2011 Holiday Card Competition

2011 Holiday Card Competition

Headed into December I’d like to share a holiday idea from an incredible advisor I consult. This is an easy way to give back to clients while, at the same time, creating a fun competition that brings you and your clients closer together…

Here’s the concept: Hold an annual competition to design your company’s holiday card – a tradition your clients can look forward to every year.  Award the winner a noteworthy contribution to a 529 College Savings Plan*. Accept entries from your clients’ children, grandchildren or other children in their families. The only requirement is that all entries must incorporate your firm’s name somewhere on the card and must also design the card around your stated theme for the year (Ex. The 2011 theme is “Protecting Your Money”).

All children ages 12 and under can participate and all entries must be received by December 10th.  The most colorful and creative handwritten artwork will be selected (no computer artwork will be accepted). For added PR and exposure, you could announce the winner in your weekly e-mail or your monthly or quarterly newsletter.

The winner and their parents should also be invited to the annual Holiday Party so they can be honored and presented with the actual contribution. At the event, bring up the child and parents to receive a BIG check, 30 printed holiday cards to send to their friends and family and a nice frame which includes a winning certificate and the actual drawing the child produced.  Have a photographer on hand to capture the moment, and send copies of the pictures as keepsakes as well as displaying them in your lobby  throughout the holidays as a great reminder of your charitable act and the relationships you forge with your valued clients.

What better way to have a tremendous impact on a child’s life while bringing you and your clients closer together?!?

Happy selling,

*DISCLAIMER:  Investment advisors are strongly encouraged to get this concept pre-approved by any broker-dealer with which they may be affiliated.  The cash equivalent contribution to a college savings plan may be deemed a gift and therefore subject advisors to any gifting limitations and/or requirements imposed by their broker dealer.  Similarly, any publication (either verbal or in print) of the winner of the contest could be considered a prohibited testimonial.

Sales Script — 3 Stages of Money

Proven producers, proven ideas, proven sales scripts. Quit being the lab rat for suspect ideas that will never work!

Today I’m sharing immediate ideas (and potential access) to a remarkable call from a friend of mine and fellow top-advisor of yours, Mike Reese. As you may know, Mike is one of the top IRA experts in the country and runs a phenomenally successful planning practice. His book-smart CFP concepts combine with  street-smart marketing savvy; making a lethal combination. He’s always improving…

Today I want to share Mike’s latest addition to the appointment process, detailing his NEW “3 Stages of Money” conversation.  To summarize:

  • Stage #1: SAVINGS – This is when you’re Young, needing Safety & Liquidity (think BANKS).
  • Stage #2: INVESTMENTS – We’re into Adulthood, introduced to investments. Risk and Return are paramount. This stage is about Accumulation (think BROKERAGE/WALL STREET).
  • Stage #3: INCOME – This is when we’re Retired, needing Contractual Guarantees (think INSURANCE COMPANIES).

Stage #2 (BROKERAGE/WALL STREET) ran wild during the 1980s and 1990s; running investment balances sky-high! Not only did retirement balances run sky-high, but so did expectations! Creating today’s perfect storm. Many retirees and soon-to-be retirees are trapped with lofty, false expectations about what’s realistic with their investments. They’re fighting themselves to leave money in stage 2 too long!!! But now the people who prospered most don’t need growth; they need income. And what’s wrong with staying in Stage 2 for Income Planning?

  • If equity markets perform well — nothing!!!
  • If equity markets remain volatile and perform poorly — everything!!!

Many reputable asset allocation managers still apply the 4% Distribution Rule to client portfolios. If you withdraw only 4% of your assets each year, they say you won’t go broke 90% of the time. First of all, who wants to only withdraw 4% of their savings during retirement? Clients worked very, very hard for decades to retire – let them enjoy it!  Contractually
guaranteed, Stage 3, insurance strategies can allow you to withdraw upwards of 6%? Take advantage!

Second of all, if the 4% Distribution Rule works 90% of the time (and I’d argue that premise) is that good enough? Would you board an airplane if it landed safely 90% of the time? Would you eat something for dinner if it didn’t poison you 90% of the time? But it seems like 90% is supposed to be okay for your life savings and retirement. It might be okay for Wall Street retirements. But it’s not good enough for plane flights, dinner and it’s not good enough for your clients. Quit thinking the 1990s are going to happen again! Clients need to transition quickly to stage #3 thinking and protect their hard-earned money with contractual guarantees of income.

Comment below if you’d like instant (recorded) webinar access to Mike Reese’s full explanation! It’s powerful and will undoubtedly help you close more sales.
Make it a great week.

United States “Family Budget”

The U.S. Congress sets a federal budget every year in the trillions of dollars. Very few people can comprehend how much money that is, so we created a breakdown of federal spending in simple terms. Let’s put the 2011 federal budget into perspective:

  • U.S. Income:  $2,170,000,000,000
  • Federal Budget:  $3,820,000,000,000
  • New Debt:  $ 1,650,000,000,000
  • National Debt:  $14,271,000,000,000
  • Recent Budget Cut: $ 38,500,000,000 (about 1% of the budget)

It helps to think about these numbers in terms that we relate to. Let’s remove eight zeros from these numbers and pretend this is a household budget for the Jones family.

  • Jones Family Total Annual Income:  $21,700
  • Jones Family Total Annual Spending:  $38,200
  • Jones Family New Credit Card Debt:  $16,500
  • Jones Family Credit Card Balance:  $142,710
  • Jones Family Annual Budget Cuts:  $385

In effect, last month Congress (or in this example the Jones’), had a kitchen table family meeting and agreed to cut $385 from its annual budget. What family in their right mind would cut $385 to solve $16,500 in deficit spending?!? It is a start, although hardly a solution.

After years of this, the Jones family has $142,710 of credit card debt (the equivalent of the national debt). You’d hope the Jones family recognizes and addresses this situation, but they don’t. Neither does Congress. They simply move forward and function under $142k credit card debt and $21k annual income! Maybe it will just go away. Or maybe we can all kick the can and let the next generation pay for it…

To effect budget change, we need to change the job description of our representatives and give Congress new marching orders. It is awfully hard (but not impossible) to reverse course and tell the government to stop borrowing money from our children and spending it now. In effect, what we have is a reverse mortgage on the country. The problem is that voters have become addicted to the money. Moreover, the American voters are still in the denial stage, and do not want to face the possibility of going into rehab.

I hope you share these numbers (and real world analogy) with your clients. Awareness and acceptance are our first steps to a solution…