Financial Planning Crossroads

Forget what clients really need, just sell them what you have to offer, right? I mean, who cares what’s in their best interest? This is about selling, not planning.
A-B-C…Always Be Closing. If you have a product to sell and a commission to make, I bet yelling loud enough, someone’s bound to buy it. If not, move on and force feed someone else your flavor of the week. It’s worked for years; decades really. And if it ain’t broke…

The financial services industry is at a crossroad; where “Client Desires Drive” and “Wall Street Way” intersect. On “Client Desires Drive” you’ll find hard working people starved for genuine guidance. They’re seeking professional advice givers (you being the financial person in their lives) who display integrity, honesty and can provide holistic planning fitting into their plan for life. If their goal was simply to buy a financial product, they could find hundreds of people online or in the phone book to sell it (think plumber or auto repair…true commodity businesses). But they don’t. They’re looking for you.

Because intersecting “Client Desires Drive” is “Wall Street Way”. There you’ll find a broken model of product pushing. One-trick salespeople who unknowingly commoditize their industry due to a lack of value and show blatant disregard for how their product(s) fit into a complete plan. Does that captive sales force at a major brokerage wire house care about full scale planning? How much does the one-size-fits-all model of Wall Street take into account client dreams, desires and tolerances? And I bet you know at least a couple local advisors (who you probably consider competition, but in reality they’re not) who have their own interests clearly ahead of clients. “Wall Street Way” is now more like a freeway. It’s grown from a small intersecting road into a lengthy, wide, deep interstate with thousands of people speeding along at 90 mph. But does bigger mean better? I’d argue no. I’d argue that if everyone else is driving on the freeway, the single lane road intersecting it is wide open.

At The Journey last week in Nashville I enjoyed spending time with 200+ top tier financial advisors partnered with my firm. Our lead presenters (Joel J and Nancy B) offered 2 full days of training on how they’ll gather in excess of $60 million in assets this year; providing a phenomenal road map! And an overwhelming theme to their success stressed how important it is to provide high quality holistic planning, including “high quality deliverables” to help prospects place their faith in you as their a go-to financial professional.
Fortunately, Advisors Excel has resources to help you develop that complete plan! As an added value to our clients, we offer full (complimentary) access to the Retirement Analyzer software! This powerful software package is almost too easy to use and among other things, helps your valued clients realize, at-a-glance, just how much of their current portfolio may be at risk.

Often times, it may only takes a few client portfolio “tweaks” to turn an uncertain or inadequate retirement income like this…

…into a predictable, guaranteed income for life like this!

If you’d like to start putting Retirement Analyzer to use in upcoming client appointments, call or email me. We’ll schedule time to discuss what Retirement Analyzer really is, why I believe in it so much, why I’m paying for it and immediate applicable uses in your business. It’s not a mistake that so many of the top financial advisors I consult use this client deliverable to close more sales!

P.S. If/When we talk, remind me to give you the brand new Retirement Analyzer seminar presentation! If you’re looking for fresh content or just a few slides to spruce up your current PowerPoint and add some urgency for prospects to visit with you.

“I Don’t Want an Annuity…”

“I heard annuities are bad investments, and with everything I’ve seen, I DON’T WANT ONE!”

Ever heard something like that before? I’m sure you’ve worked with clients that walk into your office or seminar with this mindset. Can you blame them? Popular media has plastered negative bias about annuities everywhere you look. Check out some recent drivel:

“Here’s a puzzle for you – the answer to which could make or break your financial future. What kind of business takes your money, gives you a guaranteed minimum return and then invests the money in a complex derivative of securities or crummy real estate investments? Wait, there’s more. What kind of business takes your money and gives you a guaranteed level of performance, a stop out, plus some upside in the S&P 500, and then not only fails to hedge but invests in the very same crummy, toxic properties? If you guessed the annuities market, go to the front of the line. Unfortunately, these days, the front of the line in the annuities market heads right off a cliff.”

Guess which popular media figure made that statement?
Jim Cramer, CNBC host of “Mad Money.” For many Americans, Jim Cramer is viewed as a notable financial analyst who “understands” investments. If he is claims annuities are bad investments, then it has to be correct, right?

As far as truth is concerned, you and I both know much of what’s published in the media is biased half-truth. Fact remain that in the consumer arena, perception is 90% of reality. So what should you be doing to convert resulting annuity skeptics into annuity buyers?

For starters, remember that Advisors Excel is taking this bull by the horns for your benefit. In January this year, we hired one of the top financial services public relations firms in the nation and began an aggressive, six-figure public relations campaign! Our positive annuity blitz promotes the virtues of indexed annuities in major media publications. While we’ve strongly supported the efforts of insurance carriers and various trade organizations to combat the rampant misinformation surrounding annuities (FIAs in particular), we haven’t been excited about the results, so we took the task on ourselves.

