Question: What got you hooked on a career in insurance and financial services?
“After I joined the Knights of Columbus, and learned about all they did, I was hooked. The company is a fraternal, and it is all about helping people take care of their families and themselves — about enriching the lives of others. I can’t think of a better way to help people who love their families. Before, I had been in the food distribution and catering hall business. After I sold my companies, I wasn’t doing much. Then, during a garage sale, someone brought up the Knights of Columbus, and my wife said I was going to look into it. Well, that surprised me, but I did it. Now I wish I had done it sooner. People don’t just come to you with a check in hand for life insurance. Most do want to take care of their spouses and their children, and they want to leave a legacy, but they don’t do it on their own. I see my job is to convince them to do that. I tell them, ‘This is not for me. It’s for you and your family. I do make money from the sales, but the product you are buying is enriching your life and also your family.’ By the way, I’m now in my 15th year. This is my retirement job, and I love it every day.”
—James J. Grabinski, FICF, LUTCF, CSA, Knights of Columbus, Walden, N.Y.
“It is the opportunity to build a business with no money down. Where else can you start a company and not have to house your inventory and not pay rent for anything but an office? Where else can you completely control your income and not have a boss other than your spouse? I started in the business straight out of school when I was 21 years old. Once I was in, the only thing that kept me in was fear of failure. There have been ups and downs, and at times I thought I was going to quit. But I didn’t quit because I wasn’t going to let this business beat me. I was going to win. Now, its 26 years later, and most of the time, I am glad about it. Insurance is still a hard business, but now, the good outweighs the tough.”
—Forrest Debus, New York Life, Birmingham, Ala.
“My answer is the opportunity to make big money and a great living. Also the opportunity to meet new and exciting people and to exercise discipline and control over my own destiny. I saw those things in my father; he was a contractor and he was able to control his destiny. He was self-employed, and he decided when he was coming and going. When I started out working, I first went into metal construction (welding) but the recession in 1982 brought that to an end. A friend suggested that I sell life insurance, so I tried it. I started by running debit life and I haven’t stopped since. The business has changed —today, I do full financial planning, money management, and business planning — but I’m still in the industry and enjoying the opportunities it makes possible.”
–Kyle Atkins, CLU, CFP, The Kyle Atkins Financial Group, Spartanburg, S.C.