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Financial Friday Round-Up: June 7 – June 11, 2021

Welcome to the latest Financial Friday Round-Up, our weekly column filled with the best things for you to read, watch or listen to regarding finance around the web. Below you will find articles on predicting the stock market, immigrant entrepreneurs, reducing taxes in retirement, and more.

Women, Work and the Pandemic

In a new episode from the Planet Money podcast, NPR maps the most recent effects of the pandemic on women in the workforce. At the beginning of the lockdown, millions of women left their jobs to take care of their children while schools were shuttered. Listen to this episode to see how these women adjust to reentering the workforce.

This Two-Minute Viral Video Proves It's Impossible to Time the Stock Market

This week, Money posted this video that proves just how difficult it is to time the market. In about two-and-a-half minutes, the video charts just how many large fluctuations the market has undergone in the 125 years since the Dow Jones emerged. Watch this video for a great visualization of how the market works.

Why the U.S. is Losing Immigrant Entrepreneurs to Other Nations

The United States’ labyrinth of immigration policy has slowly caused immigrant entrepreneurs to look elsewhere for opportunity, Forbes reports this week. Check out this article for a look at the numbers and how they can be reversed.

4 Strategies to Reduce Taxes in Retirement

When it comes to retirement planning, taxes linger large over our decision-making. Trying to forecast how much taxes will change by the time we retire requires a fortune-teller’s sense of the future. Luckily, Kiplinger listed four ways you can reduce your tax liability when your reach retirement; check out this link for more information.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: May 31 - June 4, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: May 24 - May 28, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: May 17 - May 21, 2021

Share Your Umbrella Podcast: A Conversation with Bob Brotherton

For each episode of Share Your Umbrella — the First Financial Security® podcast dedicated to sharing stories from entrepreneurs who help families in need with financial solutions and opportunities — we take excerpts from the most interesting parts of the interviews and post them on our blog. This week, our guest was Bob Brotherton, an Executive Field Chairman who has been with FFS since our earliest years. We spoke to Bob about his unique approach to the cold market, his prospecting strategy, and his interesting journey before joining the insurance industry.

See below for an excerpt of our conversation — you can listen to the full episode here.

Bob, why did you choose the insurance industry? What did you do prior to joining FFS?

Prior to FFS, I had a long history. I'm originally from Ohio, but I’d been a college professor in Colombia, South America. I taught English as a second language. I worked in the department of Arts and Letters in Bucaramanga, Colombia. It was an industrial engineering college, and I taught a lot of professors.

Eventually, I went over into the mortgage business, and the mortgage business is the reason I'm here today. When the whole industry imploded, a lot of people ended up upside-down, so I came into the insurance business with First Financial Security. That was 12 or 13 years ago now, so I guess I was one of the original people to join. I'm so glad that I got an insurance license because I had put all my eggs in one basket with the mortgage industry. The financial services basket is 100 times bigger.

What made you take a chance with FFS? What made you join this opportunity instead of another company?

Four or five things got me through the door — I tell people that if they talk to somebody about FFS, I want them to take away these same things. Number one: these are really good people. Number two: this is a really good company. Number three: these are really good carriers that we represent. Number four: they have really good products. Number five, which is the biggest one: I knew I could do this.

So, when I looked at FFS, it wasn't a hard decision. I had been with other financial services companies, so I knew a lot of the key people. When I looked at First Financial Security, I saw people with integrity. The staff and the people that I worked with were the uppermost priorities to me. I learned about the committed people we have here, that they were serious about this business and that the carriers were second to none.

We have companies that have been around for over 100 years, many of them with over $100 billion of business in their books. Many of them are debt-free companies. If we compare our carriers to other people’s, we're right up there at the top of the food chain. The products are cutting edge, too. I had never heard of the indexing concepts. Indexed Universal Life, indexed annuities, these were totally new to me. They sounded way too good to be true. I did my homework and came away saying, “I've got to tell this story to people.” If I talk to 100 people today, 95 of them have never heard of our concepts.

The money is good too, obviously. I should have added that. There's good money to be made here. And going along with that: I knew could do this. That's the impression I want to give people as well. You can do this; we'll help you out. We'll be a team here. Whatever level you are when you come in, we will be a team for you.

How have you been finding clients since the pandemic? Did you have trouble finding prospects when the industry switched to virtual?

Well, when I first came into this business, I came up to Tampa from Miami — I didn't know anybody. So, I never had a warm market. I never had a natural market, and that ended up being to my advantage because I learned to just get out there. There are some simple things that you can say to people that open the door. My whole strategy is that you've got to keep it simple. If you keep it very brief and have a light touch, the market is everywhere.

With the way the economy is today, people are keeping their eyes open. We’ve learned to use zoom webinars, something I never knew how to do before. I'm not technical by nature. I'm on the other end of the technical spectrum, but I’m so glad that certain people can do it.

What other challenges did you face when you were first starting out? What did you do to overcome them?

I didn't have a team. I didn't know anybody. I didn't know how to get around town. I had nothing really going on. But I was a crusader. I knew how to prospect and how to meet people from scratch. I knew I could either do a product approach or I could do an opportunity approach. I had little scripts I could use to call people — in those days, you would cold call.

I found out that if I got 100 people in a room and said, “How many of you in here need a mortgage?” A few hands would go up. “How many of you in here need real

Financial Friday Round-Up: May 31 – June 4, 2021

Welcome to the latest Financial Friday Round-Up, our weekly column filled with the best things for you to read, watch or listen to regarding finance around the web. Below you will find articles on the May jobs report, a story on Black Wall Street, a profile of 50 powerful women over 50, and more.

50 Over 50: The New Golden Age

This week, Forbes partnered with Mika Brzezinski, founder of Know Your Value, a platform focused on empowering women and achieving gender equity in the workplace, to profile 50 powerful women over the age of 50. Check out this list for profiles of women as varied as Walgreens CEO Rosalind Brewer and Vice President Kamala Harris.

Forget Something? Americans Have Left More Than $1 Trillion Sitting in Old 401(k)s, a New Study Finds.

Money published this surprising report this week that approximately $1.35 trillion is sitting in forgotten 401(k)s, with an average of about $55,000 per account. As changing jobs becomes the norm, more and more Americans are forgetting to roll over their contributions before switching positions. Check out this piece for more information.

Black Wall Street

At the beginning of the 20th century, a thriving Black neighborhood in North Tulsa was known as “Black Wall Street” for its financial success. This month is the 100th anniversary of the burning of the neighborhood by a mob, dashing any dreams of prosperity for the residents of Black Wall Street. Listen to this episode of Planet Money for more on the story.

The May Jobs Report Shows Signs of Labor-market Acceleration as Unemployment Falls

Good news from the jobs front as unemployment fell in May and the labor market continues its recovery. Check out this report from Business Insider for more information.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: May 24 - May 28, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: May 17 - May 21, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: May 10 - May 14, 2021


What Entrepreneurship Means in 2021

For a country that saw 4.4 million businesses start up last year (which is 24% more than the year before), there is still disagreement as to what entrepreneurship means. The term can be vague sometimes — how often have we heard someone call themselves an entrepreneur when they have yet to truly start a business? — but true entrepreneurship has been crucial to a healthy economy for decades. The confusion can come from just how many types of business owners there are out there.

What Does it Mean to Be an Entrepreneur?

At its simplest, an entrepreneur is a person who creates their own business. Business owners have existed for centuries, but it was only in the middle of the 20th century that their numbers boomed and economists started to recognize their roles in the economy. By including everybody with a side hustle or freelance job today (about 35% of the total workforce last year), it becomes clear that entrepreneurship is very much alive in the 21st century.

"Starting a business may seem overwhelming, but millions of people have found success with the right business plan, team, funding and resources."

Starting a business may seem overwhelming, but millions have found success with the right business plan, team, funding, and resources. Traditionally, an entrepreneur is someone who has an idea for a good or service that fills a need in the market. They take on all the risk of starting a business and their rewards are the profits and lifestyle afforded them as business owners. Traditional employees may have a clearer career path, but they lose the flexibility and freedom that comes with being an entrepreneur. On the other hand, there are much bigger consequences as an entrepreneur when a business fails than losing a job as an employee.

What if we could lessen the risk and still see the rewards? Backed by a belief in the power of entrepreneurship, companies like First Financial Security, Inc. have a mission to correct job market biases by helping those with fewer resources who want to start their own business. For a long time, what worked for some entrepreneurs would not work the same for others. After decades of trial and error, there is now a proven system — with concepts like the Business Building System, opportunities arise for those with the focus and flexibility necessary to become entrepreneurs.

"Traditional employees may have a clearer career path, but they lose the flexibility and freedom that comes with being an entrepreneur."

Working to Live Instead of Living to Work

Entrepreneurship has changed over the past 20 years as technology makes networking and administration faster and easier. But one thing remains the same: entrepreneurship offers a different approach to work-life balance. Building a business means having the strength to stand on your own and grants business owners more control over their daily lives. In the process, they also fuel the economy, provide jobs for their teams, and offer goods and services that can improve their communities.

If you have the drive to build a business in the financial services industry, First Financial Security can help. We provide entrepreneurs with support through back-office technology, administration, marketing, and more. To become an entrepreneur in a thriving industry and bring people financial security and peace of mind, connect with FFS today

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Financial Friday Round-Up: May 24 – May 28, 2021

Welcome to the latest Financial Friday Round-Up, our weekly column filled with the best things for you to read, watch or listen to regarding finance around the web. Below you will find articles on how to keep active at your desk, what happens when life insurance is denied, what it takes to get consumers to buy something new, and more.

Covid-19 Expands Life Insurance Purchases Beyond Wealthy

During the pandemic, a number of life insurance policies saw their biggest quarterly gain in almost 40 years. However, the numbers show that the average policy size shrank, suggesting that more policies are now being bought by those with smaller incomes. For more on this change in coverage demographics, check out this report from The Wall Street Journal.

What Does it Take to Get us to Try Something New?

Planet Money conducted an interesting experiment to see just how consumers react to new and innovative products and why they are not always as excited as businesses would expect. Listen to this short episode for a glimpse into the best way to introduce a new kind of product to market.

Insurers Sometimes Deny Life Insurance Claims. Prevent That From Happening to Your Family

An unfortunate but rare outcome for life insurance beneficiaries that often goes undiscussed is when insurers must deny a claim due to the terms of the policy. Though fewer than one in 200 claims is denied, it is worth knowing what could lead to a claim denial. Check out this piece from Money to stay informed.

Bounce, Balance, Burn: Keep Moving When You’re Stuck at a Desk

Bloomberg has a few tips for anyone feeling sore after being at their desk all week. Check out this brief guide to office movement including standing desk tools, air cushions, and a tiny trampoline.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: May 17 - May 21, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: May 10 - May 14, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: May 3 - May 7, 2021

Share Your Umbrella Podcast: A Conversation with Daniela Dubach

For each episode of Share Your Umbrella, the First Financial Security® podcast where entrepreneurs share stories of helping families in need with financial solutions and opportunities, we like to take the most interesting parts of the interview and offer them here on our blog. This week, our guest was Daniela Dubach, a Field Vice President at FFS who moved to America from Europe to pursue life as an entrepreneur. We spoke to Daniela about the differences between the two cultures regarding financial education, how financial vulnerability impacts women, and just how much progress can be made in ten years.

See below for an excerpt of our conversation — you can listen to the full episode here.

Daniela, what were you doing before you joined FFS and what was your career like then?

Before FFS, I did a bunch of different things — first of all, I moved to this country about 20 years ago. Because this is America, the land of opportunity, I figured, “Let me just see what I can do here.” So I got here in 2000, started in the beauty industry, and ended up in real estate. After 2008, when the market crashed, I realized that was not the industry I wanted to stay in.

I was looking for something else where I still could interact with people and be my own boss. Then, an old friend of mine who has been in the business for a long time suggested, “Well, why don't you get your insurance license?” I thought, “I might as well try.”

I was born in Germany and raised in Switzerland, where I spent my life. I had a great job in Europe — I worked for an airline, I was very fortunate to travel a lot, but soon I realized that corporate Switzerland wasn't for me. I never looked back.

