Retirement Analyzer

Amazingly, 4 out of 5 Americans do not understand even the basics of how to successfully plan for a financially secure retirement.  According to a new study released by The American College of Financial Services, the 2020 Retirement Income Literacy Survey discovered major gaps in savings knowledge.

Here are some of the findings from the report:

  • 8 out of 10 people failed a 38-question online quiz on financial literacy, with an average score of just 42%.
  • Nearly 4 out of 10 consumers reported feeling highly prepared for the market downturn associated with the pandemic, and what made a difference in consumers’ perception of preparedness was having a formal, written retirement plan.
  • Only 1 out of 3 respondents reported having a written plan.

As financial advisors we have a huge opportunity to help our clients develop a written retirement plan to bring them peace and security into their retirement years. Some advisors struggle with the right program or software to help accomplish this.

Retirement Analyzer Pro and Pro+ are easy-to-use, end-to-end financial planning software packages that allow you to create and share financial plans while modeling any type of financial strategy. Your clients will appreciate the simplicity and professionalism of the plans you provide. That is why so many Asset Advisors are currently using this tool to close sales.

By signing up for this important program before 2/28/21, your relationship with Asset gives you a highly discounted rate. Normally $798 annually, you can receive an amazing price of $300. That’s a $498 annual savings! For $25.00 a month, you can be providing your clients with their written robust, yet simple retirement plan.  (Rate increases to $360 on 3/1/21.)

Click here for the Quick Start Guide for Retirement Analyzer

Planning is the Gift of Love

Bruce Beaty, ChFC, RICP – VP Business Consultant

February, otherwise known as Hallmark and florist appreciation month, is the month for love. There are different types of love; amorous, romantic love, puppy love, and the love we have for our families, children, etc. 

You are uniquely positioned to help clients express their love to their loved ones in so many different capacities. But perhaps the most important way is to help your client have a plan.  

Ask yourself, why don’t people plan?  What parent would not want to spare their child pain, or avert disaster for a surviving spouse?  What patriarch or matriarch wouldn’t want to improve the life paths of their children and grandchildren?   Who doesn’t want to create a legacy? 

Planning is the epitome of expressing love to the family. Think about it, why would someone not have a plan for retirement, long-term care, life insurance, or estate planning?  Not having a plan does not mean the prospect does not care, it means they are scared or they do not understand the topic the way you do.  If they did, they would have a plan. 

Being prepared can help avoid pain and create positive moments. Imagine facilitating conversations between clients and their heirs, collaborating on their estate planning rather than waiting for the
posthumous bomb to drop in the attorney’s office.  What if that dialogue included spending money during their lifetime to celebrate the family, for what would have otherwise gone to probate and estate taxes?

Envision the freedom that is created with a lifetime income plan, and how that frees up resources for things like helping the children start that business or buy that home?  It is all about creating value and giving permission to spend and enjoy where possible. 

Picture the gift that is created with leverage, like long-term care planning that protects the estate from spend down or protects the surviving spouse from impoverishment.

Consider also the multi-generational approach to life insurance. I cannot imagine how we get through the future without a significant increase in taxes and potentially a volatile economy.  The gift of large life insurance death benefits may make the difference between the “haves and have-nots” of the future.

Here is a closing thought, helping clients to create a Legacy is primarily about lessons and values they impart to their families, however creating the financial resources to accompany those lessons brings that transference to life. 

If you are not helping your clients protect their assets from probate, estate settlement fees, and the headaches associated with the estate planning process (both during life and after) it is time to start, and we can help you.  If you are not proficient at creating retirement income blueprints that help clients create income floors they cannot outlive, dig in with us.  If you are not yet comfortable with creating generational wealth, don’t wait!  Call us today for assistance and resources to help you master these sales opportunities.

Women in Finance
Marketing Ideas

There are many creative marketing ideas to appeal to the female consumer. This audience, which often is the financial decider in the family, craves information. But because of women’s intrinsic qualities of being relationship driven, driven by a purpose, multi taskers, and masterful communicators, you have more opportunity to attract this audience.

Consider some of these unique ideas for your next marketing event:

  • Financial workshop (still relevant)
  • February, Galentine’s event
  • Wine tasting experience (in person or online)
  • Online mixology class
  • Online cooking class
  • Create a dream board

Women thrive when interacting with others, and hands on experiences help people in general to learn better.

We encourage you to call your Marketing or Business Consultant to learn how to capitalize on these ideas and discover what tools Asset has available for you when pursuing a women in finance niche.

Purpose Driven Women in Financial Services

Dee Costa, Sr. VP Business Consultant

The country is seeing a shift from a primarily male-dominated financial industry to a rapidly growing female demographic, with both female advisors and female clients, and this growing presence has forced a cultural shift. In fact, the female demographic is stronger than ever before.  In this article, Asset Marketing Systems would like to focus on a few specific attributes that female advisors possess and also shed some light on how all advisors can benefit from understanding the differences between female and male financial decision-makers. 

Statistics show that women are living longer, earning and inheriting sizeable sums of money, and becoming more engaged in the process of managing their wealth. In 2020 women controlled $72 trillion dollars of wealth, and according to Financial Advisor Magazine, two-thirds of the nation’s wealth will be controlled by women in 2030.

Women bring a plethora of unique and natural strengths to the world, but these intrinsic qualities make women excellent clients and advisors.

  1. Women are relationship-minded
  2. Women are driven by a purpose
  3. Women are masterful communicators


Women desire a more balanced, holistic approach to finance.  Because women tend to be relationship-minded, they are more inclined to invest in long-term relationships with their advisors, and the woman-to-woman connection with like-minded female advisors adds strength to the equation.  They want to form a true connection.  Nurtured by nature, most think of money differently than just the numbers.  Families, charities, and in general relational connections weigh in on their financial decisions.  Perhaps most important, women are usually motivated by a purpose that runs deeper than a paycheck. 

Driven By a Purpose

Many women in the industry came into the business because of a personal experience.  Either they were beneficiaries of life insurance after their spouse died prematurely, or they were left stranded by the lack of life insurance.  Some were impacted by seeing family members who suffered financially due to an absence of planning for things like Long Term Care.  These experiences, especially coming from a female advisor, create a purpose that female clients can connect with.

For any advisor, developing the “why” that reveals a little about who you are and your reason for becoming a financial advisor helps create a stronger, more intimate connection.  We all have a story inside of us that drives why we do what we do.  Before you can “speak” about your why you need to “investigate” your why, digging deep to explore your feelings and your desires to help you recognize what truly drives you.  From there, you will create a script so powerful that every word coming out of your mouth rings true and aligns with your actions, marketing, and business process.  This one story will inspire more interest in your services, create a foundation of trust, and clarify your purpose in a magnetic way that ultimately attracts your ideal clients.  The “why” is your bulls-eye!

By implementing a purpose-driven practice, you will no longer question your value.  You will have more confidence that you are earning your fees, and you will feel less stressed and more organized.  Your focus will be clear.

Masterful Communicators

Because your marketing message is a true reflection of you and your beliefs, it will hold its value for many years.  So make sure that as you market yourself and your services, you present yourself in a way that truly stands out.  Be very image conscious! 

Choose a course of marketing that fits with who you are.  If speaking in front of people makes you break out in a cold sweat, that’s probably not a good choice for you.  If you love to host webinars, make sure you plan one every few months and incorporate that into your brand.

When marketing to the female client, choose your words and images strategically. Depending on where you live and what is open, there are many creative ways to attract female clients. See the Marketing Minute for ideas.

Everything you do must be driven by what works for you and your market.  This is your business, your unique message; own it, embrace it, and broadcast it far and wide.

