NARSSA: Advisors’ Ticket to Maximizing Clients’ Social Security Benefits

Smart advisors are constantly looking for ways to add value for clients and that effort can turn up some surprising ideas – surprising for advisors and clients alike.

Take the case of boosting and/or maximizing Social Security benefits. Many clients – some advisors are in this camp, too – think about Social Security in a linear fashion. They know the various ages at which they can collect – minimum of 62 years old – and they can find out what their benefits will be through the Social Security Administration (SSA).

For many advisors and clients, the above is the beginning and the end of the Social Security conversation, but there’s more to the story. The National Association of Registered Social Security Analysts (NARSSA) helps advisors tap into what’s potentially a goldmine of value add opportunities with clients by outlining fresh strategies for enhancing Social Security benefits.

NARSSA Paves Way to Better Benefits, Better Client Engagement

NARSSA isn’t another vendor advisory practices have to deal with. Rather, the association supports the Registered Social Security Analyst (RSSA) designation – the certification advisors and financial planners need to guide clients through the world of enhanced Social Security benefits.

Obtaining the designation isn’t difficult or time-consuming, but it does pave the way for advisors to significantly up their client service offerings.

“Individuals that wish to obtain their RSSA credential designation are first registered with NARSSA as Associate Members. Associate Members are provided access to the entire educational platform which includes the five-module self-study training program,” according to NARSSA. “The completion of this program is a prerequisite to sitting for the national RSSA Competency Final Exam and becoming a Registered Member of NARSSA. Becoming a Registered Social Security Analyst is not a requirement of Associate Membership. Many professionals may sign up for access to the educational platform for continuing education purposes only or to learn about Social Security laws and strategies.”

Translation: The RSSA designation is a table-setter for advisors looking to bring more to the table for clients.

“Social Security is one of the most important issues retirees deal with and as millions of Americans join the recipient ranks, it’s vital that advisors expand Social Security toolkits,” says NARSSA CEO Todd Whiton. “For advisors considering RSSA, the timing couldn’t be better. Life expectancies are increasing, meaning retirees need to stretch income. RSSA advisors can enhance those relationships with practical strategies for boosting Social Security benefits…something all clients will appreciate.”

RSSA Meaningful Now

While the RSSA designation can bring long-term benefits to advisors and clients, Whiton is correct in the assessment that the certification is something for advisors to ponder right here, right now. The aforementioned issue of rising life expectancy underscores the near-term utility of RSSA.

It’s not just overall life expectancy that’s increasing. The post-65 figure is soaring as well with data suggesting it’s now close to 20 years, up from 13 years. Seven years is a big jump and one that introduces a variety of questions and potential burdens into the retirement planning equation.

“In today’s environment of soaring interest rates and increasing life expectancies, advisors need to offer clients Social Security advice beyond when to claim benefits and related tax advice,” adds Whitton. “RSSA is a comprehensive avenue for advisors to add credible value on the Social Security front.”

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Related: NARSSA Can Help Advisors Improve Yield on Clients’ Social Security Benefits