Focus is on achieving client's goals

Wednesday, August 14, 2019
Mitch Lyster, left, has been a Northwestern Mutual representative for almost 40 years. He and his wife, Shari, have lived in McCook since 1982 and raised their three children, Kelsey, Jeff, and Melissa in McCook. Shelby Anderson, right, is a Wauneta native and joined Mitch in 2017. Shelby and his wife Katie have three girls, Leighton, 10; Tenlee, 7; and Collins, 3.
Shary Skiles

Northwestern Mutual has long been known as an industry leader in life insurance and annuities with a trustworthy reputation and one of the highest financial strength ratings awarded. And that certainly remains to be true.

However, the organization that started as a life insurance company in 1857 has transcended significantly since its origin. Local representatives Mitch Lyster and Shelby Anderson discussed some of the ways Northwestern Mutual has transformed into a full comprehensive financial planning organization.

Ken McGooden was the first Northwestern Mutual representative in McCook dating back to 1938. Mitch Lyster joined McGooden in 1982 and worked side by side with him for 17 years until McGooden retired in 1996. Shelby Anderson joined the organization in 2017.

While life insurance is still a part of the mix, Mitch and Shelby said the company offers a full range of products and services including financial planning, investment strategies, long-term care and disability insurance, individual retirement accounts, 401k’s, and college savings plans.

“The first step is the financial plan,” said Shelby. “If you start planning early in life, it makes it easier to have your wealth distributed into the right buckets of money and that gives you flexibility, efficiency, and opportunity as your life changes.” When they sit down with clients, they determine current and future goals and what type of planning has already taken place. From there, they can use Northwestern Mutual technology to develop a full comprehensive plan that includes both risk management and investment strategies for short and long-term goals.

“The framework of the plan is the key and continuing to grow over the years as life changes – family, job, career advancements – take place. We can plug in new components as those changes happen. The plan puts the math behind everything we do, and makes sure we are being as efficient as possible.”

There are no up-front costs for meeting with Mitch or Shelby, other than the time invested to identify your assets, debts and financial goals. “I’ve never had someone go through the plan and say, that’s been a waste of time,” said Mitch. “Whether they implement a tool or not, our hope and job is to leave them with a better understanding of the plan, present any possible gaps, as well as possible solutions, and to educate our clients.”

Mitch points out that older investors can also benefit from a review of their financial position. “There are a lot of baby boomers in this country and there’s real concern about the longevity of assets or having our assets last because of the longevity of our lives. I’ve seen a big transition in thought process on how to guarantee that distribution of income without the fear of running out or having it eaten up by a long-term care stay.” Mitch goes on to explain that those in their 50’s and 60’s need to determine how their goals have changed as children leave the nest and they are seeing retirement on the horizon. “We need to review the old products that they have owned and structure going forward based on their goals. Where are the income streams going to come from? What are the guarantees behind that? What are the best strategic distribution strategies as well as tax efficiencies within that distribution?”

Shelby and Mitch also have the expertise of Northwestern Mutual’s network of professionals available to them. With the client’s permission, they can partner with other people throughout the organization that they feel might bring more value to the table in different aspects of the planning process. “It is very easy to partner with other experts using today’s technology,” said Shelby.

A financial company with over 160 years of solid growth history, as well as a local presence in the community for the past 81 years, Northwestern Mutual has evolved to fit the needs of its clientele. “The more things have changed at Northwestern Mutual, the focus is still based on the customer and client first and how we can fill voids in their financial plans,” said Mitch.

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