What Are the Duties of a Retirement Specialist?

A retirement specialist is a type of financial advisor that only focuses on the needs of retirees. Usually, retirement specialists will have an advanced degree in finance or economics from a prestigious university and have at least 10 years of experience as a financial advisor or planner. A specialist is hired when you are planning for your golden years and want to make sure your money is being used most effectively so you don’t outlive your savings. Retirement-related matters may include:

  • Analyzing whether you’re on track to retire when you want, and how much income you’ll have in retirement
  • Making sure your 401(k) or IRA is invested appropriately
  • Choosing the best time to take Social Security benefits
  • Determining if you should buy an immediate annuity or a longevity annuity
  • Maximizing your tax strategy in retirement

Retirement specialists can provide a more detailed analysis of your financial situation and help make sure you’re making the most of your money. They can also provide valuable advice on investment options, insurance products, and other strategies that can help improve your retirement security.

What Do Retirement Specialists Do?

Retirement specialists have a deep understanding of the financial issues that retirees face and can provide tailored advice to help you make the most of your money. They typically offer services such as:

Reviewing Your Retirement Plan 

A retirement specialist will review your existing retirement plan to make sure it accurately reflects the lifestyle you want in retirement. If you’re not on track, they can help determine how much more money you’ll need to save before retiring and what adjustments might need to be made to your savings timeline.

Managing Your Current Investments

Many retirees have existing investments through their workplace 401(k) plan, an IRA account, or other assets they’ve saved over the years. A retirement specialist will review your existing investments and determine which ones are right for you. They can also advise on what to do with your savings if you’re still working, such as contributing to an IRA or 401(k) so they continue to grow tax-deferred.

Maximizing Your Social Security Benefits

Many retirees rely on Social Security benefits to supplement their retirement income. A retirement specialist will analyze when is the best time to take your benefits so you don’t outlive your savings while maximizing your payment amount.

Purchasing Retirement Insurance Products

A good insurance policy will help protect your assets in case of unexpected health issues, long-term care needs, or other contingencies that could deplete your resources before you plan for them. A retirement specialist can assist you in finding the right insurance products for you and your spouse, including life insurance, long-term care insurance, and annuities.

Recommending Annuities and Pensions

Annuities and pensions are two types of income that can supplement your retirement savings. An annuity is a contract with an insurance company in which you make a one-time payment or series of payments, and in return, the company agrees to make periodic payments to you for the rest of your life (or a certain period of time). A pension is a retirement plan offered by some employers in which you receive regular payments after retirement. A retirement specialist can help you understand the benefits and drawbacks of each option and determine if they are right for you.

Planning Your Estate

Estate planning is critical for retirees, as they are more likely to have accumulated assets that need to be distributed among heirs. A retirement specialist can help you create a plan that ensures your money goes to the right people in the event of your death and minimize the taxes paid on those assets.

How Is a Retirement Specialist Different From Other Financial Advisors?

Most financial advisors offer services that are relevant to retirees, but a retirement specialist has additional training and experience in this specific area. They will have detailed knowledge about the various retirement options available to you and how to best implement them. They will also be able to analyze your existing retirement plan and recommend changes if necessary. Retirement specialists exclusively advise retirees, while other advisors may work with clients of all ages. Retirement specialists also have extensive knowledge and experience in retirement planning, while other advisors may have more general financial planning knowledge. Also, retirement specialists focus more on capital preservation rather than growing portfolios of investments, as many retirees are close to or have already stopped working.

Advantages of Hiring a Retirement Specialist

Hiring a retirement specialist gives you the advantage of having all your financial information in one place, so you can easily review it and make informed decisions about how best to plan for retirement. Retirement specialists have years of experience optimizing clients’ retirement income. They will work with you to create a personalized plan that helps ensure your money goes far enough in covering everyday expenses, a replacement for lost income due to retirement, and long-term care costs should they arise later on in life. Retirees can also use their knowledge about various insurance policies and other sources such as annuities and pensions to invest their savings more strategically.

When Should I Hire a Retirement Specialist?

The best time to hire a retirement specialist is when you are starting to think about retirement and want to get a sense of the different options available to you. A professional can help you develop strategies for saving more money, determine when is the best time to retire, maximize your benefits from social security, insurance, and other income sources, and plan for any health care costs you may incur in retirement. If you have already retired, a retirement specialist can help you make the most of your current situation and ensure that you are getting the most out of your retirement savings.

Final Thoughts

It is never too late to start planning for retirement, and hiring a retirement specialist is one of the best ways to ensure that you have everything taken care of. They can help you every step of the way, from creating a savings plan to making sure you are taking full advantage of all the benefits available to retirees. It is important to remember that everyone’s situation is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to planning for retirement. A retirement specialist can help tailor a plan that is right for you based on your specific needs and goals. Compared to general financial advisors, retirement specialists have more experience and knowledge in the specific area of retirement planning. They can help you make informed decisions about the various retirement options available to you and how to best implement them. This can be especially helpful for retirees who are close to or have already stopped working. If you are starting to think about retirement, or are already retired, it is never too late to seek professional advice. Talk to a retirement specialist today to get started on creating a plan that is right for you.

Retirement Specialist FAQs

There is no one answer to this question since everyone's situation is unique. However, a good rule of thumb is to retire when you have enough money saved up to cover your everyday expenses.
Look into the retirement specialist's credentials, years of experience, and knowledge about the specifics of retirement planning. It is important to work with someone you trust and who can help you craft a plan that is unique to your individual needs, goals, and circumstances.
There is no set price for working with a retirement specialist. Fees vary depending on the individual planner and the services they offer. It is important to ask about fees upfront so there are no surprises later on.
This depends on several individual factors such as age, income, expenses, and goals. It may take some adjusting and experimenting with different numbers before you find the right fit for your situation. A retirement specialist can help you figure out how much you need to be saving each month to have a comfortable retirement.
Yes, a retirement specialist can help both retirees and those who are still working plan for their future. They can provide advice on when is the best time to retire, how to save money for retirement, and how to make the most of your current situation.

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

About the Author
True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website, view his author profile on Amazon, or check out his speaker profile on the CFA Institute website.