Advisors need more support to help clients with Social Security questions, according to a new report released Tuesday by research and consulting firms Practical Perspectives and GDC Research.
Roughly three in four advisors said they were likely to seek out additional content or tools related to Social Security in the next year. Until now they've relied heavily on tools from the Social Security Administration as well as online calculators and general planning and specialized software, the study found.
"Social Security is an increasingly important part of the discussions advisors have with clients as they approach and transition to retirement, yet advisors vary considerably in the degree to which they provide assistance on this topic," Howard Schneider, president of Practical Perspectives, said in a statement.
Advisors able to help clients with Social Security are in a much stronger position to retain clients, according to a consumer survey released last month by Nationwide Financial Retirement Institute. The survey found that four in five consumers nearing retirement would dump their advisor if he or she were unable to provide guidance on how to maximize their Social Security benefits.
According to the report released Tuesday, advisors were especially interested in receiving more training on using capabilities currently available as well as guidance on which tools provide the most appropriate recommendations for clients. MoneyGuidePro, BlackRock, the SSA, Horsesmouth, Naviplan and Social Security Analyzer were among the most frequently mentioned tools and software used for Social Security delivery, according to Practical Perspectives.
The report polled more than 600 financial advisors online in May 2014. The advisors included full-service brokers, independent brokers, financial planners, registered investment advisors and bank representatives.