Monday, March 14, 2011

Working American's Financial Advisor

In my line of work, I get called all sorts of things.  I get called "the insurance man" or "benefits guy"...just to name a few.  However, in the time I've been in the insurance industry my most important and needed title (in my opinion) is that of "the working American's financial advisor".
You see, I can advise people on certain things financially. I can explain how certain insurance policies pay interest or acquire cash value.  I can even talk about how an annuity works and how it can help those who need a steady income to happen from a large sum of money they have acquired (usually through being a beneficiary of a life insurance policy). Those things are all important and might land under the "financial advisor" title, but what I'm talking about is what I mainly do almost every day.
In my insurance business, I get the distinct pleasure and opportunity to offer my services to companies. It doesn't matter the company size or industry.  If someone has a job, I can help them (through their work environment) acquire quality insurance that they may need for themsleves and/or their families. Many of the companies I represent and help are the hard-working American labor force.  These are people that keep things moving to create the fiber of our country.  Whether those people work in the office of that company or they are the "hands on" of the company, I am there to help.
So much of what I do is sit with that wage earner and talk about things that, in many cases, they had no clue about with regards to insurance and how it can benefit and help them and their families. These are people who will make it paycheck to paycheck and most likely will never need an accountant or financial advisor or broker to help them with their money or money decisions. I sit with these people one-on-one and ask the hard questions like:
 - "Who would care for your children if something happened to you?"
 - "How long could you go without a paycheck if something happened and you couldn't come into work?"
 - "How would you deal with a bill from a medical insurance carrier that equaled more than what your home costs?"
 - "What would your family do financially without your paycheck?"
The list just keeps on going, but as you can see these questions are all very real. Many times I ask these questions and I get looks of uncertainty as to their answers.  These questions are never meant to scare.  they are always asked so that I know the person I am talking to feels they have done all they can do to protect themselves and/or their families.
Every day I appreciate what I have been given as an opportunity to make a difference in people's lives.  I appreciate every client and every work environment I am allowed to service. I strive to provide each working American I come in contact a chance to better themselves and their families in terms of money decisions and the peace of mind that comes from knowing they have done things to get their affairs in order for the "just in case".

I thought I'd let my friends Brooks and Dunn bring this topic some music...

Are you a business? Do you want your employees to have somebody to help them protect their families through your business?  I can help.
Are you a working American?  There are plenty of questions to consider. I'm here to help.
Step into my office...let's talk business.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Bugling Across Alabama...and Other Places Too.

I just finished attending the Trumpet Festival of the Southeast at the University of Alabama for the weekend.  The weekend was filled with meeting trumpeters from all over from novices to professionals.  Rehearsals, master classes, and the like were enjoyed by everyone in attendance.  It was also a great opportunity to keep the Bugles Across America name out there for future buglers in our organization.

I found out awhile back that if you never let people know what you do that you'll never progress to helping anyone.  I took this mindset last year as the Alabama group for Bugles Across America made its presence known at the Trumpet Festival of the Southeast (which was held at the University of Alabama as well).  When I found that the festival was again going to be close to home I was more than happy to accept Dr. Yates' (head of the trumpet studio at the University of Alabama) invitation to once again be there and talk about all things pertaining to our organization and to get people signed up who showed a genuine interest in helping serve our Veterans.
The event was an amazing time.  I was able to meet and recruit quite a few people.  Michael Sachs is the Principal Trumpet for the Cleveland Orchestra.  He was a guest artist and expressed an interest in participating with our group.  We also had young people in their early teens come by and talk about how their grandfather wanted them to play Taps for them at their funeral.  Story after story of people providing Taps for memorials and at the gravesides of fallen soldiers of all ages came through those two days.  It was good to be there.
Hopefully we have laid the groundwork for future Southeastern states to take their turns and make this into a yearly process of active recruiting and story sharing.  I tell people all the time when they ask about bugling and playing Taps for the deceased that it is literally the best non-paying gig I could ever be a part of.  It never ceases to amaze me how important what I do is to a family.  I know I believe in the service I am rendering, but to get that appreciative handshake or to see the look in someone's eyes as they thank you for what you've can't buy that or begin to put a price tag on it.

For more information on Bugles Across America, please go to the link to the left on the main page here or just go to .  There you can donate funds to a worthy nationwide cause or join the ranks of over 7,000 buglers across the nation. Also, if you know someone who has a loved one who is about to depart from the life and they served in the can let them know that we're here to be sure they get the honors they deserve.

Scared To Stand Out?

This world is changing at a pretty fast rate.  Most of this change we can attribute to technology.  When you can do anything anywhere from the convenience of your cell phone, you know we're in a different day.  In days like today, we have to be ready to meet these changes head on or get pummeled by what is obviously going to continue to happen...changing the way we do things and the way we are perceived.  Unfortunately there are some who are stuck in the "good old days" doing things the "good old way".  If that's the mindset, then I am afraid the pummeling will begin and those people just might get lost.
In a time where being seen and noticed and appearing to stand out is important, we must do our best to embrace the new world and try to adapt to it.  Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as you prepare to stand out:

1 - You can't change overnight.  With the way things are moving, find an area you feel would be a good starting point for you and learn it.  For example, try staying in touch with clients, friends, and family using an online source or email list.  It may seem simple enough, but for those afraid of change it can make a big step in the right direction.  My wife says it's like trying to get a sip from a fire hydrant.  It's all coming at us so quickly we could get overwhelmed and just give up.  The key is to latch on to just one thing and master that before trying something else.
2 - Be certain you will get the desired result.  There are way too many people making changes with our society that look at all this change and they just muck it all up.  They do and say things to get noticed only to realize that they now have a perceived value of being a jerk.  Don't let that happen.  Whatever you choose to latch on to, make sure the desired result is what you want it to be.  Also remember, in this day and time EVERYTHING you do and/or say could be fodder for someone's tweet, facebook page, or blog.  Do your best not to be "that guy".
3 - Standing out is a MUST!  I wish I could say you could keep on the way you've done for all your many years, but I afraid you will get lost.  People nowadays want to read differing opinions from those who have an opinion and can back it up.  They want to deal with people who are not afraid to be different and try new things.  The key is to realize that in a world that is bombarding us all with bigger, better, faster, brighter, etc., we have to stay in that zone that allows us to be seen and thereby allowing others to perceive value in who we are and what we do.

Here is a great video that puts all this change into perspective: