Get To Know Your Life Insurance Broker

The life insurance salesman must really be a Renaissance Man: part business owner, part financial professional, part spiritual guide. Here I share items of interest about myself, my sales company, and my life.

Does Your Life Insurance Need Special Handling? Commonly Asked Questions About the Purchase of Life Insurance, Completed

Congratulations for making it to the sixth and final post in the Special Handling series, where we’ve taken a deep dive into the world of underwriting and prequalification, unique challenges that can arise, and many, many questions that come up in the process. In our final installment, we are answering frequently asked questions about quotes and what to expect in the underwriting process.

16. I Received A Quote From An Online Service And Their Rate Is Lower Than Yours. Why Is That?

The difference comes down to the level of service. My business model is based on the exemplary standard of an approval at the rate quoted. We invest heavily in each client and make sure we provide underwriters with thorough and accurate quote information so we can report back to you with both competitive and reliable quotes. We will pay for copies of your records and do everything else needed so you can apply for coverage confident of the outcome. This above and beyond level of service is extremely hard to match with an online agency.

17. If I Like The Quote You Give Me And Agree To Apply For A Policy, What Happens Next?

Once you choose the company and product you want to apply for, formal underwriting will begin. My underwriting team will contact you to complete the application. They will ask you for your driver’s license number, employment data, and all the other information that was not needed for prequalification but is necessary for the underwriting process. They will order additional medical records if needed, schedule your medical exam, and obtain all the other requirements necessary for an approval.

18. How Long Does Underwriting Take?

The underwriting of your formal application typically takes 4 to 6 weeks. Since you have already been through prequalification, the process will be as efficient as possible. If medical records were used in your prequalification, then the process will be expedited because you already completed a primary underwriting requirement. Your cooperation with regards to scheduling your medical exam in a timely manner, complying quickly with additional paperwork requests, etc., can help move the process along as well. One thing that may hold up the process is the tendency for physician offices to be slow in their turnaround for record requests. If that occurs in your situation, I may need you to call them and accelerate the request.

19. Can Anything Happen During Underwriting To Prevent An Approval At The Rate Quoted?

Prequalification sets the stage for an approval at the rate quoted. As long as the information

that is obtained during underwriting is consistent with the information that you provided initially, you will be approved at the rate quoted.

However, there are times when people have medical conditions they are not even aware of. There have been many cases where people found out they had a blood disorder, or even cancer when they went through life insurance underwriting. In those cases, we prequalify you from the start, since you now represent a different risk profile. Our goal will be to get as close to the original price as possible, but if we can’t do that, then we will attempt to get the lowest rate the market has to offer. In the worst-case scenario, you may not be eligible for coverage, but we will offer guidelines to help you qualify down the road. We will attempt to identify what circumstances have to be in place for a carrier to make you an offer in the future.

20. What Is Your Role As My Broker Throughout The Entire Application Process?

As you can see from the answers above, I am your advocate and representative throughout the whole process. All the professionals and specialists involved in both prequalification and underwriting are accountable to me. I make sure your interests remain front and center.

Here’s an example of how I advocate for my clients. Let’s suppose I prequalified you with a certain company and underwriter A gave me a specific price. Then, when you submitted a formal application, underwriter B got assigned the case and says the rate should be higher, simply because of his assessment of the risk. My response to them will be, “not my problem”. The carrier needs to have integrity. Just because they have a difference of opinion in their underwriting department doesn’t mean that you should have to pay a higher price. If the information you disclosed at the forefront was thorough and accurate, the rate should stay the same. My job is to go to bat for you whenever and wherever I can.

I thoroughly enjoyed walking you through the ins and outs of purchasing life insurance. I understand that it is a serious and daunting endeavor to pursue, but it will be worth it in the end. The peace of mind and freedom that will come from knowing you, your loved ones, and your assets are protected are priceless! I am here to walk you through the difficult parts of purchasing life insurance so you can reap the benefits. If any other questions came to mind as you followed this series, or if you are ready to take the leap and start the prequalification process, I am happy to guide you through. Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

Steven H. Kobrin, LUTCF, owns and operates a national life insurance brokerage. He is a life insurance specialist, and expert in helping clients that are higher-risk or need special handling. He is affiliated with a premier general agent and master general agency to distribute top-of-the-line financial produces and services. Through them, he forms strategic partnerships with insurance brokers, financial advisors, and financial institutions to expand client services, increase sales, and generate referral income.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

We Need Holy Days As Well As Holidays

Believe it or not, the holiday season is upon us! For many of us, that means a break from work, time spent with family, and hopefully, some rest and relaxation. Taking the time to unwind during the holidays is much-needed and should be a priority, but is there more to it than just putting your feet up?

