By Susanne Dwyer
Financial security during your working years, and in retirement, is a top priority for every member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). However, since most members work as independent contractors, or brokerage owners/managers, they don’t have access to employer retirement savings plans, making it especially challenging to plan for long-term financial security.
Many REALTORS®, including those who are enjoying success in their careers, do not achieve basic financial planning goals. NAR research shows that:
- 43 percent are not saving for retirement
- 42 percent do not feel prepared for a financial emergency
- Only 46 percent are “completely confident” they can retire when they are ready
Adding to the problem, REALTORS® tend to be extremely busy and preoccupied with helping clients. Early in their career, it’s easy to postpone retirement planning; later, it’s tempting to assume it’s too late to make meaningful improvements.
Turning the Corner
Changing course requires action. Recognizing the importance of the challenge, 2017 NAR President Bill Brown pledged to help members take charge of their financial lives. He convened a Presidential Advisory Group (PAG) of REALTORS® from across the country chaired by NAR Past President Sharon Millett, and met twice for a total of four days to identify and recommend steps to support members’ financial strength through education and other resources. Major recommendations and initiatives stemming from the PAG’s work include:
- New Financial Wellness Program
The PAG’s top recommendation focused on engaging members on the importance of financial wellness and wealth-building, including negotiating with a national financial services firm to provide personalized financial and investment planning services with valuable member benefits for those that participate.
This past November, NAR announced that Bank of America Merrill Lynch had been selected to develop a financial wellness program with customized member benefits. The program will include personalized financial education services, as well as online resources and financial workshops designed to assist NAR members with achieving their financial goals based on age, life stage and needs.
The new Bank of America Merrill Lynch services will be offered through NAR’s REALTOR Benefits® Program. Later this year, watch for a new interactive website (at www.NAR.realtor/Retirement) with worksheets and personal assessments, as well as planning tools that deliver an understanding of budgeting, goal-setting, planning, saving, and investing.
- Investing in Real Estate
Even though REALTORS® are intimately familiar with the benefits of building wealth through real estate, only 30 percent of members own investment properties. NAR’s eight-hour course titled “Real Estate Investing: Build Wealth Representing Investors and Becoming One Yourself” is an excellent resource for honing a smart investment strategy. To learn more about the course and current classroom offerings, visit training4re.com.
- Selling Your Business
With proper planning, many brokers, agents and teams can position their business to be a salable asset upon retirement. NAR’s commitment to financial wellness includes developing best practice tools and “how-to” advice for preparing well-documented records and systems that can help you monetize your book of business at the time of a sale or merger.
- Regional Events
To continue raising awareness and provide additional learning
From:: Real Estate News