Are Your Seminars and Workshops Evolving?

When it comes to group marketing, successful advisors are always evolving one of two things: either the content they’re presenting or the number of topics they’re hosting seminars around.

Today, there’s a new king when it comes to attracting higher-net-worth savers. And it’s a king that works very well with the seminar rules that came before it.

A Brief Recent History of Seminar Topics 

How did we get to 2024’s hottest seminar marketing topic? 

Let’s start back at the turn of this century and look at market forces and the corresponding consumer needs.

2000–2009 represented a significant change in the financial services industry.  For the first time in history, the S&P 500 experienced a negative return over 10 years. Call it what you will: the lost decade, the flat decade, the fragile decade…it was the first time the S&P 500 experienced a loss over a ten-year time frame since the index went to 500 stocks.

That issue was compounded by an aging demographic.  Clients were reaching retirement age with IRAs and 401(k)s tied to the market - and needing to transition their source of income from their employer to their retirement plan meant liquidating assets to meet that income.

The result was that many clients were selling assets at a loss to satisfy their income needs. And in response, a focus on sequence of returns risk by financial advisors. 

What financial instrument could possibly help retirees address this newly emerging risk?

You guessed it…the annuity. By the early 2010s, income benefit riders had been around for a few years. But they had mostly been used as a “crutch” to get more conservative clients to take some market risk. Growth + Protection were the promise.

But for the most part, advisors believed in the market and didn’t feel the income riders would actually be used. After 2009, they were. And boy, did they save some clients.  The annuity went from a niche product a few advisors understood to a staple in the financial services industry.

Advisors who truly understood the value of annuities prospered. And suddenly, the industry took notice. Advisors realized that building guaranteed income into retiree’s savings plans was a differentiator. Referrals went up. Safe money with a little upside became king.

Seminar Strategies for Financial Advisors AAToday, annuities continue to be a driver of practice growth, but the most successful advisors position them a little differently. Check out how advisors are using FIAs to drive ALPHA for their clients here.


Annuities were helping retirees weather dangerous storms, and advisors who could build a retirement plan that helped weather those storms were in demand.

That environment birthed the Social Security dinner seminar and workshop.

As savers reach retirement, they are also reaching critical decision times around their Social Security. This creates a natural focus on guaranteed income, and a need to be educated on social security planning.

It was the perfect story advisors could use in dinner seminars and workshops. And it drove tremendous practice growth.

That successful formula exploded across the industry. Everyone was doing it. And just like everything successful, the market got saturated. Since everyone was doing it, it was no longer a differentiator for advisors.

The industry needed to evolve.

The Next Wave of Seminars: Taxes, Taxes, Taxes 

The next evolution in seminar marketing was all about taxes.

The reason is simple. Look at the tax situation in America. You have an out-of-control national debt, with more spending coming year after year. Of course, at some point, taxpayers are going to have to foot the bill in the form of higher taxes.

Yet despite all of this data, retirement savers continue to put a majority of their nest egg in…you guessed it…tax-deferred instruments like IRAs and 401(k)s.

I don’t blame them. It’s a conditioned behavior. You start your first job. Day one, you fill out your insurance and 401(k) paperwork. If you leave that job, what do you do? You roll that money into an IRA and start the new 401(k). Copy/paste, copy/paste, and you can see where this behavior has led to a majority of savings in tax-deferred retirement accounts.

Is that a good thing?

I mentioned that today’s debt and spending environment likely means taxes are on the rise. Which means for many Americans, we have a situation where saver BEHAVIOR is not in sync with saver BELIEF.

It’s little wonder, then, that one of today’s hottest topics for advisor marketing is taxes. 

Advisors who want to address the complete risks of retirement are adding tax strategies to their practices. Those advisors are talking taxes at their seminars, and they are seeing audiences increase. Their appointment conversions are also going up.  And they were attracting attendees with a higher net worth.

RTB_Icons_DisplayIf you’re also looking to generate leads with this hot tax topic outside of group events? Check out Stonewood’s Retirement Tax Bill lead program.


Taxes have been a hot topic and a great tool to differentiate advisors in a very crowded industry.

Keep in mind, that tax-focused seminars and workshops did not replace the old Social Security seminar. It just provided an additional topic to market. And it worked.

So what’s next?

Today's #1 Seminar Marketing Topic  

If you have successful social security content and have branched into tax risk topics, what topic will help you continue your practice growth?

I have an idea.

Those clients who came to your Social Security workshop 5 or 10 years ago have a new risk hitting their radars. Their questions now include not just, “How much can I spend each year?”  but also, “How much can I leave?”

Which, of course, leads to one of today’s hottest seminar topics: Estate Planning.

Clients want to make sure they have a plan in place to cleanly and efficiently pass money on to their heirs. And they want to maximize their legacy. 

Advisors are starting to take notice. And prospects are flocking to estate planning events.

Ask all the direct marketing companies: digital to mail, Facebook to postcards. Estate planning is now the #1 trending topic in their marketing campaigns for advisors like you. If you want high-net-worth prospects - and lots of them - you host an estate planning seminar or workshop.

Why? Everyone has heard of an estate going wrong. Families fighting. Bad apple brokers leaving the wealthy broke. Dying without a will in place. No one wants their legacy to be stained by a bad plan - or no plan at all.

Stonewood is releasing a brand new Estate Planning seminar presentation this month. Schedule some time with us and we’ll walk you through the best way to unveil the tax story within estate planning.


Yesterday’s savers who were interested in Social Security and taxes are today’s savers interested in passing their estate efficiently and effectively. Marketing these multiple topics simultaneously in a way builds its own pipeline down the road. You are hitting savers at multiple decision points along the way in retirement.

The key to advisor growth is always marketing. And if you are going to spend the money, it needs to work!  So for those growth-minded advisors, I wish you Happy Hosting in 2024…with the powerful combination of Social Security, Tax Risk, and Estate Planning events.