What is Ship Shape Financial? We are two guys, Bob Frank and Walt Reynolds, with over 50 years of experience in financial services, who decided to work together more than 5 years ago after each of us worked many years under the umbrella of large financial institutions. We wanted a new business model: instead of two captive agents representing products from our company to our clients, we wanted to be two independent agents representing our clients, using products and solutions that best fit their needs from various insurance companies.
What distinguishes us from fee only planners or investment brokers? We do comprehensive financial planning without charging a fee and without focusing just on market gains from stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. We provide wholistic solutions to protecting our clients and their loved ones financially from dying too young, living too long, or getting sick or hurt. We focus first on addressing the risks our clients face through life, disability, critical illness, and long term care insurances, and various Medicare supplements. Then we address the risk of outliving retirement by providing guaranteed future income through various types of annuities.
At Ship Shape Financial, we build and remodel sailboats. What kind of sailboats? Sailing vessels that can weather all kinds of conditions from storms to smooth sailing. How? By building from scratch, or more commonly remodeling the financial boats our clients are using to sail through life at all ages and stages. We know that a sound vessel needs a deep keel to keep it upright when the weather is bad, a solid and roomy hull that can withstand storms and glide through the water when the weather is good, and a sturdy set of sails which can catch the wind when weather conditions are good, and yet be taken in and tied down in stormy conditions.
The keel in this picture represents insurance policies to protect against unexpected financial loss, market loss, loss of earnings due to sickness and medical bills, or a prolonged disablement, or the loss of a breadwinner due to death. The keel is certainly not the part of the boat we see or admire, but it is vitally important to the stability of the vessel.
The hull in this picture represents bank savings and CDs and fixed and fixed indexed annuities, your safe money that you cannot lose except to inflation. The hull needs to be roomy enough to weather a storm when the sails have to come in.
The sails in this picture are market investments, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, variable annuities. When the weather is good for sailing, you need enough sail to catch the wind so you can move quickly where you want to go. You also need sails to stay ahead of inflation, which at 2-3% long term is far higher than the returns you will get at a bank or credit union.
Walt and I see all kinds of boats come into our office, everything from catamarans, to canoes with sails attached, to row boats with or without sails, to bonafide sailing vessels. At first, we try get our clients to understand what type of boat they are traveling in. Seeing the real shape of their own boat and picturing it at sea is often an eye opener. We have seen canoes with massive sails overhead (a small amount of savings, many investments, and no insurance). Or rafts with massive sails (all funds invested in the market, no savings, no insurance). These cases call for some serious remodeling. If someone comes in with a beautiful sailing vessel, we tell them that they should keep doing what they are doing. We are not looking for beautiful sailboats. And most people do not have them, and do not know that they don’t have them.
Who are our clients? Small businesses, families, individuals, medical professionals, retirees, those approaching retirement. Even pro-bono cases where we know we can help individuals even if there is no possible sale for us. With over 50 years of experience as financial professionals, we offer ourselves to our communities and community organizations as advisors. We grow mainly through referrals from our clients and from networking.
Why do we do what we do at Ship Shape Financial? Because of people from all walks of life: people like Garth, a guy who made a modest living driving a service truck. When he died, I handed his wife Linda a check for $50,000 to help get on with her life because of a policy I wrote on him. Because of a college professor whose wife died a year ago and received a sizable death benefit he will use to help protect his three sons should he die. Because of a retired dentist and his wife who are guaranteeing their life style through annuities with guaranteed income. Because of a single mom who wants to provide for her daughter’s future, a self-employed landscaper who is protecting his wife and family if he should die, an owner of a little restaurant in a neighboring town who wants her daughter to be able to take over if she dies, a grandmother who is using life insurance to help her two granddaughters prepare for the future. Because of a financial planner who is insuring his business partner so that should the partner die, he will have enough funds to provide for his partner’s wife in return for her share of the business and also be able to carry on his business after the loss of his partner. That’s me by the way.
This is why Walt and I plan for the future of our clients, this is why we are in the sailboat remodeling business: to help them when they need help the most. This is why we remodel their sailing vessels by writing insurance, this is why we carefully set up beneficiaries on life insurance and annuities, this is why we write annuities to provide guaranteed future income, this is why we check up on our clients to help keep them out of trouble.
Talk to us about people you know who may need some remodeling of their financial vessels. Talk to us about your own situations. What does your boat look like? Life happens out on the ocean of life. Are you ready for it.
Bob Frank – Ship Shape Financial – Guiding our clients with smooth sailing and safe harbors.