Whether or not you’re familiar with his name, as a financial professional, you owe a debt of gratitude (and your career) to Jack Bogle. Born May 8, 1929, Bogle’s family was hit hard by the Great Depression. This experience would prove formative as he later went on to change the financial industry by creating the first index mutual fund available to consumers.
Not long after founding the Vanguard Group in 1974, a company that now handles nearly $5 trillion in assets, Bogle established the First Index Investment Trust, the first to be built around the S & P500. This introduced a low-cost, passive approach to investing and, in the process, leveled the playing field for the “small-time” investors of the world. His common-sense financial philosophy and disdain for corporate excess (high broker fees, non-transparent and unethical practices, etc.) sparked a revolution that allowed millions to save and invest for retirement.
Bogle’s fierce advocacy for indexing was, at the time, a dramatic break from industry tradition. And while he faced criticism from Wall Street, he went on to become one of the most respected and renowned names in finance and someone whom Warren Buffet once called a “hero.”
In his 1999 book, “Common Sense on Mutual Funds: New Imperatives for the Intelligent Investor,” Bogle laid out these eight basic rules for investors:
- Select low-cost funds
- Consider carefully the added costs of advice
- Do not overrate past fund performance
- Use past performance to determine consistency and risk
- Beware of stars (as in, star mutual fund managers)
- Beware of asset size
- Don’t own too many funds
- Buy your fund portfolio, and hold it
Bogle left Vanguard in 1999 and, a year later, founded the Bogle Financial Markets Research Center. He passed away on January 16, 2019, leaving behind a legacy built on philanthropy and standing up for the “little guy.”
Thanks for another great year!
Over the course of 2018, the Legacy Financial Partners team has worked to deliver a treasure trove of guides, sales kits, and blog posts, all crafted to put agents and advisors on the fast track to success.
To thank you all for another great year, we have compiled our Top 5 Marketing Corner posts from 2018. The list below is just a sample of the valuable insights, tips, and exclusive content we provide every week.
As an added bonus, we are offering a newly updated collection of sales tips and marketing ideas that will help jumpstart 2019. Scroll down to receive our New Year Revitalization Guide and start 2019 off one step ahead of the competition.
Stay connected and keep tuning into Marketing Corner for more kits and tips throughout 2019. Thank you and Happy New Year from Legacy Financial Partners.
How Blockchain Technology and Marijuana Decriminalization Are Changing Life Insurance
While the two issues are worlds apart, blockchain technology and the decriminalization of marijuana are both becoming major factors for life insurance carriers. Read more to find out how they could impact your business.
Insights For Advisors: Millennials and Life Insurance
Believe it or not, Millennials are the perfect storm of opportunity for agents and advisors. Use these valuable insights on the largest generation in history to help tap into this wide-open market. Click here to read more.
Going Guerrilla: Marketing Outside the Box
Guerrilla Marketing is a term used to describe any “unconventional marketing tools used in cases when financial or other resources are limited or non-existent.” Learn how agents and advisors can apply this concept to their marketing efforts. Click here to read more.
If a picture is worth a thousand word, then a video is worth far more. Using video as part of your marketing strategy is a necessity in today’s digital landscape. Click here to learn how you can jump on the video bandwagon.
A Selfie Worth A Million (In Insurance Coverage?)
The integration of new technology into our smart devices is ushering in big changes to the underwriting process. How biometrics are laying the ground work for tomorrow’s life insurance industry? Click here to find out.
Get Our 2019 New Year Revitalization Guide
Learn how self-evaluation, calculated goal-setting, and solution-oriented strategies can breathe new life into your marketing plan. Click here to receive your copy today.
For many of us, the last few weeks of the year can, in some respects, be the among the most challenging. Business is slowing down, and our attention begins to shift from work to the well-deserved break that comes between Christmas and the new year. The office parties, early holiday gatherings with friends, school programs, and rush to check items off your shopping list can easily throw us off our daily routine. However, there are still plenty of things left to do before we can kick back and celebrate another (hopefully) successful year.
