A Firefighter Who Sells Annuities

Episode 6 June 23, 2021 00:22:12
A Firefighter Who Sells Annuities
Annuity Straight Talk
A Firefighter Who Sells Annuities

Jun 23 2021 | 00:22:12

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Show Notes

Bryan Anderson, founder of Annuity Straight Talk, chats with Marty, a firefighter and paramedic from St. Louis, Missouri who is now a member of the AST team and runs his own financial planning business. Bryan wrote about him in his recent newsletter, but in this episode, they talk more about Marty’s journey into the world of insurance.

 

About a dozen years ago, Marty’s fire department realized that it couldn’t afford to sustain pension benefits. In response to that, he started researching strategies to accumulate wealth for his retirement. This then led him to insurance and annuities.

 

Bryan and Marty share their thoughts on fixed index annuities as an investment option compared to bonds. Know what factors dictate how much money should be protected so that you can hit your long-term goals. And tune in to hear from a financial adviser who has a different approach to solving problems for people.

 

What You’ll Learn in This Episode:

 

 

Key quotes:

 

 

Connect with Marty:

 

Call Annuity Straight Talk at 800-438-5121 or schedule a call at AnnuityStraightTalk.com



View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:05 This is annuity straight talk since 2008. Your host Brian Anderson has helped clients nationwide navigate the complex market for, with Brian's assistance. Hundreds of clients have achieved a profitable and secure retirement. I would know because Brian has answered many of my questions concerning annuities and retirement planning so that you can benefit as well. Let's get started. Here's Brian <inaudible>. Speaker 1 00:00:47 Hello, and welcome everyone to the annuity straight talk podcast. My name is Brian Anderson, founder and creator of all things, annuity straight talk today, I have the pleasure of introducing you to a new guest part of an attempt by me to create a network of advisors across the country. And I would like to introduce you to someone that I think highly of his name is Marty he's from St. Louis, Missouri. So Marty wants to tell us a little bit about yourself. Speaker 2 00:01:09 Hey Brian, how are you today? Thanks for having me on, as you said, my name is Marty Becker. I'm from St. Louis Missouri. My background is probably a little unorthodox compared to most people in this industry because I was formally trained as a firefighter and paramedic, and actually came into this industry as a clients before I became an advisor, basically out of my own desperate search of a solution to my own retirement crisis, I guess a good way to say it. Speaker 1 00:01:37 That's a no, that's interesting. And I thought, and that's what, uh, just to let everybody know, that's kind of what I've noticed about you in the first place. And I thought, Hey, this is a really, really cool story. And last week, as everybody knows, I read a newsletter. Typically it's weekly newsletter, but I thought it was a great story because he's the firefighter who sells annuities. And so we got to know each other a little bit and, uh, yes, a very unique background. And I would, I would say what I said in the newsletter was it's the purest reason I know of, for anybody to get. Now, I've known guys that retire, sell a business and do some estate planning and decide, you know what, I'm going to buy it for myself and get into the business. But you were actually really trying to solve problems. It's not like a rich guy that just decides to keep himself busy by selling financial product in retirement. So, yeah, so, but there's an interesting reason you got into it that I think is draws a parallel to you and just about everybody, every other retiree in America, whether they know it or not. Can you kind of explain what that was? Speaker 2 00:02:32 Sure. So traditionally, most Americans up until about the early 1980s, everyone had defined benefit pensions and what the passage of a Rissa and the creation of 401ks. Most corporate employees moved from defined benefit pensions to defined contributions. Basically what that meant was now every single person out there is responsible for their own retirement or before all that was provided for you. You trade at 35, 40, 45 years of your life to an employer, and you were loyal. You were rewarded by them giving you a guaranteed income for the rest of your life. Now, even today, most government employees, most firefighters, most police officers still have defined benefit pensions. But what happened in my particular fire department is we had a, a new board elected. And basically what they determined was that our pension system was unsustainable. Speaker 1 00:03:36 And a lot of that's the reason they went away in the first place. There were a lot of other corporations or employers that did the same thing, right? Speaker 2 00:03:43 Well, it's exactly right. And the biggest reason is either they were rated by the people governing the pensions, or they just way over projected the returns that they thought they would get. A lot of these pensions were pointing on seven, eight, 9%, 10% returns forever. And they were promising their employees, seven, 8% payout rates forever, including their spouses. It was just unsustainable. And then of course you had the other side of the coin where people were just rating the pension system and Speaker 1 00:04:19 Raiders taken over the pension, grabbing the money and stiffen the employees. Absolutely. Lots of, lots of crazy stuff happened. Yeah. And it's one of those, it's just something that, and there are a lot of people that still have pensions, but it's, it's the exception, not the rule. So what it created. And I said this in the newsletter, if the, well, aside from