ICFE eNEWS #09-03 - February 18th 2009

Lyn R. Link, Certified eMarketer (CeM), Certified Senior Advisor (CSA), and now, an ICFE CHECMS is the Founder and President of the National Reverse Mortgage Education Center (NRMEC).

NRMEC.org is one of the most integrated web sites for consumers and professionals who want to know more about reverse mortgages.

The NRMEC recommends the ICFE's newest certification program, the Certified Home Equity Conversion Mortgage Specialist (CHECMS).

The following article points out why earning and utilizing credentials like CHECMS is essential to professionals in many areas of activity in today's economy.

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Professional Designations: Marketing Value with Senior Adults

By Lyn R. Link, CeM, CSA, CHECMS

Let's face it. As a professional trying to demonstrate integrity and devotion to your senior clients by going that extra step to gain one or more professional designations, it is highly unlikely that they will understand what all those letters behind your name really mean.

After all, a count of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) professional designation database indicates 89 different designations. These are just the number of designations for financial professionals and, according to FINRA, are not inclusive of all financially-related designations.

When you include all the designations for other professions such as medical, legal, real estate, and geriatrics, it becomes overwhelming, confusing, and unreasonable to expect a senior adult to understand and appreciate the distinctions.

Along with the vast number of designations senior adults are being bombarded with today, unscrupulous individuals are using professional designations as a way to gain their trust and to scam them out of money.

So, should you just give up on gaining a designation? Absolutely not!

Those who have completed a course, passed an exam, and have met qualifications to earn a professional designation are likely to be more competent and provide better service, on average, than those who haven't.

Typically, businesses will make referrals to professionals holding a designation, not because it guarantees quality of service but because it increases the probability they will provide quality of service.

Although it's true that the public may not understand what the letters behind your name mean, their perception, especially among senior adults, of professionals with a designation is increased.

In the absence of knowledge necessary to make an informed decision, we all rely upon clues to help us. One such clue is the appearance of authority, whether real or perceived. Professional designations convey the appearance of authority, and that's what makes them more powerful in affecting a consumer's decision.

A professional designation sets you apart from the competition and often indicates a higher level of competence and standard of professionalism.

Professionals with a designation gain a real competitive edge over their competition by receiving an increased number of referrals, opening doors of opportunity, and having greater influence with their clients.

Proof of the increased earning power a designation can bring may be found in a 2008 survey by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). According to NAR, brokers and agents with at least one designation earned $67,900, while those without a designation earned only $33,200. This survey concludes that a professional designation doubles your income.

Professionals who work with senior adults are increasingly finding it a necessity to demonstrate knowledge about reverse mortgages. Reverse mortgages continue to grow in popularity year after year. This continued growth is primarily due to economic hardships being experienced by senior adults and a growing aging population.

Reverse mortgages enable homeowners 62 and older to borrow a portion of the equity in their home with no repayment for as long as they live in their home.

Funds from a reverse mortgage are being used by seniors in many ways such as to buy a home, pay for long-term care, make an investment, provide liquidity for an estate, pay off an existing mortgage or other debts, and fill the gaps in retirement income.

Professionals who gain a reverse mortgage designation further distinguish themselves from their competition. After all, professionals may hold their industry's recognized designation, but how many have also earned a reverse mortgage designation?

Having a reverse mortgage designation can attract new clients. This is especially true as seniors turn to professionals for help with ways to secure their retirement.

Lyn R. Link, CeM, CSA, CHECMS is the founder and president of the National Reverse Mortgage Education Center (NRMEC), and has been actively involved in the reverse mortgage industry for over 20 years. NRMEC provides educational resources for professionals who service the senior adult market. For additional information on the benefits of a reverse mortgage professional designation, visit NRMEC.org

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Sent by:

Paul Richard
President - Executive Director
Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE)

ICFE - Institute of Consumer Financial Education - ICFE.info - customer.service@ICFE.info - 619.239.1401