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April Is National Financial Literacy Month

Joseph Spinelli

Joseph Spinelli, CLU, helps people prepare for the future by prioritizing their financial goals and customizing insurance solutions to best suit their needs. With a robust skill set that includes insurance, life insurance, customer service, disability insurance, term life insurance, and more, he contributes valuable insights to the industry. Joseph has a bachelor's degree in economics from Bridgewater College.


Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Joseph Spinelli explains his journey into the financial services industry 
  • What motivates Joseph to stay in the industry?
  • Building a career in insurance sales from the ground up
  • The role of sports in Joseph’s career
  • How to attract people into joining the financial services industry
  • Joseph talks about his daily routine and priorities as a financial advisor
  • The 40 under 40 award 
  • Career lessons Joseph learned from his father 
  • Joseph’s involvement with NAIFA

In this episode…

Being a financial advisor is both challenging and rewarding. So what can you learn from an expert who has successfully been in the industry for years? 

According to Joseph Spinelli, financial advisors have the privilege of helping individuals and families achieve their financial goals. However, being in the financial services industry comes with its own set of challenges, ranging from the ever-changing market trends and financial regulations to building trust with clients. He shares his journey of overcoming all the hurdles and becoming a thriving insurance agent. 

In this episode of Advisor Today, Chris Gandy and Suzanne Carawan sit down with Joseph Spinelli, a Chartered life underwriter (CLU), to discuss how to thrive as a financial advisor. Joseph explains how he got into the financial services industry, building a career in insurance sales from the ground up, his daily routine and priorities as a financial advisor, and the career lessons he learned from his father.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode...

This episode is brought to you by the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, or NAIFA, the #1 association for producers in financial services.

At NAIFA, we enhance professional skills, promote ethical conduct, and advocate for legislative and regulatory environments.

By joining NAIFA, you gain access to a partnership that elevates your performance while providing greater purpose to your professional work. NAIFA members are happier, make more money, and stay in the business longer.

Get in touch with NAIFA and learn more about how to join NAIFA by visiting NAIFA.org.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:02

Welcome to NAIFA's Advisor Today podcast series where we focus on how financial advisors work, live and give to their local communities and our greater financial services industry. Now, let's get started with the show.

Chris Gandy 0:20

Hi, everyone; this is your co-host Chris Gandy. I'm here on the Advisor Today podcast, and I'm here with my wonderful co-host, Suzanne Carawan. Hi, Suzanne.

Suzanne Carawan 0:30

Hey, Chris, how you doing?

Chris Gandy 0:32

Listen, we're bringing you guys the Christmas edition. This is all my one and only Christmas hat here. So I brought my Boston Celtics green out. And we have a wonderful guest today sparkles on and she's got her work clothes on. So before we get going, Suzanne, can you share with us who are our sponsors for today's podcast?

Suzanne Carawan 0:52

Sure, I'd be delighted to do that. So we have a new sponsor, we have a new partner, we're excited to welcome them in Stonewood Financial has joined the NAIFA family as one of our preferred partners. And if you haven't ever heard of Stonewood, they do have an amazing seminar series and education on tax retirement planning strategies. And they talk about how the biggest threat to your retirement planning is often the federal government with different kind of tax regulations and legislation that they might impose that you need to keep your clients abreast of. And of course, that's a natural fit for NAIFA. So we paired together, and Stonewood is supporting us, we're supporting them. And we're excited to do a lot of good work together in 2024.

Chris Gandy 1:33

So Suzanne, you mentioned something pretty interesting. And I think at some point, we should highlight that right, we should definitely highlight our opportunities, you know, some of the resources that our members, you know, with the new edition of FSP in some of the new collaborations, really highlighting some of those, the center of excellence and some of the opportunities that are there that most in benefits that most people don't realize you get by being the value add a b and a. So with that today, Andy, why don't you Would you care to introduce our guests for today's podcast?

Suzanne Carawan 2:10

This, we definitely need some intro music for this guy. So today, we're joined with by Joe Spinelli, who is one of our latest award winners. We just honored him in DC together this past one week and a half. And Joe, we're delighted to have you and we're looking forward to getting to know you and telling us all about your award and what you do with that thing.

Joseph Spinelli 2:31

Thanks for having me. Appreciate it. Thanks for you know, it's an honor to get the top four advisor under 40 award. So for my I don't know where you want to start.

Chris Gandy 2:49

Well, Joe, let's start. Let's start with the tie. Where'd you get that tie? Joe? I mean, everybody was? I think I think I got it on Amazon. Is it his tie? I don't know. I don't know.

Suzanne Carawan 3:00

I was gonna ask her for the lapel pin. Oh, and then you flash the rig? Yeah, what? Oh, okay.

Joseph Spinelli 3:06

I worked as an advisor for a financial advisor for the Knights of Columbus. And this is our, we call it Supreme Knights Club Award. And this is you get the fill. You get the pin the first year, and then you get the diamonds. And then the 11th year you get the brain and I've got four and then at 25 years, you steal the ring up and then they give you a Rolex after you 25 years, though I'm out here 14 Right now working on 15. So yeah, thank you. Alright, Joe.

