Accountable or Victim


 

It’s comforting to believe that success is just something that happens to the lucky few. If we believe this, then we don’t have to deal with the painful realities of why we are not among them. – Morrie Shechtman, author of Working Without a Net.

Victims tend to blame, have excuses, or they are in denial about their current situation. They tend to blame circumstances or others for their lack of progress. How many people do you know who say that their circumstances are the result of the economy, their company, the traffic, their relationship with parents, a divorce, the banker, their business partner, their staff, or it’s just fate or bad luck? It is always easier to put the blame on others or events rather than taking responsibility for our choices.

Sometimes we are unwilling to accept the facts and find ourselves in denial. We either don’t keep records or we ignore the “writing on the wall.”

Stephen Covey said that it is our decisions, not our conditions that determine where we end up.

On the other side of the coin is the person who takes ownership, accountability, and responsibility for their decisions and actions.  Ownership means that I own all things over which I have control and I own my response to all things over which I have no control. Wayne Dyer called it: “Response-Ability.

You may arrive late for an appointment; do you blame the traffic? You may not have had control over the traffic, but you did chose when to leave for the appointment. If you had managed your time better, perhaps you would not have been late.

Some people go into business for themselves so that they have more freedom to choose their work style, schedules and level of income.  They love their independence. But they are still responsible and accountable with regard to their employees, their clients, their families, and, if they are smart, to their coach.  Eventually some people figure it out that interdependence is a much higher level than independence. Michael Gerber, made this pretty clear when he wrote The E-Myth. Most of us could use some help with being the boss.

An accountable person would say: “When I say I am going to do something, I do it without excuses.” How well have you done at keeping the promises you made to yourself, your family and your clients?

Accountability can be the difference between excellence and mediocrity.

Click here to view a chart about the pros and cons of Accountability and victim  It is also printed on the next page..

Are you in a loop and getting similar results from month to month? Have you hit the Inevitable Plateau which is caused by a variety of factors including failure to create an effective business plan, failure to implement a well-designed marketing plan, failure to adjust to the changing marketplace, and failure to expand your team and improve its efficiency?
Talk to me about the 12 Week Year.

Impact and Benefits:

  • Increase your sales by 30% or more.
  • Learn to align your actions with your intentions.
  • Produce more in less time.
  • Work with more passion and urgency.
  • Eliminate the thinking that holds you back.
  • Lower your stress and gain more control.
  • Manage your practice like a CEO.
  • Gain exclusive access to Achieve! Our suite of online tools.
  • Take back control of your time and your results.

The 12 week Year defines what’s important to do today so that long-term objectives can be attained. It an operating system – a way of thinking about and doing business.

We can tailor a program to fit your situation. We have a full day and a half day workshops.  We can also spread the program out over seven weekly one-hour conference calls.  We also are available for speaking engagements such as a breakfast event.

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Don’t Forget the Women Part 3 of 3


 

Faith Popcorn wrote a book entitled Eveolution, The Eight Truths of Marketing to Women.  In this book, she discussed how the marketplace was not doing a very good job of dealing with the issues and needs that concerned women and how it was missing a great opportunity.

How do the Eight Truths apply to a financial services practice and how can they help you better serve your female clients and family members?  When a client dies, there is a shift toward the beneficiaries of the estate.  In the majority of situations, the primary beneficiary is female. Will you be the lead trusted advisor; will the family continue to work with you?  How well do you know the female spouse and the other members of the family?  What are you leaving to chance?

Here are the last two of the Eight Truths and how you can apply them to your practice and build a service model that addresses the needs of families.

7. Co-Parenting is the Best Way to Raise a Brand

How many women do you actively solicit for criticism and suggestions? If you have a client board of directors, how many members are women? Faith Popcorn says: “If you understand how your women customers think, and if you want to understand how they think, you’ve got to engage them in compelling conversations.”

Have you considered seminars and workshops for the women in your clientele?  What are you doing to create raving fans?  Many of your clients do not know each other; this may be your chance to start building your own “community” and connect your clients with each other.

8. Everything Matters – You Can’t Hide Behind Your Logo

Women do business with people they trust.  They need to know and understand you as a person: your values, your family.  You need to be as transparent as possible.  Everything you do matters.  Perhaps it is time to start over, at least in your mind. If you were to set up your business from scratch based on what you know now, what would you do differently?  How would you be staffed?  What products or services would you offer?  What would you change to do a better job of building trust and creating exemplary service to your clients?

Question: Why would your clients refer you?

Click here to open a Checklist that will help you improve your practice.  Pay attention to women, they are the present and future of your business.

Here are the top five concerns of women over 50:

  1. Feeling Financially secure
  2. Having a Comprehensive Plan in place
  3. Retirement Planning
  4. Outliving my Money
  5. Getting out of debt

Give me a shout and let’s talk about how to make your practice more female friendly.

Talk to me about The Gift of Answers Workshop and how you can prepare your female clients to take over as the pilot and position yourself as their most trusted advisor.

 

The Beneficiary Book is available as a downloadable PDF file and can easily be stored in the cloud or on a flash drive. The cost is only 19.95 per copy. You can go to:

http://new.beneficiarybook.com/learn-about-the-book-sections/?aff=6 and purchase your copy.  If you would like to make The Beneficiary Book available to your clients, we can set up a special program to allow your clients to purchase copies at a discount.

