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What client wouldn’t like to reduce some volatility?

Track and view index values online

New Index Lock captures potential increases and helps protect against receiving a zero interest credit. With Index Lock, clients can lock in their indexed interest anytime during the crediting period prior to the policy anniversary – helping to protect against a 0% credit.

Lock in an index value during the crediting period

That’s in addition to death benefit protection, accumulation potential, and loan flexibility, too – all available with Allianz Life Pro+ Advantage Fixed Index Universal Life Insurance Policy. sm

Help minimize the effects of midyear market volatility

For full product details and an illustration, call the Life Case Design Team, 800.950.7372.

Index Lock is available with select allocations. The indexed interest credit is applied at the end of the crediting period based on the locked index value. The index value used to determine interest credited may be higher or lower than the index value at the time of request. Product P64339 is issued by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz), 5701 Golden Hills Drive, Minneapolis, MN 55416-1297. 800.950.1962 www.allianzlife.com This offer does not apply in the state of New York. Guarantees are backed by the financial strength and claims-paying ability of Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America. For financial professional use only – not for use with the public. Product and feature availability may vary by state and broker/dealer. M-7278-A (9/2019)


Opportunity for Growth TEXT BY J. WESLEY KNOWLES The year 2020 has brought a great deal of change to our lives in the United States as well as the rest of the world. We began modifying our social and business practices to deal with the impact of the world-wide pandemic. Businesses were left scrambling to regroup and change sustainability plans for the future as the threat escalated. Almost overnight the world went virtual, transitioning from office cubicles to virtual workstations at home. Many businesses discovered that working remotely is an opportunity for savings, incentives, and new efficiencies. By and large, most companies that had already been investing in remote infrastructure found themselves ahead of their competitors that had not. As this temporary modification became necessary our world’s essential businesses kept things going, putting new ideas into practice amidst a storm of uncertainties. While we still look forward to returning to office environments when safe, for the foreseeable future, changes are necessary to protect workers and clients in this new environment. Financial Independence Group (FIG) was ahead of the curve by being prepared for a remote work environment. Our IT division ensured that the shift from headquarters to a primarily remote workforce was as seamless as possible by integrating laptops for all employees, a more versatile phone system, allowing for click of the button video conferencing capabilities, and a central hub for updates and communication.

FIG has worked tirelessly to be forward-thinking in all of our processes. Always planning, testing and implementing powerful tools and assets, our objective is to keep your business thriving through every challenge, in any environment. Keeping you informed while maintaining safety has become an enormous consideration as we move forward. We have been sharing more webinars, virtual conferences, and podcasts to keep you engaged and inspired. Our flagship event, the Sales Symposium is approaching quickly. Being held February 10-12 in Las Vegas, our events planning team has safety top of mind, going above and beyond the necessary precautions to provide a quality conference, while protecting our attendees. We look forward to seeing you there. Business has been challenging with the modifications we have faced and are experiencing daily. For this reason, we have provided numerous articles in this issue that address life insurance concepts, disability conversations and marketing ideas to help inspire business development and keep you connected to your clients. From these insights you may find that adapting can be less of an obstacle and more an opportunity for growth in this new normal. s J. Wesley Knowles, Marketing Media Specialist, APM Division, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Wesley - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Wes.Knowles@figmarketing.com

As we learned about the ways the industry was having to modify business for the crisis, our teams immediately set up areas on our agent portal to address, educate and supply tools to meet the needs and concerns of our clients. Supplying the best kind of engagement and practices for you, our clients, has always been the primary focus in our family of companies. CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE |


F&G Pathsetter



F&G Pathsetter is fixed indexed universal life insurance offering flexible protection, strong accumulation potential and withdrawals.

“F&G� refers to the marketing name for Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company issuing insurance in the United States outside of New York. Life insurance and annuities issued by Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company, Des Moines, IA. F&G Pathsetter is subject to state availability. Certain restrictions may apply. Optional provisions and riders have limitations, restrictions and additional charges. Riders may be subject to underwriting requirements. Form Numbers: ICC19-2003(1-19), ICC19-2003(1-19)P, LPI-2003(1-19), LPI-2003(1-19)P.

Key Benefits • Valuable living benefits to give your clients additional protection, value and security when they need it most • Unique index allocation option to customize to your clients’ needs • Exam-free underwriting and an experienced Life Case Management Team to make new business fast and simple

Contact F&G to Learn More!

life.sales@fglife.com • 888.513.8797 • fglife.com ADV 2437 (09-2020) 20-1086

Table of Contents

24 IN EVERY ISSUE 1 Introduction 4 Table of Contents 10 Credits 12 Executive Team 16 Contributors ARTICLES 1 OPPORTUNITY FOR GROWTH Our changing environment along with the recent challenges across the globe have created hurdles. Use them to inspire business growth. – by J. Wesley Knowles 24 WHAT A PANDEMIC TAUGHT US ALL ABOUT THE POWER AND IMPORTANCE OF PREPARATION During the pandemic many businesses learned about the art of preparedness. See ways to keep your business on trend. – by Arron Price 4 | CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE

34 28 INDIVIDUAL DISABILITY INSURANCE: THE NEED SELLS, THE ILLUSTRATION QUOTES Your client has to understand the importance of their income. Who is protecting your client’s paycheck? – by Eugene Cohen & Michael Cohen 30 LIFE INSURANCE TERMS Important life insurance terminology and definitions to remember. – by Financial Independence Group 32 THE SAFETY NET YOUR CLIENTS NEED As the pandemic and the economic crisis continue, permanent life insurance is proving its value as one of the most important tools for protecting assets and helping ensure financial well-being. – by Colin Branch & Sheryl Theisen

38 34 ARE YOU FIRST OR LAST? CLIENT ENGAGEMENT IN THE NEW NORMAL Amidst the current uncertainty, keep your focus heightened on the visual and verbal cues your clients are demonstrating. – by Monica Breeding 38 WHY CARE PLANNING IS VITAL TO A FINANCIAL PROFESSIONAL’S BUSINESS Financial professionals have the most to gain by incorporating this line of business over other advisory figures clients use. – by Alecia Barnette

Offer clients the choices, guarantees, and flexibility to get the long-term care they want. To learn more, visit https://nationwidefinancial.com/nationwide-carematters-ii

CareMatters® II Long-Term Care Coverage This material is not a recommendation to buy, sell, hold or roll over any asset, adopt an investment strategy, retain a specific investment manager or use a particular account type. It does not take into account the specific investment objectives, tax and financial condition or particular needs of any specific person. Investors should discuss their specific situation with their financial professional. Products are issued by Nationwide Life and Annuity Insurance Company, Columbus, Ohio. Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle and Nationwide is on your side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. Nationwide is not affiliated with any of the other entities listed. Third party marks are the property of their respective owners. © 2020 Nationwide NFV-1520M1 (9/20)

Help your clients control the life of their business. Business owners have a lot of responsibilities. And planning for the future of their business is a big one. Working with you we can provide your clients consultative services, innovative solutions and robust administrative services. And we’re here to support you every step of the way. Ready to get started?

