The Story of the Wade Agency

» Posted by on Aug 5, 2011 in Retirement Planning, What Makes Us Different | Comments Off on The Story of the Wade Agency

How we came to be in the business of Retirement Planning:

 

You hear a lot of people who do what I do tell you that they’ve been in the business for 35 years or more (especially when they look like me).

 I haven’t.

 Up until I was 57 years old, I had no thought of being a financial advisor or anything close to it.

 At age 57, after a somewhat successful career in Information Technology sales, I couldn’t find a job.

 The hopes of finding a job were getting bleak, and I was not handling the situation very well.

 I was running out of money and I was suffering from a serious case of chronic anxiety.

My doctor prescribed a generic medication that was inexpensive but didn’t quite work. He needed to add a medication that was expensive, just to get my heart rate down below 160. That’s when I began to discover some of the wonderful services that the medical and pharmaceutical communities offer to people who have no money.

Like most unemployed people, I had posted my resume’ on the Internet and one day, I received an email about an opportunity to sell health insurance that would offer ‘unlimited potential’.

 I went to a ‘group interview’ and decided to take a run at it.

The opportunity didn’t offer a salary. Just an opportunity to make a lot of money if I would do exactly what they told me, exactly the way they told me to do it.

There were 13 people among my group who decided to go forward, and after about 90 days, I was the only one who remained.

I had been repeatedly coached to not ask too many questions about our product, or how it worked, but to do exactly what they told me to do, exactly the way they told me to do it.

One day, I was meeting with a couple to discuss health insurance for the wife, who was in her late 50s (her husband was already on Medicare).

It turned out the gentleman knew quite a bit about health insurance, because before retiring, he had been in the business of billing health insurance companies for doctors and hospitals.

He knew enough to determine that as I did exactly what I was coached to do, exactly the way they prescribed to do it, that I was not representing my product accurately and that I was misrepresenting the products of my competitors.

He determined that I actually believed what I was saying, and that I was probably fundamentally honest, so he set me straight.

 

OOPS!

 

In over 35 years of a sales career, I had never intentionally or carelessly misled anyone! Now I could see that I had allowed my desperation to cause me to begin to compromise my own principle of integrity!

 

I took inventory of the things that had given me success in my previous career and there were three big ones:

  • Listening to my customer
      . If a customer is good enough to tell me what he or she is trying to accomplish, I should honor that kindness by listening very carefully.
  • I understood and could explain what I was selling
      (not a small feat for a sales guy in the Information Technology business).
  • My customers knew they could trust me
    . They knew I would tell the truth, even when the truth made me look awkward, or not competitive.

 

For six months, I had largely abandoned two out of three of my greatest strengths and I was determined to get them back.

 

I knew I was finished with that particular ‘opportunity with unlimited potential’, and I quit immediately.

 

I also knew I was a little poorer (I had to invest money in getting licensed and certified etc) and again unemployed.

 

Just then I was contacted by another health insurance agency from Oklahoma who had put together some health insurance products from 2nd tier companies and some supplemental medical service products and went to work with them (again, commission only). But this time I was reading and understanding everything I could about the health insurance industry and health care industry.

 

In my previous career, I had been known as very knowledgeable regarding the highly technical products I was selling and I decided to apply the same discipline to my new career. I was also making a little money.

 

About one year from my first entry into the health insurance business, I began to receive calls from people representing the first tier health insurance companies, asking me to represent them.

 

When I asked them why they didn’t call sooner, I learned that it’s general knowledge in the industry that new independent agents in the health insurance business have about a 2% chance of staying in the business for more than 6 months. They were not interested in spending much time with someone who had not been through that rite of passage.

 

I started writing us a regular paycheck and had built a business model that was working. I also started to read and attend training seminars on ways to insure retirement funds.

 

Then, a change took place in the health insurance business.

 

Competitive pressures caused health insurance companies to offer lower cost products that I believed would leave their clients exposed to significant catastrophic expenses.

 

The policies were being successfully mass marketed, and people were buying them on the Internet without the benefit of a conversation with a licensed agent. Most people didn’t understand the value of a trusted advisor and 65% of the new health insurance policies purchased by families and individuals were these new, lightweight policies. I knew of responsible ways to get the cost of health insurance down, but I wasn’t getting to have that conversation with many people.

 

My business model wasn’t as profitable and wouldn’t be, unless I was willing to market what I considered unsuitable policies to people to whom I would never speak.

 

A change of focus

 

Having spent some of my time studying ways of making retirement more secure, I increased my focus on the subject.

 

I learned that retirement planning was such an unsettling subject for many, that they just crossed their fingers and hoped everything would be OK, or decided not to worry or depress themselves by thinking about it.

 

Instead of focusing on products that are designed to manage the risk in retirement funds, I decided to focus on helping people to get a realistic picture of their prospects for a well-funded retirement. Offering products and services would come after my client fully understood his or her challenge. This approach was consistent with what I had done for many years in my previous career.

 

I was amazed at how many people had been worrying needlessly about their prospects for a well-funded retirement.

 

Very often their existing retirement plan would be quite adequate, or could become adequate with a few tweaks.

 

Sometimes the client’s situation would require a change of plans, but for them, the resulting peace of mind was more than worth it.

 

We had decided, and our clients agreed, it’s not time to take action, until you understand the problem – the specific challenge that confronts each individual person or couple.

 

So I got my hands on some software (35 years of Information Technology experience didn’t hurt) that would assist with the evaluation and projections – everything from when to take Social Security, to how much of a client’s retirement money should be high gain/high risk, and how much should be insured against loss. We also took on the possibly unnerving topic of Long Term Care, as well as Medicare options.

 

A principle that I had learned in many years ago Information Technology sales was proved once again:

 
Things are usually not so scary when you really understand them.

And so a key philosophy of the Wade Agency is that

 

Our goal is not that you know a professional who understands Retirement Planning; our goal is that you understand your Retirement Plan and that you know how to maintain it.

 

Of course, we’d like you to continue to call us for advice and to help make adjustments to the computer based analysis that we build for you as your requirements change.

 

If, in the process of identifying the best approach toward a well-funded retirement, you come to us for products and services, we would be most grateful.

 

If you find that we’ve been helpful, we’d like you to tell your friends about us.

 

 

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(913) 440-9637


Service Area

The Wade Agency proudly services Kansas and Missouri, including: Belton, Bonner Springs, Bucyrus, Clearview City, Cleveland, De Soto, Edgerton, Edwardsville, Eudora, Gardner, Grandview, Hillsdale, Kansas City, Leawood, Lenexa, Linwood, Louisburg, Mission, New Century, Olathe, Overland Park, Peculiar, Prairie Village, Raymore, Shawnee, Shawnee Mission, Spring Hill, & Stilwell, KS.

Helping Olathe & Kansas City navigate the insurance and retirement world.