Annuities

Want to Win? Practice Your Free Throws


Annuities

Just when you thought I couldn’t write anymore basketball-related financial planning tips … I’m releasing my third book, “Free Throws for Financial Professionals.” Kidding aside, this book really gets to the heart of everything I believe in. It centers around 10 principles I learned as a student manager at Indiana University under legendary Coach Bob Knight – principles I still apply to my work and life today.

 

While Coach Knight is considered a controversial public figure, I always thought of him as my best professor at IU. (That’s saying a lot as the Kelley School of Business was constantly ranked in the top 10 of undergraduate business schools.)

 

Free throws are in the title because they’re a vital part of a basketball game. Championships are won and lost at the free throw line. At the end of the game, when every second and every point matters, you have to be able to execute. It requires repetition, attention to detail and technique.

 

I like free throws because you don’t have to be athletic to be a good free throw shooter. It helps, but it’s not a requirement. Instead, hard work, concentration and calmness will help you sink the shot.

 

Practice and Preparation

One of the greatest strengths Coach Knight possessed was his ability to plan for an opponent. I’ve always said that Coach wasn’t as much of a basketball genius as he was just extremely prepared for games. He knew his team better than anyone else – their strengths and weaknesses. He also understood how to use those strengths against the other team.

 

You should do the exact same thing. Now, don’t misunderstand me – your clients are not your opponents. You should always be working on the same side of the table. However, you need to plan for every meeting. Every interaction. You have to know the game inside and out.

 

In order to succeed, you need to know the numbers that drive your success – so you can adjust and make changes along the way. You have to understand the activities that drive your sales. Here are some things every financial professional should know:

 

  • What are the key performance indicators for you and your staff – sales and administrative?
  • How can you duplicate those activities more often next year?
  • Which activities need to be delegated to another person so you can focus on the key performance indicators for your business?
  • Can you become more effective at your key activities?

 

Winning Strategy

Practice and plan for success. Read my new book, “Free Throws for Financial Professionals,” to learn how I measured success and set activity goals that nearly assured my sales. You can order or download a copy of the book at www.freethrowsforpros.com.

 

Winning Strategies

Craving More?

Face it. These days, your phone changes faster than you do. Continuous improvement is the name of the game. If you’re standing still, you might as well be walking backward.

Special guest Scott Fergusson joins us to talk all things innovation and how you can easily upgrade your business. Not just to keep up with the industry, but to get ahead of your competition

Watch Now

About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is a team leader, retirement industry activist and disciple of Indiana Hoosier basketball. In addition to being EVP of retirement at Ash Brokerage, he is a sought-after writer and speaker. His web series, “Winning Strategies,” provides insight and motivation for financial advisors in many forms – blogs, books, videos, podcasts and more. His latest book, “Free Throw for Financial Professionals,” is available now at www.freethrowsforpros.com.

Retirement Practice Enhancement Financial Planning

Why (and How) You Should Measure Activity, Not Revenue


Annuities

While sales and revenue are important, it’s going to be your activity that truly defines your success or failure. But, how do you track and measure your activity? How do you ensure you see results? One option is the activity points system.

 

Years ago, I heard of the activity points system from fellow members of the Million Dollar Round Table. Many had used this system to establish successful habits, and they continued using it to reach their goals.

 

Here’s how it works: Activities are assigned a points value, and your goal is to reach 20 points every day. Once you reach 20 points, you don’t have to make another cold call, schedule another client meeting or do anything else, really. When you do this, you can walk away from the office feeling good about the day, regardless of whether you made any sales.

 

Points values should be based on key performance indicators, i.e., activities that have a higher impact on revenue should be assigned a higher value. Here’s an example:

  • 1 point for picking up the phone to make an outbound call
  • 2 points for reaching the intended target
  • 3 points for scheduling an opening interview with a prospective client
  • 5 points for completing any client meeting
  • 7 points for a meeting that resulted in asking for a sale
  • 10 points for engaging a new client, regardless of sale
  • 20 points for making a new engagement that meets your daily revenue goal

 

Whenever I concentrated on the activity point system, I found that my pending sales increased and, eventually, my pending sales turned into paid business, which resulted in reaching my financial goals. The points took off the pressure to “sell” or meet daily/weekly financial goals. By focusing on activity, the results would always follow.

 

Additionally, I found the activity points system to be extremely helpful for several reasons:

  1. It forced me to focus on activities that generated sales, even when I didn’t feel like doing the hard things
  2. When I hit 20 points consistently every day, my sales didn’t see slumps
  3. When I didn’t hit 20 points consistently, I could pinpoint future revenue dips and plan accordingly
  4. My work/life balance improved because I felt good when I left the office, even without engaging a new client or relationship

 

Think about implementing your own point system. By focusing on activity, you will find that your client engagement is more consistent and profitable. It will help you maximize your time spent on the key performance indicators that drive your business.

 

Winning Strategy

Translate your important key performance indicators into an activity points system. This allows you to focus on activity, not revenue.

