Practice Management

Cast Your Line Where the Fish are Biting

By Tom Foster

Anyone who fishes knows that you’re more likely to get a bite in the early morning or early evening when fish swim near the surface, looking for food.

Advisors who support retirement plans are discovering an analogy in the employee benefits pond where employers are searching for holistic guidance. Employers are treading water in an ever-more complicated, increasingly costly benefits environment. They are angling for help with not only retirement plans but healthcare coverage, life and disability insurance, and other protection products.

The 2016 MassMutual Benefits Advice Study1 finds that 39 percent of employers without an advisor would find advice about voluntary benefits from a financial professional “extremely valuable” or “very valuable.” Three out of five employers (57 percent) would characterize such help as at least “somewhat” or more valuable.

It’s a clear and compelling opportunity for advisors to expand their practices, extend their influence or both.

If you’re open to supporting employee benefit offerings in addition to retirement plans, the world will soon be your oyster as more providers offer wholesaling support. If you don’t want to crack open that shell, though, you can still ingratiate yourself to employers by at least understanding what benefits they offer, what needs their benefits fill, and how they align with employees’ financial priorities. Doing so will help you evaluate whether an employer is offering the right benefits from a financial planning perspective.

Providers are starting to offer tools that help employees make better decisions about their benefits based on their personal financial needs and budgets. Doing so can help reduce employees’ personal finance concerns, a documented source of stress and distraction at work.

Helping employers and their employees get a tighter grip on their benefits can be a real productivity booster. It can also boost bottom lines for everyone concerned, including you.

Thomas Foster Jr. is Assistant Vice President, Strategy and Relationships, for MassMutual Retirement Services, a division of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.

1The 2016 MassMutual Benefits Advice Study,

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, investment, and/or tax advice. Please consult your own legal counsel and other experts regarding the specific application of the information set forth herein to your own plan and/or circumstances.