corporate Raiders, taking the pension money and stuff in their pockets with it, with bonuses and whatnot, if you think about it, where they had unrealistically high expectations where the payouts were based on, and it's a lot like social security, where it was over projected underfunded. And the point being that if now it's the responsibility ability of the employee, how has the average person expected to create the same results if professional managers and forecasters and analysts couldn't do it themselves. So it really created a huge problem in the U S right? Speaker 2 00:05:12 Oh, absolutely. And my situation's got unique, especially in the timing because when our pension system got switched from the defined benefit to a defined contribution, that was right around 2008, and everybody knows what happened in 2008, there was a massive collapse in the equities market. And I remember seeing and reading the stories of people who were planning on retiring and now half their savings got wiped out. So they had no chance of retiring anytime soon. And it kind of hit me like a ton of bricks at that moment that that same thing could happen to me 35 years from now. So this is a terrible plan to predict when can retire in the future. And of course my profession is based on my ability to perform physically. So I'm kind of on a time limit at the same. Speaker 1 00:06:08 And there's a lot of physical risk as well. Right? Speaker 2 00:06:10 Exactly. I could have a roof collapse on me at any point in time and a structure fire. So the fact that now I'm basically gambling on what the market's going to be doing as I age really did not give me a comfortable feeling. So I set out on a very extensive and intensive research mission to find out really what is the best way to accumulate wealth and to have something guaranteed to look forward. And Speaker 1 00:06:38 Some, yeah, some assurance that it'll work well. I think it's a case of, I tell a lot of people kind of run into this. It sounds like you identified personally that you had too many variables to solve for right where the unknown time period, the unknown risk factor, that then it comes into inflation and all sorts of stuff. And if you're trying to solve too many things and there's just too many moving parts and you can never nail it down. So you recognize this problem right away. And when this happened, when your pension plan was taken away, would you say the average person, your coworkers, did they also recognize it in the same way you did? Or were you unique in that way? Speaker 2 00:07:15 Somewhat unique? Uh, I believe the older guys maybe understood it a little bit more because that's something they've been working towards for a long time. And now they found themselves in a situation also scrambling to find a solution. And the, the interesting thing is I was actually talking with some older guys. This was several years ago because obviously all that money that was in the pension system that was given to the employees and they had a couple options to either keep it in the new defined contribution or to move it to someone else, one of their own independent advisors, whoever they want to work with. So they had that option and come to find out several of them actually moved their money into annuities. And now they have all that money sitting there waiting for them. Some of them used income riders, some of them did not, but the ones who did move the money to annuities are doing very well. Speaker 1 00:08:08 Right. Well, cause they, and they've got the assurance of safety in a, in a guaranteed output. It's as simple as that. Now I also know that you, when we talked, I think a couple of weeks ago, you had also said, I mean, you did a lot of research to talk about that a lot. Cause that's also something I think a lot of people would recognize in that everybody's kind of torn in a few different directions. Do I go the investment route? Do I go the insurance route kind of the topic of the annuity straight talk or this podcast or the newsletters is to encourage people to see both sides of it or rather than the crowd that just, oh, investments only, or the hardcore insurance guys to say insurance only. And that's, you know, neither one of them is perfectly correct. But anyway, just to tell us what type of things did you run into and what kind of led you to this solution? So Speaker 2 00:08:55 What I started doing is obviously what everybody started doing, which was, uh, looking to speculate in the stock market. So I researched all kinds of different investment strategies, diversified portfolios, not in portfolio theory, started looking into other commodities, gold and silver started looking into franchises, starting in a different business, real estate, precious gems, anything and everything that you could imagine that the full spectrum, the full spectrum of anything that you could possibly make money on. The problem with those is they're very capital intensive and there is no guarantee. And that was the exact opposite I was looking for. So the interesting thing was I had a, an acquaintance I'll I'll call him and he was an advisor and I thought, you know, he's a nice guy. I, I trust him. So I gave him a sizable amount of money to manage for me and let him do that for about three years. Speaker 2 00:09:55 And that would have been about 2012 to 2015, which basically the market. It definitely didn't go backwards. Let's say that. But what I found is towards the end of that relationship, my money was about the same, if not even a little bit backwards. And the strange thing about it was you look at my statements and it's saying that I can't remember it was a seven, eight, 9% average return. Well obviously there was something wrong with that. The numbers didn't make sense. So I subscribed to a bunch of different newsletters. And the interesting thing