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 LifeHealthPro.com 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
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.”