At 39 years old, Randall Ball, CLU, was looking for a career change and found it at Northwestern Mutual. Ball’s friend James R. Goodrich, CLU, ChFC, loyal NAIFA member since 1971, recruited him to the industry and NAIFA and Ball never looked back.
The Keys to Success
For Ball, there are three qualities every agent and advisor should have—they should have a sense of intellectual curiosity, be a good listener, and be able to put the information they glean into a solid plan. “If you’re the only one doing the talking, it’s a bad meeting,” he says.
Serving Main Street USA is important to Ball. He enjoys helping new clients plan for their future and knowing that they’re in a better position because of his work. “I absolutely believe that everybody we sit across the table from is better off for having met us,” he begins. “We try to get in front of as many people as we can and make as much a difference as we can in the community.”
At Northwestern Mutual, Ball offers comprehensive planning. He works with a variety of clients, but he works primarily with medical professionals and business owners. Over the past 20 years, he’s made a difference in the lives of countless families. He relates one such experience. He met with a young couple looking for life insurance; they were just married and starting a family. Seven years later, the wife was diagnosed with breast cancer. When she passed, they had an 8-year-old daughter named Angel. Because they had planned ahead, Angel’s college education was funded, their house was paid off, and they were allowed the time they needed to grieve.
When Ball joined NAIFA in 2004, he didn’t view it as optional—it was a necessity. In the years since, he’s served in several leadership positions within NAIFA, previously as Treasurer for NAIFA-MI and currently as President of NAIFA-MI.
Ball is deeply involved in state and federal advocacy with NAIFA. He talks about the experiences he’s had at NAIFA’s Annual Congressional Conference. “I've had more than one member of Congress say, ‘Randy, we can't know all things. We rely on you and people like you to come in here and let us know what it is that we're voting on.’” Ball continues, saying, “[NAIFA is] the undisputed heavyweight champion of advocacy in financial services. It’s important work, and we’re good at it.”
Advocacy is the most important thing NAIFA does, says Ball. “It's so important; you can't just be a bystander. This is a participation sport. You want to be in the game,” he begins. “You have to be part of the solution—and a way to be part of the solution is being a part of NAIFA.”
The Value of NAIFA
In addition to advocacy, NAIFA membership also provides the opportunity to get to know other industry professionals. Ball appreciates the collegiality and camaraderie of NAIFA meetings. "I never view the people across the table as competitors,” he begins. “We're colleagues; we're all in the same business, and there's plenty of business for everybody.”
Outside of the Office
When he’s not working, Ball enjoys spending time with his family. Being a grandpa is the best job he’s ever had, he says. He also likes golfing when the sun is shining and he’s a long-time Detroit Redwing season ticket holder. Ball has been a board member for Habitat for Humanity for over a dozen years and has been a board member for the charity Angel Wings Fund, named for his client’s daughter, which helps children who have had a parent affected by cancer. He also started a scholarship at his high school alma mater 25 years ago and sits on the board of the local police and fire pension board.
Thank you, Randy, for your service to our industry and association. We’re #NAIFAproud to call you one of our own.