Bizwatch: Ken Armstrong, Northwestern Mutual
Vail, CO, Colorado
Business name: Kenneth A. Armstrong, CFP, CLU, ChFC, Wealth Management Advisor for the Northwestern Mutual Financial Network
Date started: December, 1998
What goods or services do you provide? Investment advisory services; retirement income solutions; life insurance, disability income, and long-term care insurance; financial planning; education funding; estate planning and trust services.
What strategy do you use to differentiate your business from your competition? I take the time to find out what my clients want most in their lives, what their goals and priorities are, what they value, and who or what they most want to protect and provide for. Then I look at what they have done so far, do some math to determine what shortfalls exist, and help them close the gaps.
I help my clients to be able to spend more time with their families and pursue their passions instead of worrying about getting their wills written and whether or not they are saving enough (I am not an attorney and do not draft wills and related documents but can coordinate the process). Simply put, I provide solutions to my clients’ important financial concerns.
What philosophy do you follow in dealing with your customers? What can your customers expect from you? I take a client-centered approach to advising my clients. People are all different and want different things. I am here to guide people to do what they need to do based on what they tell me is most important to them. My clients expect and receive a professional, high-quality experience based on integrity and trust. The tremendous growth of my business is the best evidence of this.
I work on a word of mouth and referral basis in a small community and would never have gotten this far without serving my clients well.
Tell us a little about your background, education and experience: I migrated to Colorado from New England, where I grew up in western Massachusetts and attended the University of New Hampshire and graduated with a business degree. After three years of travel I settled in New York for seven years prior to moving to the valley. I have earned my Certified Financial Planner, Chartered Life Underwriter, and Chartered Financial Consultant professional designations and was one of only 36 Northwestern Mutual financial representatives out of roughly 8,000 nationwide to receive recognition as a top producer in both the investment and insurance lines of our business.
What is the most humorous thing that has happened at your business since you started? I received an after-hours call from our security system monitoring company telling me the alarm at my office had been triggered. At the time, I was on my way back to the office after a late day meeting. Everyone had left the office by that point, so I told them to send the police to check it out and that I would be there in a few minutes. I arrived at roughly the same time as the police officer and together we determined the most likely “burglar” was my yellow lab, Rocky, who must have gotten up of his bed to get a drink and set off the motion detector!