“Yes, I Sell Life Insurance”

You know as soon as people discover you’re an insurance agent they immediately form an impression about you that is a stereotype. Unfortunately, that stereotype is often negative.For Life Insurance agents, where the stereotype can be strong, I recommend you address the stereotype head-on. Here is what I mean- suppose you are asking a potential client to do a policy review Here is how I meet the stereotype head on:

“If I tell you I sell Life Insurance you probably think “plaid jacket” guy who is pushy and sells policies to unsuspecting clients, right?”

Then I pause. I want to give the person time to move the stereotype from their unconscious mind to their conscious part. They might even want to chime in about a negative experience they have had about dealing with “people like you”. That is exactly what we want. Now they are ready for you to explain how your business, your service is different. How your approach fixes the problem that everyone else in your industry has created.

“When we do our policy reviews, we always come back with three possible outcomes. One, we tell you can get the same insurance for less money. Two, we tell you you can get more insurance for the same money. Or three, we tell you that the policy you have is the best for you. That is a win-win-win for you the client. Doesn’t that make sense?”

 

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Throwback Thursday – “No is Short for Next Opportunity”

Read a great book on the plane last week. Martin Limbeck is a sales trainer and author of “No Is Short For Next Opportunity.” His ideas reminded me of what I learned from one of my mentors. The most powerful words a great salesmen has in his repertoire is “next.” Don’t let the “no’s” get you down. If you are doing the right thing the next opportunity is right around the corner.

Limbeck has some other great ideas to share. Here are three of his tips for sealing the deal:

  1. Stand by what you sell: You have to believe in your product or company.
  2. Set goals every day for future prospects: To succeed, be sure your sales funnel is never empty. Make it a habit, like brushing your teeth.
  3. Prepare for anything: Write answers to every question or objection a potential client could dream up. Writing them down will help you commit them to memory.
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Clients Over 40? Smart Money Moves

3 Smart money moves for clients in their 40s

People in their 40s are likely to have achieved a certain level of financial freedom and have a better sense of their needs and expenses in retirement. This puts them in a better position to assess their retirement plans and act accordingly to secure their golden years. One smart strategy to consider is maxing out contributions to their retirement account, such as traditional or Roth IRA. Another is to save for their children’s education through a 529 saving plan. Finally, they should start thinking about what will happen to their assets when they die. Having a will in place is a good first step.

Economic anxiety extends to retirement

Government lawmakers should consider creating a retirement system that combines the flexibility of a 401(k) plan and the best features of a traditional pension to address the growing anxiety of American workers about retirement. This should mean making retirement saving easy for workers, boost transparency requirements for retirement plans, include lifetime income options for these plans, and provide financial planning tools for retirement savers, says the expert.

1 big expense retirees are more than willing to pay

Many Medicare beneficiaries are getting a Medicare Supplemental Insurance policy to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses, according to this article on personal finance website Motley Fool. Most of them are buying the most expensive plan despite the costs, as this would give them peace of mind that their future health care expenses will be taken care of. The American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance says that two-thirds of seniors who get a Medigap plan opt for Plan F, the most comprehensive but most expensive plan, with monthly premiums ranging from $159 to $239, depending on the policyholders’ location.

This Roth IRA move can create a massive tax headache

Converting a portion or full balance of their traditional IRA assets into a Roth account could result in a heavy tax liability for clients, according to this article from Money. That is because the converted amount is treated as taxable income, unless the money involved is their nondeductible contributions. “I always tell clients to do a tax projection before they convert, so that they can see what the tax bill will be,” says a financial planner.

How high earners can set up a Roth IRA

Clients whose income exceeds the income threshold have the option to make nondeductible contributions to a traditional IRA, but not Roth IRA, according to this article on Kiplinger. Once the money is in traditional IRA, they also have the option to convert the funds to a Roth IRA. The Roth conversion of nondeductible contributions won’t trigger tax liability, except for the earnings portion of the converted amount. Clients will owe taxes on the entire converted amount if it involves tax-deductible contributions.

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The Trump Tax Break?

The tax preparers at H&R Block had to take a new class before their busy season started this year: empathy training. For real. They have added this training. H & R Block preparers listened to a mock exchange between an employee and a customer whose refund would not just shrink but disappear. The fictitious client had received a $1,500 refund last year, but this year would owe $575.

The playacting was a foreshadowing of what they knew was coming. The tax overhaul that took effect last year promised relief, but now that returns are being filed, some people are baffled. They’re getting smaller refunds — or sometimes having to write a check — even though nothing in their situation seems to have changed.

The average refund among early filers was down 8.4 percent, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The smaller checks, in some cases, stem from the loss of certain deductions. For others, it’s because less money is being withheld from their paychecks. The I.R.S., in trying to more closely match the amount held out of paychecks with the amount that taxpayers will owe, changed its withholding tables.