Ed Howat

651.405.6644

 

Resources:

Faith Popcorn and Lys Marigold: 2000; Eveolution, The Eight Truths About Marketing to Women, Hyperion, New York.  http://www.faithpopcorn.com

Stephanie Holland, Founder and author of Sheconomy®  http://www.she-conomy.com/facts-on-women

Kathleen Burns Kingsbury; Author of How to Give Financial Advice to Women, Attracting and Retaining High-Net-Worth Female clients; http://www.kbkwealthconnection.com/

 

 

 

 

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Don’t Forget the Women Part 2 of 3


 

Faith Popcorn wrote a book entitled Eveolution, The Eight Truths of Marketing to Women. In this book, she discussed how the marketplace was not doing a very good job of dealing with the issues and needs that concerned women and how it was missing a great opportunity.

How do the Eight Truths apply to a financial services practice and how can they help you better serve your female clients and family members?  When a client dies, there is a shift toward the beneficiaries of the estate.  In the majority of situations, the primary beneficiary is female. Will you be the lead trusted advisor; will the family continue to work with you?  How well do you know the female spouse and the other members of the family?  What are you leaving to chance?

Here are three more of the Eight Truths and how you can apply them to your practice and build a service model that addresses the needs of families.  We will cover the rest of the Truths in the next blog.

  1. If She Has to Ask, It’s Too Late

Women don’t always tell you what they want and men don’t tune into what women want.  The idea is to create products and services that women may not even know they need yet.  Statistically, 96% of female customers never complain; they just never go back.  Another quote from Faith Popcorn: “We’re talking about anticipatory marketing…women control 85% of all household spending…it is time to get serious about anticipating what women want.”

Have you seriously thought about how you could do a better job for your clients?  Maybe the best thing to do is just ask them. Like you, your clients are busy.  How many times have you avoided completing a customer survey because you just didn’t want to take the time to help? Your clients are no different.  Continually ask your clients how you are doing; get some honest feedback so you can improve.  How good could you be, if you just asked for more help from your clients?

As John Lennon said: “life is what happens to you while you are making other plans.”  Refine your role as an advisor; success comes through helping others.  Help your clients prioritize the things that continually fall to a lower position on the To-Do List.  Without your focus, assistance and reminders, many important tasks will be left to chance.  It’s not that people do things wrong; it’s that they don’t do anything and that is what’s wrong.

  1. Market to Her Peripheral Vision, and She Will See You in a Whole New Light

“Women see more than just the forest; they see the trees, the underbrush and the twigs underfoot.”  Women are not as impulsive as men.

How professional is your office, your staff and your attire?  Women will pay more attention than men to the facility, the people, the amenities and the overall atmosphere around you.  They will notice the little things that men overlook.  Your office does not have to be fancy and expensive; it just needs to meet the needs of your female audience.

  1. Walk, Run, Go For Her, Secure Her Loyalty Forever

Make it easy for women to get things done; use technology as much as possible, minimize travel and provide them with online resources.  Your client meetings do not have to be face to face, some of them can be handled over the phone or by using newer tools such as Skype, Join Me or Zoom.  You may also consider putting together webinars for your women clients.  Do you generally just meet with the male spouse?  Do you leave it up to the male to share information with his spouse?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to involve the women directly?

Provide your female clients and spouses with online links to information in real time.  Work with them, point them to material that will help them keep current and expose them to some of the good ideas that others are using.
In Part 3 we will cover the remaining truths about Marketing to Women.

Give me a shout and let’s talk about how to make your practice more female friendly.

Talk to me about The Gift of Answers Workshop and how you can prepare your female clients to be “head of household” and position yourself as their most trusted advisor.

 

 

The Beneficiary Book is available as a downloadable PDF file and can easily be stored in the cloud or on a flash drive. The cost is only 19.95 per copy. You can go to:

http://new.beneficiarybook.com/learn-about-the-book-sections/?aff=6 and purchase your copy.

 

If you would like to make The Beneficiary Book available to your clients, we can set up a special program to allow your clients to purchase copies at a discount.

Ed Howat

651.405.6644

 

Resources:

Faith Popcorn and Lys Marigold: 2000; Eveolution, The Eight Truths About Marketing to Women, Hyperion, New York.  http://www.faithpopcorn.com

Stephanie Holland, Founder and author of Sheconomy®
http://www.she-conomy.com/facts-on-women

Kathleen Burns Kingsbury; Author of How to Give Financial Advice to Women, Attracting and Retaining High-Net-Worth Female clients;  http://www.kbkwealthconnection.com/

 

 

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Don’t Forget The Women (Part 1)


 

Faith Popcorn wrote a book entitled Eveolution, The Eight Truths of Marketing to Women.  In this book, she discussed how the marketplace was not doing a very good job of dealing with the issues and needs that concerned women and how it was missing a great opportunity.

How do the Eight Truths apply to a financial services practice and how can they help you better serve your female clients and family members?  When a client dies, there is a shift toward the beneficiaries of the estate.  In the majority of situations, the primary beneficiary is female.  Will you be the lead trusted advisor; will the family continue to work with you?  How well do you know the female spouse and the other members of the family?  What are you leaving to chance?

