Do you need a bigger boat?


“You're gonna need a bigger boat.” That line, as many of you already know, comes from "Jaws" — maybe my favorite all-time movie.

In the scene where it’s spoken, Sheriff Brody (Roy Scheider) is shoveling chum off the back of Quint’s (Robert Shaw) ratty fishing boat. Along with the oceanographer, Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), the unlikely trio has set out to capture the great white shark that’s terrorizing the resort community of Amity Island.

The town is desperate. The shark is killing people, scaring away tourists in a town that needs tourism to survive. Brody, Quint and Hooper are the town’s salvation. They have a plan: capture and kill the shark.

So they chug along the choppy waters, and Brody’s sent to do the dirty work, scooping out chum in hopes to lure the great white. When he finally comes face to face with the massive shark for the first time, he backs up, slowly, horrified at the prospects of actually achieving the goal. With a cigarette dangling from his mouth, Brody utters the famous line: “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

As I said earlier, the trio had a plan: capture and kill the shark. Ok, that’s the plan, but is it realistic? Do they have the necessary manpower and firepower to get the job done?

Likewise, when you set your goals for 2013, did you set them with an intention that they were actually achievable? While it’s great to shoot for the moon, were the numbers you planned to sell of annuities and other products something within your reach? Or were you simply shoveling chum off the back of the boat?

See also: The 4 enemies inside you

If Quint and his motley crew had truly mapped out a plan, perhaps their voyage would have turned out differently. If you mapped out your 2013 production plan you would have a better idea of how to accurately hit your targets.

I recently spoke to advisor Sean Lee, president and founder of Murray, Utah-based SPL Financial, Inc. While we didn’t talk about Jaws, we did talk about planning.

Lee is a former baseball player, and he looks at his planning practice in sports terms. “I was an outfielder and a pitcher, and I hit one homerun in the entire 24 years that I played baseball, and that was an inside the park homerun,” Lee told me.

You see, he’s a singles and doubles guy, and he’s okay with that. “The big power hitters out there strike out a lot,” Lee said. “And I equate the markets to power hitters. They hit a lot of homeruns, but they strike out a lot.”

Lee said that many of his clients have $1 million-plus in assets and many more have $500,000-plus. But there are other prospects, families who have worked hard all their lives, with maybe $200,000 in assets, and they’re not getting the planning opportunities they need.

“A lot of marketing is geared toward $500,000 or more families, but I’ve found there are a lot of families out there with maybe $170,000, and nobody’s ever sat down and helped them develop a financial plan.”

The plan, of filling in those niches that maybe too many advisors feel is not worth their time, is paying off for Lee.

In 2012, he submitted $6.5 million in annuities. This year, he’s on pace to ramp that up to around $15 million. He also said he’s set to hit around $13 million in managed money. The goal was to have $20 million in assets for 2013. With a staff of two to handle all that business, pretty soon, Lee acknowledged, he’s “gonna need a bigger boat.”


For more from Daniel Williams, see:

The succession plan

Boomer-plus clients talk about their finances

Of numbers, movies and a gold guy named Oscar

About the Author
Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams

Daniel Williams, Editor-in-Chief of the new Retirement Advisor magazine (formerly Senior Market Advisor) and Annuities Channel Editor for, is an award-winning journalist and business editor with extensive experience in print, online and trade shows. Prior to joining Senior Market Advisor, Daniel was editor of Real Estate Southern California magazine and West Coast South Bureau Chief of, both are divisions of Real Estate Media. Previously, he covered the commercial real estate beat for the Orange County Business Journal. While there, he received a certificate of merit from SABEW (the Society of American Business Editors and Writers Inc.) for a story on "OCs Cash Economy." A native of the Deep South, Daniel relocated from Los Angeles to Denver with his wife and daughter and can be reached at or on Twitter @LHPro_Annuities.

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