Tuesday, June 03, 2008

So I quit my job last week. 
Ha ha ha ha ha. HA HA HA HA HA HA.

No, seriously... it's time for a change. I was doing marketing writing, business development, media planning, and wearing a bunch of hats in a small agency.

I find myself hurtling headlong however toward the financial services industry once again. (Longtime readers will recall that Edward Jones, a national brokerage firm and I were playing serious footsie a while ago).

Well, after a brief 2 year detour back in the marketing/PR industry I'm very pleased to be the newest as-yet-unlicensed garden variety door-knocker for New York Life.


Well, let's boil that question down some:

Why financial services?

Well, thinking ahead a few years, I expect to become, by default, the primary support for my mother, who has already had a broken hip, and has no savings of her own. Looking ahead a decade or two (and hopefully longer than that!) her retirement and elderly care is very much on my mind. Meanwhile, I need to be able to get ahead. But in South Florida, it is very difficult to do on one income. Single family home prices are still out of reach of anything I'll be able to do working for someone else as a writer/PR account manager/media buyer or anything else I'm likely to do. I enjoy writing and I'm good at it, but in the long run, that is not going to accomplish my goals. I also realized last spring I wasn't going to be able to grow that particular business.

Furthermore, although I max out a Roth IRA each year and contribute 15% to a SIMPLE or 401(k) depending on where I am, it's not going to be enough to fund a retirement. Remember...interest rates are low, and outside of certain sectors, stocks are not a screaming bargain, either. Dividends are still a fraction of their historical averages. Long term trends are inflationary, I believe. And while there are still mutual fund hawkers out there telling people to expect 10% on their equities (I even heard a Primarica representative project 12% last month, I think they are on crack. I need to up my game, and so do a lot of other people.

Boiled down: People who WRITE about financial services make $X. People who actually DO it, successfully, over a career, make $Y.

Why insurance?

Because I can make a decent living and build a good practice as an insurance agent with regular working stiffs, and work my natural market of musicians (who need health and disability insurance, anyway.... Tendonitis and arthritis can be career enders!). On the investment side, the broker winds up making just a few cents for each dollar he brings in house (or even less), which forces them all to target the same richest 5% of the population.

Further, residual income is significant - and insurance compensation rewards long-term relationships. Further, because life insurance becomes more expensive with age, as time goes by, there is a substantial competitive moat built around your clients, as your insurance becomes impossible to replace for the same premium or less.

Moreover, I don't want to have to apologize to clients and friends for losing their money - which happens to every advisor, sooner or later. You wind up having to pull them out of investments at precisely the wrong time, or you lose them to some other idiot advisor who will put them in the HOT STOCK of the day or some other stupidity.

I can also work where my family is...in Hawai'i, California and/or Oregon, plus my own home here in Florida. I'd have the freedom to spend more time with my family. I HATE having to count vacation days. But I can build a business anywhere I'm licensed.

Lastly, because I honestly believe that most families are terribly underinsured, for a variety of risks, including disability and life. I am a huge fan of transferring risks which would be devastating to a family to the financial markets which can price them efficiently and take them as a matter of course. Reading Robert Shiller's The New Financial Order a few years ago convinced me of that.

So why New York Life?

A combination of things... I knew I wanted to represent a mutually-owned company, rather than a stock company, and I wanted nothing less than a AAA rating. That narrows the field substantially to just a few carriers.

I also wanted a company that I could grow with, with access to a lot of expert help. I didn't want to become an independent, because I don't want to reinvent the business wheel (even though short term commission payouts can be better). I also wanted a company that invests in a first-class training program. There's no end to the stuff you need to know, once you start wading into business succession and estate planning issues.

And finally, I wanted a strong office local to me where I could find some very solid people to learn the trade from. Put them all together, and it turns out New York Life and I were looking for each other.

Next stop: Seeing my family for a bit, and getting my license!

Splash, out


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I could use a fee-only CFP. Which is good since I'm already locked into the insurance I want.

You know the email...
How about your Guard participation, Jason? Will you keep that going in Florida, transfer, or get out...?
Good luck - I look forward to reading about your insurance adventures!
I look forward to them, too!

Unfortunately, because regulators are fascists with an instinct for censorship and the repression of free ideas of expression, I might not be able to write about very much here, lest some pointy-headed desk jockey in Tallahassee (or the home office in New York) think that because I'm talking about insurance, that it constitutes a solicitation - and because I have readers all over the world, I'm now soliciting outside of Florida.

Yes, it's stupid. But compliance people are stupid people. Remember, it was a compliance person who told me to amend some copy I wrote for an investment company because I had written the statement that as interest rates go up, bond prices go down.

They told me I couldn't write that.

Why not?

"It's promissory. What if it doesn't happen like you predict?"

Yeah, this woman was paid six figures to put her law degree to work to come up with that crap.
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