 

Winning Strategies

Craving More?

Face it. These days, your phone changes faster than you do. Continuous improvement is the name of the game. If you’re standing still, you might as well be walking backward.

Special guest Scott Fergusson joins us to talk all things innovation and how you can easily upgrade your business. Not just to keep up with the industry, but to get ahead of your competition.

Register Now

About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is a team leader, retirement industry activist and disciple of Indiana Hoosier basketball. In addition to being EVP of retirement at Ash Brokerage, he is a sought-after writer and speaker. His web series, “Winning Strategies,” provides insight and motivation for financial advisors in many forms – blogs, books, videos, podcasts and more. His latest book, “Free Throw for Financial Professionals,” will be available in October.

Retirement Financial Planning Practice Enhacement

That Time Coach Knight Went Fishing at Practice


Annuities

Because I was a student manager for Indiana University’s basketball team, I’m often asked how practices were with Coach Bob Knight. As you can imagine, they were generally intense with little time wasted. But, many of them included invaluable life lessons for all involved. One such practice was during our Christmas break. Coach came out of his locker room with a fishing pole in hand. I automatically knew this practice was going to different. 

 

Coach spent 90 minutes talking about being aware of your surroundings for the best chance of success. He used the analogy of fly fishing in a river with a fast current. He moved around the basketball court, simulating how a fisherman might move. He said you have to be careful when stepping on slippery stones, as you need a steady frame to cast your line. And, you have to pay attention to the strength of the current, so your feet aren’t pulled out from under you. 

 

You have to gather all this information into your decision-making process as you fish. And, you have to practice. Coach would cast his line and land the bobber within 6 inches of his target. Every time. Years of repetition created muscle memory, so he was extremely accurate. 

 

Practice for Planners

Coach’s fishing analogy was true for basketball, and it’s also true for income planning in an investment portfolio. There are hundreds of risks associated with a retiree’s income plans, but longevity-related issues multiply the chances of running out of money. Each risk in longevity is its own stone covered by moss. The client can easily slip and get caught up in the current. After that, it’s hard to recover. The damage is already done. 

 

In planning, you have to constantly check the variables surrounding your clients, just as you would check for slippery rocks or pay attention to the speed of the current. You can reduce the impact of longevity by shifting your client’s risk. 

 

The cash flow pressure of a long-term care event can be mitigated with insurance or income riders that provide additional income. Annuities are the only vehicle that use mortality credits to boost income yield to the client, and income streams can be guaranteed through immediate or deferred income products. And, inflation protection can be reduced through riders on many annuities. 

 

Want to be as accurate as Coach Knight? You’ll need repetition. Make income planning a repeatable process in your practice, and you’ll be more efficient and effective with your clients. You’ll also improve retention and increase referrals. 

 

Winning Strategy

Navigate the planning process like a skilled fisherman. Eliminate or reduce as many slippery stones as possible. Watch your step so you don’t get caught up in the current. Shift the risks and make your client’s journey more predictable. 

Retirement Webinar

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We're talking shop with Tim Ash! This webinar will be packed so register now and bring your notebook!

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About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is a team leader, retirement industry activist and disciple of Indiana Hoosier basketball. In addition to being EVP of retirement at Ash Brokerage, he is a sought-after writer and speaker. His web series, “Winning Strategies,” provides insight and motivation for financial advisors in many forms – blogs, books, videos, podcasts and more. You can get his latest book, “Winning Strategies: The New Rules of Retirement Planning,” on Amazon. 

Retirement Practice Management Financial Planning

Bringing Annuities to Light


Annuities

I recently attended a sales conference hosted by Allego, a training software company. The conference displayed best use cases for training but did so in light of the changing way people learn. As we attempt to bring more awareness to annuities in the financial planning process, I think it is really important to understand how our clients learn. 

 

Traditional brick and mortar business are rapidly declining, and our digital footprint is coming front and center. How we interact with prospective clients and clients is changing right before our eyes. Consider these stats from Forrester Research: 1

  • 68 percent of buyers want to research an idea online before they buy
  • 60 percent of buyers would rather get their initial information online instead of talking with a person
  • 62 percent of buyers say they decide on a vendor based on their digital image alone

 

Your prospective clients are more educated, have more resources and information at their fingertips, and have more choices of vendors than ever before. To remain relevant, you have to provide value upfront and more frequently than you did just 10 years ago. 

 

The learning curve in our industry is not steep; it’s more like a ramp. But, the longer a prospective client takes to engulf themselves in a topic, the longer the retention. That makes your sales cycle extremely long. But, education is positive for our industry. It’s always been a bedrock. It just needs to be delivered in a different medium. 

 

What’s Your Story?

Every financial planner can benefit from stepping back and thinking about how you deliver information to your clients. Before you dive into the digital world, take some time to clarify your message and your story.

 

The way your clients interpret your message can either be like holding several eight-pound bowling balls, or striking a cord that addresses their internal emotions. It’s not about us anymore. It’s about what we can deliver to them emotionally and philosophically. That’s what clients want to know. When you communicate in that perspective, you touch the hearts of many people, which can lead to new level of engagement. 

