With 36 years in the industry, Marty Higgins saw an impressive $13 million in production in 2011. His success is due largely to the fact that he has a carefully defined target market. On working with seniors, Higgins says, “It’s funny because when I was younger I didn’t have the patience to work with someone 40 years older than me. It was also perhaps that I didn’t have the experience or confidence and was masking it with a lack of patience. Now, however, since I am closer in age to that demographic at 57, I feel more of an affinity to serve and help them navigate the most important financial decisions of their lives.”
Higgins’ investment philosophy is simple: “It’s not about beating the S&P. The money is there to meet your goals.” Here he shares five tips for managing that money — and the needs of your clients — well.
See also: Marty Higgins on Maximizing Productivity
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1. Look at the big picture.
When Higgins meets with a new client, his first step is to ascertain the client’s goals in retirement. Next, he literally maps out everything from their interests (cooking and travel, say) to their family relationships to their assets and their short and long-term goals. He prints all of this information out and assembles it on a laminated board.
But instead of actively managing the client’s money by picking stocks and bonds, he leaves that to a money manager. By doing so, he can focus on cultivating client relationships and making sure the client’s overall objectives are being met.
He uses a baseball analogy to describe his management process: Suppose the client is the owner and he’s the general manager of the client’s retirement savings. As GM, it’s up to Higgins to hire the right money manager to handle an individual client’s investments, much like a baseball manager manages the players on the field.
2. Don’t try to do everything.
Higgins firmly believes that specialization is the key to success. “I believe that you can manage people, or you can manage money,” he says. “Pick one. People say they’re going to manage the client relationship and then they sit in front of a quote channel picking stocks and bonds and rebalancing everything. It’s two separate jobs.”