Here are the Eight Truths and how you can apply them to your practice and build a service model that addresses the needs of families.

  1. Connecting Your Female Consumers to Each Other Connects Them to Your Brand

How many women do you have as primary clients?  What percentage of your clients are male vs. female?  How many client spouses do you know well enough that they trust you and will work with you after their husbands die or become incapacitated?  How many of your women clients know each other?  Do the families or children of your widowed clients know you?

Women are connectors. If they see or experience something they like, they will tell others. Faith Popcorn states in her book: “women are three times more likely as men to recommend a brand when they know friends are looking for a particular product or service.”

The co-pilot of an airplane is certified to fly; he/she is prepared and ready to fly the plane on a moment’s notice.  How easy is it for your client’s family to take over the client role when the time comes?  Are you providing the spouse and family with the information and education they need and want to be informed?  Many years ago a male client told me that the best thing he could do for his wife was to teach her how to be a widow.  There is only a 95% chance that the female spouse will eventually manage the family finances.

As consumers here are a few statistics you should understand about women:

Women account for 85% of all consumer purchases including everything from autos to health care:

91% New Homes 66% PCs
92% Vacations 80% Healthcare
65% New Cars 89% Bank Accounts
93% Food 93 % OTC Pharmaceuticals

Women own 40% of privately-held businesses in the US.

Women represent the majority of the online market:

22% shop online at least once a day 92% pass along information about deals or finds to others
171: average number of contacts in their e-mail or mobile lists 58% would toss a TV if they had to get rid of one digital device (only 11% would ditch their laptops)
51% are moms 76% want to be part of a special or select panel

http://www.she-conomy.com/facts-on-women

Other information about women:

  1. The average age of first time widowhood is 52; the average age of a widow is 55.
  2. 44 percent of women over age 65 are widowed. 14 percent of women between the ages of 20 and 64 are widows.
  3. 32% of women aged 55 and older are widows; about 25% remarry.
  4. 45% of women aged 65 and over are widows.
  5. 70% of widows change financial advisors within a year of their husband’s death.
  6. Nearly 700,000 women lose their husbands each year and will be widows for an average of 14 years.
  7. There are over four times as many widows as widowers.
  8. 70% of the long-term care facility population consists of women.
  9. 95% of investment advisors said that their clients are fully satisfied with the advice they receive. In an apparent disconnect, only 63% of investors describe themselves as “fully satisfied.”

What are you doing to make sure that the female spouse will continue to work with you after the death of her husband?  As mentioned above the average age of a widow is 55; which potentially means over 30 years of widowhood.  Another important thing to keep in mind is that only about 25% of widows remarry. Are you convinced now that you should pay more attention to women?

  1. If You are Marketing to One of Her Lives, You’re Missing all the Others

According to Faith Popcorn, women are better multi-taskers than men.  Women are the command center of all information for the family. Faith Popcorn is also quoted as saying: “women do everything and men mostly work and work and work.

There are fundamental economic reasons to make life better especially for women who want to balance work and family responsibilities.

Faith Popcorn says: “A woman has multiple lives; every time you reach a mother you get her kids, her mother, her father, her husband, her parents, friends, neighbors, co-workers and more. They are the sum total of the players in her Multiple Lives.

If you can make it easier for the woman to deal with her multiple lives and family responsibilities, you will have an ally. Are you keeping up with what is going on in your clients’ lives and their families? Are all your conversations with them just about money?

In the next blog I will take your through Truths Three to Five.

Give me a shout and let’s talk about how to make your practice more female friendly.

Talk to me about The Gift of Answers Workshop and how you can prepare your female clients to take over as the pilot and position yourself as their most trusted advisor.

The Beneficiary Book is available as a downloadable PDF file and can easily be stored in the cloud or on a flash drive. The cost is only 19.95 per copy. You can go to:

http://new.beneficiarybook.com/learn-about-the-book-sections/?aff=6 and purchase your copy.

If you would like to make The Beneficiary Book available to your clients, we can set up a special program to allow your clients to purchase copies at a discount.

Ed Howat  651.405.6644

Resources:

Faith Popcorn and Lys Marigold: 2000; Eveolution, The Eight Truths About Marketing to Women, Hyperion, New York.  http://www.faithpopcorn.com

Stephanie Holland, Founder and author of Sheconomy®  http://www.she-conomy.com/facts-on-women

Kathleen Burns Kingsbury; Author of How to Give Financial Advice to Women, Attracting and Retaining High-Net-Worth Female clients; http://www.kbkwealthconnection.com/

For more information about the Women’s market, go to http://www.addiewoods.com/women_marketing

 

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Preparing Your Loved Ones to be Alone…


 

If you had ten minutes to evacuate your home, what would you take with you? If you could answer this question, would you be able to locate all of it in ten minutes?

If you had a medical emergency tonight, could you or your family locate your medical information for the hospital?  Do you have powers of attorney, health care declarations, or HIPAA authorizations?

If you had a major fire or burglary, how difficult would it be to recall what was lost or stolen?  Do you have a video or snapshots of every room in your home? Do you have purchase receipts?

We all know that we should get organized and have all our important papers in a safe accessible location, but many of us have not taken the time to get it done.  Perhaps now is the time to make a commitment to do it.

