Out of the Mouths of Reps

This fall, some registered reps will go back to school elementary school. Through a 3-year-old SunAmerica program called K.I.D.S., reps will visit classrooms to educate teachers and children about financial basics: setting up budgets, saving money and avoiding credit card debt. This approach has an added plus for reps: Parents, teachers and school administrators often follow up seeking advice or assistance.

This fall, some registered reps will go back to school — elementary school.

Through a 3-year-old SunAmerica program called K.I.D.S., reps will visit classrooms to educate teachers and children about financial basics: setting up budgets, saving money and avoiding credit card debt.

This approach has an added plus for reps: Parents, teachers and school administrators often follow up seeking advice or assistance. And that can lead to new accounts.

What type of message do the kids get? As part of his talk, Danny Ruiz, a SunAmerica rep in Tampa informs students that the average American has only $14,000 a year to retire on. “I try to get them to visualize themselves living off $14,000 a year; so it's something that hits home,” he says.

About 7,000 reps have requested the educational packet on which the program is based, according to a SunAmerica spokeswoman. Certain rules must be followed so as not to give the appearance of soliciting business on school property. For example, reps are prohibited from recommending specific products or directly marketing their services to children.

The goal of putting a rep in the classroom is to give kids and teachers a chance to ask financial questions. The reps can then follow through with seminars for teachers and/or PTA members, who could become clients.

“As you're wholeheartedly trying to make an effort to change the lives of these youngsters, the business will come to you,” says Ruiz, who has met with both children and instructors.

“I hate cold calls, but it's almost a warm call,” says Rebecca Jones, a SunAmerica rep in Tomball, Texas. “The parents have heard either good or bad about me when I talk to them about their kids.”

SunAmerica has made the program available to other broker/dealers, including A.G. Edwards.

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