A Strategy That Simply Makes Sense

Philip R. Swensen, Ph.D

Of the many hundreds of financial decisions we must make in life, one of the most critical occurs at the point in time when we declare our retirement and replace our salary with steady, dependable income from our investment accounts to support our “golden years.” The decisions that we make at this singularly important point in our lives may have significant impact on the total amount of money available to us throughout our remaining lifetime.

Complicating these decisions are two very important facts. First, the newest mortality calculations suggest that, if we do in fact make it to retirement age, we can expect to live, on the average, between 18 to 22 additional years. Thus, one must conclude that prudent planning requires that we provide for at least a 25 to 30-year time horizon for which income will be needed.

Second, given these ever-increasing investment time horizons, one must plan for the inevitable debilitating effects of even modest inflation rates over the long run. Although we have become accustomed to manageable year-to-year inflation, one must only ponder the total changes in the cost of living compared to, say, 20 years ago to realize the prudence in planning for a retirement income that is increasing through the years at a rate at least equal to the long-run average rate of inflation. These two inescapable facts require thoughtful and careful planning at the point of retirement.

During retirement, we need a safe, steady, dependable and predictable income to replace that which was previously supplied by the paycheck from our employer. Unfortunately, the stock market is anything but safe, steady, dependable and predictable. Such predictability in our income can only be provided by fixed income investments, which inevitably command much lower periodic returns. It is likely that such fixed-income investments which inevitably command much lower periodic returns. It is likely that such fixed-income investments will not yield sufficient returns for the distant years of our planning horizon – especially when those distant years must increase to accommodate inflation. Thus, given the many years for which we must plan, at least a portion of our asset base must remain in the equity markets to capture the larger returns.

These equity investments, however, are often subject to significant short-term volatility. Therein lies the issue at stake for those contemplating retirement. How can I ensure that the money I need in the near term is safe and predictable, and not hostage to day-to-day equity market fluctuations, while I simultaneously put myself into a position to receive equity market returns that will be required to provide an increasing income stream throughout my remaining expected life?

A clear understanding and realization of these facts require us to put into place a strategy for managing our retirement assets prior to when that all important retirement day arrives. With a lack of understanding of the options available to us and the nature of the decisions that we must make, it becomes entirely possible to unwittingly make decisions that will deleteriously affect the efficient use of our retirement asset pool.

I have come to realize that many people make these important decisions in the absence of an understanding of their available options. Many have no strategy for getting the highest income from their hard-earned retirement assets. In developing such a strategy, it is universally known among financial professionals that the investments needed for short-term stability and predictability will be very different than those investments for which we have a relatively long investment horizon. Being fully aware of those differences will occasion the development of a meaningful financial planning strategy.

One such strategy might suggest that one creates “buckets” of investments appropriate to the time frame in which the income need is anticipated. For example, the near-term bucket, say the first 5 years, would be served by a fixed investment which would be impervious to short-term equity market or interest rate market volatility. Income from such an investment would provide a steady, predictable income to the client, thus freeing them from day-to-day equity market fluctuations.

In the intermediate term – say 10 to 15 years – we might select investments which would effectively hedge the downside risk potential, but allow us participation in the higher returns generally provided by the equity markets. For the longer-term buckets – say time frames of 15 to 20 years or more, we could confidently be invested in more aggressive, well-diversified equity.

Of one thing we can be certain. Such investment and retirement strategies must be individual specific. Each of these buckets would be analyzed in light of the total financial picture of a given client. Other sources of income would be considered in the analysis as well. Consideration should also be given to the individual retirement income needs, personal goals and other financial obligations. Each of these factors, and many others, would impact the construction of the various proposed buckets.

However, these basic concepts could evolve into a strategy that would help one maximize his retirement income and avoid the two most common problems facing those in the retirement years. Namely, spending too much and running out of money before we run out of life, and spending too little and thus leaving opportunities foregone that would provide for a full and abundant life.