Leveraging female attributes in the financial world creates a profound impact. It softens the process to become more personal.  It encourages trust, communicates a sense of ethics, and forms an environment where all of your clients feel well cared for.

Asset has several marketing tools available to help you capitalize on this growing market.  We invite you to be a part of our demographic movement to meet the needs of female advisors and clients. 

It’s Annual Review Time!

Mia Dempsey, Manager New Business

A lot can change in a person’s life in as short a time as a month. Any number of events could occur ranging from a death in the family to a wedding or the birth of a child or grandchild. All of these happenings could change their financial, estate planning, or legacy needs.  

Scheduling an annual client review is often overlooked in the financial planning process. Having a face-to-face or personalized Zoom meeting with your client to go over their progress and discuss any adjustments is essential to creating that deeper connection. They want to feel like a part of the “family” and something as simple as sitting down for an hour to discuss their goals, needs, and life updates can be the difference between loyalty and switching to another advisor. Let’s also mention that increased customer allegiance leads to more referrals! The more an individual feels they can trust you, and that you care, the more likely they are to encourage their friends and family to work with you.

Meeting with your client to go over their portfolio and its performance over the course of the year will also allow you to seamlessly uncover new assets they may have come into since your last meeting.  Asset’s Annual Client Review Kit will help guide you through the process and make the experience easy and meaningful for clients.

Here is what’s included in the Asset Annual Review Kit:

  • A customizable letter inviting your client to sit down with you
  • A comprehensive checklist to utilize during the meeting to be sure you cover all necessary topics.
  • An educational video of Angela Sloan discussing why client reviews are so important to her practice and the immense benefits they provide.

Set yourself apart from the competition and create deeper, everlasting relationships with your clients. Download the Annual Client Review Kit today and be sure to contact your Marketing Consultant to get more information about Annual Client reviews. 

The Gift of “Tax-Free”

Rayna Beaty, Marketing Communications Specialist / Asset Advisor

Give your clients the gift of “tax-free” retirement by educating them on the power of Roth IRA conversions and Life Insurance. Through these concepts, clients can enjoy tax-free retirement income and leave a tax-free legacy to heirs.  Today let’s focus on the Roth Conversion.

Do you believe taxes will be going up or going down in the future? Many believe that because of the $27 Trillion US debt and change in political parties there is a greater chance that taxes will soon be on the rise. Not meant to be a political statement but more of an economic statement, if you compare previous tax tables from 2016 to current, you will find a drastic reduction.  Even if taxes revert to where they were, that will still be a significant increase. By the way, you can find the 2016 tax tables online and they work well as a sales piece to explain this concept.

How does this affect your clients plan for retirement?  Most retirement portfolios consist of 401(k)s or mutual funds — all taxable dollars.  If taxes will likely increase, wouldn’t it make sense to start looking at tax-free vehicles now? Furthermore, if they plan on leaving a monetary legacy, do you believe their heir’s taxes will be even higher than theirs?

While Roth conversions are not complicated, there are certain measures you will want to take to make sure you are minimizing your client’s tax consequences. For example, you may want to point out how much to convert to avoid bracket creep, perhaps use a laddering method if the conversion amount is larger.  

Roth IRA benefits include:

  • No required minimum distributions—you keep your money and only spend it when you want to.
  • No pre-59 ½ early withdrawal penalties—if all rules are followed.
  • Reducing or eliminating the Medicare surtax. Distributions from a Roth are not included in the Modified Adjusted Gross Income threshold that determines the surtax.
  • Contributions can be made with after-tax dollars if you continue to work, no matter what age you are.  

There may not be a better time to consider a Roth IRA or Roth Conversion than right now. Tax diversifying your client’s portfolio is extremely important.  To help you have this conversation with your clients or to attract new clients, please visit the Portal to access our turnkey Roth IRA conversion sales tools kit.

To learn more about the “how-to” for Roth conversions, and what that conversation means to your bottom line, watch this recorded webinar.

