Archive for December, 2015


December 22, 2015

John Maxwell Leadership Bible:  (Proverbs 22:6)

God calls parents to lead their children.  He tells them that if they train up a child in the way he should go, when he is old he will not depart from it (Prov. 22.6).  And just how does a parent become a good leader for a child?  Partly by focusing on three key words:

  1. Modeling:  Abraham Lincoln said, “There is but one way to train up a child in the way he should go, and that is to travel it yourself.”  A good example is worth a thousand sermons.  What you do has more impact on your child than all the lectures you could ever give.
  2. Management:  Good management is the ability to discern the uniqueness of a child and teach him or her accordingly.  We are to train up a child in the way he should go.  This may mean we will have to adapt our style, depending on the child’s temperament and wiring.
  3. Memories:  Parents should create memories.  Why?  Because memories are more important than things.  Note that the verse says, “When he is old, he  will not depart…”  This implies that the child retains some memories of his early experiences and embraces them later in  life.


 It matters not whether you are young or old, there are many words of wisdom contained in the Book of Proverbs.  Modeling.  Management.  Memories.  Each of the words of the above lesson should be used as we live our lives and plan for our future.

In my profession I use each of these in dealing with clients in planning for their retirement developing models, managing those models, and  using memories to accomplish the goals for retiring and remaining retired.  It is exciting for my clients to look  forward to retirement and the years spent in retirement.  Each retirement plan is different and must meet the needs of the  retiree.

A retiree faces many things upon retirement.  Being able to remain comfortably retired and making provisions for any “bumps in the road” must be considered.  In  order to accomplish this there needs to be a great deal of flexibility, because circumstances change during the retirement years.  The retiree is not the only one involved in  these plans.  The spouse must be  considered as well as the final disposition of retirement funds after the life of  the retiree.  I could  go on and on about all of the circumstances during those years.  Because there are no “cookie cutter” plans that one fits all, it is necessary to design and manage a plan that will take  care of each individuals goals and desires.

Have a great day!



December 21, 2015

John Maxwell Leadership Bible:  (Proverbs 21:1)

Leaders can and should make their plans, but they must never forget that it is God who controls the future.  “The king’s heart is in the  hand of the Lord,” says  the Bible.  “Like the rivers of water; He turns it where wherever He wishes” (Prov. 21:1)  Successful leaders remember this and therefore know the difference between being in  charge and being in  control.

We kid ourselves if we think we are in  control.  We may have charge of a group, but the best we can  do  is  remain under control.  God is the Ultimate Leader; and He is forever in  control.  It has been rightly said:  “We don’t know what the future h0lds, but we  do know the One who  holds the  future.”


The reality in retirement planning is the client and I both know one thing:  “We don’t know what the future holds.” 

This does not mean we shouldn’t make plans.  Just like lesson above, we can’t be in control of the future, but when can be under control in our planning.  We may be in  charge of our planning efforts, but  we  are  not in control of the results.

Does this mean we should not determine your real tolerance for risk?  Your tolerance changes as we approach retirement and it might not be a good idea to continue risking the principle in your retirement account.

Withdrawal strategies may change after retirement, but they should always  be considered as you accumulate your retirement savings.  Qualified retirement funds (before tax dollars) are 100% taxable as withdrawals are made.  Non-qualified funds (after tax dollars) and taxed only to the extent of earnings and  not the  principle.  Where you choose to take your withdrawals from should be done to minimum your tax burden.  Your withdrawal strategies and retirement funds should have the greatest flexibility possible to make certain that your retirement out lives you.

There are other things to  consider as you develop a retirement plan.  What are you going to do all day?  Have you established an estate plan?

Have a great day!




December 18, 2015

John Maxwell Leadership Bible:  (Proverbs 18:21)

Few muscles in a body wield more power than the little one inside the  mouth.  The Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and  those who love it will eat its fruit” (Prov. 18:21).  Leaders who understand this greatly increase their influence.

Our understanding of leadership has evolved over the last five or six decade.  The way people expect leaders to lead has changed.  Many have said our culture has witnessed four styles of leadership since 1950:

  1. The Military Commander:  Leaders came of  the  army and expected unquestioning obedience from subordinates.  Many of  our presidents had military backgrounds.
  2. The Chief Executive Officer:  Most leaders migrated to a different style driven by vision and shared by everyone.  Yet it was still top down and possibly very narrow in scope.
  3.  The Coach:  Leaders moved toward a coach model where they saw employees as players on a team.  This produced even better results, but  still limited the  possibilities to the  vision of the coach.
  4. The Poet and Gardener:  Today, leaders see the need to express the heart of the  team, as a poet gives words to the heart of readers.  They develop players using encouragement and direction.  They recognize the power of  words and use them wisely.


As a financial advisor, I don’t want or believe clients should give unquestioned obedience in the development of a retirement plan.  I am not the  CEO type of advisor that believes the vision I have to achieve the client’s retirement goals.  I believe in coaching clients in planning for their retirement but do not consider them only as a players on the team.