is, I guess they all share your information. I got a random email, one day talking about tax advantage, guaranteed growth, all the keywords that I was looking for in a strategy. So I did something I never do, which is enter my information into a website. And one is Speaker 1 00:10:48 Don't convince people. That's a bad thing. It could be a good thing. Speaker 2 00:10:52 It is now because that was something that I never did. I don't, I don't join any clubs. I don't subscribe to anything. It's, it's Speaker 1 00:10:58 More and more common, but yeah, go ahead. It Speaker 2 00:11:00 Is. And I mean, I'm glad I did because basically the world I was introduced into by doing that was the role of insurance. The funny thing was all the answers I were looking for. They were in the exact industry that every other person in the equities world told me don't even bother, look in there, Speaker 1 00:11:21 Right? Pay no attention to that stuff over there. Speaker 2 00:11:26 Hey, no pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. And we don't get Speaker 1 00:11:28 Paid. We don't want you to do that. And there's just, there's some fundamental truths that go along with insurance and investment coordination, but the way, so you're a younger guy and obviously recognize that. And I started my career kind of helping younger people build into a good nest egg and look forward toward retirement. And the purpose of that was, and that's kind of how I got into annuities, but it really was. It's kind of a protection, a safety first thing. And it doesn't matter. You can look at the numbers from any direction and you're always better off if you have the proper amount of insurance component in a plan. So that's, and I applaud you for doing that because you figured that out on your own, which is amazing. You didn't fall for something else. And you're really set up to the point where you've got your protection in place. And now you can continue. You can start investing in taking some more speculative stuff with additional assets, if you choose to do that. Speaker 2 00:12:25 Sure. And I have equities, I have Bitcoin, I have promissory notes, but the majority of my money is protected because that is money. I cannot afford to lose never gamble money. You can not afford to lose. And at the end of the day, when you're looking at equities, you're looking at things like Bitcoin, you're speculating, AK you're gambling is when it comes down to. And like you said, there's really no, just one solid solution. Everything's going to be the complete answer. You really do need some diversification. But what kills me is the same people who tell you not to look at annuities are the same people who are pounding the table about diversified portfolios. Well, uh, portfolios and diversified. If all of the money is at risk, even if you have stocks, bonds and mutual funds, diverse means opposite and everything in a diversified portfolio, through your average advisor, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, that's still all risk. Even the bonds, your money Speaker 1 00:13:25 Is at risk. And especially realize Speaker 2 00:13:27 That, especially with the bonds or you get nothing in return for that risk. So a true diversified portfolio is having money that's being speculated with and money that is completely safe and can never be lost. And that's where the annuities come in. Speaker 1 00:13:44 Yeah. And right now it's a really good time because, well, you talked about 2012 to 2015 and having an investment manager and the, I can tell you like from being in the business. And I guess, I don't know a time when there wasn't a whole lot of uncertainty, but 2012 to 2015 was a very precarious time because a lot of federal spending the market was just, it was like this a lot and it was kind of coming up at the end. But everybody after 2008 was a little gun shy, pulling money out at the wrong time, getting back in at the wrong time. And so, interestingly enough, when I started working with retirees specifically, the kind of the interesting thing to me was that the market is higher than it's ever been. And we can say that each of the last five or six years, it is higher than it has ever been. Speaker 1 00:14:32 And people have more money than they have ever had. So they're carrying far more risk if they're in the market entirely not to mention low interest rates, give them risk on the bond side of the portfolio, where most people in a lot of investment managers would say, Hey, that's supposed to be your safe money, but bonds, aren't going to lose 30, 40% of, unless there's a default, but let's consider that black Swan and not part of the conversation. So, but you can, if you've got safe money and people will say they don't want a four or 5% rate of return on it, but bonds, you certainly can get four or five, 10% loss if you get a taken interest rates and which, which did happen earlier this year, when the treasury 10 year treasury went from seven tenths of a percent to one and a half in a matter of a month, those bond funds took a hit. So Speaker 2 00:15:19 Absolutely. Yeah. At the end of the day, the bonds are going to act like an anchor in someone's portfolio. So in my mind, why wouldn't someone just take the money that is allocated towards bonds and throw it into a fixed index annuity to get something that could bring an all equity index gain to that money Speaker 1 00:15:41 Simply quite simple. And I, and I've got dozens and dozens of people that have done that, just that over the last 10 years. And I don't know anybody that doesn't like their annuity and it's, uh, you know, the worst thing that happens is, oh, I only made 2% this year, but then they come back the next year and they make 10%. So it's possible. And the idea is just protecting what you need and then moving forward from there. So, Speaker 2 00:16:04 And