Annuities

Perspective, Gratitude and Pride for our Work


Annuities

Perspective

While on a cruise, I got a painful, but much needed, bamboo massage. The therapist used hot oils to prepare my skin and muscles, then she proceeded to use a rolling pin-like bamboo instrument on me. It hurt, but it was the most beneficial and pain-relieving massage I’d ever experienced. 

As I checked out of the spa, I signed the bill, which included a modest tip. I decided to add an additional tip for the therapist, and she handed it back to me, pointing out that a gratuity had already been added. I said I saw the gratuity but added some extra for the great massage.  

She looked at me and questioned, “For me?” I nodded affirmatively, and she rigorously shook my hand. She went on to tell me that she had worked for the Royal family in Saudi Arabia until joining the spa franchise, and where her family lives now, one dollar will by five meals.  

That’s when perspective hit me squarely in the face. 

 

Gratitude

I felt grateful to even have the option of getting a massage from this woman. And, I felt grateful to live in an economy as robust as ours, to be in the financial position to go on a great vacation with friends, have nice dinners and never worry about where my next meal was coming from. 

As the day went on, I began to think about the value we bring to people as financial professionals. Much of our society isn’t that different from the massage therapist – a small increase in money can be very meaningful. While it’s not as extreme as her family’s situation, millions Americans face the challenge of living paycheck to paycheck. 

More importantly, millions of Americans are NOT planning for a retirement that might include health care needs, inflation and longevity risks. How quickly will our country look like this woman’s homeland where too many people aren’t able to enjoy the fruits of their labor?  

 

Pride

I take pride in our staff and the work we do for our clients. And, I’m grateful our profession can have such a positive impact on so many people in the United States. However, there is much more work to be done, challenges to face, and biases to eliminate.  

Our industry – for all its faults – remains one of the most prestigious in the country. But regulators will continue to attack us due to the actions of an extremely small percentage of institutions and their employees – no different from any other industry. No matter what, we can control how we react and help Americans in the future. 

Let’s keep what we do in perspective and take pride in helping our neighbors make meaningful change in their financial lives.

 

Winning Strategy

Throughout life, you gain perspective from people you meet. We should take pride in helping people reach financial goals, no matter how large or small. Take time to reflect on your business, and be grateful and proud of the work you are doing.   

 

About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is the Executive Vice President of Annuities at Ash Brokerage. His strength is helping advisors become more efficient and effective in their businesses. He and his team provide income-planning solutions focused on longevity and tax efficiency, and they also assist advisors with entering defined-benefit termination planning and structured settlement markets. 

 

Intentional Influence: How to choose clients in a post-DOL world


Annuities

Each morning, I like to read a daily devotional or the Wall Street Journal – often both. Recently, I read two interesting things in one day: a passage about intentionality from Tony Dungy’s “The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge,” and an article about the meaning of the word fiduciary in the Journal’s Wealth Adviser.

Coach Dungy, a TV sports show analyst and former Super-Bowl-winning coach, is a sought-after public speaker who could probably book any event he wants. However, he said he is intentional when selecting where he speaks and in what circumstances. Rather than accepting every offer, he evaluates where can have the most positive influence. 

 

What if we applied the same standard to our client relationships?

 

It was very fitting I read the fiduciary article on the same day because I thought to myself how financial professionals will need to be more focused and intentional in their businesses going forward. One of the collateral damages of the fiduciary rule is how we’ll need to manage those clients who don’t meet the criteria of taking the fiduciary risk while growing our businesses at the same time. I believe it starts with being intentional about the clients we choose and how we serve them going forward.

How many times have we been frustrated when clients don’t provide the necessary financial statements at the discovery interview? Or when they fail to complete a medical exam for an insurance policy that will protect their families? What if we became more intentional about who we bring on as clients?  

Consider setting some standards as you serve existing clients or bring on new ones: 

  • During the engagement process, evaluate your prospects’ commitments to solving their financial needs – in a fiduciary world, we can no longer work with clients who are unwilling to participate in the financial planning process.

  • Think about where and when you can have the most positive influence on your clients’ financial plans, including asset management, retirement income planning and wealth transfer 

 

Winning Strategy

Think intentionally. Winners have a distinct set of parameters where they know they can succeed. Seek out those situations and take the necessary risks to grow your business.  

 

About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is the Executive Vice President of Annuities at Ash Brokerage. His strength is helping advisors become more efficient and effective in their businesses. He and his team provide income-planning solutions focused on longevity and tax efficiency, and they also assist advisors with entering defined-benefit termination planning and structured settlement markets. 

 

DOL Annuities

What Happens on The Outside Doesn’t Matter


Annuities

Too often, we find ourselves caught up in the distractions around our work. Whether it’s the interest rate environment, regulations or blanket recommendations from “experts” … Many times, we let the distractions dictate our decisions. No matter the client situation in front of us, too often, we revert back to our old planning techniques. 

If we push the distractions aside, however, and focus on the needs of the people we serve, we’re much more likely to succeed. 

 

Hoosiers Hang Tough

At no surprise to those who know me, I was happy to see Indiana University win the 2016 men’s basketball Big Ten regular season championship. If you don’t follow IU basketball, you might be surprised to know the team was stumbling into the post-season a year prior. 

