Active investment management’s weekly magazine for fee-based advisors

Jim Metzbower • Lutherville, MD
Lincoln Financial Advisors

For several years, I worked exclusively with active members of the military and veterans. This network of clients continues to provide many opportunities for introductions. While I have expanded my practice over the past eight years to working with clients from all backgrounds, the military and government segments represent a significant portion of my client base.

I started my engagement with the military segment when I joined First Command Financial Planning in 2008, after 15 years in the retail banking industry. First Command offers a range of services to members of the military, including financial planning and coaching, insurance planning and products, and investment services. They have advisors or branch locations near many military bases around the U.S. As this was my first experience as a financial advisor, I appreciated the thorough training I received and was quickly able to confidently guide clients in their pursuit of improving their financial situation.

I was able to build strong relationships with the clients I worked with, based on their satisfaction with the services we provided. I am not shy about talking to clients about my goal of growing my practice while maintaining a high level of service for current clients. I usually ask at review sessions what a client finds most valuable in working with me and what they took away from our review. I then ask if they know of anyone else who might benefit from having an initial consultation with me. Members of the military have a tight bond among themselves and a referral means a lot.

A key component of working with military members in the financial-planning process is helping them thoroughly understand their benefits programs and guiding them in making suitable choices. The benefits have changed recently, and it is important for them to stay on top of their pension and thrift savings plan (TSP) options. We also examine various group life insurance options and help determine what makes the most sense within their overall planning.

Another issue for military members is the transient nature of their lives. They can often have several different relocations to new military bases. It is important for an advisor, and the client, to have a strong commitment to the relationship to help make it work when face-to-face meetings are not an option or are infrequent. I have been very willing to acquire licenses in new states if that means continuing to provide service to a client, and I hold many state licenses now.

I am proud to serve those that serve our country. I have devoted significant time to becoming very knowledgeable about the specialized needs of this segment. The military takes care of their own, so members, when confident in my services, can and will make referrals of their friends. I believe it is important to them that we offer a full array of products and services, work in a collaborative and fiduciary capacity, and take the time to truly educate them on a variety of financial issues.

  • Specialized knowledge enhances the process of providing financial guidance to members of the military.
  • Understanding military benefits programs is a key service that an advisor can provide.
  • Personal referrals are very effective for building a network of military clients.

Disclosure: Jim Metzbower is a registered representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker-dealer (member SIPC) and registered investment advisor. CRN-2547936-052019

Photography by Roy Cox

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