The Fireproof FileBox

Start by purchasing a FireProof FileBox. You can find a basic FireProof FileBox for around $50-$100. Click here to open and print the FileBox Checklist.  Review the Checklist and centralize your documents in the FireProof FileBox. Use the Checklist categories to create a few file folder labels.

 

 The Beneficiary Book. 

Click here to purchase and download a copy of The Beneficiary Book.  It is the perfect document to help you record and organize everything you want your family to know.  This is a very comprehensive information tool. It will allow you to write down the most basic and practical information about you and your family.  You can be as detailed as you like.  List dates and places of importance – birth, death, divorce, etc. List important numbers – social security, naturalization, passport, driver’s license, employer ID, etc.

The Gift of Answers Workshop

The Gift of Answers Workshop is a turnkey package to help you motivate and educate your clients about end of life issues.  It includes a fully scripted PowerPoint Presentation and handouts for your attendees.  You can conduct the Workshops by yourself with the assistance of one of your estate/eldercare attorney contacts or you can be the host and engage us to conduct the entire workshop for you.

Most of your workshop attendees have experienced a death in the family, such as a parent or grandparent and they know how much work goes into wrapping up financial affairs: from paying bills, canceling credit cards, ending leases, distributing property and heirlooms, filing documents with the probate court and collecting benefits. They will easily tune in to the Workshop content and provide you with a number of referrals to their relatives and friends.

Death is Inevitable; The Mess is Avoidable

The Gift of Answers Workshop is about motivating your clients to get organized.  It is about inventorying and recording  the location of important papers and documents, including wills, trusts, birth and marriage certificates, deeds, contracts, insurance policies (life, medical, auto, home, etc.) and providing lists of people who can assist the family such as insurance agents  attorneys, tax accountants, investment and banking contacts.

The Gift of Answers Workshop – Your Action Plan:

  1. Contact us to discuss the Workshop and how you can better prepare your clients for an emergency, or the loss of a loved one.
  2. Purchase a FireProof FileBox.
  3. Purchase a copy of The Beneficiary Book at http://new.beneficiarybook.com/?aff=6.
  4. Create a plan with your trusted advisors and family members.
  5. Organize your important papers and documents.
  6. Make of list of the things you need to do, but haven’t done.
  7. Prioritize the list and then starting working on getting them done.

If this seems like too much work, give us a call and let’s talk about how we can do it all for you.  Your clients need help; Let’s talk about that too.

Ed Howat, Jr., CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, RCC

ed@addiewoods.com

651.405.6644

www.addiewoods.com/the_gift_of_answers

Addie Woods Consulting Co. LLC▪2065 Kings Rd▪ Eagan, MN  55122

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What Beneficiaries do not Know Could be bad for Your Client Relationships


 

The Beneficiary Book was born on January 20, 1990 by Marty Kuritz who was a financial advisor at the time.  Here is his story about why he took the time to create the book.

I flew from San Diego to Chicago to deliver a million-dollar death claim check to the widow of an airline pilot.  Captain Jim’s death at age 58 in an automobile accident was both a shocking tragedy and the first death claim I had experienced since I started almost exclusively working with airline pilots two decades before.

Even though dealing with death is part of what all life insurance agents must sooner or later face, until January 1990, I was one of the lucky ones.  Because a pilot’s job depends upon s/he being in top health, death claims among working commercial airline pilots are typically few and far between.

Commercial airline pilots made great clients.  As a rule, I found them to be loyal, smart and decisive professionals who bought large amounts of permanent life insurance, almost always paid their premiums on time, and best of all, they seemingly lived forever.  They were also easy to do business with.  Most business was conducted at my office during scheduled layovers in San Diego or on the phone.

The drive from the airport on icy roads to Elgin, IL, a suburb of Chicago, was harrowing, but I found comfort knowing that I had come here to help carry out my late client’s wish for me to help his beneficiary select and purchase several (SPDAs) single premium deferred annuities with the death benefit.

When I arrived at Captain Jim’s widow’s home, she and a young man who introduced himself as Captain Jim’s nephew met me at the door.  They invited me in out of the cold, offered me a cup of hot tea, thanked me for delivering the check and ushered me to the door, all in the space of a few minutes.

When I tried to explain who I was, where I had just come from and the purpose for my visit, the nephew (who I later learned was a new-hire for household name brokerage firm) stopped me in mid-sentence and informed me that he would be handling the family’s financial matters from here on out.  I looked to Captain Jim’s widow for support, but found none. She simply said, ‘Mr. Kuritz, I don’t know you from Adam.  How can you expect me to trust you with a million dollars?  I’m sure my nephew will handle my affairs just fine.’

She was right!  Even though I had a relationship with her late husband, she didn’t know me.  The fact was, she didn’t know I existed until the day I called to set an appointment to deliver the check.

This was a very expensive lesson that I swore I would never repeat.

On the flight home, my initial reaction was to immediately inform all my clients’ beneficiaries that I am a key and trusted advisor, and when the time came, I would be there to help handle matters.  But by the time the plane landed in San Diego and I regained my cool, I realized that introductions and recommendations like these needed to come from my clients.  More so, I recognized that it was going to take more than an introduction to fill the vast answer/information gap between clients and heirs, and the relationship/communication gap between advisors and beneficiaries.

