Before getting into this week’s topic, I would like to offer a brief preface.
About 17 years ago, and following my retirement from NALU, I received a call from Steve Piontek, editor of NU. Steve wanted to know if I would be interested in writing an article on a regular basis for this publication. I wasn’t sure how such an assignment would fit into my retirement plans, but I did believe that I still had a few things to say about this great business for which I care deeply. So I accepted the offer.
Working with Steve the past 17 years has been a pleasant and satisfying experience. Regular readers of NU have, I am sure, noticed that Steve and I are miles apart on the political spectrum. Nevertheless, despite our differences, he has never changed the content or wording of anything I have written. Our disagreements over politics and industry perspectives have always been cordial and hopefully produced a more balanced publication.
And so as we bid farewell to Steve, I wish him a happy and healthy retirement and offer my thanks for his cooperation and tolerance of my viewpoints.
And now on to the main business–not coincidentally, creative retirement.
One primary reason agents have remained the dominant distribution force for life insurance is their creative ability in using and presenting traditional products. Examples include the use of insurance in deferred compensation plans, split dollar, etc.
Now, because of the way our products are perceived by many, a new surge in creativity is vital, particularly as the products relate to retirement planning. In this connection, we might take a lesson in marketing from the Social Security people.
Social Security may be flawed at the political level, but at the administrative level it has outsmarted us in marketing techniques. To illustrate, the needs our products meet have always been expressed in dollar amounts. As long as the dollar remained stable, this identification served us well.
Today, with the gold merchants and others trashing the dollar in their ads, “dollars for future delivery” has lost its luster.