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Selling annuities in a volatile market, part 1

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The crash of 2008 rocked consumers. Four years later many of them are still reeling from the aftershocks. How can advisors combat the uncertainty?

On October 30, we held a webcast to discuss these issues. Besides myself, the talk included Mark Pruitt, CEO, president and founder of Strategic Estate Planning Services Inc., and Jeff Bucher, president and co-founder of Citizen Advisory Group.

If you missed the webcast, I urge you to check out an audio replay of it and/or you can download the slides from our discussion. You can find it on

As I mentioned above, the crash of 2008 has had a lingering impact on consumers. Many are scared. Others are distrustful of financial institutions. What’s an annuity advisor to do?

That’s the $10,000 dollar question we’ve been asking since the crash occurred. In future installments, I’ll bring in more insight from both Mark Pruitt and Jeff Bucher. For today, I wanted to give you more background on what we’ve been doing at Senior Market Advisor and also encourage you to leave a comment below on what you’ve done to calm clients or send me an email at [email protected].

At SMA, what we’ve seen in talking with advisors and consumers is an opportunity for more coaching from advisors. We’ve also seen a logical move to more safety with investments. That makes sense when you think about it. Just in the last decade or so consumers have been burned time and again.

First you had the dot-com bubble burst at the beginning of last decade. That was followed by the housing bubble, which I was covering in Southern California and witnessed much of that devastation firsthand. And, finally, the markets crashed in 2008.

With all that volatility, it seems a perfect fit that consumers would make a flight to safety. Some have, but others are still holding out. I know, from talking to many of you, that you’ve been a true advisor to these shell-shocked consumers. You’ve guided them through some rough times and gotten them locked into safe products such as annuities.

From our most recent survey, we learned additional information from senior clients that we found interesting. We asked seniors: “What is the number one thing you are looking for in a financial advisor?”

  • 59 percent said trust.
  • 25 percent said experience.
  • Only 4 percent said they put the highest value on a variety of products.

This is great news for readers of our pages and website. You’ve built relationships with these clients over years, even decades. And these clients aren’t out there looking for the shiny new toy. They’re looking for safety. They’re looking for an opportunity to have their money with them throughout their retirement. Annuities and other safe products are a great way to help them reach those goals.

We also asked them: “What is the number one thing you look to avoid in an advisor?”

  • 66 percent said “pushy” sales types.
  • 21 percent said “too expensive.”

Ultimately, these clients and prospects are looking for trust, experience, safety and an advisor who can lead them threw the volatile times. We’ll be back next week with more info on why annuities are the right call in volatile times.

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