Increasing your clients’ retirement income to address rising costs

December 22, 2015 by

A recent study found that an upper-middle-class couple who is age 65 today has a 43 percent chance of one or both of them living until at least age 95.1

The life expectancy of today’s retiree is a positive development, but it also raises concerns about how couples can generate income during a retirement period that can now last upward of 25 years, especially with inflation.

Helping clients combat inflation over time can be difficult if they are only using a fixed income strategy that doesn’t address the potentials of cost of living increases, higher taxes and medical expenses. Under this rising-cost scenario, this fixed income strategy will consistently purchase less over time as the price of goods and services increase.

While fixed indexed annuities (FIA) can be a key strategy to generate tax-deferred growth potential, a death benefit for beneficiaries and guaranteed income for life, they are only effective addressing the effects of inflation if they offer income that has the potential to increase.

Meeting these client needs may be obtained using a fixed indexed annuity with a lifetime withdrawal option that increases income when their contract earns an interest credit. Unfortunately, few fixed indexed annuities have an option to increase income when the contract earns interest.

Typical income benefits have a separate value that clients’ lifetime income withdrawals are based on. When income riders don’t include an annual reset, this value must be exceeded before an increase in income is earned. Without exceeding this threshold, clients are not able to reach a level for an income increase.

One carrier challenging this standard with many of their fixed indexed annuities is Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz). Allianz utilizes lifetime income withdrawal benefits that are available through built-in or additional cost riders. Allianz also offers an annual reset method that increases income following every year the contract earns interest. Previous lifetime income withdrawals, fees or index losses do not impair the FIA’s ability to earn future income increases. As long as clients follow the terms of their contracts, all payment increases are locked in and guaranteed for life.

The annual reset withdrawal options available on many Allianz fixed indexed annuities have helped address the effects of inflation on their retirement income. On average, not only did their income keep up with inflation, their purchasing power actually increased over time. In fact, of Allianz FIA clients who chose the increasing income option, 93 percent received an increase.2

For more details on using an increasing income option, click here to download a no-cost, no-obligation guide. You can use this guide to discuss how to potentially increase income throughout retirement with your clients.

Brokers International is dedicated to helping you find annuity solutions that meet your clients’ retirement needs. If you need help searching for a suitable product, running illustrations or proposing multiple options that can help increase your clients’ income in retirement, please give our Annuity Sales Support team a call at 800.362.1097.


1. “Better Financial Security in Retirement? Realizing the Promise of Longevity Annuities.” Economic Studies at Brookings. Feb. 2015. Web. 2 Dec. 2015. <>
2. “It’s not where the income starts—it’s what happens next.” Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America. Nov. 2015. Web. 9 Dec. 2015

The benefits of a single-premium life policy

December 10, 2015 by

Single-premium life (SPL) is a type of life insurance in which a lump sum of money is paid into the policy in return for a death benefit that is guaranteed to remain paid-up.

This overlooked policy can also provide faster cash value accumulation, a death benefit that passes tax-free to beneficiaries and living benefits to help with unexpected expenses.

These living benefits include tax-free access to the death benefit to pay for long-term care and features that let clients withdraw funds if they are diagnosed with a terminal illness. Any funds remaining in the death benefit will pass to loved ones as originally planned.

These options allow clients to use a SPL policy to cover long-term care needs as they arise, but still leave an intact death benefit to pass onto their dependents.

To see this concept in action, click here to download a case study on how a client can utilize a SPL policy to protect themselves, grow cash value and efficiently transfer assets to their loved ones.

For additional ways to meet your clients’ needs with life solutions, be sure to check out our upcoming Life Lessons webinars and archived recorded programs here.

Mike Jorgensen

Mike Jorgensen, CLU, ChFC & Vice President, Brokers Life, has been involved in the financial services industry for more than 20 years. He is constantly working to provide easy-to-follow life concepts and offer support and education to insurance and financial professionals that include life insurance in their practice.

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Ten tips to get your emails opened, read and clicked

December 3, 2015 by

Email marketing can be a cost-effective way to help increase sales by building relationships, generating leads and continuing conversations with your clients.