I don't know what my life would have been back there, but it would be very, very different than what it is here. I always say it would have taken me probably five lifetimes to get where I am today, here in America, if I had stayed in Europe.

It's just a different mindset. It's not good or bad, it's just different. When we're talking about entrepreneurs, America is just the mecca for people who have big dreams and want to make those dreams come true.

Do you have any stories of sharing that dream with others? For example, we named the podcast Share Your Umbrella because umbrellas are an insurance symbol — they cover, shelter, and help people. For us, the umbrella represents not only the products that shelter our clients from risk but also the opportunity to build a business in the financial services industry. In what ways have you shared your umbrella?

Well, I felt very lucky when I got into the insurance industry. I kind of fell into it, because I would say that a little over ten years ago, I was a financial disaster. I didn't even know what a 401(k) was — mind you, I didn’t grow up here, but I had to learn many lessons the hard way. I realized that I can't be ignorant about finances.

I started learning a lot on my own, which opened a lot of doors, but also made me realize that there are a lot of people in this country, especially women, who just don't really know a whole lot about finance. I would say 80% of my clients are women, and I want to help them feel more empowered by being in control of their finances.

I think in Europe, in general, people are not so into instant gratification; that was a big adjustment for me. Everything is on credit, the beautiful homes, the amazing cars — 90% of those things aren’t even fully owned. Kids get out of college here and start their adult life already in debt, chasing their tail because they're living paycheck to paycheck. That’s why it’s so important. Financial education can get us out of that rat race.

2020 was a challenging year for everybody — how do you and your business adjust at the time?

Before COVID, our industry was 100% face-to-face. I didn’t even know — nor did I want to know — how to run a webinar, because I considered myself a face-to-face person. That’s what I was good at. When COVID hit, I had to make some major adjustments to that attitude. I had to get out of my own way and adapt because otherwise, I would have had to close up shop. I was very nervous for my first few meetings, but I remember how excited I was when I closed my first application via Zoom. After that first success, I knew that adapting was possible.

We've heard from so many agents that Zoom has really transformed the way that they do business. How do you see those Zoom meetings being incorporated into your practice going forward?

I would never have imagined me saying this a year ago, but I don't want to get back to face-to-face. Of course, it's nice sometimes. But if I have to go out in person to deliver a policy or pick up a check or something, I can’t help but think, “Well now I have to get in my car, I have to drive 20 miles, and I have to fight all the traffic coming back.” Before, I would fill up my gas tank probably twice a week; now, it's every

Financial Friday Round-Up: May 17 – May 21, 2021

Every week, our Financial Friday Round-Up compiles the best things to read, watch, or listen to regarding finance on the web. The articles below cover topics like the importance of money for startups, the difficulty of calculating risk, COVID-19 aid to theaters, and more.

We're Bad at Calculating Risk

In the life insurance industry, one becomes well-acquainted with our brains’ capacity to fixate on certain smaller risks like shark attacks and ignore larger ones like illness. The latest episode from the Planet Money podcast investigates the reasons for this disconnect and how we can overcome it.

The Importance of Money in the Different Startup Stages

Premature scaling is the main reason for new business failure, according to the Startup Genome project cited in this article from Forbes on why money is so important to building a business. Read more for a guide to what resources are necessary at each stage of a business’s growth.

Covid-19 Aid to Concert Halls, Theaters Set to be Distributed Next Week

As more and more Americans are vaccinated, people are anxious to return to pre-pandemic entertainment like movie theaters and performance venues. The industry, like most, was hit hard by the pandemic, but the Small Business Association will start giving aid to concert halls, theaters, and other live entertainment venues early next week. Read this piece from The Wall Street Journal for the details.

Aftershocks: The Funeral Industry Overcomes Challenges of the Past Year

Last year was a challenge for the funeral industry, as an increase in activity forced memorial services to change their business model to operate within federal guidelines while also handling a country-wide increase in grieving. Read this piece from Worth for a glimpse at what last year meant for an oft-overlooked industry.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: May 10 - May 14, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: May 3 - May 7, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: April 26 - April 30, 2021