Mark A. Squires, LACP, is founder and president of Wise Choices Financial, LLC, in Kansas City. He entered the business after what he describes as a period of life where he lost everyone but his children. That experience convinced him he had a calling to help better prepare others for what he went through. He has built his agency with three primary areas of focus: He works with young people to teach them how to get out of debt; he is the Medicare Whisperer™; and he uses annuities, life insurance, and manages assets to help his clients work toward their retirement dreams through a well-thought-out financial strategy.
Squires is a Life and Annuity Certified Professional (LACP), but when he first joined the industry, he didn’t embrace certifications and credentials. He says, “I had an old guy tell me those certifications are alphabet soup.” But as Squires looked around at advisors in the Kansas City area who were more successful and more visible than he was, he noticed many of them highlighted their credentials. That is when he realized, “You know what? Credentials matter to people.”
Once he had that realization, Squires says, “I actually went to the FINRA website and read everything about the various credentials.” That is how he decided to pursue the LACP certification. Squires’s true passion is building peace of mind with life insurance and annuities, and that is what the LACP is all about.
Squires shares an analogy with his clients that compares financial planning to walking a tightrope. The key elements of the analogy are: How high is your tightrope? How knowledgeable is your tightrope instructor? “If your teacher is a guy named ‘Wallenda’ who you know has successfully walked across Niagara Falls, you might be willing to take more advice,” he says. And, most importantly, how good is your safety net?
“Safety nets are built on life insurance and annuity platforms.” And, as for getting his clients taking his advice, Squires says of his LACP, “I will point to the certificate on the wall and tell them I actually took the time because I want to do the best job possible for you to go through special study and take a very intense examination so that I’m actually certified to talk to you about life insurance and annuities.” Squires features his LACP certification on his website and includes the LACP digital badge in his emails because he wants to be recognized as an advisor who can build that safety net so clients can climb higher in their financial goals. He declares, “That is the beauty of what we do and the beauty of life insurance and annuities.”
Applications for the July LACP testing window are due June 15 (you save some money if you apply by June 1).