 

3 Tips for Becoming a Retirement Expert

By: Madison Taylor, Bucket Bliss

A few months ago on the Bucket Bliss blog, Stephen Swensen, an advisor at Summit Capital wrote an article titled “You Can’t Be All Things to All People.” In it, he said that if you want to be a successful advisor, it’s important to become a subject matter expert instead of trying to do everything for your clients. Trying to be, as Swensen said, “all things to all people,” will spell disaster for you and your practice.

 

In “Managing Retirement Income: Innovated Strategies to Capture and Retain Retirement Income” (2006), McKinsey&Co reported that 75 percent of investors will either find a new advisor or hire an additional advisor 15 years before they retire. For you to be a successful advisor, your client needs to be confident in your ability to plan a productive and safe retirement for them. Your clients will be more likely to stick with you before and during their retirement if you position yourself as a retirement specialist.

Tip No. 1: Build a Brand

In order for your clients to feel confident in staying with you throughout their retirement, don’t assume that your clients and potential clients know that you specialize in retirement income planning. You must make it clear that your firm is a retirement practice. This will reinforce to your clients that you specialize in making sure retirees have enough money in retirement, and they will feel more confident and inclined to stay with you, and only you, as they retire. To unmistakably establish this, it is important to craft a branding template.

A branding template is a page created for your website, or a handout to give to prospects and clients, that specifically states that you are a retirement specialist. When writing your branding template, keep these things in mind:

  • List your credentials, education, and professional experience.
  • List your planning partners, such as CPAs and attorneys.
  • Define your typical clientele so that potential clients will know that you specialize in working with retirees.
  • Inform clients or potential clients about your processes and services. For example, give an overview of the bucket strategy, list any software applications you use, like Bucket Bliss Advisor, explain your fact-finding process, the types of investments you generally advise, and other services and resources you offer, like annual or semiannual account reviews, and newsletters.

In addition to writing a branding template, create a mission statement and put it in a prominent place on your website and in your office. Take advantage of your mission statement to clearly communicate your goals and why you are the best choice for potential clients.

Tip No. 2: Creating Consistent Account Reviews

Retirement can be a financially anxious time for your clients. They may feel that they are headed into completely unknown and uncharted territory, but you, as their advisor, know better. Using a bucket strategy allows you to not only make a viable plan for your clients, but to make a plan that your clients are going to understand. When a client understands how their money is working for them in retirement, it takes a lot of the anxiety out of transitioning into retirement. While a bucket strategy can never guarantee performance, it assures there will be very few surprises for your clients.

That being said, in order to become a retirement specialist, it’s important to hold annual or semiannual account reviews to consistently remind your clients of their income plans and refresh their understanding of the bucket strategy. In episode 1 of The Bucket Bliss Podcast, Swensen discussed his step-by-step plan for using Bucket Bliss Advisor to be a successful and consistent advisor in his account reviews. You can listen to the full episode on SoundCloud.

Tip No. 3: Engage with your Clients

Lastly, in order to become a retirement specialist, it’s equally important to make yourself available for more than your client’s account review. Try sending out a monthly or quarterly newsletter to inform your clients about things like big news in your practice and industry trends. Your newsletter doesn’t have to be about just finance; include links to articles about retirement lifestyles, housing, hobbies, travel, etc. You might also try connecting with clients on social media, and sharing valuable resources through those platforms.  In addition to a newsletter and social media, try providing clients with an annual reading list of books, articles, and other related content that reaffirms the bucket strategy.

Creating branding template, writing a mission statement, establishing a consistent routine for successful account reviews, and interacting with your clients outside of their account reviews will help you position yourself as a retirement specialist so that your clients feel confident in your ability to successfully plan their retirement, and ensure that you will be their last advisor.

If you like what you read today, be sure to subscribe to our email list and get new blog posts delivered right to your inbox. To join the conversation with other advisors, head over to our LinkedIn page and leave your feedback, comments, and questions. Don’t forget to follow Bucket Bliss so you never miss a thing!

Watch a 30-second video and learn more about Bucket Bliss at www.bucketbliss.com.

Why Bucket Strategies are the Best Way to Plan For Retirement

By: Madison Taylor, Bucket Bliss

Are you able to prepare for successful account reviews in just 15 minutes? Are your account reviews smooth and productive? When your clients leave your office, do they have crystal clear understanding of the strategy used to plan and implement their retirement income?