Chris Gandy 3:43

So so let's talk a little bit about let's rewind the tape. Bear quality Joe. Joe is good. So share with us a little bit I mean, there's a lot of younger advisors out there under 40 That may be aspiring to to be to walk in your shoes. So share with us a little bit about a how you got into the business. And what's kept you going in this business at the level you've been going at because obviously you've been going you've got the rain, you know, you do the shutter you're doing all types of cool stuff, getting the pins. I mean, what are you doing with blank? What the business and What's kept you in the business? 

Joseph Spinelli 4:25

You know, look for my dad started with the knights, Knights Columbus in 1989. And I was I think my joke my first steps were in Private Council Hall and the Knights Columbus is he has been a member since I could remember. And, you know, when he got promoted to general agent and manager of all North border territory in North Florida in 99. And I grew up around it I you know, our kind of the joke is in our agency is I've been a field agent since you know for 25 years before I started And I really you know, and I played, I played college. I played high school football, college football. And I didn't have any I figured I would. He never pushed me to become an advisor. And I figured I'd go into coaching or, or, you know, I figured I'd coach football like my after, after school after I graduated and peanut and about my sophomore junior year. I'm like thinking out of business. I double majored in Business and Economics. And I'm thinking, you know, I need to find a job. Oh, and then my mom. So I asked my mom, hey, do you think and this is like, my junior year, spring semester, my junior year of college? And I said, Do you think Dad, I come work for dad. And my mom, you know, who doesn't sugarcoat things? She says, What makes you think Dad would hire you? So I'm like, okay, okay. And well, and behold, you know, and I started this in several ways, oh nine, and I graduated three and a half years. And I just took one, my dad was a top 10 advisor, for the Knights of Columbus before he got promoted a general agent that had a top end agency. And I did a couple things. I took the old football offensive lineman mentality. And, and then I said to myself, I'm gonna listen to whatever my dad does tells me, if he tells me, you know, to, you know, he asked me to jump, I'm gonna say, I'm gonna ask him, you know, the old proverb is, how high it how high, do you want any job, and I just kind of refuse to get, you know, to give up, like, there was no quit in me, you know, I got so many nose, I got so many. And we have a saying this next. Next, there's so many people that need our services, just move on to the next one, go find the next one. And that's kind of what I, you know, pick that offensive lineman, you know, don't look at life and look at life in the windshield, not through the rearview mirror, kind of approach to things. And I know, that's tough, that's tough for guys, like, you know, it's tough to get rejected, it's tough to for the new advisors starting out. And, but that's what my approach is, is just take them one day at a time. And, and, you know, make sure you have, you know, 12 to 15 appointments a week, it's still a numbers game, no matter what it boils down to, you know, it's about getting in front of people. It's simple. It's quite a blocking, tackling, blocking, blocking, and tackling.

Suzanne Carawan 8:01

I was gonna say, love this. Next Play next play next.

Joseph Spinelli 8:06

Yeah, the same thing. Like don't don't, you know, you know, I might have given up a sack. But you got to get up in the next play that third and 15 We got to make that first down. So you got to forget about that. Oh, and my, and my brother came to work for us in December 20. And he was a closer, he was a closer and college baseball. Those guys have to, you know, they can't remember. That's the ultimate like, next, next play. Next play. So, you know, and that's I just took that, you know, sports analogy approach and put it to good use, and I'm very competitive. And, you know, look at it, I gotta, you know, the sale, you know, I need another one. Oh, where's the next one gonna come from? I still think about that at night. 15 years later, like this morning. You know, you know, everybody's congratulating me on the award, and I go to my first appointment this morning, I got no show. And so I just you have to stay level. Level headed. He can't get high and low. You can't get too high. You can't get too low. Not kind of what I've learned over the years. So yeah, and I've been doing this 15 years now. almost 15 years, February, February of 24. We are 15 years.

Chris Gandy 9:26

So, so let's let's, let's dig in a little bit. So you mentioned sports. How big of a role do you think sports had in your, in your life, whether it was from just helping you develop in the discipline, or just getting over disappointment quickly? Right, because the discipline sports right? What role do you think sports had in your life? And then how do you use sports now to continue to motivate yourself?

Joseph Spinelli 9:58

Yeah, I think I think it has helped me in a tremendous way. And I played started playing soccer when I was three years old. I was in my parents had us in all in activities my I played college football, my sister played college softball, and my brother played college baseball. And but my other sister played, didn't we, I oldest of four mother sister played high school softball and volleyball. So, and it helped me develop one-time management, especially. And this, you know, this can be a lonely career. And it's, we tell our new advisors that, you know, you have to block off your own, you make your own calendar, you make your own schedule, it can be a blessing and a curse. That's one thing I did a time management of. And in no, in football, in college, it's regimen. Like, we have schedules like in camp, it's like, the coaches are scheduled, we scheduled the players out, like from 7am to 9pm. Our schedules are right, and I kind of took that same. And then the discipline to, you know, it's tough to get up at, you know, thinking back in, I went to college, I went to school, about two hours outside of DC. And in January, February, it gets a little cold, and getting up at 5am on a Tuesday morning, to go to morning workouts. That's tough. That's, you know, just getting up going through the motions. My mom used to tell us all the time, like, she used to say when we'd be sick or something, and I think she just didn't want us to stay at all. She just wanted us to go to school. She'd be like, Go muddle through the day, just get through the day go through. And I know it sounds. I don't know, like counterintuitive, but just go through the motions. And you'll come out of, you know, and that's what I tell our guys just go through the motions and good. Yeah, you can come out stronger. So you got to trust the process. Yeah, exactly, exactly. Like, and get comfortable in uncomfortable situations. And I mean, that's what I mild, that's probably one of the biggest pieces of advice, I give new advisors, you stick uncomfortable, get comfortable in uncomfortable situations. Because you know, when you go into a home and you're talking about life insurance, that's an uncomfortable conversation. You know, yeah. Mister, mister prospect, what if you're getting out here tomorrow? How's your Mrs. Prospect gonna pay the bills? Mrs. Smith is going to pay bills, what is she going to do? You know, or if you're not here, how she gonna be able to retire, or vice versa, you know, whatever, whatever, whatever field your specialty you're in, so, but it's helped me, you know, shake my life, anything more than I realized, though. And so

Suzanne Carawan 13:01

when you're first starting out, you know, you're coming in kind of behind your father. And so you're in kind of the same area, you grew up in everything else? Where do you find your first set of prospects? Like how did you not run out of people?

Joseph Spinelli 13:13

Um, well, with the Knights a little different. We're fraternal company. And actually, I he, he said, Well, I have three areas open. And, and it was Jacksonville, the Ville west side of Jacksonville, the villages, and to us the Panama City. And we had another advisor retire in Dallas or Panama City. And I just decided, Hey, um, you know, if the shoe spring break, I'll go to Tallahassee, it was 21 years old. So and I just got involved, you know, now we're good you know, and didn't really know anybody. Just then I basically my cousin helped me move when like I put a bed in filing cabinets and and I had to my it was like a hammer down Haiming down old big screen TV that probably weighed 2000 pounds. And I had found a place to rent and it was just old a frame and I moved in and I put everything in like a little U haul trailer. And I started I just started getting involved in the churches and the parish and the community and just asking, asking can do all you know? Yeah, so and just say asking for an appointment and asking for an appointment, getting on the phone, calling people calling our members and it just took off from there. You know, my wife is from Tallahassee, we've been married for 11 and a half years 10 Or half years now. Be 11 In March, so men just kind of built a slowly brick by brick built a career Nice little career going here. So basically my dad, that that helps set the foundation. But after about two weeks, three weeks after he, we did pre-contract where we, we can, in the state of it depends on which state in the state of Florida you can write business, before you're licensed under your manager and then transfer it over to you. We did pre-contract where and then and then like, two or three weeks in and I'm like that you don't need to I can do this, you know, you go work with somebody else. So I, you know, he's almost holding me back. I don't want to say, but he's been such a good help. And my parents have been such a good help. I don't want to say he's holding me back. But he still goes on appointments with me too. So even 15 years later, so. But no, I mean, like, I kind of built it from the ground up.

Chris Gandy 15:55

Oh, good. So So So you started from the bottom now you're here? Yeah. What's next for you? That was a that was a that was a? That was a song? said no. Yeah.

Joseph Spinelli 16:07

You know, I don't know, you know? Yeah, I'm lifetime MDRT. I've been really involved in MDRT naifa. The award. You know, one next is I want to stay healthy. Number one, I had brain at a brain cancer five years ago. And I want to be around for my kids, my children, my wife. We just, you know, you met little Charlie, the I think he stole the show at the in DC Kando.

Chris Gandy 16:39


Joseph Spinelli 16:44

And a one on one of it stay healthy, I want to, you know, maintain my health and to, I think eventually the plan is to take over the agency for my dad and be the run the agency in North and nice commerce agency in North Florida. And just keep chugging along, and keep taking it day by day. You know, because, in, in one of my mentors in the Knights of Columbus said, it's, it's, this is a marathon, it's not a sprint, it's a slow burn a slow process, like I tell our new advisors that you may meet with somebody. And they may not buy from you today. But you never know. They may call you out of the blue 345 10 years from now. And they say, Hey, Joe, remember what we were talking about. And I want to sit down and discuss it. You know, and, and just be pleasantly persistent. That's pleasantly persistent. And you know, and in MDRT, they talk about 12 touches a year. And I heard somebody speak, that said, people will think about insurance or financial products seven times in their lifetime. And I want to be that I want to be the person they think about when they do decide to sit down. I want to be that first guy they call and reach out when they think about that. So but no, that's kind of a roundabout way to answer your question. But still, you know, still taking it day by day. So

Chris Gandy 18:24

Joe, walk us through so your day to day what just talk about that? Let's just get a little more Aryan. Yeah. Day to day look like I mean, so making calls are you going to see people are you waiting for the phone to ring all day? Or I'm looking at your trophy? Shining it up? What

Joseph Spinelli 18:40

are you waiting on? No, no. i We i After 15 years, I finally outsource my car. I have a caller that makes calls for me. And they do the been doing a really good job. But typically, I would you know, get the kids off to school like this morning. I'll get the kids ready. Get the kids out to school and I go about 730 ago. We're on bike ride workout. And then I hit the ground running might have you know we have our agency call at 930 on Mondays and then typically I'm working four appointments a day for four days every and you know, it ebbs and flows. You know that's not set, per se I have to tomorrow. I have three more today. After I have three more today. And then I have four on Wednesday and one on Thursday. And I'm trying to are trying to build because I'm taking them a couple of weeks off here. But typically I'm going Monday through Thursday. And and from nuts to I do appointments from like 12 lawn, so you know it and the And I go all the way into Jacksonville to Panama City, I do a lot of I do a lot of joint field work with other advisors too. So if the other guy has a question, you know, other advisors in our agency have questions, you know, I help them out with that, or I go in joint joint field work out of virtual stuff. And maybe, you know, in the next three appointments I have are on virtual on teams meeting. So today, so I'm not traveling as much, which is great. So it's allowed us to, you know, see people that and three hours away that I'd have to go over and spend at least six hours, six hour round trip that we can just meet on the phone, so or meet over the computer. So But typically, it's just like, and typically I spend in Friday OB office work or, you know, play to so with the spend time with the kids and you got to enjoy the one thing too is you have to block off family time. Like if I don't have an evening appointment, my kids are in jujitsu. Both my kids are the older two. And their jujitsu classes are at 530. And they can go six days a week. And if I don't have an an evening appointment, I'll take the case to jujitsu, and especially outsourcing that call service that color. Hiring a color in our office has helped me do that. So I used to have to like, Okay, I need to get a hold of these people. And then now I'm not worrying so much about that. So, and in one of the big No, and I think the one of the big things is interaction. Sure, if I tell new advisors, make sure you schedule family time out. So I mean, I've clients will ask me, Well, I can only meet on the weekends, or, or member prospects will say, Oh, I can only meet Friday or Saturday or Sunday. I was like, No, that's family time. You know, if this is important to you, I don't want to sound arrogant. If it goes back to the value proposition. If this is important to the prospect, they will make time to see you. You know, so if then it goes back to the next, the next up the next play. And you always have to remember that you they need this more than you do you need the sale. You know, I my family's going to eat no matter what those were. And we're going to be able to pay our bills. But if you don't buy that policy, what are the consequences? If you pass away? Is your wife going to be able to take care of it? Or if you don't purchase that? annuity income stream and retirement? Well, how what is your likelihood of your portfolio running out of money? So you always got to remember that they need it more than you need the sale.

Chris Gandy 22:58

So So Joe, that's, that's intentional, right? So family is important to you. Yep, I'll base the base on that. But when a new advisor starts, they have to earn that time away from the business, or are they just automatically like, this is the discipline in the business necessary. So if they're keeping two appointments a day, that's not gonna

Joseph Spinelli 23:23

work? Oh, that was too weak. I was gonna say that's not enough. You know, if you're not seeing, and I we tell our new advisors that give this 1000 days, you're gonna work five days a week, maybe six, but you have to block off family time, or personal time. You know, and you have to be what's the word I'm looking for? You have to be deliberate when you talk to prospects when they're you trying to set an appointment with them, when you get in front of them say, Hey, that's my, that's family time. You know? And usually, usually, that's just an objection. You know, that's the way you like, they're telling you, I can only meet on the weekends. And it's just kind of get you away. It's like, well, no, I that's family time is daytime, you know, come back to is Monday through Thursday, better would day I work I tell clients out, I work from 9am to 9pm. Monday through Thursday, really this block schedule, like there's any of those times work for you. And there's just you know, going back and forth. One of the best books I've ever read was how you raise yourself from a failure to success in sales. And I can't remember who but it was a insurance agent in the 20s that wrote it, but it's general of how it covers all sales in general. But it talks about, you know, just ask a question. When in doubt, ask a question. Why? Well, even if it's a why, well why do you feel That way, why do you feel in you? They they let it out and have you know, when you're in a poll, if you don't have a comeback, per se to that objection, ask why. Why do you feel that way? And then let them verbally and just shut up? And then let them verbally talk. So. But

Suzanne Carawan 25:22

So I'm back to where are you finding new advisors? Because I think especially for our fraternal, that's, that's a little bit of a different animal. Right. So how are you attracting people into the even though that's a career option for them?

Joseph Spinelli 25:39

Actually, we get a lot from agent, other advisor referrals, bringing on okay. And then, because we're like, the Knights commerce is like the franchise model. It's like the Chick-fil-A A model. Or given I, you know, I like to say, and in other advisors can't go right business in your clients. Right. So it's, it's, uh, we're a little different in a good way. 

Suzanne Carawan 26:08

You know, so, but a lot of Chick-fil-A's again, that's a good, yeah. 

Joseph Spinelli 26:12

Yeah the AAA model. And, in so a lot of other agents refer, you know, and I come across, like, I've found before I became, I'm going to basically be a personal producing journal agent. So I work under my dad, so I serve my clients I take care of, and then I also do a lot of hiring and training of the other advisors. And, like I go, you know, before one of our top advisors, he's in the villages. He was actually doing property management, beautiful. You know, St. George Island, in Florida. That's probably the, you know, the most. I think it was voted top 10 beaches in the world at one time years ago. And it's a quiet, quiet little fishing Ville Apalachicola fishing village. And he joined the Knights of Columbus. And he contacted me about buying insurance. I met with him and his, his wife and his had a one year old daughter at the time. And I just asked him wrote, business wrote it up. And they were living in a one bedroom apartment. And mind you, it's on the beach, it's right on the water. But I said, I asked Kevin, where do you see yourself in 10 years, your career? Or where do you see yourself going? And he said, I don't know this here. You know, and I said, you want to have large? You want to have a large family Catholic family. Now how are you going to feed them those family? And I said, he said, I don't know, honestly. And he was very hurt. He's very personable. And I said, he was talking to my dad. And the next thing you know, and he's, you know, it's a leap of faith. He's moving four hours to the villages, and his career is taking off. And So lo and behold, he meets with my parent, dad. And that explains, lays it all out. And he's done very well for himself. So and then we've got some LinkedIn leads. But really, it's word of mouth.

Suzanne Carawan 28:24

I think yeah, there you go.

Chris Gandy 28:25

So, so it sounds like, though it sounds like you've had some success. You've got the world ahead of you. You've got your hands and a little bit of development. You've got your hands on a little bit of coaching clients. I'm using sports analogies, right. So you're doing some coaching clients, you're doing coaching new advisors, you're doing some recruiting, you know, you're doing a little bit of that, you know, you're also leading others, you know, on the sidelines, giving them plays, here's the way you do it. I get it. So, but talk to me a little bit about let's talk a little bit about the relationship with your dad. Are you good with that? Oh, yeah. You mentioned you mentioned your dad was? What is the one lesson you've learned from your dad that you would say is just paramount?

Joseph Spinelli 29:22

Oh, that's a good question.

Chris Gandy 29:26

What do you think is bad questions here? I mean, this is no, no, no, no, no, no, 

Joseph Spinelli 29:30

I gotta think, man. I gotta think about all this. This is good. I you know, I think when I first started, I wanted it all and I wanted it right now. Yeah. And he taught me to the just take a step back and observe. He's very, he's like, very observant and very calculated, and what he does He doesn't just do anything without thinking about it. And I think what I learned from him early on is stepping back. And my uncle and I mentioned my uncle is been a general agent for the Knights since 1992. My uncle's work for the Knights knees actually retired here in January. And they use the, you know, I don't want to, I don't know if it's inappropriate, but the old bull young bull stored. You know, that's, that's, that's what, you know, my dad and uncle George use the analogy when I first started, you know, because I wanted it all. And I wanted to right now, I wanted to sell everybody like that's like Mecca, celery, but you know, it just move on, you know, you're not going to be able to write everybody know, you can try, but you're not going to be able to. But if you see the people, you know, when he told me to take a step back and be patient, my dad's a very patient person. And I'm not. You know, I'm not as patient as he is. You know, I just, I just don't know, I just don't have the patience for. But you know, I think that's, you know, the key is what I learned early on from him is just to take a step back, breathe, and analyze the situation. So, you know,

Chris Gandy 31:23

it's interesting is that relationship with your dad, now will transcend this thing. You got to stop? Yeah. So what is the one thing that your dad does, that you would emulate, emulate to your son, if he came and decided to come into the business? So there's the generational piece? And what was the why what's the one thing your dad does that you wouldn't do? That you would teach your son not to do? Because we all have that. Right? We all have the good?

Joseph Spinelli 31:52

Yeah. I mean, my son, if he came into the business, it'd be teaching, it's its basics. It's still a people business, it's still and what my dad was trained on 30 Some years ago, it's still relevant to that. And it's still more than likely 99% chance, it'll still be relevant. If my son, or my son, I have two sons, and two sons that come into the business and aren't going to push him. You know, if they want to do that, like my suit, he's going to be seven this month. He started out he want to be a garbage man. Because he loves just trucks and, you know, stuff. And then now he's said he wants to be a football player. He wants to set up if I want to play at FSU, and I'm like, okay, James, you're gonna have to work hard. You're gonna have to work hard on that. And then he was talking about Yeah, fight. And then he mentioned something. Yeah, if I come work for the Knights of Columbus, because he just, my brother works to the Knights.

Suzanne Carawan 32:59

You know? Yeah, they know it. And

Joseph Spinelli 33:00

it's they all know, and it just, it assumes that Mike, you don't have to James, you don't have to go and work for the night. And that's basically the consistency of the business. That's what I would teach, you know, the basics to the business, the phone picking up making appointments. And then, you know, that might change over the years. I know, people don't answer their phones anymore text message emails, but getting appointments, it's simple step, get the appointment, go on the appointment, and then analyze what you did, right and what you did wrong on the appointment. You know, it's basically the football now, like, you practice all week for a football game. You watch the other teams film, you play the game. And then you watch the film at the end of the game. And you see what you did wrong? What you correct it down. Oh, and that doesn't change. Now, with the my dad, I would use more technology. He's not a tech guy. Like he, like we didn't even have an No, we don't have an agency website. It's just a Facebook page. And you utilize in more technology. So even. And I'm not a tech guy by any stretch of the means. I'm kind of an old soul old school. I still, you know, make my notes on a yellow pad of paper. Now when I'm at clients, and so, but integrating technology more into it with the younger generation, is what I would. I would I would do. I would do that's okay. Yeah, and that's okay. That's good. Okay. Oh, no. Yeah. So, yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I mean, yeah, I'm

Suzanne Carawan 34:50

not tech savvy. It just means you learn differently.

Chris Gandy 34:53

Back you brought me back to South it's kind of interesting that most people don't understand. So I'm gonna go down to your sports route for a second. Why LM sessions? You can talk to me out. I'm a former athlete myself.

Joseph Spinelli 35:04

So would you or did you watch a play?

Chris Gandy 35:07

I played at the University of Illinois, so I'm a fine Oh, cool, big team guy.

Joseph Spinelli 35:11

Oh, cool. Oh, no, I didn't. I was the others. I played division three, we had to pay, we had to pay them to let us play.

Chris Gandy 35:26

LBL still, regardless of the level though, let's talk sports for a minute. I want people to just get an understanding of how what is the how intense is the difference between high school and college? It

Joseph Spinelli 35:44

is. Oh, sorry. It is. So even though I played Division Three, and we were a top 10 team in Division Three, Lord were top 25. I think every year I played there, played at Bridgewater and except for my senior, we weren't that good at my senior year. So you they might not be the players might not be six, two or six, three, or like a lot. But they might be 510. Five, like the offensive lineman might not be six, five. But they still they still were the best players, for the most part on their high school team. They might not run a force four, but they might run a four, five, and they still can play. They still can play. And that was an eye opening experience. My freshman year. I thought I was gonna go and you know, I'm overly arrogant. I'll go on in No, every my first padded practice in camp, like it was an eye-opening experience. Like it was just okay. All right, I gotta step my game up. I gotta you know. You know, because it was it just in Bridgewater, we had we went, we made the playoffs my freshman year. And we had a great team and we lost in the Elite Eight. And then, and then we, my sophomore year, we had won the conference five years, going into my sophomore year, so everybody could play. You know, there wasn't and there was like, there. So it was five, deep on the depth chart going in, and everybody you know, and then starting next man up like the third string. Left Guard could probably start for any other team in the conference. My so my freshman sophomore year, so it just you know, there's not a big difference gap. Like so they just get overlooked. They get injured. They get passed up. Yeah, yeah. So,

Suzanne Carawan 37:54

like about this, you either like to test your mettle and be surrounded by that and you step up your game or you say, I don't want to do it. Yeah,

Joseph Spinelli 38:04

I remember my our runner who actually came in my class are running back. He got a he ran track and field he got an offer to go to UVA Durban track and field we want to play football. No, you want to play football. So that was his passion. So and then there was all kinds of like, and Coach Clark, he was a cook for he was a former defensive coordinator of Virginia Tech. And I anybody familiar with Virginia Tech, they fired him and he hired but foster so but and good good for Bridgewater Yeah. And and so and coach Clark would just find these kids find these players like maybe they are for my freshman year are cool quarterback was a William and Mary transfer a wonderful way school. We had in JMU, James Madison was right down the road from us. And we would get a couple of transfers from James Madison. And so you know, everybody could play though. So,

Chris Gandy 39:12

so so so what I'm hearing is, you know, I talk about it some of the times and I say, you know, the difference between high school and college is it's a business Yeah, start to realize the disciplines you can't really have lack of discipline to be in the depth chart and in be able to actually go out and perform without the next guy saying I want his your your spot, you know, you got to be able to execute better than others. So, you know, sports is was such a great teaching lesson in life. But when you start to make it through the process to the next level and to the next level, so you're transcending so let's use sports in this situation. Now you're 40 under 40 Okay. Oh, you know The next one is like, top of the tape. You know, the next one is two times top of the table, right? And now you're making it to the place where, you know, you're, you're going to be amongst many that I've done the 40 under for right now. And so now it's like, Okay, let's see what you're made of right now you started looking at okay, so what are these numbers I really need to be at to be in, quote, unquote, you know, to be in the Hall of Fame. What does that really look like? Right and, and whatever your it's funny, I would go to your dad said, Dad, tell me the best year you've ever had, I know, you might not have business, tell me that best year, right and challenge yourself to the best person, whoever you whoever had the best year that you know of, even if they're not in knights, they can be whatever. Right? Because you know, when a fall allows us to do is kind of transcend our corporate relationships, allows for us to challenge ourselves in different ways across unique opportunities. So you really challenge yourself. My challenge for you is, now you've got the 40 under 40. under your belt, what's what's next? What does that look like? Is it core to the table? Is it top of the table? Is it two times top of the table? Now share this with you because I go back and I listen to Mike chef ski who's like one of the greatest philosophers? Right? In what he's one of the things he says he says that if you want to be great, you have to challenge yourself to the best that's ever played. Right? And so you start to think about it. Who's the best that said, Who's the best display in our game now? In? You know, maybe it's the top guy in knights? I'm not sure. But maybe it's the top. But I just think because of sports, your ability to be able to continuously challenge yourself to be not everybody else is good. Because everybody else is good is that you're good? Because you played college sports? It's unfair. Right? Okay, cool. All good at your level? Yeah, you know, I'm saying like, yeah, you're starting high school. Got it. But now you're at this level, where they're going to challenge you a little differently to be that much better, right? And either A, like you said, you step up, and you say, Okay, I'm that person. Let's go get it. Like you're competitive. Or you say, You know what, I'm good. I kind of got some things in place, I'm doing pretty good. You know, whatever it may be, whatever that just that path you decide to take, though, I think will lead you down the next opportunity for your advisor of the year or whatever, whatever that championship looks like to you. That you want to you want to win and you want to win consistently. Is that makes sense? 

Joseph Spinelli 42:36

Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely go.

Chris Gandy 42:39

I throw that out to you as a challenge. I'm assuming you're gonna step up to the challenge, because I know you're gonna be you're competitive to it now. And that's, that's kind of how it works. So let's, Suzanne, before we get to the lightning round of our conversation here, let me just ask you ask you this, Joe? Or do you under 40? What does that award mean to you?

Joseph Spinelli 43:02

I mean, it's such an honor to because it's not just, you know, I the Knights of Columbus. I've gotten plenty of awards from the Knights Columbus tonight. Not to bash the Knights. But this is like the peers This is a yeah, this is yours. And to be such an honor. You know, it my dad sought us just go in one of the things on to another thing is he's taught us just go and do your job. And don't, you know, you don't need accolades, just, you know, the clients, their appreciation will be enough. Not just, you know, gone about my business. And, you know, but now getting this award, it's like, it's I don't even know what it's I'm kind of speechless. Like, I don't know, you know, being voted the top for under 40. Is it and it's not just, I don't know, I don't know what how to describe it.

Suzanne Carawan 44:01

What did your dad say? It was your dad. So when you told him? Oh, he's

Joseph Spinelli 44:05

like, Oh, cool. Good, good. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. He's got that old school mentality of, you know, your, your instead of, if you get if you work your incentive as you get to keep your job. Yeah. If not, there's other general agents in the Knights that are younger and they take their, you know, they do these trips and, you know, and set bonuses and instead of, you know, we went out to try these things and it's just you get to keep your job, you know, so that's the old school way live another day.

Chris Gandy 44:51

You know, whether, you know, you know what I found Joe is some of the let's call it season, gentlemen in our business. They will weren't raised that way. Right? So even though he may not say it, I'm sure he's very proud of you of what you know. Might not my mom. Of course, I'm sure he is, even though today, I'm sure he's super excited about not only what you've done. You know,

Suzanne Carawan 45:21

one other question I have for you, when you're in DC, did you have a chance to get to know Joe Jordan? Did you get a chance to sit down with him and talk to him?

Joseph Spinelli 45:27

I've met him before in Pat in the past. Like he's done some seminars for the Knights of Columbus and I've talked to, and he he went out, and Elena at MDRT. In 2012. He, we ran into him at a bar, and then with a bunch of night advisors in Atlanta, and he came out with us. Okay, so yeah, you know, tie it Oh, yeah. So I mean, he, I have so much respect for him. And that was one of the first books I read and living a life of significance. And I used to have, I need to start doing it, I hit a slump. And I would listen to his main platform speech in MDRT. And I tell her guys, if you just listen, if you're in a slump, and you're on your way to driving to an appointment, listen to that speech, you what you do matters. So, you know, in how, you know, just his passion, it just the passion for the this industry. You know, it's it's, it's, it's, it's second to none, and he's still doing it. That's what amazes me and I, like he could inhibit, like, vain your Tom hegner. They don't need to do it. But they do it with a passion, they could just go off right off into the sunset, and how he's still, you know, passionate and speaking. And now, it's just, it's tremendous. It's tremendous. So, man, a lot of passion. I look up to him.

Suzanne Carawan 47:08

I'll pass that along. Yeah. The other good nights out there. All right, Chris, we're probably ready for our lightning round.

Chris Gandy 47:13

Let's do it. So I'm gonna call that the light that the Mount Rushmore of insurance right. Guys up there that you know, where do they fit? Right? All right, so so so Joe, this is called the lightning round. The whole goal is people probably know you 40 out of 40, they're going to read about you in the magazine. They're gonna be like, Whoa, he's a great guy, but they don't really know. Right? Okay. So we want to get to know you a little bit. So whatever comes to mind, you know, it's kind of a lightning round, whatever comes to mind. I was, like, really simple. Right? So when you were growing up, give me example, when you were growing up? Did you have a nickname? Yo, that's what they call it. Yeah. That was easy. What position did you play in high school?

Joseph Spinelli 47:59

I played offensive line. Whatever position did you play in college? offensive line?

Chris Gandy 48:03

Okay, same position, or they build you around in college.

Joseph Spinelli 48:07

They moved me around. I played every I played all five offensive line positions. And then my last two years I played really we swept we fought like, called the strong side guard. We flop weeds to flip positions. Flip lines. So the bass I played guard, my last few years of college.

Chris Gandy 48:29

So most people don't. They think you play one position, you play one position for your entire career. Most people don't know that. position did you play I said, I played all of them to a point where they're like, well, that's how it works. So okay, so with that in mind, tell us a little bit about what was the one thing that you you would say to new advisors coming into the business in their first year? It shares that you would say focus on this, what is the one thing you have one piece of advice.

Joseph Spinelli 49:05

In front of many as many people as possible? whether, you know, whether it's phone calls, the church activities, functions, community functions, get in front of as many people as possible.

Chris Gandy 49:21

How do you stay motivated?

Joseph Spinelli 49:25

easy when you have three mouths and the feed waste, it stays at home or it stays at all. It's not had just a competitiveness, like and it's like we're, it's we knights they rank us. It's called Lancer one, eight advisors one to black sky, you know what have you. But I you know, it's competitive and every year, January one, it's done. It's over. And it's everybody starts fresh. Every single year, so the top guy that maybe finished number one or two, we actually one of our advisors in our agencies, he's number two in November. And he's, you know, hopefully going to finish number one or two here. And then all the knights got into the company. And when Jim, January one comes around, we're all back to square, we're all back to zero. So that's all that in. It's all and it's not hard to keep motivated or, and I you know, I don't like motivate, it's about discipline, you know, that old Jocko and it was cliche than Jocko willing thing like, you know, and motivation, it would, you know, motivation is fleeting, you know, he can come and go, you just have to have the discipline to get up, tie your bootstraps on. And there's some days like, I don't want to deal with this, I don't want to go, my wife, her, her car blew up, we only have one car right now this week, because her car's in the repair shop. And I really didn't want to deal with it. But I had to, like, tie my bootstraps on, it's gonna be a pricey prepared. So. So and, but you know, they you got to do we got to do, but I, you know, get tired bootstraps on and replace your, you know, for chimes or whatever shoes you were. And, and remember that everybody puts their pants on one leg at a time. Whether it's a, you know, that multi-million dollar client, your prospect you're trying to, or the family, that young family that just desperately needs our that the products that we have? Don't ever forget that. So

Chris Gandy 51:53

Joe, question for you. The association, right? You're a part of now, you were part of the NCAA before and now you're a part of Nathan, or you're part of the association, you're in an elite club. So tell us will tell us a little bit about why NAIFA. Why are you involved and why you stay committed for so long?

Joseph Spinelli 52:12

Well, you know, the way I look at it, I you know, first joined because they advocacy. And, and the way I look at it is and my dad says the best it helps us. It protects us from the people, we vote in the office and protects our business. Like I the way I describe it to the way I've been describing the award to clients is it's our association, it's like a Medical Association, or any other situation. I know in Tallahassee, you know, we, they all it's the capital of Florida, so they all know what the associations are fairly familiar with a different association. So and I you know, that's the way I equate it is Nate, you know, the DOL rule and all this stuff, all the craziness that they try and pass you know, I look at NAIFA as the advocacy, and I'm just learning I'll be honest, I'm learning about the more stuff that naifa does. And the FSP and all the life happens you know, I've used I've used life happens stuff before in the past but bringing all the brands under one roof it's a great thing and you can be in and you can be you know have a go to resource for stuff for questions or if you need anything or in your in the big thing is when NAIFA does is you're not alone in this business. You're not alone in an industry. Everybody's dealing with the same things whether you work for you know, Knights, Columbus, New York Life, you're an independent, independent person, we all have the same struggles and relate to the same things. So in the kinds of brings us together

Chris Gandy 54:12

Joe it's been a pleasure listening continue to play continue to play the game at a high level. You thank you and you level the road to success. You've only begun to scratch the surface 40 under 40 got you in gotcha gotcha you didn't camp now you

Joseph Spinelli 54:26

gotta eat yeah that's right.

Chris Gandy 54:32

Do you have anything else before we close? I'm a ticket did Suzanne and then I'll close this up

Joseph Spinelli 54:41

Oh, no. Um, I don't have anything else. Suzanne.

Suzanne Carawan 54:44

Yeah, just say congratulations again. We're excited to to continue to publicize you and promote you and watch as you continue that journey Yeah, thank you doing what financial looking forward to do more work with you and then Chris. Merry Christmas to you. So All right.

Chris Gandy 55:00

Well, Suzanne, that closes us out with my Christmas Celtics that Listen, everyone out there and naifa land. Thanks for tuning into the Advisor Today podcast, where we uplift, promote, and we hear from our future leaders like Joe, why you need to be an eighth member and stay connected. And we look forward to having a wonderful, wonderful holiday for everyone out there. Be blessed; be safe. And we look forward to seeing you in 2024 when we bring back the Advisor Today podcast, we'll see you on the other side. Thank you, guys.

Joseph Spinelli 55:36

Thanks for joining us for the NAIFA Advisor Today podcast series. Make sure to subscribe to get future episodes, and if you're interested in coming on the show, let us know



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