“Dance With The One Who Brung You” – Old Southern Saying (with various ungrammatical variations).
“A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure.” – Lee Segall
Mark is a director in the advertising compliance area of National Life, and works closely with marketing – in fact he sits with them. He draws from 19 years of experience in financial services, including time in the field as both a producer and branch manager, to help understand the needs of our agents and clients. Mark simplifies compliance and regulatory issues for his business partners, and his job is essentially to solve word puzzles – finding suitable ways to craft communications and advertising.
Before entering the financial services industry, Mark was a nuclear operator for the U.S. Navy. Other previous roles include automobile re-possessor, as well as parts manager for powerboat and auto dealerships. Mark is a native Vermonter, and a persistent (if not especially talented) athlete. He teaches Spinning® at National Life, and a local health club. He can be found many nights and weekends training with his wife, Karen, for their next running, cycling or triathlon event.
The nature documentary footage shows a bare circle of earth surrounded by lush grasses, trees and brush. A monkey cautiously approaches the circle, where a coconut is tied by a rope to a stake in the center of the circle. A calm, semi-amused British voice explains that the coconut has a hole in it, just a little larger than the monkey’s hand and is filled with rice. The monkey picks up the coconut and shoves his hand in to grab the rice. However, when he goes to pull his hand out, it won’t budge. The handful of rice now makes his fist too big for the hole in the coconut. He could easily escape if he let go, but he doesn’t. (more…)
I was walking the grizzled life insurance veteran back to his room after he spoke to our group of advisors at an education day. On the way, he says to me, “You know, no one needs to buy life insurance.” I think it was intended to shock a green advisor. It had the desired effect. He went on, “You don’t need life insurance to buy a car, or get a mortgage. If you never buy life insurance, it probably won’t affect your own life.” Pause. “It takes integrity to buy life insurance.” At the time, I was thinking that I will never be able to share that with a client without offending them, but it always stuck with me.
I am a former financial advisor. The company I worked for is not important (rhymes with “barbarian excess”), but the life and money lessons I learned from that experience proved to be very valuable. For example, I learned that I can’t sell, which might have led to my career change into compliance oversight of financial services. I liked helping people, and helping them solve the puzzles that were their finances and their frustrating lack of progress towards their goals. But more often than not, I found that what was in their best interest was to keep their accounts where they were, and find a way to save more. But as with losing weight, people don’t want the difficult and slow, albeit tried and true way to get there. They want a magic pill that gets them results tomorrow. Which brings me to the first lesson I learned about people and money:
Budgets Don’t Work.