What is the American dream? According to polls taken by one of the nation's top experts on polling, one-third of Americans say the dream is a well-paying career.
"This is a big change from the past," Frank Luntz told attendees at the NAIFA 2016 Conference. "The American Dream used to be about freedom - now it is about making money."
Luntz is a political consultant, pollster and Republican Party strategist who is a frequent TV political commentator. His presentation ran the gamut from his views of the presidential candidates to the results of his polling on Americans' attitudes toward the economy and some advice on how advisors can communicate better with prospects.
Luntz said his polling shows that Americans are pessimistic and downright angry over the economy and the country in general. Forty-four percent of Americans believe the nation's best days are behind it, and 54 percent think their children will have it worse than they did. A whopping 72 percent say they are "mad as hell" over the state of the nation.
One statistic that Luntz said was shocking is that 58 percent of the 18- to 29-year-old group believes socialism is the best economic system for America.
In the midst of this general pessimism, advisors have an opportunity to provide Americans with what Luntz's research said they want most for themselves - peace of mind.
Luntz gave the group what he called "the three questions that matter most to people." Here is the scenario:
Ask the client to imagine a life of perfection and then answer these three questions:
- Where are you?
- What are you doing?
- Who are you doing it with?
"After the client answers those three questions, you tell them you're going to help them live that life and keeping doing what they want to do for as long as they can," Luntz said.
The language that carriers and advisors use with prospects also is important in creating an atmosphere of trust, Luntz said. Prospects too often hear the word "product" and think someone cares only about selling them something.
"What people want is an investment strategy more than an investment plan," Luntz said. "A plan is something that is put together and then forgotten about while a strategy is something that is ongoing."