How to Choose a Long Term Care Carrier

Presented by Michelle Daharsh

When it comes to selecting an LTCi carrier today, you certainly have lots of choices. Most carriers offer a basic foundation of benefits that look fairly similar from company to company, so how do you make a choice and recommendation to your prospect? Here are three characteristics to consider when making that choice:

1. Contemporary, Innovative Products

Look at carriers that offer competitive features that set them apart from the competition. Features like cash benefits, streamlined underwriting, calendar day elimination period, and waiver of elimination period for home care claims are just a few of the many and important options available.

2. Competitive Pricing

Do your research and find the products that are competitively priced. Age, health and whether the prospect has a spouse or partner all become critical information in your selection for a recommendation to your prospect. Providing your prospect with the best products for the best value is critically important. Each carrier has their own “sweet spot”. Some examples of “sweet spots” can be competitive pricing at certain ages, partner allowances, multiple inflation options, and underwriting risk.

3. Financial Strength and Stability

In the past it wasn’t much of a factor what the ratings of a carrier were. We have fewer carriers now in the market and the rate instability has shown that carrier strength is very important. Working and placing your prospects’ business with a financially strong carrier becomes even more important. Carriers with a history of remaining competitive, stable and secure even in tough economic times will most likely prove that they are able to meet the needs of your prospect in the future. Also, look for carriers that maintain high ratings from industry rating organizations.

So whether it is the competitive pricing of a product or the financial strength of a carrier, Financial Brokerage is equipped to provide you with the resources and knowledge you need in making the best decision with your prospect and their long term care insurance coverage.

The Time has Come for Some Frank Discussions with Gen Xers and Millennials About Retirement

Presented by Leonard Berthelsen

Over the last dozen or so years, the financial services industry has been focused on how well the baby-boom generation has prepared itself for retirement.  As it turns out, some have planned well, others not so well, and the remaining didn’t do anything.  I don’t think it is a generational issue, more so the result of our diverse backgrounds and beliefs that we have in America.

As I was doing some research for this latest blog, it became abundantly clear to me that there may be a huge disconnect with the Gen Xers and Millennial generations when it comes to financial planning or even knowing what to expect with retirement.  As mentioned, one glaring issue is the number of people that have simply done nothing.  The Millennial generation consists of approximately 75 million adults between 18-34 years of age, and the Gen Xers represent about 41 million adults from age 34 to 54.  That is a combined total of 116 million adults, of which almost half have not had any meaningful conversations about retirement or how to save for it.  Are these going to be the “lost generations” for our industry? I certainly hope not, but our challenge lies ahead in connecting with these groups.

A recent study revealed that 51% of Millennials were calculating their retirement based not on sound financial calculations, but rather, on what they called “an educated guess.” The Gen Xers didn’t respond any more favorably about this issue, with 55% of them saying that “they will somehow figure it out once they get there.”  Not real encouraging for the long term growth of our business.

Is it too late for these two groups?  Of course not. There is still ample time to correct their misconceptions and get them on the right track to planning for retirement.  I like to use real life experiences in writing as it seems to hit home a little better.

I have two sons that are Gen Xers and each has chosen very different paths in life.  Even though they are going through life on different paths, both have come to the same conclusion about saving for retirement.  My youngest son who is in our business took it to heart right away that he needed to plan for the future.  He is preparing for his future where he won’t be able to work or will want to stop working and needs to set aside funds for those circumstances.  He is on a good path, even though he has small children, college expenses and possibly weddings to pay for in the future.  He put a plan in place and has stuck with it. Not easy sometimes, but discipline won out.

My oldest son, who became an educator, was never very interested in having discussions about their financial future or how they would get there.  I learned to not push too much with him about this issue as his take on things varies considerably from mine.  He recently changed careers and asked me to sit down with him and put a plan together for him to continue saving for their future.  I was amazed at what he had done on his own without any meaningful advice from me about saving for retirement.  I had always thought that this kind of “stuff” just wasn’t important to him.  Guess what, it is.  Different paths, but the end results come out close to the same for each of them.

