Advisor Streamlines Enrollments and Doubles Deferrals
Sherilyn Schwartz, CRSP & AIF®, is president of Corporate Retirement Advisors, Inc. From her Eugene, Oregon headquarters, she covers Oregon and Southwest Washington. Schwartz has been in financial services for 25 years and focusing on retirement plans for fifteen years. She founded Corporate Retirement Advisors in 2002.
I have been an independent employer sponsored retirement plan consultant since 2002. My clients are plan sponsors with existing plans under $25 million in assets with six to 250 participants. I also work directly with the employees to make sure they have a successful retirement plan. I do not sell new 401(k) plans, service rollovers or sell individual investment products or insurance.
In new enrollments, I was getting about 80% of the employees into the 401(k) plan but the process was time consuming. Among enrolled employees, only twenty five to thirty percent were increasing their deferrals. I was looking for ways to convey value to the plan sponsor, to help the participants understand their need to save for retirement and of course, better methods for increasing the assets in my client’s plans.
The Sales Solution
I first heard of TRAK in 2003, but didn’t understand why I would use it. At the ASPPA annual meeting last fall in DC I realized what it was and bought it on the spot. It has allowed me to go more in depth with participants in retirement planning. TRAK gave me the ability to analyze and illustrate each participant’s individual paycheck so they can see how little it will actually cost them to fund their retirement plan in a format they are intimately familiar with — their own paycheck. So I’ve been using TRAK paycheck analysis and the projection reports. I have found the TRAK Paycheck Analysis feature really moves a participant to take action. With the plan sponsor, I gather information I’ll need to populate and create the reports for each participant. Most employers are very excited about this and think it’s a great tool. Then we schedule a meeting with the participants. My assistant uses TRAK to quickly prepare the projection reports and illustrated paychecks. For each participant, the reports illustrates a “what-if” maximum contribution to the plan followed by recommendations from me designed to get new enrollees on a trajectory to a match from the employer or to get people already in the plan to increase their deferrals. In my first participant presentation using TRAK, I met with 31 participants and 29 of them – on the spot – either increased or started deferring as a result of seeing those reports.
TRAK has helped me accomplish my mission, which is getting people to understand that they have to look out for themselves and that they cannot retire on or rely on Social Security. TRAK helps me communicate what a terrific benefit the 401(k) is in ways participants can easily and quickly understand. I now close a high percentage of new enrollees much faster with TRAK. From an average of twenty five percent of my participants increasing deferrals before TRAK, I now close about 60% of them by using TRAK. Yes, my sales and closing ratios and new business have all improved but that’s just a natural result of my mission — helping more people achieve some measure of retirement security.