From Aug. 24-26, the 11th annual Senior Market Advisor Expo took over Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. With more than 400 advisors on site, there was a great vibe with plenty of opportunities for learning, coaching, mentoring and networking. For the first time at the show, social media played a huge role in connecting the event to readers and attendees. Before the show, Senior Market Advisor, ProducersWEB.com and various attendees communicated that we would cover the event live through Twitter. Below you will find highlights from the #SMAX twitter feed. Enjoy!

It’s 120 in the shade in Las Vegas. It must be the heat radiating from SMAX!
SMA Magazine August 23, 2011 at 10:22

In Vegas for the week—should I go to Penn & Teller? Cirque du Soleil?
Thunder Down Under? Donny & Marie? Nah. I’ll just stick with SMAX.
SMA Magazine August 24, 2011 at 11:38

Show your clients you believe in what you do for a living.
Van Mueller August 26, 2011 at 12:43

Inflation explosion? Is it time to buy gold and bullets and toilet paper?
Tom Hegna August 24, 2011 at 9:08

Top values/assets: honesty, trust, perseverance, energy, empathy, listening.
Simon Reilly August 25, 2011 at 12:50

If there’s even a question about a sale’s suitability, walk away.
Richard Clark August 25, 2011 at 11:57

CPAs have a base of your ideal clients and they have their trust.
Brandon Stuerke August 25, 2011 at 12:48

Don’t get in a fight with a pig. The pig likes it and you both get dirty. Great advice!
Simon Reilly August 25, 2011 at 13:32

Important to implement 6-8 robust marketing strategies to be a successful advisor.
Norm Trainor August 26, 2011 at 13:47

Buyers remorse doesn’t occur in families. Establish a strong relationship.
Tom Brueckner August 25, 2011 at 11:52

JIM BROGAN is named SMA 2011 Advisor of the Year

Jim Brogan just announced national “Advisor of the Year” here in Vegas at SMAX.Congrats Jim!!! Broganfin August 24, 2011 at 17:01

Jim Brogan named SMA 2011 advisor of the year. Says he is humbled by the honor. Thanks his wife for believing in him. SMA Magazine August 24, 2011 at 16:49

Advisor of the Year Jim Brogan says we have to do the right thing 10 out of 10 times.ProducersWEB.com August 25, 2011 at 11:58

Tom Hegna on Retirement Planning

The day you retire all the rules of average returns go out the window.
August 24, 2011 at 9:16

Biggest spending years 46-50. After 50 spending slows. With 78 million boomers “over the hill.” Spending halts–major deflation. August 24, 2011 at 9:36

Inflation not biggest threat for seniors short term. Long term sure. Deflation is biggest current threat. August 24, 2011 at 9:12

Everybody dies but nobody knows when except…life insurance companies. mortality credits. August 24, 2011 at 9:49

Advisors and Social Media

Join the Tweetup! All the cool kids will be there like @normtrainorTCG ; @brooksbrown @broganfin ; @producersweb ; @retirementguys Booth 217 Insurance Mktg August 24, 2011 at 15:05

“Implement social media to receive referrals by association.”
Simon Reilly August 25, 2011 at 13:17

Seniors do use the Internet and email! Brandon Stuerke
August 25, 2011 at 13:26

Wisdom from Larry Winget

With all the bad news, something good occurs— people finally pay attention.
August 24, 2011 at 17:40

Spend less money than you make. It’s that simple.
August 24, 2011 at 17:43

When you mess up, big deal. Admit it, fix it and move on.
August 24, 2011 at 17:45

If people say their life sucks it’s because they suck.
August 24, 2011 at 17:33

1,800 books on amazon use words like secret, success, sales–not a one are a secret.
August 24, 2011 at 16:58

Motivational speakers are liars.
August 24, 2011 at 17:34

Toughest thing a person does is look in the mirror and say I made a mistake. I screwed up.
August 24, 2011 at 17:12

Way to ensure you don’t need to talk to the guy next to you on an airplane: read “How to Sell Insurance on An Airplane.”
August 24, 2011 at 17:55

People are going to die of terminal professionalism.
August 24, 2011 at 17:43

Van Mueller takes center stage

Do you want to be rich or positively guarantee you won’t ever be poor?
August 26, 2011 at 12:58

They don’t buy what you say, they buy how you say it.
August 26, 2011 at 12:44

If financial advisors are losing money, what do you think is happening to the American people?
August 26, 2011 at 12:45

People hate taxes worse than they hate insurance agents!
August 26, 2011 at 13:31

Last thoughts from Vegas

At Senior Market Advisor Expo in Las Vegas! Helping people get paychecks for life!
Askadamgoodman August 26, 2011 at 12:17

When you travel, what kind of food do you like to have?
Craig Ferrantino August 25, 2011 at 9:48

It was 92 degrees at 6 AM! I went on a walk and got to watch the sunrise as I prepared for my SMAX presentation. T-minus 40 minutes!
Craig Ferrantino August 26, 2011 at 10:19

Just arrived home from Senior Market Expo convention in Vegas. Reaped rewards by connecting with vendors and advisors.
4wardmarketing August 26, 2011 at 18:04

Many thanks to the entire team @ Senior Market Advisor Expo for a AAA conference!
Simon Reilly August 26, 2011 at 18:04

5 takeaways from “Minding your P’s and Q’s with prospects”

1. Reduce “marketing” and increase “prospecting” “ Make five phone calls to potential new clients every day and ask them to do something with you. You can meet them for lunch, request names of others that they may know, etc. Blogging, networking (e.g., at Rotary clubs or Chamber of Commerce, etc.) is not prospecting.

