Describe a Perfect Day

Describe the days you have enjoyed the most throughout your life. Make a list of all of them. See what is common and what makes them unique. That is what you want the rest of your life to be like. Try it.

New Year, New You...

How are your New Years resolutions going? For many they have fallen by the way side like excess baggage. Yet at the time you created them, they were important to you. What changed? Maybe nothing. On reflection they may still be important to you. So why are they no longer active? These questions reveal a problem we all face, both personally and as business owners. We and our clients want to make changes, but in the end most never happen. The dream, goal, or desired outcome is real, but unfulfilled.

There is a simple two word answer. NEXT ACTION. Without a defined next physical action our dream, goal, desire, or resolution is simply a nice slogan. Look back at what you resolved at the beginning of the year and identify the next physical action. Then block off time on your calendar this week, and set an appointment with yourself to complete that next action. Then identify the next action and set another appointment with yourself for the following week.

In less time that you can imagine today you will have accomplished your desired outcome and can set something new. Twelve months from now you will be amazed at all the things you have accomplished.

In December I resolved to begin the P90X Fitness Program in January. After the first month I am amazed how well I feel. Having just turned fifty-three, I look forward to seeing my abs again. Shedding 11 pounds and 5.4% body fat in a month, this program's discipline of daily next actions makes this program successful. What desired outcome to you have? What desired outcome do your client's have? Make them a reality by identifying the next physical action.

RetireAbility Factor: Discovering Your Life Dream

istock_000005793936small One important aspect of your ability to retire is the need for a clear vision of your desired future, a life dream. For most this is a faded, out of focus, black and white photography of the future. It needs to be a wide screen BlueRay movie with surround sound, clear, crisp, and with brilliant detail.

Since most couples do not have a clear vision of their future, their advisors should facilitate creating this dream by asking provocative questions. Because how can a couple hope to have the life they desire in the future if they do not know what it will look like? How can you invest for an unknown future?

The following questions may help create your dream future:

Ask your self these questions to clarify your vision of a compelling future:

- What have you always wanted to do, but have not yet done?

- When you and your spouse were dating, what did you talk about doing together that life interrupted?

- What is a dream you had when you were in school that is unfulfilled?

- Where have you always wanted to visit, but circumstances held you back?

- What did you want to do with your children, but they grew up too fast and you would like to do it with your grandchildren?

- What was your favorite day in your past and what made it so?

- If you could do or be anything in the world, what would it be?

These questions will help fuel your imagination and remembrance of things past. Remember the following quote.

“Anything the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve.” - Napoleon Hill

Do not let your current situation hold you back from pursuing your dreams. Why wait till retirement to live your dreams, start living in retirement now.

Retireability Factor: Most Important Financial Concept

retireability No matter what business you are in, everyone wants to maintain and enhance their lifestyle throughout their lifetime. This basic desire is forgotten many times when clients visit their financial advisor. The products and services offered by the advisor are insignificant if this primary concern is overlooked. Why is the most important financial concept rarely discussed? What is retireability? Some say they have no desire to retire or do not believe they will ever be able to retire because of the difficulties in the economy. Retireability is not just a state of mind of wanting to retire, it is also a capability of having the resources to fund that desire.

"Anything the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve."

-Napoleon Hill

Though many would like to retire, most do not know what is required. This is where many people prematurely jump into a financial plan. Analysis of what you have is the last step in determining your Retireability Factor.

First, your advisor needs to know you. What is your purpose in life, what is important to you, what challenges are you facing now, what opportunities would you pursue if those challenges disappeared, what are you passionate about? These questions help your advisor know you. They need to understand your life story because without it how can they know what is important to you?

Second, your advisor needs to know where you want to go. What is your life dream, the vision of your future you and your spouse discussed when you were just dating? Too often this is a black and white, out of focus picture of the future. It needs to be a widescreen BlueRay movie with surround sound. The more we are able to visualize our future the faster it becomes a reality. Make sure your advisor helps you clearly define your dream for the future. A clear vision of your future becomes the catalyst for making it a reality.

Third, now you will need to determine why this dream is truly important. Is this dream necessary or just a nice idea? Unless your dream is vital you will not put the required motivation behind it to make it a reality. So take a moment and consider why this dream is necessary for you to achieve.

