Broker Check
Of Super Bowls and winning 401k plans

Of Super Bowls and winning 401k plans

| May 05, 2024

I was perusing Facebook when a quote from former 49ers quarterback Steve Young caught my eye. "Super Bowls are not won. They're taken from bloody hands." There is a certain amount of sense in that. It reflects that any athletic contest between two similarly skilled teams will indeed be a tussle. And the winner likely will be the "last person standing".

The quote made me reflect on a couple of things. First and foremost, I am a lifelong Niners fan and I am still smarting from the Super Bowl loss early this year. Secondly, many of the 401k opportunities that have come my way are not "fights" between my firm, Green Retirement, and a competitor firm per se. The prospective client usually is reaching out to my firm only. My firm is hardly unique. I spoke with other advisors at the recent NAPA 401k conference and heard similar stories. Here are my thoughts as to why this might be.

One reason is that these opportunities typically are referrals from existing clients. This likely speaks to existing clients being happy with how their retirement plan is being managed and advised. It is incumbent then on us as advisors to not only keep our clients happy but to raise the bar on service while watching fees.

Another reason is that the arena we are operating in is the smaller end of the 401k market. I can imagine the competition for a $100 million plan would be extremely fierce. I am not operating in that space nor were the advisors I spoke with. It is important to know your niche and serve it well.

Knowledge plays a role in this as well. The advisors who attend the annual 401k conference are serious about retirement plans. They are focused on retirement plans as opposed to dabbling in retirement plans. Having said that, there are not a lot of advisors who concentrate on retirement plans. One industry veteran opined that fewer than 1% of financial advisors are truly focused on the retirement plan space.

And yes, not every prospective client is right for an advisor and vice-versa. There have been many occasions where I have recused myself from the proverbial "fight" because I did not feel my service model was what would best suit the client. I would rather a prospective client choose a competitor firm than choose my firm and not be 100% satisfied.

Anyhoo, just my thoughts from 34 years in the industry. 34 years ago, the Niners beat the Broncos, 55 - 10. And 29 years ago, the Niners beat the Chargers in the Super Bowl, 49 - 26. It has been quiet ever since for the Niners. Not that I am counting, right? By my reckoning, the 2024 NFL season starts in 124 days. I best busy myself learning more about the 401k industry and rewatching Super Bowl videos from the last century.