If not, it may be time to start using the Bucket Bliss strategy.

Bucket Bliss is a robust, state-of-the-art software tool designed to help advisors all over the country build individual bucket strategies while implementing a comprehensive retirement plan for their clients.

Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

That’s the beauty of using Bucket Bliss: it’s simple. It’s easy to explain. It’s easy to understand. In an interview with Morningstar’s Christine Benz, Harold Evensky, the creator of the bucket strategy, said, “(Bucket strageties) really makes sense for anyone.”

The Strategy Behind Bucket Bliss

The theory behind the bucket strategy, and Bucket Bliss, is that you create anywhere between two to four portfolios, or buckets, meant to be used at different times in retirement. Bucket number one is designed to be used within the first five years of retirement, and is filled with cash, or near cash alternatives, to provide income for those first years of retirement. Assets in buckets two, three, and four are spent during the second five-year segment, the third five-year segment, and the fourth five-year segment of retirement, respectively. Because these buckets have time to grow and weather erratic markets, they can be filled with increasingly more aggressive investments, bucket four being filled with the most volatile assets.

Bucket Bliss for Your Clients

Bucket Bliss is flexible, allowing each plan to be personal and specific. Bucket strategies are universal and work regardless of what products and investments you use to fill the buckets, allowing you to create a plan specific to the unique needs and circumstances of each client.

Bucket Bliss  allows you to calm your client’s fears about retirement and answer their questions because not only is their plan specific to them, but it is so simple that they will have a clear understanding of how their money is working for them, and how it will be distributed when it comes time to retire. Bucket strategies offer a unique clarity, and your clients no longer view retirement income planning as a complex process only to be understood by a highly educated advisor.

“Using Bucket Bliss unveils the procedure for building a viable income plan,” said Stephen Swensen, an experienced financial advisor and CEO of Bucket Bliss. “Planning with buckets gives the clients opportunities to see that none of this is black magic. I tell my clients all the time that using a bucket strategy will not guarantee performance, but it will guarantee there will be no surprises.”

Bucket Bliss for YOU

When your clients understand the strategy that is being used to manage and distribute their income, their trust and loyalty to you as their advisor increases, thus solidifying your business and giving it a strong foundation to grow. When you are confident in your ability to provide for your clients, you can market yourself, leveraging your expertise to score high-quality referrals and turn them into high-quality clients.

Acquiring more clients can be viewed as a double-edged sword; it’s great to have the job and income security that comes with having a large client base. But on the flip side, having more clients means having more account reviews, which means you have to spend more time preparing for those appointments, which can lead to more stress for you.

However, this doesn’t need to define your practice, not if you’re using Bucket Bliss.

“Prior to using Bucket Bliss to plan my clients’ retirement, I spent an upwards of two hours preparing for every single account review,” Swensen said. “Getting ready for my appointments now takes me less than an hour because the strategy is so intuitive that I can make changes to any given income plan on the fly and get real-time, up-to-date information about my client’s accounts.”

With Bucket Bliss, less is more. It allows you to cut down case-prep time without compromising your credibility as a competent advisor and your ability to productively plan a successful retirement for your clients.

Joining the Bucketeer movement offers countless benefits for both you and your clients. If you want to work more efficiently than every before, create a successful practice within a competitive and thriving niche, and build an educated client base who thoroughly understand their retirement income plans, it’s time for you to join the Bucketeer Movement.

If you like what you read today, be sure to subscribe to our email list and get new blog posts delivered right to your inbox. To join the conversation with other advisors, head over to our LinkedIn page and leave your feedback, comments, and questions. Don’t forget to follow Bucket Bliss so you never miss a thing!

Watch a 30-second video and learn more about Bucket Bliss at www.bucketbliss.com.

The Bucket Bliss Podcast Episode 6: A Bucket Bliss Case Study

Are your clients getting anxious in light of the recent presidential elections and with the market continually hitting unprecedented highs? Are you unsure about how to handle all the questions and keep your clients confident in their investments?

