Annuities

Seeking Greatness


Annuities

I was dreading the two-and-a-half-hour flight.

After focusing on the industry for five days at a meeting, I didn’t feel like my normal writing habit while in flight. I rarely watch movies while traveling, but this time I made an exception: In Search of Greatness, a documentary interview of successful athletes asking what made them different than the competition.

In his segment, Wayne Gretzky made an observation that jumped out to me: he spoke about the loss of creativity in today’s world, especially with younger athletes. Several of the interviewees told stories about playing multiple sports when they were kids.

Today, kids are focused on a single sport, often working with specialists and trainers to give them an edge on the playing field. Gretzky played baseball as a child and loved it before he found hockey. He talked about decisions made on pure metrics – something we do in the financial industry all the time.

But metrics are only part of the story. Both Gretzky and Jerry Rice both said that while they weren’t the fastest person in their sport, they made up for it through practice, better fundamentals and creative thinking.

Why should our profession be different?

For the last several decades, financial advisors have been told to focus on growing recurring revenue and assets under management. We’ve attended seminars and mentored others on how to build a successful business. But we’ve lacked the creativity to shift according to changing demographic needs.

Our clients are faced with their biggest financial challenge– making their income last through retirement. We can’t simply manage assets the same way we did twenty years ago. Instead, we have to get creative in order to address our clients’ needs. Different solutions. Different products. Different models.

Which brings us back to self-awareness. It may be the greatest characteristic of any good salesperson. Understanding where your weakness lies and how to leverage your strengths can take you to great heights, but you can’t execute unless you’re self-aware.

Are you learning and using a full range of solutions to meet your clients’ needs? Or are you stuck in a model that doesn’t work? If so, develop more creativity in your planning and find ways to address the risks associated with longevity.

 

Winning Strategy: Learn and practice creativity. Kids excel when they learn multiple sports. Professionals excel when we learn and deploy multiple solutions for changing client needs.

 

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 – learn more at www.freethrowsforpros.com.

 

retirement winning strategy creativity

A Box of Crayons


Annuities

What’s your favorite color? The correct answer is blue, because that’s my favorite.

Warped thinking? Absolutely. But this is exactly how many of us are planning for our clients’ retirement.

At a recent speaking engagement, I was reminded that in order to serve, we need to use the tools that fit those we are serving. Another speaker had been a member of the Swiss Guard, an elite team that serves as the Pope’s security detail. He told stories of his time with the pontiff, but the one that stuck with me was about a gift he had purchased for his son during one of his trips abroad: a box of crayons.

His son had asked what he should draw, and in which colors. The speaker told his son to draw what was important to him and in his favorite colors.

The Pope, he said, was the same way: he believed that everyone had the tools they needed to tell their own story, paint their own picture – and to do so for a greater purpose.

The metaphor works nicely for the insurance industry, too. We may have plenty of crayons to choose from, but in order to draw the best pictures, we have to make sure that we’re using all of them – not just our favorite. Put another way, we have to make sure we’re using all of the tools at our disposal. At the end of the day, every person we serve is unique, with their own needs and plans. They deserve their specific crayon.

We must paint the clients’ picture, not ours. It’s easy to get caught up in what practice and expertise can give to a client. Instead, we have to use their eyes and ears to deliver the value that’s important to them – and at the right time. Our clients are the heroes of their own story. Our role is to provide them the tools they need to create a happy ending.

Winning Strategy

Think about having a box of Crayons as your toolkit. Leverage the tools for your clients that make the greatest difference.

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 – learn more at http://www.freethrowsforpros.com.

Why Your Digital Assets Will Outlast Your Retirement


Annuities

In the insurance industry, we spend a lot of time working to make sure that our clients don’t run out of money in retirement. We talk with our clients about their assets. Then we plan around them.

But longevity creates other assets that aren't always part of the planning process – digital assets. The longer we live, the larger the digital footprint we leave behind.

It’s both an asset and a risk – and few planners are talking about this risk with their clients.

I recently attended the Society of Financial Service Professionals 2019 FSP Institute. During the conference, an attorney specializing in digital assets talked about common issues with estate planning. Digital assets, he said, usually aren’t properly valued on balance sheets. They’re hard to value because there isn’t really a market.

But digital assets can be monetized if we help our clients think that way. Americans are living longer, and investing patterns are changing. Today’s technologies should be encouraging us to think differently.

First, there are digital assets with tangible value, like cryptocurrency, where individuals assume the risk of safeguarding those assets. One individual lost almost $60 million in assets because their cryptocurrency could not be liquidated in a timely fashion. A little risk mitigation would have gone a long way.

