It's been a great run in the equity markets. If you manage money, business has been good. Your assets under management are likely at an all-time high. You’re starting the year with a nice recurring revenue stream. Life is good – or is it?
Well, life insurance isn’t all good. It’s somewhat of a pun, but in all seriousness, risk management products have taken a back seat to AUM. Who wants to talk about death, getting sick or running out of income in this market? Not many people.
Let’s face it, most of your time is spent on asset allocation, rebalancing, tax management, seeking alpha, low-cost, etc., etc., etc. By the time you’re done with all that, the risk management strategy can wait for the next meeting. You can get to it another time … your clients are fine, right?!
For now. Unless you know something I don't, everyone has a 100 percent chance of not being fine forever.
What if you put the risk management conversation at the forefront of your conversations this year? Actually have a heart-to-heart discussion about the risks in life. I’m not talking about death insurance conversations, I’m talking about living insurance conversations.
You need to plan for WHEN something will happen, not if. You need to talk about risk – extended health care, chronic illness, disability, outliving income and, yes, death – at every client meeting.
To put it bluntly: You cannot call yourself a financial advisor, wealth manager or any other term that implies “holistic” planner unless you have a strategy around risk management.
No more excuses. Make 2018 the year you become a "When it happens" advisor. To clarify, I don't think your clients must buy or own insurance coverage. But I do think you need to help them set a plan for action for WHEN one of life’s risks happens to them.
Take the pressure off yourself and just have a conversation with the clients you serve. This isn't about product, or features or price. Tell them that you simply care enough to make a plan. When you do this, I bet your business will grow, your clients will be happier and you will know more about them than you do now.
And yes, I imagine a few folks will want to transfer some of that risk away from their own balance sheet. If they want to know what that looks like, that's when you call us. And we’ll answer.
Editor’s Note: We originally posted this simple, yet thoughtful post a year ago. Because it was so impactful, we decided to publish it again. This year, be sure you talk to your clients not just about their own independence, but the independence of their loved ones.
On the Fourth of July, we all think about having a day off from work, eating at cookouts, watching fireworks and just enjoying ourselves. It seems as though we’ve quickly forgotten about what the day really means: Independence.
Now I’m sure everyone reading this thinks I’m going to talk about your clients having the freedom and independence to receive long-term care where and how they want. To be honest, that’s the way I was going to go … Then I started thinking about my mother-in-law and all the struggles she and her siblings have gone through over the past few years as their parents required care … So please bear with me as I take a different approach.
When it comes to long-term care, I’ve written many times about the consequences family members suffer when their love one chooses to ignore the need for planning. What I’m saying is this: When someone needs extended care, they get it. But, those closest to them get new obligations which they may not be ready for. They are no longer a spouse, child or grandchild – they are likely caregivers, and their loved one is their patient.
While we all would happily sacrifice everything for our families (or at least I hope), would we ever ask our family members to do the same for us? The only logical answer is no, but clients seem to take this approach every single day. Ask them:
“If you have an extended care event, would you ask your spouse, children, grandchildren or other loved ones to give up their lives – their independence – to be your caregivers?”
The answer is probably no, but we typically don’t make our clients look at it this way.
As we celebrate our great nation’s independence, let’s change the way we have the conversation about long-term care. Let’s talk to our clients about giving their families freedom – freedom to continue to live their lives and not put everything on hold. Just a few simple questions will help them see things in a different light.
So, November is here, and we all know what that means, right? No, not Thanksgiving, and not the beginning of Christmas music being played on the radio. November is Long-Term Care Awareness Month. It’s also Alzheimer’s awareness month.
Unfortunately, our industry has turned November into Long-Term Care Insurance month. Think about it for a minute. More information is passed around about LTC insurance than about educating clients on the importance of planning for an LTC event. That’s not what this month is for!
This November, I challenge you to be an educator instead of a promoter.
Let’s take it one step – or even a large leap – further. With the baby boomers turning 69 at an astounding rate of 10,000 per day, we shouldn’t just talk about the importance of LTC planning for a month. Instead, we need to make each day LTC awareness day. With every sunrise, make it a goal to talk to clients about planning, not just coverage. Because awareness isn’t about trying to make a sale; it’s about protecting families and legacies.
Join me in making the commitment to have the discussion each and every day. These conversations may not be the most comfortable, but they are necessary if you’re truly looking out for your clients’ best interests. If you don’t have someone to work with, find someone. Don’t hide your head in the sand and say you’ll wait until tomorrow. We have a tremendous opportunity to change the paradigm of our business and make a huge impact on the future of our clients and their families.
Put it in Practice: November is a great month to start this initiative. Clients want to talk about LTC planning and are looking to us to help them better understand their options. Here’s to each and every sunrise – and each and every opportunity to make a difference.
Chad Eyrich is proud to help keep families together with long-term care planning. He helps advisors and their clients avoid the potential financial devastation of an LTC event by providing strategies around traditional, asset-based and linked-benefit insurance. In addition to earning his Long-Term Care Professional and Certified in Long-Term Care designations, Chad has a life and health insurance license, and a property and casualty insurance license.
When it comes to buying ice cream, the options we have today are astounding. No longer is it just plain vanilla … there’s rocky road, chocolate chocolate chip, cookie dough, strawberry … you name it, and it’s probably out there. Sometimes all you really want is a bowl of plain vanilla, but it’s nice knowing you have multiple options to choose from.
The same is true when it comes to long-term care (LTC) planning. For a long time, all we had was plain vanilla, offered by more than 100 different carriers. However, as the market began to expand, there became a demand for some different “flavors” and things got exciting.
Today, the options are many, depending on the flavor that appeals to you and your client’s situation. We have single-premium, asset-based solutions that leverage a death benefit while still maintaining some cash value. There are solutions that allow clients to exchange their existing non-qualified annuities and leverage that account value TAX-FREE if care is ever needed. We also have the option of adding LTC or chronic illness riders to life insurance policies; these riders allow clients to accelerate the death benefit if they ever need care.
But, lest all these options overwhelm you, let’s not forget about the plain vanilla of traditional long-term care insurance. Yes, it may not be for everyone, but sometimes, plain vanilla is just what’s needed.
Put it in Practice: Now is a great time to reflect on the wide variety of flavors you can offer your clients. Ash Brokerage will not only help you understand all of the flavors available, but we’ll also help you determine which one will best suit your client’s tastes.
© 2018 Ash Brokerage LLC.