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“Many people spend more time planning a two-week vacation than they do for their retirement. That’s crazy to me”

With Jay Ferrans and Matt Schmidt



Most folks in our country have not done anything to plan for retirement. If I could get one idea out there, it would be for people to do financial planning. If you have a plan, get a second opinion. Many people spend more time planning a two-week vacation than they do for their retirement. That’s crazy to me. Retirement planning is one of the most important aspects of life and deserves your attention. Sooner is better.


As part of my series about the “5 Things You Should Ask Before You Purchase a Life Insurance Policy”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jay Ferrans, president of JM Financial & Accounting Services in Southfield, Michigan.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

I was recruited into this industry. I was told about how I could help people and make a difference in their lives when they needed it most. It wasn’t until the third interview that I discovered that with this opportunity I would be able to offer disability insurance to business owners. I did that for a few years before taking a break, but I returned to the business and have had the opportunity to help thousands of people with their financial planning, life insurance and investment needs.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting in the industry? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Early in my career I had a meeting to speak with a business owner about his life insurance needs. He owned a large men’s clothing store that sold suits and dress clothes. I met the owner at his store, but throughout the meeting I had a feeling that something seemed “off” with the owner and the employees. There were times where I could tell the owner was trying not to laugh, and I had no idea what was going on.

It wasn’t until after the meeting when I got back to my car and discovered the cause. I took off my suit jacket and realized that I had grabbed the wrong one to wear into the meeting. The correct jacket was still hanging in the back of my car. I had accidentally gone into a meeting at a men’s clothing store wearing a gray pinstripe suit jacket with blue pinstripe pants. It didn’t match at all.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Currently, we’re working on a new educational workshop to help early and pre-retirees. We will be educating these folks on life insurance. This is an area we have seen many people make costly mistakes in. We will help to educate the public on this at our educational workshops.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lessons that others can learn from that?

Success in the business starts in the beginning. Never give up, the most important thing is to stick with it. While doing this, the success comes if you continue to listen to your customers and educate yourself on what they need. I read a lot- I mean, I read a lot. Always be looking at yourself and growing.

What advice would you give to other people in the insurance field to thrive and avoid burnout?

Stick with it. If you believe in the social significance of what we do, which is helping people, it makes dealing with the struggles of the insurance business much easier.

As an “insurance insider”, you know much more about insurance than most consumers. If your loved one wanted to buy a policy from another person, which 5 things would you advise them to find out about before committing to a policy? Can you give an example or story for each?

1. Check out the person you are looking to do business with. How long have they been in the business? Is the type of policy you are looking at what they typically do? I once met with a person who was working with their car insurance representative to design a very difficult life insurance plan. Needless to say, if they had gone ahead with that plan, their needs would not have been met.

2. Make sure the insurance company being offered has a large footprint in this particular type of policy. If it is a sideline business for the insurance company, you may want to look elsewhere.

3. I recommend working with someone who offers many different companies. If you go to a Chevy dealer, they are going to sell you a Chevy. I was working with a new client and they had met with a representative from a large, well-known insurance company. I asked the client what other companies the representative had shown them and was told “none.” By shopping the case to multiple companies, we were able to get a better policy and save the client money.

4. Whenever possible, work with a fiduciary. This is someone who has to act in your best interests. This just makes sense. You never want to be sold one policy over another because the representative gets paid a higher commission. Believe it or not, this does happen. Protect yourself.

5. Take action. Research the right policy for you and do it. Don’t spend the next two years thinking about it. It doesn’t do anybody any good to learn about life insurance and do nothing. Working with someone you trust will make the whole process easier.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

The most successful people in the business learn from others. As a veteran in the industry, I was kind of stuck at the level I had achieved. After 25 years, it seemed like I had arrived. Then I met David Polis, who is considered by many to be the most successful life insurance agent of all time. I talked with others who had worked with David and decided to develop a business relationship with him. David is a mentor to the mentors, he changed my practice.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

Most folks in our country have not done anything to plan for retirement. If I could get one idea out there, it would be for people to do financial planning. If you have a plan, get a second opinion. Many people spend more time planning a two-week vacation than they do for their retirement. That’s crazy to me. Retirement planning is one of the most important aspects of life and deserves your attention. Sooner is better.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can find me on Facebook at JM Financial & Accounting Services and learn more on my website at www.sleepwellretirement.com

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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