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.

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