As more employers take a more holistic view of the value proposition they present to their employees, it will be increasingly important for advisers to understand all of the components that go into putting together an employee's total compensation package, including life, health, disability, retirement, leave, etc.
That said, there is a big difference for a life and health adviser between understanding the role of retirement benefits in total compensation and actually getting into that business.
The licensure requirements for life and health and retirement could be onerous enough on their own, not to mention having to have a complete understanding of all the nuances of each discipline that a truly effective adviser must understand in order to keep their clients compliant.
I know all of us would like to be able to wear as many hats as possible for all of our clients. But the increasing complexities in our industry present significant potential risks to advisers who try to spread their expertise too thin in the process.
I'm sure there are exceptions out there, but as a general rule, I'd advise picking a 'major' in which to truly be the expert, but having a strong 'minor' in the other.
How can advisiers, and society, improve financial education?
I believe that financial education should begin in the home as children are growing up. Budgeting, the value of saving, the time value of money, the appropriate use of credit, what is a 401(k)? Financial advisers can volunteer their time to provide guidance and counsel to our middle school, high school and college students.
Advisers should incorporate financial education as part of their engagement strategies in an effort to bring full circle the importance of knowledgeable decisions on benefits and retirement planning.
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