Beyond that, we often hear stories of deceased authors and musicians with memoirs or other works on their computers, locked forever because nobody has their password. What great ideas, what contributions to literature and the arts might never see the light of day? Or even personal memories – photos, videos and documents from a life well-lived. More than ever, this is the legacy individuals want to leave for the next generation.

The insurance industry needs to test the risks and rewards of managing a client’s digital assets. If they haven't already, your clients’ power of attorney or executor should have access to their social media and online financial accounts. Your client will need to give explicit authorization and direction to that person what to do with those accounts if the worst happens. Estate planning documents need to reflect the new world of technology and our reliance on it.

Retirement income planning is more than just a systematic withdrawal. It engulfs the need to have guaranteed income to mitigate longevity. But, it also requires us to look at other risks – health care, long term care, taxes, legacy planning, and now digital assets.

 

Winning Strategy

Consider adding digital assets to your financial planning and retirement discussions. Digital assets will last longer than any of us and our money. Plan to make sure they are controlled and disposed of properly.


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 – learn more at www.freethrowsforpros.com.

Retirement Planning Digital Assets Winning Strategies

Like a Good Wine, It's Complex


Annuities

My wife and I enjoy a good wine. We try to have some with our Friday date night at our local favorite restaurants and recently took a trip to Sonoma County, California, to tour the vineyards. It was nice to spend time with my wife in a place unfrequented by polar vortexes.

I confess I'm fascinated by the craft of wine-making. I wish I had more time to learn about the process. Winemakers manipulate the flavor of the grape, which affects the wine’s taste, aroma and how it feels on your pallet. Much of it relates to climate and environment – how much sun the grape received, the dryness and the quality of the soil.

Some things are more in the winemaker’s control, such as the placement of the vineyard, the type of wine vessels and the length of fermentation. Each of these decisions affects the smell, flavor and taste of the end product.

The complexity of income planning is like a winemaker’s development process. Most people look at their assets as they might look at an ordinary bottle of wine. "Yep," they say. "It’s wine. That’s all I need." But just like a good wine, there are many factors that go into retirement income planning. Some are out of your control, but many are our choice. Just like a good wine, it's up to us to help control the end product.

To create a fine wine, winemakers use different tools. To plan for retirement, you also have to use different tools and strategies.

Asset Location
Award-winning winemakers match grape crops to the optimal soil mixture. We must place our clients’ assets in the proper location to make sure the income is optimal.

Going Beyond Accumulation

Even if you have enough grapes, that does not ensure that you make a bottle of great wine. As planners, we must match our clients’ desires with products that create optimal outcomes for them.

Plan Ahead

The element that makes a great wine takes years to develop. Our clients need to know their options to make an optimal retirement outcome, and that conversation needs to happen early.

Winning Strategy

Think like a winemaker. Use all the tools available. Take all contingencies into consideration when you are developing retirement income strategies. It could mean the difference between a sweet, robust retirement… and vinegar.

 

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 – learn more at www.freethrowsforpros.com.

End of Game Toughness


Annuities

On the side of the 1987 NCAA men’s basketball championship ring, the manufacturers have engraved a word – toughness. During our run to the championship, Indiana University basketball had to come from behind in five out of six tournament games. We were often behind until very late in the game. Two of the games came down to last-second baskets, including the championship.

In the Hollywood version, they might have called us The Comeback Kids. But I’ve never heard the '87 team identified that way. Instead, there was a quiet confidence within the team. No one likes being behind – it requires mental toughness to continue fighting on.

Part of our end-of-game determination was due to months of preparation for the championship. We executed our game plan better than the other team and did it late in the game. We knew the other team’s plays and practiced them for weeks. Those late, game-winning free throws were almost like going through the motions after weeks and weeks of late-game simulations at practice. Our preparedness meant far less late-game stress.

Without practice, we may have had a different outcome. I wrote about about that sinking feeling when a loss is inevitable. It’s like seeing account balances slowly deplete, knowing you are going to lose the retirement game.

Do you have clients anxious about their retirement?

There is no need for stress or anxiety surrounding anyone’s retirement. Their confidence will grow the same way our confidence grew: with repetition. Just as a team runs plays to prepare for games, clients need to run simulations predicting their income many times before they retire.

Retirement planning involves a lot of unknowns. Longevity, healthcare, tax brackets, sequencing of returns and a potential long-term care event are all factors to watch for. If income is a concern, you owe it to your clients to discuss guaranteed income options. These options are better placed early in the planning process versus later at age 70 or beyond. With a plan in place, you can avoid the stress and anxiety of market fluctuations that affect income stability.

 

Winning Strategy

Take the stress out of your client’s end of game decisions. Focus on planning, preparing and putting the client is a position to win today.

 

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 – learn more at www.freethrowsforpros.com.