All of us on the professional side of this business come to it for different reasons. For me it was a way of using my college education. Some were similar to me, others found the opportunity simply because he/she could make money, while a select few came because of personal interests that turned into a desire to help other people. Without realizing it, most of you have the same questions, problems and reasons for exploring this market as the man I’m ready to introduce to you.
Marty is a firefighter in St. Louis, Missouri. He has a more pure reason for being in this business than me. By trying to make use of my finance degree I eventually found something I love to do. But Marty was forced to find a solution for his own retirement and his diligent research led him to the insurance path. I’ve never seen a more pure example of motivation for helping others so I hope you will all pay attention to the story and realize how he came from your side of this debate to find the best solutions for retirement.
Long about a dozen years ago, Marty recognized when the fire department elected to eliminate the long-held defined benefit plan for all of their employees. One sharp director noticed that the pension benefits were unaffordable given the municipal or county budget. As everyone should know this harkens back to the passage of ERISA in 1974. This act of congress gave public corporations the ability to stop offering traditional pensions and replace them with defined contribution plans like a 401(k).
It was no longer the responsibility of an employer to provide a pension to a loyal employee of 50 years. At that time, the responsibility of funding retirement fell to the employee and relieved liability from the employer. Businesses paid for defined benefit plans whereas employees were responsible for defined contribution plans.
This has been an issue for more than four decades. Many people didn’t realize the problem, choosing to simply leave work at work, raise kids and let the future rest on the good Lord above. But if pension plans became unaffordable with professionals managing it then how was the average guy supposed to solve the problem on his own? Interest rates is the real answer but that goes beyond the scope of what I want to tell you right now.
Initially Marty thought about it in terms of his own retirement so he went looking for solutions. His path led him through the camp of several “experts” of whom most said that insurance products should be avoided. Confirmation bias will lead anyone to verify a pre-held belief if the mind is not open to receive new information.
Again, Marty found the solution by searching just like you are. He was trying to solve his own problems but found that most advisors didn’t fully understand the problem at hand. Just like the regulators who passed ERISA in the first place, most advisors were of the opinion that it was no big deal. Long story short: pension providers didn’t want to provide insurance because, although valuable, it was too expensive. That required every day workers to go out and solve the problem that the ‘experts’ had already admitted couldn’t be solved. Insurance is the answer, in the appropriate amount but the investment industry is too greedy to be honest. Marty knows that and so do I.
I’ll be the first to admit that many pension plans only failed because of self-dealing managers and directors. Our own federal government has raided the social security fund to pay for future votes at the expense of those who they hope will die. The truth is that money set aside for retirement will improve the chances for success in retirement. It’s up to everyone to take charge of their own problems.
There are several people who still have corporate, federal or state pensions. But most of them do nothing to cover basic necessities in retirement. Underfunded pensions of the past create a retirement crisis today that has easy solutions so long as each retiree approaches the issue with an open mind and long-term goals in perspective.
I wanted to make use of a finance degree. Marty is an independent man who had to solve his own problems. This led him to the type of deep research that uncovered the true solutions to retirement planning. That fact alone makes him a highly qualified candidate to answer your questions. He started where you are so take his word for it.
Marty is available to meet with anyone who is looking for a different perspective on my philosophy. And I promise that he will offer nothing more than what he has already done for his own family. I am proud to consider him a member of the AST team and going forward we will all work together to provide service to anyone who has questions about retirement. If anyone in the St. Louis area wants to meet a man who thinks like I do then please comment below, respond to the email or make an appointment and I’d be happy to introduce you to Marty.
Enjoy your weekend!