15 of the best insurance and finance websites for the New Year

Insurance Insights

Use these websites to help you formulate and then ask powerful questions about your prospects and their families, businesses and futures. (Photos: iStock) Use these websites to help you formulate and then ask powerful questions about your prospects and their families, businesses and futures. (Photos: iStock)

This is the final part of a series where I have been providing tools and resources that agents can depend on to enhance the services they provide. Part one focused on www.irs.gov, and part two focused on the debt clock, www.usdebtclock.org.

Related: Make IRS.gov your friend

Please keep in mind that you do not want to overwhelm prospects and clients by overloading them with information. Too much information will lead to uncertainty and inaction, because people end up doing nothing for fear of making an error.

Related: Addressing the fear inside your client

Instead, the most beneficial way to use these websites is to consult them when formulating and then asking powerful questions about your prospects and their families, businesses and futures. Questions help people organize their thinking so they can make excellent decisions. Answering questions allows them to consider the potential consequences of taking or not taking action, as they work through their own process of discovery. Let your prospects arrive at their own answers, and uncover their own solutions.

Asking questions is not threatening nor adversarial. You are helping prospects and clients understand why they would want to buy our products, rather than “selling” them something. As a result, the process becomes easier and infinitely more successful. Please ask questions!

Here are additional resources that I know you will find indispensable. I will share 15 resources; the first five are particularly essential to a successful practice in the years ahead.

1. Professor Laurence Kotlikoff: www.maximizemysocialsecurity.com

Professor Kotlikoff is one of the foremost experts on Social Security. I share copies of his book “Get What’s Yours” with prospects and clients who are approaching the age for Social Security benefits. He is also an expert on the unfunded liabilities of pensions and health care in the United States. He calls this the “fiscal gap,” and he believes it exceeds $200 trillion. Here is a great question to ask: What is the best age to take Social Security, and shouldn’t you know before you take the benefit?

2. Ed Slott: www.irahelp.com

Ed Slott is considered the IRA guru by many sources, including Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, just to name a few. He proclaims that the number one benefit in the Internal Revenue Tax Code is the tax-free buildup inside cash value life insurance. Ed suggests that you ask: “If taxes will be higher in the future, why not pay taxes now and put money into financial vehicles that will never have income tax liability again?”

3. Tom Hegna: www.tomhegna.com

Tom Hegna’s magnificent contribution to our industry is simple: He teaches all of us building guaranteed lifetime income is more important than merely building wealth. Ask: would you rather be rich, or would you rather have a guarantee that you will never be poor?

4. John Mauldin: www.mauldineconomics.com

John Mauldin provides a free newsletter called “Thoughts from the Frontline,” which helps readers easily understand complex economic issues. His benefit is vitally important because he shows how much tax revenue will be needed to cover expenditures of government and industry.

5. Martin Weiss: www.weissinc.com

Martin Weiss is comparable to an actuary concerning information about government, banks, insurance companies and Wall Street. The only thing that matters to his organization are mathematical and economic facts. His website provides important and accurate information.

Here are 10 more online resources for you to considerHere are 10 more online resources for you to consider:

          1. Institute For Truth in Accounting: www.truthinaccounting.org
          2. Life Happens: www.lifehappens.org
          3. Shadow Government Statistics: www.shadowstats.com
          4. Congressional Budget Office: www.cbo.gov
          5. Social Security Administration: www.ssa.gov
          6. Inflation Data: www.inflationdata.com
          7. Employee Benefit Research Institute: www.ebri.org
          8. Peter G. Peterson Foundation: www.pgpf.org
          9. U.S. Census Bureau: www.census.gov
          10. Americans For a Secure Retirement: www.paycheckforlife.org

With this and the previous two articles, you have the resources to help almost everyone you speak to.

I know you will make a difference.

Read more articles by Van Mueller:

Tackling 2 top retirement issues: What clients need to know

Tax planning is vital for retiree financial success

When teaching clients, repetition and questions are key

Covering health care costs in retirement: tools you can use

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