For more information, visit www.principal.com

©2019 Principal Financial Services, Inc. Principal, Principal and symbol design and Principal Financial Group are registered trademarks and service marks of Principal Financial Services, Inc., a Principal company. Insurance products issued by Principal National Life Insurance Co (except in NY) and Principal Life Insurance Co. Plan administrative services offered by Principal Life. Securities offered through Principal Securities, Inc., 800-247-1737, Member SIPC and/or independent broker/dealers. Principal National, Principal Life, and Principal Securities are members of the Principal Financial Group®, Des Moines, IA 50392. AD3487N IMAGE FIG | 901070-082019

46 ARTICLES 44 TIME FOR CHANGE: HOW ALPHASTAR CAPITAL MANAGEMENT BECAME AN RIA LEADER We’ve been enhancing our ecosystem to reflect our mission and execute on our vision of leading the next generation of registered investment advisors. – by Sean Whelan 46 7 ANNUITY MYTHS AND THE TRUTHS BEHIND THEM Breaking down seven of the most common annuity myths and the actual truths behind the misconceptions. – by Mark Stewart

48 48 ACE IN THE DECK: PLANNING AGAINST LONGEVITY RISK WITH ANNUITIES There are many options when it comes to choosing an annuity that is right for you. – by James Nguyen & Michelle Panzera 50 HOW TO PROMOTE YOUR PODCAST APPEARANCES LIKE A PRO Follow these ten steps and you will be promoting your podcast appearances like a marketing guru. – by Mark Stewart

50 52 HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY: CONTRACTS AND PLANNING ARE STRATEGIES Individual disability coverage is that comprehensive parachute when someone gets disabled. – by Eugene Cohen & Michael Cohen 56 SHIFT INTO MARKETING GEAR Excellent tips on how to commit to the transition and shift into a more marketing-focused role for your business. – by Michelle Panzera


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LIBR available for ages 50+. American Equity is not affiliated with Financial Independence Group. Annuities and Rider issued under form series ICC17 BASE-IDX, ICC17 BASE-IDX-B, ICC17 IDX-10-7, ICC17 IDX-11-10, ICC17 IDX-10-10, ICC20 E-PTP-PR, ICC18 E-MPTP-A (+Patent Pending), ICC16 R-MVA, ICC20 R-LIBR-FCP, ICC American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company® does not offer legal, investment, or tax advice. Each client has specific needs which should be discussed with a qualified legal or tax advisor. Guarantees are based on the financial strength and claims paying ability of American Equity and are not guaranteed by any bank or insured by the FDIC. Other retirement solutions may also support similar goals. Possible interest credits for money allocated to an index-linked crediting strategy are based upon performance of the specific index; however, fixed index annuities are not an investment, but an insurance product, and do not directly 1 Bonus available on IncomeShield 10 1st year premiums. Each year after the 1st contract year, you become vested in a percentage of the bonus, until 100% vested at the end of the 10th contract year. Vested amounts of the bonus The BofA Destinations Index™ (the “Index”) has been created and is owned by BofA Securities, Inc. and its Affiliates (collectively, “BofAS”) and the Index has been licensed to American Equity Investment Life Insurance Company American Equity pursuant to the term of the contract between American Equity and a purchaser, and are not the responsibility of BofAS. BofAS indices and related information, the name “BofAS”, and related trademarks, are intelle sold, guaranteed, or promoted by BofAS. BOFAS MAKES NO WARRANTIES AND BEARS NO LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO THE INDICES, ANY RELATED INFORMATION, ITS TRADEMARKS, OR THE PRODUCT(S) (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIM

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invest in the stock market or the index itself. s are the amounts not forfeited as a result of an early withdrawal or surrender. Bonus, surrender charges, and vesting schedules may vary by state. See brochure and disclosure for details. y (“American Equity”). Neither American Equity nor any fixed index annuity (“Product”) is sponsored, operated, endorsed, sold or promoted by BofAS. Obligations to make payments under any Products are solely the obligation of ectual property licensed from BofAS, and may not be copied, used, or distributed without BofAS’ prior written approval. The Products have not been passed on as to their legality or suitability, and are not regulated, issued, endorsed, MITATION, THEIR QUALITY, ACCURACY, SUITABILITY AND/OR COMPLETENESS).

nt Life Insurance Company® est Des Moines, IA 50266 ● Call us at 888-221-1234

©2020 American Equity. All Rights Reserved.

EDITORIAL Publisher Financial Independence Group Editor Mark Stewart Executives Dr. William H. Cain Ericka Cain Brian K. Williams Jim Cooper Mike Mullan Nicholas Ross Tracia Cericola Arron Price Jared Hine Director of Business Development Tom Lamendola Art Direction J. Wesley Knowles Design/Production Alisa Agnew Danielle Harnish J. Wesley Knowles Jennifer Shephard Rashaad Bilal Copywriter Mark Stewart Editorial Assistants Jennifer Shephard Lindsey Forte Tara Salter Contributors Alecia Barnette Arron Price Colin Branch Eugene Cohen J. Wesley Knowles James Nguyen Mark Stewart Michael Cohen Michelle Panzera Monica Breeding Sean Whelan Sheryl Theisen Project Consultants Alisa Agnew Jennifer Shephard Lindsey Forte Mark Stewart Nick Voelker Paul Van Ginhoven Project Manager J. Wesley Knowles PRODUCTION Design Team Financial Independence Group All Points Media 19520 West Catawba Ave Suite 200 Cornelius, NC 28031

Cover Concept/Design J. Wesley Knowles CopyrightŠ 2020 by Financial Independence Group, LLC. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of Financial Independence Group, LLC.

Photograph by Randy Kostichka




Founder and Chairman of the Board





Co-Chief Executive Officer

Co-Chief Executive Officer

Co-Chief Executive Officer





Chief Administrative Officer

Chief Distribution Officer

Chief Operating Officer

Chief Financial Officer




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When it comes to your investment goals, limiting exposure to market downturns may be as important as capturing market appreciation. Alphastar Capital Management offers Betashield™ – a risk mitigation strategy designed to guard investment portfolios from catastrophic losses. The Betashield™ strategy is a globally diversified asset allocation model portfolio that uses portfolio value signals that when triggered, relocates a predetermined percentage of portfolio holdings in both times of market advancement and market downturns. The strategy allows you to participate in potential market appreciation while managing market risk. Portfolio values are monitored and trade signals are adjusted higher during periods of portfolio appreciation. This “adjusted floor” is designed to allow you remain invested while protecting part of the prior appreciation of the portfolio. Contact Alphastar Capital Management to learn more about Betashield™ and how these strategies may assist your current investment portfolio or investing needs.



www.betashield.io All investments involve the risk of potential investment losses. Past performance is not a guarantee or predictor of future results. Betashield™ portfolio strategies are not a guarantee against loss or declines in the value of a portfolio. Draw down targets can not be guaranteed. Advertisement is not an offer or solicitation for the sale or purchase of any security or other financial instrument or to adopt a particular investment strategy. Refer to www.betashield.io for more information. Investment advisory services are offered through Alphastar Capital Management LLC (“Alphastar”), a SEC registered investment adviser.

Help clients lose the wait. And help them gain more income. Prudential has an annuity solution that can help clients start their protected lifetime income at any time and get all the income they’ve earned to that date.


of today’s retirees are retiring earlier than they had planned*. We can help clients prepare for the unexpected.

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For more information, contact your Prudential Annuities wholesaler or call the National Sales Desk at 855-693-0266. Or log on to www.prudential.com consumers click here *2018 Prudential Retirement Readiness Research Annuities are issued by Prudential Annuities Life Assurance Corporation (PALAC), a Prudential Financial company, located in Shelton, CT (main office). Prudential Annuities is a business of Prudential Financial, Inc. This material is being provided for informational or educational purposes only and does not take into account the investment objectives or financial situation of any client or prospective clients. The information is not intended as investment advice and is not a recommendation about managing or investing your retirement savings. If you would like information about your particular investment needs, please contact a financial professional. Annuity contracts contain exclusions, limitations, reductions of benefits, and terms for keeping them in force. A licensed financial professional can provide you with complete details. Š 2020 Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities. Prudential Annuities, Prudential, the Prudential logo, and the Rock symbol are service marks of Prudential Financial, Inc. and its related entities, registered in many jurisdictions worldwide.

1040463-00001-00 Ed. 09/2020




Tom Lamendola is a graduate and postgraduate from St. Bonaventure University in upstate New York. Tom joined FIG as the Director of Business Development in 2017. Primarily responsible for all design, marketing, business development, fulfillment, and leadership of our “recruiting as a service” solutions. In 2020, he became the Head of Marketing, leading our FIG All Points Media team’s strategy and delivery.

Paul collaborates with FIG’s financial professionals and internal staff to find solutions to their compliance questions and potential regulatory issues. He’s a member of the International Association of Risk and Compliance Professionals and has a Certified Risk and Compliance Management Professional designation. He currently holds FINRA Series 6, 7, 9, 10, 24, 26, 53, 63 and 66 licenses. Additionally, Paul has a North Carolina Life Insurance License and is a North Carolina Notary Public.