The effort you put into closing out 2018 can have a significant impact on how you start 2019. Obviously, you’ll spend this time settling accounts, getting your books in order, and conducting holiday marketing activities. But what are you doing to prep for next year? While this can be a hectic and distracting time of year, it’s vital that you carve out time in your schedule to work on your 2019 plans now, so you aren’t scrambling when January comes. So, take a deep breath, grab a cup of coffee and ask yourself, “What do I want 2019 to look like?”
Set Your Goals
Breaking down your various production goals into monthly or quarterly increments is an efficient way to keep track of your progress and can help determine early on whether you need to make any adjustments to your overall plan. Set up a document that outlines your monthly/quarterly production goals and split those goals into specific categories. As the year progresses, compare those goals to your results. This will give you an organized and detailed overview of your growth (or lack thereof). Aside from production and revenue, consider the other goals you’d like to achieve over the next year. Do you want to target new markets? Or bring on new employees? Outlining any operational, administrative, or non-specific goals is an important part of staying focused on the big picture.
Establish a Marketing Budget
Make a list of the different marketing activities you use or would like to explore in 2019 – web development, seminar marketing, community events, lead gen, etc. Now, assign a dollar amount you feel comfortable spending on each. This won’t be a concrete budget, as changing trends and results will likely call for periodic adjustments. But it will give you a foundation on which to build your overall plan of attack. Plus, you can start the year off with a better idea of the returns you would like to see from each investment.
Personal & Professional Development
Your plan for a bigger and better 2019 should include more than quantifiable metrics such as goals-versus-results and revenues-versus-expenses. Think about steps you can take to grow as both a person and a professional (as the two really do go hand-in-hand). What can you do to better serve your clients? How can you build credibility? What are your strengths and weaknesses? You might be a financial guru who could fill a book with advice on how to save and invest for retirement but aren’t confident enough in your abilities as a writer to actually put the pen to paper. Or maybe you want to tap into video marketing but tend to freeze up in front of the camera. We all have those areas in which we could use some improvement, and they certainly don’t take away from our tangible job skills. However, pinpointing certain weaknesses and working to overcome them can be very beneficial to your business as a whole. Think of personal/professional development as a list of new year’s resolutions that you won’t forget about by the end of January.
- “I want to sharpen my writing skills, so I can start posting more blogs on my website.”
- “I want to read more on generational marketing, so I can more effectively target Millennials.”
The examples above may not be what you think of when drafting a marketing plan, but both can have a significant impact on how well you execute that plan.
Obviously, there is so much more you will need to consider for the year to come, but it’s important to start somewhere. And just as important to get started ASAP. Let us know if you would like a little help.
November is Long-Term Care Insurance Awareness Month. Like other “Awareness Month” campaigns (Life Insurance in September and Annuities in June), this is a great opportunity to discuss how LTCI coverage can fit within your clients’ and prospects’ retirement portfolios.
The conversation about long-term care can be difficult, as many people have yet to consider the impact it can have on their retirement. Others simply don’t want to think about and/or accept the fact that a time may come when they can no longer live independently.
Longer life expectancies have seen the need for long-term care increase over recent years. And as the need for LTC grows, so too do the costs. The expenses associated with long-term care are staggering. Without proper planning, those costs can quickly drain one’s retirement income, leaving family members to shoulder the financial, emotional, and physical burden of providing and paying for care.
Looking at Genworth’s 2018 Cost of Care Survey, the annual national median for various types of care and services are as follows:
- Adult Day Health Care – $18,720
- Assisted Living Facility – $48,000
- Homemaker Services – $48,048
- Home Health Aide – $50,336
- Nursing Home Care (Semi-Private Room) – $89,297
- Nursing Home Care (Private Room) – $100,375
These numbers are only estimated to rise, with Genworth estimating that in 2028 (just ten years from now) the annual national median for nursing home care in a semi-private room increasing to $120,008.
