From the “Wealthy Women TV Show,” Women Of Wealth Magazine introduces the “Financial Services Disruptor” Shirley Luu, Founder, and CEO of Shirley Luu and Associates, LLC powered by First FinancialSecurity, Inc. Shirley guarantees that if you give her 30 minutes of your time she can put you on the road to creating a dynasty and totally change the trajectory of your financial future, including generational wealth for your family’s family. “Most people are simply unaware of the powerful financial products that exist today and which we offer that will secure your wealth for tomorrow and beyond,” Shirley explains. “This gap in awareness leaves an ocean of opportunity available for those who want to learn the business and champion the cause with us.” Shirley plays in the playground of the successful and loves to mentor others on acquiring a wealthy mindset. I can see myself being mentored by Shirley, who was also a syndicated columnist, known as “The Wealth Guru” for an online platform that promoted expert opinions on money, wealth, and financial literacy. Shirley is inspired to educate everyone, especially women and minorities. She provides a roadmap to becoming financially independent, basically starting at zero.
A Little Background in Her Own Words
Shirley, tell us a little about getting into the financial services industry.
“My background starts with Fortune 500 companies. I was enjoying what I was doing and then, my husband decided one day, ‘well, let’s go and open up a business so that you can be an entrepreneur.’ So, I left the Fortune 500 company, took everything I had, and opened a business in Virginia. Shortly thereafter my husband died suddenly. My life was devastated. We had to move out of the house immediately and find a place to live.”
“I was left with three children, then ages 1, 15, and 16, and I had to embrace a new direction. I believe life is a roll of the dice at times and challenging times do not discriminate. At any time, any one of us can be faced with homelessness due to an unexpected and devastating event. I knew one thing was certain: if you don’t proactively plan, with respect to savings, retirement, and, most important, life insurance, the likelihood is that your family’s financial situation will be bleak.” “I did not even have time to really grieve, I had to find a way to take care of myself and my children. So, I decided to get into the financial services industry because I strongly felt that women should know, at all times, where they stand on money, their family, and their well-being. My passion is in educating and empowering women and their families.” “Rooted in empathy and experience, I recognized the unique challenges that exist for women, and thus I have been active in empowering women to “know their money” through various educational and enrichment programs.”
AN OPPORTUNITY AS A FINANCIAL MISSIONARY Shirley, what’s your outlook on your business?
“We are attracting an ever-growing force of associates and licensed professionals who not only share my vision for wealth empowerment but also see the tremendous business opportunity that exists in the financial services industry. I am mobilizing a team of Financial Missionaries where educating our clients is the key because, only then is “choice” possible for the client….from two aspects. One from a client standpoint – we are setting them up for financial security. The second aspect (from a business development standpoint) will provide an opportunity for those who believe in our crusade to educate others while having an opportunity to earn a great living.”
SHIRLEY LUU’S ACHIEVEMENTS Shirley, can you bring us up to date with some of the things you have been doing since over the last few years, and how you have been empowering women and others?
“It’s been an exciting ride, and it’s incredible to be honored with numerous awards. Since 2004, I started creating platforms to educate women and men across the region.
I’ve even spoken more recently at the DC Convention Center.” “And to be honest, it’s so exciting, to grow and be recognized as a company of success. I was featured in Forbes, Oprah Winfrey Magazine, and Entrepreneur Magazine. In addition, Copa Style Magazine recognized me on the front cover of the 2019 Businesswoman of the Year.” “I just found out Morgan State University asked me if I could come out and speak. I’m also doing an educational platform with George Mason, with their Finance Club in entrepreneurship, where I’m teaching them about money. I’ve conducted financial workshops with various universities such as the University of Maryland and Towson University. These workshops provide the community an opportunity to learn about money.”
“In addition to that, I’ll have a platform for financial education within the next 30 days on a local television station in the Washington area.” In 2019, Shirley Luu and Associates was nominated for and won the Fairfax County Bea Malone Small Business of the Year Award. In addition, Leadership Fairfax awarded Shirley Luu the prestigious 2019 Corporate Leadership Award. As we spoke, I could tell that Shirley was excited about her well-deserved achievements. According to one of her professional colleagues, “Shirley is powerful and can only shoot straight up to the top with that type of recognition, dedication, and heartfelt commitment.”
GOING FROM ZERO TO MILLIONAIRE
Shirley, how did you become so successful?
“When I got into the financial industry, I found out that there were lots of new emerging products for retirement that the traditional insurance company and financial firms were not even talking about.” “When it comes to retirement, there are three main components that everyone should incorporate. One, leave a tax-free legacy for your family in the case that one dies too soon. Two, have a guaranteed stream of income in the case that one lives too long. Three, have living benefits you can access if a crisis occurs like a chronic or terminal illness.” “With over 23 years in the financial services industry, I began to study the insurance component of the retirement arena and eventually began preaching it to others. [I’ve been], mostly excited about the combination of features and benefits we are able to secure within a single account or plan.