Director of Business Development

Chief Operating Officer Arron, originally from England, joined FIG in May 2013 as a Software Developer. He was instrumental in the complete buildout and release of FIG’s internal CRM that powers all areas of the business. In 2015, Arron assumed the role of Director of Software Engineering, tasked with leading and growing an innovative team to spearhead the charge in the Financial Services industry. Arron joined the FIG Executive Team in 2019 as Chief Operating Officer. As COO, he is responsible for the overall business operations of the company. Arron brings a wealth of technical leadership experience, highlighting the unwavering direction the industry is headed.


Director of Compliance

Chief Sales Officer Alphastar Capital Management As the Chief Sales Officer for Alphastar Capital Management Sean heads both the sales and marketing divisions. Sean has over 15 years in financial services. Sean brings a real passion for our business and for helping others. His roles have uniquely positioned him to acquire the knowledge and skills to make an impact while serving our advisors and teams. His diverse work experiences with large life insurance companies, insurance based broker-dealers, and asset managers serve him well as he continues to promote and encourage the Alphastar Capital Management value proposition to the clients and advisors that we serve.



Eugene Cohen began his insurance industry career in Cleveland, OH, with a company that specialized in disability income protection.

Michael Cohen CLU is president of the Eugene Cohen Insurance Agency, helping brokers, general agents, broker/dealers and financial advisors serve their clients.

Eugene Cohen Insurance Agency

In 1981 Cohen founded the Eugene Cohen Insurance Agency, Inc., Skokie, IL, which specializes in DI, life, LTCI, fixed annuities, and impaired risk cases. The agency is a member of LifeMark Partners, NAILBA, the IDIS and is a founding member of the Plus Group. Cohen received the W. Harold Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award from the IDIS and NAILBA’s Douglas Mooers Award for Excellence.


Senior Vice President Care Planning Alecia has over 20 years of experience in providing assetbased LTC case designs to highly successful advisors. Her main purpose is to help advisors protect their clients and their families from the physical and emotional consequences of unexpected care needs. Alecia’s use of holistic approaches and strong ethics make her an invaluable asset to any financial advisor.

Eugene Cohen Insurance Agency

Cohen has served on carrier advisory boards and organization boards of directors. He is a member of the Risk Appraisal Forum. Eugene and Michael can be reached at Eugene Cohen Insurance Agency, Inc. Telephone: 800-333-4340. Website: www.cohenagency.com. Emails: michael@cohenagency. net; eugene@cohenagency.net.


Vice President - Life Colin Branch is a VP of Sales for Financial Independence Group (FIG). His role with FIG is to provide support to independent financial advisory firms and institutions across the US in Business Development, Product Research and Development, and Marketing and Branding. More importantly Colin and his team work tirelessly to expand the market share of his clients within their local communities by using best practices to drive prospects to their business. Colin began his career in the financial services industry as a financial representative with Northwestern Mutual after retiring from the NFL. Colin had a four-year career in the NFL with the Carolina Panthers after being drafted from Stanford University in the 2003 NFL draft.




Senior Marketing Strategist Monica Breeding joined Financial Independence Group in 2014 as a Marketing Consultant for the All Points Media department. Over the years she has mentored and consulted financial professionals across the country on their marketing efforts to help them reach their production goals. Monica was one of the first marketing consultants hired by FIG to introduce the very successful marketing and coaching program, Elevate. Since then she has become a Senior Marketing Strategist and now works with some of the most successful financial professionals at FIG by creating custom strategies resulting in year over year growth. Monica grew up in Danville, VA and graduated from Radford University in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Business degree in Marketing.

Digital Strategist James came to Financial Independence Group in the Spring 2018 with 8 plus years in the independent brokerdealer space where he was responsible for overseeing the conceptualization, development, and execution of corporate marketing and communication initiatives. As a Digital Strategist, James plays an instrumental role in designing, building, and implementing digital marketing strategies for advisors to help raise brand awareness, drive engagement, and more importantly, heighten their client experience for an increase in retention.



Michelle was raised by an avid bookworm who never missed the nighttime ritual of reading to her children. She developed a deep and early love for the written word that ultimately blossomed into a passion for storytelling. After beginning her career at Chase Bank, Michelle eventually became a fully licensed financial professional and slowly found her creative outlet in the financial sector as a marketing professional.

Sheryl’s creative marketing experience spans a vast array of industries, from gluten to tech to finance. Inspired by advertising tycoon David Ogilvy, she has developed a keen ability to understand how small, unique details can inspire the big picture. She writes for an audience beyond those already interested in a specific sector opening the door to a new conversation.

Content Strategist



Marketing Coordinator



Mark’s “jack-of-all-trades” mentality has made him both knowledgeable and passionate in advertising, digital and social media marketing, and of course— copywriting. Responsible for creating captivating content and convincing copy across the board for Financial Independence Group, he has a knack for making the most complex financial topics simple to understand.

Wes has been involved as an artist & designer with the nationally recognized brands of Spectrum, The DNC, Amway, NBA Charlotte Hornets, AHL Charlotte Checkers, and the NFL Carolina Panthers. Wes joined All Points Media in 2014 and delivers his insight to an already strong group of designers and marketers with his many years of experience in publication production, copywriting, and art direction.

Content Writer

Marketing Media Specialist


Elect to protect your clients’ American dreams With the election in sight, the focus should be on your clients’ retirement strategy 2020 has been a year of dramatic upheaval. And with the Presidential election around the corner, the remaining weeks could be even more unpredictable. Are your clients prepared? Talk to them today about the election’s potential impact on their retirement planning and savings and help them stay on track.

Visit vote-retirement.com for more resources on how Americans are navigating this election year and its impact on their retirement assets. Questions? Contact us at (855) 447-2537 or via email at annuity.marketing@gafg.com This material is intended to provide educational information and is intended for producer use only. It should not be considered, and does not constitute, personalized investment advice. The issuing insurance company is not an investment adviser nor registered as such with the SEC or any state securities regulatory authority. It’s not acting in any fiduciary capacity with respect to any contract and/or investment. Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of Forethought Life Insurance Company and assume compliance with the product’s benefit rules, as applicable. Fixed and Fixed Index Annuities are issued by Forethought Life Insurance Company, 10 West Market Street, Suite 2300, Indianapolis, Indiana. Variable annuities are underwritten and distributed by Global Atlantic Distributors, LLC. Global Atlantic Financial Group (Global Atlantic) is the marketing name for Global Atlantic Financial Group Limited and its subsidiaries, including Forethought Life Insurance Company and Accordia Life and Annuity Company. Each subsidiary is responsible for its own financial and contractual obligations. These subsidiaries are not authorized to do business in New York.


(9-20) 3234314.1

At Alphastar we understand your most valuable assets are your relationships Your partnership with Alphastar makes it easy to focus on those valuable relationships. Our turn-key solution streamlines your practice and sales process so you don’t spend your valuable time away from your relationships. With Compass, our proprietary data aggregation system, there are many benefits to your practice and a few are:

• Ability to integrate insurance solutions • Increased flexibility for your investment needs • Enhanced account opening process leveraging digital solutions including wealth and carrier paperwork in one • Efficiencies with operations and client service processes




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(855) 340-2514 | support@alphastarcm.com For Internal Use Only - Not For Client Use                    Â   

The ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones that do. – Anonymous

It’s no secret that 2020 has been one of the most demanding and unprecedented years in recent history. As a pandemic accelerated dramatically across the globe, countries were left scrambling to stop the spread whilst observing helplessly at their turbulent markets. The way in which our world operated was turned on its head overnight and the new normal established. With all of that, came the rise of the companies that thrived (Zoom, Peloton, Amazon) and those that faltered (J.C. Penney, Niemann Marcus, J.Crew.) It wasn’t only the big names, though. Every single company across the globe was affected by the impacts of COVID-19. No one could’ve predicted the unprecedented actions that the world was forced to take.

As reality began to take hold, we all began the internal questioning:

The following are some areas of focus to help you prepare for the new world:

“Are we prepared to work remotely?” “Are we prepared to operate virtually?” “Are we prepared to thrive in the new normal?”