In today’s episode of The Bucket Bliss Podcast, Bucket Bliss CEO and Founder Stephen Swensen gives a case study of the Bucket Bliss strategy in action, and shares a couple of talking points to bring peace-of-mind to clients in economically tumultuous times. Head over to SoundCloud to take a listen.

Quotes from the podcast:

“A change in the market today doesn’t necessitate a change in income tomorrow.”

“The Bucket Bliss Strategy is really a tool that can keep (clients’) emotions in check in emotional times like we’re having now.”

“This doesn’t mean anything today that tomorrow won’t fix.”

If you like what you read today, be sure to subscribe to our email list and get new blog posts delivered right to your inbox. To join the conversation with other advisors, head over to our LinkedIn page and leave your feedback, comments, and questions. Don’t forget to follow Bucket Bliss so you never miss a thing!

Watch a 30-second video and learn more about Bucket Bliss at www.bucketbliss.com.

How Rich People Lose Their Money

During the course of my career, I have talked to many people who are professionally (hence financially) successful who think that because they knew how to succeed in business that they know how to handle their own money, how to invest, or, at least, who is a good advisor.

The problem I see again and again is people don’t know what they don’t know, even rich, successful ones.

You only need to look as far as Hollywood to see how exceptionally successful people have handled their money unsuccessfully.  News stories abound where A-list celebrities with their multi-million dollar earnings go into bankruptcy – they overspend, they overestimated their income potential, they don’t pay their taxes, they hire misguided or money-hungry money managers.  From my vantage point, becoming wealthy through professional success does not equate with skill in handing accumulated wealth.  Career know-how is not investment know-how.

Wealthy people also have a tendency to want more wealth, and they are not deterred by investments that perform better than the market.  They are too easily sold into schemes, because they don’t know how to see through them. So, too, are some financial advisors.   You only have to look back a few years at the Bernie Madoff scandal, and there were plenty of schemes before Madoff, large and small.  The problem, at least in part here, is that wealthy people sometimes earn large amounts of money quickly, and it makes sense to them that the market does the same. It doesn’t.  Other problems are greed, a sense of deserving more than others, some sort of exclusiveness, and in general, impatience.  Investors also want to get into the next hot thing and forget that’s an easy way to get burned. Those companies go down more often than they take off but not before taking off with investors’ money.

Another problem that I’ve encountered is that many people don’t have a good handle on what it means to be a millionaire these days.  A million dollars doesn’t go as far as it used to.  Retirement lasts longer and can be expensive if you have to go into a nursing home or require in-home care.  Preservation and modest growth are key when you’re in this position.  Yet, I’ve seen people who don’t think twice about buying that expensive car or villa when that money should be in the market working for their retirement.  That’s when you’re really going to need security, because it’s pretty hard to hold down a job when you’re elderly.  I’m not saying they should drive a beat up car or live in a dump, but they need a voice of reason guiding them to make better decisions.   It’s a lot easier to make money during your working years when you’re young and vibrant than replacing lost or spent money during your old age or just living without after working hard for decades.

Another problem I see too often is wealthy people sometimes don’t know when to retire.  They work 24/7, or so it seems.  They wouldn’t know what to do with themselves if they didn’t go to work, and they’d worry they wouldn’t have an income off of which to live.  Well, the latter may be true for some, because wealthy people tend to spend rather than invest.  Perhaps it’s because they don’t know how to invest, after all.

My advice?  Teach your clients to hold onto their wealth.   Teach them to grow their wealth wisely.  Help them create a plan and a destination. Encourage them to seek guidance.  That’s what you’re there for.

Fly safe,


Stephen R. Swensen
CEO and Founder of Bucket Bliss

If you like what you read today, be sure to subscribe to our email list and get new blog posts delivered right to your inbox. To join the conversation with other advisors, head over to our LinkedIn page and leave your feedback, comments, and questions. Don’t forget to follow Bucket Bliss so you never miss a thing!

Watch a 30-second video and learn more about Bucket Bliss at www.bucketbliss.com.

