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Industry Spotlight > Women in Wealth

On the importance of self-determination

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I want to follow last month’s column by talking about some additional misrepresentations that must be understood by all insurance and financial professionals.

Misrepresentations are plentiful. For example, much is being written about the increased wealth of Americans since 2009. But recently, analysts at JP Morgan and Cornerstone Macro both concluded that the $13.6 trillion in increased wealth was supported by $11.5 trillion of Federal Reserve bond buying and printing. Let’s be honest, that is not real wealth. The next crash will destroy all of that and then some.

There are also misrepresentations about inflation, unemployment, debt, interest rates, health care costs, etc.  We must help our prospects and clients understand these issues so we can make sure that they are not harmed by them.

But the biggest misrepresentation is the idea that the government will be there to take care of you. Our greatest service is helping our clients take control of their lives, so they do not have to worry about whether the government will able to keep its promises.

I am writing this column on election night. The Republican Party overwhelmingly won the midterm elections. For the next two years, they will control the House and the Senate and they now also hold a vast majority of state governors. As a result, many of our prospects and clients will tell us that their worries are over, because their party won. They do not have to do anything now, because the government will protect them.

But the side that lost will say that they will wait for two years, until their party comes back into power, and then the government will protect them. This will go back and forth as it has now for over a generation.

Neither of these groups of Americans will be prepared for a long and challenging future. How do I know? Because 75 percent of all Americans retire or die with less than $25,000 in assets. If we have another downturn, could that percentage increase? If we have another downturn, could that amount decline? Of course.

I have said many times that I do not think it matters what my political opinions are. But you all know that I believe in self-determination. This country and this industry gave me an opportunity to build a career and a life. If I just was given subsistence, I would not have reached beyond myself. I recognize there are many complexities about this issue, and we could debate all day.

Here is my point: The Republicans will accomplish little or nothing with their opportunity, because what is wrong cannot be fixed by government. Alan Greenspan, our former Federal Reserve Chairman, was answering questions at an event, and he actually admitted that the government will never be able to keep the promises it has made. Quite simply, it is mathematically impossible to do so.

This is not bad news; at least it does not have to be. It only becomes bad news if you are not prepared for it. It can be a spectacular opportunity if you do prepare. Our clients must be helped to understand the risks they face. The only way to successfully turn those challenges into opportunities is by preparing with a professional from our industry.

The wealthiest people on the planet were born from the Depression. They became wealthy because they saved and lived within their means. Our opportunity comes from selling the greatest saving vehicles ever invented. We must connect saving to achieving wealth.

How can you not love what you do?


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