Experiment with Digital Lead Strategies

At the end of the day, it all comes down to “preparation”. Not preparation of a pandemic, but preparation of operating in the modern world. Over the last decade, technology has exploded at a rate we’ve never seen. Whether we embraced it or not, our world was becoming digital long before COVID-19. Those companies that resisted the technological evolution for so many years never stood a chance when the world was thrust into complete virtualization. As we come out on the other side, we must challenge ourselves to look down field and prepare for the next tomorrow. That’s what the pandemic has taught us – preparing and embracing our evolution to the future. As a financial professional, product and markets are not the only factors to consider in this new world. The way we find clients, establish trust, and facilitate business are all up for discussion. It’s up to each and every one of us to consciously heed the warning of turning a blind eye to preparation. 24 | CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE

The key word here is “experiment”. Use this time to vet out unique ways to bolster your digital presence and find new leads online. Focus on your website, social media, and other branddefining outlets. Use this opportunity to build ancillary outlets of lead generation in addition to your traditional methods. FIG has a slew of programs and resources to help you grow your digital foothold.

Start Tracking Your Efforts With the Marketing Tracker™ Utilize FIG’s proprietary tool to help track, analyze, and compare your marketing efforts. Being more data-driven will allow your firm to understand the successes and failures of all efforts, whilst illustrating areas of growth potential. Both digital and in-person activities can be tracked. The Marketing Tracker™ can be found on the FIG Portal.

Implement E-Application Technology Into Your Office This is a no-brainer, especially in the “new normal”. Not only does e-applications allow you to facilitate business virtually, but it also prepares you for any future regulation requirements. Take the time to implement e-applications into your practice and see all the added benefits instantaneously: eliminate NIGOs, scale your office without added overhead, and get business processed faster. Once you switch, you won’t go back! Talk to your FIG sales team for more information on best practices. See our best practices guide here.

Evaluate Your Current CRM/Business Tracking Solution With every industry driving towards trackability, data, and availability, it’s imperative to evaluate how your office operates and functions. Ask yourself: is what we are doing scalable and integrated? If the answer is “no”, evaluate all other options. Having a scalability and growth mindset is key to preparing for the future – no matter what that future holds. Even basic questions like: can I access client information on-the-go? If you are new to CRMs and would love a demo of FIG’s ForceCRM, click here.

Manage Pending/In Force Business (and Much More!) Through the FIG Portal and FIG App In a world flooded by emails, take control of how you want to manage your business through FIG, by utilizing our technological solutions. There are ways to interact with your case manager, exchange files, and see real-time updates of your cases all in one place. Push out the noise and get down to what

you need to see. Download the FIG App at Apple/ Google App stores. Visit the App Store. These are but a few ideas of focus as you look at preparing for the future. During this unprecedented era we are living in, we have an exciting opportunity to look at what we’ve always done and decide to evolve. If recent history has taught us anything, if we don’t prepare now, our future will be driven by outside influences. We must evolve. What got us here today will not get us there tomorrow. This sentiment is not only felt across financial services but across all industries, and across the world. The pandemic was a powerful reminder of the strength of preparation. Embrace the change. Adopt technology. And welcome the opportunity to prepare. It will be the best decision you ever make… s Arron Price, Chief Operations Officer, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Arron - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Arron.Price@figmarketing.com


Independent Property & Casualty Group (IPCG) works with companies and individuals to offer the best products to protect assets and minimize risk. We take a holistic approach when working with our clients to make sure their coverage aligns with their financial goals. IPCG has access with the top carriers in all 50 states, enabling us to ensure the client is getting the best value in the marketplace. We will be in constant contact with the carriers during renewals to confirm the client is still in the optimal position with their rates and coverage. Service is a key component in the foundation of IPCG’s business model. Our concierge department will act as a liaison between the carrier and client. Making sure the client understands the coverage they have in place, as well as being a resource to assist when a possible claim arises is crucial. IPCG has also created a unique partnership with financial advisors. We see 3 key areas were the advisor will benefit; 1) Help the advisor insulate their business. The more lines someone has the stickier the relationship becomes. 2) Attract the next generation. Helping the younger generation with their property & casualty needs will open the door for financial services. 3) Generate an additional revenue stream. The advisors will be paid commission on new business and renewals. Through this partnership we will help the advisor concentrate on growing their business without the worry of unnecessary financial loss from potential insurable risks your clients may face. Our goal is to ensure your clients are protected and their coverage continues to meet their business or personal needs.

Matt Woodford, President matt.woodford@ipcginsurance.com 704-990-0930 www.ipcginsurance.com

Individual Disability Insurance:

The Need Sells, The Illustration Quotes TEXT BY EUGENE COHEN & MICHAEL COHEN When recommending disability income insurance to a client, many advisors are confronted with one or more of the four basic buying objections: No Need, No Confidence, No Hurry and No Money. Usually the most challenging objection to overcome with a client is the No Need objection, when to the advisor, the need is so obvious. Let’s explore more about how to address the No Need objection. There are many things that people need to buy and certainly there are many things people want to buy. I want to buy a new TV or a round of golf on the weekend. Disability income protection insurance is a product that most clients need to buy and don’t necessarily think about buying it until an advisor recommends the product. Income is a need, as we all need money to pay for our day-to-day basics such as food, rent, taxes, utilities, car payments, clothing, etc. In fact, if you calculate a monthly budget, most of your clients will have fixed expenses of thousands of dollars every month. Some will have more than others, but the number is substantial. It may help a client to visualize a bridge with all the above needs being held up by the supporting beams. If the supporting beams break, crack or become unsteady, the bridge, and everything on it, will eventually collapse. Your client’s paychecks are the supporting beams of any budget and financial plan. If the paycheck were to disappear the bridge would collapse. This would be a catastrophic event for your client and your client’s family. Your client has to understand the importance of their income. In most cases, it’s their most valuable asset. Who is protecting your client’s paycheck? For most clients, if there is no paycheck, then they will experience a lot of hardship. It’s hard for a client to go from having income to pay bills and expenses to having no paycheck to pay for the same bills and expenses. In addition, for many clients with health issues, they will actually find their fixed expenses increasing due to additional health care costs and higher deductibles. It’s a full-blown conundrum – more expenses are coming in, but there is no paycheck or income being produced. 28 | CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE

It’s essential to only present the actual disability income insurance product presentation when you are fully convinced your client understands why this product is needed. You never want to discuss a solution to a problem…that a client doesn’t understand is actually a problem. Asking questions—the right questions— uncovers the need. How important is your earned income? In most cases, you will find that future earned income is the clients most important asset. For example, a thirty five year old earning $100,000 a year without any increases or inflation factors would earn, in a 30 year period, $3,000,000. As we know, a sickness or injury could wipe away that income and that is a problem. What is the longest vacation your client has ever taken? How long do they normally take? How long have you taken? Most clients will answer two weeks, maybe three. When questioned why they only take a two week vacation most answer that they have to get back to their job or business. If an injury or illness were to take them away two or three years, or longer, that of course would be a problem. If you have no income, what expenses do you plan on eliminating first, second, third…etc.? One of the most important questions on a mortgage application is: What is your income? Mortgage companies do not want foreclosures. They require you to pay your mortgage whether you are working or not and whether you are in good health or not. When your income stops due to sickness or injury, the mortgage and other bills must be paid. Go to www.LifeHappens.org to see stories of real people and the events that have changed their lives. Please click on the videos and disability stories. Hearing these real-life events is so important for financial professionals. It’s amazing how many clients have been helped because their financial planner recommended disability income protection in their financial plan.

One story that has resonated with so many in our office was the story of Bill, who was 32 years old when he became disabled. Bill was on his way to his mom’s house when a car crossed the median and hit Bill’s car head on. Bill suffered body traumas as well as chronic short-term memory loss which made it impossible for him to return to work. Bill was very fortunate that his financial professional understood the need for disability coverage and was able to show Bill why he needed to buy coverage at such a young age.

It’s important to plan for the twists and turns that tomorrow can bring.

The story resonates with many because he was so young when he became permanently disabled. He was fortunate to have an financial planner who recognized that young adults who are just starting the wealth building process have a dire need for disability insurance.

Eugene and Michael can be reached at Eugene Cohen Insurance Agency, Inc. Telephone: 800-333-4340. Website: www.cohenagency.com. Emails: michael@cohenagency. net; eugene@cohenagency.net.

Remember that bridge we discussed in the beginning of this article? When questions are asked and you have discussions with your clients, your clients will become more aware of the need for disability income protection. You have the solution to keep that bridge sturdy and your client’s financial plan strong. s

As an consultant, it’s important that you too have disability insurance. What is your plan if you can’t work? Who is going to pay your bills? We know the importance of disability insurance, as being in this industry has shown us to expect the unexpected.

