Last week I described some of the less than favorable views that marketing directors at continuing care retirement communities sometimes have towards financial advisors due to situations whereby the financial advisor caused the marketing director to lose a potential new resident. I then described a few key issues that cause a level of concern for marketing directors when it comes to financial advisors providing guidance in this situation; with the ultimate concern being whether or not the recommendation was well-founded.
Today I want to take a more positive view and consider reasons why it makes good business sense for marketing directors and financial advisors to forge partnerships.
When people ask me about the moving into a CCRC I always tell them it is a complex decision and one that is probably unique from any other decision they have had to make in life. This is because there are multiple aspects to the decision process- including lifestyle and housing preferences, healthcare, insurance, and financial planning- all rolled up into one. The process of moving presents enough challenges on its own. But when you are moving to a retirement community which, in theory, should be where you will live the rest of your life and that you will rely on to provide your care, there is even more at stake. Proper planning is imperative.
The marketing director’s ultimate goal is to increase and/or maintain high occupancy levels within the retirement community they represent. Doing so requires that the marketing director understands what makes the retirement community great and is passionate about selling those characteristics to prospective residents. Yet, quite often the delay in getting residents to commit doesn’t have so much to do with housing choices, amenities, and services as it does other aspects, such as the potential impact on the prospective resident(s) finances and their estate.
In reality the long-term impact on a resident’s assets may be less than what they anticipate. Yet it is difficult to illustrate this to the prospective resident without an accurate financial projection including various “what-if” scenarios. The problem, however, is that a marketing director is not in the business of providing financial guidance. (In fact, if not properly licensed there are legal reasons why a marketing director should not engage in this type of guidance.) While many CCRCs have their an internal program designed to perform some degree of financial underwriting, this is usually for internal use and isn’t necessarily designed for sitting down and running financial scenarios for the prospective resident’s benefit.
A knowledgeable and objective financial advisor- who understands the contract and pricing details of the community- can be of tremendous value to a marketing director in this situation. By illustrating to the prospective resident that there is, in fact, enough money to absorb this move then the FA has effectively removed for the marketing director one of the major delays in getting a prospective resident to make a decision. Of course, if the projections reveal that the prospective resident is not in a position financially to make the move then the marketing director would certainly want to know that too!
So what is the benefit to the financial advisor? Well, given that average CCRC resident has a net worth of almost $1 million the financial advisor stands to obtain some valuable referrals through this partnership. Many prospective residents of CCRCs who have managed their own money in the past may be at a stage of life where they are seeking to offload this task to a knowledgeable professional.
In summary, a strong relationship between a marketing director and an objective financial advisor can create a win-win scenario. The marketing director is awarded with a shortened sales cycle while the FA opens up a new client opportunity.
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