Each episode of Share Your Umbrella, the First Financial Security® podcast that shares stories from entrepreneurs who help families with financial solutions, is released with a blog post that highlights the most interesting parts of the interviews for all to read. This week, we spoke to Area Marketing Director Abiyel Hewitt about the benefits of being your own boss, how technology has been helping financial education, and helping teachers with their retirement through his book Teacher’s Guide to Tax-Free Retirement.
See below for an excerpt of our conversation — you can listen to the full episode here.
Abiyel, what kind of business were you doing before you joined FFS?
Before the FFS opportunity, I was in the pharmaceutical business. I worked for a large Fortune 500 company. Basically, my job was just to go to physicians’ offices, talk to them about a particular drug and how the product could fit them. I’d ask what types of patients they thought could use the product and things like that. It was really easy to do, plus it had a company car, benefits and all that.
Unfortunately, I got laid off in 2011. The industry was changing. At one point, when I first started, it was very easy — but the industry got overloaded and the physicians’ offices were just flooded with representatives coming in. It was disrupting a physician’s everyday flow. As a result, they didn't need as many reps as they did before. So I had to kind of figure out what was I going to do.
I didn't want to be anyone's employee at that point. Then, I had the idea to try insurance. I started studying for my test and this whole world of financial services was opened up to me just by having an insurance license. A good friend of mine was working with FFS at the time. He had been telling me about it for about a year, but I wouldn't listen to him because I was working at my pharmaceutical job. He was persistent, though. He came back to me again, and I just happened to get retired at that point. So, I listened — that’s how I got to working with FFS, and I've been here ever since.
Did you run into any challenges by switching to the FFS model?
It took me a while to get out of that employee mindset. Now, I do everything for myself. I had support from my upline, but I also had to start learning how to be independent. At my old job, I was used to coming home at one or two o'clock in the afternoon. It didn't take long for me to do my job because I had been doing it for so long. I knew all the physicians, everybody knew me. Here, I had to work to shake that mindset.
In what ways do you use technology and FFS tools in your business?
When I first started, the internet was available, but it wasn't like it is now. Now, everybody is always Googling. If you want to know something, you Google it. So the clients that I talk to now — the younger ones, in particular — are more sophisticated than they were ten years ago. They like information and automation. So one of the tools that I use now is an automated tool that uses an illustration to compare a 401(k) or 403(b) to an Indexed Universal Life policy. They can see when they would run out of money versus how the IUL would keep giving them money tax-free for the rest of their life. They like that tool.
I don't use it on the older clients because they tend not to understand all that. They might think, “Are you just trying to trick me with the technology stuff?” Younger players appreciate the technology, though. So you have to understand who you're talking to when you’re using these tools.
You wrote a book called the Teacher’s Guide to Tax-Free Retirement. Can you tell us a little about how that came to be and what it took to write it?
I started writing the book a year and a half before the pandemic. My idea was to write something for teachers that could be used as a reference point or that they could pass on to other people. It needed to be easy to read and easy to understand, so the book is only 26 pages long. It illustrates different examples of individuals and their retirement needs, then it shows how to fix them. It goes over the tax history of the U.S. and how taxes have affected us over the years and things like that. I tell them my story in the beginning, how I got into planning my own retirement, and the challenges that I faced.
Before the book, I’d find that I could sell a product and six months later the client might have no idea what they got. They would forget about it. When they have the book, they can reference it, they can share it with people, they can become semi-experts themselves. They get more involved in their retirement, and they have a better understanding of it. It’s my way of doing whatever I can for the client.
Listen to our full conversation with Abiyel Hewitt for more valuable insight into running your own business.
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