Two years ago, The American College of Financial Services developed the Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP) designation. Today, it is the fastest-growing designation among the college’s offerings, with 500 professionals having completed the course and more than 4,000 in the pipeline.
There are several reasons for this, said David Littell, director of the New York Life Center for Retirement Income at The American College. One reason is that, with three required courses, the RICP is a quick way for an advisor to earn a first designation and then go on to designations that require a more rigorous course of study. The other reason is that, with 7,000 Americans reaching retirement age every day, advisors who already have earned their Chartered Life Underwriter or Chartered Financial Consultant designation are looking for a designation that focuses on the growing retirement market.
So much of the typical advisor’s work with clients focuses on accumulating wealth, Littell said. In studying toward an RICP, advisors focus more on working with clients to structure effective retirement income plans.
Retirement planning is all about decisions, Littell said. “If you help your client make good decisions, then you provide value to your client,” he said. “There is so much opportunity for growth in this market.”
When looking at retirement income planning, a “unified and balanced approach that provides the client with both security and flexibility” is key, Littell said.
Life insurance will continue to be part of the retirement plan, Littell said. But newer variations of traditional products – for example, life insurance/long-term care insurance combinations – are finding their foothold in the retirement marketplace.