The solution to this complex problem was a simple book of questions…

That simple book of questions, titled The Beneficiary Book, took more than a year to write and edit.  As soon as the first printing of a 1,000 copies rolled off the press, we sent a flyer to our entire client base (1,800 clients) and received orders for more than 3,000 copies at $30 each!

Obviously, the idea of getting one’s stuff organized and centralized hit a nerve—big time—because in addition to ordering The Beneficiary Book (sight unseen) for their own use, many clients also purchased copies for family members, friends and fellow pilots.

The more we worked the book, the more the book worked for us…

Right from the beginning, using the book as a prospecting and referral-harvesting tool significantly increased life insurance and annuities sales.  And when we saw lead-to-sale ratios jump and the costs to develop qualified leads dropped, we made it an agency policy to give a book to each and every new client, regardless of case size.

Fact Finding too and More… Using the book in the field as a fact-finding tool helped to quickly pinpoint planning deficiencies and also allowed us the opportunity to gain clearer insight to sensitive issues that often prevent or delay prospective clients from taking action.  Administratively, the book assisted with the difficult task of keeping client/beneficiary data current by simply requesting clients to send us photocopies of specific pages from the book.  (Very often, the pages we requested identified additional planning needs and presented potential business opportunities.)  And when we wanted pertinent client/beneficiary (provided by us to clients) retained kept accessible, we printed that information on three-hole punched paper, instructing clients to keep the information in their copy of The Beneficiary Book.

Offering The Beneficiary Book to prospective clients, in advance of telling them everything you know, personifies How to Win Friends and Influence People guru Dale Carnegie’s philosophy:

‘People want to know how much you care, before they care how much you know.’”

Fast forward to 2017…

The Beneficiary Book is now available as a downloadable PDF file and can easily be stored in the cloud or on a flash drive.  The cost is now only 19.95 per copy.  You can go to http://new.beneficiarybook.com/?aff=6 and purchase your copy.

If you would like to make The Beneficiary Book available to your clients, we can set up a special program to allow your clients to purchase copies at a discount.

Marty was right; many agents do not know the beneficiaries.  Statistically, 70% of widows change advisors after their husbands die.  We need to do a better job.  We need to shift the focus from just the client to the spouse and children.  We need to move up the family tree to parents and sideways to siblings.  We need to think households.  We need to connect with other financial services professionals and build a network of people resources to assist our clients and help them do the things they haven’t done.

Want more referrals?? After you’ve given a client a copy of the book and explained the benefits of being better organized, simply ask: “Would you mind giving me the names of a few people you know that would appreciate receiving a gift copy of The Beneficiary Book (given to them in your name)?”

To get started, give me a call to talk about:

  • The Beneficiary Book,
  • The Gift of Answers Workshop
  • The Planning BluePrint.
  • The FireProof FileBox
  • Building a professional network around your clients.

These are the tools that will help you solidify your relationships within a household, provide you with a flow of new prospects and position you as the trusted lead advisor within the family.  This approach will also help rekindle interest with prospects that previously turned you down.

Are you ready to improve your practice and help your clients do the things they haven’t done?  It’s time to call me.

Ed Howat 651.405.6644

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Will your estate come with an Owner’s Manual?

 


 

Create your own personal what-to-do, who-to-call, where-to-find-it family information organizer.

In your absence, would your family know which bills need to be paid, who owes you money, the passwords to your computer, your final wishes, or even how to care for your orphaned pets?  The Beneficiary Book is a practical, no-nonsense, fill-in-the-answers guide is the perfect way to organize your life-and leave a caring, practical legacy for your family.

The Beneficiary Book Interactive e-Book is a book of questions designed to provide those all-important, must-have answers and vital information in times of crisis, death, incapacity or other family emergencies.  All you have to do provide the answers to questions only you can answer.

The Beneficiary Book is the best way to tackle this most important task and leave your important information organized and instantly available.

The Beneficiary Book includes:

  • Fill in forms on your computer and print the completed forms… or… print out blank forms to fill in by hand.
  • Detailed forms to record personal and medical information for ALL household members, including people with special needs.
  • Medical Information ID Cards to alert medical professionals where and how to obtain vital medical information about all household members.
  • Inventory forms to record both tangible and intangible assets… Checklists: Priority checklists for first things to do in the event of an emergency – A checklist for settling an estate – a Disaster Preparedness Guide and Checklist… There’s even a detailed form to record information about “who will” and “how to” care for your beloved pets.
  • Because this program is in PDF (Portable Document Format), you are literally a few mouse clicks from backing up and retrieving your data from any media source from a thumb drive to an offsite subscription backup service

To check out and demo The Beneficiary Book, please click on the following link:

http://new.beneficiarybook.com/?aff=6

For more information about The Beneficiary Book and The Gift of Answers Workshop, contact:

Ed Howat, Jr., CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, RCC

651.405.6644

ed@addiewoods.com

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BENEFICIARY REVIEW & THE GIFT OF ANSWERS WORKSHOP

THE BENEFICIARY REVIEW

Imagine building your dream house and forgetting to build the closets. The house looks great from the outside, but inside a major piece of functionality and convenience is missing.

The same could be true with your financial and end of life plans. You may have a wonderful plan and everything looks great, but have you forgotten anything.