When you consider that the average amount families age 56-61 have saved for retirement is $163,557, you can see how a long-term care condition, even a short one, can take a huge bite out of a consumer’s retirement portfolio. And that’s just the average. When we look at the median, the numbers are more concerning – just $8,000 for those aged 50 to 55 and $17,000 for those aged 56 to 61.
Legacy Financial Partners strongly encourages agents and advisors to use the rest of November to have LTC conversations with prospects and clients. To assist you in this endeavor, we have created an exclusive LTCI Sales kit that includes:
- LTCI Pre-Approach Letters
- Key Long-Term Care Statistics
- LTCI Client Presentations
- LCTI Concept Sheets
- True Cost of LTC Guide
Fill out the form or call 1.877.614.0141 to request your complimentary copy.
This is the time of year when most entrepreneurs are fully engaged in holiday marketing activities (as they, and you, should be). The next few weeks will see businesses hitching themselves onto the Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and other year-end sales wagons. However, there is another, often-overlooked event coming up that is also worthy of your attention – Small Business Saturday.
The locally-focused alternative to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday is an annual event held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving as a way to encourage people to patronize businesses in their own communities. Though its main goal is to get holiday shoppers to spend money with local retailers, there are ways for small agencies and independent advisors to take advantage of Small Business Saturday as well.
During the weeks leading up to Small Business Saturday, reach out to a few local businesses about cross-promotional opportunities, such as:
- Hand out each other’s promotional items (business cards, branded “swag,” fliers, etc.) to your respective clients and customers.
- Share each other’s social media posts and pages. Relevant hashtags include #ShopSmall and #SmallBizSat.
Those partnerships don’t need to be limited to local retailers either. There are likely numerous locally-owned establishments, service providers, and other non-retail businesses in your area that would love to get in on the Small Business Saturday action. Depending on your specific target market, a few to consider would be:
- Gyms/fitness centers
- Cafes and coffee shops
- Home improvement and remodeling contractors
- Auto repair shops
In some cities, especially those with vibrant shopping districts/centers, Small Business Saturday can be a community-wide event. Hosting, or simply showing up to one of these events in your area is a great way to mingle with the crowd and introduce yourself to a variety of new leads. Make sure to bring plenty of swag to pass out and/or offer incentives to anyone willing to join your email list.
Investing even a small amount of your holiday marketing resources on Small Business Saturday is not only a good way to get in front of local consumers; it also shows other area business owners that you have a vested interest in the community as a whole and can go a long way toward building solid B2B relationships. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to see how you can get involved.
Looking for more Small Business Saturday ideas? Our Guerrilla Marketing Tactics for Advisors & Agents guide was created exclusively for financial professionals who are looking for unique and creative additions to their marketing toolkit.
November is here and with it comes the “unofficial” beginning of the holiday season. By the time you’ve finished reading this, most stores will have moved their Halloween stock to the bargain bin, bringing out any Christmas inventory that isn’t already on display. Yes, the holiday shopping blitz is underway and consumers are reacting with the typical “uggg, Christmas decorations already? I’ve barely started thinking about Thanksgiving!” And this is exactly why agents and advisors should be thinking about Thanksgiving.
Maybe it’s the sentiment surrounding the occasion or the lively, yet still-lighthearted stroll we take during the weeks before the rush that kicks off on Black Friday, but there is something about Thanksgiving that presents a golden opportunity to interact, engage, and foster relationships. The overall goal of a Thanksgiving marketing campaign is more about showing appreciation than sealing a deal. You can achieve this by setting aside the sales pitches in favor of soft, subtle touches that tap into the traditional spirit of food, family, and friends. Here are a few ideas to try out over the coming weeks.
