403(b) Advisor Releases Winter Issue

| February 7, 2013 | 0 Comments

The Inner Leonardo
Advance Look

I’ve never been a big fan of themed issues of a magazine. The ad sales folks say it’s easier to sell ads in an issue with a specific focus but I find them limiting and restricting. I’d much rather cover as much territory as our readers and writers can encompass in a single issue and let them take it from there.

Sometimes, however, themes can happen all by themselves, spontaneously and serendipitously from the random material. And I find that kind of exciting. Like finding the patterns in something you assumed to be chaos.

I think this winter 2013 edition of 403(b) Advisor is just such an issue. For me, the theme that emerges is this: It’s no longer sufficient for a successful 403(b) advisor to be simply a purveyor of retirement products. Or even just an expert on investments and financial markets. In order to cut through the clutter of financial advice that comes at us from the media, both mass and social, he or she must go into some unfamiliar, even surprising territory.

According to Scott Moffitt, that territory should include college planning. Many people are going to have to balance saving for retirement with saving for their children’s college education. Just trying to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form can be a hairpulling experience for even the most sophisticated parents.

“Offering an educational 45-minute workshop on the basics of the FAFSA is a great way to meet families,” Moffitt writes in the Value Proposition on page 12. “When done properly, more than half of your audience will be interested in meeting with you to discuss their financial situation.”

That you need to do your homework in order to become such an expert goes without saying. Becoming an expert in Social Security, state employee retirement systems, and Medicare—as recommended by Kent Schutte in the Sales Nugget  on page 38—requires homework, too.

“Successful 403(b) advisors will have the ability to do so much more for clients than just reviewing their investments,” Schutte asserts.

Sales psychology is something you’re no doubt familiar with. It’s probably part of your DNA. But in “Taking Care of the Future Self,” psychologist Art Markman introduces a new twist, something called “cognitive science.”

Cognitive science, covering the disciplines of psychology, artificial intelligence, philosophy, neuroscience, linguistics and anthropology, is the study of the mind and its processes, including how we make decisions and how learning influences behavior.

Behavior such as emotional investing, for example. Patrick Carroll, in his article on page 20, shows you how to be something of an amateur psychiatrist, helping your clients through the emotional rollercoaster of bull and bear markets.

“There are six primary emotions that people have about money,” Carroll advises. “These emotions are fear, greed, confusion, security, powerlessness and loneliness. Each of these emotions can get people into trouble unless they take
charge of them.”

Michelangelo was a sculptor. Sure, he painted the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, but he was most comfortable working in stone. Leonardo did everything: painting, engineering, inventing, designing, writing, music, mathematics, architecture, science, anatomy, whatever. You may be a 403(b) Michelangelo, but getting to the next level may mean getting in touch with your inner Leonardo.

Steve Sullivan is editor emeritus of 403(b) Advisor magazine. He lives in Baltimore, Md.


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