Grow Retire Ready Clients

Marc & Michelle Lippincott

January 07, 2020 RetireReady Solutions Episode 6
Grow Retire Ready Clients
Marc & Michelle Lippincott
Chapters
00:00:00
Introduction
00:01:59
Obstacles in the 403(b) market
00:03:56
Securing referrals
00:07:40
Using The Retirement Analysis Kit
00:12:47
Importance of interactivity
00:14:30
Understanding that leads to action
00:17:01
Reviewing accounts
00:18:27
Motivation and passion
Grow Retire Ready Clients
Marc & Michelle Lippincott
Jan 07, 2020 Episode 6
RetireReady Solutions

Marc and Michelle Lippincott are a husband and wife team out of Tulare California. With 20 years of experience, a majority of their business is in the 403(b) space. In this episode they speak to the challenge of finding new clients, how TRAK helps them in reaching teachers, and some of the processes they have used in building a successful business.

Representatives are registered with and offer securities and advisory services through Ministry Partners Securities LLC, a registered broker dealer, investment advisor and member of FINRA, SIPC. Lippincott Financial & Insurance Services is a DBA operating through Ministry Partners Securities LLC. 

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Marc and Michelle Lippincott are a husband and wife team out of Tulare California. With 20 years of experience, a majority of their business is in the 403(b) space. In this episode they speak to the challenge of finding new clients, how TRAK helps them in reaching teachers, and some of the processes they have used in building a successful business.

Representatives are registered with and offer securities and advisory services through Ministry Partners Securities LLC, a registered broker dealer, investment advisor and member of FINRA, SIPC. Lippincott Financial & Insurance Services is a DBA operating through Ministry Partners Securities LLC. 

Edward Dressel:

Welcome back to another podcast at RetireReady Solutions. Today we have Marc and Michelle Lippincott from California with us, 403(b) advisors. Marc, Michelle, welcome.

Michelle L:

Thank you.

Edward Dressel:

So Mark and Michelle, tell me a little bit about your business.

Marc Lippincott:

We're advisors. We're an advisory team. So we've been, I've been in this business now over 20 years. The majority of the business is in 403(b) and we work with a lot of educators and have grown the business along the way to include , you know, as a certified financial planner, financial planning, brokerage accounts--all the ancillary things that come along with working in the 403(b) space. And it's a unique situation, having a husband and wife as an advisory team. When you come to meet with us and you have both Michelle and myself together, it feels a lot like , you know, mom and dad are talking to you about your finances as a team of people, team of counselors who are coming alongside to help you with your finances in the financial advisory space. So that's pretty much our business.

Edward Dressel:

What brought you into the financial planning world?

Michelle L:

I would say that we actually wandered into it unintentionally, but--Marc needed a job and answered an ad in the paper fit the criteria of what he was looking for. That being said, we have become very intentional about what we do and the products that we offer, the advice that we give. We realize that finance is something that we hold really close to our heart we get to make an impact in people's lives.

Edward Dressel:

What obstacles do you find in your business and specifically the industry, the 403(b) industry, that you've selected?

Marc Lippincott:

Obstacles--finding clients. You know, I don't know how an advisor could actually just start out today and get into the 403(b) business and find people to make a business with--it would be difficult. So I guess it's talking with people. At this point right now, it feels like we have a lot of traction with referrals. People just know us well enough now that they send referrals and we have a steady stream of people that come along that want to talk to us. But I suppose that's one of the obstacles there in 403(b) space.

Michelle L:

I would say that people are pretty leery. They're afraid that they're going to be sold something. They are just hesitant because we're talking about finances. Again, it's something that's so personal that you have to build a bridge of trust. And initially if you're just going into a relationship, you have to build that. So obviously that would be a priority to us is to be trustworthy. I think another obstacle is people--they know that they should save and they're not always willing to make the changes in their lifestyle or whatever they need to do--make those changes now so that they reap the benefits later. Again, they know that they're supposed to do something. So they might start with the minimum amount and then we use software like TRAK that shows them, "Hey, you actually need to do more for the lifestyle that you want in retirement." And having them actually want to make those changes now--that can be challenging.

