I love the month of March — and not only because it’s my birthday month. I love March because it’s a month full of surprises — although not all of those surprises are good ones.
If I can pick one word to describe March, it would be “unpredictable.”
Here in Pennsylvania, March can bring record-setting blizzards or it can bring unseasonably warm days that push the flowers out of the ground and inspire people to swap their parkas for shorts. It can bring devastating floods or it can bring sunny afternoons and returning robins.
March can be unpredictable with respect to special occasions too. Those who celebrate Easter or Passover know that sometimes those holidays fall in March, sometimes in April.
You just never know about March.
Thinking about March also reminds me of the industry InsuranceNewNet serves. Just as you never know about March, you never know what surprises lie ahead in life. So you make your clients aware of — and help them prepare for — unwelcome surprises that life might hurl at them.
Most clients look forward to the day when they can say goodbye to the 9-to-5 and enjoy a secure retirement. But, like March, the road to retirement can be unpredictable and confusing.
One group of employees that needs special attention is the federal workforce. You might not be aware that the federal government is the largest employer in the country, with more than 2.8 million workers employed as of January. Those workers are automatically enrolled in FERS — the Federal Employees Retirement System — and retirement plan contribution rates among federal employees are high.
But as the experts who specialize in helping federal employees prepare for retirement told Senior Editor John Hilton, many federal workers are unsure of how to make their benefits work for them in retirement. These employees need help figuring out the best time and the best way to embark on retirement.
Opportunities are out there for those who want to work in this market. And you don’t have to live in the Washington area to find a pool of prospects — federal employees are everywhere.
Avoiding An Unwelcome Surprise
March is also a month when many of us are in the thick of getting our tax returns filed in time for the April 18 filing deadline. It’s also a good time to get clients to start thinking ahead to what they can do this year to avoid a tax surprise next year. In our Advisor News section, Lyle Solomon gives us a rundown of the changes coming to income taxes for 2022 and how to prepare clients.
And March marks nine months since the Champlain Towers South condominium complex in Surfside, Fla., collapsed, causing 98 deaths. The collapse came as a shock to the residents of the high-rise, but didn’t come as a surprise to those who recognized the corrosion of supporting steel in the building as far back as 2018. In our Multiline section, Andrew Bateman breaks down what the Champlain Towers collapse means for condo insurance in the future.
As March unfolds in its unpredictable way again this year, take some time to reflect as we approach another spring equinox, and renew your commitment to help others deal with the surprises in life.