The best of plans may be laid to waste, poet Robert Burns taught us. But that shouldn't stop you from making them. Because while unfulfilled plans can cause regret, failing to make any plans could leave you even more remorseful.
Advisors are “planners," but how many of us actually have a formal business plan we develop, re-visit and actually follow? It doesn't have to be complicated. A plan starts with goals, so look at the year ahead (and beyond), and ask yourself:
You've likely heard of the need for your goals to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Take a moment to write down your goals for the year (and beyond), and come up with a plan of action to reach them. Find a balance between hard and easy – between stepping out of your comfort zone and keeping things reasonable and attainable.
It's no different than creating plans for your clients. Your ability to plan for them is only as effective as your ability to plan for your own business. So, get started now. If you don’t have any goals, I can guarantee you’ll never reach them.
“To a Mouse” by Robert Burns: http://www.robertburns.org/works/75.shtml
With experience as a producer and carrier representative, Bobby Pesakoff is well versed in the variety of issues that an advisor is confronted with on a daily basis. As an Ash Brokerage RVP, he helps advisors grow their businesses, enhance their practices and serve their clients. His goal is to help financial professionals give their clients peace of mind as efficiently and conveniently as possible.
Editor’s Note: Because the need for regular insurance policy reviews never goes away, we decided to re-publish this post from 2015. When you’re done reading, be sure to water your plants – then go review your clients’ coverage.
It’s that time of year again! Houseplant Appreciation Day (celebrated Jan. 10) is finally upon us. It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since we last took the time to celebrate the bond between man and shrub.
Houseplants offer many benefits: They filter our air, look great and can even reduce stress. As we all know, constant time, attention and care are all required to successfully tend to our green friends. Many of us are more than up to the task.
Why then, do we neglect to care for one of our clients’ most important financial instruments: their life insurance?
Most financial professionals agree that a client’s life insurance holding should be reviewed every couple of years, or after any major life event (marriage, birth of a child, new job, retirement, etc.) If your clients own any form of cash value life insurance, reviewing the coverage regularly is even more important. Unfortunately, this rarely happens.
Maybe it’s lack of insurance knowledge that keeps us from contacting our clients. Maybe we want to avoid the image of the “salesman.” Maybe we don’t even know who to ask for help. Whatever the reason, our Life Insurance Portfolio Analysis (LIPA) team can help you care for your clients’ policies and keep them from “wilting.”
The Ash LIPA team is a dedicated group of people who specialize in the review of in-force life insurance. With a signed authorization from the policy owner or trustee, and a couple other items, they can order information from the issuing insurance company to “stress test” the health and viability of any insurance policy.
After the in-force policy performance has been reviewed, the team can look at the marketplace today and determine if there are any potential improvements to be made. The life insurance industry is a fluid marketplace; products are constantly changing and evolving, just as your houseplants are constantly growing!
All joking aside, as financial professionals, life insurance review is critical for our clients. The consequences of a poorly managed policy can be devastating.
So, on this Houseplant Appreciation Day, as you take time to celebrate the indoor flora in your life (or not) at least remember this: Your clients’ policies are like your houseplants – they don’t require a lot of upkeep, but they do require regular attention if you want them to thrive.
As part of the LIPA team at Ash Brokerage, Scott Behrendsen’s goal is to not only ensure clients have the best possible protection, but to also present the planning strategies and concepts in a concise format that’s easy to understand. He’s been in the insurance industry for 10 years, working in annuities, broker-dealer operations, and health insurance before joining Ash Brokerage. He has an extensive background in life insurance case design and advanced strategies. He’s currently pursuing an MBA in marketing.
What’s your clients’ most important asset? Their home? Their car? Their business? What about their 401(k) account? You get the idea. How about their paycheck?!
For the majority of Americans, their most important asset is their ability to get up every day, go to work and earn a paycheck. Most of what they own and do is based on what they earn. So whether they are in a one- or two-paycheck household, all of their income is critical to everyday living. Your clients need to insure this extremely valuable asset just like they insure everything else – the need “paycheck protection” insurance.
Problem is, most people don’t realize the importance of this coverage, or they think, “Nothing will ever happen to me. It will always happen to the other guy or girl.” But things do happen to people.
At some time in their lives, one out of every four of today’s 20-year-olds will be disabled for more than three months. And one in three people between ages 35 and 65 – our primary working years – will become disabled for more than three months. 1
Once you are disabled for 90 days, the average disability last more than two years. 2 How much of a hardship would it be to go without a paycheck for 90 days, let alone 2-plus years?!
