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21 reasons to love being an annuity advisor

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Selling annuities might not seem like the most glamorous job in the world, unless you are Real Housewife of Orange County Vicky Gunvalson … then yes, yes it is as glamorous as one can imagine. Gunvalson, who runs a $15 million annuity business, is also passionate about helping others, as she told our Annuities Channel Editor, Daniel Williams.

And she’s not alone in feeling this way about annuities or helping people. Every day we interview, read, or write about people in this industry who are passionate about what they do. Some have lived through difficult experiences with their families or friends, which became the catalyst that got them into this business.

In honor of Annuity Awareness Month, here are some of the reasons why we eat, breathe, live and love being annuity agents.


1. You are doing what’s best for the client.

“It’s simply about doing what’s best for the client. Being able to develop solid, sensible income plans serves clients well and can generate more quality business.”

– Anthony Tocco


2. You chase worthy goals. 

“To new advisors I would say, if this is your true passion, you’re going to go through some bad times. This is not an easy career. If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. You’ve got to have a strong team behind you. And I believe in mentorship. So find somebody who is successful in your area and latch on to them. Learn from them. I didn’t have that. I did it all myself. I knew what I had to produce every single month in order to make my bills, and I never ever stopped until I made those goals. So on my board in my office, I have a goal sheet and I hit those goals every month. That way I never fall behind.”

– Vicki Gunvalson


3. You control your destiny.

“I’ve always thought of my firm, and still do, as little and up against superior competition – and [I] think, “How do I get by?” The superior competition may be the huge financial services firms, but it’s also true that the biggest superior force you can ever be up against is the market. I had to be able to engage the superior force without having it take me under, which meant that I had to zig when others were zagging and not be taken in by the crowd that might otherwise trample or stampede me or run me over.”

– Ken Fisher


4. You instill confidence in clients.

“It seems annuity owners are smiling these days. LIMRA found that owning an annuity increases confidence in achieving a secure retirement lifestyle. An optimistic fact: Nine out of 10 affluent households with an annuity are confident in their retirement security. Even better, more than 70 percent of annuity owners are willing to recommend annuities to their friends and family members, and four out of five annuity owners agree that annuities are a good fit for their financial needs.”

– Emily Holbrook, Editor in Chief for National Underwriter Life & Health and Retirement Advisor, and Markets Channel Editor for wrote last week

5. Every generation needs you. 

“We have many generations we are serving. It’s so important for us to be relevant and address each age group. We can’t sell the same way to the same people all the time. (…) Maybe we give control to the consumer and try to not sell anything. At our company, we’ve changed from a sales-oriented firm to a coaching and advising firm. We want to help the client get to the answer. We’ve seen an uptick in our sales of over 30 percent. It’s doing the same thing, just in a different way.”

– Melinda Meyer

6. You have flexibility … and no shareholders.

“I entered this business to truly be independent, in order to make decisions that are best for my clients and for me. I do not have a boss or shareholders to satisfy. I do not place any agenda above that of my clients’ and my own. (…) Maybe the lifestyle practice is not the way things used to be, and maybe it’s not the path to industry fame. But, even so, we operate in a world where an advisor can grow a very nice lifestyle practice with a single support person, access to very high-tech investment solutions, dozens of insurance carriers, and communication platforms that allow for a powerful cohesive message to attract the very clients we wish to work with.”

– Adam Cufr

tony robbins

7. You can admire what Tony Robbins says about annuities … or not.

“As a Motley Fool subscriber and part-time admirer, I have to admit that I was a little disappointed at their recent hosing of Tony Robbins’ new book, “Money: Master the Game.” Robbin’s first book effort in nearly 20 years shows why we are both getting old. We will never be tried by a jury of our peers because soon there will be none. The ones that remain, however, should realize that indexed annuities are a good solid way for the right client to create a personal pension or as a bond substitute. (…) Annuity savers buy for two simple reasons: peace of mind and the comfort of knowing that they cannot outlive their income. (…) Maybe Tony Robbins and I do burn the midnight oil until 9:00 p.m. now, but his two chapters on indexed annuities explain why safety and lifetime income as a pension alternative to stocks and bonds will not be burned over the next decade.”

– Kevin Startt

(Image: AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)

8. If a client buys once, they’ll likely buy again.

“Clients who have annuities often buy more [annuities]. So wherever you fall on the love-or-hate annuities spectrum, when you talk to your clients this month about their financial resolutions, talk annuities. 2015’s annuities can help you deliver real value to your clients. Plus, there’s benefit to your practice. How? By reducing income risk, clients have greater capacity to bear market risk — and be better positioned for growth — in the rest of their portfolio.”

– David Cruz

9. With the right partners, there’s peace of mind in it for you, too.

“I love the business side of this industry, so being able to find partners who share a vision of growing this organization is very gratifying to me personally. We’re growing at a 20 percent to 30 percent annual rate and I’m spending most of my time doing what I love to do, so that’s fulfilling. I also have peace of mind knowing the success of the organization doesn’t all rest on my shoulders.”

– Randy Morris

10. A strong team only makes your job better. 

“I feel I have more energy and enthusiasm about the business than I’ve ever had. It’s revitalizing to be part of a team, to understand where you fit and where you bring value. It’s also nice to have partners, teams and a support infrastructure to rely on, so that I know every client’s needs will be served.”