You can’t You predict, can’tbut predict, but you can help you protect can help protect Protection from market losses with opportunities for with opportunities for your client’s Protection from market losses your clients’ income, income, long-termlong-term care and legacy needs. care and legacy needs. Help your clients: Help your clients: PRESERVE LIFETIME INCOME

Preserve lifetime income



Prepare for an LTC event

Want Wantto tolearn learnmore? more?Contact Contactus usat at(855) (855)447-2537 447-2537or orvia viaemail emailat atannuity.marketing@gafg.com annuity.marketing@gafg.com Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of Forethought Life Insurance Company and assume compliance with the product’s benefit rules, as applicable. Fixed and Fixed Index Annuities are issued by Forethought Life Insurance Company, 10 West Market Street, Suite 2300, Indianapolis, Indiana. Variable annuities are underwritten and distributed by Global Atlantic Distributors, LLC. Global Atlantic Financial Group (Global Atlantic) is the marketing name for Global Atlantic Financial Group Limited and its subsidiaries, including Forethought Life Insurance Company and Accordia Life and Annuity Company. Each subsidiary is responsible for its own financial and contractual obligations. These subsidiaries are not authorized to do business in New York.


(9-20) 3234468.1




A policy owner can add these features to a policy to expand coverage, increase the death benefit, or add flexibility to INSURANCE PREMIUM payments/ benefit structure. The premium is the amount of money an individual pays for an insurance policy.

Policies that cover the insured until death. These may accrue a cash value and used as a cash-accumulation vehicle. They are also used for coverage, protect the beneficiary in the event of the insured’s death with a death benefit. Examples of permanent life insurance include: whole life, variable life, universal life, indexed universal life, and survivorship (or second-to-die) life insurance.



The cash value is the portion of a permanent policy that accrues interest and may be borrowed against or withdrawn according to provisions outlined in the policy. Term policies don’t accrue a cash value.


The policy owner is the person who owns the insurance policy and selects its features and benefits.



The temporary length of coverage for non-permanent policies. Term policies don’t accrue a cash value, but they do have a death benefit. Premiums stay flat for the duration of the term. Once the term expires, the policy owner can elect to continue coverage with an annual renewable term (ART) where the premiums would substantially increase every year. Note: Most term policies allow the insured to convert their policy to permanent without a medical exam.

PROVIDER or CARRIER Provides insurance coverage in the form of a policy, which is a legally binding contract between the provider and the applicant (policy owner).

INSURED The person covered in the policy. The policy owner and the insured are often the same person but may be different. e.g. A parent (policy owner) can take out a policy on their child (insured).

DEATH BENEFIT The payment a beneficiary receives in the event of the insured’s death.


All life policies offer a death benefit.

The person designated to receive the death benefit upon the death of the insured. Lorem ipsum



The current economic status, reflective of a year that combines a pandemic, a major election, and numerous natural disasters, has almost every household looking for opportunities to secure their family. A survey conducted in May and June 2020 by Life Happens, found that 67% of Americans say the pandemic has been a wake-up call for them to examine their financial status. Additionally, 30% say that life insurance has been one of the top topics for discussion.1 Life insurance has long held the reputation of a financial product that costs a lot and gives back little, but what your clients may not know is that life insurance can offer the much-needed safety net during these turbulent times. The landscape couldn’t be more ideal for addressing the role of life insurance in a financial plan, to analyze the suitability of products, and explain how this asset can provide families with peace of mind.

ARM YOURSELF WITH COVERAGE INFORMATION AND AN ANALYSIS PROCESS FOR EACH CLIENT MEETING. Start with a comprehensive analysis review: In the blink of an eye, the unemployment rate has skyrocketed leaving many in desperate need of cash flow—something that a permanent life insurance policy may hold for them. Review current financial objectives and life insurance needs by summarizing existing life insurance premiums, cash values, benefits, underwriting offers, and ownership/beneficiaries.

Question: Are you confident that your current financial plan and life insurance policy meet the needs for you and your family today and moving forward?

Solution: My office can analyze life insurance policies to make sure they will continue to address the specific need you positioned them to meet.

[1] https://www.forbes.com/advisor/life-insurance/buying-during-pandemic/ 32 | CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE

[2] https://www.fa-mag.com/news/addressing-life-insurance-uses-and-needs-amid-covid-19-56102.html

Introduce an income replacement plan: This year has been an anomaly to say the least. A host of uncertainty has spanned the entire country and has most likely impacted your clients’ financial security. Bills are piling up quickly for many and they need to know there’s a way to maintain their current lifestyle. As a trusted financial professional, present your clients with options for income replacement as a buffer so that they don’t feel compelled to dip into savings to offset any recent financial burden.

Question: If you didn’t make it home tomorrow or you came home without a job, how much can you comfortably set aside each month for your family?

Solution: I can introduce you to a range of products that can cover as much of this need as your budget can allow within the time frame that you will need coverage.

Provide safe money alternatives: Grandma’s advice to hide money under the mattress is never going to be the sagest advice and certainly won’t provide the financial safety net that families are looking for today. Families are looking for ways to secure their income stream. Determine with your client, a smarter investment strategy providing liquidity, tax deferral, and potentially greater returns than common low yielding, highly taxable, and highly inefficient assets such as bonds, CDs, and savings accounts.

Question: What are your thoughts and reasons for holding discretionary dollars in an account that provides safe and conservative investment returns?

Solution: If I could show you a product just as safe, with liquidity, and a potentially higher rate of return, would you be interested? As the pandemic and the economic crisis continue, permanent life insurance is proving its value as one of the most important tools for protecting assets and helping ensure financial well-being. With so many families facing financial challenges, now is the time to explore how their existing

policies can provide much-needed access to cash and how they can maintain appropriate coverage long after the crisis ends.

Colin Branch, Vice President – Life, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Colin - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Colin.Branch@figmarketing.com

Moving forward, continuously monitoring the effectiveness and applicability of their life insurance policies and recommending appropriate adjustments has never been more vital.2 s

Sheryl Theisen, Marketing Coordinator, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Sheryl - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Sheryl.Theisen@figmarketing.com


Client Engagement in the New Normal TEXT BY MONICA BREEDING

The appointment was set and your clients arrive a few minutes early, pleasantly seated in your waiting room. You eagerly move to greet them with a warm handshake and smile, perhaps even a cordial hug for those with whom you’ve built a familiar relationship with. You offer them refreshments from the assortment placed neatly on the table and as the meeting begins, you’re seated a mere three feet apart to ensure you have their focus and attention.

Enter COVID-19 and all we thought we knew has been turned upside down. Many clients are hesitant to interact face to face and even the notion of asking them to do so can be perceived as a lack of care. Yet, the need remains to nurture our existing clients, manage existing business and also interact with potential new clients. Our environment has shifted and so too must we shift to accommodate the “new normal”.

If this all sounds familiar, it should, because that’s how we have been trained to manage client interaction and nurture client relationships for as long as we can remember. After all, the hands on approach is what allows us to truly connect with our clients.

By now, most of us have heard of “virtual meetings” and rightfully so, because they are a fantastic tool that allows us to connect face to face with our clients. Virtual meetings should be a staple offering for any client meeting in which a face to face rapport is necessary for the productivity of the meeting.


Amidst the current uncertainty, keep your focus heightened on the visual and verbal cues your clients are demonstrating. What do their facial expressions tell you? Does their voice demonstrate clarity and confidence? Have they maintained focus and eye contact with the camera? These are all valuable indicators that allow us to determine the mindset of our clients and adjust our strategy accordingly. Some may need more nurturing during this time, while others may be quite content with only brief connections. Try focusing on and reading the visual and verbal cues during your next virtual meeting and you’ll be amazed how effectively you can tailor your approach to meet your client’s need! With an increasingly large portion of the US professional population working remotely, it’s safe to say for most folks, email has become an even more critical component of day to day communication. So, why not strike while the iron is hot and capitalize by sending weekly updates, industry news and general thoughts to existing clients to nurture relationships, increase engagement and provide a positive tone. Another great way to ensure you are top of mind and gain valuable face time is to film a weekly or monthly video newsletter for your existing client base. Direct mail can also be an effective tool during this time and with a little creativity, can also remain quite cost effective. Start by sending your top 20 prospects, clients and referral partners a small gift with cover letter. From there, you can expand or reduce as necessary based on the response.