“30 Days of Thanks” Social Media Campaign
This is a simple, low-to-no-cost way to boost your social media presence and show a little personality to your audience. Spend a few minutes each day thinking of something that you are personally thankful for and share the sentiment across your social networks. Encourage your followers to reply with their own expressions of gratitude and use relevant hashtags (listed below) for improved organic reach.
A straight month of social media content can be a little taxing, so try switching gears from funny one day to heartfelt the next. Just make sure to keep things simple, genuine, and—most importantly—positive. And do your best to remain consistent throughout the entire month. Feel free to pull from the example below to get things started:
“Day One of #30DaysOfThanks – I am #ThankfulEveryday for the continued support of my #family and #friends who have stood beside me through the good times and bad times. To them, I say #ThankYou. What are you most #Thankful for this holiday season?
Thanksgiving Giveaways and Gifts
Raffles and giveaways are extremely popular during the holidays, especially when the offer involves food. Depending on your specific goal, there are a few different ways to approach a Thanksgiving giveaway.
If you simply want to give your clients a small token of appreciation, send them a gift card for a local grocery store, bakery or winery. If your client list is too big to justify the cost, randomly select one or two to receive a free turkey or gift certificate that will cover a pre-Thanksgiving dinner date at one of your finer local restaurants. Or consider the incentive-based approach and offer to your clients a raffle ticket for referrals, sharing your Facebook page, or scheduling an appointment for a policy review.
For prospecting and lead generation, a heavily promoted Thanksgiving contest can be a good way to draw new people into your pipeline. Whatever direction you decide to go, make sure you stay within the boundaries set by state and federal giveaway regulations.
Recipes and Holiday Cooking Tips
Do you have an old family recipe that’s too good to keep to yourself? Maybe you know the secret to cooking the perfect turkey or have a few quick and simple appetizer ideas. Online searches for recipes and menu ideas skyrocket during November. Offering your own culinary tips, tricks, and techniques can be a great way to latch onto one of the top trending searches of the month, so you’ll definitely want to include these in a
blog post and share liberally on your social media pages. Your monthly newsletter, email blasts, and direct mailers are also good delivery methods to consider. This is a subtle, yet effective form of content marketing that can not only help with brand awareness but make you come across as more personable to clients and prospects.
Legacy Financial Partners is thankful for YOU. Request our free 2018 Off-Holiday Marketing guide which provides tips for year-round engagement with prospects and clients.
Four months after the ominous Board of Trustees report that brought concerns of insolvency to the forefront, Social Security is back in the news.
Starting January 1, 2019, the largest Cost-Of-Living Adjustment since 2012 will go into effect. The 2.8% bump will increase the estimated average monthly benefits for all retired workers from $1,422 to $1,461. The maximum monthly benefits a worker who retires at full retirement age (currently set at age 66 for anyone born between 1943 – 1954) will go up from $2,788 to $2,861. Couples who are both receiving benefits will get an estimated average of $2,448 per month, up from last year’s $2,381 average.
Changes to yearly earning limits and reductions include:
- A $1 reduction for every $2 earned about the new annual limit of $17,640 for those who claim benefits between age 62 and full retirement age. The annual limit before the 2019 COLA adjustment was $17,040.
- A $1 reduction for every $3 earned about the new annual limit of $46.920 for the year in which the beneficiary reaches full retirement age.
Historically, the Social Security Administration only counts earnings before the month an individual reaches full retirement age, at which point their benefits will no longer be reduced regardless of how much they earn per year. This will remain unchanged when the COLA increase goes into effect.
Along with the increased benefits, the SSA has also upped the maximum amount of earning that are subject to FICA tax (the 6.2% payroll tax that funds Social Security) from $128,000 to $132,900. This will see higher wage earners, those who make anywhere between the 2018 cap and next year’s threshold, contributing more in taxes than before.
So, is the 2019 COLA increase reason for retirees or those approaching retirement to celebrate? Well, yes and no. While it might not look like much on paper, an extra $39 a month could be a huge boost for someone who relies heavily on Social Security benefits. That
because COLA is designed to address inflation, that 2.8% could easily be eaten up the rising costs of food, housing, fuel, and, well just about everything else. This means that, realistically, the adjustment will likely keep the playing field level, rather than give retirees very much financial wiggle room.
