In our industry there is one time that our clients should always be ready to talk. When life is changing then it’s time for financial plans to change as well.
Some of these changes are obvious. The passage of time gives lots of reasons for a financial review. Big events such as getting married or becoming a parent or homeowner for the first time are clear reasons to review your coverage and should prompt a discussion with ease.
Less dramatic changes, however, also warrant looking at your plans and making sure that they are still working for you. Having a second child might not necessarily prompt a full financial review, even though all the costs of child rearing and education have essentially doubled.
Another point in our lives that warrants a financial review is change in employment. Any change really should prompt a discussion. With a new position comes new salaries, new challenges, potentially new costs, and even new risks; without a professional staying in front of clients’ ever changing needs opportunities could be missed to maximize benefits and minimize costs.
As one of our own is moving on to new horizons I want to remind all of our readers that change can be exciting and scary, but it should be a reminder to be conscious of the decisions we’ve put on autopilot and to make sure that our needs are still being met.
In the social media world we live in today, it is important to stay on top of the latest trends, updates and features of the tools you are using to market yourself on the web. LinkedIn is a fabulous tool with more features than you probably even realized. If you’re like me you probably created an account years ago and just started connecting with your friends, similar to Facebook. It wasn’t until I got the opportunity to really dive into all that LinkedIn has to offer that I realized what an amazing tool this is! In my next few blog posts I will be going over all things LinkedIn. For today, lets discuss your settings, as this section has recently gone through some renovations.
Having your settings adjusted the right way for you is an important thing that many overlook or don’t take the time to do. We all know time is money and you want to do what you can to avoid wasting time on some of the least important features of LinkedIn and focus that time on the potential money maker features to improve your efficiency. Let’s take a look at some ways to adjust your settings to help with this.
1.) Reduce the type and frequency of inbound LinkedIn emails. A way to help declutter your inbox!?! This is probably something we all want. Not all notification emails are pertinent to your success on LinkedIn. They have eight major email notification categories and if you have never gone in and changed from the default, you might be getting more in your inbox than necessary for your day to day activity. To update, Go to your settings by scrolling over your photo on the top right of the page. Select “Privacy & Settings” then “Communications”, then “Email Frequency”.
One important section to look at here is the “group updates”. There are a lot of benefits of being in a lot of LinkedIn groups that we will go over in a future posts. However, receiving email updates on all the groups all the time can be a bit overwhelming. You have the option to choose how often, if at all you want to be notified from these groups.
2.) Decide who you’ll allow to send you invitations to connect. If you are getting bombarded with invitations to connect, you may want to limit who is able to request a connection with you. Again, this is through “Privacy & Settings”, “Communications”, then “Who can send you invitations”.
3.) Limit how much, if any, of your profile is visible to the general public. When someone does a “Google search” of your name, your LinkedIn profile usually comes up very close to the top. You have the option to adjust your settings to display all, some, or none of your LinkedIn profile in an internet search. Again, go to “Privacy & Settings”, “Privacy”, then “Edit your public profile”.
4.) Become invisible when you are “stalking” others. I’m sure you’ve seen the Who’s Viewed Your Profile feature on LinkedIn that is now one of the top rated features provided. Did you know that you can make yourself anonymous when you are checking out others profiles? You can change this temporarily or permanently in settings. Go to “Privacy & Settings”, “Privacy”, “Profile viewing options”.
5.) Tell LinkedIn you really don’t want to hear from them. Every time you sign up for something, they ask you if you want to receive newsletters, special offers, etc. LinkedIn has a similar feature. You can turn on or off receiving announcements, partner announcements, or invitations to be involved in research. This is found under “Privacy & Settings”, “Communications”, “LinkedIn messages”.
6.) Stop LinkedIn from using you as an advertising subject. Did you even know that they were doing that? Unless you tell them otherwise, they can use your photo. Go to “Privacy & Settings”, “Privacy”, “Data Privacy & Advertising”. Make sure to review all the default settings and change those you need to.
