Retirement Crisis Presents PR Opportunities

Monday, March 22, 2010 22:53
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Retirement Crisis Presents PR Opportunities

As any advisor knows, retirement planning has never really been an American strong suit. However, now more than ever, clients aged 50 and older are dealing with many worries as a result of the one-two punch brought on by the real estate collapse and the fluctuations of the stock market. Given the fact they've got relatively few years left to play catch up before retirement, customizing marketing messages with this group in mind is a great way to get both ink/airtime and clients.

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The 2008 bear market ushered in one of the worst periods in American history, as stocks fell more than 40 percent from their 2007 highs when adjusted for inflation. Even though 2009 was a much brighter picture, so far 2010 has seen its share of volatility, making it difficult to know what's in store over the longer term.

This has many investors near retirement hungry for tips on how to allocate their money. Many are asking "Should I just opt for a safe haven?" or "Do I need to try and get back some of my lost returns?" Many in this category have also been shaken by the banking crisis, as a number of regional banks, not to mention a few well-known national names, have folded over the past couple of years. While depositors have yet to face big losses from these failures, they've left investors confused, as many of the places that were previously presumed safe to park your money may no longer be such good bets.

In situations like this, one strategy that works great is to put together short strategy summaries and pitch reporters and editors in an effort to interest them in stories advising investors on how they can recover as much money as possible in a relatively short time horizon, while still maintaining a low risk tolerance. This environment also makes for a great opportunity to pitch editors on the advantages of bonds, particularly municipal bonds that come with great tax advantages for investors.

When possible, try to address common scenarios in your pitches, building scenarios for investors that have both short and longer-term time horizons. This will give your story the greatest possible appeal, while still addressing the top concern of many older investors. Finally, the most important thing to remember in putting together any pitch is to avoid making broad generalizations when it comes to the financial knowledge of typical investors. Sadly, history has shown most people are blissfully unaware of the performance of their investments until it comes time to rely on that money for retirement, college planning or some other significant expense.

As all of you certainly know, 2010 is likely going to be a year of partial recovery -- and that's if we're lucky. So while it's always important to get out there as early as you can with useful, timely information, unfortunately this situation is likely to be with us for some time to come.

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