Joe Templin knows what it’s like to be fresh out of college with a new degree but no idea of how to manage money or protect the future. He recalled how he launched his insurance career and qualified for Million Dollar Round Table by working with the group he could relate to most – newly graduated engineers.
Templin is an advisor who is cofounder and president of The Intro Machine. He also is the author of Becoming an Introduction Machine, in which he discusses how to create a strictly introduction-based practice in 90 days.
But before he became an advisor, he was a physics student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, one of the top engineering schools in the country.
“It’s one of the toughest engineering programs in the nation,” he said. “You spend four years in engineering bootcamp learning how to be an engineer. But while you learn how to think, how to analyze, they don’t teach you anything about planning for your future. So you get this nice sheepskin and $100,000 of debt and no operations manual about what to do for future.”
Templin went on to earn an MBA and became an intern at Northwestern Mutual. He was searching for a market to begin working with, and soon thought about his peers from Rensselaer.
“I looked around and thought, these are my friends and none of them has a clue about how any of this stuff works,” he said. “So I basically acted as a translator between the geek language of my friends and the language of the financial world. I used that to teach them, using their own natural tendences so that they could understand this and make good decisions.”
Eager to learn, easy to teach
Some advisors might shy away from working with young clients. But Templin said there is one good reason for working with recent college grads.
“Someone who is 21, 22 years old and coming out of school does not have many bad money habits,” he said. “Whereas someone who is 40 years old often has a bunch of debt, spends way too much money and has a particular lifestyle they want to maintain.
“If someone is coming out of school and suddenly they’re making $70,000 a year, it’s relatively easy to teach them to save 15% of it. It’s relatively easy to teach them about disability insurance and get them to buy some to cover their most valuable asset – their future earnings. It’s easy to teach them about life insurance and do a human life salary calculation. You lay the groundwork for these things when they’re young and healthy.”
Templin said that because recent college grads are still in the habit of studying and learning, so they are easy to teach about saving and protecting their future.
“Getting to them early and teaching them about good savings and spending habits is critical,” he said. “It’s saving that first dollar that’s the hardest.”
How do you start the conversation with a recent grad who is busy getting launched in their career? Templin said he often opened the discussion by asking prospects about the benefits offered to them in their new job.
“I would say, ‘Let me sit down and explain to you what your benefits book means,’” he said. “Even though the benefits book is electronic now, it’s still often like 200 pages long and people have no clue what all is in it. So you can explain to them what their disability insurance means, how it works and what some of the shortfalls are. You can explain what their flexible spending account means, what their tuition reimbursement plan is. After you spend a half-hour going through it and explaining and educating them about it, now they can make good financial decisions for their future. You can teach them about the basics of budgeting, you can talk to them about contributing to their 401(k), you can talk to them about taxes, about their health insurance.”
Templin said working with clients when they are starting their careers “can prevent them from making huge mistakes down the road.”
After getting a young professional started on the right path, “from there, you can develop an ongoing relationship,” Templin said. “I have some relationships that are almost 30 years old, with people I met when they just graduating way back when.”
Young professionals want guidance, and they don’t want to be sold, Templin said.
“As I used to tell my clients, I will be your Google, I will be a resource for you,” he said. “So by being there and being an asset, by being valuable, by being able to provide insight and guidance beyond just the products – that’s how you get to the client. Because they are looking for someone who can give them advice.”
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.