Edward Dressel:

Referrals are pretty golden in the industry. What do you see your success on getting people to refer to you? What are you doing for your clients that they go, "I want to tell others about my advisor."

Marc Lippincott:

Yeah. The building of the trust with it, with the client. So we, from the very beginning, really state, "Hey, I'm here to help you." So the main question that people have about their finances, is "Am I going to have enough?" It's usually fear-based, you know, they want to have a lot of money, but I think it's more in the space of I want to have enough for the future. And so, when our basis of the conversation is on, "I want to help you." I want to help you have enough so that the future will be--will look like your preferred future. You know, I want to spend time with family, I want to have--I don't want to be dependent upon other people for my finances. And it has more security or as much security as the future can have. When we start at the basis of that in our financial planning or in our financial conversation, there's a trust that's built with those clients. So then when we say, "Hey, we, we work with people that are just like you," referrals that come to us usually come to, "Mark and Michelle have helped me and they can help you too." So communicating our value to them and what it is, not necessarily just what we do, but doing that for them. When they, when a referral comes in, it's all in that space of "You can trust Mark and Michelle and you need to talk to them." Today we have somebody coming in--it's a referral from a client. He's just lost his wife. So there's a whole host of things that are, you know, everything has triggered in his life and all these financial things have happened: life insurance and disability and retirement accounts. Insurance companies are asking him to fill out paperwork. And so he's coming to us with, "Can you help?" And that's a referral and , you know, the help is up front, but I know all along--I told him, I said, "Look, we can help you. We have you covered." And so that referral, we think it's golden. Yes--in that the trust is already built there with the referral and with the client that we've worked with for, I don't know, it's been not 20 years yet, but you know, 16 years that I've known the client.

Edward Dressel:

Mark, do you get any professional referrals from people in town?

Marc Lippincott:

Um , we do. We have a CPA firm that's here in town. We have gotten referrals from them and he is my CPA. Uh, I've gone specifically to meet with attorneys just to,--I've just said, "Hey, give me 15 minutes, I'll come in and introduce myself." I've given my card and I just say, "Look, this is what I do as a financial planner and an advisor. And these are the kind of clients that I felt--I just wanted to meet you because clients do ask for attorneys or they ask for CPAs and my recommendation and I want to be able to know them personally. So I don't go in with the idea of meeting that attorney or that CPA to make them a client. But just to say, "I want to know you. You want to see my face and let's make the connection." And there have been referrals that have come from that. Not trying to make a client, but just trying to make professional connections in town.

Edward Dressel:

So let's move sideways a little bit now. It's a different question. You guys are avid users of the Retirement Analysis Kit, our solution for helping in the retirement planning world. What difference does that make in your business?

Marc Lippincott:

It's almost everything. I mean, so the retirement analysis that we've used, called TRAK and the personal retirement calculator--but it's all solid retirement analysis. That it is--it has been the go to place for us for basically a financial plan because it--especially for the educator--when it's able to show me state teacher's retirement system and the pay up from that and what it looks like with them saving in a 403(b) We connect all the dots with a plan for that teacher or that client by having that retirement analysis, by having the numbers--correct numbers--from state teacher's retirement system. I had questions from clients that are just like, "Hey, is that number correct for state teachers?" And I can go through and do it manually or look at their statement online at STERS. It's right there. I maybe did a few days off in the program but it's right on top of the number. So being able to quickly enter in that information and then talk to the clients especially with the graph. I love using the graph that shows if there's a shortfall in the future. It has a powerful impact on people when they're looking at that graph because people are numbers oriented. And some are visually oriented, some others like you to talk. And if you do all three of those things, it has this understanding. You can see all the light that light bulbs go off with somebody. "Oh well I need to be then saving" or "I need to be investing--I need to get a specific return out of my money in order to meet these goals. And it's very helpful. I mean, I guess I would call it a financial planning program. There are other programs that are really complicated that I have that I use--I say really complicated in that there are just tons of buttons to push on there. And RetireReady is one that is simple to use for me for Michelle, and for others to use. And then I'm able to print out or send to that client pages that make sense to them for their retirement. So it is has meant a lot. We've given it away more than, I mean, I don't know, if we've ever charged for it. We give it away, but it has a major impact on our business in helping people save. And then when they do save, it helps us. So there's this symbiotic relationship that we have. I don't know if it's with the program or RetireReady throughout the years,

