Retirement Income Communication Award… Winner?

Wealth2k’s Social Security Wise™ Wins 2013 Retirement Income Communications Award – and leaves us wondering

retirement roadAccording to a recent press release, InvestmentNews chose Social Security Wise™ from Wealth2k as recipient of the 2013 Retirement Income Communications Award. What has me puzzled is that this same product suffered a fairly scathing review in Investment News earlier this year – so what gives?

The press release talks about the market need:

With 161,000,000 covered workers, Social Security is a vital component of an investor’s overall strategy for generating retirement income. The financial services industry has clearly recognized the importance of Social Security and has devoted significant resources to the development of educational tools and claiming strategy comparison programs.  Most of the client prospecting programs available to financial advisors, however, are traditional, paper-based tools. In spite of an almost universal need among advisors for improved online consumer education and lead-generation there’s been little introduced in the way of high-end, web-based tools to help advisors capitalize on the $20Trillion retirement income planning opportunity.

According to Wealth2k Founder & CEO, David Macchia, “Social Security Wise™ bridges a critical gap in the marketplace. It serves as the digital bridge that joins millions of potential clients with the financial advisors who wish to provide retirement income planning services.”

However, in July 2013 Mary Beth Franklin of InvestmentNews wrote about Wealth2k in her article “New Social Security prospecting tool all sizzle, no steak.”  She writes:

Mary Beth Franklin

Mary Beth Franklin

Now here’s the really interesting part: the Social Security Wise suite of web tools contains no Social Security claiming strategy calculator. … In other words, once an adviser hooks a prospective client based on the promise of higher income through savvy Social Security claiming strategies, it is up to the adviser to figure out how to implement it. It’s the height of the old marketing adage: Sell the sizzle, not the steak. But in this case, there’s no steak.

So, I supposed if the award is for sizzle then they deserve to win but if the award is for truly meeting a market need then I think they have a ways to go. Either way, it makes me wonder about awards programs these days.


Elizabeth Gooding

Elizabeth Gooding is the editor of the Insight Forums blog and president of Gooding Communications Group

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