“The character of a person is in direct proportion to his commitment to excellence.”
– Vince Lombardi

Our senior clients deserve the best. As trusted financial advisors, we strive to give them the best counsel and solutions for their individual needs. Of course, being the best is not always easy. Keeping up with the latest industry news, trends and products while balancing work, family and other commitments can be challenging.

More than 25 years ago, I made my first investment toward a resource that would both help me be the best and provide recognition for my accomplishments: I joined a professional association. Organizations, such as MDRT, offer immeasurable benefits that can help improve your professional development and productivity. Association membership can also improve your client relationships and prospecting techniques by giving you the confidence that comes from knowing you are an informed advisor. Research shows that belonging to a membership association can not only increase your professional and personal success, but also make you happier.

For me personally, attending association meetings is an ideal way to network and learn from my peers. Association meetings are abundant in the focus and creativity that comes from like-minded professionals exploring the challenges and opportunities of today’s market. Speaking with colleagues about your financial practice and methods is a great opportunity to see through the eyes of your peers and uncover new ideas.

Association meetings are also an opportunity to communicate with the innovators of the products and services we offer, providing a chance to see the future of our profession before the competition.

The value of association membership goes well beyond physically attending meetings. Thanks to technology, financial advisors worldwide can now reap the benefits of association membership from their own offices, homes or even cars. Another great benefit of on-demand technology is the flexibility to access content on your own schedule — whether it is 8 a.m. or midnight.

From interactive blogs and online forums to Web seminars and podcasts, associations today offer exclusive access to a wide range of resources addressing the latest industry topics, and provide expert advice on how best to serve clients and prospects. Similar to annual meetings, these technology tools enable members to network, learn new ideas and access a wealth of information.

Associations also offer members access to remarkable archives and discounted professional materials that share some of the best tools and practices their membership encompasses.

Whether it is through attending an annual meeting or downloading a podcast, I find the ultimate benefit of association membership is the ability consistently to learn at least one good idea that will make my practice more profitable.

With the end of the year quickly approaching, now is a great time to rejuvenate and refresh your practice. Whether you already belong to an association or are thinking of joining one, I encourage you to contact them to learn more about the benefits and substantial return-on-investment they offer.