This month, I’m going to be posting some quick interviews with various experts and authors on the site. Recently, I asked Jeffrey Reeves, our expert on Life Insurance Strategies, a few questions about the state of the industry. Jeffrey has been guiding small business owners and individual clients for more than 34 years as they chart their paths to financial security and wealth.
ProducersWEB: What is your favorite thing about working in the industry?
Jeffrey Reeves: Helping agents become aware of uncommon solutions to the common problems of their prospects and clients, and educating my clients about the same thing.
PW: What is your least favorite thing?
JR: Failing in my efforts in No.1, above.
PW: Do you think the next 10 years will bring significant change?
JR: What we all must fear is the loss of liberty to a shadow government of unaccountable czars that is clearly morphing into an outright oligarchy. There are no insurance industries in countries where governments run the economy.
PW: Do the words "increased regulation" keep you up at night?
JR: Not as much as the words "government takeover."
PW: What advice would you offer someone who is struggling to make sales?
Define your market and do not swerve from the goal of becoming dominant. Distraction is the surest road to failure. If you must sell something while you develop your market, sell products that help you learn more, experience more and become dominant. (PW: For more on this subject, read Jeffrey's article, "This one secret guarantees success, Pt. 1"
; and the follow up article here.
PW: In your opinion, what is the biggest misconception about the financial services industry?
JR: There are two.
First, that life insurance agents that give solid financial adivce are in some way less qualified to do so than registered reps that claim to give financial advice. Registered reps are a new breed of cat. They've declared superiority as financial advisors over the past 30 years based on nothing other than their own claims. A well-educated and well-rounded life insurance agent — and that is most of us — is typically better equipped to help American families grow and protect their wealth than a registered rep who is hamstrung by:
1. Reliance on investments that put clients at risk.
2. A broker/dealer who knows little or nothing about the power, versatility and flexibility of cash value life insurance products, and relies on others risking their money to make profits for the firm.
3. The insane compliance requirements that emanate from FINRA, a self-regulating organization (aka the fox in the hen house) whose prime directive is to protect the behemoths from law suits and that cares not one nit for the security of the consumer, except as it relates to the above prime directive.
Second, that greed is the primary motivating factor for insurance and financial advisors. I find the opposite to me true. Most insurance and financial advisors – even the misinformed and misdirected – are committed to aid their clients first. There are, of course, many greedy people in this and every other business. However, The US Congress, the SEC, the Fed and the top execs at the helm of the behemoths make individual advisors in the financial services industry – excluding a very few Madoffs – look like Mother Teresa and her followers. In my 40 years experience, I’ve met only a few truly greedy folks. Their greed was either motivated by extreme circumstances in their own lives or was short-lived because insurance regulators stepped in to address misconduct. There are two exceptions to this observation that are worth noting.
1. Annuity manufacturers, IMOs, MGAs, etc. have played upon the greed of both agents and their clients over the past decade. Their actions have thrown a shroud over the reputation of the industry and opened the door for the unreasonable intrusion of FINRA into the insurance industry.
2. Buy term and invest the difference mutual fund hucksters have deprived millions of Americans of secure financial futures by promoting an approach to managing one’s personal economy that is based on greed. It has proven time and again to be at best flawed and at worst downright deceptive.