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

Strategies to Grow Your Client Base in 2019


Annuities

It’s hard to believe it’s time to plan for next year already. You might think it’s early, but completing the planning process now, at the start of the fourth quarter, gives you an advantage in a couple of ways. First, you can start changing your habits so you hit the ground running on Jan. 1. And, when you have more time to think about your business instead of work in your business, you tend to make better decisions.

 

One decision you should consider in 2019 is how you will grow your client base. Gaining clients is always a challenge for planners. It was a challenge at the start of this industry. It’s a challenge today. And it will be a challenge in the future. Why? Here are three reasons:

 

  1. Your competition is only growing. When prospective clients search Google for financial planning, they will find millions of wealth managers and online tools to help them make more informed decisions. Many of those resources are very inexpensive and easily accessible via technology.

 

  1. Consumers don’t wake up needing financial planning services. They have their sights on other tangible purchases and plan for retirement less than they plan for vacations.

 

  1. Our industry works on the most complex problems for our clients: retirement and longevity. There are so many potential solutions and changes during a 20 to 30-year retirement that clients become frustrated with the planning process. It doesn’t help that it’s very hard to do business in the insurance industry as a whole, due to regulations and paperwork.

 

No matter the challenge, acquiring new clients is the single most costly activity in your business. Which is why you should focus on ways to make it better.  

 

One of the more efficient ways to attract clients is to look deeper within their family – they have a higher trust factor because they know someone working with you. Marketing to family members might provide a better return than investing in mail campaigns, seminars or referral materials. Remember, billions of dollars will transfer from one generation to next over the next two decades, so you’ll want to follow those assets.

 

In order to connect with the next generation and start your relationship on a positive note, here are some ideas you should consider implementing as part of your marketing strategy next year:

 

  • Beneficiary reviews on all life insurance, annuities and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). There are so many horror stories around the lack of a proper beneficiary designation that causes family strife, unintended tax consequences and funds going where they are not supposed to go.   

 

  • Harvest the cost basis on nonqualified annuities. While the tax law reduced the tax brackets, passing an annuity with embedded gains to the next generation forces the beneficiary to pay higher taxes at time of receipt. There are mechanisms to obtain the cost basis first and the gain second, which is completely opposite of most death claims in annuities.

 

  • Pass along family values with family wealth. Establish an income stream for the life of grandchildren that includes handwritten notes from the grandparents at special birthdays or events. You can gain a deeper understanding of the family dynamics by having this conversation.

 

So, if you want to increase your clients next year – and everybody does – consider looking within your existing base. Develop a specific marketing strategy to consistently and thematically talk with your clients about adding value for their family.

 

When you deliver value, relationships tend to follow – like lightning and thunder.

 

Winning Strategy

Look inward first. Your existing clients can provide the key to future growth through their children and grandchildren. Develop specific marketing strategies around the value you can bring to their entire family.

 

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,” will be available in October.

Practice Enhancement Retirement Annuities

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

Distribution and Disappearance


Annuities

Annuity sales are shifting, and the direction is concerning.

 

At a recent industry event, where annuity sales executives came together to learn and share with each other, we went over a lot of statistics. One chart in particular was alarming.1

 

Annuity-Sales.jpg

 

Between 2015 and 2017, the annuity industry shrank by $29.3 billion in overall sales. The shocking part is that income annuity sales lost more than $34 billion. Some of that loss may have been due to many variable annuity carriers not issuing living income benefit riders, as rich as those riders were earlier in the decade. However, we’re still in the baby boom retirement era – the same 10,000 people per day transitioned from the workforce to retirement during that time.2

 

I have to ask …

  •         Have we forgotten the value of guaranteed income?
  •         Is the accumulation sale just easier for us to move assets?
  •         Why do we not sell the benefits of mortality credits on a regular basis?

 

The troubling part is that a corresponding influx of other income-producing assets does not exist. When I spoke with the research firm, they had no explanation where these assets have gone.

 

When looking at opportunities, I look to where the pendulum is likely to swing next. We have the largest transition from the workplace happening while life expectancies continue to grow. There has never been a greater need for guaranteed income that can’t be stopped until the retiree passes away. There has never been a better time to get ahead of the pendulum – talk to clients about the benefits of income riders and income annuities.

 

Winning Strategy

Fill a gap for your clients. Talk to them about the overall benefits of using guaranteed income products in their retirement portfolio. Statistics tell us that the competition isn’t talking about them.

Winning Strategies

Craving More?

In this episode, Mike McGlothlin shares not one, but five Winning Strategies to create a tax-efficient retirement portfolio. These strategies will set you apart from the competition by adding value to your clients.

Watch Now

 

1Source: LIIMRA Secure Retirement Institute, U.S. Individual Annuities survey, VA GLB Election tracking survey and Indexed GLWB Election Tracking survey; analysis is of retail individual annuity market and excludes employer plan and structured settlements.

2Pew Research Center, “Baby Boomers Approach 65 – Glumly,” December 2010: http://pewrsr.ch/T4o2Hs

 

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 Annuities Guaranteed Income

The Value of Tax Planning for Retirement


Annuities

When I look at our industry today, I see a lot of commoditization. Our clients are driving transparency and asking for lower fees with more service. This combination makes it difficult to sustain a healthy business model, whether you’re commission-based or advisory-based.

 

Asset allocation and rebalancing can be done online, which has driven down value in the eyes of the consumer. Now, you may provide exceptional service and other planning around asset allocation to add value, but the value of asset allocation has been driven downward.

 

What is the key to driving value and making sure that you can earn a sustainable revenue stream? Generally, you need to lead the pack for those services and products that consumers find the most valuable. Keep in mind that price is a dollar amount. Value is how the client perceives it in their own eyes.

 

Prioritize Your Focus

Understanding today’s retirees and developing strategies to deliver value in a few critical areas allows you to build a long-term, sustainable business model. A 2017 poll uncovered some of Americans’ greatest fears about retirement: 1

 

  • 71 percent worry about health care costs. Government health plans are means tested and based on Modified Adjusted Gross Income levels. It’s important to have a strategy for keeping costs at a minimum through proper taxable income planning.
  • 52 percent worry about future tax rates. Even with the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, marginal tax brackets did not drop significantly. With Social Security and Medicare struggling financially past 2035, it’s easy to see a potential increase in taxes – payroll, FICA and income tax rates.
  • 81 percent worry about running out of money and having to go back into the workforce. Guaranteed income could help alleviate that pressure.

 

These three areas of service – health care, tax planning and guaranteed income – can provide significant lift for your business over the next few years. They are highly valued in the consumer’s eyes.

 

According to a report from Capital Sigma, comprehensive financial planning, which would include retirement income planning and health care planning, is valued at more than 50 additional basis points. Tax management is perceived to be 100 basis points in value to the consumer. Those two services are valued at 150 basis points, whereas asset allocation is perceived to have a value of just 28 basis points.2

 

To increase the value of your business and drive revenue through your firm, you need to meet the changing demands of the American population. People will always pay for value.

 

Winning Strategy

Think about what your clients want more and design your firm and practice around those ideas.

Winning Strategies

Craving More?

In this episode, Mike McGlothlin shares not one, but five Winning Strategies to create a tax-efficient retirement portfolio. These strategies will set you apart from the competition by adding value to your clients.

Watch Now

 

1American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) / Harris Poll, March 2017

2Capital Sigma: The Sources of Advisor-Created Value, 2016: https://www.envestnet.com/sites/default/files/documents/ENV-WP-CS-0516-FullVersion.pdf

 

 

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 Tax Planning Health Care Guaranteed Income