As I develop a relationship with the clients, we begin to express the heart of the aims and goals in development of  a plan to reach retirement and ascertain that their retirement funds will  outlive them.   It is quite a shock when a person reaches retirement and finds great enjoyment only to discover during their retirement years that they will outlive their retirement funds. 

My goal with each client is working with them to provide for their retirement and they can remain retired rather than seeking additional funds to meet their needs.

Have a great day!


December 17, 2015

John Maxwell Leadership Bible:  (Proverbs 17:2)

Our influence has less to do  with our position or title than it does with the life we live.  It’s not about position, but production.  It is not the education we get, but the empowerment we give, that makes a difference to others.

The key word is credibility.  We gain credibility when our life matches our talk and when both add value to others.  In the words of Proverbs 17:2, it’s better to be a wise slave than a foolish son.  Answer the  following vital questions:

  1. Consistency:  Are you the same person no  matter who’s with you?
  2. Choices:  Do you make decisions based on  how they benefit you or others?
  3. Credit:  Are you quick to recognize others for their efforts when you succeed?
  4. Character:  Do you work harder at your image or your integrity?
  5. Credibility:  Have you recognized that credibility is a victory, not a gift?


This Proverb speaks to my goals for living both my personal and business life.  I strive for consistency  in dealing with people and they goals they have in mind.

My choices in dealing with clients and their retirement plans are made to benefit the client, and in doing so, I am greatly benefited.  My benefit is secondary to the benefits received by clients.

Most of the credit for the success of retirement planning is the result of participation from the client in sharing the necessary information required to achieve that plan.

I strive to develop character each day with the goal of maintaining integrity.  Image is important and it is achieved by first developing integrity.

I recognized long ago that credibility is not a gift, it is a victory over obstacles that need to be overcome in order to gives clients the best service possible.  Clients should expect that and accept nothing less.

Have a great day!


December 16, 2015

John Maxwell Leadership Bible:  (Proverbs 16:1-3)

Effective leaders practice the Law of Navigation.  Proverbs 16 opens with these words:  “The preparations of the heart  belong to man, but the answer of  the tongue is  from  the Lord.  All the ways  of a man are pure in his own  eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits.  Commit your works  to the Lord, and  your thoughts will be established.”  (v. 1-3)

These verses teach  us to:

  • check the  source of our wisdom
  • check our motives
  • check the outcome we are pursuing

Consider the  five key words to understanding how God helps leaders to navigate their way through life:

  1. Process:  God’s plan usually unfolds over time.  What is He revealing progressively?
  2. Purpose:  God wants to accomplish His purposes.  Why were you created?
  3. Potential:  God will use your gifts and passion.  Does this goal fit who you are?
  4. Prioritize:  God will ask you to adjust your time and  energy.  What steps must you take?
  5. Proceed:  God will eventually require you to act.  When should you start?


I read in the Book of Proverbs each morning.  On the first day of the month I begin the Proverbs 1 to find wisdom for the day.  In this manner I can complete the book by the last day of the month (if the month  has 31 days).  The I get the privilege of beginning again on the first day of the next month.  I have read the book many times but each day there is a gem of wisdom to carry me through the day both personally and  in business.

All during this day I will be challenged to check the source of my wisdom, my motives, and the outcome I am pursuing.  I will be challenged to apply  this to myself as well as to clients and prospective clients.

I have learned from many years dealing with clients, that as we develop a relationship, our motives and the outcome we are pursing become beneficial for each of us.  It is from wisdom and experience that I will develop the plans that the outcome being pursued will become a reality.

I encourage clients to set retirement goals that, when reached, will be sufficient for not only retiring but remaining retired for many years.  There is usually much more included in a plan  of  retirement than just income.  Other things to consider are:  spouse, family, the possibility of needing long-term care, and unforeseen needs.  These are only a few of the items to be included in a workable retirement plan.

It would be nice if each person could just adopt a plan that fits someone else and the goals they have.  Unfortunately, that does not always work because each of us have different goals and needs.

Have a great day!


December 15, 2015

John Maxwell Leadership Bible:  (Proverbs 15:1-7)

God rightly expects leaders to manage conflict within their organizations.  But how can you best accomplish this?

A good place to start is Proverbs 15:1–yet while we often quote this verse, we seldom practice it.  Sometimes only the leaders are given  liberty to express anger; and sooner or later this kind of unhealthy environment comes back to haunt them.  Leaders must create safe places for communication.  Master communication and  you manage conflict.  Look at the first seven verses of Proverbs 15 and not its counsel about managing conflict:

  1.  Remain calm and gentle when confronting conflict, and your example will become contagious (v.1).
  2. Speak  wisely, making sure your information is  truthful and accurate (v.2).
  3. Remember, God is the  ultimate judge and will execute justice (v.3.)
  4. Use your words to  foster healing; fix the problem, not the  blame (v.4).
  5. Stay teachable; be open to correction and quick to apologize when wrong (v.5).
  6. Add value to everyone who contacts you, even when you disagree (v.6).
  7. Speak words that spread knowledge and understanding (v.7).