Our goal is to leverage Advisors Excel producers to get major media outlets educated about and promote the benefits of indexed annuities. We’ve already had tremendous success with this effort, with several of our advisors gaining national media exposure while extolling the virtues of the products we sell. These positive stories lend you added support and help consumers make informed decisions. As we continue to build momentum in the major media outlets, you’ll be the first to know about these positive stories as another perk of partnering with me.

In addition, there are a number of well-rounded resources which shed positive light on traditional and fixed index annuities. Everyone’s heard the saying, “It takes ten positive things to erase one negative.” If you already keep a library of positive articles, I suggest adding the following pieces to your menu.  If you don’t currently have a library, these three resources would be a great start:

When it comes to combating negative press, don’t forget to adequately acknowledge your clients’ intellect. Rather than simply taking a “point-counterpoint” approach to media bias (often resulting in a non-productive, frustrating tennis match), help them understand why such press exists in the first place. Truth be told, there is a war raging over the American retiree’s dollar – a war fought between banks, insurance companies and Wall Street. Of those three financial outlets, which has the biggest influence on popular media?

And much like medicines, financial products are developed with very specific uses in mind. Thus, blanket criticism of an annuity, mutual fund, stock or CD is much like blanket criticism of penicillin or ibuprofen. In the wrong hands, used for the wrong purpose, any medicine can be abused.  However, when used to treat the needs for which they were designed, today’s prescriptions and financial vehicles can be just what the doctor ordered. They can be just what clients like Eleanor (below) rely on throughout their retirement years..

To discuss additional strategies that top producers use to overcome media negativity and position the true value of annuities, call me anytime.


3 Retirement Income Options

When your clients retire and need income, they essentially have three options to choose from. These options are explained very well in the book The Great Wall Street Retirement Scam by Rick Bueter. In his best-seller, Mr. Bueter goes into detail about the pros and cons of each option. We covered this at a training event last week and I received numerous requests for the presentation.  So without further ado, here’s a summary for you to use right away!

3 Retirement Income Options:

1. “The Bank’s Way” to Retirement

Lose your money safely – According to (as of May 2, 2011), the average 1 year CD is currently paying 1.16%. According to (as of May 2, 2011) the current inflation is 2.68%. This is what we call a “moonwalk account” – one of Michael Jackson’s claims to fame in which he looked like he was walking forward but was actually moving backward!
Deal with the emotional stress of volatilityCLICK HERE for a chart showing the volatility of CD interest rates over the past 50 years.
Guaranteed income – While there is no guarantee of income for the rest of a retiree’s life using bank vehicles, if using a conservative withdrawal rate based on historical returns, clients with $1,000,000 could hopefully take between $10,000-$30,000 annually and be safely positioned for at least 25 years.

2. “The Wall Street Way” to Retirement
Emotional stress of volatilityCLICK HERE for a chart showing the volatility of the Dow Jones. You’ll notice that the market typically moves in cycles, with the shortest “down cycle” lasting 17 years. Note that we are only 11 years into our current downturn.
Assume the responsibility of a pension manager – What if we have another 2008 and clients lose 30%, 40% or even 50% of their retirement savings? The popular Wall Street myth about earning a 10% average return if you buy and hold goes out the window if retirees are taking withdrawals and depending on their money for income.
(EMAIL ME for a free report by Mike Reese entitled “10% Market Lie.”)
• AARP recommends retirees’ withdrawal rates generally not exceed 4%. (CLICK HERE for the entire article.)
Guaranteed Income– There is no guarantee of income for life using “The Wall Street Way” to retirement, but according to AARP ( as of May 2, 2011 ), $1,000,000 may get clients roughly $40,000 for a period of 25 years.

3. “The Insurance Way” to Retirement
Utilize guaranteed income options – Annuities are the only vehicle which can guarantee income for the rest of a person’s life.
Eliminate the emotional stress of volatility – Retirees can lock in a payment they can depend on – no matter what happens to interest rates, the economy, etc.
Transfer the responsibility of pension management – Insurance companies have been managing pension style incomes for over a century.
Guarantee retirement income – Using an example of $1,000,000 and a guaranteed income distribution of 6%-8% annually, clients could be guaranteed an income of $60,000 to $80,000 – potentially 50% more income than the “Bank” or “Wall Street Way.”

In summary, when it comes to income for retirement, it’s pretty clear that leveraging insured retirement income solutions can rid retirees of the stress of the market by not only guaranteeing income for life but getting MORE income while they’re at it!

For a real life example, last week we prepared the casework for a client who was 62 years old and he wanted income at age 65 for the rest of his life. He had 500k in an IRA to fund it with. 
This client was able to get a guaranteed income of $38,318 for the rest of his life. NOT BY ANNUITIZATION OR GIVING UP ANY CONTROL OF HIS MONEY!

Have a great week!