Finding the right advisor or agent to sell you an annuity is going to make all the difference to your success. Understand that anyone who can pass a test to sell insurance can sell most types of annuities. They may have zero understanding of household finance, retirement needs, or much of anything about money. They simply passed an insurance test, paid a fee, and now they can try to sell these policies. Because of this, please do your due diligence finding the right advisor.
1. Ask Friends for Advice – Don’t just ask any friend; ask the friend that you know is smart with their money. You don’t want them to send you to a scam artist, so ensure that you also ask your morally upstanding friends who they use.
2. Research Any Agent Leads – When they give you names of people or companies, you want to research them before you talk to them. Today most agents will have LinkedIn profiles, Facebook pages, and other online activities that enable you to find out what others are saying.
3. Interview Agents You Like – When you find someone you think looks good, don’t snag them yet. Instead, set up several different interviews. Don’t make any decisions at that moment. Interview them and go home and give it thought before choosing. Maybe none are right, and you need to keep looking.
4. Test Their Insurance and Financial Knowledge – When you have people to interview, test them on their knowledge of insurance, annuities, and financial knowledge by asking questions you already know the answer to based on your studies. Ask each candidate the same questions.
5. Ensure They Understand Your Financial Needs – It’s important that the person you purchase an annuity from understands your true financial needs and foresees issues that you don’t see. They should bring up reasons not to buy an annuity just as they give you reasons to buy one.
6. Check Their Education Level – While college isn’t a requirement to sell insurance, check other certifications that they have. What financial planning courses have they taken? Do they have certifications that make them stand out?
7. Check Their Background – You want to ensure that they are not a criminal or someone who has been involved in any scams. It’s as simple as googling them and looking up their name online to find out if there are complaints. They should have the proper license for their state, and that should be listed and verified by you personally.
8. Talk to Their Clients – Ask them to give you a couple clients who would be willing to talk to you about their experiences with the person. While you do want to know what others think, they’re going to pick people they know love them, so try to listen carefully.
9. Check the Insurance Company’s Ratings – They probably work for an insurance company in order to sell annuities. Check the overall ratings of that insurance company to ensure there are no issues or outstanding matters.
10. Find Out How They Are Paid – Most insurance agents get paid only by commission, but a few companies do pay agents by salary, which is preferable. If someone sells by commission, they might just want to sell you a product you don’t need. However, not everyone who works by commission will do that.
Getting advice from friends and family that are financially smart, and then doing your research on any advisors or agents that you might hire, is imperative. You want to work with someone who understands your financial needs, goals, and objectives. If they don’t and are only focused on making the sale to get their commission, you can find yourself making a big mistake when you fall for the sales pitch. Instead, know what you want, why you want it, and seek the right person to buy it from.
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