never going backwards, you reach a certain age to where going backwards is not an option anymore. Speaker 1 00:16:11 No, absolutely. And then not to mention, when you were planning for retirement income and you got to take income out, or if you've got required, minimum distributions, Roth conversions also play a part in that. And then social security planning. When are you going to take that? All those little things dictate kind of how much money it should be protected so that you can have reasonable expectation of hitting your longterm goals. Absolutely. So how long have you you've been doing this? When did you start doing it for yourself? Speaker 2 00:16:39 2015 is when I officially became licensed and started really diving even deep to the other side of the table. And to be honest with, you never necessarily wanted to do this or actually run my own business, which I do now, but I really just wanted to see the other side of the table and make sure everything I was being told was actually true. And once I did verify that 100% for myself, I kind of just came to the conclusion that I cannot be the only person who is having these concerns. So that's when I decided, you know what, I'm going to throw my hat in the ring and see if there's anybody else out there that I can help. Speaker 1 00:17:22 Right. Okay, good. Well, and that's where, you know, I'll tell everybody that I think you and I have a pretty similar philosophy we get along when we talk, I think we could build a longterm relationship together and be buddies going forward. But tell us again where you're located, what your business is called. I'm Speaker 2 00:17:38 In St. Louis, Missouri. And the name of my business is Atlas financial strategies. Speaker 1 00:17:44 And so you want to work with annuity straight talk, is that correct? Speaker 2 00:17:48 I do. I liked mountain man. I liked the not, yeah, the Speaker 1 00:17:53 Man going bald, but Hey, a few years ago. Yeah. Enemy the Speaker 2 00:17:58 Enemy advances on all of us, my friend. Speaker 1 00:18:01 Yes. So a few years ago you didn't get to see it. Maybe I'll throw some pictures out and it wasn't the most professional look, but I did the, I had to grow my hair out because I always thought that was the ultimate symbol of freedom. And so I had hair that went down to between my shoulder blades. It took me like three years to get there. And then I just, I felt like a girl. I was like, man, I got to wash it. And I got to take care of it. No, this is, and then I went back to the, the Bush look and I started going bald and it's like, well, I've got no choice now. So it's been interesting. Speaker 2 00:18:28 Well, I heard something interesting at the firehouse the other day, apparently mullets were making a comeback with high school Speaker 1 00:18:34 Back to like Kurt Russell and backdraft, right. Where those guys are. Those guys were awesome. That's one of my top 10 movies. So I've got a lot of respect for the firefighters. So what let's see, uh, what should we do going forward? I think it'd be fun to have you back. And maybe we can do some case studies where you got a little bit different approach than I do, which is fine. It's all good. And I'd like to kind of align our ideas, but really what I want to tell people is I'm going to get Marty on the website, an opportunity people can schedule directly for him. One of the reasons I wanted to do this is because a lot of people want to work with someone local. I have a lot of respect for what Marty's doing, his reasons for being in the business and his approach to solving problems for people. Speaker 1 00:19:14 So we're looking forward to, uh, to building a partnership together as well. What you can do is if you want to talk to either one of us, you can go to annuity straight talk.com. You can call 804, 3 8 5 1 2, 1 bore. There's a green schedule call button and the top, right. Of every page hit that you'll get on my calendar and probably within the next week, I'm going to have Marty's calendar on there. So we'll get you set up with that. If that works for you, that way people in the Missouri area, or maybe there's a firefighter in Florida who says, yeah, I want to work with a dude. That's just like me. And that's kinda what, what it's out there for. I'll take the guys that like mules, you can take the firefighters. So we'll see. Um, but no, thanks for joining us today or joining me today. And is there anything else you want to say about, about your business or what you got going down there in Missouri? Speaker 2 00:20:06 Well, I'm just happy. We came across each other's paths here and happy to be part of the annuity straight talk team. Uh, if anybody does want to reach out to me directly, my number is 6 3 6 9 2 6 6500. But please mention that you heard my voice on this podcast and that you are a fan of annuity straight talk. So that way, Brian and I know that we can, uh, collaborate together to help you find the best solution. Speaker 1 00:20:34 Absolutely. And we'll be happy to work at case a joint work. One benefit of doing that is you get two sets of eyes on it and I can sharpen you. You can sharpen me and the client really wins in the end. So also Danny, my clients that are out here, who like listening to this, give Marty a call and talk to them about your experiences with annuity straight talk, because I guarantee you guys are all going to like him. He's a hell of a guy. So thank you so much for joining us. Schedule a call annuity straight talk.com green button, 804 3 8 5 1 2 1. Marty. Thank you for joining me and, uh, look forward to a good relationship for years to come. Brian. That's been awesome. Thank you so much. Okay, everybody have a great day. Thank you. Speaker 0 00:21:23 <inaudible> I do not necessarily reflect the <inaudible> of the insurance company.

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