Retirement Specialist

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on November 15, 2023

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What Is a Retirement Specialist?

A retirement specialist is a professional who helps individuals, couples, and small businesses plan for their financial future by providing knowledgeable advice and guidance about retirement planning.

Retirement specialists can help assess investment objectives and risk tolerance, select appropriate investments, set up accounts, and provide portfolio management services.

They also assist with choosing a retirement plan from the various options that suit individual circumstances and provide guidance on estate planning issues.

They typically have expertise in insurance, tax laws, investment opportunities, estate planning, Social Security benefits, and pension plans. They are trained to develop customized retirement plans tailored to client's goals and resources.

Responsibilities of a Retirement Specialist

Retirement specialists are responsible for helping their clients navigate the complexities of retirement planning. They fulfill essential responsibilities such as:

  • Explaining retirement benefit plans, procedures, and legal requirements to eligible employees and beneficiaries

  • Presenting information about retirement and pension options to groups of beneficiaries or in individual interviews with employees

  • Calculating and analyzing the withdrawal of contributions, deferred retirement, and other benefits-related data

  • Liaising with the financial department to provide verified data for the administration of benefits

  • Assisting the HR department in resolving any benefits-related issues

  • Maintaining accurate records of all active, deferred, retired, and separated members

  • Ensuring retirement plans are administered according to company guidelines and labor law regulations

Retirement Plan Specialist Education Requirements

To be a successful retirement specialist, one must hold a bachelor's degree in human resource management, business administration, accounting, or a related field. This role requires three or more years in the retirement planning industry.

Expert knowledge of all laws and regulations associated with administering retirement benefits is paramount for success.

People interested in this role should have impeccable financial data analysis abilities and strong technical skills with accounting software and HR database programs.

Exceptional communication ability coupled with professional interviewing skills is also beneficial. Organization skills will help the specialist handle employee records appropriately and work smoothly with colleagues.

Retirement Specialist Certifications

Retirement specialists can choose to pursue certifications to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in the field.

Certified Personal Retirement Specialist (CPRS)

The Certified Personal Retirement Specialist (CPRS) designation is an advanced certification offered by the University of Georgia. It is currently recognized by the issuing organization and provides retirement planners with the essential skills to design and implement successful retirement plans.

To receive this certification, individuals must have a bachelor's degree or higher and complete sixteen online courses and three exams. Those with a CFP or PFS designation may qualify for fewer courses.

To maintain CPRS certification, fifteen continuing education credits must be completed every two years.

Certified Professional, Life and Health Insurance Program (CPLHI)

The Certified Professional, Life, and Health Insurance Program (CPLHI) Program is designed to provide professionals in Indonesia with the industry education necessary to become specialized insurance advisors.

Developed by LOMA and requested by the Insurance Directorate, Ministry of Finance, and the Life Assurance Association of Indonesia (AAJI), the CPLHI Program consists of three courses covering all life and health insurance aspects.

Participants must complete an online course and an exam to earn the certification. Professionals who successfully receive their CPLHI designations can demonstrate their expertise as retirement, senior benefits, or benefits specialists.

No prerequisites are required, such as more than two years of education or training after high school or more than two years of work experience. However, an oral or written exam is mandatory for certification. Certification does not need renewal after completion.

Retirement Plans Associate (RPA)

The Retirement Plans Associate (RPA) designation is an ideal credential for those who work with defined contribution and defined benefit plans or are involved with managing plan assets.

It is offered by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans with certification requirements that include completing an online course and passing a written exam.

Participants can have up to two years of education, training after high school, or work experience to earn the Retirement Plans Associate (RPA) designation.

Earning the Retirement Plans Associate (RPA) designation does not require renewal after completion and can be obtained through the Retirement Plans Associate (RPA) website.

Certified Employee Benefit Specialist

The Certified Employee Benefit Specialist (CEBS) certification is an internationally recognized program by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

Participants only need up to two years of education or work experience to achieve Certified Employee Benefit Specialist designation, but they must pass an oral or written exam.

This certificate is popular among plan administrators, senior benefits specialists, pension administrators, and benefits specialists.

Retirement Specialist Cost

Human resource specialists earn a median salary of $63,490, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Employment opportunities in this field are expected to grow by 10% by 2030, driven by an increasing need for qualified advisors who can provide specialized guidance related to retirement planning and regulatory issues.

Achieving the designation of a retirement specialist requires individuals to understand complex financial issues related to retirement planning.

In addition to gaining this knowledge, individuals must obtain certification from an approved organization, which can be done online or through a traditional college program.

Depending on the chosen method, the cost of obtaining certification as a retirement specialist can range from relatively inexpensive to thousands of dollars in tuition. However, the cost is worthwhile for those seeking specialized skills and expertise in their field.

Benefits of Hiring a Retirement Specialist

Retirement specialists are valuable to anyone looking to ensure their financial future.

They possess the knowledge and expertise necessary for retirement planning and regulatory compliance. This makes them ideal for providing clients with sound advice in these areas.

By hiring a retirement specialist, clients can benefit from customized plans tailored to their needs. Also, they will have ongoing guidance to help maximize their savings and ensure they enjoy a comfortable retirement.

Having an experienced expert on hand will also give clients peace of mind knowing that any questions or issues they encounter can be addressed quickly and effectively.

How to Choose a Retirement Specialist

How to Choose a Retirement Specialist

    When looking for a retirement specialist, you should consider several key factors.

    First, check that the retirement advisor has the relevant qualifications and is up-to-date with their training to provide sound advice.

    Make sure to ask about their experience in the field of retirement planning and regulatory compliance, as this can be especially important.

    Ask about the services they offer - such as providing personalized plans or ongoing support - and whether they charge any additional fees for these services.

    Finally, arrange an initial consultation with the specialist so that you can evaluate their knowledge and understanding of your needs before committing.

    Doing your research thoroughly and asking plenty of questions beforehand will ensure that you select the right retirement specialist who can best help you reach your financial goals.

    Final Thoughts

    A retirement specialist is a qualified financial advisor who advises and guides clients on their retirement plans.

    When choosing a retirement specialist, it is important to research and ensure they have the qualifications, experience, and services to help you reach your financial goals.

    When it comes to selecting a retirement specialist, the most important step is doing your research and asking the right questions. Make sure that the advisor has the qualifications, experience, and services tailored to meet your needs.

    Arrange an initial consultation to understand better how they work and ensure that they fit you. Choosing a qualified retirement specialist will ensure that your financial future is in capable hands.

    With the help of a professional retirement specialist, you can be confident that you are making the best decision for your future.

    Retirement Specialist FAQs

    About the Author

    True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

    True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

    True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

    To learn more about True, visit his personal website or view his author profiles on Amazon, Nasdaq and Forbes.

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