– Jim Beverly

11. Annuities can’t heal a broken heart, but can heal a worried mind.

“Because I specialize in retirement income planning, I have the distinct honor of earning the trust of thoughtful aging men who want from me, more than anything else, the peace that comes from knowing that I will stand by the plan we create and care for his wife, should he pass before she does. He’s looking for you to do for her financially, what he would have lovingly done for her, should he have lived forever by her side. (…)She simply needs income without fail, a box of tissues, and time. An income annuity cannot heal a broken heart, but it certainly can heal a worried mind. Our clients deserve no less.”

– Adam Cufr

12. You can draw comparisons between the work you do and climbing a mountain.

“If you’ve ever done any mountain climbing, you may know that approximately 90 percent of the major accidents and fatalities happen on the way down the mountain, versus while climbing up the mountain. You will find there is a great analogy here that can help your clients understand how dangerous it can be if they choose to go it alone.

There are two vastly different strategies to consider when looking at income distribution plans for our clients. The first strategy involves looking forward and gauging what level of retirement income will be needed in the future. This is done while climbing up the mountain. The second strategy — which is far more complex and dangerous, and I believe largely misunderstood — is helping design a strategy for withdrawing income during retirement, or while climbing down the mountain. (…) When financial advisors are asked to construct a sound retirement income strategy, you could easily argue this all-important strategy can be compared to hiring a mountain climbing guide to help someone climb down a mountain. Both jobs require a tremendous amount of hard work and expertise, and both jobs have the ultimate objective of making sure their clients avoid a large fall that could cause irreparable losses.”

– Christopher P. Hill

13. You know there is life after the crisis.

“We, as an industry, have a ways to go, but I think there’s a lot of opportunity there. Now that we’ve kind of shaken out from the financial crisis and the product pricing changes, I think people can turn their focus to that customer experience aspect and efficiency, and I think that will serve everybody well.”

– Elizabeth Forget

14. This formula could make your job easier.

“Let me show you a formula I have been working on for years. It is the formula for how people make a purchase decisions, and it is profoundly simple. People buy when Current Dissatisfaction x Future Promise > Cost + Fear. This formula is the answer to every sales problem. (…) Your customer needs to realize the discomfort resulting from not buying your product, and I believe the formula makes that clear. It’s not about how great the deal is, and it is certainly not about your slick presentation. A sale is based on a raging Customer Dissatisfaction, a striking Future Promise, and a manageable level of Cost + Fear. The sooner customers make a move, the sooner their lives improve.”

– Jeff Shore

15. Annuities are replacing pensions … and quickly. 

“Pensions are a little scary these days. Most corporate pensions are going to be ‘okay,’ but government pensions have overpromised. It’s concerning to me that pensions haven’t been treated as sacred. These issues leave annuities as the solution.”

– Tom Hegna

16. You understand the power of money. 

“Money is a very powerful force in our lives – for better or worse. It all depends on how we manage it. The core question we have to ask ourselves and our clients is, ‘What does money mean to you?’”

– Jay Cherney

17. You have a ready stream of prospects.

“You have to approach everything from the client’s point of view. If I come to you and say, ‘I’m really trying to grow my business. Who do you know who recently got married, has a need for this service, etc.?’ Then I’m posing it as ‘you need to help me.’

What I’d rather do is be there when you’re trying to help your friend. Now the client is helping their friend, instead of their advisor.” 

– Michael Morrow


18. Your expertise is an irreplaceable asset.

“Often, the key differentiator is the advisor or firm’s ability to provide a multi-dimensional, integrated plan, of which investment management is merely one part, and to work face-to-face with clients to develop, implement and update that plan. Having expertise in areas such as retirement, life insurance and long-term care planning, as well as business succession, tax and estate planning, is what will continue to separate flesh-and-blood advisors and firms from robos.”

– David Port

19. Your job demands that you keep on growing and learning.

“Now, more than ever, our clients need us to be agile, confident, and competent. May you continue learning, growing, and serving.”

– Adam Cufr 

20. You are valuable.  

“Post these three points above your desk and remind yourself of them often. By remembering how your actions serve, you can shift the paradigm and eliminate your fear of putting yourself out there.

1. You’re the best at doing what you do. If not, you’re working to become the best. You’ll try harder and care more than anyone else.

2. People who need the services you provide must get them from somewhere. If you’re not communicating with them, they’ll get those services from someone else.

3. Attracting clients is the result of making sure they make the right choice.”

- Sandy Schussel

21. You can evolve to stay relevant.

“If you are questioning the viability of your practice, now is the time to it address the issue and improve your future. For my own career I created what I call the 11th commandment. Don’t look for it in the Bible, it’s not there, but it works for me. It’s ‘thou shalt not kid myself.’

My practice has had two major remakes in the last 15 years. I switched from an emphasis on life insurance to annuities in 2001. In the last year I switched from an emphasis on annuities to a fee-based practice. I still sell life insurance and annuities with excellent results, I just change the way I dress for the party.

A sincere, reflective and honest evaluation of your practice may make it a better one for years to come.”

– Kim Magdalein

See also:

42 reasons to love being an insurance agent

Confessions of the insurance industry: 17 reasons we are thankful


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