Franklyn Berkowitz is Director of Retail Financial Services at Astoria Federal. The parent company, Astoria Financial Corporation has assets of $17.7 billion and deposits totaling $11.5 billion in New York. Its 50 full-time FAs serve clients in New York City and its suburbs, an area with a bigger population than 38 states.

What's the best piece of advice you would give bank advisors in helping their clients prepare for retirement?
FB:
Retirement is a very big topic and we feel like we have strong process in place. When we saw what was going on in 2008 and 2009, we had focus groups of customers to hear about their fears and concerns. We had groups of retirees and pre-retirees and we learned an awful lot. Their concerns were about health, not outliving their assets, making sure to appropriate income, travel and entertainment, taking care of children. So we spent the next 12 to 18 months focusing on these.

How can advisors incorporate those things into their discussions with clients?
FB:
Talk to your customers and listen to them carefully to identify their specific needs. Most of our customers tend to be older and more conservative. But most the people we talk to still don't have any type of detailed retirement plan.

What areas do they specifically need help with?
FB:
It's not really rocket science. Building enough wealth is important; and creating an income stream from that wealth is important. People have become very worried about risk.

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