Edward Dressel:

You know, state systems are complicated--working with the software and making it an integrated benefits analysis. You said the lights went on, right? What does that look like?

Marc Lippincott:

So, they trust their--let's just use the example of state teacher's retirement system. They trust that system and they trust those numbers. So it's kind of like the rock underneath this foundation or the cement underneath the foundation for their retirement. When I'm able to show them that, plus them saving, why that's important. It's usually this date on when they want to retire.So if they said, "I gotta get outta here by 57 and a half," then I can tell them how much they need to save and how to get busy doing that. So , the lights do go on, especially when you combine all those together with the graph. So easily while I'm in the conversation changing that number, "Well, what if you retired at 62 and a half? How would that impact this thing or what have you saved this amount?" I can easily change this graph so that they can see the numbers and we're now having a conversation about the most important things, right? This, this date that they can retire and what that's gonna look like money-wise for them and whether that's going to be enough. And so when I ,--all the lights are on, then. It's not just they've arrived there, but all the lights are on and it's amazing how many teachers will come back into the program. "Okay, let's update the numbers," and we look at this date that they can retire and they reference it. We just had a client the other day, it was just saying, "I'm retiring"--I saw the email that came through to Michelle--"I'm retiring at 62 and a half. That's when I'm done." And we've been working on that for years now with RetireReady for her to get to that place.

Edward Dressel:

So the interactivity of the software, which is kind of atypical and the more complicated tools as I understand it. You find that advantageous working with your clients?

Marc Lippincott:

Oh definitely. I don't want to mention the name of the software, but it's not as interactive. It's not as easy to get there with the clients we want to call it, retirement readiness, right? It's just not as easy to get there. And definitely that inner activity to quickly be able to change some numbers and see what the result of that is going to be for them, especially the graph that shows any shortfall. You know, I am right there at the edge, right? When can I retire? At what age was this amount of money that makes all the red go away? It's probably as simple as that. We want to make all the red is bad. All the other colors are good. So we want to make the red go away, no shortfall, and get you to a place where it's just solid. No guarantees, of course, you know, it's based on other factors, but based on these and reasonable factors. Now we've made all the red go away.

Michelle L:

I think it's cool that a client can watch those numbers change. So if we say, "Oh, let's retire at 60. And what does that look like if we retire it 62?" Just a quick change on our end and they can see it, they can tell it's literally those two years can make a huge difference. Or if it's saving a little bit more money, what that looks like. I think it's great visual.

Edward Dressel:

One of the jokes in the industry is how poorly people are engaged with jokes or concerns. They make cartoons about it and make commercials about it and they tell us we need to get people ready. What difference does it make to see a client understand what they need to do and see them take action?