While sending an email is easy, cutting through the daily clutter of messages your clients and prospects receive is not. To complicate email further, 53 percent of total email opens happen on the go through mobile phones and tablets.1

To help improve your email visibility in today’s digital marketing landscape, here are a few simple email tactics you can implement:

Frontload your call-to-action
To help your mobile audience quickly digest your message, use the first one or two lines of your email to tell them what you want them to do. Placing the call-to-action near the top of an email prevents readers from missing it.

Minimize text and images
You can make your emails easy to read by cutting down lengthy paragraphs and breaking text into concise sentences or bullets. If you’re using images in your email, only use one or two. This will help you avoid sending an email that’s one large image. In fact, many email servers block images. If your image contains important text, your message may go unread.

Use prominent links
Links in the text of your email encourage readers to visit your website pages to complete an action. You can emphasize your links with larger text, bolding and strong wording that directs readers to take an action. When using multiple links, be sure to provide space between them so your audience doesn’t have issues clicking them on their mobile devices.

Add click-to-call links
Smartphone users want to dial a phone number directly from an email. To put users a click away from calling your business, add a click-to-call link to all the phone numbers in your email text or signature line.

To get six more email tips and guidelines on how to stay compliant with your email sends, click here.

By using these tips in your email, you can better engage with mobile audiences, increase your open rates and drive traffic to your website.

For additional support implementing email best practices into your own business, click here for information about our Automate My Appointments program.

With Automate My Appointments you can access ready-made email templates and automated campaigns designed to drive clients and prospects to action with little effort.


1“Q3 2014 Email Benchmark Report.” Experian. Web. 13 Oct. 2015.

Ryan Kennedy

Ryan Kennedy joined Brokers International in October 2014 as a Marketing Project Manager. He is responsible for creating marketing materials and messages to support the strategic initiatives of Brokers International. In addition to developing marketing strategies, he will serve as a frequent blog contributor. When not in the office, he enjoys writing, graphic design and biking.

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Fixed index annuities: The whole retirement package

November 24, 2015 by

Fixed index annuities are traditionally known for their downside protection from market losses and their potential for upside interest gains. But more recently, fixed index annuity products have become more versatile in their ability to meet a wider range of client concerns.

Here are some features that fixed indexed annuities are combining to create more holistic retirement options:

Income riders. Already a mainstay of fixed index annuities, income riders have surged in popularity thanks to their ability to provide clients with a steady stream of sometimes increasing income that is guaranteed for the life of the annuitant(s). As a result, many fixed index annuities now offer income riders either as a standard feature or optional addition.

Enhanced death benefits. Another popular feature packaged with fixed index annuities are enhanced death benefits that can secure a client’s legacy. These can provide a five-year payout of a benefit base, an enhanced interest credit accessible at death or some other variation.

Additionally, fixed index annuities offer some lesser known features like nursing home confinement benefits, terminal illness waivers, carry-over withdrawals and interest crediting strategies. These features utilize volatility control mechanisms to allow for no explicit interest caps within a client’s retirement strategy.

As consumer needs have changed, the industry has responded with products that can help offer most, if not all of these benefits in one retirement solution.

Brokers International is dedicated to helping you find annuity solutions that meet your clients’ retirement needs. If you need help searching for the right product, running illustrations or proposing multiple options, please give our Annuity Sales Support team a call at 800.362.1097.

End of the year push

November 19, 2015 by

The final quarter of 2015 is upon us and it seems like time is ticking away faster and faster. The New Year is just around the corner, and we’re not slowing down any time soon.

Think back to the beginning of the year. Did you take the time to write up business goals you planned to accomplish? If not, don’t fret. Try writing a few goals to complete in your year-end push. Ask yourself, “What do I need to accomplish this final quarter to have a successful 2015?”

If you recorded your 2015 business goals, you’re in great shape. Pull out the file, clear off the dust and review the goals you set for yourself.