Are there any unintended consequences? Are you sure that all your wishes will be fulfilled? Have you made your wishes known? Who will inherit what, when and how?

Are you 100% sure that every dollar and piece of property will end up where you intend it to go? What has changed since you last reviewed your plan? What changes do you foresee? What have you overlooked?

Click on the link to view and print a few more questions to help you make sure your plan will work: Building Your Dream House

 

THE GIFT OF ANSWERS WORKSHOP

Have you experienced only minimal success when conducting seminars?

  • Did you experience low attendance and high costs?
  • Were you discovering new needs and developing new sales as a result of your seminars?
  • Were you then, and are you now, having some difficulty obtaining high caliber referrals?
  • How is your client retention?
  • Have you lost some really good clients?
  • Do you need something new to talk to your clients about?

The Gift of Answers Workshop may be your answer. It is a topic that will catch the attention of everyone in your audience. It will help you build fences around your clients so that they won’t stray away. It is about helping your clients do the things they just haven’t got around to doing. It is not just about financial products or services; it is about life.

Take yourself, for example; have you done all the things you tell your clients to do? If you recall the pledge of the Society of Financial Service Professionals (FSP):

In all my professional relationships, I pledge myself to the following rule of ethical conduct: I shall, in light of all conditions surrounding those I serve, which I shall make every conscientious effort to ascertain and understand, render that service which, in the same circumstances, I would apply to myself.”

The question is: have you applied all those things that matter to you? Have you been able to keep all the promises that you made to yourself, your family and your clients?

I have found that advisors are actually more exposed to risk than their clients. If your client dies, his/her family still has you as their advisor, but who does your family have to go to when the time comes? I don’t know if you have ever been sick for a week or two, but think about all of the issues that would come up in your absence. Do you have a succession plan? What would happen to your business if you died tomorrow?

In order to do a better job for your clients, you should take better care of yourself first. You probably have taken a commercial airline trip. At the beginning of the flight one of the instructions by the flight attendant is: “Put your own oxygen mask on first before assisting others.”

It is so much easier to help others with what matters when you have taken care of your own matters. Shouldn’t your spouse be your best client? Is s/he prepared to do whatever comes next if you are incapacitated or dead? There is an excellent poem that was written by Edgar Guest (1881-1959). It is entitled: “Sermons We See.” Would you say that you can help people more by example than any other way?  Click here to read the poem.

Perhaps it is time to reevaluate your practice and your own situation and do more of the things you know, but just haven’t done YET? The key question is this: If not now, when?

The Gift of Answers Workshop is a complete package.  It includes a fully scripted PowerPoint presentation and attendee workbooks. You can conduct the Workshops, or we  can provide the speakers to make it very simple for you to set up.  We can also help you create a marketing and follow-up plan for your workshops.

Final Thought: You can’t change the beginning of your life, but you can change the end.

Action Step:

Click on this link: The Gift of Answers Questions to view and print some questions to ask yourself.  Give me a call and let’s talk about how The Gift of Answers Workshop can help you and your clients.

Ed Howat, Jr., CLU, ChFC, LUTCF, RCC; 651.405.6644; ed@addiewoods.com.

 

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Financial Rules of Thumb


 

One of the first orders of business with a new prospect/client is to learn about their cash flow.  What comes in and what goes out.  The next step is to match the cash flow numbers against some averages.  Below are some general ideas about what people do with their money.

(I would be interested in hearing from you about your thoughts and experiences with these rules of thumb and any changes or suggestions you would have about modifying or enhancing them.)

The basic cash flow model is called the 10-20-70 formula.  The formula suggests that you save 10% of income (guarantees); limit debt to 20% (excluding home mortgage); and allocate 70% of income to living expenses, (including home mortgage and taxes).  This is a starting point for a conversation about financial rules of thumb.  Keep in mind that rules of thumb are widely used principles with broad application, but they are not totally accurate or reliable in every situation.  If you would like a copy of the worksheet, send me an email at ed@addiewoods.com.

Here are a few basic rules of thumb to help you with the conversation about money:

  1. John D Rockefeller’s rule: save ten percent and give away ten percent.
  2. Bankers recommend that you allocate no more that 20% of net income to debt reduction (excluding home mortgage).  The home mortgage should not exceed 3 times income.  The monthly payment should not exceed 28%.
  3. Total debt service including home mortgage should not exceed 36% of gross monthly income.
  4. Car loan payments should be under 10% of income and for no more than 4 years.  Total transportation expenses should be under 15% of income.
  5. Insure your life for 10 to 25 times your income depending on your age and obligations.  For more information, go to: http://www.lifehappens.org/insurance-overview/life-insurance/.  The life insurance premium should be between 3 and 5% of Gross Income.
  6. Liquid cash reserves should equal the larger of $25,000 or six-month’s income.  Some people suggest that the number of months should match the current unemployment rate.  E.g. rate is 7.2% unemployed; months liquid should equal 7.2.
  7. Have at least 70-80%[1] of your income covered by disability insurance.  For more information, go to: http://www.lifehappens.org/insurance-overview/disability-insurance/.
  8. Purchase long-term care insurance with a daily benefit equal to the average daily rate in your community and a benefit period of at least three years. For more information, go to: http://www.lifehappens.org/insurance-overview/long-term-care-insurance/.
  9. Insure your property for 100% of replacement value.  Collision deductibles should equal one week’s take home pay.  As you build your cash reserves, increase your other deductibles to $1,000 or more.
  10. 401 (k) contributions should be at a level that maximizes any employer contributions.  If your employer has a policy to match 50% of your contributions up to 6%, then contribute 6% of your income to take full advantage of the match.  If no matching program is available, contribute at least 5% to your retirement plans.
  11. Base your retirement needs on 110% of your pre-retirement expenses.
  12. Expect to safely withdraw and spend 4% of your retirement fund value every year.
  13. One thought is to save $150 per month per child and then double the amount when the first one starts college.  You may not have enough to cover the entire cost, but you will minimize school loans and the amount of time it takes to pay them off.  For more information on saving for college, go to http://www.savingforcollege.com/.
  14. Net worth[2] should equal ten percent of your age times your income (e.g. Age 45; 100,000 income = $450,000 net worth) – Thomas Stanley, author of The Millionaire Next Door
  15. Save from your income and invest from your savings.
  16. Use 3.5% as the inflation rate per year. (The average rate since 1914 is 3.30%; http://inflationdata.com/inflation/inflation_rate/historicalinflation.aspx.
  17. Have X% of your portfolio invested in stocks, where X is equal to 100 minus your age.  With the increase in longevity; some experts suggest that you use 110 or 120 instead of 100.
  18. Invest no more than 10% of your total savings in your employer’s stock.
  19. To determine how long it will take an investment to double, divide 72 by the annual return.
  20. Consider refinancing your home if interest rates dropped by 1-2%.

Go to the Bureau of Labor Statistics http://www.bls.gov/cex/ to find tables that will help you appreciate how the average person allocates his/her income.  It will help you counsel your clients and help you help them deal with their money more effectively.

Some Sample Cash Flow Tables in PDF Format:

Take a look at http://www.sharesavespend.com. You will find some great ideas there that will help you create more talking points when you are working with your clients on cash flow issues.

Ed Howat 651.405.6644

Neither Ed Howat and Addie Woods Consulting Co. LLC, nor its representatives give tax, legal or financial advice. Please consult with an attorney, tax or financial advisor for such advice.

 

[1] With a “Catastrophic” rider you can replace 100% of earned income. For example, if you earn $100,000 and have a group disability plan that pays 60% of your income, you would receive a taxable monthly benefit of $5,000 when disabled.  Additionally, you can purchase approximately $1,400 of individual tax free disability income which brings your total coverage to 77%.  With some insurance carriers, you can also add a catastrophic rider which would bring your total coverage up to 100% replacement.

[2] The formula is used to define an “Average Accumulator of Wealth (AAW).

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On Becoming A “Scratch” Financial Services Professional


 

Have you dreamed of becoming a “scratch” financial advisor?  In golf a “scratch golfer” is someone who has a handicap of “zero.”  Effectively he/she is playing PAR golf.  In 1911 the US Golf Association (USGA) defined PAR as perfect play without flukes and under ordinary weather conditions, always allowing two strokes on each putting green.”

For example, a par-3 hole is short enough that one shot is expected to put you on the green, with two putts to follow; a par-4 hole requires two shots to reach the green.  PAR, as stated in the definition above is based on perfect play, in other words, it is someone who is an expert at the game.

In the financial services business, “scratch” or “PAR” would be defined as an advisor or agent who has $100,000,000 or more of Assets Under Management (AUM) or $1,000,000 or more in Annual Revenue.

I am not suggesting that every financial services professional strive to reach the “scratch” level.  There are more important things in life than production and money.  I can’t speak for everyone, but I would think that most golfers enjoy the game and the challenge; they do their best to compete effectively against themselves and with their peers.

I think the key word is plateau.  What happens when people hit a wall and reach a plateau?  Some would probably just cope with it because they enjoy the game, some might feel a little frustration and would try a driving range, or putting green to see is they could improve beyond the plateau; some might decide that they could benefit from a few lessons and at least have someone critique their swing and their game.  Others, who are more serious about the game, may hire a swing coach to help them get to the next level of golf.

If you are already at PAR, congratulations are in order.  If you are a handicap player in the financial services business, it may take time to get to PAR.  For some it will take a change in thinking and attitude.  It will also take discipline and perhaps a coach who can help you make the right adjustments and hold you accountable.  For others, it will also take some changes in systems and processes.  In this case, you may need a practice management consultant who can help you install the right systems, processes and procedures and help you build an effective support team.

There is an old saying that “practice makes perfect.”  This has always been a flawed statement because the reality is that only PERFECT practice makes perfect.  There is no sense in repeating the wrong behavior over and over.  Most sales people do not spend enough time on the practice field to really sharpen their skills.  Hiring a qualified coach will add a measure of accountability and ensure that you are doing the right things right at the right time.

Expert

A golfer who knows the game, but can’t perform at PAR would not be considered an expert.  To be considered an expert as a financial services professional, it is not just about how many professional designations you have after your name.  It not only requires knowledge, but it also requires a performance at the “PAR” level.

A financial services expert then is someone who has the knowledge, the skills and the mental toughness to play consistently at the PAR level or below.

