Industry Trends

‘Opt In’ to Happiness


My daughter is a proud graduate of the University of Connecticut. She has many happy memories of her time there – being part of a sorority and working as a manager for the baseball team, to name a few – but she wasn’t always happy with her experience. 

Dani had a trying freshman year. She was so excited about starting college, full of dreams and enthusiastic about fresh beginnings. Within the first few weeks of arriving, however, the thorns began to appear on her rose … Her roommate, despite much Facebook vetting, wasn’t a good fit … the football stadium was off campus (20 miles away) … she wasn’t sure which major to choose … the campus was in the middle of nowhere and she had no wheels … the cafeterias were no good, and the dorm was old …

“Welcome to real life!” I remember telling her. During our regular phone calls and text conversations, I spent a lot of time listening to her challenges and, when appropriate, helping her think through solutions. More often than not, I talked to her about attitude vs. aptitude, and focusing on opportunities vs. dwelling on the negatives. 

Essentially, we talked about choosing to be happy. For all the difficulties she faced, she also had a lot of really great things happen in her first year of college … She lived away from home for the first time … became a part of a terrific sorority community … got on ESPN at two football games … found some really close friends who turned into future roommates … landed an internship with the Bourne Braves so she could spend her summer on the Cape … And her college experience blossomed from there. 

By focusing on all of her great accomplishments, Dani was able to find her happiness at UCONN. She still had to address those other issues, but she didn’t let them completely derail her. 

So, how do YOU attack difficult situations? "Stuff" happens, but you have the power to determine how it will impact your day. A wise man once told me, “We don t have bad days. We have bad moments that we choose to let become bad hours, bad days, etc.”

When bad stuff happens, take a moment to think about how your reaction will frame the way you feel the rest of the day. That doesn't mean you should let everything roll off your shoulders – because sometimes direct response is needed. But, try not to let that negative event carry over into other parts of your life. "Opt in" to happiness, and you’ll find more opportunities than difficulties.   


About the Author
As executive vice president of life sales distribution, Bob Klein is responsible for all of Ash Brokerage’s life, long-term care and disability income insurance sales. He is driven by his desire to help others get the most out of their natural gifts, and he gets the most satisfaction from seeing others grow and succeed.


random thoughts

Help Your Clients Keep their Money with Custom Structured Settlement Plans


Nearly $6 billion in new structured settlements are issued each year – and many of the victims struggle to manage their settlements on their own. Industry statistics show that two-thirds of every case settled in cash or was referred to a bank, brokerage firm, financial planner or trust company.1 But within five years, 90 percent of claimants have nothing left of their settlements.2

Implementing a sound financial plan with the right combination of investments can prevent this from happening. However, many financial products have costs associated with them, and even though a physical injury recovery is tax-free, once invested, the gains are taxable. 

To better manage settlement proceeds, there are many good options to create a customized plan. Clients may want to consider mutual funds, managed accounts, annuities, life insurance, college plans or long-term care insurance. Some financial products have less risk and others offer guarantees to limit market loss and preserve principal. All of these products can be wrapped up inside trusts to protect the client and their loved ones. As advisors, our job is to offer sound advice about available options and help the client make the best possible decision.

What’s in it for Clients

  • Allows flexibility to access funds for unplanned needs
  • Provides appropriate investment risk as they seek higher returns
  • Diversifies settlement assets to reduce overall investment risk
  • Takes advantage of market changes

What’s in it for Advisors

  • Takes advantage of market changes to achieve greater returns
  • Generates a relationship-based, recurring revenue model that enhances your core practice
  • Creates new opportunities to serve client needs


Winning Strategy

When it comes to structured settlements, it’s important to explore the many options available. You should help your clients find a solution that preserves their settlement and allows for flexibility. 


About the Author

At Ash Brokerage, Steve Pilger helps you deliver the expertise and solutions needed for a comprehensive financial plan.Contact him at or (800) 589-3000 ext. 6828 to discuss a prospective structured settlement case.



1 “Structured Settlements Survey Report”, AIG (2008)

2"California Practice Guide: Personal Injury," The Rutter Group, Ltd. from Flahavan, Rea, Kelly & Tener, (TRG 1992) Ch. 4.

Structured Settlements