In 1979, Michael Gaeta, CLU®, LUTCF®, LACP, knew he needed to make a change. He had been managing restaurants since he was 16 years old but needed a career with more stability and a higher income. That's when he joined Prudential, starting with life insurance and eventually working his way up to financial advising.
Making A Difference
There are several factors that lead to success for agents and advisors, says Gaeta. Listening and being understanding are essential, as is not being afraid to admit when you don’t know something. A final key component is mentorship. Professionals shouldn’t be afraid to reach out and learn from more experienced professionals, says Gaeta.
Gaeta loves his job because it provides him with the opportunity to make a living helping people. For more than four decades, he’s been able to watch his clients achieve their financial goals, going from making ends meet to being able to retire and maintain their standard of living.
Gaeta shares an experience that reinforced for him the importance of his work. When he had been in the industry for about 10 years, he was working with two clients—a couple who were planning for their future together. When the husband died suddenly of a blood clot, his wife and four grown children were protected. The widow was able to stay in her home and live comfortably and her assets have grown since then.
The Value of NAIFA
During his 43 years with NAIFA, Gaeta has been involved in NAIFA’s leadership, professional development, and political advocacy. He served as NAIFA-IA President twice and has been a moderator for NAIFA’s Leadership in Life Institute (LILI), a six-month leadership development that helps agents and advisors achieve personal growth and professional success. “[LILI] helped me improve my performance in a lot of ways,” he says. “I think every agent should at some time take it. It's not to make you a better salesperson, but to make you a better person and businessperson.”
One of the key benefits of NAIFA, says Gaeta, is the opportunity to learn from others in the industry. “You don’t know what you don’t know,” he says. He talks about NAIFA Live, a monthly webinar featuring top industry professionals. “[NAIFA Live panelists] present a great deal of value that you don't know is there until you've actually seen it, and then it becomes a part of your business model,” he says.
Gaeta is also a passionate supporter of NAIFA’s political advocacy. Through NAIFA, he’s developed relationships with his elected representatives at the local, state, and national levels. When professionals engage in advocacy, it shows their clients that they believe in what they’re doing and are trying to make sure their clients are protected, says Gaeta.
Outside of the Office
When he’s not working, Gaeta stays involved in his community. He supports the Muscular Dystrophy Association and helps raise funds for many local charities, including after-school programs, community youth programs, and homeless centers. In his free time, Gaeta loves golfing and spending time with his family, especially his four grandchildren.
Thank you, Michael, for your service to our industry and association. We’re #NAIFAproud to call you one of our own.