I’m convinced that whenever Americans really put their minds together to win or to solve a serious problem, we succeed. We’ve done it in athletics. We’ve done it in science. And you better believe we’ll do it in finance too.
The coverage of the Olympics
keeps us riveted for a couple of weeks every two years, and there are always a few individuals that we remember as true champions afterward. Overall, it’s very clear that American spirit, perseverance and teamwork consistently led the United States to the medal podium more times than any other country.
This past Summer Olympics in London was no different, with the United States leading in gold medals (46) and overall medal count (104). Many other individuals, while representing their country of heritage, attend school and train in the United States, knowing that our facilities are truly the best in the world.
But something else also happened during the Olympics which was just as exciting: NASA technical genius “stuck the landing” of the rover Curiosity on planet Mars. Imagine a 352-million mile journey with the one-ton rover, initially entering the Martian atmosphere at speeds of over 13,000 miles per hour, touching down perfectly on the red planet seven minutes later.
John Holdren, the White House Science and Technology Advisor, said it best: “If anybody has been harboring doubts about the status of U.S. leadership in space, well, there’s a one-ton automobile-size piece of American ingenuity, and it’s sitting on the surface of Mars right now."
On the financial front, investors still appear convinced that the U.S. is among the safest of investments
. Yes, we still have to resolve the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, estate tax exemptions and tax rates, and overall debt levels, but as one of my friends put it, “We’re still the cleanest shirt in a pile of dirty laundry."
Our borrowing costs are at historic lows (the U.S. 10-year Treasury’s have a yield of approximately 1.6 percent) as investors fret more about the turmoil in Greece, Spain, Italy and France. Even China is becoming less competitive and experiencing slower growth than in the past.
Unfortunately, the low interest rate environment has depressed insurance and annuity rates, with even veteran producers struggling to make sales. But while some struggle, others are having a terrific year.
Why are some producers so successful in such a tough economic environment
? Our industry was built for markets like this. We protect income when it’s needed most. Guaranteed and for life. We can help prevent someone from running out of money because they live too long. We protect against catastrophic events. We can leverage assets to protect against needs such as long-term care. We provide solutions that can (at the very least) maintain or even enhance someone’s lifestyle, or change a beneficiary’s life forever. What other industry provides solutions on such a tax-favored basis?
We provide protection, security and guarantees when they’re needed most, and we provide them in ways that no other product can.
Despite all our successes, clearly there are issues that must be addressed within the United States. However, I’m convinced that whenever Americans really put their minds together to win or to solve a serious problem, we succeed. We’ve done it in athletics. We’ve done it in science. And you better believe we’ll do it in finance, too.
We’re running a race
. It’s a race to protect lives and livelihoods. Remember the business that we’re in and the comfort we provide.There is no better time to be in our industry.