Last Thursday evening Eamon invited me to the Cork Opera House where Don Mc Lean was giving a concert. The Opera House was full to the brim and everyone was transported back in years in a splendid way.  For two hours non-stop he sang some of his wonderful songs like “Bye bye Miss American Pie” and “Starry Starry Night” the classic song about Vincent Van Gogh that finishes with the incredibly haunting words “But I could have told you Vincent, this world was never meant for one as beautiful as you”. A wonderful song and such an amazing experience to hear Don Mc Lean himself sing it live and to be part of what was a totally silent and captivated audience.

Many people have said to me in recent years “Ted are you still working, are you ever going to retire?”. My reply from now on will be “go and see Don Mc Lean in action”. He is 69 and will be 70 in a few months. He is therefore much older than me. Well older anyway!

He came on to the stage at the Opera House and sang 30 songs or more totally on his own. There was no other singer on stage nor any singer support. There was just a piano/keyboard player, three guitarists and a drummer accompanying him but boy were they good support.

We have often heard the saying “Frank Sinatra didn’t get paid to move the piano, he got paid to sing”.

And so it is with Don Mc Lean he gets paid to sing, and I couldn’t help thinking of the similarities between the work we do as financial planners and how we get paid and what a singer does.

As financial advisors/planners we need to have the best support that we can afford and as I have often mentioned in industry talks and indeed in previous blogs, taking on a good support person is not a cost it is an investment. If we can get someone to free us up from administration stuff which can take up to 60% of our time our business can increase by up to 60% that year. It is simple and we have proved it works at City Life. Try it!

The work that had to happen before Don Mc Lean actually sang the first bar of his first song was substantial. The rehearsals, the arranging of the venues the picking of the support musicians for the tour the travel arrangements. But he didn’t have to do everything himself. He gets paid to sing and play the guitar and entertain and we pay to listen to him.

And so we might not get paid to sing but we do get paid if our support team can arrange a couple of meetings everyday so that we are giving our message to people who are interested in providing protection for their businesses and families, in case they die too soon or become disabled. We also will communicate with them how if they put a little money away every month they will be able to pay for their children’s college education.

We also show them that if they are paying some tax, that by putting a little money away every year into a good retirement savings plan that they can reduce the money they pay to the tax man and pay this money to themselves instead and build up a fund of money that when they come to retirement age they have the choice of continuing to work or not. Like Don Mc Lean we live in a world where we can make wonderful things happen for people.

One of Don Mc leans lines in his song Bye Bye Miss American Pie is “The Day the Music Died” which was a line he wrote when his singing idol Buddy Holly died in a plane crash. Thanks to Don Mc Lean the music of Buddy Holly will never die. I am sure also that when Don Mc Lean goes to his place of eternal reward people, my son Eamon who just loves to sing American Pie, and many other singers will help to keep his music alive.

And so it is with us financial advisors we have to make sure that the magic of life insurance never dies and that we keep passing on the message and keep explaining to people what a wonderful product it is. As Ben Feldman described it at my first MDRT meeting in Radio City in New York in 1981 “the only financial product in the world that creates new money exactly at the moment it’s needed”. Yes at the precise moment of death or disability this money is created and is in place and ready to be paid. In some cases it’s the only money the family will have. A drop of ink, a piece of paper and a promise to pay!…The magic of Life Insurance.

Ted Dwyer Family Business

June 2015