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April Is National Financial Literacy Month

Larry Holzberg-2022

Lawrence (Larry) Holzberg is the Brokerage Director of a single-source wealth management firm providing products and services to help address every aspect of your financial life. Larry’s 20 years of experience in brokerage, advanced sales, and solutions-based advice assists his responsibility in leading the firm’s financial professionals. He is also the Immediate Past President of NAIFA, the only organization representing insurance and financial advisors regardless of the products they sell or the focus of their practice. 

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

  • Larry Holzberg talks about NAIFA's evolution 
  • The journey to becoming the National President of NAIFA
  • Why it’s important to implement diversity in your company 
  • The value of being an engaged NAIFA member 
  • Larry shares how he overcame challenges in his role as president during and post-pandemic
  • The mission and objectives of NAIFA's grassroots advocacy
  • What can we expect from NAIFA moving forward? 

In this episode…

A career in the insurance and financial services industry can be lonely. While connecting with others in your industry is vital, it seems impossible when juggling your workload and personal life. What resources are available to help you network with like-minded professionals and grow in your knowledge and expertise? 

Having extensive experience in financial services, brokerage, advanced sales, and solutions-based advice, Larry Holzberg discovered you can’t succeed alone. He recommends joining an association of flourishing insurance and financial advisors. The benefits of being involved in an industry-focused organization provide advocacy, education, diversity, the opportunity to grow your network, and strengthen your professional development.

In this episode of Advisor Today, Chris Gandy and Suzanne Carawan sit down with Larry Holzberg to discuss how insurance agents and financial advisors can thrive as members of an association. Larry talks about how NAIFA has evolved, the importance of implementing diversity in your organization, the value of being an engaged NAIFA member, and the mission of NAIFA's grassroots advocacy.

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 Chris Gandy. And we're actually live at congressional conference. And welcome to Advisors Today podcast, where we feature all the top leaders in the insurance and financial services industry. I'm here with our wonderful co-host, Suzanne Carawan. Hi, Suzanne.

Suzanne Carawan 0:36 

Hi, Chris. Hi.

Chris Gandy 0:37 

Great to see you in person.

Suzanne Carawan 0:39 

Yeah, it's great. I know to be in person first live by podcast we've done.

Chris Gandy 0:43 

Huh? Who knew? So Suzanne, can you tell us a little bit about our sponsor today?

Suzanne Carawan 0:49 

Yeah. So I'm delighted to say that we are here at congressional Conference, which is the largest association flying for insurance and financial services professionals. So today's podcast is brought to us by NAIFA Advocacy. We are the only organization that does state interstate and federal advocacy. And we're delighted to have over 500 guests attending today. We'll go to the Hill tomorrow. And we'll probably hear a little bit more about that as we talk to our guests today.

Chris Gandy 1:15 

So we get an opportunity to talk to one of the gurus of NAIFA. No other than Mr. Larry Holzberg, Larry, how are you today?

Larry Holzberg 1:26 

Morning, Chris, morning, Suzanne. I'm wonderful. It's great to be here. Excited to be going up on the Hill tomorrow represent the 75 million people we represent in our industry and our consumers and clients. And I'm excited to talk to everyone about what NAIFA does.

Chris Gandy 1:37 

So those who probably know Larry, Larry's done a ton for NAIFA. And he's done a ton in the industry. And it's wonderful to hear from him. Since he's been on both sides. He's been a producer, he's been in management. He also has led NAIFA through challenges and transitions and opportunities. So, Larry, we'd love to hear from you kind of where are we at NAIFA? Where are we? What are we doing? Why are we here in DC for such a wonderful opportunity?

Larry Holzberg 2:15 

It's probably the most exciting time I've been around NAIFA in my career. We changed what how we do business over five years ago. And we did it on the run, we built this plan and took it off what was still operating. And we've transformed a loose organization of 600 different chapters into one voice that speaks on behalf of the advisor, the financial advisor, the insurance agent, most importantly, we represent the clients. And to do that, while serving without stopping is amazing. What we have accomplished to make a better advisor, a better ethical environment for people to do business. And to be able to serve clients in all 50 states is remarkable. We have an incredibly talented team. But the most important thing is we have a network of advisers, almost 20,000 people belong to this association, who every day roll up their sleeves and do what's important for financial security. And it's just an honor and privilege to help take this organization and steer it in the right direction. Hopefully you leave it a little better than you found it. And I think we've done a great job in doing that. And we've set the course now to accelerate and expand what we have accomplished. The industry has taken notice, when our members go up onto Capitol Hill tomorrow, they'll be noticed because the leader of the United States Senate has on his calendar NAIFA's in town. Think about that, not every organization that comes to town has that. That is an amazing opportunity to spread the word of what we do and why we do it. Because, we used to say we represent Main Street, every street to Main Street, be it small town in Florida, or Wall Street. We represent the American people on Congress tomorrow. And it's interesting, our good friends at the ACLU, the Merton Council life insurers in their releases, and when they visit Congress, they talk about what NAIFA has done on the hill. But remarkable organization. We don't bang our chest about it a lot because we do the good work. But it's really an honor to have been involved and help the organization forward.

Suzanne Carawan 4:24 

So you have the best role, right? And you're now the immediate past president that we call the IPPC. Can you tell us a little bit about how you actually get to become the national president like what that journey is and your role now?

Larry Holzberg 4:37 

It's a long journey. And my journey probably started like a lot of people. I went to a local meeting, I was invited to a local meeting. They invited me to attend the board meeting, and they needed a volunteer and I noticed five people stepped back and I was standing there. And literally, that's how I got involved in programming in Suffolk County, Long Island. And you start getting involved you meet people, you'll find that in this industry in our organization, one of the things we do a great it's the people we get to work with. And you slowly get involved you expand toil you TCF our training program. I got involved in state politics. Before I knew what I was on the state board kind of had the opportunity in New York to try to do this one night for a New York, where we got rid of chapters and everything and did from the New York top down, we reinvigorated New York. As an old New Yorker, I kind of had the attitude of what I didn't like something I said something and we're gonna talk about Terry Headley today. Terry Headley, and Matt Tassie took me aside one day and said, it's easy from the back seats to complain, step up and do something. And when we had the Q&A membership experience, and we reimagine what NAIFA was like, I served on that. And the next step was to be on the board. And what goes from there, and I had the honor of going through the chairs, I'd like to think the immediate past president is the best job. I think the one that starts in January might be a little better. But it's my goals, meet a past president maintain momentum, we have the Office of the President, which is what transformed organization, a lot of organizations, the next President goes on their attack or heart attack, we have an office of president keeps consistency of mission, styles can be different purposes can be different. But Brian holes is our current presidents missions, the same exact is mine, Tom Coughlin, we'll be the same way, we created that vision. And it's very important to continue that. And as immediate past president, you support that. You also the one responsible to make sure past leaders stay engaged. The key to a great organization is learn from those who came before you involve them. They believe in what you're doing. So I'm spending a lot of time reaching out and working with the past leadership, honoring our past presidents and other trustees who showed the way. And you have to give back. This is the greatest industry in the world, I'm very fortunate for the career I've had, or having. And this is how you give back you experience it, you share it. And you tell people why they should be in this business, because there is not a better industry that I know of.

Chris Gandy 7:16 

Larry, we are here at congressional conference, and we get a chance to talk a little bit about how we're going to kick it off. Right? And so over the last year, I've cheered kind of the DEI kind of initiatives and thoughts. Can you share with us, represent, we're here we're alive? Can you share with us a little bit kind of your perspective and the importance of DEI, and really kind of how we make that part of our DNA?

Larry Holzberg 7:46 

Well, I think it was kami Scott a past presidents started the DEI symposium. And talking about it what I love about what we do is we don't just talk about DEI, we're implementing it. Sometimes the person who doesn't look like they should be involved in DEIs, the best messenger our organization needs to in our industry needs to look like the rest of America. And there is talent, and there are quality people everywhere. And we were so late in our industry, the biggest failing in our industry was we did not put our arms around making sure women came into the financial services. One, they're better at it than we are, they really are. They understand they have a built-in empathy that most of us, gentlemen do not have. And their understanding and how they communicate. Their leaders in the world and business. People want to do business with people they know and understand. And for this industry to expand, we must look like America. And we have to go to communities we haven't gone to. And we have to serve communities that are underserved, because they need our services more, we fought the DOL fiduciary rule. So lowered middle class people would have access to advisors. So if we don't go there, why did we do that? And we have to understand that there are different ways to come into the business, we have to embrace a World Financial Group who may market their products and services differently, but a vitally important to meeting people. The fact of the matter is, I think the numbers are a quarter of a million Latin American advisors in this country, who we would have to make sure we represent and help them expand their community, the African American community. I mean, quite frankly, the smartest person in the room at our board meetings is sitting to my left. And the education and the opportunity he's showing us is amazing. And it's not. If we do not do that, we're foolish. And we're not foolish people. So when we started this initiative, and now have really committed to doing it properly and expanded what it does. It is opening the eyes of everybody how important is it, every member of our executive committee is going to be here introducing our speakers, because it is a commitment of this organization to expand it, to expand the industry, and to expand the culture of belong to everyone.

Chris Gandy 10:16 

Well, Larry, being a part of that committee, I always talk about the difference between an interest and a commitment is when it's convenient, and when convenience is set aside, we always find ourselves in situations where we have a choice. And those choices typically are to embrace and move forward to uplift. Or we can be in a situation where we can be very controversial and divide. So when we started, I think we're starting on the right foot, I think we're starting with a unique proposition of let's include everybody, and we move forward. So now, everyone comes in the room, congressional conference, everybody's super hyped, super excited. We're in flags, and we're gonna do a national anthem. And jets may fly over, hopefully. But when we now get a chance to engage, let me take a step back, we get a chance to actually learn what are the key items, currently, right now in Congress that's in the Senate or in the house and some of these bills, kind of what does that really mean? And, like, how is it that as NAIFA representatives, people out there can get engaged even if they're not here on their local level? How can they learn from something like this?

Larry Holzberg 11:46 

Well, there are a couple of things to learn one. It's not as necessarily what's the bill that's in Congress today, or the bill that's in the house, or everybody's preoccupation with the debt ceiling going on. It's developing the relationship with those leaders, those legislators and their staffs, to the bill that may be coming, or the situation that may be coming, or a bill that doesn't appear to have anything to do with what we do. I guess the biggest threat to our industry today, by taxation, the inside build-up is something called the ProAct, which is a well-intended bill to protect workers ability to unionize and be protected. On the face of it, good idea, but when you drill down the way it's written, it would basically make essentially every advisor a full-time employee with any company they hold the contract with. Now, people said why does that matter? Well, we're independent business owners, we don't want to be locked in to be an employee of a company, one with all best interest involved. That's not a consistent two, it's not the best way to run a business. And so you have to go up and explain, here's why it's better to have an independent advisor, here's why we should not be considered W2, quite frankly, as the protecting the interests of our advisor. If every insurance company had to make me a W2 employee, they would probably cancel number of their contracts and benefits they provide us, for us doing the work we do. Situation was similar in California, they had the same bill, because of what NAIFA members did on the ground. And they learn it here and then take it home and grassroots. They went up to California, and California put an exemption for our industry. That's why you have to learn about this stuff. So when you hear something local, we're prepared for it nationally, or if you see it nationally, we have to prepare for it locally, State of Washington, PESTEL Long Term Care Law. Another well-intentioned idea, the impact was almost every major long-term care company pulled out of the state product was sold, that was not great. Advisors couldn't protect, and it had negative impact on the people they were trying to protect. That prepared us in other states when it comes up. Kentucky another great example. Revenues are hard everywhere. Kentucky had came up with an idea to raise some revenue, they were going to charge sales tax on people's financial plans. So you encourage people to do the work, do the planning, meet with someone and then charge them an 8% sales tax? Well, because of NAIFA, nationally, working locally with the NAIFA's, Kentucky team that went away. So it's always vital. And you don't learn about that if you're not engaged. I mean, we all get too many emails and things like that. I'm guilty as anybody else. I don't open every email. But if I see a NAIFA Advocacy email, I know I have to open it because something important is happening. And that protects our clients, our ability to be in the industry, our ability to serve our client's is vital. And that is why we do what we do and how we do it. And you can't do that if you don't spend the time getting engaged, and meet other people. And the other bonus you get out of it is you get to meet incredible people. And just sitting, having a cup of coffee, you'll learn something from someone, take it home, and it'll help you business and make you a better person.

Suzanne Carawan 15:22 

I think partly though, people are apathetic, I think they think that oh, okay, so NAIFA's out there doing that for me, I don't need to be involved. Like, that's a lobbyists. I don't need to do that. What do you say to all that mean? Yes, we have 20, we are by far the biggest, we're the oldest, we're the one and only, but it's 20,000. And there's a sea of 300,000 agents and advisors out there in the United States. So and we don't beat our chest enough. We don't tell everybody everything. We're doing it nearly enough, I think because we're always so busy. NAIFA is like constantly working on the next challenge, like constantly, constantly. So how do you? What do we say to all those people out there that are apathetic, that aren't paying attention that don't see the connection between what they're doing every day. And all of this, why work here?

Larry Holzberg 16:11 

I would challenge every one of them to give us one year. Try it for one year getting involved. And if you can honestly tell me that your businesses and better your knowledge is and better, your network isn't stronger. Don't come back. I get it. But I guarantee that will not happen. Why get involved? It's pretty cool, I have a client or agent I work with comes into my office. And he sees pictures of the six or seven congressmen and senators I know. That's pretty cool. I actually, I have on speed dial on my phone, members of Congress that I can call and more importantly, not that I can call that they have called me to ask my opinion of something. That information that ability, it changes your life, it changes your career, you become a resource, you become more respected? And then I'll give you the unpolitical answer. With all due respect, you can't afford to be a freeloader. Because if you take the app to that someone else is going to do it. See nothing say nothing, bad things happen. I don't care what spectrum you're in. And in this industry, we have to stand up and be heard and understand what we do. We're a lot like Congress, no one likes Congress. 95% of people hate Congress. 85% of Congress, people get reelected. And we're kind of considered that in our industry. But I've never met a client who really didn't like their financial advisor didn't have a great relationship. So I had to stand up, tell our story and be heard. Because if not, when that something you don't like happens, you have to look in the mirror. So it's part of being a professional is being engaged and being involved. And when I would remind people is we have a code of ethics as a member of NAIFA, the only trade association in this spectrum that has that. That's important, tell people about that we do business a certain way. We do business in a way that is right, ethical, and in the best interest of our clients. We did that before they talked about the fiduciary rule. We did that before any best interest. That's why ACLI partnered with us to pass good legislation in every state on annuities in the best interest model act, we do the right job the right way. Get engaged, have a voice, make sure we continue to do the job right and hold us accountable. Our members should hold us accountable and be engaged. And events like this in the DEI symposium, we're changing the industry for the better. Open up your mind, do something that's uncomfortable, get to know people who are a little different than you. And you'll be a far better person. And you'll enjoy the experience a far better amount.

Chris Gandy 19:04 

Larry, we've talked about DEI symposium, we've talked about getting engaged. We've talked about getting off your butt and starting to be active. We've talked a little bit about grassroots. Can you talk about the experience that you had because you had a you very unique, let's call it pre-presidency and presidency, right? Because you're Mr. COVID. Right. And so you had an opportunity to experience leading during a pandemic, right, or coming out of a pandemic kind of that timeline. Share with us a little bit about what was the most difficult thing for you to do? Share with us that and then share with us how did you do it?

Larry Holzberg 20:00 

So one of the most difficult thing to do is when you're used to interacting person to person, that's how you built your whole career. And that stops on one day, the world stopped. What was really unique, what we did was, and it's one of our new programs at the time was something called NAIFA Live, which was basically our first foray into the webinar business. We took that chassis, I think was the third day of the world shut down and the NAIFA's executive committee started doing weekly town halls of what we were doing, making sure we stay connected with our members, working through the process, provide value resources. We're gonna have over 500 people today, we had, I think, six or 700, to our online congressional conference that year, which was only six weeks after the start of COVID. We were walking gum, walking and chewing gum at the same time, we were doing planning a virtual congressional conference, while still trying to plan an in-person conference. Because we were all told, it'll be two or three weeks, we'll go back to flatten that curve. Two weeks, we'll be back, we're not going to get out of it. Now, luckily, the smart planning we did and how we did it put NAIFA in a very good spot. Because we took advantage of the economic situation. It ramped up our technology, it ramped up what we could do in a virtual world. We found a way to touch people, our main educational event went on via zoom. Also, we had great turnout. But we were very good at making sure we kept our relationships, spoke to our membership kept our relationships on Congress, we taught people how to do business differently, that Zoom is okay. And I don't think we realized we did that for our members until after the fact as we've come out of COVID, luckily, the lessons we learned on how to do work electronically are still there. But we've also realized, getting together, being with people getting live and doing in a safe and effective way is really great. I think we were on the first major events coming out of COVID that was in-person was our first National Leadership Conference, which was on I had the honor of being installed as president, or Susanne likes to say the beginning of my reign. But it was remarkable, and we did it safely. We did it in a wise way not gone, make believe would no one got sick. But we understood it. And we kept our sense of community. And I think that's the most part was we kept our sense of community of an organization and an industry. And I give a lot of credit to the insurance industry in total of how they handled COVID and how they were there, and how they made underwriting decisions and other things to make sure our policies and products were available to them. I mean, we do great and terrible times to help people.

Suzanne Carawan 23:00 

Yeah, I was gonna say the same thing. I mean, going back and thinking about that time, the first town hall we did had 150 people the next day was 300. I mean, it was exponentially growing. We had 1000 people by the end of it, because we realized and people that hadn't been engaged with NAIFA, but they came back and said, now, I need my professional association. Who else is supposed to do this? And I think one of the most remarkable things was, we had just launched our consumerfinancialsecurity.org We had just launched, we thought it was a greatest thing. We launched it February 8, turn around here comes March 13. We completely changed it to just become a resource to all of Congress so that Congress could say, You know what, their constituents are calling them. And we said, you know what, no problem Congress, we got you. We just filled that financial security with content. And Congress just said, you need to call or go to the website at NAIFA. Look at financialsecurity.org they can help you is it is a magical thing to be during that time.

Larry Holzberg 23:59 

And it takes time, the United States Senate Committee on aging last year, released the report, the only organization that was quoted that was probably not a government organization. They quoted NAIFA, what we do and senior marketplace, that education to them over that period of time. And quite frankly, let's be honest, when the world shut down, we all needed something to do. And we were there to re educate and remind our members of what we do, how important is what we do. We became resources for them. We expanded our educational footprint, because the companies weren't able to do it. And we really became a great footprint. And now you'll notice I think we have 25% more people con-con this year than last year. So people are becoming more comfortable to come out. They're being comfortable to see it. We had an incredible event last summer called Apex our new educational event. Great turnout, the Arizona Biltmore and our members are seeing the value and the value is greater than ever and those who haven't Seen it will. But how we also do that is we have to diversify our industry, we have to get younger, we have to bring younger people in. Suzanne is one of the people pushing us the hottest. And our young ambassador program, we have to go into colleges and the high schools, and talk about why not only being financially secure and smart about your business, your life is important, why a career and financial services is the most rewarding career they can go to. And we're doing that now.

Chris Gandy 25:28 

So Larry, in my previous life, I'm a recovering athlete, in my previous life, I played basketball, and that's what you mentioned is the ability to pivot NAIFA pivoted. It didn't get three seconds into paint. Like some of the New York Knicks where he's from New York, so we won't have Nick comments, we may have a couple of them.

Larry Holzberg 25:52 

But when you play basketball, you actually had a dribble to move. Now you just run?

Chris Gandy 25:57 

Or walk very slowly. So we were able to pivot. And what you're reminding people of is, we took the offensive, right? And so we had the ability, those who fall, don't fall sports, but we played offense versus defense and waiting for things to happen. We were proactive. And then the aggressor, in those situations was typically wins the game in sports, right? Yes. So, with that being said, Larry, we have a couple more questions for you. I want to make sure we're good on time. Suzanne. So Suzanne will make sure that we're not crazy on our time. So Larry, grassroots, from a concept it sounds cool, right? Grassroots, how things kind of get started and unique and fresh and grassroots. So I want to hear your perspective on grassroots. And I'll give kind of my point of view, and Suzanne, we want to hear yours, because it is so important. Everything starts with the seat. Right. And so I want to get your comments on that. And where do you see grassroots? How do we get involved with grassroots? Why is it super important?

Larry Holzberg 27:17 

There are two parts of grassroots that are important, I think, and why we say grassroots, it is like, we plant the seed. And if you don't nurture that seed, the grass won't grow. If you don't take care of that seed, it's going to die out burnout over water it, you have to take care of it and watch it and make sure it grows properly, give it a little fertilizer to make it healthy. So the best way for grassroots is you have to get someone when they're new to something. But when something personally impacts them, unfortunately, that's the reactive one. But when someone's new to the business, you have to go there and explain to them, I understand you and try put food on your table. It's hard to get involved. It's hard to get into an industry get involved the industry, when you don't think you know anything until you don't where your next paycheck coming from. But the grassroots of taking that young advisor or an experienced advisor, and help mentoring their business career. And then teaching them the other things that impact them. They get involved, they get excited, they see the benefit, our grassroots years ago used to be a monthly breakfast or lunch. It's changed. People interact differently. So you have a webinar, you do a NAIFA live, and then you have a social marketing event, networking event, any go over and talk to that young person and say, here's what we do. How can I help your business? What can I do to help you? I've always found that season, it's much easier to go say how can I help you? Or instead of saying, I need you to do this for me? You put your arm out. And then to get someone involved, you say, I need your help. Can you help me? I think you're sitting here because a number of us came to you and said, we need your help. We saw what you did in Chicago and help build a local. We saw what you do with your business career. We saw that you did it differently. And I said how can I learn from you? So I think that education and getting to know people and spending time brings people together. It is a sense of community. I had the privilege being immediate past president. I was at Broward County, which is South Florida local association meeting. I think half the people that were shocked that I actually went to sit and spend and spend time talking to people why it's important. Why something that's happening is important. There's a law pending in Florida now about can they or can they not require certain genetic testing for underwriting? That is affects everybody. And what people don't realize it doesn't only affect the underwriting, it affects people's health. Someone may not want to go get a test before they buy their insurance, because they're afraid to test results, which doesn't mean a guarantee may cost them money there. So it becomes very personal. Grassroots is personal, how does it affect you? And down on the local level, which could be meeting your congressperson there. It's personal. They listen, it's relationships. We may do it via zoom, we may do it differently. But we're in the relationship business. Grassroots is about nurturing that relationship, and explaining to people why it's important, and how we can do things to help each other's career.

Chris Gandy 30:02 

Perfect. Suzanne, I mean, your thoughts on grassroots? Because you are approaching it also from a different perspective.

Suzanne Carawan 30:52 

Yeah, I think I want to hit on something you said earlier. And that is, it has to come from I think you need somebody to bring you in. I think you need to you get need to get invited. And so people need to be able to reach out and say, you need to come into this grassroots vs. Right. I'm going to take you to a meeting, I'm going to take you to an industry. I don't think most people just do that on their own. I think there's a fear factor. I think it's intimidating. But I think people are not aware of how accessible our elected leaders are. I mean, they are there for their constituents, you know, and they want to hear from you. And I think once you can get over that barrier, I think that opens up. But I think the other thing you said, Larry, that's so important is that there's a cultural component, and something's changed in the insurance industry. Over the years, something has diminished. It used to be there was an expectation that you're going to be involved in your professional associates in expectation. Of course, you're a business owner, right? You're in business, you're in politics, you're going to get involved in grassroots. And I think we need to bring that back. And these your leadership is saying, listen, this is just what you do. You don't have to wait to get involved in grassroots, right? When you're saying they're new and young and excited, get them involved, right then. Right? Because that's something that, you need the longevity, is what Larry saying the relationships there, it says a long term thing.

Larry Holzberg 32:12 

On the political side, you'll see most of our leaders get dressed the same way we do in the morning, do the same things. What you see on TV, the leadership of the world, is very different on one on one, most of our leaders are good people trying to do the best they can, who listen and understand. One of the things that has hurt our culture of joining is, I think it's the fear from our companies. They're afraid that if you meet Bob who's different than you from a different firm, you may be going somewhere else.

Chris Gandy 32:49 

Maybe poach in our industry.

Larry Holzberg 32:51 

Maybe poach and I've always said, no one's walking out the door if they weren't already on their way out. What they lost and don't realize is that the sense of community, the industry actually helps retention helps the company you're with. And if you're not defensive, and you're understand not being defensive, and proactive, you running your own agency, the company's you can learn from others, and implement it where you are. I think the companies are starting to see that again. Also, resources are more limited, so they can't do well, the developing and training. So those opportunities that we have that we're spending time now, and helping people build the practice, understand, not telling you what product to serve, or what how a product works, but how to market yourself. This is something that was never done, we are doing that in this organization. So we're providing tools and resources for the younger person in the industry, to have an opportunity to learn from the best, we have to continue to do that. And you can't be afraid it takes time. Now it takes time. It takes three to five years to build the career. It's going to take a lot longer if you try to do it by yourself. And it's our responsibility of those who've been around to go sit down and say how can I help you? Because that same person might be intimidated to go visit their congressman, is more than intimidated to go visit the number one producer in that office. That young gentleman is afraid to walk into her office and say, tell me how you did it. She will be more than willing to do it. But won't think to knock on their door to say it. Don't be afraid to knock on someone's door and say, can you tell me how you did it? Can you tell me what you do? We do this for three reasons. We want to make a good living. We want to provide things for our clients. But we also have egos and egos not defined only by the money you make. It's probably what you've left behind. I've had a very good career. I love my career. If I was not involved in NAIFA, no one would have known I was here. I might have left little ripple, by being involved in this organization, not me personally, this industry leaves a much bigger impact. So you get to join something makes you bigger than yourself. But don't be afraid to ask the question. Don't be afraid to share.

Chris Gandy 35:17 

Larry, I spend a lot of time in the medical community and in developing clients there and I see grassroots for NAIFA, pretty similar is, is the concept of when they transition from, from being a, a student, to being a resident or resident to being a fellow, it's the concept of do one, see one teach one, right. And so that concept goes very far. Because by doing, you're actually doing the work. By teaching, you're helping somebody else because, how to become a masterful at something and you have to be able to teach it to someone, right? And then also being able to learn right as you do it, right. So that that concept. And if we take that concept and kind of embrace that, we'll start to realize that that continuous culture, that opportunity of really, that green pea or that person or attracting somebody into the business, I think we were on a podcast recently where someone said, the comment of we've got to get back to attracting people to the business. Because when we look around the room, there's less and less and less. I mean, it's almost that's the next pandemic, there's less people out there, helping people with the things that are important in their lives and protecting their family. So we have to do a better job at doing that. One last question for me. Suzanne, you may have another question for Larry. But question for you is that now that we're here, we're at congressional conference. What's the future of NAIFA look like? I mean, inspire us? I mean, give someone out there, kind of, here's where we're going. Here's where we're at. Here's why you need to love NAIFA.

Larry Holzberg 37:06 

Wow. Last question. 10 seconds.

Chris Gandy 37:09 

So it's not really the last question. But I think it's a pointed question, because where you left it, you left it in the hands of a capable gentleman. But you didn't leave it based on next year? You left it based on, here's the vision for where we're going. And we want to create something dynamic and fantastic.

Larry Holzberg 37:33 

As I said, in our executive committee board meeting, on Saturday, we cannot look 20 minutes ahead of ourselves, we have to look 20 years out of what do we have to look like? Where do we have to go? And that's our mindset. We're actually the only organization I know that does five-year strategic planning, and actually opens up the book and says, where are we going, and we're coming to the end of the 2025 strategic plan. What we are doing, and how we're doing is this one, in working with corporate partners, we have become much more recognized on the state level and advocacy. We are the premier organization for advocacy, that will never change. But we're building a stronger stool of providing resources and services. We have learning centers in NAIFA that people don't even know about that if you just demonstrate and touch them will make you a better adviser. So we have a four-prong stool and several a three-prong stove what we provide. So we advocate we educate, we differentiate, and we network. And network is important because that's the community. And we're going to just take that and step on the accelerator pad of expanding it out. We're introducing something called the industry leadership board, that Tom Michael, the past president and myself has spearheaded over the last few years of bringing in the best in the industry C-suite level people. Insurance companies RIAs, independent marketing organizations. We're having a meeting Tuesday to talk about where is this industry going? And how do we do it together? So we're not reactive to what the industry is doing. Let's talk and have a serious conversation about what does distribution look like and how do we get there together? So we're putting the resources together to make sure we have more people coming into this business. We're working in partnership with the industry. It's not just insurance companies, it's investment advisory firms. Financial Services means many things. We're talking to banking. You may not believe in reverse mortgages, but we need to know about them. So we have one of the thought leaders and reverse mortgages on that organization. That's what we're doing. And luckily for people like with you, our good friend, Jamie Hopkins, who's been on our board, we've learned how to use social media to expand the touch of financial services. That's where we're going. We're doing it quickly. Our bloodstream is advocacy big because of what it does for our clients, we will be, I will assure you this in 10 years, the most consumer-recognized organization for financial security, that the consumer will recognize what we provide to them, that we are a resource, and that we've done things to build it and make it better that when they go to someone, they're going to ask, Are you a member of NAIFA? Because I want to deal with some of NAIFA. That will happen in the next five years. That's where this industry associations going.

Chris Gandy 40:29 

Wonderful. Thank you. Lightning round. We have any facts out there. But as we move to the lightning round, Larry, so here's a rule of thumb, the lightning round, is I'm going to ask you a series of questions, you'll probably get them like, what's your name? What's your wife's name, you get those. But the goal is that, you know, people see Larry Holtzberg And they say, oh, that's the president hey, but they don't really know Larry, right. And so I've gotten to know you. And you're fairly unique in that way. So we'll see how much you share with our NAIFA audience here. So you're ready to go? Okay. So well, we'll start off pretty easy. As you're from New York. Right? And so Chicago pizza, or New York pizza?

Larry Holzberg 41:17 

New York. My brother lives in Chicago. So I have both in New York. Why? There's something about a crisscrossed.

Chris Gandy 41:25 

Is that what it is? So Larry, we're in Washington, DC, and I noticed a little bit about food, right? favorite place to eat here in DC?

Larry Holzberg 41:35 

Oh, the board can tell you RPM, Italian, great food, great environment. Cool setting. It's just always on top.

Chris Gandy 41:47 

Got it, because you're from New York, the Yankees or the Mets. Mets. Like twice about that.

Larry Holzberg 41:57 

I like to suffer. So the next question is yes, the Jets.

Chris Gandy 42:04 

The next question is, are you excited? It's never been the most exciting time of your life. But you are getting a Hall of Fame quarterback and Aaron Rodgers now. So how do you feel about that?

Larry Holzberg 42:15 

I am totally excited. I'll show my age. So the Jets won the Superbowl 1969. The Thanksgiving before that they were playing the Oakland Raiders, it was called the Haiti game, which basically was the game was close to the end. And they went to this TV show called Tidy, which was a fabulous show. I wanted to watch it. I didn't know. I was four years old. So yeah. Am I excited? Yes, I am incredibly excited. But as a jet fan, I just wonder when he blows out his knee? Yes, I am excited.

Chris Gandy 42:45 

What's next. So Larry, last couple in the lightning round, is what would you go back and you've had a love and a ton of experience in the industry, and also serving, if you could go back and tell yourself your 20-year-old self, something about this journey? What would you tell your 20-year-old self?

Larry Holzberg 43:06 

Same thing I told my kids and I didn't realize it soon enough. Enjoy the journey. We're so concerned about getting to that destination, you never reach the destination. So enjoy the journey. There's gonna be ups and downs and difficulties. But enjoy the journey. I'm lucky I've had someone to share that journey with me since I'm 17 years old. But enjoy the journey.

Chris Gandy 43:32 

If you could go back to the last question, if you could go back in time and have dinner at RPM and with someone in the past, whether they're living now or they've lived in the past, they could be a celebrity. They could be president, whoever. Who would you go back and have a dinner and a conversation with?

Larry Holzberg 43:54 

Wow. Martin Luther King. Why? Because he saw better in everybody. I could have learned the lesson sooner.

Chris Gandy 44:06 

Yeah. Good. So Suzanne, do you have anything else Larry, great close there.

Suzanne Carawan 44:13 

No, Larry just made me tear up. That was great. Nailed it. Larry, great answer.

Chris Gandy 44:17 

So Larry, thank you for being here. We appreciate it. Thank you for you. Love you, brother. Thank you. Yeah, we are family here at NAIFA where we come together and we uplift each other. And we promote the future of leaders here on Advisor Today podcast tune in. I'm not sure we're gonna get a chance to do another one live. But thanks, Suzanne. Thanks, Larry Holzberg. I would give you a round of applause. But we don't have an audience here. But thanks for tuning in. And thanks for coming out and we'll see you soon.

Outro 44:52 

Thanks for joining us for NAIFA's 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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