The result is that taxpayers may be paying less over all but still getting a bill after filing their return. That has caught many people off guard.

The overhaul has been President Trump’s signature accomplishment. It lowered tax rates for businesses and individuals, and it provided a break to self-employed people and those with so-called pass-through businesses, where income passes through the business to the owner’s personal tax returns.

But it also eliminated or cut back some popular deductions, most notably capping the deduction for state and local taxes at $10,000 — a provision that drew significant criticism from residents of high-tax states. Although most people will see their tax burden decline, the Government Accountability Office expected about four million people to pay more.

 

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The Road to Retirement

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It is MYGA Time!

Multi-year guaranteed annuities (MYGAs) are having a moment. According to Wink’s Sales and Market Report of third quarter 2018 nonvariable deferred annuity sales, sales of MYGA contracts showed the most rapid growth: up 63.3% compared to the same period a year earlier.

Following recent market volatility and the Federal Reserve’s short-term interest rate hikes, consumers are searching for ways to protect their savings but still grow their investments. Often compared to bank certificates of deposit (CDs), MYGAs are attractive because they offer protection but higher interest rates than CDs — plus, tax advantages. Because they are the least-complicated type of annuity, even the most annuity-wary clients can be open to them.

How MYGAs Work

MYGAs are fixed-rate insurance products that ensure that the buyer will get a stream of payments at some point in the future, typically 3 to 10 years, and usually with interest and past premium. They typically are purchased with a single premium amount and will apply surrender charges if your clients take out money before the end of the contract period. However, most MYGAs allow policyholders to take their required minimum distributions (RMDs) without penalty. Because not all MYGAs are this way, you should check before advising clients.

Which Clients Might Want MYGAs

MYGAs offer solutions for clients who want to save for retirement and clients who need a steady income while in retirement. A major advantage that a MYGA has over the CD is tax deferral. While a CD in an IRA or 401(k) can also be tax-deferred, CDs that aren’t in an IRA or other retirement account will be taxed annually on the interest earned. But with a MYGA, a client’s money will grow and only be taxed when the client withdraws it.

The similarities of MYGAs to CDs — including their simplicity — make them a great option for your more conservative clients with CDs about to mature, Treasury bonds or money market accounts. For example, a client set to renew a CD today might only get .6% to 3.15% today, but you could connect them to a MYGA with 3.0% to 4.92%, plus the benefit of tax deferral.

How ISN Can Help

With MYGA sales on the rise and projected to climb further, ISN Network has established a MYGA team to provide you with the MYGA products, knowledge and support that will position you to help your clients and grow your business. Our marketing team will help you and focus on three-, five- and seven-year fixed MYGAs.

You can call the MYGA team with any questions at 1.800.338.1892 at extension 1 for Marketing.  Our Marketing team are especially up-to-date with all the different MYGAs and can help you find the best solution for each client’s specific needs.

Agents may call in thinking they want the highest rate on a multi-year guaranteed annuity, but because we have multiple carriers and deep MYGA knowledge, we may be able to find one that’s even a better fit than what you might expect. It takes an experienced, knowledgeable partner to know all the details that can lead to a great rate, and our team can help point out those potential tradeoffs — factors such as carrier ratings, compensation, liquidation measures, free partial withdrawals, maturity options and so on.

 

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New Bill For Retirement Planning

Rep. Ron Kind, D-Wis., plans to reintroduce legislation Wednesday intended to increase retirement savings for American workers through the employer-based system, according to industry sources. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., is expected to co-sponsor the legislation.

The bill, a reintroduction of last year’s Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act, or RESA, H.R. 5282, introduced by Kind and Kelly, first advanced in 2016.

In the Senate, last year’s companion bill, S. 2526, was referred to the Senate Finance Committee. However, provisions of the legislation were included in the Family Savings Act of 2018, also introduced by Kelly, which passed the House last year.

The House Ways and Means Committee is poised to conduct a hearing Wednesday morning on improving retirement security for workers. Both Kind and Kelly are members of the committee.

MassMutual CEO Roger Crandall and Diane Oakley, executive director of the National Institute on Retirement Security, are slated to testify.

In general, the bill would modify requirements for tax-favored retirement savings accounts, and employer-provided retirement plans to encourage savings. It would also increase the tax credit for small employer pension plan startup costs and give small employers who start 401(k)  automatic enrollment plans a tax credit.

The retirement planning industry is expected to come out in full support of the legislation. Last year, the Insured Retirement Institute, AARP, the American Council of Life Insurers, the Bipartisan Policy Center and the Church Alliance all supported the bill.

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