagement. These are great goals.

“But I don’t see anyone doing them really effectively,” she says.

Here are the highlights of our conversation:

THINKADVISOR: What aspect of retirement planning should advisors focus on most today?

SHERYL O’CONNOR: Due to the huge wave of baby boomers transitioning from active careers to retirement, we are witnessing the largest migration of assets from the accumulation phase to the distribution phase in the history of services financial.

Therefore, people are looking for advisors to provide retirement income planning services.

This is the biggest opportunity advisors have seen in at least 30 years.

Advisors who specialize in this area will be the ones to benefit from the great shift in assets from accumulation to distribution.

How can they approach this most effectively?

Retirement income planning is a deadly serious topic: people are entering a whole new phase of their lives full of unknowns. It’s scary. So the best way to engage them isn’t through fun games or videos. It’s really insulting.

Gamification is not going to keep someone interested and understand what they need to do. It will not help people save more.

Why is it so difficult to be assured of a secure retirement?

Today’s retirees must rely almost solely on Social Security benefits and what they’ve managed to save in a 401(k) plan or an outside account, or perhaps a real estate investment.

Jessica C. Bell