Would You See a Podiatrist for a Heart Attack?

Updated: Jul 13


A hundred years ago, if you were ill, you went to the town doctor. That physician would see patients with all types of ailments—headaches, pregnancy, shoulder pain, surgeries, heart attacks, and more. The doctor would know a little bit about a lot of different illnesses and try to cure each patient.

As a progressive society that was gaining more experience, we soon realized that each area of the body is highly complex. Therefore, we now have specialists. Hence, if you have a foot ache, then you see a podiatrist. With our advanced understanding of medicine, many of us would agree that it would be crazy to a see podiatrist for a heart attack—right?

Yet, in the financial services industry, we are living in a one-doctor town.

One Doctor Town

When a client has a financial situation, they go to a financial advisor. That person is supposed to know everything, including insurance, wealth accumulation, decumulation, estate structuring, retirement planning, retirement plans, and more. But the question is why?

Just like the doctor from a hundred years ago, this was the way it was. Generalists knew a little bit about a lot of different topics and did their best to solve all problems. However, wouldn’t you agree that financial lives are equally as complex as physical bodies? If so, why are we still living in a one-doctor town?

In a recent Fidelity survey, it was reported that 91% of retirement plans are serviced by non-retirement plan advisors. This means that 9 out of 10 plan sponsors are not seeking a specialist for their retirement plan services. In short, they are going to a podiatrist for a heart attack.

How can retirement plan advisors promote their expertise and change this one-doctor town opinion?

Marketing, Advertising, and Plan Sponsor Education

Just like the people of 1915, they don’t know any better. They trusted their local doctor and followed their advice, just as we do with our financial advisors. Only through education, time, and experience did those townspeople learn about specialists. Thus, we have a big challenge ahead of us – to educate plan sponsors about the benefits of retirement plan experts!

Did you know that the average person experiences over 5,000 advertisements per day? We share this information because it’s going to take a focused effort to rise above the advertising clutter in order to gain educational momentum. Thankfully, for retirement plan experts and fiduciary advisors, there is a lot going on right now from the DOL and Congressional hearings to Justice Beyers recent comments on “Continual and On-going” fiduciary responsibility. There are a lot opportunities to rise above the noise and become known throughout your community as the “go-to” retirement plan experts.

Today’s plan sponsors are smart, educated, and addicted to Google.

Perhaps, the reason that 9 out of 10 retirement plans are serviced by non-experts is simply because plan sponsors can’t tell the difference between a podiatrist and cardiologist. It is possibly due to the fact that many retirement plan experts haven’t separated themselves from financial advisors. Therefore, the plan sponsor doesn’t understand the value or benefit of getting to the heart of the matter.

If you are a plan sponsor, ask your advisor how many 401k, 403b, and retirement plans they work with. How long have they been specializing? What industry designations do they hold? Are they fiduciaries or brokers of record? Only through education can we change this industry and partner with experts in order to progress from the one-doctor town to modern medicine.

Financial lives are as complex as physical bodies; therefore, there is a need for specialists. Retirement plans specialists are a unique aspect of financial services. Today’s society is more connected and aware than ever before. Therefore, It surprising that with all of the world’s information at our fingertips, we’re still seeing a accepting and doing what we did years ago.

Thanks for reading and Happy Marketing!


About 401(k) Marketing

We believe the retirement plan industry can do better. Our clients are the best professional retirement plan advisors and TPAs in the business. They care deeply about saving America’s retirement future. We are proud to share their voices through industry writings, professionally-designed marketing materials (including websites), and expert content collateral. We lend support by promoting businesses through ongoing awareness campaigns. www.401k-marketing.com

About Retirement Plan Marketing

Retirement Plan Marketing is a product of 401(k) Marketing and is an ongoing turnkey marketing solution for retirement plan advisors. It is an easy-to-follow, consistent marketing program designed to get you noticed in your community and generate new retirement plan sales. When you deliver relevant plan sponsor content, you add value to your conversations and can work your way up to become known as the “go-to” retirement plan advisory office. www.retirementplanmarketinginabox.com


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401(k) Marketing, LLC is not in the business of providing legal advice with respect to ERISA or any other applicable law. The materials and information do not constitute, and should not be relied upon as, legal advice. The materials are general in nature and intended for informational purposes only. All content, including any brochures or other materials designed for potential use with plan sponsors, fiduciaries, and plan participants, must be reviewed and approved by the compliance and legal department(s) of the Financial Professional and/or Third Party Administrators firm prior to any use to confirm that they meet the firm’s legal and compliance policies and standards. The Financial Professional, Third Party Administrator,  and his/her firm are solely responsible for the use of content and any materials included herein, and for ensuring that all services provided by the Financial Professional and Third Party Administrators conform to the firm’s legal and compliance policies and standards.