Do you ever wonder why you chose a specific career in the insurance or the financial services industry? Have you ever said, “I’m in the wrong profession” or “maybe I should’ve done something else?” I can bet that some of us have been there, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
While it’s true that some people are very passionate about their work, there are always ups and downs that make us question if we are on the right career track. But, that’s life: if there were no ups and downs, it would be boring, don’t you think?
Some days are amazing when you see the fruits of your labor. How you helped grieving families secure their future or just by bringing valuable peace of mind to your clients by helping them purchase their first life insurance policy. Other times, there are deadlines and quotas to fulfill that can dim the light at the end of the tunnel, if only a little.
But that is why there are always tons of little twinkling holiday lights everywhere to bring more light to that “tunnel.” And there’s always something special about Fall and the up-coming holiday season. It’s nostalgia and warmth that keep us sane throughout the cold and cloudy winter months and the magic of getting the whole family together.
And what about Thanksgiving? The day that comes around once a year, when everyone is running about in their kitchens, setting tables to give thanks for that day, month or year.
I’m a firm believer that one should always be grateful, thankful and appreciative every day of the year. And I believe that we have a lot to be thankful for. I’m always thankful for being alive, for having my health, for my great and supportive family, for finding my significant other, for each and every friend and person I’ve ever met because they came into my life for a reason, for having the “gift of the written word,” for my job here at LifeHealthPro.com, for being part of something bigger in this industry, and, above all, I’m thankful that you are reading this. Now, what are you thankful for?
In the spirit of this season, we asked some of our insurance industry friends what they are thankful for. Here are their replies.
“I am thankful for the intention, passion and commitment of the many people who have shaped this industry’s past and grateful to know a few who have chosen to shape its future.” – Maria Ferrante-Schepis, M.B.A., CLU, is managing principal, insurance and financial services, for Maddock Douglas in Elmhurst, Ill.
“I am thankful for an industry that has provided a very comfortable, prosperous living for my family for 29 years through the creation of innovative products.” – Kim Magdalein, owner of SeminarsForLess.com. He entered the industry in 1985 and went into private practice in 2001, serving the Jacksonville, Fla., retirement community.
“I’m thankful that the LifeHealthPro readers are out there in the trenches, trying to help consumers be more prosperous and more secure. I’m thankful that interest rates are sure to go up, sooner or later, because nothing stays the same forever. I’m thankful that operational status of HeathCare.gov generates so much suspense. Who woulda thunk an insurance sales website could be so interesting?” – Allison Bell, LifeHealthPro.com health insurance channel editor.
“I’m thankful to be part of an industry that works to show people the benefits of putting family above money. I’m thankful to work in an industry where a promise on a piece of paper can provide financial peace of mind for someone who has just lost a loved one.” – Nic West, director at PinneyInsurance.com.
“As I work with life insurance industry executives, I continue to be thankful for the commitment they have to the core values of our business. Universally, they believe that what we do is to protect families in times of loss, and to provide income for retirement. In addition, I am thankful that our industry continues to look to LIMRA and LOMA to be the trusted source of industry knowledge.” – James W. Kerley, LLIF, chief membership officer, LIMRA, LOMA, LL Global.
“I am thankful for all of the gifts I have gotten in life and blessed to be a professional that gets to guide others when life happens.” – Nolan Baker, co-founder of Retirement Guys Network.
“I am grateful that the industry has had the strength to persevere over the past five years and the courage to challenge traditional assumptions about their business models for the benefit of their policyholders.” - David P. Hollander, principal, Global Insurance Advisory Leader, EY.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity to help Americans plan for their financial futures, and for the chance to work with some of the most talented and dedicated people in the industry every day. Our associates’ passion and commitment helps to drive our company forward and define retirement in new and innovative ways. I find it truly rewarding to be a part of something so important.” - Greg P. Cicotte, president of Jackson National Life Distributors LLC.
“The thing I give thanks for every morning when I wake is the FREEDOM being an independent agency gives you. Yes, this business requires a lot of hours, but you get to choose when, how, why, where, and with whom you spend them. There is nothing in this world like that feeling to me. I had to fight to get here and, not to get all patriotic or anything, but I will fight until the end of my days to preserve that freedom.” – Mindy Lamont, founder & CEO of The Insurist.
