Today I spoke with an angry man who yelled at me and said I was "just trying to sell him something." He dialed my call center after hearing one of my radio ads. He was calling to request a copy of my book Crash Proof Wealth and had asked to have a consultation with me to discuss his retirement situation. After my call center team verified his identity (using AI and a quick web database search), my team scheduled a call between us for the following week.
I set aside only 15 minutes to quickly determine if I could potentially help someone and if they even wanted my help. I always start with a straightforward question. What motivated you to call my office, request my book and schedule this call?
Well, things did not get off to a good start with this gentleman. He spent the next few minutes evading my question and responding in a snarky tone. It was soon apparent this was going nowhere. After a few minutes of trying to have a dialogue, I finally said, "Mr. XXXX, it is obvious you are not interested in having an open discussion so I can determine if I can help you, and frankly, it seems like you don't want my help. So why don't we end it here and part as friends." If you have a change of heart in the future, feel free to contact me. He replied, "All you people just want to sell me something," and hung up.
Not a great way to start the day, but it is unfortunately common. After 30 years of talking to the public and hundreds of company employees (I have been providing services to 401k plans for years), it is far too familiar that many people are woefully underprepared financially. Many Americans spend much more time planning a vacation or the purchase of a household appliance than planning for their financial future. Mr. XXX was likely unprepared and worried but too proud to admit it and, more importantly, to ask for help.
I can say with complete conviction I feel that my profession is one of the noblest, most important, and underappreciated on the planet. We strive to solve our client's financial problems, grow and protect their wealth and families, help their kids go to college, enjoy their golden years without the fear of running out of money, minimize taxes and ensure their legacy is honored. We provided needed support during some of the most challenging and dark times in life, such as sickness, the death of a spouse, a lay-off, forced retirement, or a stock market crash.
So, I will get on my soapbox for a minute and tell my fellow Americans what they need. And if you want to call me an evil salesman (like that's a bad thing), then so be it.
The idea of working a lifetime for 30-40 years and not knowing where you will end up financially at age 65 seems shocking to me.
Every level-headed, sound-minded, responsible adult needs to have a written, dated, and dollar-specific financial plan that spells out:
- A budget
- How much they need to save and where,
- How much they need to protect and how
- They should have at least a basic estate plan
- They need to have a basic understanding of compound interest, inflation, taxes, and insurance.
- If they want to succeed, they should have a written financial plan. If they love their families, they should have a written financial plan.
Many people agree that bank loan officers are about as conservative and prudent as possible. How successful will you be if you walk into a bank looking for a business loan for your new enterprise without a written business plan? It ain't happening. Why? Because these bankers know that without a business plan, your likelihood of success is not worth the gamble.
Just as your likelihood of financial success will be very low without a written, dated, and dollar-specific financial plan, your success requires planning, implementation, and ongoing monitoring.
If you don't have a plan, you should get one - if you don't know how - get some help. Like you do with all the other vital issues in your life like your health, legal problems, marriage, etc.
I will help you understand the industry, what to look out for, what questions to ask, and how to ensure you are working with someone who will put your objectives before their own and their firm.
Okay, off the soapbox. I will now pray for Mr. XXXX that he will put down his guard and allow someone with a high level of integrity to help him work towards solving his financial problems because he wouldn't have called my office if he didn't have any.