If you are looking for Roth conversion product solutions, register for our upcoming webinar on Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. PST. Register here.

The New Face of LTC – It’s a Matter of Having the Conversation

Bruce Beaty, ChFC, RICP – VP Business Consultant

Wow! This segment of the industry has changed. My grandmother sold nursing home insurance for a brief time.  When it came time to use it, it was a very good policy and it required her to be in a nursing home.  The problem was the she wanted to be at home.  She was in her mid-80s and prone to falls.  Grandfather, 13 years her senior, couldn’t care for her so off she’d go after a fall, then back home she’d come…and another fall, and back in again.  So what is the point?

People want to be at home, around their familiar belongings, nearby their families.  Let’s be honest, once someone goes into a care facility the kids don’t come around as much, and the grandkids, (you know that nursing home smell) yeah not so much either.  Besides, it’s expensive!  Institutional care can devastate a family’s finances, not to mention the impact these care costs can have on the insurance carriers.  Look at all the companies who left this space and/or sold their blocks of business.  I swear there is an island of misfit LTC actuaries out there who were ostracized for mispricing LTC and guessing completely wrong on lapse assumptions.

Enter a new world of living benefits.  We talked a lot last month about Legacy Planning.  I think living benefits are a big part of this conversation.  Living benefits allow folks to leverage their assets whether they live too long, die too soon, or their bodies quit before they do.  Who knows which risk to insure for?  Think about it.  If we are creating income floors to provide lifetime income that cannot be outlived with income riders on annuities, why not throw in a doubler that could pay for in-home care for a bit (usually up to 5 years) thereby taking longevity and morbidity risks off the table.  Besides, if I need care I’d rather the caretaker come to my house than to get stuck in a nursing home, at least for as long as it is reasonable.  Besides, think how much less it costs for a home health-aid than paying out $10-$12k per month for institutional care.  Bonus:  Since many clients are looking at Roth conversions, why not throw in an income rider with an LTC doubler so the benefits are all tax-free and you get a tax deduction if you spend more than 7.5% of AGI on health costs.  So there you go! (unless the tax code changes again).  By the way, the same conversation applies to living benefits in life policies. Actually, there is a policy with a lifetime income benefit, critical, chronic, terminal illness, and a critical injury benefit…talk about your Swiss army knife of coverage!

Don’t get me wrong, I think we all should have bought a 10-pay policy back in the 90s when everyone was healthy and the premiums were affordable, but hey, not everyone did.  Traditional LTC is not dead, but in my experience by the time most humans choose to acknowledge their own morbidity, they are either too old, too sick, or the premiums are just too high. 

I know many advisors who are “anti-income rider” and just want to sell the best accumulation product keeping the withdrawals at a reasonable level…everything will be great.  Personally, being a risk-averse and overly protective person, I like transferring the risk away.  Think about all the risks that annuities (and life) and other planning products remove from our clients’ lives between now and the day their estate is settled.

  1. Longevity risk (withdrawal rate risk)
  2. Inflation risk
  3. Morbidity risk
  4. Mortality risk
  5. Market risk (consumer behavior risk)
  6. Sequence of return risk
  7. Interest rate risk

All of this is integrated into the care continuum.  Having a strategy around declining health, its’ commensurate costs and challenges, with a focus on quality of life as we age can all be accomplished with proper planning, be it traditional LTC or innovative products with enhanced living benefits. The right answer is out there for all your clients.  It’s just a matter of having the conversation.

Beneficiary Reviews: Extremely Important, but Often Overlooked

Sam Payne, RICP, VP Business Consultant

Beneficiary designations are incredibly important, but often misunderstood or not understood at all by those who are preparing to leave a legacy.  

Many people believe that a trust will handle the distribution of assets like life insurance, IRAs, retirement plans, annuities, and some employee benefit plans. In fact, these assets are all controlled by beneficiary designations. Understanding how to properly name beneficiaries, and how to avoid common mistakes in beneficiary designations, is key to ensuring that assets end up where intended.

If you don’t designate a beneficiary to receive these assets after your death, it’s possible that the assets will be distributed to someone other than who you intended. For example, some custodial
agreements will automatically default to the spouse, and if there is no spouse, then to the owner’s surviving children, and then to the estate. This is a helpful default in the case of no beneficiary designations, but it doesn’t ensure your assets will go to the person you would have chosen.

Our financial advisor role gives us an unparalleled advantage to assure that our client’s legacy intentions are fulfilled.  A simple but incredibly important part of planning is to make sure we have a conversation about those desires with our clients, and follow-up by reviewing all beneficiary designations on accounts that have a beneficiary designations possible.  The most common accounts or policies that we will have in our view include Life Insurance and Annuities. But don’t stop there.

In addition to reviewing the obvious accounts, spend some time reviewing bank checking and savings accounts, retirement accounts, bonds and investment accounts for “Transfer on Death” beneficiary designations. 

In reviewing these designations you can help your clients stay current and avoid unintended consequences. Failing to update these designations after life events such as births, marriages, divorces or other changes in relationships or family dynamics may result in either assets being distributed to unintended recipients, or failing to be distributed to someone you did intend to include but never got around to including.

Some of the common beneficiary designation mistakes, aside from not naming one at all, would include:

Naming the estate as beneficiary – while this may eventually result in your heirs receiving the assets you intended, it is not the most efficient way to do it.  This can also result in greater costs to the estate in the form of taxes and probate costs, and provides substantially less flexibility when it comes to how and when the assets are distributed.

Naming a trust as beneficiary – While this is possible, the unintended consequences of naming a trust as beneficiary for some accounts, if realized, may be substantially greater than the decedent ever intended.

For example, designating a trust as the beneficiary of an IRA can be an effective estate planning tool.  However, this already complex topic has become even more complicated by the passing of the Secure Act. It is effective only if all the parties involved—especially the IRA owner, the IRA custodian, the trustee of the trust, and any attorneys representing the beneficiary—agree on the interpretation of the provisions of the trust and applicable laws. Conflicting interpretations could result in a delay of disposition of the assets and can be quite frustrating for those involved.

Naming minor children as beneficiaries – If minor children have been named as the beneficiary of your life insurance policy, then it can become legally complicated.

Minor children cannot inherit money directly. Instead, the state would appoint a legal guardian if you hadn’t done so, which is a lengthy and costly process. That guardian would then determine how the money is managed and spent—and it may not coincide with your wishes.

If you want the money to benefit a child while the beneficiary is still a child, then you must set up a trust and appoint a trustee. The simplest way is via the Uniform Transfer to Minors Act, which is free — you just appoint a trusted, responsible adult to handle the money on the child’s behalf.

As you can see, naming beneficiaries is incredibly important, and designations should be reviewed on a regular basis.  I believe, as we approach the end of the year, the time to hold beneficiary reviews with your clients is now.  By having the conversation, you will be able to identify their wishes, educate them on the importance of proper beneficiary designations, and assure their stated desires are fulfilled. 

Living a Life of Significance: How Legacy Planning Diverges from Estate Planning

Bruce Beaty, VP Business Consultant

What Is Estate Planning?

The arranging for the disposition and management of one’s estate at death through the use of wills, trusts, insurance policies, and other devices.

Therefore, Estate planning is about death. Death, taxes, probate (avoidance), courts, attorneys, accountants, executors, trustees, documents, fees, delays, fighting and frustrations. Estate planning can also infer that one has an estate. The implication then is that estate planning is reserved exclusively for the wealthy.

Legacy planning however, used as a synonym for estate planning, carries a different connotation altogether.

“A Legacy is what you leave behind in others; the planning we are doing right now gives them the capacity to act on that gift.”