When you’re reviewing your goals, you should be able to identify those you’ve achieved and those you haven’t had a chance to tackle yet. Cross the achieved goals off the list and give yourself a pat on the back. While you’re marking items off your list, you’d be wise to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you on schedule to hit your financial goals?
  • Do you have an idea of your anticipated production for the fourth quarter?
  • Will you reach or surpass your financial goals based on this anticipated fourth quarter production?
  • What are some fourth quarter game-changers?

No matter what products or services you offer, the fourth quarter can be the busiest time for clients to focus on year-end planning. How will you ensure your business taps into these end-of-the-year opportunities?

A clearly designed road map for the balance of 2015 will help you implement a plan for the all-important fourth quarter. If you need assistance, feel free to reach out to your team at Brokers Financial.

Thank you for all you do to make your clients lives better by helping them achieve their financial goals.

Brokers Financial

Brokers Financial is a FINRA member Broker-Dealer and SEC-Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) providing extensive brokerage, advisory and investment services to the independent financial professional.

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Working with female clients

November 12, 2015 by

Women are a growing market for insurance and retirement planning. In fact, a recent report found that by 2030, women will represent a trillion-dollar opportunity for the insurance industry.1

In order to harness this emerging market, insurance professionals and the insurance industry must begin to tailor their approach to working with female clients.

As a whole, women prefer a relational approach over a transactional approach when working with financial professionals. When they’re being sold to, they not only want to know about the financial compensation, but also the protection a product can offer them and their family.

In this regard, female advisors have an edge over male advisors when working with female clients. Women can differentiate themselves through their ability to empathize, build long-term relationships and give advice.1

With the growing female client demographic, there is an increasing opportunity for more and more women to become successful female financial professionals. Yet, only 22 percent of independent insurance agents are female.2

Now, more than ever, it is important to empower and support women in the insurance industry. Insurance carriers, associations, networking groups and individuals must begin to work to together to attract and retain female financial professionals.

Brokers International’s Women’s Mentoring Agent Network (WOMAN) is a well-known advocate for female financial professionals. The organization, recently named a “Champion of Change” in National Underwriter Life and Health Magazine, offers women networking, awards and idea sharing opportunities.

To help financial professionals get in front of more female prospects, WOMAN has helped produce a women’s only seminar called Retirement Purse Strings. The seminar discusses women’s unique financial challenges and provides strategies for long-term financial independence. Click here to learn how you can access the new seminar.

1Holbrook, Emily. “Women’s Market Represents Trillion-dollar Opportunity.” LifeHealthPro. 7 Oct. 2015. Web. 18 Oct. 2015. <>.

2Meiners, Carley. “Women: On How to Be Successful and Improve Client Relationships.” LifeHealthPro. 6 Oct. 2015. Web. 19 Oct. 2015. <>.

Karen Bump

Karen Bump joined Brokers International in 2011 as the Coordinator for the WOMAN Program. Karen is passionate about providing resources, education and networking opportunities to women in the industry. When she’s not at work, Karen enjoys being active, watching college football, traveling, and spending quality time with her husband, three kids and Yorkie.

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Optimizing an IRA with life insurance

November 5, 2015 by

For clients with an IRA account, life insurance can provide an effective way to realize the full potential of their IRA funds.

In its simplest form, optimization occurs by moving money from an inefficient tax product to a more tax-efficient one. In this case, moving dollars from an IRA to a life insurance policy in order to minimize the income taxes on the IRA assets.

This strategy can be especially useful for clients who are not actively utilizing their IRA and are nearing their Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) at age 70 1/2.

To learn how a retiree could use their RMDs to create a more tax-efficient situation with life insurance, click here to download our new IRA optimization case study.

To learn additional ways to meet your clients’ needs with life solutions, be sure to check out our upcoming Life Lessons webinars and archived recorded programs here.

Mike Jorgensen

Mike Jorgensen, CLU, ChFC & Vice President, Brokers Life, has been involved in the financial services industry for more than 20 years. He is constantly working to provide easy-to-follow life concepts and offer support and education to insurance and financial professionals that include life insurance in their practice.

