Admins: Human Touch in a Digital World

In a time dominated by rapidly advancing technology and the uncertainty of artificial intelligence, there is a widely held notion that authentic person-to-person-communication will become increasingly obsolete. We insist on seeing it differently: although our technology may streamline processes and contribute to our growth, it will never replace human connection.

In our evolving workplace, the role of administrative professionals has undergone a profound transformation. In a world where algorithms and automated systems can generate data at lightning speed and maximize the efficiency of rote processes, administrative professionals serve a crucial role. We bridge the gap between technology and genuine human interaction.

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The Perfect Week

Throughout my career in practice and management, I've collaborated with Agents and Financial Advisors to enhance their businesses. Many, if not all, have lamented the struggle of having too much on their plate and too little time to manage it all effectively. Time management stands as one of the pivotal aspects of running a successful business, and it's particularly crucial for business owners who must accomplish more within the constraints of limited time.

Across human history, the number three has held significant symbolism. I propose that every business can be dissected into three major components.

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Unlocking Potential: Leveraging 77rr Women in Financial Services

We want to unlock the potential because a lot of financial advisors are unaware of the tremendous effects the 7702 changes had on cash value life insurance products issued on or after January 1, 2021. Statistics show that tax planning is a high priority for your clients, yet few advisors are having these conversations. Until now.

7702 Changes

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Empowering Women in Financial Services: My Journey to Starting a Private Practice

As a financial advisor who ventured into private practice, I want to share my experience and insights. A desire for greater control over client relationships drove me to start my practice. Along the way, I learned valuable lessons about the importance of support, understanding your business, finding a mentor, targeting the right market, and leveraging your passions.

The Importance of Support: From Virtual Assistant to a Dedicated Team Member

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Celebrate Galentine’s Day at the Workplace…Fun and Inclusive Ideas for All

Galentine’s Day, traditionally observed on February 13th is a day dedicated to celebrating the bond between female friends. While it’s typically associated with informal gatherings among girlfriends, it’s also a perfect opportunity to foster camaraderie, encourage support, strengthen connections, and cultivate friendship among colleagues. Here are some creative and empowering Galentine’s Day event ideas for the workplace:

Lunch Potluck with a Twist: Encourage colleagues to bring their favorite dish to share with the team. To make it more exciting, organize a “recipe swap” where employees can exchange their recipes along with a short story about why it’s their favorite. This not only builds a sense of community but also opens the door for interesting conversations.

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The Power of Intentional Community

I officially started in the financial services industry in May of 2022 when I joined my father’s firm, Premier Planning Group. As a second-generation financial professional, my journey to this career has been deeply rooted in community. I grew up listening to my dad talk about his work at the kitchen table and I met his partners and clients at conferences, social events and throughout my local community. I witnessed the support of his colleagues in the business. As I considered the possibility of financial services as a career, I learned from an early age that this profession is about people—the people you help, the people who help you, and the power of community.

That power of community—and, specifically, of intentionally building a strong community—has never been more valuable now that I’m a young financial professional launching my career.  I am amazed at the opportunities this role provides to reach out and make real connections. In addition to working with some of the younger family members of my dad’s clients, I’m also responsible for creating my own book of business. I find incredible satisfaction from forming a solid, meaningful connection with people who are at the beginning of their journey, as I help them make sound financial decisions that will impact their future. I’m honored to include those clients as part of my community—but they’re not the only part.

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The Ever-Changing Tax World: What to Watch For In 2024

We can always be certain of one thing regarding taxes: changes will happen. This is so even though stability of the tax rules would likely be one of the most significant factors in fostering a robust economic environment. Tax legislation is a patchwork quilt reflecting the government’s often conflicting needs to raise revenue, promote fairness, enforce compliance by reluctant or evasive taxpayers, enable voluntary compliance by the willing taxpayers, stimulate favorable behavior, promote political ideology and implement public policy. The political climate is ever-changing, and with it, tax laws evolve and change.

With the dawn of 2024, we are inching closer to December 31, 2025, at which time most of the provisions of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will sunset. Of course, Congress could act in the meantime, but absent any specific relief, many tax rules will revert to their 2017 versions. Of particular note are the following:

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Millennials: Not who you think they are

Most older generations believe that a millennial is a 21-year-old living in their parents’ basement trying to figure out a career path. As shocking as it might be, the oldest millennial is turning 42 this year and the youngest is turning 27. A good portion of my peers and I fall in the younger Generation X and older millennial generations.

The challenges those of my generation faced now and in the past five years have been unique and uncharted territory to the older generations. The conversations I have with my own clients are topics I never saw being a priority the past few years. Coming out of the pandemic, the two largest concerns are how can I spend more time with my family and how can I pursue my entrepreneur dreams?

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Why Planning Right & Executing Well Can Make the Difference!

American Business icon T. Boone Pickens once said, “A fool with a plan can outsmart a genius with no plan.” There’s a lot of truth–and irony-in Pickens’ often quoted perspective of the business planning process! The truth is that business planning is the glue that ties your business goals to your purpose. It’s the vehicle that helps you to think through the process of cause and effect. The irony is that too many companies have a plan but tend to sidestep the strategy markers deemed critically important to successfully execute on their plan. 

I believe that business owners must have a growth mindset and be willing to upset the status quo. If they are not willing or ready to review every part of the organization – the people, the processes, and the structure – with a critical eye, the opportunity for real change and projected outcomes will be muted, at best. 

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What the heck is ‘Business Professional’ attire?

If you peruse the collection of professional attire in my closet you will find- naturally organized in rainbow color order- a number of bright pink, floral, and sparkly things. There are neon blazers, polka dot dresses, and sweaters with ruffles and shiny buttons. I have no shame. I own so many dresses that I could wear a new dress every day for 68 business days without repeating. You will find a blue skirt with tigers and a red shirt with small white hot air balloons. I think it's fun.

