The world is constantly changing. These changes may be large or small, for better or worse. Change can be good and change can be scary, however one thing I know is there will always be change.
NAIFA has undergone many changes since I became a member in 1998. We have seen changes in our name (formerly NALU), local and national leadership, membership participation, dues increases, and various member benefits. However, throughout those years of change there have been a few things that have remained constant. First and foremost, the emphasis that we work in a noble profession, where we help millions of people every day. We help families identify and protect against the risks and uncertainty that life can provide. Second, our industry and the services that we provide are constantly under attack by government entities that are seemingly out of our control. And lastly, NAIFA members like to have fun while giving back to their industry .
As I travel throughout the state interacting with advisors, one question I hear most often is “What will I get by being a member of NAIFA?” Many of these advisors have attended a meeting or two, but they don’t see the value to them personally or professionally that would lead them to join our organization. As current NAIFA members we are aware of the numerous benefits available including the exceptional vendor discounts, education opportunities, advocacy, leadership training and sales tools that we use every day.
I would like to share with you what I get out of NAIFA and why I am still an active member after 17 years. There are many reasons to be a member of NAIFA and I have benefitted from most of them over the years. However, it comes back to the three constants that I mentioned earlier.
We do work in a noble profession, we enhance the lives of our clients every day, but as we all know, it can also be a very lonely profession. The challenges that advisors face today can take their toll over time and leave us wondering if we have chosen the right career path. NAIFA has always energized me. Participation in NAIFA reminds me that what we do is important, that we protect the lives of the most vulnerable. I don’t know where I would be today without the friendships and support from my NAIFA colleagues. NAIFA encourages me that what I do on a daily basis matters to those I serve and that I am not alone in my endeavor.
As noble as our profession may be, and no matter how many millions of people we have protected, there are many influences in our nation that would like change the way we serve our clients. These changes could forever alter our industry and make it impossible to not only protect our clients, but would hinder our ability to earn a living. I am comforted by that fact that NAIFA is vigilantly protecting our industry and my profession. I know that my NAIFA membership allows for our Lobbyist Mel Sorenson to keep watch over us in Olympia, and that our National Association is protecting us in Washington DC. I know that my membership in NAIFA is protecting my industry, my career, and my family.
And finally, most of you know that I like to have fun. Early in my career, I attended a CE meeting in Bellingham where I heard a presenter say something to the effect that “most people in society today will have trouble making a new personal friendship after the age of 27”. I don’t remember what his presentation was about that day, but I remember that statement vividly. Of all the benefits that I have received from NAIFA, nothing comes close to the personal bonds and friendships that I have made giving back to my association. Relationships, great times and fantastic memories are the primary reasons that I still am active in NAIFA today. Recently at our State board meeting, President John Nichols opened the meeting by asking all attending to share their best memory as a NAIFA member. As you can imagine, there were some fantastic stories, and smiles all around, it completely changed the dynamic of the meeting and reminded most in the room of why they are a member of NAIFA.
NAIFA has shaped my life in a very positive way, and kept me on course for success. My membership has re-invigorated me during challenging times, protected my livelihood, and provided many great friendships and memories.
Change is inevitable, we can choose to embrace it, or run from it. We will see many changes with NAIFA over the next few years, but I take solace in the fact that my membership will continue to provide support, protection and the friendships that have served me well over my career.