“I am thankful every day to all the people in our industry who share their ideas and insights with us. This allows us to assist the American people in achieving financial independence in the most efficient way possible.” - Van Mueller, LUTCF, is an insurance agent, professional writer and speaker.
“Thanksgiving is a very important holiday at my house. It’s a time for our extended family to come together and share experiences and how they’ve made an impact on our lives. I am not the only mother who had a child on Thanksgiving Day, but even today, 40 years later, I remind him he was the only turkey I got that day, and he was worth the sacrifice.
First and foremost, I am thankful for the gift of life, not just my own but the lives of others who have influenced me personally, and professionally. Sometime, someone in my past helped me see that I could make a difference in the lives of others I touched, if I applied my training, my knowledge and my heart. It is that passion that drives our business model and my work with individuals less fortunate. We are given the opportunity, every day to change the lives of the clients we serve. We have the knowledge to guide them through a very confusing and difficult world, the world of insurance. When we don’t have answers within our scope of product, we have the privilege of helping them through other options that can, at the very least, secure quality health care when it’s most often needed. It’s not just another sale, more commission revenue to me. Our business is indeed a calling.” - Carolyn L. Goodwin, SGS, Certified – Consumer Directed Health Plans, CBC Principal, Goodwin Benefits Group.
“American playwright Thornton Wilder wrote, ‘We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.’ That seems to me to be the essence of Thanksgiving, and why the giving of thanks is such a treasured and joyous tradition.
Just as the original Thanksgiving celebration was prompted by a good harvest, I have been blessed with a good harvest of great friends and interesting and engaging acquaintances. Some of those are ‘work friends’ but many more are relationships I have acquired through having been privileged to serve our industry in a variety of roles over the years. Service is the one constant in life that always gives back more than your investment.
Finally, it seems that with all of the change and chaos in the benefits industry these days, I am conscious of what a treasure it is to live in a country that contractually guarantees me the opportunity to pursue happiness.” - David A. Saltzman, RHU, DIA, is principal of The Saltzman Group.
“I’m thankful for amazing partners, such as U.S. Paralympics. For 20 years, U.S. Paralympic athletes have embodied The Hartford’s Ability Philosophy — a focus on abilities, not physical limitations — and served as an inspiration for us all.” - Laura Marzi, assistant vice-president of marketing and sponsorship, Group Benefits, The Hartford.
“I am thankful for Sagicor Life Insurance Company and their new no-medical exam product. I am thankful for digital signatures and one-day underwriting. I am thankful for premium payments by credit card and ACH. I am thankful for being in an industry that is taking advantage of new technologies.” - Brian Greenberg, president of True Blue Life Insurance.
“I’m thankful for this industry because it gives me the opportunity to touch people’s lives in a way no other can. Every day, I’m able to deliver good news to families throughout my community.
From helping to plan clients’ retirement, to advising them on developing tax-efficient strategies for choosing insurance products and filing for Social Security, I feel deeply honored to play a beneficial role in their lives.
There’s also a personal component to gratitude I have for the insurance industry. When my father, my brother-in-law, and five of my father’s employees, lost their lives in a plane crash, I experienced the same overwhelming grief my clients feel upon the unexpected death of loved ones.
As a result, it is deeply gratifying for me to know my clients are well prepared to navigate life’s challenges without the added stress of making financial decisions when a loved one passes on.
For these reasons, I am deeply thankful for being part of an industry that makes a profoundly positive difference in people’s lives.” - George Chambers is Chief Innovation Officer and co-founder of Megastar Advisors, LLC.
“I am grateful for our 12,000 agents who work tirelessly all year long so that families can stay in their homes after a devastating loss. So that kids can go to college and stay in their homes. So that couples can retire with dignity and peace of mind. So that caregivers don’t have to sacrifice their own well being (emotional and financial) due to a need for long-term care. And so that those of us who work in the home office have policyholders to serve. In short, without our agents, we could not fulfill our mission as a company.” - Chris Blunt, co-president of the Insurance and Agency Group, New York Life.
“I am thankful for the dedication and professionalism of the agents and advisors who represent our industry and always keep their clients’ needs foremost in their planning.” - Marvin Feldman, president & CEO of Life Happens.