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2020 RICP® Market Volatility Flash Survey - Results Are In

2020 RICP® Market Volatility Flash Survey - Results Are In

The American College of Financial Services
March 4, 2020

Can retirement plans withstand market uncertainty? Two in three Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) advisors report client concern about retirement savings due to recent market volatility.

The American College of Financial Services is the nation’s largest nonprofit educational institution devoted to financial services. Holding the highest level of academic accreditation, The College has educated one in five financial advisors across the United States and offers two master’s degrees in management and financial services.

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread worldwide causing uncertainty about what lies ahead, concerns of a looming economic slowdown have skyrocketed as the stock market weathered through its worst week since The Great Recession. To provide a better understanding of the issue, The College surveyed a panel of 245 financial advisors with the Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) designation from Friday, February 28 to Monday, March 2 to determine how their clients reacted to the significant roller coaster in the stock market last week and found that the majority of clients show heightened concern.


2020 RICP® Market Volatility Flash Survey Findings

Some of the key takeaways from the survey are as follows:

  • More than 65 percent of advisors indicated their clients have been more likely to reach out to them due to recent market volatility.

  • Of those clients, 68 percent are either in retirement or one to five years away from retirement age.

  • Half of clients indicated that they are more concerned about retirement security this year than last year.

  • Even though clients are showing more concern, over 60 percent of advisors reported that none of their clients had made changes to their plan as a result of recent market performance.​

According to the RICP® advisors surveyed, the strategies they employ to help clients build a plan that safeguards against market turmoil include:

  • Staying in touch with clients through market volatility.

  • Advising them to build a floor of guaranteed income not subject to market volatility.

  • Using a cash reserve which can be tapped in a down market.

  • Creating multiple portfolios for different time periods in retirement and making the longest-term portfolio more aggressive​.


Retirement Income Thought Leaders Weigh In 

The American College of Financial Services' esteemed retirement income thought leaders also discussed how clients react during market volatility and the importance of building a secure, long-term plan that protects against financial turmoil.

Wade Pfau, PhD, CFA, RICP®, Co-Director of the Center for Retirement Income and Program Director for the RICP® designation at The American College of Financial Services:

“Our findings show that our RICP®s are wisely counseling their clients with the lessons that we’ve learned from history, despite the stress that market volatility causes, investors are generally better off to stay the course with their strategy, as the downturn is reducing the stock allocation without any further need to sell.”

Dave Littell, JD, ChFC®, Co-Creator of the RICP® curriculum and Professor Emeritus at The American College of Financial Services: 

“A late-cycle economy always brings an uptick in investor anxiety, but the recent market volatility from the coronavirus is really packing a one-two punch on retirees and near-retirees’ sense of security. However, the fact that a majority are leaving their plans alone to weather this storm shows that client confidence in our RICP®s and the plans that they’ve built are strong.”

Steve Parrish, JD, RICP®, CLU®, ChFC®, RHU®, AEP®, Co-Director of the Center of Retirement Income at The American College of Financial Services:

"This is not yet a black swan event – we all knew that a virus could disrupt the markets, and even cause a panic. Our findings reiterate that unless you enjoy market speculation as a sport, there’s really no strategy to better insulate your retirement capital exposure other than to ride the market out – especially if you’re not yet retired.”  

The 2020 RICP® Market Volatility Flash Survey underscores that both financial advisors and consumers can benefit from education and the importance of planning when it comes to retirement security. 

Invest in your career with a professional designation.

Baby Boomers are retiring at an unprecedented rate, meaning that more and more Americans are facing the challenge of using their investments to maintain their quality of life. For them, the usual investment advice no longer applies. They need the unique strategies you can learn through the three-course Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®) designation program. Help your clients thrive while growing your career.

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