The Story of Dan Lauletta
September 4, 2019
Over 30 years ago, Dan Lauletta joined the financial services industry with a single goal in mind—to be a force for good in the world and support those who need it the most. This goal has led Dan to a remarkable career where he is constantly finding ways to give back to his community. We sat down with Dan to discover more about his background and the work he is doing to make a difference in the lives of his clients.
THE ROAD TO RECOGNITION
Dan was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana and is the youngest of 6 in his family. He spent his teenage years in Ohio before relocating to Rockford, Illinois as a senior in high school. Dan stayed in his new town and attended Rockford College where he received a bachelor’s in psychology. “I choose to study psychology because I wanted to help people work through their problems, and at the time that seemed like the best way to do it.” After graduating from school and a brief stint in manufacturing, Dan joined a small life insurance company in Birmingham, Alabama. Recalling this period of his life, Dan laughed and describe his humble beginnings: “I was a midwestern kid going from door to door in rural Alabama trying to talk to people about the benefits of life insurance. A lot of people would take one look at me and say, ‘you’re not from around here, are you?’”
Even facing an uphill battle, Dan quickly became a leading agent in his district and was promoted to sales management in just a year and a half. “One of my biggest motivators was fear—at the time I borrowed everything I could to move down to Alabama, so I knew that failure was simply not an option.” After staying with the company for 5 more years, Dan took on more financial planning positions all over the country, eventually making his way to the greater Cleveland area.
Outside of his longstanding career, Dan says his proudest achievements in life are raising his 2 children, Anthony and Emily. In addition, he takes a lot of pride in his work with numerous philanthropic efforts. Dan received the prestigious Father of the Year award from the American Diabetes Association in 2013 and donates a tremendous amount of time and resources to non-profits like Summa Health in Akron, Ohio.
Dan was recently featured in a story by Legacy, a professional coaching organization that looks to showcase financial planners in their program from across the country. You can check out the full article below:
DEMONSTRATING A DEFINABLE DIFFERENCE
Many advisors spend time walking through prospects’ metaphorical houses looking for problems to fix. Is there enough insurance? Is the investment portfolio well allocated? How will the retirement income be generated? Unfortunately, by focusing on problems and solutions, advisors can miss the bigger picture. After all, if the individual wants a different house, fixing problems in this one may be irrelevant.
Legacy advisors, like Financial Planner Daniel Lauletta, AEP®, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®, LUTCF® of Skylight Financial Group, offer a radically different value proposition. They focus on understanding their client’s values, vision, and goals—Dan and his clients refer to these as “above the line” conversations. “We start by discovering what our client value, then we explore together their visions for the future, then finally set the goals that will assist in making it become a reality.”
A persistent concern among wealthy people is that their money won’t end up where they want it to be. The idea is reinforced whenever advisors present solutions that ‘solve’ problems before they fully understand what the wealth holder wants to accomplish.
“You really can’t identify any solution until you know everything,” Dan says. “My value proposition is figuring out the client’s story. That means being patient enough to listen and understand what is important to them and why. Once I do, I can deliver a plan with a roadmap for how to get there.”
Understanding a client’s above the line plan is critical. One of Dan’s clients has a net worth that is largely tied up in real estate. The insurance policy to cover estate taxes is sizeable. An advisor looking for solutions might recommend putting the land into a trust to remove it from the estate and lower potential estate taxes. It’s a suggestion that would never be implemented because it fails to recognize what is important to the client. In this case, that is retaining control of the property.
Dan uncovers each person’s values by asking questions, listening without looking for a solution, and asking people to delve deeper. He sets an expectation that the planning process will take time and that it may require multiple conversations to clarify the prospect’s above the line plan.
Dan likes to ask questions that elicit stories. He often asks, “If you could write a $1 million check to any charity, what would it be and why?” It’s a question that typically yields robust answers because people have specific reasons for donating to charities, and those stories provide insight to their above the line plan.
By offering ‘slow advice’ – taking time to really understand what his clients want and why they want it – Dan has earned the position as his clients’ right hand. They are confident he understands what they want to accomplish and will help them work to achieve it.
Dan has been in the industry for more than three decades. He became a Certified Financial Planner® in 2003, about the same time he began working with Legacy. He is a member of the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) Financial Planning Committee and a member of MassMutual Society 1851.
Dan has earned many additional accolades, including:
- #1 Skylight planner in Ohio, 2017 and 2018
- #1 Skylight planner for insurance, 2017 and 2018
- #58 MassMutual planner for insurance, 2018
- Five Star Wealth Manager Award, 2013
If you ask Dan, he will tell you he doesn’t want awards for selling products because that’s not what he does. He is a financial planner. In 2019, Dan and his team expect to complete 85 comprehensive financial plans, valued at about $300,000.
“Those who are successful in any industry are the one in constant pursuit of education” said Dan. “I look forward to finding new techniques to help my clients and further my practice down the road.”
Thanks for speaking with us Dan!