Sometimes it is the little off-the-cuff things we say that have the most meaning.  I did no formal push with either one of them about saving for retirement, but always made sure they knew what I was doing and why.  Sometimes I was more frank than other times, but they always got the message.  Maybe we have to do the same with our clients. Over time it might be the little frank things that we do or say that will make the difference.

These are generations that have a much skewed view of Social Security and its health.  We need to make sure that they are getting the message, either formally or off-the-cuff.  Our industry’s future depends upon it.

Be “that guy” at the party

Presented by David Corwin

I should say “that financial professional” to cover the women who work in this wonderful profession too. What do I mean by being that guy or professional is to know your stuff, or at least enough to impress; not gloat or brag, but just know a few things to catch their attention. What will happen is that you’ll be able to secure an appointment with them and that will of course lead to a sale. Let’s start with a few key items that I would know:

IRA’s – Know that contribution limit of $5,500 and over 50 years old they can put in $6,500. Also, know that they are generally speaking deductible against your taxes; albeit they aren’t really that popular though, but they don’t necessarily need to know that at this present moment. They just need to know that you know your stuff.

Roth IRA’s – Same as above, but the main difference is “tax free” at retirement. I would repeat that a few times to drive the point home.

SEP IRA’s – Getting a little more advanced here. That would be a card that I’d throw out when you’re among business owners and professionals. Know that the contribution limit is 25% of one’s income or $53,000, whichever is less. Still deductible and pretty popular amongst your smaller employers out there. A lot of dentists, real estate agents, chiropractors and the like have these.

401k – Even though you may lack the ability of writing these (I will tell you that you most certainly can); you want to know about them. Know that they have a contribution limit of $18,000 and that they are deductible to the employee.

In summary, I will tell you that this wasn’t intended to be a really detailed blog, but rather just give you some talking points to be engaging enough to make someone want to see what you can do for them.

We are a better option for insurance and financial advice than Google!

Presented by David Corwin

As long as we remember that clients can now go online for insurance services, we will need to solidify long term relationships, get more qualified referrals, and keep our industry, that we all love, in good standing with the public at large. What do I mean by that? I have worked with literally hundreds, if not thousands of agents for over 18 years in the business, and there is always a constant; we all want to know for what the client is looking. I don’t mean that we should be experts in every facet of the insurance industry, since that’s a very tall task; however, insurance and financial professionals need to further their education so they are more knowledgeable when it comes to advanced cases. I know from personal experience that it takes a while to earn a CLU or ChFC, so in the meantime, you may want to learn a few key things to, dare I say, be dangerous. Let me give you a few items that could help:

50-80 year olds

Due to the experiences they’ve had thus far, there is a good chance they have dealt with many challenges in their lives. Some keywords you want to use with this age group would be: probate, estate planning, taxes, lifetime income, wills, trusts, their children and grandchildren.

30-50 year olds

With this age group you need to concentrate on these keywords: death, their children (especially guardianship options), tax-free income, estate planning, trusts, retirement planning and college funding.

As I said, you don’t have to be an expert, but remember that more than likely, you may know way more (even with Google) than your client knows and they will be far better off than what they’d be on their own.

Are you selling the right product?

Presented by David Corwin

We are all financial professionals and our role is to fit the proper product and planning to the problem the client is trying to solve. When positioning an annuity, sometimes we think the product with the most options available is the proper tool, when often it’s not the best approach. Nothing is free and riders typically have a cost that can impact the ultimate solution that we’re trying to provide. With improper planning we can end up with the “never gonna use” riders (I call them NGU’s). In many situations, the simple, “vanilla” indexed annuity can benefit your clients and avoid the cost of the NGU riders. With all the moving parts in annuities today, we can narrow down our carrier and product choices by simply finding out the end goal for the asset. Are they simply trying to protect retirement funds from market losses, trying to provide lifetime income today or in the future or just re-positioning CD/money market funds for a short period looking for a better return? Finding out the answer to those questions certainly narrows down the choices, provides a better product fit and gives you more credibility today and in the future.

I can help you navigate the wide-array of product choices and find the solution that makes the most sense for each client-specific situation. Give me a call today at 800-397-9999!