But it's taken a long time, the weathering of some sexist remarks, and the encouragement from women who paved the way before me to develop the confidence to bring my feminine style into an industry dominated by white men in white shirts and blue suits.

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Focus on the Gain

Success is frequently misconceived as a straight line to an end result that everyone agrees upon. In reality, defining it can be a complex equation that is highly subjective. With a learning mindset, so much valuable growth can occur while traversing those twists and turns. As an achiever, the tendency is to seek out that next specific accomplishment as the defining memento of success. The challenge here is that so many final outcomes are simply out of my control. 

I recently finished "The Gap and the Gain" by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy, and it's paradigm-shifting. The concept is to measure backward to reflect on where you started and how far you've progressed. Ideals are effective motivators to drive us forward, and they can likewise be the weights that pull us down from a level of happiness that yes, we CAN and should enjoy. We grow, achieve, promote, etc., at different rates. It's empowering to know that at every given moment, we can choose to honor the successes that we've already earned and that are unique to each of us. Thought for the day: focus on the gain (measure backward) and not the gap. #empowered #personaldevelopment #thegain #driven #foodforthought #tangiblesuccess

Originally posted on WIFS website August 16, 2023

Collaborating With Your Clients' Tax Advisors

You have lunch with your top client’s tax advisor. You brainstorm ways to create a better experience for your mutual clients and exchange meaningful information.

The tax advisor is so excited about your value proposition they give you several referrals. Sound like fantasy? With a little insight, this can be reality. Bonus – you get to write off lunch!

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Obstacle is the Way

While reading The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday on a flight this morning, I was struck by this profound quote: "The path of least resistance is a terrible teacher." Think about that one for a moment. It's easy to believe that discomfort=wrong direction.

Can that sometimes apply? Of course. But if we live our lives fighting all discomfort and hiding behind a mantra that success and achievement should be painless, then we really can't expect to make substantial leaps forward.

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Listening to Clients Has Helped Me Forge a New Path on My Career Journey

In 2000, I left a career practicing worker’s compensation law and executive management to embark on a new career as a financial professional. I leaned on transferrable skills such as active listening, risk management, and the ability to ask the right questions to reinvent myself as a provider of comprehensive financial advice.

As an attorney, I learned that one party is typically pleased with an outcome, and one is not. In my work as a financial professional, the desired outcome is that all parties are happy, knowing a plan to secure their future is in place. 

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Ask Yourself These 4 Questions Before You Audit Your Tech Stack!

Shiny bell in the window syndrome? This plagues many financial advisory firms at some point in their business journey. Yet, technology at its core provides much needed efficiencies and economies of scale. This reality is maximized when leading financial advisory firms periodically evaluate their technology solutions.

Before you go down the rabbit hole of possible solutions, changes or adjustments, it’s important to evaluate your existing technology in the context of your business needs. If you’re questioning whether your tech stack “stacks up,” review these four questions with your operations teams before auditing your existing technology suite.

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We All Win When We Think Bigger Than Ourselves

Drawn to the industry by the desire to build a business and do meaningful work for clients, I started as a financial professional in the late 1990s. I was in a training class of 32 people who all started at the same time. I was the only female — and only one of three people in our class who survived and moved on to have a career in financial services.

As I progressed in my career, joining Principal® in 2013 as a field leader with responsibilities to recruit, develop, and retrain financial advisors, two things became clear to me: 1) The industry has a challenge attracting and retaining women, and 2) I wanted to do something about it.

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Accidentally in Love (With Sales)

Like most insurance sales representatives, I’ve dreamed of selling disability insurance my whole life!

OK, you caught me. That’s not exactly true. I was born in the “Insurance Capital of the World” — Hartford, Connecticut — before spending my childhood in Phoenix, Arizona. But the truth is, growing up, I would have never pictured myself in a “sales” position. I pictured “sales” as cold calling, pushy car salesmen, or the person at the mall kiosk who rubs lotion on you as you walk by. Not for me.

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Barbara Walters and Women Financial Advisors: Industry Trailblazers

Recently, the world lost Barbara Walters, a journalism pioneer in a male-dominated industry. Like you, she took many risks in her profession, and they paid off immensely. Walters became the first female co-anchor of a network evening news program, a talk show household name, and recipient of many awards, including an Emmy.

As I considered Walters' life, I could not help but think of all the female trailblazers I have worked with over the years who are taking a cue from Barbara Walters and smashing their industries’ glass ceilings.

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What your clients really want? P.S. It’s YOU!

We are almost one-third of the way into the second quarter, and this year has already proven challenging. First, most of us have dropped the ball on our New Year's resolutions. In fact, the statistics tell us that 23 percent of people quit their resolutions in the first week, and only 36 percent make it past the first month. Unfortunately, that means many of our clients are probably facing headwinds in reaching the financial goals they were so eager to achieve at the turn of 2023.

Then there’s the economic market again proving to be erratic and unpredictable. We are living in uncertain times, and unfortunately, many more unknowns are on the horizon.

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The ABCs of Sponsorship, Part 2: D Is for Defending

“Surround yourself with people who would mention you in a room full of opportunities.” It’s a quote we’ve seen often, and I can’t think of a better one to kick off my first blog of 2023 as I revisit and expand on the ABCs of Sponsorship concepts of Amplifying, Boosting, and Connecting, adding a “D” component, Defending.

Amplifying in the context of sponsorship involves being aware of and talking up the accomplishments of a protégée with others to create, or to increase, others’ positive impressions of them. This can be impactful whether or not the individual is already in the room. The amplification of another’s voice and/or idea lends power and impact to how, and whether, that individual is heard and recognized for their contributions.

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