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IRA growth sets the stage for new opportunities

October 16, 2015 by

An aging population who has continued to shift assets from employer-sponsored plans to alternative financial strategies has given way to a growing individual retirement account (IRA) market.

These shifts have created an IRA marketplace that is expected to make up more than 35 percent of total retirement assets by the end of 2018, which means IRAs could comprise the largest single share of the market with an estimated $9 trillion in total assets. 1

This dramatic growth has not only created opportunities for agents who utilize IRA planning, but also a demand for those who can unravel an increasingly complex tax code, new rollover rules and estate planning updates.

For agents looking to tap into the expanding IRA market, a high degree of know-how to effectively leverage IRAs and identify hidden taxes can make a difference in distinguishing yourself as a resource who can optimize your clients’ income.

To help you succeed, Brokers International has teamed with nationally recognized IRA author and speaker, Ed Slott, for an exclusive IRA distribution planning event on November 5 and 6 in San Diego, CA.

Part of our Retirement Recharge series, this event will highlight the latest case studies, congressional action and Supreme Court rulings to put you on the cutting-edge of tax law and IRA distribution planning. For a sneak peek at this event’s simplified approach to complex IRA planning and how it can work for your clients, click here to download Ed Slott’s whitepaper, Using a Tax Refund to Fund an IRA in 5 Easy Steps.

For more IRA planning tips to enhance your practice, click here for information about attending Retirement Recharge featuring Ed Slott and company at no cost to you.


1 “Retirement Markets 2013: Data & Dynamics of Employer-Sponsored Plans.” Cerulli Associates, Web. 23 Sept. 2015. Available at

Life insurance to fund a college education: A case study

October 8, 2015 by

Over the past decade, tuition and fees for in-state students at public four-year colleges and universities have soared to an average rate of 4.2 percent per year beyond the rate of general inflation1. Due to increases like these, the average debt for graduating students in 2015 is now more than $35,000.2

With parents and students struggling to meet these rising costs, one college funding option that has gained momentum is life insurance.

While the primary goal of life insurance is to provide a death benefit to beneficiaries, it can also be used to create a college funding strategy that has the potential to accumulate cash value on a tax-deferred basis. These funds can then be accessed tax-free through policy loans to help pay for college costs.

After helping with college finances, clients can repurpose their policy to help supplement retirement income or to meet other financial goals. Additionally, the policy would allow for death benefit proceeds in the event of a premature death.

To see this concept in action, click here to download a case study that highlights how a grandparent uses life insurance to fund their grand child’s future college education.

For more innovative ways to meet your clients’ individual needs through life solutions, be sure to check out our upcoming Life Lessons webinars and recorded programs here.



  1. “Trends in College Pricing.” The College Board. 2013. 21 Sept. 2015.
  2. Berman, Jullian. “Class of 2015 has the most student debt in history” MarketWatch. 9 May 2015. Web. 19 May 2015.

Mike Jorgensen

Mike Jorgensen, CLU, ChFC & Vice President, Brokers Life, has been involved in the financial services industry for more than 20 years. He is constantly working to provide easy-to-follow life concepts and offer support and education to insurance and financial professionals that include life insurance in their practice.

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Building your financial professional brand

October 1, 2015 by

Your brand is a verbal and visual expression of your business. It serves as a shorthand to communicate with clients, increases awareness of your firm and creates a memorable distinction between you and other financial professionals.

Some of the most well-known companies in the world owe much of their success to building strong brands. Each has accomplished this by using a combination of branding techniques to consistently define who they are and what value they can provide to their customers. As an insurance professional, you can use some of these same branding techniques to strengthen everything from the look of your business cards to how clients are greeted in your office.

To help you get started defining your business’ unique purpose and identity, we’ve compiled our best branding techniques for financial professionals into a new guide, Building your financial professional brand. Using this guide, you can assess where your brand currently stands and how you can make it stronger with some key steps and innovative branding resources.

Define your business’ identity by downloading the guide here.