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Retirement Planning > Social Security

Indispensable help: Experts to help you succeed in your practice

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We must do the best job we can for our prospects and clients. Having quality information and staying current are vital to providing superior advice to our clients. But we can’t read everything!  So how do we get the most bang for our buck — and make sure that the information is reliable?

To help you cut through the noise, I have compiled a list of people whom I refer to regularly. They keep me informed with information about the economy, Social Security, health care, the markets, government and insurance. These experts keep me armed with the important and up-to-date information I need to provide the best ideas and strategies for my clients.

Even though these names will appear in a certain order in this column, their importance varies as needed by my prospects and clients. This list should be used as a starting point to compile your list of experts. It will increase your knowledge and your professionalism dramatically.

My list begins with Ed Slott, the IRA guru. Ed is an accountant who explains that the most important benefit in our tax code is the tax exclusion for life insurance cash values and death benefits if the policy is established correctly. I attend his meetings whenever possible, I watch him on public television, I read everything that he publishes and I purchase all of his books, CDs and DVDs. His importance to our industry is immeasurable. His information and advice are vital to my practice.

Tom Hegna, the annuity and retirement expert, also provides tremendous value to my practice. I have all his books and media. And I read and save every article he writes. He helps me provide successful retirement solutions for my clients.

For Social Security expertise, I start with Mary Beth Franklin. Her books and column provide the knowledge I require to provide valuable advice. I also depend on Boston University economist Laurence J. Kotlikoff. He is considered to be one of the premier experts for maximizing Social Security benefits, and his knowledge about the “fiscal gap” — the unfunded liability for Social Security, Medicare and all other government and private pensions — is vital. Kotlikoff calculates this gap to be over $210 trillion!

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David Walker, former Comptroller of the United States, also provides insight about shortfalls and the effect they will have on our economy.

For information about the economy and the markets, I look to three people. Harry Dent keeps me informed about demographics and their continued impact on our economy. Martin Weiss is my safety expert because he identifies safe products and strategies for my clients. Professor Robert Shiller of Yale University is a winner of the Nobel Prize in economics and co-creator of the S&P Case/Shiller housing index. Professor Shiller’s analysis of our economy helps me to determine client recommendations.

My government sources are obviously Federal Reserve Chairperson Janet Yellen and (not so obviously) House Ways and Means Chairperson Paul Ryan. They have an enormous impact on how the government will impose itself on the economy and my clients’ lives.

Phyllis Shelton provides beneficial long-term care expertise. She has helped me better understand the vital role this coverage plays in the lives of the American people.

Finally, when it comes to annuities and guaranteed income, I depend on three academics: Dr. John Huggard, Dr. David Babbel, and Jack Marrion. They provide mathematical proof that our products are the most efficient way to achieve retirement success.

Obviously there are many other experts that I rely on, but this is a great starting point. Please use this as a guide to begin a list of your own experts you can depend on.