How to work with a financial professional
The key to achieving long-term objectives is planning. Your goal may be to fund your children's college education, protect your family during your working years, or guarantee your own retirement security. These things won't happen by accident. You must plan. You need to know what you want to achieve and then map out a strategy that will help you achieve it.
The good news
You don't have to do it alone. Your New York Life insurance agent does more than just sell insurance policies. He or she is a professional problem solver who can help you identify the most cost-effective products to help you meet your financial objectives.
Your New York Life agent provides a full range of services. These include working with you to:
- Review your individual situation and personal objectives. Perhaps your needs are so clear that life and health insurance can be determined after a few minutes of conversation. Or it may quickly become apparent that nothing short of a full-blown, detailed "fact finding" session is required, going beyond such basic vital statistics as birth dates, income assets, etc.
Why is it important to probe and ask questions? Three reasons: First, your situation and needs are different from those of your neighbors. Your agent needs to understand those differences. Second, money is not a goal in and of itself; it is merely the means to an end. (Your goal may be a comfortable, secure retirement. However, the means to achieve that, for example, might be a retirement nest egg of $600,000.) Finally, the more your agent knows about you, the more precise and on-target will be the recommendations you receive. As a result, your agent may take some time to discuss — and even appear to be a bit nosy about — your hopes, dreams and objectives — the things that really matter to you. By the way, all information will remain strictly confidential.
- Analyze and review your needs. As needed, your agent will work with you to identify and prioritize your objectives, then help establish benchmark goals. This is important because we live in a world in which there are unlimited resources. People often fail to achieve objectives because they try to accomplish too much at once, or they don't attach specific deadlines to their goals.
For instance, you may have a desire to retire in comfort, make sure your children are able to graduate from college debt-free, plus vacation in the Caribbean every winter. But your resources may say that you cannot do it all.
Your New York Life agent can work with you and help you focus on what's most important to you. Together, you may find it helpful to break down these goals into quantifiable objectives: accumulate $600,000 by age 65; have a college fund of $40,000 in 15 years; set aside $10,000 each year for vacationing. Then you can look at available resources and decide which goals are realistic, which need to be adjusted and scaled down, and which simply must be abandoned.
- Develop and implement a strategy to help you achieve your goals. Based on the information you share and the goals and means you establish, you'll receive specific recommendations on where life and health* insurance products can help.
- Coordinate your financial activities. If desired by you, your agent can also serve as a quarterback for you and the other members of your team of advisors.
- Monitor progress, provide ongoing service as your needs and situation change over time. This is crucial. Planning is not a one-shot deal. Strategies need to be adjusted periodically. Your agent will work with you over the years to help keep your program on track with your changing needs. By the way, there is no charge for advice, planning, or ongoing service provided by your New York Life agent.
- Get acquainted. It's recommended that you contact your agent and arrange a meeting to discuss the full extent of available services, and to review your situation.
- Educate your agent. Don't expect a mind reader. Your agent may anticipate many of your needs, but will not assume anything. That's why it's so important that you be candid in providing information.
- Educate yourself. At the same time, you too should be sure to ask a lot of questions. Be nosy. Ask for details and explanations about recommendations and how certain plans may work. Remember, the only "dumb question" is the one that isn't asked.
- Make it a team effort. Work together. Listen carefully to the recommendations, but remember — all decisions are yours. Make sure you're comfortable with the outcome.
It's a crucial one. Your agent cannot do it alone. It's a two-way street. The key to getting maximum value from your relationship with your agent is communication and candor. Do the following:
*Products available through one or more carriers not affiliated with New York Life Insurance Company; dependent on carrier authorization and product availability in your state or locality.