What about all of those new business leads? Try creating weekly or bi-weekly email and/or direct mail campaigns to specifically target these folks. Be sure to highlight your “virtual capability” to demonstrate how you have adapted to the new normal and you are certain to capture some interest. While you’re at it, be sure to keep your website updated with new content and updates to expand your touchpoints. Implementing a site blog is a great way to drive traffic and ensure you are reaching existing and potential new clients. And for the few that are willing and able to venture back into events, consider themes that still allow for social distancing. Events that incorporate the great outdoors like food trucks in your parking lot, a plant exchange for your garden lovers, a bike tour around your city or even an outside ice cream social are great ways to nurture clients and cultivate referral relationships. After all, it only takes one new client to make it all worthwhile! In closing, change is indeed scary but for those willing to embrace a “new normal”, change is also an opportunity to corner the market, not only sustaining but growing your business! s Monica Breeding, Senior Marketing Strategist, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Monica - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Monica.Breeding@figmarketing.com


Why Care Planning is Vital to a Financial Professional’s Business TEXT BY ALECIA BARNETTE

Care planning solutions are often overlooked by financial professionals for several reasons, the most common being the intimidation felt by a space they’ve never dealt with before and the emotional response this subject produces. Ironically, financial professionals have the most to gain by incorporating this line of business over other advisory figures clients use. So why should you as a financial professional talk care planning? You should talk about it because it’s making a massive resurgence in the insurance and retirement planning industry. Care planning is no longer a “maybe discussion,” these are mandates for the Wealth Counselor® of tomorrow. Many of your clients believe they have enough money to selffund an extended care event, but if they begin using more than planned, it’ll have a severe impact on their financial plan, thereby impacting you as well.

The Need for Care Planning According to the National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information, around 70% of individuals over age 65 will require some type of longterm care (LTC) service1 during their lifetime? Of Americans age 65 and older today, one in five will require LTC services for five or more years. The number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease is growing. An estimated 5.4 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s’ disease2 and these numbers are increasing at an alarming rate. By 2050, the number of people over the age of 65 with Alzheimer’s or dementia may nearly triple. Let that sink in… Given these facts, the question now becomes not whether an extended care event will affect your client’s retirement income plan, but when? When a person’s income needs drastically increase, where will the income to pay for the care come from? They may need to liquidate investments in managed accounts, annuities, and cash equivalents. If your business model creates plans to generate income during retirement, paying for care will disrupt every aspect of your model. What will happen to it when at least 20% of your clients over age 65 are pulling between $50,000 and $120,000 out of their portfolios annually for more than five years? We know the costs of care are increasing, but they’re expected to dramatically jump as baby boomers are aging into this phase of life.


The Importance of the Care Planning Conversation Can you ensure your clients attain a rate of return high enough to get an additional $70,000 a year or more to fund care events that could last 5, 10, or even 15 years or more? Paying for care requires reallocation of income streams and can have a direct impact on your client’s ability to keep financial commitments they may have. It’s a discussion you need to have with every single one of your clients. Historically, financial professionals have felt that having the care planning conversation meant initiating emotionally charged and tense discussions since it’s not a topic anyone enjoys thinking about—the inevitable aging process and potential loss of independence. Care planning was overlooked as a product line to offer because financial professionals don’t know how and why they should talk about it. I think what scares agents most is, they don’t know what they don’t know. Over the years, the landscape has changed in the LTC industry. When I started in this industry more than 20 years ago, most care planning solutions involved using traditional LTC insurance (LTCI). It’s always been the cheapest way to secure the largest pool of LTC benefits to start. The problem is it has a bad reputation with all the negative press regarding rate increases. We’ve seen many carriers raise rates anywhere from 5% to the 150% range. Additionally, many of the major insurers have left the marketplace because lower lapse rates have paired with higher claim experiences, and it’s been devastating. The critical detail to note here is this: LTC events are an inevitable milestone for most of our aging population and they require planning. Do I think traditional LTCI is still a good fit? Absolutely! However, I do believe there are many different solutions available that are becoming more popular. Check out our infographic outlining the different solutions available to you in the marketplace.

Your Care Planning Resource What do numerous solutions mean for you as a financial professional? It means you have options.


Many of the objections that you’re facing in the industry can now be overcome. Let’s take, for example, rate increases. Here at Financial Independence Group, we focus primarily on asset-based LTC as a solution. With this class of products, you have guarantees. Your client won’t experience rate increases and they’ll have a benefit whether they live, die, or walk away from the policy. We believe care planning isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach because every client is different. Remember, if your client doesn’t have a plan, then their money is their plan by default. You don’t have to be an expert in this space because that’s what we’re here for. You only need to be brave enough to start the care planning conversation with your clients to uphold your fiduciary responsibility. We can teach you how to approach this in an easy, repeatable, and product-agnostic way because of the many solutions available. s

The content within this infographic is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax or investment advice. Customers should consult a legal or tax professional regarding their own situation. This document is not an offer to purchase, sell, replace, or exchange any product. Insurance, annuity and LTC products, and any related guarantees are backed by the claims-paying ability of an insurance company. Insurance and LTC policy applications are vetted through an underwriting process set forth by the issuing insurance company. Some applications may not be accepted based upon adverse underwriting results. Alecia Barnette, Senior Vice President - Care Planning, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Alecia - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Alecia@figmarketing.com References: [1] https://longtermcare.acl.gov/the-basics/how-much-carewill-you-need.html [2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/ S1552526016000856

Time for Change:

How Alphastar Capital Management Became an RIA Leader TEXT BY SEAN WHELAN This year we’ve been reminded that change is the only constant. At Alphastar Capital Management, we’re also in a state of enterprising and proactive change for the clients we serve. Often, change is needed and necessary for growth, especially when intended as a strategy for evolution, refinement, and development. In our fast-paced environment and in an industry that’s constantly shifting, it’s important that Alphastar continues to remain ahead of the curve. We’ve been enhancing our ecosystem to reflect our mission and execute on our vision of leading the next generation of registered investment advisors (RIAs).

We believe in leading in three important areas: People, Platform, and Philosophy People: Over the last two years we’ve grown our leadership team to include a chief investment officer, chief compliance officer, chief operating officer, and chief sales officer. Our leaders are tasked with bringing extensive knowledge and experience in investments, pension management, regulatory knowledge, large IBDs and RIAs, as well as working with hundreds of advisors. We’re here to serve and assist you and your business. Platform: The Alphastar platform is more than something to do business on, but rather, do it in. We offer best-in class technology, a dedicated consultant team, case design, financial planning, investments marketing, and more. Philosophy: One of the driving forces behind many of our decisions is the same belief we share with you: that insurance and wealth management combined help serve the client. Acting on this, we’re leading the industry by being the first RIA to have the insurance exchange integrated into our technology stack. This allows you pre-sale, point-of-sale, and post-sale uses on a system that can handle the investments and various carrier paperwork in one location in an easy-to-use process. In addition, we’ll be launching a brand-new investment solution that includes insurance in one product. Reflecting on the past year, we look at a portion of the enhancements implemented at Alphastar. These changes have been made to help you grow your business and increase your revenue efficiencies.

• Firelight: This end-to-end, fully digital client opening process is backed by the same technology you use in the insurance space. Alphastar is the only RIA on the TDA platform to offer this.

• Compass: The conversion to Compass powered by Envestnet has opened to door to advisor-driven models, a wider range of investment solutions, and the insurance exchange; just to name a few.

• Community of Advisor Development: We created the Next Level Learning Series to support our IAR affiliates in the quest to grow their business to the next level. We’ll be announcing a coaching program in the near future for 2021. To find out more about the positive changes and developments at Alphastar, and how we can help you take your practice to the next level, give us a call at (855) 340-2514, or visit www.AlphastarCM.com. s Sean Whelan, Chief Sales Officer, Alphastar Captial Management





Mark Stewart, Content Writer, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Mark - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Mark.Stewart@figmarketing.com

Ace in the Deck: Planning Against Longevity Risk with Annuities TEXT BY JAMES NGUYEN & MICHELLE PANZERA What is Longevity Risk and Why Should I Worry?

