SMART PLANNING

Agent of Change

Agent of Change: Never Too Many Questions

For decades, Dick Van Dyke has been well-known to the people of Springfield, Ill. Unlike the Hollywood actor of the same name (no relation), this Dick Van Dyke earned his renown as the owner of several successful retail and service-oriented businesses in the Springfield area. While those businesses taught Van Dyke the value of being a good communicator out in public, his most recent venture—Dick Van Dyke Financial, Ltd., which he founded in 2004—has refocused his attention on the importance of communicating one-on-one. As a registered investment advisor and financial planner, Van Dyke spends every day connecting clients with a wide variety of financial planning tools.

“I’ve always prided myself on making sure my clients understand how everything works and that they’re comfortable with it,” says Van Dyke, who works primarily with retirees and pre-retirees between the ages of 50 and 70. “I feel it’s my job to give them a good overview of the product and a basic working knowledge. Whatever they need beyond that, I should also supply.” Sometimes that means spending extra time going over the details of a particular product, which Van Dyke recently did for a local couple that had purchased an Aviva annuity.

Looking for Answers
The Robertsons* had worked with several other financial advisors before entering Van Dyke’s office. They had even filled out the paperwork elsewhere but changed their mind and walked away at the last minute. “They wanted to be very comfortable with what they were doing and why they were doing it,” says Van Dyke, who introduced the couple to an Aviva annuity product that was a great fit for their needs.

This time, the Robertsons signed the contract, but they still wanted extra confirmation that they had done the right thing. “Since clients don’t work with this industry every day,” says Van Dyke, “they might find that, after time passes, they’ve forgotten why we did what we did.” Other times, it’s the language of the paperwork that makes clients question what they’ve done. “For legal reasons, annuities are written in fairly complex terms,” says Van Dyke. “I try to boil down the language so that people can understand what it really means.”

In this case, Van Dyke spent many hours with the Robertsons, bringing in a specialist from Aviva when necessary. The result: Today, the couple is confident in both Van Dyke and in Aviva. “I spend as much time as needed with each client,” says Van Dyke. “I believe that’s the right way to do things.”

Reviewing Your Decisions
Even if you don’t have any questions about your Aviva policy, it’s smart to touch base with your agent once in a while, especially if Aviva is part of your retirement plan. Why? The retirement planning process is not a once-and-done thing, says Van Dyke. “You initially set goals, but as time goes on, your goals may change,” he points out. That’s one reason why Van Dyke meets with clients at least annually to review their portfolio.

If you haven’t talked to your Aviva agent recently—or if you haven’t talked specifically about retirement planning—maybe now’s the time to pick up the phone. As the Robertsons found out: It never hurts to ask questions. And it just may give you peace of mind.

*Name changed to protect identity

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