Things were so bad, Coach Tom Crean was booed when he showed up to watch his son play at a high school basketball game. At the time, many Hoosier faithful were calling for his termination, and some even offered to pay for his buyout. The players also had several off-court incidents that were not indicative of IU basketball standards.  

After coming back and winning the regular season championship in 2016, Coach Crean said the team didn’t let the outside distractions impact how they prepared for games or used their strengths. He is quoted as saying: 

“ … When you have faith in yourself and each other and what you’re capable of, it doesn’t matter what’s said on the outside.”

Why don’t we do the same thing in business? 

 

Focus on What Matters

No matter what happens in the months or years ahead, we have to keep the outside distractions on the outside and have faith in our financial planning process. The only thing that really matters is how our clients benefit from our recommendations. If we know (and have faith in our products) that a purchase improves the client’s situation, we must stay focused on continuing to make the recommendation – even if regulations make it more difficult. 

 

Winning Strategy

In all the changes to our industry, keep faithful in your financial planning process. Be open to change when it improves the client situation. And, keep distractions on the outside.  

Annuities

Riding the Waves: How to help your clients cruise through retirement


Annuities

Have you ever been on a cruise ship? The first day at sea can feel pretty strange, especially if it’s a windy day and the sea is churning with waves. If you’re not accustomed to walking on a ship, you might even find yourself holding on to the walls. 

Though they may rock a little, cruise ships and other large vessels will continue cutting through the water with ease – they are built with a strong foundation and designed for balance.

 

Riding the Market Waves

Many Americans find their retirement vacillating on market returns, and early in 2016, the markets created choppy waters for those seeking steady income. So, how can you make sure your clients don’t have to hang on to the walls through retirement? 

Like a ship, they need a strong foundation and balance to cut through the waves. With a doubt, a ship has to sway to some degree – just like a portfolio of well-balanced stocks and bonds. However, the variations in performance sometimes make things lean too far for a comfortable ride. No matter what happens, a strong foundation will bring their ship back to the middle. 

 

Creating Strength and Balance

I’m not advocating everyone place their assets into instruments providing guaranteed income. Instead, I think you should think of a couple points when designing a portfolio for your clients.  

  1. You should take longevity off the table with a guaranteed, long-term income stream so your clients will not run out of money for essential living expenses

  2. You should help provide inflation protection for future health care needs and overall growth

 

The next time you take on a retirement planning case, think about designing the portfolio like a ship. Guaranteed income will provide a strong foundation, and a selection of other assets can meet any needs that might arise and rock the ship. 

Winning Strategy

A ship must be built to withstand all conditions – a retirement portfolio should be built the same way. Build a strong foundation and create balance so your clients can have smooth sailing through retirement.  


About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is the Executive Vice President of Annuities at Ash Brokerage. His strength is helping advisors become more efficient and effective in their businesses. He and his team provide income-planning solutions focused on longevity and tax efficiency, and they also assist advisors with entering defined-benefit termination planning and structured settlement markets.

retirement

Minutes to Memories … What It Means for Our Industry


Annuities

While I was in college, John Mellencamp enjoyed a lot of success, especially in the Midwest. During my senior year, I remember going to his sold-out concert at Indiana University’s Memorial Stadium. Unfortunately, he didn’t play one of my favorite songs, “Minutes to Memories” – one of his less popular tunes off the “Scarecrow” album from the mid-’80s

The song is about a young man riding a bus overnight with an elderly man. Mellencamp eloquently shares the story that so many of us have been a part of – a wise person very senior in age gives a younger person the facts of life. The chorus repeats:

Days turn to minutes
And minutes to memories
Life sweeps away the dreams
That we have planned
You are young and you are the future
So suck it up and tough it out
And be the best you can

I often listen to this song because our industry stands at a crossroads. Recent legislation has the potential to sweep away not only our dreams as financial professionals, but also the retirement dreams of many middle class Americans through the loss of quality financial advice. At the same time, we all have a chance to shape the future of the industry. No matter what the future holds, we need to tough it out and be the best financial professionals we can be.  

As I have mentioned before, we must look at our business models, then adjust, adapt and grow as an industry. That means forcing carriers to be more client-friendly with ease of operations, access to information and better customer service for younger Americans. 

It also means we have to evaluate our businesses and look to change the client experience. We must fight to show regulators we are capable of change that is both meaningful and lasting for our clients.  

Stay tuned as the industry challenges regulations over the next couple of months. But, more importantly, stay focused on ways you can adapt your business to document the higher standards, act more efficiently and address the middle market concerns.  

Winning Strategy

Keep your dreams – and your clients’ dreams – alive. Let’s figure out how to shape the future of our industry and make our businesses more efficient and effective.  

 

About the Author

Mike McGlothlin is the Executive Vice President of Annuities at Ash Brokerage. His strength is helping advisors become more efficient and effective in their businesses. He and his team provide income-planning solutions focused on longevity and tax efficiency, and they also assist advisors with entering defined-benefit termination planning and structured settlement markets. 

Annuities