There are a couple of old sayings to keep in mind: (1) the person at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there and (2) everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.  Are you really willing to do what it takes to perform at the PAR level?

The Million Dollar Question is: Do you really want to be a “Scratch” financial services professional?

The second and more important question is: why do you want to be a “Scratch” financial services professional?

When you have clarity about the answers to these two questions, you will be on your way to wearing your own green jacket.

From Bogey Advisor to Scratch

It all starts with your thinking.  First, you need to know who you are and assess your capabilities?  How clear is your vision of the person you could become?  Do you have a crystal clear vision for yourself and your family?  Do you have a vision of what your business will look like when everything is working perfectly?  Do you really know why your goals are important to you?  Do you have the mental toughness to reach your goals?  Are you paying too much attention to some things and ignoring others?  Do you have the right people around you who can help you get there?  Will you be able to live your dream?

Long-term change in behavior and results starts with your thinking.

  1. Do you know how you decide what is good for you?
  2. How sharp are your people skills? Are people naturally attracted to you?
  3. What kind of systems and processes do you have in place to manage a $100,000,000 practice?
  4. At what percentage of your capacity are you currently operating?

There are assessment tools that can help you answer the above questions.  If you give me a call, I can help you with each one of the assessments.

Depending on the findings, we can determine what needs to be done to reach PAR and set your priorities.  If you are currently a Bogey Advisor (under $250,000 of revenue), then you have a lot of work to do to get to scratch.  You will probably need to start with building systems and processes and improve your service capabilities.

If you are a mid handicap advisor (over $250,000 but under $750,000 of revenue), then you have a shorter trip than the bogey advisor towards a scratch practice.  You probably need to review your “short game” by working on a detail here and there.  You will also have to work on your concentration and do a better job of setting your daily priorities.

“Consistency thou art a jewel” is a quote that many attribute to William Shakespeare.  Consistency is the key.  In golf it is the money players who can stay out of the rough and the traps; they are the ones who avoid trouble with one hole on the course.  For many, it is the one double bogey or triple bogey that sneaks up and ruins their chance at scratch golf.

In order to play at the scratch level, you will need to make more birdies and pars than ever before.  The Birdies are the clients who have over $1,000,000 with you, or who can pay premiums of over $50,000 per year.  The scratch financial services professional knows how to clone his /her top 20 clients.  PAR is about your activity level; it is about the right mix of networking, new prospects, telephonics, face to face meetings closes, and service work.

Par is activity based, but par is not achieved by everyone.  Here are the activity levels that are necessary to get you to PAR:

  1. 60 Prospects. You should have 60 people in the mill.  These are referrals and other leads that you have received.  These are people who have not done any business with you.  They are basically the raw material of your practice
  2. 60 Phone Calls. Each week you should talk with 60 people on the phone.  These are actual two-way conversations (not voicemail messages) including requests for meetings and service work.
  3. 60 Appointments. Each month you should strive to have 60 face to face meetings.  These meetings include first time meetings, discovery meetings, presentations and closes as well as service work.
  4. 60 Cases in The Mill. These are situations where both you and the prospect/client have agreed that there is a specific problem that needs to be solved.  You expect that these cases can close within 60 days.
  5. 60 Appointments Booked Ahead. Getting 60 ahead is the hard part.  Maintaining it is easy: all you have to do is replace the appointments that have taken place or cancelled.

Just like in golf, you are not going to hit par very often, if at all, but it is something you shoot for.

Each day’s activity must be deliberate.  The sooner you focus and set your Daily Five Most Important Tasks, the sooner you will become a scratch advisor.  Make sure that you are practicing good habits and you are consistent with your routines.  Without a strong routine, you will never become a scratch advisor.

If you think 2017 is the year you want to achieve PAR and become a scratch advisor, give me a call and we can create the blueprint, break a few bad habits, get you out of your familiars and ruts, and then take the action steps to make it happen for you.

Receive a free MindScan profile and a 45-minute consultation.

The MindScan; an incredible assessment tool that measures how you think.  If you’ve ever wondered why you’re not reaching your potential, this assessment will give you clear insight as to why.  And better yet, reviewing your MindScan with me will provide you practical tips and strategies to break free and achieve more – NEVER LOOK BACK.

Imagine the advantage you’ll have with the awareness and strategies to leverage your thinking strengths and overcome your weakness.

THE POWER OF THE MINDSCAN

Motivational seminars are wonderful, but after a few days, the enthusiasm wanes, the good intentions get crowded out by the urgencies of life and we find ourselves still wishing we could do it better!  Professional coaching picks up where the seminars leave off.  Founded on the principles of awareness, intentionality, accountability, synergy, commitment and momentum, coaching is about empowering individuals to achieve their greatest potential.

Potential to Actuality” is about understanding the gap between what could be and what actually happens.

Are you reaching your potential?  If not, then when and how?

Your outcomes are a result of your choices and your choices are the result of your thinking patterns.  So, in order to change your outcomes and circumstances, you have to change your thinking.  Albert Einstein said it well, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

How much longer are you prepared to work in your business without really understanding the way you think and why you “DO” or “DON’T DO” the things needed to achieve your desired outcomes?

To take the MindScan, go to: https://mindscanhvp.com/take_mindscan.php?usr=howate or

go to http://www;addiewoods.com/mindscan  for more information.

 

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