Every bear market feels like the end of the world. As a plaintiff attorney, a bear market looming on the horizon may leave you scrambling to protect your clients, keep your firm’s finances in order and trying to manage your own retirement nest egg, but the reality is we’ve been here before and we’ll be here again.
Surviving a volatile financial market comes down to one thing: diversification. If your clients have been taking their settlements in cash or you have been accepting your contingency fees in a cash lump sum, it’s time to get educated on alternatives and rethink your game plan.
Challenges Facing Claimants
Injured claimants face a variety of obstacles when settling a case, regardless of the state of the economy and regardless if they are trying to protect their retirement or they are just starting to invest. Claimants accepting lump sum cash settlements during volatile financial times are even more susceptible to:
- Family and “friends” asking for money
- Predatory financial “advisors”
- Emotional spending
- Poor investment choices
- Loss of needs-based government benefits.
Structured Settlement Annuities: Long Term Safety & Security
A structured settlement annuity provides what no other financial product can promise: a guaranteed1 safety net during difficult financial times. Kiplinger’s agrees. In a recent article, the personal finance site listed annuities as one of the top five tools to make retirement savings last. By utilizing structured settlement annuities as a reliable revenue stream to cover basic living expenses, the remainder of a portfolio can be diversified to include more aggressive investments. Even the structured settlement annuity payments can be reinvested down the line to offset current low-interest rates.
Diversification Options for Plaintiff Attorneys and Claimants
By working with your trusted Sage settlement consultant, you and your clients have access to a range of financial vehicles that can help create a diverse portfolio that balances safety and growth potential.
- Structured Settlement Annuity: Flexible payment design, guaranteed1 payments, no overhead or annual fees
- Deferred Income Annuity (DIA): Payments starting after 12 months, guaranteed and lifetime payments, no underwriting
- Fixed Indexed Annuity (FIA): Lump sums, lifetime or annuitization (period certain & life) with a guarantee of principal and upside tied to an index (S&P 500 or similar)
- Multi-Year Guaranteed Annuity (MYGA): Fixed-rate and guaranteed payments for a specific term, guarantee a return of principal
- Settlements Plus™: For the injured plaintiff looking for tax-free income and market-based returns, and the ability to use their own financial advisor
- Fee Structure Plus®: For any contingency fee attorney looking for tax-deferral, market-based returns, and the ability to use their own financial advisor
- Investment Accounts: Low-cost platforms offering financial education and investment management services
- Special Needs Trusts, Pooled Trusts, Minors’ Trusts, Settlement Preservation Trusts and more: Depending on the claimant’s age, individual needs, income, and level of disability, options are available to preserve settlement proceeds while providing for life’s necessities
Contact Sage Settlement Consulting Today
The verdict? Don’t panic and don’t let fear get the best of you and your clients. By taking a proactive approach, you can face any financial downturn with confidence in your financial choices. Contact Kimberly Overby today to learn more.
1 Guarantees are subject to the claims-paying abilities of the issuing insurance company.
The fastest route to resolving your client’s case at mediation is coming to the table armed with an expert and a strong game plan. By bringing a settlement consultant on board as soon as you open a case, not only can you be sure your client is appropriately compensated and their recovery is protected, but in the process, you can also save your firm valuable time and money.
Pre-Mediation: Develop a Comprehensive Overview
Before mediation, the settlement consultant can meet with your client to review life care plans, assess needs-based government benefits, and assess your client’s financial needs and goals. By developing this kind of comprehensive overview, the settlement consultant can provide you with a detailed accounting of your client’s financial needs while you focus your efforts on preparing a strong case. In the meantime, the settlement consultant will also educate your client on the pros and cons of all available settlement options.
During Mediation: Have a Game Plan Ready
At this point, the claimant should already have a realistic idea of what to expect in terms of an offer from the defense. The claimant will also have a better understanding of relevant settlement options and any potential implications the proceeds may have on needs-based government benefits. At no cost to you or your client, an experienced settlement consultant can attend mediation and help create a solution that works for all parties involved, helping you reach resolution faster and avoid a potential impasse.
Post-Mediation: Create a Continuum of Care
Another benefit to involving your settlement consultant is the post-mediation continuum of care it creates. Reputable settlement consultants typically provide support for the life of the settlement plan. With a solid plan in place and a trusted resource to turn to for future questions, you can rest assured that your client will be in the hands of an expert for years to come. What better way to wrap up a case than with a satisfied client (and potential referral source!) for you and your firm?
Contact Sage Settlement Consulting for Mediation Assistance
Whether you are just opening a case or preparing for mediation, make sure you contact Kimberly Overby today.