Creating habits to achieve your goals
Most successful people, and especially successful financial professionals, have good habits in place.
As we begin the new year, I like to find time to reflect back on where I’ve been the past year and where I’d like to be in the future. It’s a time for all of us to set goals for ourselves–both personally and professionally. Many of us will have personal goals of improving our health, starting a new hobby, spending more time with loved ones, getting more involved in the local community, among other things. Some of us may be pursuing a promotion or career change, or even looking to go back to school and take classes. New year’s resolutions offer us hope and a renewed energy to take on the upcoming year.
With so many of us considering our goals for the upcoming year, now is an excellent time to have important financial conversations with your clients. There are many things your clients can begin doing now, such as protecting their investments against market risk, protecting against outliving savings in retirement, protecting their qualified retirement plan, protecting their final years, or having a financial legacy for their loved ones.
If there’s one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us, it’s that we should expect the unexpected. I’ve listed five ways that you can help your clients insure their financial future and be prepared for whatever life throws at them. You can use these as a timely conversation guide to help your clients come up with new financial goals for 2022 and beyond.
Insuring your clients’ investments with an annuity may help them protect assets against market risk and potentially grow more wealth for the long term.
If your clients are willing to take on some market risk in exchange for more upside potential, Registered Index-Linked Annuities (RILAs) can offer growth of an underlying stock market index, such as the S&P 500 or Nasdaq 100, combined with different degrees of protection through a buffer or a floor, depending on their tolerance for risk.
If your clients are moderate to aggressive investors concerned about ongoing volatility, RILAs with a buffer can protect against losses within a specific range. But if markets fall below that range, it leaves them exposed. If their buffer is 10%, and the market falls 10%, they’re protected. But if the market falls 30%, the buffer protects the first 10% and they lose the next 20%.
If your clients are conservative to moderate investors concerned about steep downturns or a prolonged bear market, RILAs with a floor offer a clearly defined level of protection. The floor is set at the maximum loss they’re willing to accept, and any losses below that floor are absorbed by the insurer. If their floor is 10%, whether the market falls 10%, 15%, 30% — or more — they will never lose more than 10%.
If your clients are more conservative investors, Fixed Indexed Annuities (FIAs) also offer growth potential linked to the performance of an underlying index, with the added benefit of guaranteed principal protection. While clients won’t have the same degree of growth potential as a RILA, they won’t lose their initial investment, or any earnings credited to them, even when volatility is high or the market is down.
To insure against clients outliving their savings, annuities are the only product that can generate a guaranteed income stream for life. With predictable income from an annuity, clients can cover essential living expenses. They can fill an income gap while waiting to take Social Security. It may give them the security they need to continue investing a portion of their retirement portfolio more aggressively for greater growth potential and inflation protection.
If clients are approaching retirement, or already in retirement, a single premium immediate annuity (SPIA) allows them to convert a lump sum of money into a guaranteed stream of income. If clients have years or decades before they retire, an annuity with a Guaranteed Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit (GLWB) could allow them to save more for retirement through tax-deferred accumulation, and then turn on an income stream when they need it.
401(k)s, 403(b)s and 457(b)s are primary vehicles for retirement savings. The challenge is how to turn those savings into retirement income. Now, thanks to the SECURE Act, it’s easier for plan sponsors to offer annuities within clients’ qualified savings plans. An in-plan guarantee can help protect clients’ principal investment, protect against outliving their savings — or both.
In-plan guarantees have low or no minimum investment requirements and are designed for clients to make regular tax-deferred contributions through payroll deductions. They can be structured like a target date fund, allowing clients to accumulate wealth through more aggressive investments when they’re younger and automatically shifting more of their savings into asset protection and income guarantees as they get closer to retirement.
LTC insurance helps clients maintain their quality of life in their final years. Some think that LTC only covers nursing home expenses. In reality, half of all long-term care services are provided in the home.1 LTC insurance was developed to help offset the cost of both.
Details matter, so it’s important to compare. Some LTC policies will require clients to submit receipts to receive their benefits. Other LTC policies provide a guaranteed monthly benefit, which simplifies the process when the care is in your client’s home and the caregiver is a family member, friend or neighbor.
Many people are concerned about the cost of LTC policies. The perception is that while you pay a lot for it, you hope you don’t use it—and if you don’t use it, you lose it. But there are hybrid policies that will guarantee a payout to your beneficiary after you pass away, which could be equal to or greater than the premiums you paid if you never use your LTC insurance.
Life insurance can protect clients’ beneficiaries, including their spouse, children or other dependents, after they pass away. Depending on their policy, the benefits could replace the income that they provided for their family, or could cover a specific amount, such as paying off a mortgage, paying for college, or paying estate taxes and inheritance taxes. It could simply be to cover funeral expenses, which currently average from $7,500 to $9,000.
Clients could choose term life insurance as a more affordable solution to cover their family for a specific period of time when their needs are greatest — such the years when children are younger or in college. To leave a more substantial legacy, clients might choose permanent life insurance that will cover their entire life and will usually build cash value over time that they can pass on to their beneficiaries. And payouts from life-insurance are tax-fee.
Planning for their financial future — and preparing for the unexpected — may seem overwhelming to your clients. But it doesn’t need to be. Helping your clients with their financial resolutions will help them reach their short and long-term goals and deepen your relationships with them. Support them in keeping their new year financial goals in mind, while they have their resolutions at top of mind.
Start a conversation with your clients using the below questions:
View all of our resources to help get you started on your client conversations: https://nationwidefinancial.com/resources.
American Association of Long Term Care Insurance – AALTCI Sourcebook 2015-2016.