IFW Press & Media


Erik Sussman: Financial Education Invaluable in an Unpredictable World

Like many Americans, Byron Hazley had made a few investments over the years, but he never felt quite comfortable about his financial security in retirement. And, like many Americans, it took a major life moment to motivate him to finally get a true assessment of his financial picture.When the 66-year-old California healthcare management executive came to the Institute of Financial Wellness in 2021, he said that the pandemic, combined with the passing of his wife, had made him realize that he needed to take action.

Although he had entrusted management of his money to a friend at one of the big-name wealth-management firms, a voice in the back of his head kept whispering that something was not right.

The free, personalized report IFW provided to Hazley revealed that his friend and advisor, influenced by the philosophies and practices of his employer’s corporate culture, had invested over 65% of Hazley’s $1 million portfolio in high-risk stocks. Any market crash could have put Hazley in danger, particularly if he ever needed to use the money in a down market.

Beyond safeguarding his financial future by incorporating some protection products in his portfolio, IFW’s process saved his life. A health screening required for the insurance program recommended as part of the IFW process revealed that Hazley had prostate cancer and needed immediate surgery.

“It is only because of the process of working on my entire financial situation with the Institute of Financial Wellness that I am a cancer survivor,” Hazley says. “Finally, I feel well-prepared for the future and have peace of mind knowing that my daughter will be well taken care of, in the event anything happens to me. Thanks to this process, I am no longer worried about my ability to retire in peace.”

America is full of countless more Hazleys who, for one reason or another, are missing critical opportunities to maximize the value of their portfolios and minimize their risk.

Since IFW was launched in the winter of 2020, we have provided over 3,000 Americans with the fact-based, unbiased financial education and resources they need – at no cost – and we are seeing the numbers continue to grow as the pandemic continues to remind Americans of the importance to prepare for the unexpected.

To meet this incredible demand, we have continued to expand our advisory board, and today we are comprised of some of the most accomplished professionals in the financial services, business, insurance, entertainment, health and wellness industries. Notably, these include financial services professional Fabrice Braunot, actress Kristin Chenoweth, retirement income expert Tom Hegna, and actor Malik Yoba.

Our next major announcement: we are currently introducing the first-of-a-kind “Advisor LIFT” program to make it easier for Americans to find and connect with qualified financial professionals. This new program provides financial professionals with a complete suite of services, assistance and support to help ensure their success in assisting these individuals.

Looking ahead at the coming years, there is no doubt that the number of Americans seeking financial education will continue to grow. Indeed, those who take the right steps will best-position themselves and their loved ones while gaining a priceless asset: peace of mind.
Erik Sussman, CEO of the Institute of Financial Wellness, may be reached at erik@the-ifw.com

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