7.) Don’t let your network know when you are changing your profile. Did you ever have someone congratulate you on a new job via LinkedIn when really you have been at the job for months or even years, but are just now getting to updating your LinkedIn profile? This can be avoided by changing the default settings. Especially if you are making lots of changes to your profile, you might want to think about at least temporarily turning this setting off. You can do so by going to the right-hand column of your profile and sliding over the button from “Yes” to “No”.
8.) Hide your connections’ updates individually or forever. You have the option to hide your connections updates if you no longer wish to see them in your home feed. Simply select “Hide this particular update” from the drop-down menu from the down arrow on the top right of the update.
I hope that these simple steps help you on your way to becoming more efficient in the LinkedIn world and help you focus on activities that will lead to better business and greater success.
As the number of veterans separating from service increases year over year, I foresee a need for advisors to become more adept in navigating veteran’s benefits alongside their clients. Additionally, there are some benefits that active service members are entitled to that are prudent for financial advisors to keep in mind. Over the course of my next several blogs, I will introduce several of those benefits.
In this post, I will talk about the various life insurance benefits available to service members and veterans and most importantly, I will demonstrate how to protect your client’s insurability. This conversation is geared more towards the client who is National Guard or Reserve as they are who you are more likely to have as a client.
Every member of the National Guard or Reserve who is activated and deployed is eligible for Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) for the duration of their activation/deployed. They do not have to be deployed overseas for this benefit, they just need to have active duty orders. SGLI has a base death benefit of 50K and go as high as 400K. As a veteran myself, I always elected the highest death benefit of 400K because it was cheap and it was going to my family in place of me should I die in combat and I wanted them to remember me fondly. Now for some strange reason, I was the statistical outlier in that regard. In most cases, many of the soldiers in my unit, to include those who were married with children, didn’t elect more than the base amount.
Remember, this is a conversation about protecting insurability for the future. Let’s say that you have a client, SSG Smith from Antigo, WI. SSG Smith is a Cavalry Scout, a dangerous job and should he be deployed with the Wisconsin National Guard it is very likely that he will be in harm’s way on a daily basis. SSG Smith’s unit receives orders to activate and deploy to Southwest Asia in support of current operations against ISIS. Before he deploys, he sits down with you to make sure that all of his financial matters are squared away. During the conversation, you ask SSG Smith what death benefit he elected for his SGLI and his answer is 100K and you take that as a good answer and move on to another topic. Here’s where we dig into that protecting insurability conversation, he needs to elect that 400K and here’s why:
- SSG Smith deploys to Al Asad Air Base, Al Anbar Province in Iraq
- During his deployment, SSG Smith hits an IED while on patrol
- Thankfully SSG Smith survives, but due to the force of the blast he now Traumatic Brain Injury
- SSG Smith re-deploys to Wisconsin and after therapy he heads back to work
- Six months after going back to work, he starts to suffer from PTSD
- Simultaneously, his construction company with his brother is growing and he needs both personal and business insurance
- Due to his history of TBI and recent diagnosis of PTSD, SSG Smith is not a great insurance risk, the best offer we could find was Table 6
- This is bad news, because this out of range of his budget for both his business and personal needs
- This isn’t 100% bad news because he has 100K in SGLI coverage that is convertible to Veterans Group Life Insurance within 1 year and 120 days of separation from active duty and if converted within 240 days, he does not need to answer health questions. In addition, both SGLI and VGLI are fully convertible to permanent coverage offered through several carriers
- 100K is better than nothing, but wouldn’t it be great if he had more insurance?
This is why it is crucial that service members deploying elect 100% of the coverage that they are eligible to receive. The cost is nominal, and if they deploy and return with no issues it won’t have caused a financial burden. However, if they deploy and return with issues that affect their insurability, it is an invaluable benefit.
In addition to SGLI and VGLI, members of the Wisconsin National Guard have access to an additional benefit, Group Term Life Insurance for Wisconsin National Guard Servicemembers which offers up to 45K in additional term coverage and if convertible to a New York Life whole life policy. If, SSG Smith elected this coverage in addition to his 400K of SGLI, he’d have 445K of total death benefit that could be converted to permanent insurance. Because of foresight and planning, his insurability was protected and he has options that he would not otherwise have.
A summary of each benefit can be found here: