In 2007, David Kikoen, LUTCF, CLTC, RICP, was a senior account executive in the subprime mortgage business. When the Great Recession hit, he decided to transition into insurance and financial services. He admits he didn’t know much about financial planning when he started, but he learned quickly and soon thrived in his new role. Now, Kikoen is a licensed insurance agent and financial services professional with over 13 years of experience at New York Life.
Making a Difference Every Day
When people ask Kikoen what he does for a living, he has a simple response: “I help people sleep better at night and retire with less stress.” In the early days of his career, he learned as much as he could about products and the industry understanding that there is always more to learn. Now, he works primarily with baby boomers, starting with long-term care and continuing into retirement planning. He says he recognizes the growing need for long-term care solutions when driving down the road and seeing more and more assisted living and memory care facilities being built. “There's a lot of need for what we do, and many people who don't understand it,” he says.
There are four key qualities every agent and advisor should have, says Kikoen. They should have empathy, be patient, understand their clients’ objectives, and educate them so they can make an informed decision. Kikoen relates one such experience. Several years ago, a husband and wife came to him for long-term care planning. Two years later, the husband was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s. “[His wife] couldn't thank me enough for the education, the time we spent together, and the fact that she put a plan in place, and they're being well taken care of now,” says Kikoen.
NAIFA’s Political Advocacy
Kikoen knew he needed to join NAIFA after attending NAIFA-IL's 2010 Legislative Day. He jokes that he didn’t decide to join—he was told to join. He didn’t think he’d be involved in political advocacy when he joined NAIFA, but NAIFA-IL's leadership had other ideas. Kikoen was asked to join the local and state boards and found his passion in meeting with lawmakers to educate them about issues affecting Main Street USA. “When you sit with a senator or a representative on that level and advocate and educate on issues affecting ourselves and our clients, it's amazing,” he begins. “It really makes you feel American.” He's excited to attend NAIFA's 2022 Congressional Conference on May 23-24 in Washington, D.C.
The Value of NAIFA
One of the most valuable benefits of NAIFA membership is connecting with other NAIFA members, says Kikoen. “When new agents are struggling and having issues, it's not easy,” he begins. “You need other people to talk to, and sometimes you need people to talk to outside of your own organization.” Noting the high attrition rate of agents and advisors early in their careers, Kikoen credits NAIFA for providing the resources that sustained him in his first few years.
NAIFA's educational courses, webinars, and online resources are invaluable for members, Kikoen says. “NAIFA helps agents continually grow their business, increase their knowledge, and enhance their skills,” he says. Kikoen was a member of the first virtual class of NAIFA's Leadership In Life Institute (LILI) and recommends the program enthusiastically.
When encouraging new agents to join NAIFA, Kikoen tells them “I see the value of my membership every morning when I turn on my computer and I look at my inbox and I have the NAIFA SmartBrief is there. I read all the headlines every morning to see what's going on in our industry.”
Outside of the Office
When he’s not working, Kikoen loves spending time with his wife Rita, his five children, and seven grandchildren. He also enjoys golfing, riding motorcycles, drag racing, and teaching martial arts. This year, he’s celebrating his 50th year in martial arts.
For his service to his community and our industry and association, we’re #NAIFAproud to have David Kikoen as a part of our NAIFA family.