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Our business is facing a significant challenge with how it will perpetuate and nurture bright, young professional people. We need to assure they will be available to distribute products and services in the future. Baby boomers are retiring and will continue to retire, or at least acknowledge that one day on the horizon they might not work full time. Yes, there are lots of indications they can and will work well beyond the traditional retirement age of 65. But who will be closing deals and driving new business in 10 to 15 years? The answer is simple: members of younger generations.

So, what do rising stars in our industry represent today? Opportunity, and lots of it. When I attend industry meetings and conferences I see a lot more gray hair (including mine) than there used to be. Who will be among next generation of distributors to take over? The only way I know for someone to learn the business is to start working in the business. As I was told by a wise and encouraging gentleman early in my career, "You will not understand much about the business in your first year. But if you make it and are on sound financial footing after three years, you'll be fine and enjoy a meaningful and successful career."

What is one thing you wish you knew when you started out in this business?

CEO, Selden Beattie Benefit Advisors

The importance of building strong referral sources.


Principal, Mercer

Unexpected industry developments have helped keep things fresh and interesting.


President, e3 Financial

To think bigger, hire staff sooner and develop a target market.


Independent consultant

Back in the day, things that seemed fluffy and unimportant (like people skills, patience) are anything but. Character, attitude and perspective matter for more than I would have thought.

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Practice management