Spotlight Series Interview – Jon Bellman spotlight series interview

The Spotlight Series highlights financial professionals who are part of our tight-knit community of financial professionals across the country. Our community of financial professionals has appeared on major outlets including CNBC, U.S. News Money, Fox Business, CNN, and others reaching 84+ million households nationally.

We celebrate them as independent business owners, friends, neighbors, educators, advocates, and people who are doing good work in their corners of the world. What stands out about financial professionals on from countless others in the industry is their commitment to financial security, wellness, and peace of mind for people from all walks of life.

Today, we have the pleasure of sitting down with Jon Bellman, an experienced financial professional from Texas. Jon has been serving clients in the financial services industry for nearly three decades. He is the president and owner of Bellman Financial Services, an independent firm. As a financial professional, Jon is a strong believer in education and in clients understanding their options for well-informed choices. (SM): Thanks for joining us today, Jon. Why don’t you tell us about yourself and your business?

Jon Bellman (JB): I focus on educating people on how to think outside the box when it comes to their present and future financial planning. I specialize in strategies that help folks become as efficient as possible so they can legally pay the least amount in taxes. And have the most amount of protection of their assets from risk.

I also help people become debt-free in nine years or less including their mortgage, student loan debt, so on, without spending any more money per month than they currently spend.

SM: Great. For how long have you been in the financial industry? 

JB: I’ve been in this business for almost 30 years now. I started full-time in 1992. Prior to this, I was an Agriculture Science teacher for thirteen years.

People used to ask me if I missed teaching and I always replied, “no.” Then one day, it dawned on me that I didn’t really get away from teaching. I’m still teaching, just have a different subject matter now and different types of students.

SM: That is a long track record. So then, how did you come into the business? What prompted you to get started in the areas that you focus on now?

JB: A retired agriculture teacher got into the life insurance business and kept trying to get an appointment with me to show me something. I was able to put him off until the end of the school year.

Finally, I had no more excuses and met with him. When he showed me his presentation, I was amazed. I remember asking him, “Why doesn’t everyone have a plan like this?”

For the first time in my life someone showed me how permanent life insurance worked. Later, his former teaching partner went to work for the same company part-time and eventually recruited me part-time, which turned into where I am today.

I was always impressed by what permanent life insurance could do and wanted to share this with people to help them with their financial planning.

SM: Talk about an interesting in-road. Since then, you have had a long career. What sort of experiences stand out to you over your many years in the financial services space?

JB: Being in this business since 1992, I’ve been able to see a lot. Good and bad. I was securities licensed for many years earlier in my career. Over time, I saw that people I dealt with were more concerned about hanging onto their money than putting it at risk.

This eventually led me to give up my securities license and focus on traditional (safe) life insurance products and fixed annuities. So I could help people sleep better at night and not have to worry about how the market, national and world events, things out of their control, could cost them losses now or in the future when it comes to their assets and retirement.

SM: Good take. Who would you say are the kinds of people whom you work with most? In other words, who is your typical client?

JB: Although I do work with clients that you could call “millionaires,” the main folks I work with are from “middle America.” Your average American that works hard, 9-5, Monday-Friday, so to speak, for what they have.

I think they need a lot of help and advice because they don’t know all of the strategies, rules, and financial tools that are available to them. Things that can put them in a better position now and in the future. The wealthy have the ability to pay people for this help and advice. Most of middle America doesn’t and therefore tends to not ever get or ask for help.

SM: What other experiences in your career (non-finance related) and in life have you had that are helpful in working with clients and solving their financial problems?

JB: I believe that having a teaching background has helped me to better work with people. My wife told me a long time ago that I over-explain too much. Maybe so. But I want a prospective client to understand and be sure they know what they should do or are doing and why they are doing it, or should do certain things.

I tell them I’m going to tell them what I’m going to tell them, then I tell them, then I tell them what I told them. I just want them to be knowledgeable and understand as best as they can.

SM: In just a few sentences, what exactly does being an independent financial professional mean to you?

JB: Helping people. Helping them with ideas & strategies pertaining to money. Getting them to think outside the box when it comes to their financial plans and future. Help them in making better decisions, informed decisions. Not just doing what everybody else is doing or taking blanket financial advice from some financial entertainer on the radio or TV.

SM: What accomplishments in your financial services career are you most proud of? And your accomplishment in life, in general?

JB: Being able to help people change their beliefs and lives for the better when it comes to their finances. Being told that I was a ‘Godsend’ by a client is maybe the highest compliment or achievement that I can think of. 

SM: What do you do outside of business? What would you say is your “identity” outside of being an independent financial professional? 

JB: Outside of business, I spend my time with antique tractors. I’m married. I have two great sons, two wonderful daughters-in law, and four fantastic grandchildren. And I love antique tractors, did I mention that? Especially International Harvester/Farmall tractors.

Growing up with a set of grandparents that farmed, made me fall in love with farming, tractors.  I have seven antique tractors as of now. I’m the Vice-President of our local tractor club. I was just elected to be President of the Texas chapter (Lone Star IHC Chapter #25) of the national club, International Harvesters Collectors Association.

My love was and always has been farming. That is why I became an Agriculture Science teacher. And although I never became a farmer, it’s always stayed in my blood and eventually what got me involved in antique tractors.

SM: The retirement and financial services spaces don’t sit still, as you know. They are constantly changing, and things that affect people’s finances are always evolving. What do you do to stay on top of continuing education, professional development, and learning new strategies, tax and law changes, estate law changes, and so on for your clients?

JB: Well, I don’t sit still, either! I am constantly attending webinars, going to in-person meetings, reading, doing whatever I can do to stay on top of current trends, strategies, and changes in the industry. I have many mentors that I follow to learn something new or confirm what I’m doing and saying is up-to-date.

SM: What are a few surprising things about yourself, or that you have done, that others don’t know about you, but would be interesting to know?

JB: I don’t have much to add to what I’ve said. Other than by being in this business since 1992, I have seen a lot, good and bad.

I think it shows someone that is thinking about working with me that I’m going to be here. I keep getting asked when I’m going to retire. My answer is, “I don’t plan to at this point.”

Why would I? This is not manual labor, I set my own schedule, my own hours. I have a friend who is 90 that is still working full-time, more or less, in this business. I hope that I’m able to do the same or have the option to.

SM: How are you active in your community? 

JB: I mentioned the involvement with the tractor clubs. That being said, I tend to stay more to myself and family. Except when it comes to things I do with the tractor clubs. And the work that I do with my clients.

SM: What should a prospective client know about you before they work with you? What could they expect in working with you?

JB: I work for them. I want to understand what they need, what they believe, what they’ve done and where they want me to help them, what they are looking for from me. Then I’ll do the best I can to help them out if I’m the right person.

I tell them that I’m independent. I’m not tied to one company with a limited amount of financial vehicles to help them out. I can go to all of the companies and find the best financial tool that fits them and their situation. I don’t have to worry about trying to get a square peg in a round hole. And they don’t have to pay me.

The companies that I work with to help them out will pay me, so they can put away their checkbook.

SM: Great discussion, Jon. Thanks again for sharing your story and joining us today.

Do you have any financial questions for Jon, or would you like to discuss your personal situation at no obligation? Get in touch with him at his contact page.

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