 

A new level of engagement is what will bring products to a new light. The change in perspective will allow the product to fit into the overall purpose of the financial plan, which is totally focused on the client. Take a few minutes to think about how you communicate. Are you talking the same way you did just a couple of years ago, or are you ahead of the curve in how prospective clients want to interact? If you want to learn more, check out my site, https://www.clarifyyourmessage.com/Michael-McGlothlin, and to see how I could help you market and grow your business.

 

Winning Strategy

Think about how your target market communicates and researches information. Match that behavior and you have a better chance of being the go-to financial planner for that group. 

Retirement Webinar

Craving More?

We're talking shop with Tim Ash! This webinar will be packed so register now and bring your notebook!

Register Now

 

About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is a team leader, retirement industry activist and disciple of Indiana Hoosier basketball. In addition to being EVP of retirement at Ash Brokerage, he is a sought-after writer and speaker. His web series, “Winning Strategies,” provides insight and motivation for financial advisors in many forms – blogs, books, videos, podcasts and more. You can get his latest book, “Winning Strategies: The New Rules of Retirement Planning,” on Amazon. 

 

1Forrester, “B2B Buyers Mandate A New Charter For Marketing And Sales,” Jan. 10, 2017: https://www.forrester.com/report/B2B+Buyers+Mandate+A+New+Charter+For+Marketing+And+Sales/-/E-RES132705

Retirement Financial Planning Education Client Value

Cost in Absence of Value


Annuities

Throughout my sales career, several mentors told me the catch phrase, “Cost is only an issue in the absence of value.” Of course, I usually hear that and think about it from my perspective. 

 

It’s always important to add value to your business and personal relationships. But, when you talk about the added benefits of guaranteed income, you have to offset the cost with value. In many cases, the value of guaranteed income far outpaces the cost associated with the purchase of the vehicle to provide the guarantee. 

 

Now, it’s important to convey the same message to clients and not just sales teams. Specifically, we need to talk to company CEOs and human resource directors about the risk of their pension plans. 

 

Cost of Pension Plans

Today, billions of dollars sit in defined pension plans that have been frozen by employers. Those pension plans are no longer helping recruit new talent to the company or retaining existing employees. More worrisome are the expected increases to costs: 

  • The cost of administering a fully funded pension plan is guaranteed to increase by 25 percent by the end of 2019, due to the cost of Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBCG) premiums*
  • For plans that are not fully funded, the cost of maintenance might increase as much as 33 percent by the end of 2019* 

 

Those are real increases and real dollars that will be spent on an employee benefit that is not being leveraged to the full extent. So, the question is: Why would a company have a benefit that is going to increase in cost but doesn’t provide any benefit?

 

I doubt any CEO would invest in a new plant or machinery that didn’t have a suitable return. Especially with human capital, companies are reluctant to invest in additional funds without a plan to grow production through that investment. They shouldn’t do the same thing for an expensive employee benefit that is not providing value. 

 

The cost of additional contributions is expensive. Life expectancies have increased and returns are much lower than many old plan assumptions. Both of those result in funding shortages for a lot of defined benefit plans. Currently, CEOs are faced with making large contributions to bring the plan up to proper funding status. Since many are not willing to do that, they are left with the same problem year in and year out: an underfunded pension plan not benefiting the organization. Well, it’s about to create more of a drain due to the cost increases from the PBGC premiums. 

 

Value of Transfers

Myths exist around pension risk transfer business. Many believe that a company has to write a huge check to cover their shortage. Instead, in many cases, it makes sense to stagger the plan termination over a period of several years. Cash flow and capital requirements might make it easier to have a 5-10 year strategy instead of a one-time contribution. 

 

Another myth is that lump-sum distributions don’t help. In reality, lump-sum distributions can make a difference in the amount of shortage. Having educational meetings with employees can help the engagement level of lump-sum distributions. That’s where a good income specialist can benefit the employee base. Retirement remains the most complicated problem most Americans will face; our industry needs to be face-to-face with as many people as possible.

 

Winning Strategy

Take the cost of the least valuable employee benefit off the table for companies. In doing so, you can help a greater number of people retire more securely. 

Policy Review - 10 Ideas For Existing Life Insurance

Craving More?

Watch the replay of the webinar where we talk how pension risk transfers can be an effective tool for defined benefit plan sponsors seeking solutions for rising costs and longevity risk.

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About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is a tireless advocate for the retirement planning industry. As executive vice president of retirement at Ash Brokerage, he heads a team providing income planning solutions focused on longevity and efficiency. He’s also a thought leader who provides guidance and assistance for advisors and broker-dealers navigating marketplace and regulatory changes. You can find a collection of his blog posts in his book, “Above the Clouds … Winning Strategies from 30,000 Feet.”

 

*Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, Premium Rates, March 2018: https://www.pbgc.gov/prac/prem/premium-rates

Pension Risk Transfer Retirement Financial Planning