In 1969, a man with a dream envisioned an organization of highly trained,
skilled and dedicated professionals who would
"help average people to learn how to spend, save, invest, insure and plan wisely
for the future, to achieve financial independence." That man of vision was
Loren Dunton. After many years of hard work and sacrifice, in 1982,
Loren realized the first part of his dream with the creation of the
"Certified Financial Planner" designation! And, a short time later the
International Association for Financial Planning (IAFP) was born.
“When Loren Dunton first envisioned a financial planning
profession, it was to serve the needs of the lower and middle
classes, not to help the wealthy make even more money.
As the saying goes, healthy people don't need a doctor.”
Thomas W. Johnson, Financial-Planning.com,
There's Something About Gary
Today, it seems that the vast majority of the
organizations who promote financial planning and most of the people who call
themselves financial planners have significantly strayed from Loren Dunton’s original vision. Financial Planning has become all about ‘helping the
wealthy to become wealthier.’ Their main focus has become about how to make
money in the stock market and transfer that wealth to future generations. There
is very little training about… helping average people to learn how to spend,
save, invest, insure and plan wisely for the future, to achieve financial
Too many "so-called" financial planners are
placing all of Middle
American family's assets at risk in the market with stocks, bonds,
etc., based solely on reaping the highest investment returns.
This is totally wrong and highly unethical.
Forrest Wallace Cato, in his book
The Terrible Truths About Financial Planning
Legendary Media Advocate To The Financial Industry
What’s Caused This Change In Focus?
The main reason for this change in focus is
that the organizations that are responsible for training financial planners are
focusing almost entirely on the technical aspects of financial planning and very
little on the sales aspects of financial planning. The result is that
most financial planners do not understand that they are sales people. They are
not receiving any marketing and sales training. If you don’t know how to market
and sell your services, then you are forced into taking the path of least
resistance. You end up giving people what the want, even when it’s not in their
best interests, instead of helping them to get what they really need. You are
forced into taking the easy sale, in order to make a living.
Without marketing sales skills you cannot help
people to see why they should meet with you. Without sales skills you cannot
help people to understand the problems they face today and the value of
investing in the products and services you provide.
“Loren Dunton was a conceptual salesman, one
who believedEdwin Morrow, CEO of
the key to the sale was sales training.”
‘International Association of Registered Financial Consultants’
This change of focus within financial planning
is a major reason why we have serious, increasing financial problems in this
country and all over the world. As financial planners we are not addressing the
concerns and problems that most middle-income families face today! Consumer debt
is out of control. Most families have very little saved for their retirement.
And it’s not going to change unless we, as financial planners, do something
“According to the Federal Reserve, the total amount of
outstanding revolving consumer credit, which is primarily
credit card debt, reached $743 billion this year,
nearly nine times the amount recorded 20 years ago.”
"Secret History of the Credit Card," FRONTLINE®
More than half of workers saving for retirement report having
less than $50,000 total in savings and investments (not including
the value of their primary residence or any defined benefit plans).
Worse yet, the large majority of workers say their assets
total less than $10,000.
Employee Benefit Research Institute's 2006 Retirement Confidence Survey
It’s time for all of us to get back to the
basics of REAL financial planning. We have a duty and obligation as financial
planners to really help people. We need to stop focusing on investment returns
and transferring wealth. We need to stop taking the easy sales. We must focus
our financial planning efforts on helping average people to reduce and eliminate
all of their consumer debt and then help them start saving for their future.
And, as Loren Dunton believed, that means we need to work on developing our
marketing and sales skills.
The Pension and Welfare Administration says in the coming
years, Social Security will replace only 16% of income from
married couples earning between $50,000 and $100,000 a year,
and less than 10% for couples earning more than $100,000.
Karin Price Mueller, Retirement Is Closer Than
The annual saving rate, hovered close to 10 percent between
1970 and the mid-1980s; it steadily declined during the 1990s.
Between 1999 and 2004, the savings rate has averaged around
2 percent, until it became negative in 2005.
Bureau of Economic Analysis
Where Do We Start?
It all starts with each of us refocusing our
efforts and learning how to truly service middle-income families. It’s taking an
hour or more each day to learn (or relearn) basic marketing and sales skills.
It’s reading everything we can about marketing and sales. It’s taking industry
courses (Such as the LUTC) and attending industry-training events. It’s finding
training and support organizations that promote working with middle-income
families such as LEAP, Circle of Wealth, Kinder Brothers and our Insurance Pro
Shop. (Finding organizations who are not just recruiters in disguise) It’s
working with real coaches and mentors such as Bill Goode, Bill Bachrach, Don
Blanton and myself to fine-tune your sales process. Joining, supporting and
actively participating in our industry organizations that promote working with
average people such as NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial
Advisors), GAMA (General Agent and Managers Association), MDRT (Million Dollar
Round Table) and the IARFC (International Association of Registered Financial
Can You Make Real Money Serving Middle Income
Consider all of the major insurance companies
amassed their great fortunes by servicing middle-income families. (Prudential,
New York Life, MetLife, Northwestern Mutual, etc.) All of the largest and most
profitable businesses in the world today amassed their great fortunes by serving
Middle America. (Wal-mart, General Motors, Ford Motor Co., Disney, Exxon, Home
Industry Sales Legends... such as
Ben Feldman, John Savage, Sid Friedman and Mehdi Fakharzadeh (the beloved MetLife super agent) all initially
built their businesses and their fame by servicing middle-income families.
Legendary Master Agency Builders...
Al Granum and Norman G. Levine (past president of NAIFA,
MDRT and GAMA) each built their agencies and their fame by servicing
Serving Middle-Income families is where the
real money is to be made… If you learn the marketing skills needed to attract
the RIGHT prospects and the sales skills needed to help people to get
what they really need and want!
Remember that ‘Real Financial Planning’ is
"helping average people to learn how to spend, save,
invest, insure and plan wisely for the future, to achieve financial
If we, as financial planners, don’t help middle-income
families… Who Will?