Milestone Marketing®

Identify and address financial planning opportunities at milestone ages.

Accelerate Your Business

Taking the time to offer smart retirement planning strategies to clients and prospects in their 50s, 60s and 70s will potentially help you win assets from your competitors.

Milestone Marketing® can help you identify and address key retirement planning issues through the decades.

This age-based opportunities program provides you with

  • milestone opportunities on retirement planning topics, such as catch-up contributions, early-retirement withdrawal options and tax-efficient draw-down ideas
  • conversation starters to help you connect easily with clients and prospects
  • support materials to help you execute your plans and talk knowledgeably to clients about retirement income planning

50s Last Chance to Accumulate

Clients and prospects in their 50s may be in their last decade of being able to accumulate assets for retirement. It is also an important time for them to consider a retirement income strategy, especially if they are looking to retire early.

Age 50

Catch-up contributions

Call all of your clients age 50-plus for a contribution review. Make sure they know about catch-up contributions to qualified retirement plans and IRAs.

Opportunities to target include

  • spousal IRAs
  • building out funding vehicles that will give your client future tax-planning flexibility when he or she starts taking distributions

Conversation starter

“I want to make sure we do all we can today to add more to your retirement plans so we have more to work with when you retire. Let’s take a look at your catch-up contribution opportunities.” 

Age 55

Early retiree candidates

Affluent clients considering retiring early could potentially use Separation from Service after Age 55 to withdraw assets from their 401(k) plan and pay only ordinary income tax on the amount withdrawn with no penalty.  

Conversation starter

“Before you decide what to do with your retirement plan, let’s make sure your CPA, your attorney and I review what’s in your plan and when and how you plan to use your funds. We want to make sure we help you avoid unnecessary taxes or penalties.” 

Age 59 1/2

Penalty-free IRA withdrawals available

Let clients and prospects know they can now withdraw assets from retirement plans without a 10% penalty from the IRS. Invite them in for a retirement income planning session.

Opportunities to uncover may include

  • in-service distributions
  • Roth IRA conversions
  • asset allocation; portfolio positioning

Conversation starter

“You’re approaching a key milestone in terms of retirement planning, and there are interesting options allowed by the IRS. I’d like to get together with you and your tax advisor to review what this means to you and make sure we’re on track for helping you meet your retirement goals.”

60s Transitioning to Retirement

Your clients in their 60s now need to understand the importance of building a distribution strategy to maximize income in a tax-efficient way.

Age 62

Earliest date to receive Social Security benefits

62 is the age most individuals start taking Social Security benefits. However, clients who take advantage of this date will receive a 25% permanent benefit reduction. Be sure to call clients several months in advance of their 62nd birthday to alert them to the reduction, as well as Social Security taxation and limited distribution strategy consequences.

Opportunities to target may include

  • meeting with clients’ CPAs and starting to create distribution strategies
  • consolidating clients’ retirement plan assets
  • Roth IRA conversion

Conversation starter

“You’re approaching the age at which it’s important to start retirement income planning, and I’d like to get together with you to review your plan.” When you meet, tell your client, “Although I’m not an expert on Social Security, I can help you consider how your potential Social Security benefits fit into your overall plan.” 

Age 65

Medicare sign-up

Make sure your clients sign up for Medicare on or before their 65th birthday.

Some opportunities to consider:

  • working with clients’ CPAs to execute draw-down strategies
  • Stretch IRA

Conversation starter

Send a birthday card three to four months before each client’s 65th birthday. Include a note that says, “Happy early 65th birthday. Your Medicare enrollment clock is ticking! Let’s meet to make sure you know what this means for you.” Or call and say, “This is a big birthday in terms of retirement planning. Let’s meet for lunch to review what’s coming up.”

Age 66

Full Social Security benefits

First-wave boomers (those born from 1943 to 1954) are eligible for full Social Security benefits at age 66. 

Some opportunities to consider:

  • adjusting draw-down strategy to account for taxation of benefits
  • possible partial Roth IRA conversions
  • postponing benefits until age 70 (pros and cons to withdrawing from portfolio or letting Social Security benefits accrue in value)
  • For married couples, review survivor benefits

Conversation starter

“Now that you have decided to begin taking your Social Security benefits, I thought it would be a great time for us to review your retirement income strategy with your CPA. We may have to make adjustments to account for the taxation of your Social Security benefit.”

70s Taking Tax-Efficient Income Distributions

Tax-efficient income distribution becomes paramount when clients are in their 70s. At this time they may also want to discuss their beneficiary designations and consider their legacy strategy. 

Age 70

Maximum Social Security benefit begins 

At age 70 Social Security maxes out. This is your last chance to help clients reposition assets before required minimum distributions (RMDs) begin. Once RMDs begin at 701 /2, strategies for tax-efficient management become more limited. 

Opportunities to pursue now include

  • consolidating assets
  • Roth IRA conversions
  • getting to know beneficiaries
  • introduction to Stretch IRA concept

Conversation starter

Call clients several weeks before their 70th birthday and say, “This is a major milestone, and I would love to celebrate it with you. How about a birthday lunch next week?” Encourage them to invite a friend or two. (If a client’s plan is to wait until he or she turns 70 to begin Social Security benefits, make this call six months prior to his or her 70th birthday to review the current income plan.)

Age 70 1/2

Required minimum distributions (RMDs) for traditional IRAs 

Make sure your clients are aware of the RMDs from their traditional IRAs and perhaps other retirement plan accounts. Help them avoid the high price of failing to take their RMDs — a 50% tax penalty on the amount that should have been taken. You, your clients and their CPAs will need to determine the aggregate RMD from their traditional IRAs.

Some clients will be required to take an RMD that is more than they need.

Consider using the excess to

  • fund a 529 college savings plan for grandchildren
  • add to insurance for estate planning purposes
  • make a charitable gift
  • add to a brokerage account

Conversation starter

“Happy early half-birthday! You have a major milestone approaching at 701 /2. That’s the age that the IRS makes you start taking required minimum distributions. I’d like to suggest we meet to make sure you’re on track to start taking your required IRA distributions, and to make sure you avoid the 50% penalty the IRS assesses for mistakes.

Comprehensive retirement income planning support material is available for you. Call MFS at 1-800-343-2829.


MFS® is a global investment manager committed to skilled active management as the most powerful way to meet investors’ need for strong returns over the long term. We bring you the value of our insights and expertise through:

Integrated Research

Taking advantage of the depth and reach of our research teams around the world and across equity, fixed income and quantitative disciplines, we uncover investment opportunities and thoroughly analyze our best ideas to develop a full perspective on the securities we select for our portfolios.

Global Collaboration

We believe good decision making, driven by our ability to work together, share information and actively debate different viewpoints, leads to better investment outcomes for our clients.

Active Risk Management

To help protect capital and generate alpha, we seek segments where risk is appropriately rewarded, focus on selecting investments with the potential to hold their value through challenging markets and apply systematic risk reviews on multiple levels.

Long-Term Conviction

Developing our insights, differentiating meaningfully from the benchmark and staying true to our convictions over the long term allows the market time to potentially reward our investment ideas.

MFS® does not provide legal, tax, or accounting advice. Clients of MFS should obtain their own independent tax and legal advice based on their particular circumstances.
Please check with your firm’s Compliance Department before initiating events to verify that the activity complies with firm policy and industry rules.

FOR INVESTMENT PROFESSIONAL AND INSTITUTIONAL USE ONLY. Should not be shown, quoted, or distributed to the public.

MFS Fund Distributors, Inc., Boston, MA, MFSB-MILESTN-BRO-7/17, 11961.14

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