I have found from experience when  dealing with clients on retirement planning that communication is the most important in the process.  Remaining calm when a conflict arises is contagious and improves the relationship  with my clients.  Being truthful and  accurate is necessary  at all times and circumstances.

When problems arise, it is  best to  fix the problem and not try to place blame for the circumstances.  I strive to  always be teachable and  open  to correction, being quick to apologize when wrong.

I try  to place value to everyone who contacts me and arrive at the  best plan even where there is disagreement.  Disagreements that cannot  be overcome results in a plan that will not achieve the goals being sought.  These disagreements can  be overcome with words that share the knowledge and  experience that has been achieved through years of developing plans that achieve these goals.

There are no “cookie cutter” plans that are designed to fit all clients.  Each  plan  must be designed and implemented to achieve each individuals goals to  reach retirement with  enough  funds and income to make certain  the retiree can remained retired.  Each case is challenging and brings excitement in achieving the desired goals.

Have a great day!


December 11, 2015

John Maxwell Leadership Bible:  (Proverbs 11:14)

Every leader ought to build an inner circle that adds value to  him or her and to the leadership of their organization.  But choose well, for  the members of this inner circle will become your closest confidantes; your inner circle will make you or break you.

Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the  multitude of counselors, there is  safety.”  So who belongs in the “council,” in  this inner circle?  Strive for the following:

1.  Creative people

2.  Loyal people

3.  People who share your vision

4.  Wise and  intelligent people

5.  People with complementary gifts

6.  People with influence

7.  People of faith

8.  People of integrity


In studying over this I realized these are the goals I aim for in performing my duties as a financial advisor.  It is also the characteristics I seek in prospecting for clients to counsel with to reach their retirement goals.

When we join together as a team, we become that inner circle and strive to accomplish a common:  To assist the client in reaching the  goal of retirement and provide that the retirement plan also contains the provisions to ascertain the retiree will be able to remain retired, providing  sufficient income to meet their needs and provide for the necessary funds to meet those unexpected needs.

Have a great day!


December 10, 2015


PROVERBS 10:6-32:

A number of verses in Proverbs speak of the tongue and  how to use it as a positive influence.  Leaders who use words skillfully increase their influence.  Leaders who understand the power of their words accomplish the following:

  1. They proclaim justice and are blessed (v.6)
  2. They speak hope for the future, becoming a fountain of life to others (v.11)
  3. They speak forth wisdom and save others from ruin (vv.13,14)
  4. The know when silence is more powerful than words (v.19)
  5. Their words feed and nourish many others (v.21)
  6. They express what is right and nurture the right in the hearts of those who  follow (vv.31,32)


These are the  principles I adhere to in my relationships with  clients.  Not only to speak with wisdom, but at all times listen to the goals and needs of clients in planning for their future or present retirement.  In  doing this a strong long-lasting relationship is accomplished that assists the client in reaching retirement.  The goal is to prepare not only for retirement, but making sure that the client can remain retired.

Reaching retirement goals is very important, but even more important is being able to remain retired in future years.




December 8, 2015

John Maxwell’s Leadership Bible:  (Proverbs 8:15-16)

Leadership begins with our thoughts even before out actions.  When our mind and our attitudes are right, we position ourselves top lead well.  Wisdom desires to be the best friend of any leader:  Wise leaders also have discernment in relationships, a hatred for what is wrong, and influence.


When I look back over my professional life, I realize clients who have contacted me were not seeking the end-product of my actions.  They were seeking leadership in the area of my training, experience, and expertise.

They  were not seeking a follower!  If they were, they probably had more of those traits than they saw it me.

Whether a prospective client knows it or not, they are hopefully seeking a relationship that gives benefit to all parties involved.  That relationship grows from  the experience using our thoughts to fine-tune our actions.  This results in the client receiving a plan that will achieve the desired results to assist them being able to retire and keep them retired.


December 3, 2015

I enjoy the reading of Proverbs each day.  Beginning on the first day of the month, I read Proverbs 1.  I also like to read the same Proverbs in the  Maxwell Leadership Bible, which has some very good lessons in  Christian leadership.

I try to apply these lesson in my personal and business life and find that it serves me well in both.

Proverbs 2 and 3 poses an  apparent paradox in spiritual leadership.  We are to get wisdom and understanding (2:1-5), yet we are not to lean on  it  apart from the Lord (3:5,6).  Even good wisdom divorced from God can become a snare.  So how are godly leaders to think?

  1.  Godly leaders think big:  They realize God’s vision is usually bigger than theirs.
  2. Godly leaders think other people:  They always include others in the mix.
  3. Godly leaders think continually:  They’re not satisfied with today’s answers.
  4. Godly leaders think bottom line:  They want to see results and fruit.
  5. Godly leaders think continual growth:  They want to keep improving.
  6. Godly leaders think without lines:  They let God outside of the box.
  7. Godly leaders think victory:  They want to see God’s rule come to earth.
  8. Godly leaders think intuitively:  They have a sense of what will work.
  9. Godly leaders think servanthood:  They want to serve and add value to people.
  10. Godly leaders think quickly:  They evaluate quickly and see possible answer.