Multicultural Markets

Presented by David Corwin Multicultural markets are underserved by the financial services industry for many reasons, but the good news is the current state can change, and is changing. First, executives and leaders in financial services companies are starting to educate themselves about the markets and getting the story straight. There is a strong interest in, and need for, financial products and services in multicultural markets, especially as the cultural markets continue to grow. Who can ignore the recent Census Bureau’s findings indicating that America is becoming more diverse? According to the Pew Research Center, “Racial and ethnic minorities accounted for 91.7% of the nation’s population growth over the past decade.” Could it be that the word underserved creates discomfort among financial services professionals? Maybe the word underserved has developed a bad connotation? As in, underserved = people who are unable to afford products or services; underserved = people who are poor risks; underserved = unprofitable business; underserved = down market. All of these, of course, are presumptions that lead to misperceptions and stereotypical thinking, if not challenged. The fact is the served population is shrinking, and there is no denying it! Second, companies can make, and are making, a dedicated effort to reach these populations. A focused strategy is the first step in accomplishing this business objective – just as with any other business initiative. Implicit in this action is the need for leadership and executive sponsorship. In many organizations, multicultural efforts begin at the grassroots level with the financial representative. These efforts never make their way to the top and, therefore, lack executive visibility, sponsorship, or support. As with any business program, that which is not on the organization’s radar is at risk of encountering unnecessary resistance, lack of funding, or leadership – almost ensuring a short life span. Third, financial services providers are learning how to meet multicultural groups where they are by aligning sales and service (all aspects of it) with their needs (language, culture, or otherwise). While some groups may lack the degree of financial education necessary to create their own strategies or even to seek out help with their financial planning, future generations are depending on them to take the right actions for tomorrow. Said differently, these markets are ripe and ready to be worked. Who wouldn’t want to work with a consumer base that is ready and eager to be educated and buy products?
Life Insurance

Reflecting on Life Insurance

Presented by John Schraut Remember that a life insurance policy is more than just a collection of papers with words and figures on them; a life insurance policy is vastly more than the sum of its parts. A life insurance policy is that small bit of comfort in someone’s life — someone’s life that has just been turned head over heels by the loss of a loved one. It is helping that spouse remain in the family home and not having to take a second job to make ends meet. It is a chance for those children to attend college with without putting undue stress on the family to find a way to pay for it. It is PEACE OF MIND.

Annuity Income Riders

Presented by Jim Guynan

Recently I heard that almost 60% of index annuities sold today have an income rider attached to them. Also, the average time before the income is activated from the rider is only 1.8 years. What does this tell us about fixed index purchases and income riders? Simply, that more than half of the owners of fixed annuities are thinking about the future use of these assets as possible income sources and they are utilizing it in a new way.

Before income riders became available there were really only two ways to access an annuity; a 10% penalty free withdrawal per contract year or to annuitize the annuity contract. Now there is a third option which is activating an income rider payout that will provide an income for the rest of the owner’s life. The advantage of this is that the owner does not give up control of the underlying fixed annuity in order to do so. What is interesting to me is that the average time to activate is so short. Many of the illustrations I run for agents show longer deferral times before income is needed. One explanation could be that only those people who need income now are buying the annuities. As time moves on, I believe that more young people will become educated on the advantages of the riders and take advantage of the longer deferral.


What Social Security Retirement Benefits Are Available?

Presented by David Corwin Almost everyone in the United States who is employed or self-employed is covered by Social Security, which pays benefits to or on behalf of covered workers who retire, become disabled or die, assuming that eligibility requirements are met. Retirement Benefits Eligibility: To qualify for monthly Social Security retirement benefits, you must be fully insured which, for most workers, means that you must have 40 quarters of coverage at retirement. Benefits: Social Security retirement benefits are based on your Primary Insurance Amount (PIA), which, in turn, is based on your earnings history (your “Average Indexed Monthly Earnings”). When you retire and begin receiving Social Security benefits, your spouse is entitled to a benefit equal to 50% of your PIA beginning at his/her normal retirement age. A spouse eligible for retirement benefits based on his/her own work record will receive the higher of those benefits or spouse benefits based on your work record. In addition, any of your children under age 18 (19 if in high school), or of any age if disabled before age 22, are also entitled to a benefit equal to 50% of your PIA. The total benefits that all members of your family can receive based on your earnings record, however, is limited to a Maximum Family Benefit. Normal Retirement Age: The normal retirement age for full Social Security benefits is age 65 for people born before 1938. For those born between 1943 and 1954, it is age 66. Full retirement age is gradually increasing to age 67 for those born after 1954. Early Retirement: A permanently reduced Social Security benefit can be taken at any time between age 62 and your normal retirement age. Your spouse can also elect to receive permanently reduced benefits as early as age 62, unless caring for your eligible child. In this case, no reduction is made based on the spouse’s age. Late Retirement: If you delay receiving Social Security benefits beyond your normal retirement age, your benefit will be increased by a percentage factor for each year you wait, up to age 70.