20,000th Counseling Session Now in the Books
The AMAC Foundation officially opened its doors to the community in mid-2014, with a simple mission “To help protect and ensure the financial security, health, and social lives of current and future mature Americans, and to help Americans navigate the bewildering array of decisions they need to make.” This mission embodied the vision of our Founder and first President, Dan Weber—a vision unquestionably presaged in an article posted on the AMAC.us website the preceding year. That article contained a sentence we’ve come to recognize as the stimulus that would drive the Foundation forward: “A new study shows that Americans nearing retirement age are ill-informed about their Social Security options, according to Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature American Citizens.”
He firmly believed that, and he was right. He imparted this belief to those of us fortunate enough to be part of the Foundation’s early staff, and propelled us toward the creation of a service to address this critical need. After several months of investigation and preparation, and after testing the public’s receptivity, the AMAC Foundation Social Security Advisory Service was officially launched in January of 2016.
The first year was a gradual start-up as we trained our initial four-person staff and as we pursued accreditation, but we knew we were onto something with amazing potential. The gratitude expressed early by those we served fueled the enthusiasm shared by our Advisory Team, and reaffirmed to all of us—and especially to Dan—that Americans were desperate for help in understanding the complex and confusing world of Social Security regulations.
After a controlled start-up in 2016, the Advisory Service took off and quickly gained traction nationwide. As our exposure grew and the pace of inquiries quickened, we passed the 10,000-mark in counseling sessions by March of 2020—51 months from start-up to reach that level! But we were only getting started, doubling that mark in the just the next 20 months, serving the 20,000 inquiry on November 30, 2021. And with our current trajectory, we anticipate reaching the 30,000-level in early 2023. To manage the program’s growth, we’ve selectively added Advisors to the point that we now have a staff of six fully accredited and committed professionals, with a seventh currently in initial training.
While managing the Advisory Service’s growth, we’ve kept our focus on both timeliness and quality, with all of our Advisors constantly researching Social Security matters, scrutinizing breaking news about Social Security, and sharing obscure information with each other. We strive to respond to inquiries within a day—two at the most—and take the time to ensure that our constituents clearly understand the information we’ve given them and the implications of the choices they have in this critical part of their retirement planning. The results of our regular Quality Assurance monitoring indicate that we’re hitting the mark here, with 100% of those surveyed reporting they received their response in a timely manner and 96% expressing complete satisfaction with the service. Equally important is the fact that 98% of our survey respondents indicated they would recommend the service to others…that’s a large part of what’s fueling our growth.
Beyond the QA statistics, though, it’s important to note that all of us on the Advisory Service staff take great pride in what we do, and are gratified by the feedback we receive from those we’ve served. Here is just a sampling of the comments we’ve heard from satisfied “customers:”
“Thank you for your response. I have a great deal of faith in your analysis. I feel I can now make a much better decision based on your explanation.”
“Thank you so much for the clarification. Your advice has been exactly what I was looking for. Your answers are so precise and all encumbering, I couldn’t have asked for better and more thorough answers. I’m very grateful.”
“It’s a rare occasion when you can ask a question of a ‘stranger,’ and get such a clear, concise and precise answer. You not only answered my question, but you also answered the questions we didn’t know to ask.”
“You provide an invaluable service. It’s next to impossible for people to figure out the best strategy without assistance like what you provide.”
“I am so grateful for your time, patience, and effort in making this SSA rules crystal clear to me and my wife! Your explanation was awesome. I am indebted! Thank you and May God bless you, your family, and your organization!”
“Thank you so much for your informative advice. It is clear to me that ‘you guys & gals’ ought to be running our country!”
“WOW!! Thank You! This was my first inquiry @AMAC and at best, I expected a link to another document. Great job. Exactly answered my question. I’m impressed and appreciate it. I’m really glad I joined AMAC.”
It’s hard to describe the sense of accomplishment and pride we all get from comments like these.
As Executive Director of the AMAC Foundation, it is a great honor to serve with a team of professionals so committed to serving America’s Seniors!
Gerry Hafer, for the Team: