“We are delighted, as advisor satisfaction is our most important benchmark,” said the CEO of Horsesmouth. William T. Nicklin. “Whether you’re a solo advisor or with a team, our software and training program gives you clear guidance on the best claims strategies for your clients, and also teaches you the underlying rules and concepts that make security social such a delicate subject.”
The Savvy Social Security Planning program was launched in late 2008, the first year older baby boomers started claiming their retirement benefits. Since then, tens of thousands of advisors have used the program to learn how Social Security fits into their clients’ retirement income plans, to test their new skills through annual CE exams, and to educate advisors. customers and prospects with presentations and trainings reviewed by Finra. Material.
“When we launched the Savvy Social Security Planning client education program, the financial services industry paid little attention to social security,” Nicklin said. “No one seemed to believe that financial advisors should, would, or could learn to understand the complexities of the system and help clients plan to make smarter decisions about claiming and maximizing their benefits.”
Kitces report: “Particularly high marks”
In 2021, Kitces Research completed an invitation-only survey of advisors to find out what software and technology solutions they use and like.
“Most of the tools in the Social Security Planning category scored remarkably similar in satisfaction, with the exception of tools provided by B/D which scored very low, and Horsesmouth Savvy Social Security received particularly high marks,” the report said. “Notably, however, Horsesmouth not only provides a tool like most competitors in this space, but also provides a package that includes access to professionals for Q&As, presentation templates, and more. As a result, Horsesmouth performed particularly well in terms of value versus cost as well.”
Source: Kitces Report: The Technology Used (and Similar) by Independent Financial Advisors, 2021
T3/Inside information: “Software All Star”
T3/Inside Information’s annual Software and Technology Survey described Savvy Social Security Planning as a “Software All Star”, with one of the highest satisfaction ratings in any software category.
The report states that Stars are “particularly standout solutions that ranked among the top five in their category in terms of market penetration, and also achieved an extraordinary average score (8.0+) from users”. Additionally, the Savvy Social Security Planning program was the highest-rated “All Star” in its category.
Elaine Floyd, CFP®, director of retirement and life planning, noted that early research from Horsesmouth in 2008 indicated that most advisers did not understand Social Security rules. Many advisers urged their clients to claim as soon as possible. But because these counselors hadn’t been trained in the intricacies and nuances of Social Security rules, they didn’t realize that their recommendations were unknowingly penalizing their clients.
“When people apply for Social Security without getting a personalized analysis of their needs, they potentially leave huge amounts of money on the table,” Floyd said. “They may also be reducing the amount of their annual cost-of-living increases and burdening their spouses with lower survivor benefits. And that’s not even the whole planning chart.”
A measurable impact
One of Horsesmouth’s main reasons for developing the program 14 years ago was to help advisers avoid making hasty and rash decisions when considering their social security options.
Historically, retirees have unwittingly claimed their benefits too soon and faced harsh, rule-based penalties for doing so. The good news is that according to the Social Security Administration, “Between 2008 and 2018, the average age of application rose from 63.6 to 64.7 for males and from 63.6 to 64.6 years for women.
“We believe this can be attributed in part to the efforts of financial professionals educating pre-retirees across the country on how to maximize Social Security benefits as part of their retirement plan,” Nicklin said.
Since its launch in 2008, the Horsesmouth program has helped train and support tens of thousands of finance professionals and reached millions of pre-retirees and retirees. During this period, the Horsesmouth Social Security team, led by Floyd, answered more than 18,000 questions about Social Security claim cases from advisers, usually within 48 hours. “Outside of the Social Security Administration itself, we are not aware of any organization that has come close to this level of thorough work in assisting counselors with complex client cases,” Nicklin said.
The Savvy Social Security Planning Difference
Savvy Social Security Planning software is integrated into a comprehensive financial education program to help finance professionals educate themselves, their clients and communities. The software is valuable for finance professionals as it facilitates the process of engaging and working with customers and prospects. It is designed as one component of an overall system to improve ongoing advisor education, marketing, customer support and analysis, and more.
Over the years, Horsesmouth has continued to deepen the capabilities of the software to simplify the complexity of planning around couples, divorces, survivor benefits, WEP/GPO cases and much more.
In addition to providing optimized and popular claim scenarios, it allows the financial professional, together with the client, to build and evaluate their own personalized claim scenarios. The software provides guidance throughout the process that teaches system rules and prevents invalid claim scenarios.
World-class support, financial education
Technology alone doesn’t solve the problems financial professionals face in helping clients navigate the arduous process of retirement planning. A core part of the Savvy Social Security Planning program is providing world-class support to counselors in the form of ongoing updates to educational materials and guidance, as well as personalized decision support for complex cases.
In addition to helping their clients, many Social Security Savvy Program members are known in their communities as the go-to resource for Social Security advice. These advisors are using Finra’s revised suite of presentations and marketing campaigns to deliver this vital financial education on Social Security and retirement planning in local libraries, colleges, restaurants and offices.
“Educating the public about personal finance issues is the number one way for advisors to distinguish themselves in their communities,” Nicklin said. “That’s why our Master Member program, which includes Savvy Social Security Planning and seven other Savvy subjects, is our fastest growing program. Teams and individual advisors realize that having immediate access to leading subject matter experts and revised educational materials gives them a competitive edge. They need to guide their customers and stand out from their competition.”
Smart social security planning:
- Suite of calculators with customer reports (reviewed by Finra)
- Six client education presentations (reviewed by Finra)
- Reprints of customer education articles (reviewed by FINRA)
- Educational documents for customers
- Reference Guides for Social Security Financial Advisors
- Bimonthly newsletter
- Q&A Tool
- 12 CFP CE credits per year
- Full access to 11 Horsesmouth services, including 7 Savvy programs covering: Social Security, Taxes, IRAs, Medicare, LTC, Generational/Succession Planning, Cyber Security and College Planning
- Master Member Monthly Marketing Calendar
- Turnkey personalized marketing plan with up to five specific marketing activities each month
- Over 35 client education presentations (reviewed by Finra)
- Hundreds of reprints of client education articles (reviewed by FINRA)
- Dozens of documents for customers
- Access to top subject matter experts
- Monthly newsletters on all Savvy topics
- CPA/Strategic Allies Program
- 25% off Holistiplan and College Aid Pro software for tax, IRA and college planning
Horsesmouth helps finance professionals educate their clients and grow their business. We serve financial advisors, planners, agents, accountants and other professionals, representing every major financial firm and business model. Our Savvy Social Security Planning program was the first comprehensive social security client education program. It combines professional training, marketing, software, custom case support and regulatory-reviewed customer training materials. Horsesmouth offers a portfolio of similar programs including Savvy Medicare Planning, Savvy Tax Planning, Savvy IRA Planning, Savvy College Planning, Savvy Generational Planning, Savvy Long-Term Care Planning and Savvy Cybersecurity. The Horsesmouth team is guided by extensive primary research and two decades of experience. The company is headquartered in the city center manhattan, with employees located throughout the country. To learn more, visit horsesmouth.com.