Levi Sherley, Asset Advisor

An important question that we begin asking ourselves as humans more frequently with each passing year is something along the lines of, “How can I make a positive impact in this world beyond myself and my end date?”, and “How can I make life easier, better, and more significant for my child, community, or even strangers I may never meet?”

You see I believe we have a moral obligation to help as many people leave a legacy of significance for their people. Yes this means good estate planning (for everyone who has any level of assets) but it is so much more.  Let’s close on what this really means.

Legacy Planning consists of the following:

The Estate Planning Component:

  • Properly funded Trusts to avoid probate.
  • Non-Trust Assets properly structured with POD, TOD and updated beneficiaries.
  • Well-structured Wills, designating important items going to the right people.  (Imagine the family wars created when people decide to let their heirs sort it out!)
  • Advanced Directive so difficult decisions do not have to be debated by loved ones.
  • Financial Powers of Attorney so that important transactions can continue if someone is incapacitated. 
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney designating who should make important decisions if my body quits before I do.

The Legacy Component:

A Family Love Letter allows our clients to speak love into the hearts of their families and leaves instructions as to their values and wishes.  A powerful part of this message could include, “Lessons I have learned about money and what I want you to know about the gift you are receiving.” 

This final note is an opportunity to right a wrong that could just never be addressed on this side, or to kindly and gently encourage good behavior.  An example could be, “Johnny, I’m so proud of you for staying clean, and your trust will allow you to keep making great choices and accessing your inheritance every five years.  Keep it up!”

The bottom line is this: Making an impact beyond ourselves can be done without resources by simply being a wonderful person, but the effect is multiplied exponentially with capacity.  Maximize that capacity for your clients by implementing all the above estate planning protections and then add in the following.

Life insurance:   Leveraging a larger death benefit for heirs turning small dollars into BIG tax-free dollars.

Living benefits: (Life Insurance, Annuities, and LTC) Keep the clients in the comfort of their own home and accessible to the family as long as you can while mitigating estate shrinkage as long as possible.  These types of resources can make a huge difference in their care experience, and quality of life towards the end.

Lifetime income that they cannot outlive.  I love Tom Hegna’s idea of creating a paycheck and a “play-check” for life. If we all started working with our clients to designate one check every month for joy, even just $1000 to spend on something fun, to give it to someone to impact their life, to go see a child or grandchild, or whatever.  Can you imagine what a Legacy your clients will be living while they are alive to see and enjoy it?   Give your clients permission to spend! Make it a goal. How about we create lifetime inflation-proof income with all the qualified money and buy a big old life policy to fund the family Legacy?

I guess what I am saying is that if we provide all the protections, spend the right monies at the right times, and do this thing right, the Legacies your clients will leave behind will change the future for generations to come. 

Think about this, why does the name Rockefeller still carry so much sway today?  John D. passed away almost a century ago.  His name and impact is his Legacy.  What’s yours?  

Set Proper Expectations and Place Your Cases

Mia Dempsey, Manager New Business

Life insurance is about protecting the things that are important to your clients. When considering life insurance, you must think about the health of the applicant. An initial review of any adverse risk(s) will help determine insurability and allow you to set proper expectations for your clients.

Want to show a client instantly what carriers may be able to offer based on their build, blood pressure, cholesterol, tobacco use, family history, and/or driving violations? Visit the Life Department page on the Producer Portal and Run a Term Quote. At the bottom of the page select ‘Enter Health Profile’ to access this quick and easy tool.

Have a client with more a complicated risk or multiple risks? Use our Health Screening Questionnaire to complete the initial review to uncover those risks. We have 125+ specific health questionnaires to then assist you with getting all the answers the underwriters will need in order to provide a tentative offer for your client. This is completely confidential for your clients, so if a carrier determines they cannot offer coverage there is nothing added to the clients MIB. The response rate for this deeper dive is only 48-72 hours.

Contact your dedicated case manager today for more details and let us help you get those hard to place life cases approved (888-303-8755)