Another thing to consider is that we are still at least a month away from an announcement on any changes coming to Medicare premiums for 2019, which will affect the monthly payments for those enrolled in the program. According to the Social Security Administration, beneficiaries will find out in December what their actual benefits will be for 2019.
Yes, the optics of the most significant COLA increase in seven years look good on the surface. But financial advisors should still make Social Security awareness and education a priority when interacting with clients and prospects. Because there are multiple variables involved with Social Security (when to claim, whether or not to keep working, etc.), those who don’t have a solid grasp on the program could easily miss out on strategies that will help maximize their benefit amounts.
To help, Legacy Financial Partners has put together a newly updated Overview of Social Security & Retirement Benefits guide. Designed for consumers, the guide covers the ins-and-outs of Social Security retirement benefits in a way that will help them make an informed decision as you work together on their overall plan.
If you would like to request a copy, get in touch at 877-614-0141, or email@example.com
Selling financial products and services can be a challenging profession. The process of turning a newly identified lead into a loyal client involves multiple factors. Everything from your initial marketing touches to the way you come across during personal interactions can, and will, influence the consumer’s final decision. One of the biggest factors at play here is also among the most challenging to work through – behavioral finance bias.
A concept rooted within the sub-field of behavioral economics, behavioral finance bias involves the psychological, social, and personal reasons a consumer might struggle to make rational financial decisions (spending, saving, investing, etc.). More broadly speaking, these biases are the answer to questions like:
- Why do your clients balk at logical solutions?
- Why are some people so quick to reject options that will help achieve their goals?
- Why are you getting panicked phone calls from a client who suddenly changed their mind about a sturdy financial plan?
The cognitive and emotional nature of these biases can present a tough obstacle to overcome, despite the obvious and significant impact they may have on the consumer’s finances (and, in turn, your ability to write business). However, a little insight can be a valuable tool when trying to convince a biased consumer to make a rational financial decision. Let’s break down a few of the more common biases.
This describes the tendency to avoid loss, rather than go after gains. For example, the emotional effect of losing $100 is heavier than the financial gain of finding $100 on the sidewalk. This can impact the ability to fully recognize the value of products with growth components or even lead to a flat-out rejection of any financial solution whatsoever.
You don’t have to look very hard to see examples of confirmation bias. This is where a person will ignore information that contradicts their own beliefs or spin that information in a way that supports a predetermined conclusion. Because it can create a sense of overconfidence, confirmation bias can have dramatic consequences on one’s financial decision making. A client or prospect with a heavy confirmation bias will often resist advice or options, even if backed by research or relevant information.
Snake Bite Effect:
Once bitten, twice shy. It’s only natural for people who have a negative experience with financial solutions (or know someone who has) to be overly cautious when presented with a product or plan. The issue here is that the conditions could be completely different, or the consumer could be conflating products that are not comparable.
Some people tend to hold on to properties they already own, placing more value than they are actually worth. For instance, a prospect may have a large sum of money in a low-growth savings account, but because they have accumulated that sum over a long length of time, they may be averse to using these funds to purchase specific retirement vehicles that may be more appropriate for their retirement goals.
Most, if not all, advisors will encounter these and other behavioral finance biases at some point in their career. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that nearly every consumer (yourself included) carries some sort of bias affecting their decisions. The problem arises when that bias, whatever it is, creates misconceptions about the value of money and financial planning. Overcoming a behavioral bias, while possible, can be a little more challenging than a “typical” consumer objection, especially when that bias is rooted in emotions and/or personal experiences. The trick is to first identify the bias as soon as possible and use probing skills to determine why that specific person holds that specific bias. From there, use your expertise to educate, inform, and (hopefully) change their perspective.