Broker Check


| May 06, 2024

A true h/t to Drake Burke for taking this photo and sending it to me. It gave me food for thought while trying to knock down the weeds in my front yard on a Sunday afternoon.

FAIL. First Attempt In Learning. I chuckle as I recall some of my early 401k prospective client presentations, initial enrollment meetings, and first Investment Committee (IC) meetings. At the time I started my 401k practice in 2006, I had 16 years of industry experience under my belt. I was fully licensed and certainly not a rookie. Yet some of those early steps were cringy.

Fast forward to today and if person were to say, "Kennedy v. Dupont", I can tell you where I am in my presentation in terms of time and what examples I am using to try to engage my audience. I reflected on each presentation/ enrollment/ IC and asked myself how I could do better. And in case, I get too cocky, I can recall sitting next to a young advisor at a 401k conference. "Timothy, I manage a billion dollar 401k plan". Wowza! I am nowhere near that level of plan size.

END. Effort Never Dies. I agree with this sentiment and at the same time, I make sure I am directing my efforts in the right arenas. I think back to the young 401k advisor. I could try to direct my efforts at the $1 billion+ 401k space but that would not be appropriate. I cannot scale to that level at the current moment. Perhaps this idea should be thought of as "Directed Effort Never Dies". Hmm, DEND? Doesn't quite have a ring to it. But the point is taken. Know your market and focus there.

NO. Next Opportunity. I take "No" in a couple of ways. The first is that "No" might be a "maybe". In the 401k space, if you are turned down by a plan, perhaps now is not the right time. Ask if you may stay in touch and then do just that with quality follow-ups. And if "No" truly means "NO", thank the person for their time and move on. Reflect on why you got a "No" (it is rare you will ever know the true reason) and ask yourself what you will do better next time.

This is not to say rejection doesn't sting. It does. Believe me, I could not believe my firm, Green Retirement had lost out on $25 million 401k RFP. We poured heart and should into that effort and priced ourselves at the low-end of the market. We lost. I look back up the journey since that time and we have made tremendous progress. Pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Move on with learning.

These are a few of the guiding principles I try to use in my life. It was nice to see them written down. I'd love to hear yours. Please share!