2. Learn to indentify a “real prospect” and the qualifications are:

  • Do they buy what I sell? If they have never purchased what you are selling then it’s a huge gamble and time sink getting them up to speed.
  • Do they have money? Self explanatory, except that reps often “assume” the prospect has money from their lifestyle or appearances. Must ask the hard question: “How much can you invest?”
  • Will they buy from me? Most important qualifier. They may fit the first two criteria but their son, niece, neighbor, Rabbi are their current advisor(s) and you will never pull that business away from them.

Ask everyone…

3. If they know about free long-term care money for veterans and their spouses using the Veterans Administration Aid & Attendance program. It is an amazing enhanced pension benefit that almost everyone will want more information.

4. If they are aware of cool secrets and tips to increase or maximize Social Security benefits. These include the double dip and file and suspend strategies. Each year you defer taking Social Security benefits, you earn 8 percent–a great way to earn 8 percent from the U.S. Government.

5. If their parents (or if they are 65 and older themselves) if it would help if they could legally postpone paying home residence property taxes indefinitely. Most states have provisions that allow seniors to defer paying property taxes until they either die or until the homestead is sold, whichever comes first. The amount of interest the deferred taxes accumulate is typically 8 percent, but the point is that many of the living riders on annuities, enhanced death benefits and certainly life insurance death proceeds will provide a higher return upon death than 8 percent. This will free up cash flow now while still providing current and future benefits for the senior and their heirs.

Who will pay for long-term care?
The following comments are from the panel discussion entitled Consumer Disclosure Law: The Changing Face of Long Term Care Funding

Session panelists:
Chris Orestis, CEO of Life Care Funding Group (host and moderator)
Jayne Sallerson, Executive Vice President of Emeritus Senior Living
Rep. Robert Damron, (D-KY) nine-term legislator from Kentucky and immediate past president of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL)
David Kitaen, CLTC, long-term care insurance broker/advocate, with 1,500 clients in California

What are some of the factors changing the face of long-term care funding in the United States today?
Chris Orestis: Our country has begun a demographic sea change with 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 every day. This started on Jan. 1st, 2011 and will continue uninterrupted for the next 20 years. The pressure this is creating on how we will pay for long-term care led Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to declare the aging population and exploding cost of health care as the number one challenge facing the U.S. economy and government budgets.

Jayne, as executive vice president for the largest assisted-living company in the world, what do you see as key
challenges families are facing in today’s environment when trying to pay for senior living and long-term care?
Jayne Sallerson: The equity in the homes of most seniors has eroded and many can’t sell anyway. Pensions and retirement plans have lost tremendous value, and most have not planned with products such as long-term care insurance. Too few families plan for long-term care or even understand the differences between assisted living and skilled nursing, Medicare and Medicaid, Medigap and long-term care insurance and how all of it works. Unfortunately, most families just don’t deal with long-term care until they are in a crisis mode and have very little time and even fewer options. Many people are trapped in their homes and/or are getting insufficient or no care whatsoever based on their conditions and declining ability to live independently and safely.

Making matters worse, programs like Medicare and Medicaid are experiencing huge cuts and the responsibility to pay is being pushed back on the individual and their family.

We are seeing more emphasis on families covering long-term care expenses with private pay dollars, but most have no idea what their options are and where to turn for help.

Dave, as one of the first and longest active LTCI producers in the country, how do you view the current state of affairs
for seniors and long-term care?
David Kitaen: The combination of the toughest economy since the Great Depression, a growing senior population, and cuts to Medicare and Medicaid are making things very difficult for seniors and families confronting the need for long-term care.

This should be the boom years for LTCI with the highest sales levels on record, but sales have not been growing and companies like MetLife have left the market. MetLife leaving the market is like General Motors announcing they no longer will be selling cars.

The cost of long-term care services rises every year but the ability of seniors to pay has been declining since the economic crash of 2008. Seniors need help understanding all of their financial options and how to get full use of any available assets.

Rob, as president of the National Conference of Insurance Legislators (NCOIL), was this situation with long-term
care funding one of the factors contributing to passage of the Life Insurance Consumer Disclosure Model Law?
Rep. Robert Damron: Yes, we saw the billions of dollars in life insurance policies owned by seniors being abandoned by the owners ever year. These seniors did not understand their legal rights of ownership or available options to use these policies in a better way such as to help pay for their costs of long-term care. The motivation behind this model law is to educate policy owners that they have options such as converting their life insurance policy to a long-term care benefit plan that can be set up to help pay for their costs of long-term care every month. We would rather see these policies being used by their owners to address their long-term care needs than be abandoned with the entire policy value going to the insurance company’s bottom line as profit.

What is your prediction for where things are going?
Orestis: Baby boomers started turning 65 this year. That will cause a lot of stress on the system that programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid will have difficulty handling. Moves like the one NCOIL made will be more common. The responsibility to pay for senior housing and long-term care will continue to shift back to the consumer and their family, but the economic crisis will make this a difficult challenge. The ability to tap into private pay options and billions of dollars every year in available life insurance policies will be an important part of the equation that consumers, the long-term care providers and political leaders will not be able to ignore.