Marc Lippincott:

It is everything. You can show somebody a whole list of investments and they make this kind of return and you know, they're not, they're not really engaged with that information. They really want to know how it applies to them. And mostly clients, they're risk averse, right? They don't want to run out of money, right? Well, that's not --they really want you to phrase it in, "I want to make enough money so that I have plenty," but they really are at a place where "I just don't want to run out of money." So we want people to be engaged with something that's very, very simple. Instead of numbers and graphs and disclosures and all that stuff, even though it's all required, it's not the focus we need. We need to be focusing on the simple, simple things, right? Getting to their goals: grandchildren and family and a life that they want to live in the future. And all the tools that we use should be toward that goal. Right? This goal of them living their preferred future. And , you know, every once in a while we get an engineer who wants to get down into the weeds."Well, tell me about exactly what stock positions this mutual fund has and all the fees." But most of the time people are, they just want to know if they're going to be okay. And we have this the saying, "We are your financial ally." So all the tools that we use are towards us being an ally towards you. It's just a tool and a part of the conversation to get them there and having it be simple and understandable is very--that's really important. Once in a while you get the guy who really wants to get complicated and I usually have to come back to, "Hey, we just want to bring this back," that calms and they understand that on the not complicated thing.

Edward Dressel:

So if we go back--so you do a retirement plan with somebody in TRAK and then do you send them on their way to go back to review that at all with your clients or how and how often if you do that?

Michelle L:

Absolutely. It's something that needs to be revisited on a regular basis. I would say every three years is probably good. We like to update the numbers. So if we are looking at rates of return, we can actually plug in, this is what your account has done. So we'll use an actual return in their account, not just some hypothetical number. Um, we can look at, okay, this is what the account balance actually is. We go back to all the different pieces plugged in and so it provides a, like a map of where we're going, but it also is a trail of where they have been. So we can actually probably line them all up. This is what we started with. And , you know, a lot of times they need to make increases to their contributions and if they haven't been faithful to do that or if they've actually made bigger contributions than what they anticipated, we get to plug all that in. So it's important to revisit that and update it periodically.

Edward Dressel:

As I've sat and listened to both of you, I get a passion in here for helping people retire well, to be ready to retire. What's the passion that drives you to helping people?

Marc Lippincott:

There there is an eternal passion here. So this isn't what we see here on what's happening around us right now is it's not the end of the story in my mind. There's an eternal component and there's treasure there. There's--that's not a retirement place, but a place for life. And so the thing that we are passionate about is helping people get to a place where they're doing something that's transcendent to what they're working on right now. You know, the day to day: I'm in the lives of other people, which has its own spiritual and transcendent component, but to make that part of their thinking. And I think as a financial advisor, I really don't need to be smarter than everybody else and I'm not at all. But the part that I need to do is lead: lead in the conversation, lead in ideas. To have them grab hold of an idea that is greater than themselves. Right? So just left to our own self, we would just take care of our needs and what we need, what we think that we need and the bills that we have and make this number that we have for retirement work. But it's really, I think, important on my part to present an idea of more. And so this transition time period where they can give even more time to the things that they care about--their faith, their community, others around them--is really important. So we make that really the goal for them and find out and we ask the clients, "What is it that you are passionate about? What is it that you want? So we're going to do all this work and we're going to save all this money. What are we saving it for? Where's it going to go?" That for me, after 20 years of doing this, I'm motivated by that. I can show someone who has no passion for giving back at all how to live almost a completely selfish life. This is how much the state teachers are going to pay out, this is how much money you save. And now you've got this number and you'll have plenty of money, but where are the people? Where are the things that you're passionate about in this equation? And so I, I'm really, I just think for myself, I've transitioned to a place of, "I want to help people go there and I'm going there myself." What are the things that are going to be eternal, the things that really matter in my life and in the lives of others. And my leadership capability is that that's the sales job, right? That's the presenting the big idea that we can all grab hold of and work toward that in the future.

Edward Dressel:

So I liked that. Finding people's passions to live through retirement, not just the passion to be retired, but what's your passion? What are you going to do when you're there? Well, Marc and Michelle, it's been a delight to talk with you. I appreciate you taking the time, and I know you're in some transition points in life. I hope they go well. Have a wonderful day.

Introduction
Obstacles in the 403(b) market
Securing referrals
Using The Retirement Analysis Kit
Importance of interactivity
Understanding that leads to action
Reviewing accounts
Motivation and passion