Fourth, at this point your advisor should ask when do you want to make this a reality? Too often we push our retirement into the distant future, when most of us can start to retire now. Why not start doing now what you want to do in the future? How many people do you know delayed their desires until retirement only to miss their dreams because of health concerns or an early death? This is unfortunate because everyone can start to retire now. By making your retirement urgent you can enjoy now what many will wait for and lose.

Fifth, now comes the difficult question, how do we make this a reality? If your advisor knows who you are and where you want to go and you believe this is truly important and you would rather start sooner than later, then they will be able to do the analysis necessary to create a plan of action to make this dream a reality. Too often this analysis is attempted before these questions are asked and answered. The result is clients are unprepared. These questions set the stage for the last step.

Sixth, and finally. After the important questions are answered and understood, both you and your advisor can go through the analysis necessary to build a bridge to where you want to go. Now your advisor can ask what do you have and it will have a context and can be used in the analysis to determine how to build your action plan to take you from where you are to where you want to be in the future.

Too often advisors start off talking about the money and then never get back to asking you about your life. This results is prescriptions being written before proper examination and diagnosis has occurred. In the health care industry this is called "malpractice".

This conversation creates a different result. These six questions, asked in this order will assist both you and your advisor in creating a compelling future, and building a road map to achieve your dreams.

This conversation is not a fifteen minute meet and greet. To do this properly you and your advisor should set aside a couple of hours. You can not tell your story in a few minutes and your vision needs to be more than a vague concept.

If your advisor is not doing this with you, find someone. If they will not take the lead, then require them to slow down and listen to you first, before they try to give you a solution.

We will talk more about the "retireability factor" in the coming weeks. If you find the information helpful send it to someone you value.

What To Do NOW in Your Practice - Notes from Conference Call

The following notes from the conference call today is an expansion of what I have been discussing with my coaching clients over the past several months. Be positive. Clients do not need you to parrot the negativity of CNBC or the local paper. They need hope in a times of crisis, not someone to shout “the ship is sinking.” If the market is going down stating the obvious is of no value. Your job is to be a valued added strategic partner. You help them achieve their dreams. In difficult times clients are distracted from their dreams and you must first deal with the distraction before you can refocus them on their dreams.

Two Great Resources We are lucky today to have two great resources from knowledgeable experts to help in refocusing our clients.

Fed Chairman Bernanke’s Speech to the Economic Club of New York, NY on October 15

Click here for the speech.

  1. The speech is good, but the important information is in the answers he gave during the Q&A.
  2. This is not 1929-32 - we learned from our mistakes. Hover waited three years to respond and then tightened money. Fed acted immediately and loosened.
  3. Fed Reserve has doubled in size, giving it a greater ability to impact the economy positively.
  4. Everything hinges on the banks lending money again.
  5. Therefore the Fed’s money will be used to stimulate the economy, if a bank does not lend money they will not be given money. They will learn quickly to start lending.

What controls the market? What makes the Market go up? Cash flow. What makes the market go down? Lack of cash flow. Cash flow into the economy is cash into the market. The infusion of $800 billion into the economy will be a stimulus

See Mastery Habit - Never Follow Institutional Managers During Extremes in the Stock Market

SO WHAT DO YOU DO NOW IN YOUR PRACTICE? First, realize what is happening - you are surrounded by a crisis situation. People are panicking and need your help. Second, respond properly to the crisis - with a calm, clear head. Third, act quickly - great leaders do not delay. Rarely does delay improve a situation, it just postpones the problem. Be decisive.

See Mastery Habit - In Good Times Focus on Clients, In Bad Times Focus on Prospects

To review:

  1. Prepare yourself
  2. Settle clients' worries through a rational argument using mass communication
  3. Ask if they feel a need to reassess there risk and comfort level
  4. Offer an opportunity to help others they know who are not being communicated with properly
  5. Focus on prospects

How to Focus on Prospects

  1. Add paragraph mentioned earlier to the bottom of your mass communication.
  2. Contact every existing prospect, even those who told you to call them later. Offer them a “no cost, no obligation” analysis.
  3. Call your Top 25 and ask for an introduction to other they know are worried. This is the only time you can do this without risk.