I don’t want to burst your bubble, but your broker and/or his firm are probably not “specializing” in retirement services, retirement planning, retirement income or any other word with retirement in front of it. Now, it is not that these firms are lying or that your broker is really an expert in baseball cards. It is just that all of these “retirement” terms are nothing but marketing ploys. The fact is that the vast majority of the market for brokerage services are people that are retired or are about to retire. All of the other people are either not interested or do not have enough savings for these brokers and companies to make a living. Let me assure you, though, that if a multi-millionaire walks in the door with no interest whatsoever in the wonderful “retirement services” that a firm might offer, there will be no mention of “specializing” in anything to do with retirement.
In much the way a Mercedes Benz dealer might claim to be an expert in automotive luxury, a broker will claim to be an expert on retirement planning. Neither one is lying exactly, it’s just that it also aligns perfectly with the people that are interested in their services. No Mercedes dealer is going to say he specializes in gas-sipping practical transportation if he plans on eating that year. And no broker is going to say he’s an expert in helping young people with financial planning for the very same reasons. There is also the fact that, just like the Mercedes guys and luxury cars, a broker will more than likely “specialize” in retirement services in that a vast majority of his customers utilize those services.
So, it is not that anyone is saying these things with malevolence in heart or mind. However, it is important for you to know when making a decision on hiring a broker. Do not just sigh with relief when you hear that a firm concentrates on retirement services. They all do, more or lees, or they wouldn’t be in business. Be sure that when choosing a brokerage firm that your other concerns are met. If you are not sure what to look for in a broker or if you want to make a change, I have written about the subject more than once. An article on how to change your broker may be good place to start and that can be found here. Getting a broker that fits is an extremely important step, and entails much more than some vague “specialty” in retirement services.