Play the Ace: Supplementing Retirement with an Annuity

The risk of outliving your money due to longevity is one that is difficult to “complain” about. After all, we’re living longer and healthier lives! We have technology, medicine, science, and centuries of natural selection to thank for that, but it does present the very real risk of miscalculating what you will need to save for retirement.

Cover essential living expenses such as food, housing, and healthcare.

As of 2020, American retirees are living an average of 20 years after they retire1 and will spend an average of 43,000 per year2. That amounts to $860,000 over the course of their retirement without accounting for any major medical needs that may arise. The average American between ages 56-51 has saved only $163,5773—a long way from what they are projected to need. With so many Americans already at risk for outliving their nest egg, longevity risk acts as a multiplier of so many other risks they already face:

F Uncertainty of government benefits: our system is projected to pay out more in benefits than it takes in as more baby boomers retire daily.

F Rise of healthcare costs: healthcare costs have tripled over the past 20 years4 and are expected to continue on this trajectory.

F Market volatility: the uncertainty of the stock market is constant, but the risk becomes more imminent as we near retirement and have far less time to recuperate from market losses.

The Ace: Guaranteed Lifetime Income Aside from Social Security and pensions, annuities are the only products that provide guaranteed lifetime income. By including one as part of you retirement plan, you may better position yourself to face these financial challenges. Guaranteed lifetime income means being able to plan and budget with confidence, providing a failsafe measure to cover your basic needs and additional flexibility in developing your portfolio as you plan for your financial future. “Average life expectancy is simply a mid-point suggesting half of the whole will live longer than that point, and half will not. Averages aren’t indicators of the length of YOUR retirement. You need to plan to live well beyond your life expectancy…” – TOM HEGNA, RETIREMENT EXPERT AND FIG PARTNER 48 | CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE

F Estimate your “income floor:” calculate the cost of your basic expenses.

F Itemize and total the monthly costs of each expense: these are the costs you’ll need to cover over the course of your life.

F Add up your income: include sources such as Social Security or pension plans.

F Now, do the math to determine if you have an “income gap.”

If Social Security and pensions don’t cover all essential expenses, investing a portion of your assets into an annuity can generate income that lasts as long as you do.

Protect Your Portfolio Against a Market Downturn Preparation and diversification are key to protecting your investments from market volatility. While stocks, bonds, and real estate may help portfolios grow, they do not necessarily mitigate these risks. Annuities provide an avenue to diversify your portfolio while providing a reliable income stream that doesn’t depend on the stock markets.

Allow Flexibility to Fund Unexpected Events It only takes one unexpected expense to derail your financial plan. Longer life spans also mean more illnesses and degenerative diseases. When life takes unexpected turns you will have greater flexibility with an income stream from your annuity.

Protect Your Legacy In the event that you pass away prematurely, your assets won’t be lost. They can be passed to beneficiaries while avoiding the costly probate process.5

Finding the Right Annuity for You There are many options when it comes to choosing an annuity, but there are three basic categories which are determined by whether the payouts will be will be a fixed sum, tied to market performance, or a combination of the two:

The growth in life expectancy over the past couple of decades means that living through your 80s and 90s is increasingly common, tasking retirees to plan for more years down the road. If you want to see how an annuity can help you plan for decades to come, a financial professional can help you understand where to start—a step in your retirement planning journey that will pay in spades! s

1. Variable annuities are tied to market performance, providing the opportunity to participate in greater returns with greater risk for the owner.

2. Fixed annuities are not tied to market performance, and instead offer a secure, but fixed, return—regardless of market conditions.

James Nguyen, Digital Strategist, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact James - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: james.nguyen@figmarketing.com

3. Fixed indexed annuities provide a combination that allow the owner to earn interest based on a market index but protects the principal investment from any loss.

Michelle Panzera, Content Strategist, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Michelle - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: michelle.panzera@figmarketing.com

Once you have determined which annuity is right based on your goals and risk tolerance, you can select how to schedule your payouts.

F Deferred annuities can begin with a lump sum payment or periodic payments that accumulate tax-deferred over time until you elect a payout schedule (known as annuitization).

F Immediate annuities begin with a lump sum upfront and are annuitized within the first year, skipping the accumulation phase. These payments continue for the remainder of your life or a specified period.

The information within this article is for educational purposes only and does not constitute legal, tax or investment advice. Customers should consult their tax or legal professional regarding their own unique situation. Annuity products and their related features, benefits, and/or guarantees are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of Financial Independence Group, LLC, or any of its affiliates. Financial Independence Group, LLC is not affiliated with the Social Security Administration or any other government entity. Variable annuities are considered securities products and can only be sold by financial professionals how have both the proper securities registrations and insurance licenses.

References [1] https://www.usa.gov/retirement [2] https://www.moneycrashers.com/retirement-statistics/ [3] https://www.american-equity.com/resources/blog/a-closer-look-at-the-average-retirement-savings-by-age [4] https://www.optum.com/business/health-insights/improving-healthcare/reduce-cost.html [5] https://www.annuityfyi.com/lifetime-income-benefits/annuities-emerge/ CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE | 49

How to Promote Your

Podcast Appearances


There’s a podcast boom going on. They’re all the rage these days, and for good reason. Podcasts are one of the hottest marketing tools around right now, with over 850,000 active podcasts1 and more than half of Americans tuning into podcasts regularly. Whether you’ve been invited to be a guest on a podcast or you’ve worked hard reaching out to secure an appearance, you now have the power to share valuable information. That’s a green light to listeners everywhere to connect with you and your message. But what do you do with that awesome episode once it’s all said and done? Promote it. And promote it well. Here are ten ways to promote your podcast appearances like a marketing guru.


After you’ve gone on the podcast and flexed your financial knowledge muscles, write a press release highlighting your appearance. Be sure to include the main points you made in your guest appearance. Then, submit it to a press release distribution platform like PRWeb, NewswireJet, Business Wire, or PR.com. You can always find a freelance public relations specialist to do this heavy lifting for you.


Chances are, soon after the podcast has been uploaded for all to hear, you’ll have a hyperlink that houses the episode. Be sure to send that link to your email lists with a subject line highlighting your appearance and short, clear, and punchy text that includes the link. Then, briefly explain what you went over in the episode. Your clients and prospects will be excited to see your accomplishment!


Using the same link, share your appearance across all your social media platforms every two weeks or so for a few months. You’d be surprised how often a post can get buried or go unnoticed in a person’s social media feed. To maximize your podcast appearance on social media, make sure to post it multiple times and include a clear call to action to listen to the podcast.


Depending on the podcast, there’s a good chance it has its own social media pages and hashtags that are regularly used. Head over to the podcast’s social media pages, note their page names and hashtags, and be sure to tag their page and use their hashtags in your own social posts. It’ll help you gain more exposure to those who are interested in the podcast.

your presentation. Encourage attendees to check out the episode by sending them a quick follow-up email after the event.


Your website is one of your most prominent platforms, and most likely has the most traffic of all your online outlets. It only makes sense to add the podcast episode to your media page for everyone to see. You could also feature the episode via a pop-up announcement, side banner, or in another section of your website. Regardless of where you place it, you’ll enhance your authority as a financial professional.


Always confirm with any podcast host that there will be a strategy to market the episode you’ve appeared in. You can even inquire about offering a free guide, whitepaper, or other “freebie” that can be accessed by visiting your website. Just make sure your URL is clear and straightforward so listeners can easily remember it or write it down.


You’re sending emails day in and day out. Why not feature your podcast appearance in a subtle way at the end of each email? You can personalize your email signature to include a link and short blurb about your appearance. It may not seem significant, but people are sure to see it during your correspondence. They’ll be likely to give the podcast a listen if they’re interested. Just think of it as free advertising space!



Not all people enjoy listening to podcasts. Or looking at an infographic. Or watching a video. Or reading. People are different and prefer different avenues to consume their content. Go ahead and take your main points from the podcast appearance and turn them into a blog post, a shareable infographic, and a short video. It’s an easy way to create new content while allowing your audience to consume the content how they want.