3 Tips For Nailing Your Next Prospect Pitch

By: Madison Taylor, Bucket Bliss

One of the hardest parts of business is getting more of it. With thousands of capable financial advisors out there, getting a client who knows nothing about your experience in the industry and your qualifications to choose you can be quite the battle. All you have is one opportunity to make a pitch that shows them why you’re the best choice for fulfilling their retirement income planning needs. Today, I want to talk about how to optimize that business pitch to give you the best shot at success.

Tip No. 1: Look the Part

To score new clients, you’ve got to show them why they should choose you when they are looking for someone to help them plan their retirement. To do this, make sure you are dressed professionally, even if you aren’t making a pitch in the office. Be respectful and genuine, and be prepared to answer their questions and give them the information they want. A professional and charismatic first impression can set the tone for the rest of the meeting, and help you make a successful pitch.

Tip No. 2: Tell a Great Story

When pitching to a client, start by telling a story. If you’ve read “Bucket Bliss” by Last Advisor CEO Stephen Swensen, you know he weaves his retirement planning strategy into a story about a flight that goes wrong. Similarly, your anecdote doesn’t have to deal solely with finance, or financial planning, given you can weave some of those points into it. Stories can move clients to action unlike any other source because stories evoke emotion, and emotion is what drives people to do the things that they do. Create curiosity in your story by starting out with a “you”-centered questions, like “have you ever been lost on a road trip?” Asking these types of questions draws them into the story by helping them remember a time they felt lost. As you continue to tell the story, bring them into by saying, “if you would have been there…” or “Imagine if…” and be sure to enforce their relation to the story by saying “you know what I mean, right?” If they can feel that they are part of the story, and can relate to the struggle, they will see credibility in the solution you are offering.

Tip No. 3: Build Genuine Relationships

Stop having presentations, and have conversations instead. Make your client feel that this is all about them, and you are there to fulfill their needs, not your own. While visuals and PowerPoint presentations are fabulous in some circumstances, your client is going to feel much less overwhelmed if you can approach the pitch like a conversation between friends. Make your clients feel excellent about themselves, and give them confidence about you and your firm, and what you’re offering them. Ask them questions about their financial needs and tell them how you can help fulfill those needs. Making conversations instead of presentations allows you to be specific and show the potential client that you can cater your services to fit their needs. Another way to build a relationship with your potential clients is to ask questions and get to know them outside of their financial needs. Ask them about their family, their hobbies, and their interests. When sending a follow-up email about something that occurred in the meeting, throw a question about their dog, or the recent golf tournament in which they participated. Asking follow-up questions about their hobbies and interests gives a personal touch to your business.

Next time you go to make a pitch, try implementing just one thing you’ve learned from this article, and then another, and see how it affects your business. If something isn’t working for you, alter it to fit your needs. Making conversational pitches allows you to provide a personal experience for your potential clients, and in no time, you’ll be the last advisor they’ll ever need.

If you like what you read today, be sure to subscribe to our email list and get new blog posts delivered right to your inbox. To join the conversation with other advisors, head over to our LinkedIn page and leave your feedback, comments, and questions. Don’t forget to follow Bucket Bliss so you never miss a thing!

Watch a 30-second video and learn more about Bucket Bliss at www.bucketbliss.com.

The Bucket Bliss Podcast Episode 5: The Bliss Index

Bucket Bliss CEO Stephen Swensen recently presented at the T3 Enterprise conference where he talked about the newest update to the Bucket Bliss Advisor software: the Bucket Bliss Index.

The Bucket Bliss Index is the next big thing in retirement income planning. Advisors can make any retirement plan look good on paper, but that doesn’t mean it will prove to be successful as their clients begin retirement. The Bliss Index measures a combination of seven components on a scale of 1-100, allowing both advisors and their clients to see how viable their retirement plan is; the higher the Bliss Index, the more likely the plan is to succeed.

In today’s podcast, Swensen dives deeper into each of the seven components and tells you how each one contributes to the overall score. You can access the podcast from our SoundCloud by clicking HERE.

 

If you like what you read today, be sure to subscribe to our email list and get new blog posts delivered right to your inbox. To join the conversation with other advisors, head over to our LinkedIn page and leave your feedback, comments, and questions. Don’t forget to follow Bucket Bliss so you never miss a thing!

Watch a 30-second video and learn more about Bucket Bliss at www.bucketbliss.com.

3 Common Cons of Bucketing and How to Turn Them Into Pros

By: Madison Taylor, Bucket Bliss

The Bucket Bliss software uses bucket strategies to help ensure that your client has enough money to last them through retirement. Because of that, we are pretty big advocates for bucketing, but like every other method out there, it has some cons. While I acknowledge that there are potentially more than the downsides discussed in this article, I’ve singled out three of the most common complaints I’ve noticed in my research.

Lack of Organization

Planning for retirement can be a messy experience, what with multiple accounts, unique circumstances for every client, multiple accounts, and even more individual holdings. Advisors have often complained that bucketing becomes unorganized because keeping track of multiple accounts per bucket is complicated.

To turn this con into a pro, advisors can look to consolidate multiple accounts, and assign anywhere from one to three accounts to a single bucket. This way, everything that a single account holds can go into a single bucket and be used to fund just that timeframe of retirement.

Another way to combat an unorganized bucket strategy is to use financial software to help organize accounts and funds, and provide easy-to-understand visuals for your clients. The Bucket Bliss software is an excellent organizational tool for both advisors and their clients, so take time to learn to utilize that software for a neat retirement plan

One Size Does Not Fit All

Advisors who use bucketing have complained that they cannot use a single bucket strategy for every client and their unique circumstances. However, retirement planning is never going to be a “one size fits all” scenario, and this is where bucketing takes a little work. This con can quickly be turned into a pro because so many facets of bucketing can be personalized to meet client needs. You, as their advisor, just need the patience to thoroughly analyze those individual retirement goals and create a unique bucket strategy for them. In addition, selecting a flexible illustration tool can make slight changes from client to client a nonevent, making your job easier.

Modest Rates of Return in Early Buckets

 Conservative buckets don’t produce significant returns in a bull market. The modest, albeit safe, returns may lead your clients to bail out of the bucket strategy because they fear they won’t have any for the later years of their retirement. Using financial software can help clients stick to their initial retirement plan. The visuals of technology will allow your clients to see that their long-term investments are working hard to sustain them through their retirement.

As you practice using a bucket strategy with your clients, you might find a couple of downsides here and there. Like I said before, no method for retirement income planning is perfect. So how are you going to turn those cons into pros, and ensure that you’ll become your clients’ most competent advisor?

If you like what you read today, be sure to subscribe to our email list and get new blog posts delivered right to your inbox. To join the conversation with other advisors, head over to our LinkedIn page and leave your feedback, comments, and questions. Don’t forget to follow Bucket Bliss so you never miss a thing!

Watch a 30-second video and learn more about Bucket Bliss at www.bucketbliss.com.

Setting Yourself Apart: Using Bucket Bliss to Attract, Convert and Retain High Net-Worth Clients

In today’s episode of The Bucket Bliss Podcast, we are talking about one of the most requested topics: Getting referrals.

In this short, 10-minute episode, Bucket Bliss CEO Stephen Swensen shares three simple things that you can implement today to use Bucket Bliss as a tool to set yourself apart and attract, convert and retain high net-worth clients.

Head over to SoundCloud to take a listen, and then let us know what you think on our LinkedIn page. We’d love to hear your thoughts, questions, and even requests for future podcasts.

If you like what you read today, be sure to subscribe to our email list and get new blog posts delivered right to your inbox. To join the conversation with other advisors, head over to our LinkedIn page and leave your feedback, comments, and questions. Don’t forget to follow Bucket Bliss so you never miss a thing!

Watch a 30-second video and learn more about Bucket Bliss at www.bucketbliss.com.

You Can’t Be All Things to All People

When I started out in the business, I wanted to be all things to all people. If a client wanted mutual funds, I was the mutual fund guy. If a client wanted life insurance, I was the life insurance guy. If he wanted health insurance, I was the health insurance guy. I had no interest in some of this stuff, but I spent the first eight to ten years of my career trying to be all things to all people.

It was a recipe for disaster. For one thing, as my clientele grew, I forgot who I was supposed to be with each client. Most importantly, from a business point of view, I was not nearly as productive with my time as I could have been, because I was not an expert in any one strategy. My sales, and my income as a consequence, were a drop in the bucket compared with what they could have been. One of my biggest problems was that my presentations were not duplicable. Each client was at a different stage of life and had different needs and they had a wide range of incomes and different amounts of savings. So, the same presentation for Tom Brown was not applicable to Matt Smith. Thus, trying to be all things to all people was inefficient, exhausting, and costly to my business. It took me a long time how to figure out how to turn things around and become the last advisor that my clients wanted and needed.

My years of work on the Bucket Bliss platform can save you from having to go through the same thing.

My journey began nearly a decade ago with learning what I did exceedingly well. Once I figured out who I was and what I did well, what I was really passionate about, then I became so excited, so energized about what I did well that I really believed that there was not a retiree out there who did not absolutely need what I had to offer.

So here it is in a nutshell: What I do well is take a complex problem and illustrate a simple, understandable solution for clients who have already or are on their way to accumulating their wealth in retirement assets.

People think that they need to have highly complex financial plans to be successful. The reality is that they do not. And when they see my presentation with their numbers, it really hits home. The light goes on. They’re sold.

Through this journey, I realized besides presenting, I only needed to do a couple of other things, but I needed to do them well.

Yes, there were some bumps along the road, things you can avoid through lessons learned through my experience. I tried many things and made many mistakes regarding marketing processes. I also tried a lot of different presentations and strategies, until I really focused in on the Bucket Bliss Advisor platform.

I’m a very organized person, and I like things to be clean, simple, and repeatable. Thus, the evolution of the platform I ultimately created, which is a strategy that allows me to use the same presentation format with every single client, came by a lot of trial and error. But to make it work, I think you have to be genuinely interested in the client. They cannot feel like just a number. The skill sets that you learn in fact-finding and servicing clients are all important to being their last advisor.

This marketing strategy is streamlined through the Bucket Bliss software, which illustrates the Bucket Bliss Strategy and provides me with a framework of recommendations. Because I had the luxury of designing it from the ground up, I could design it so that it was not only easy for the client to understand, but it was also simple and easy for me to input and manipulate the data and create additional scenarios while the client sat and watched. This also saves time, because potential clients didn’t have to come back again after I ran the numbers with new scenarios for them. You never want to take more risk that you have to as a financial advisor, and letting a potential client go is an additional and unnecessary risk.

In the beginning, as I was designing this process and strategy, I used Excel spreadsheets that I would customize for each client. Every time a client said, “Well, I would really like to retire earlier/later” or “I would like more money in the first few years and less money in the last few years,” I had to retool the spreadsheet. It became burdensome and time-consuming. My prep time for each appointment was upward of two hours, and that was tough.

Yes, it’s been a long road, but it is amazing every time I see the light click on for my clients. When they understand the process, when they understand the strategy, when they understand how their money would be divided up, where it would be invested, and why, they see the light at the end of the tunnel. People have overwhelming worries that they will not be able to retire when they want to or that they will starve if they do. This software shows them that they won’t, that their retirement dreams can become a reality. And once they saw that, that’s when I had them. That’s when I had them for life. It’s been decades, and my clients don’t go anywhere else. What I offer is not something they can get by going down the street to the big brokerage house or by talking to their brother-in-law.

Clients come to me, because I am not all things to all people. I am one thing to some people — their retirement income specialist.

Tailwinds,


Stephen R. Swensen
CEO/Founder of Bucket Bliss

If you like what you read today, be sure to subscribe to our email list and get new blog posts delivered right to your inbox. To join the conversation with other advisors, head over to our LinkedIn page and leave your feedback, comments, and questions. Don’t forget to follow Bucket Bliss so you never miss a thing!

Watch a 30-second video and learn more about Bucket Bliss at www.bucketbliss.com.