The Settlement Alliance

Settlement Planner Spotlight: Bill Gammill, CFP®, CLU, CSSC

Settlement Planner Spotlight: Bill Gammill, CFP®, CLU, CSSC

Mar 12, 2018


Primary Office Location: Dallas, TX

Why did you choose to become a settlement planner?

I’ve been helping people meet their families’ financial goals since 1989. About 20 years ago, I was given the opportunity by a successful plaintiff attorney to meet with several of his clients who had lost loved ones in a tragic accident. The attorney had negotiated significant settlements on their behalf and was looking for someone to present his clients with all of their available financial options.

When I initially met with the attorney, he told me that his experience in introducing bankers, stockbrokers, and other financial professionals typically left his clients feeling overwhelmed and confused. Each of these “players” was competing with one another for the clients’ money and trying to plant seeds in the clients’ heads that their “solution” was better than the others. Believing that there had to be a better process, the attorney had heard from a referral how I handled our clients and knew that I could deliver all financial solutions to the table.

I met with several families, each with unique dynamics and needs. I was struck by the level of appreciation I received from these folks for what we had “built together with them.” I turned my focus to helping people through stressful transitions, such as personal injury, divorce, selling a business, or retiring.

Because of our passion and knowledge, we’ve been the go-to resource for 20+ years to more than 5,000 financial advisors around the country that have relationships with attorneys and injured claimants. Within the past several years, our firm became affiliated with The Settlement Alliance, solidifying our focus on helping clients through difficult financial transitions.

Share one of your favorite client stories

Nearly 20 years ago, I was referred to a construction worker who was severely injured on the job. The client was married with two kids and was a truly humble person; he wasn’t bitter over what had happened. His lawyer negotiated a settlement for over $6M, leaving us about $4M with which to work. We designed a plan that included cash to fix up his home, pay off the mortgage, and set up college funds for his two children. Additional funds were placed in a tax-free annuity for him and another annuity for his wife. Both of the annuities included a cost of living increase of 3% per year, so as of today, the money has almost doubled. We also put $1M in a managed account, which has provided his family with supplemental income and has also grown significantly over time.

Tragically, his wife has subsequently passed away, but because we had included certain guarantees on both of their annuities, he will continue receiving his payments for life, and hers for another 15 years. We’ve become friends. I have helped him talk through the loss of his wife, and how it has impacted him and his children. I’ve also guided him through his estate planning and provided an introduction to an experienced estate attorney. Now he’s getting remarried, and we’ve helped him work through some pre-marital agreements with a family lawyer specialist.

This is why I love settlement planning. It creates the type of relationship that’s so much more than what you’ll typically get from a banker, trust company, or a typical structure broker, especially one you’ll never see again.

How do you spend your time outside of work?

My wife, Christy, is one of the leading financial advisors to family lawyers and their clients in Texas. It’s pretty cool to work together and demonstrate our mission, which is to help people during, through and after their settlement negotiations, whether it’s a personal injury or divorce situation. We’ve made so many great friends with attorneys and their clients and are blessed with friends from college, church, and our daughter’s school.

I also love to play golf. We love the mountains and usually go to Whistler, Canada in the late summer. We do lots of hikes, canoeing, and site seeing and are pretty good about leaving the phones turned off during that time.

Where is the most interesting place you’ve ever traveled?

I love the history, the food, the people, the wine, and the nearby countryside in Rome, Italy. Most recently my wife and I went to Copenhagen, Stockholm, and all over Norway for our 10th wedding anniversary. Our 7-year-old and my mother-in-law tagged along, which added some spice to the trip!

What three traits define you?

Skillful, Restrained, and Reliable.

What is the greatest challenge you’ve had to overcome in your life so far?

My mother took her life when I was a freshman in college. It was so painful to our family because she was such a wonderful person but obviously had demons she didn’t know how to deal with. Unfortunately, she had no access to mental health counselors where we lived. This tragedy changed me forever and made me more aware of the masks we all wear and to always consider what others are going through. It’s made me a better friend.

What is your personal motto?

You don’t learn anything when you’re talking.

If you weren’t a settlement planner, what would you be doing for a career?

I would be a plaintiff attorney. Selecting a lawyer and selecting a financial coach are probably two of the biggest decisions one will make—Who is going to help me through this tragedy and who’s going to help make sure it lasts? What else could I do that would have so much impact?


For more information, you can contact Bill here.

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  • Mutual of Omaha
  • New York Life
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  • Prudential