Q&A: Jenn Lee of Travel Planners International on Retirement Planning for Agents
PHOTO: Jenn Lee, VP of Sales & Marketing, Travel Planners International (Courtesy TPI)
Traditionally, travel agents as a whole weren’t particularly focused on retirement planning. For many agents, creating a succession or legacy plan hasn’t been a high priority.
But Travel Planners International is hoping to change that trend, and offers some great resources to help travel agents in making this happen. The crux of their solution is the sub-agent program.
Jenn Lee, VP of Sales & Marketing at TPI, has been spearheading the company’s efforts to educate agents about the importance of retirement/succession planning, and also to inform them about the resources TPI offers to help make the process easier.
TravelPulse asked Lee a few questions about that process.
Do you find that retirement planning related to a succession plan for their business often isn’t something agents think about?
Definitely. They may have their 401k and investments taken care of, but they often don’t think about having a legacy.
How does the sub-agent program work?
The sub-agent works underneath the primary agent. It’s a great opportunity for those who want to mentor other agents while also building their own business. TPI supports both the sub-agent and primary agent. It’s a very popular program.
Do you find that travel professionals overall just don’t consider how retirement will affect their business?
Yes. People don’t seem to think about this. I think it’s partly because many travel businesses haven’t been around long enough that it was an issue before. Travel agents hadn’t really started to retire in large numbers up until now, but now we’ve reached that point.
READ MORE: TPI Hires Leading Strategist Jenn Lee
The sub-agent program is a way that a business can continue to thrive even after the primary agent is no longer as actively involved as they were, correct?
That’s right. This is a way to continue a legacy, and keep serving customers. The agents worked hard to build these relationships. This makes sure clients will be taken care of. It gives you a financial and emotional path to continue that business.
It also can serve as a sort of feeder program to help train the new wave of agents.
It’s a great way to organically build that next generation.
Can agents also use this as a way to transition into a slower pace before they retire?
We encourage agents to do that. It’s a perfect strategy for the person starting to phase out and slow down. The primary person can start to slow down while their clients are still being taken care of by the sub-agent.
Sounds like there are a lot of benefits for everyone involved.
True. We support sub-agents as if they were a main agent, so they have the same access to every resource. The primary agent gets to slow down while having the peace of mind that their business will run smoothly. And the customers get the same level of service they expect. It’s a win-win for everyone.
This can be a smart tactic both for retirement planning and long-term business planning.
That’s right. This can be an important way for agents to establish an ongoing source of income even after retirement, and create a business that can continue as their legacy. It can boil down to a difference between people who build a bank account and people who build a business. Some people just focus on bank account, instead of building a business. This can help them achieve both goals.
More by Bobbi Dempsey
Get Travel Deals and Travel News
Recent Travel Opinions
Airlines & Airports
Features & Advice
Destination & Tourism