For example, we can structure annuities that essentially provide
the best of both worlds, giving you low-risk growth and a guaranteed minimum return. We can offer you cash value and show you how to be your own bank. We can help you get market upside gains with downside protection and no losses to your principal. And you can access benefits while still living, for large ticket items or if you get sick.” “These are just a few of the next generation of products and the reason my clients love the financial security they experience by placing their money in properly structured life insurance policies and annuities.”
“Some may say, ‘How is this possible?’ The short answer: due to the evolution and innovation of financial products, especially within the life insurance industry within the last 15-20 years, coupled with key changes in State and Federal laws, and further enhanced by competition within the industry – all of which has ultimately allowed a new breed of indexed products to exist and serve as another viable solution and powerful choice for those seeking financial security.”
“Laws have evolved, and new laws have emerged over the last decade, and over 90% of financial advisors and investors are in disbelief and shock when I educate them on the benefits and features of today’s life insurance when structured properly.”
“So, 15 years ago, I started a financial brokerage firm. Our core values are Diversity, Education, and Team. We recruit diverse ethnicities to enhance our team. It was very tough.
None of the traditional advisors believed these unique financial products really existed. So I decided to focus on working with women and minorities, and that’s how it got started.” Shirley’s approach to partnering with other advisors is also unique. “We just won a contract with one of the largest franchises for tax services for the Latino markets. They interviewed at least five financial firms, but they ended up choosing Shirley Luu & Associates.”
“We help these tax service franchises innovate by adding financial services to their tax practice. And, this business model innovation isn’t limited to tax services offices. We apply this innovation to many other industries such as law firms, CPA firms, banks, mortgage companies, etc.”
CHAMPIONING GIRL POWER
“Today, 80 percent of my team are women and minorities. I initially offered those who’ve had misfortune in life an opportunity to participate in a unique training program [allowing them to] advance in life. So I provided a solution for those who were serious and wanted to get involved in one of the most lucrative industries to help others and make a lot of money. My criteria is that they must have a positive attitude and the willingness to learn.”
Shirley has an uncommon passion for helping women. She believes in her heart that they can succeed if they put their mind to it. She also has the compassion to help women in her organization. She has even bought a car, paid rent, paid electric bills, and paid tuition for women in need — but, has asked nothing in return.
Currently, Shirley has her eyes set on a new initiative in conjunction with an organization called Shelter House, a non-profit that provides crisis intervention and safe housing to men, women, and children. This partnership allows Shirley Luu and Associates to help women and men transition to a new career field in financial services. Shirley has committed to sponsoring all certification fees required for these prospective associates to begin practicing in the field. Her hope is simply that they learn how to pay it forward for others in need once they themselves are successful.
FAMILY IMPACT Shirley, how have your kids done through this journey?
“I have three kids. The oldest girl is Amanda. She currently works for a well-known global social media application in the Human Resource Department, and she is well-respected in Silicon Valley. She’s very bright and beautiful. She just got married in August, and I’m so proud and happy for her and my new son-in-law, Kevin.
My son, Michael, in the beginning, was kind of tough. He was a brilliant kid but quit high school. As a mom, I didn’t know what to do. But I’ll tell you the success story now: I got him into a GED program and once he graduated, he was more like a valedictorian in his GED class. He went on to George Mason University, graduated, and ended up with a physicist degree. And at the same time, he went into the Army and became an Airborne Army Ranger before separating from the military. In August, he was accepted into MIT’s Ph.D. program in physics.
And the last one is Jade. She’s the youngest and in high school doing extremely well. She’s ultrasmart, beautiful, and has a strong head on her shoulders. And I’m very proud of her, as well.”
DIFFERENT FROM THE REST
Why would someone come to you, your team, for a financial analysis or retirement plan?
“I use leverage to grow the business and to train people. We have partnered with some great, highly reputable companies, Barron’s top-listed carriers, and as a valued broker, we are able to provide proprietary products truly unique to the industry.” “And actually, the other factor that makes me different, is how I protect people’s money and all that. So it’s really good, you know.”
How many agents do you have?
“Well, right now, I guess probably around 4,000 agents across the nation. I run the operation with directors across every state helping me. I think I have about 360 directors that help me run the organization.”
So, what happens when any of those directors bring in a new agent?
“They have to train them. They are responsible for training and teaching them. So now what I do is I leverage my directors to go and train all those people in all those states. And then they in turn have a team of folks that they trust. But that’s just a small piece. We’re about to take this thing to a whole new level. It’s going to be fun.”
So how can prospective clients and associates reach you Shirley?
“… our presence is in all 50 States, especially all the major cities around the country. We have remote agents and satellite offices too, and that’s because financial education belongs to everyone everywhere. Not just to the major cities or [those who are] well-to-do.”
Shirley Luu and Associates are at the top of their game with numerous insurance carriers, two of which carriers have even developed proprietary products for her organization. She is confident that 2020 will be a remarkable year not only for her firm but for her clients as well. She noted that Shirley Luu and Associates show no sign of slowing down anytime soon. “I can’t sit still,” laughed Shirley. “I was born to do this.” For more information on Shirley Luu and Associates, call 703.608.1203; go online at ShirleyLuuAssociates.com; or e-mail Shirley at firstname.lastname@example.org.