Have an upcoming seminar, webinar, or other client or prospecting event? Incorporate some of those “golden nuggets” you shared in the podcast into your presentation. It’s an excellent way to bring value and enrichment to your speech. Oh, and don’t be afraid to make a humble brag about your guest appearance after

One of the reasons podcasts are so popular these days is because of their authenticity. Listeners can get a feel for your personality and are more likely to view you as a trusted authority once they’ve listened. When a prospect has lost contact or you’re introducing yourself to a new one, send them a link to the podcast episode so they can listen to you with no obligation. Hopefully, they’ll realize that they should be working with you. s Mark Stewart, Content Writer, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Mark- Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: Mark.Stewart@figmarketing.com

[1] https://www.oberlo.com/blog/podcast-statistics

Hope Is Not A Strategy,

Contracts And Planning Are Strategies

TEXT BY EUGENE COHEN & MICHAEL COHEN In the world of planning, we come up against various objections to planning recommendations. We find that, in many instances, the need for the recommendation hasn’t resonated enough with the client to trigger action—the procurement of a plan that usually includes individual disability insurance. This can occur when the client replaces recommended planning and the contracts insurance companies uphold with a hope that the plan will not be needed. I hope that I will not become disabled. We know the statistics, roughly one out of four working individuals will have a disability that lasts 90 days or longer before they turn 65. “I hope that I’m among the majority” is a strategy that works, assuming you are not one of the unfortunate ones that can’t go back to work. I hope that if I get disabled, my spouse can go back to work. It’s difficult to predict the future and how a sickness will play out. Most spouses are either already working or, if they are staying home, they are a caregiver or they have been out of the fulltime workplace for a while. It’s unlikely a spouse could take care of their disabled partner and still financially support the family. I hope that my group disability insurance will take care of me. Most clients do not realize that group disability plans, while better than no disability insurance, many times have very narrow guard rails that are more designed to protect 52 | CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE

the issuing insurance company. For example, with group disability insurance, the issuing company most likely built in a termination provision that allows the company to cancel the group coverage. In addition, coverage is usually not portable. Imagine a client with group LTD developing a condition or disease that didn’t cause a disability but would prevent that client from buying individual coverage in the future. For example, a client who recently had a melanoma removed may not be able to buy individual coverage for years. Now imagine if the firm lost their disability coverage or if the client were recruited by another firm and the new firm didn’t have group disability coverage. Hoping that the coverage will stay in place or hoping that every great business opportunity will come with a group disability program is not a strategy. Individually owned disability insurance can’t be taken away during the Guaranteed Renewable period. The client is in control of the existence of the policy, not the insurance company. In addition, many group LTD plans may have limitations in their definitions or limitations in the benefit periods—in order to protect the issuing company from various types of claims. These definitions may include, but are not limited to, mandatory rehabilitation programs, limited benefits for subjective soft tissue claims, limited benefits for mental/nervous related claims, progressively more restrictive definitions around how a disability is defined as a claim prolongs, integration of various

sources of income, reduction of net benefits due to income taxes, and many other limitations. Your client with group LTD needs to review their certificate or policy to confirm which limitations may exist. To hope that a group LTD policy will pay a claim like an individual disability insurance policy is not a strategy. Contracts and planning are strategies. When a client buys a noncancelable guaranteed renewable disability contract, they own that contract and, as long as they pay the premium, they own that policy during that noncancelable guaranteed renewable period. Individual disability policies typically have broader definitions and less restrictions than group disability contracts. If your client were in charge of buying parachutes for his or her family, which one would be picked? We would be looking at the most comprehensive, safest options. Price would not be as important as features. Individual disability coverage is that comprehensive parachute. When someone gets disabled, the disability policy becomes that financial parachute that the whole family is now relying on to provide the income that was lost.

hopes that if they are disabled, they can still produce an income. The client hopes that if they can’t produce an income, their spouse can work. The client hopes that their claim will fall within the possible narrow definitions of a group insurance policy. The client hopes that their savings will get them by before passing away. The client hopes that the house will not be foreclosed or cars repossessed for lack of payments. The list can go on and on as to the reasons a client didn’t follow your recommendation. The clients who have followed your plan and who have bought sufficient individual disability insurance don’t have to hope, and can be more assured that they have done proper planning in case a disability prevents them from going to work. s Eugene and Michael can be reached at Eugene Cohen Insurance Agency, Inc. Telephone: 800-333-4340. Website: www.cohenagency.com. Emails: michael@cohenagency. net; eugene@cohenagency.net.

It’s interesting to hear why a client who can clearly afford the premiums for disability insurance chooses not to proceed. Usually there is a false sense of confidence that is based on hope. The client hopes they will not be disabled, the client


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Shift Into Marketing Gear: Tips for Committing to your Marketing Strategy TEXT BY MICHELLE PANZERA

Do you want to increase your marketing efforts but feel you lack the time and resources? In the bustle of your daily grind, it may feel overwhelming or downright impossible to make room for something so consuming as undertaking new marketing campaigns.

Here are some tips on how to commit to the transition and shift into a more marketingfocused role:

creating a fun and collaborative atmosphere - and remember that relaxed environments are where creative ideas thrive.

1. Make marketing a priority and commit time to it. Developing and executing marketing campaigns is brain-intensive work and being interrupted by a ringing phone (even just to take messages) is counterproductive. If you have the luxury of a multi-person staff, streamline your tasks by having one person fully dedicated to marketing efforts, rather than dividing the same tasks among multiple employees. This distinction will allow that team member to fully own your campaigns and drive you to greater success. If you are flying solo, carve out time in your schedule to focus on marketing campaigns. Something as small as forwarding calls for an hour or two (or getting some part-time coverage with a virtual assistant) can help you dive into ideas without distraction.

3. Don’t let marketing meetings turn into sales meetings. Sales is about building individual relationships and closing business. Marketing is about your brand and its relationship with the community. Marketing is meant to cast a net for sales to “fish” from and requires a much broader focus on how your strategies will further your business goals. Therefore, strategy meetings that discuss follow-ups and closing business should be defined separately from your marketing strategy with the onus on the sales team.

2. Dedicate time, designate meetings, define goals. Dedicate time as a team with weekly or monthly marketing meetings to define your goals and ensure accountability and execution in reaching them. A great way for busy teams to find time to brainstorm is through collaborative lunches. Buy lunch for your team and sit in the conference room to throw around ideas. No meeting agenda, no power point presentations. At lunchtime everyone needs a screenbreak, and everyone is hungry. Take advantage by 56 | CONNECTIONS MAGAZINE

When you are discussing marketing campaigns, it can be tempting to digress into account-based sales conversations, however, incorporating them during a marketing strategy meeting can cause your team to digress and hijack precious time that was dedicated to marketing plans. 4. Learn when to outsource. You and your support staff are good at what you do, however, when you begin to plan complex marketing campaigns that are outside your scope of expertise, don’t be afraid to turn to a professional. Just as you would not undertake a complete redesign of your website without help, many marketing efforts require careful planning and experience.

For example, consider hiring a day-of-event coordinator for complex events that you would like to put together. While you and your staff may be more than capable in planning, invitations, and preparation, you may find the day-of execution to be overwhelming. Day-of-event planners also have connections to vendors and venues in your area that could more than make up for their cost of service. 5. Ask and you shall receive. Ask your support staff what they need to be successful. Narrow down what challenges your team faces in making time for marketing and then explore solutions to them. Hiring an intern for part-time coverage or shifting your marketing assistant’s schedule to have

less cross-over with your busy hours may sound like an aggressive plan but can offer great returns! 6. Follow through and follow up. Remember that better marketing should lead to more prospects and ultimately, more work for your sales team. Have a strategy in place to follow up with prospects gained through your marketing efforts. s

Michelle Panzera, Content Strategist, Financial Independence Group, Inc. Contact Michelle - Phone: 800-527-1155, Email: michelle.panzera@figmarketing.com

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FIG Connections Fall 2020  

Financial Independence Group's Connections magazine pays tribute to our financial professionals, partners and our carriers—along with our ow...

FIG Connections Fall 2020  

Financial Independence Group's Connections magazine pays tribute to our financial professionals, partners and our carriers—along with our ow...