Have you ever seen the commercial where the lady is sitting outside of a coffee shop and looks down at her napkin – it says, “You will have heart attack today!” Of course, no one really gets a heads up when something bad is about to happen. But we can put a plan in place to help overcome the adversity that comes with a debilitating event.
Put it in Practice: You never know when something bad will happen, so it’s always wise to put “paycheck protection” insurance in place as soon as possible. Plus, getting your clients covered when they are healthy and young makes the process easier and costs less money. Talk to the Ash Brokerage DI team today!
1 Statistics, ssa.gov
22010 Gen Re Disability Fact Book
What do you know about pharmaceutical companies? You’ve likely utilized their products and have a general understanding of how drugs get from point A to point B. But, could you explain the nuances of a particular drug? What about the FDA-approved uses, brand and generic names, side effects and contrast between competing brands? Unless you’re lucky enough to have a husband, brother-in-law and father-in-law who are all pharmacists – as I do – chances are you wouldn’t have a clue.
Life insurance can be just as complex and unique to individuals as their prescriptions – there are countless options for countless needs. Instead of relying on pharmacists for information, however, you can rely on Ash Brokerage. We’ll help you sort through the options with your clients until we find the best remedy.
A few years ago, I helped an advisor with a case for a business owner who had a prosperous company, employees he valued and a family of four at home. When they first met, the client had a few small individual life insurance policies, but he had a need for more coverage – both personally and for his business. He came to Ash Brokerage for a Life Insurance Portfolio Analysis (known as Life Audit at that time) on his current policies. Throughout the process, we were able to educate the client on his policies, which – big surprise – were not performing appropriately or doing what they were supposed to do.
We went back to the basics and performed a simple needs analysis and overall financial assessment with the client. Then, we were able to determine the appropriate type and amount of coverage for all his needs. I had the privilege of being on a phone call with both the advisor and client to answer product questions and offer guidance on the policy’s contractual obligations. This wasn’t a high-level discussion, but rather a conversation akin to friends talking around the dinner table. This well-educated, successful businessman knew very little of our industry, so it was our duty – and the advisor’s – to help decipher the life insurance for him. We helped him gain confidence in his decisions AND helped place his policies in force.
I recently spoke to the advisor and was saddened to hear that the business owner had suddenly passed away in an accident a few months ago. The agent recalled his emotional meeting to deliver the death claims and help provide guidance to the surviving spouse and business partner. They were both thankful for the life insurance. Even though it couldn’t bring their loved one back, it would make their lives just a bit easier to endure. If the advisor hadn’t looked at the client’s old policies and explained why they weren’t appropriate, the outcome of that meeting might have been very different.
Take away: Don’t assume your clients fully understand the life insurance they have, why they need it or the benefits it can provide. After all, you’re not a pharmaceutical expert, and they’re most likely not a life insurance expert. Partner with Ash Brokerage to utilize our Life Insurance Portfolio Analysis process and help educate them.
The emotion of long-term care event speaks for itself – it needs little, if any, explanation. The financial impact, however, should be explained. In detail. Over and over. Don’t stop until the client completely gets the picture.
Cost of care in this country averages $80,000 a year for a nursing home or $50,000 a year for part-time care in your own home. Assisted living falls somewhere in the middle. Twenty years from now, those costs will likely double – 20 years from now, the last of the baby boomers will be entering their 70s.
Long-term care planning shifts the risk off an individual and their family. It’s better leverage on their money. Without shifting the risk, without planning, clients by default are choosing to self-insure. When we show them how to self-insure more effectively with insurance solutions, we have to show them the financial impact of their decisions – good or bad.
A typical, standalone long-term care policy costs $2,500 a year. Average cost of care in this country is $5,000 a month. So what’s more expensive? It makes good financial sense to shift the risk and do long-term care planning.
Concerned about having to lose in order to win? The market today is ripe with solutions that offer a promised benefit. Live too long, die too soon, maintain control over your premium. If your clients have money set aside for retirement, it could be multiplied in value – sometimes two to four times – for long term care! Why wouldn’t your clients want to have their money work harder?
Put it in Practice: Make sure you move past the emotional and into the financial when you’re having the care conversation. The Ash Brokerage LTC team can help show your clients the impact of their decisions.
© 2018 Ash Brokerage LLC.