A Shift In Mindset

We often spend our holidays the same way we spend our weekends. We separate ourselves from work (at least for part of the time), and relax and enjoy a hearty meal at home or at the home of a relative or close friend. We might get together with others at a restaurant or hit the links at a golf course if the weather allows. If it’s too cold for golf, maybe we’ll head off to a resort. Other times a simple movie is all we need to unwind.

But for many, turning the holiday season into an extended weekend is not enough. Some of us want to dive into the deeper meaning of the season, attending special religious services or participating in community activities like volunteering at a soup kitchen or buying gifts for families in need. We want to observe the holidays in a spiritual way.

Holiness During The Holidays

I see all this searching for a deeper experience of life as an attempt to become part of something larger, to become dedicated to a higher purpose. Deep down, people truly need this. No matter how fulfilling or rewarding they find their job and their everyday activities, there is still a desire for something more. Holidays may be a break from the same old same old just like weekends, but just going through the holiday or weekend motions doesn’t make things special or memorable. It doesn’t create an atmosphere of holiness or cause us to focus on something higher than ourselves.

Unfortunately, many people are not comfortable taking traditional paths that lead to a holier life or they don’t know where to start. They can’t relate to formal religion and even the “spiritual” alternatives that have been developed don’t fit the bill. While we wish for one sole source to lead us to a life of holiness, we find countless available resources that only fill small pieces of the whole. It’s our job, then, to gather all these pieces into a cohesive, meaningful picture that will transform our lives.

Even if we are convinced we need to incorporate this philosophy of holiness into our lives, it’s often easier said than done. In his book, 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class, Steve Siebold alludes to the idea that leading a holy life is part of the journey to becoming world class and gives us some ideas of how to observe holidays in a holy way.

Formulate Your Life Dream And Vision

Siebold’s research has led him to the conclusion that in order to reach the world class level, you need to be intrinsically motivated. The world class lets their dreams, desires, and passions lead them and they stick to their beliefs when the going gets tough. Since the great ones move from logic-based motivators to emotion-based motivators, it’s essential to take some time to hash out your life goals, priorities and vision and learn how to motivate yourself to achieve them.

Remember Your Roots

The past has a lot to teach us. Going back and remembering where you came from and how far you’ve come will reinforce your belief in yourself and give you even more confidence to move ahead (1) (Siebold, 53-54). As we immerse ourselves in the holidays, reflect on your roots and remember that success is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Engage In True Rest

In our society, we have lost the meaning of rest. We burn the candle at both ends and only let ourselves relax out of desperation, when we’ve hit rock bottom and can’t go further. Balance in this area is difficult to achieve. Even when we’re “off,” we’re usually “on” mentally. Find ways to recharge and strive to attain equilibrium between achievement and relaxation. Your soul will thank you.

Seek Solitude And Meditation

Many of the world’s highest-paid individuals are able to tap into the vast resources of their creative minds to produce products and services that solve the problems of the masses. This level of creative thought requires significant intellectual energy, which must be followed by intellectual rest and recovery. The great ones know the power of a quiet mind, and many invest time in solitude on a regular basis. They recognize that their performance depends on rest in mind, body, and spirit (Siebold, 219-220).

Apply And Practice

If any of this resounds with you, I encourage you to carve out some time to reflect, remember, and respond. Don’t let busyness and distractions turn these holidays into an extended weekend. Let your heart, mind, and soul observe the season fully and you will enter the new year with resolve and excitement for all 2018 will bring! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this concept of holy days instead of holidays. You can reach me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with over 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

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(1) Siebold, Steve. 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class. 3rd ed. London House Press, 2010.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Does Your Life Insurance Need Special Handling? More of Your Questions Answered

If you’ve been following our Special Handling series, you know that we’ve covered prequalification and underwriting and the challenges the life insurance process can pose for different situations. We’ve also spent some time answering questions about those who are high-risk and how the life insurance marketplace works. Now, in our fifth installment, we will continue that dialogue and address concerns surrounding life insurance for businesses purposes.

11. How Much Life Insurance Should I Apply For?

Many people want life insurance, but they worry about how much it will cost them. As such, they want to see some rates and “back into” a purchase by balancing the amount of life insurance they would like to have with the amount of money they are willing to spend.

To help you make your decision, I will either give you a reliable quote as quickly as I can or get you into a “price ballpark” as soon as possible. This number would represent our educated opinion as to what the lowest possible premium would be. If it works for you, then we can continue with prequalification and solidify the price. If you don’t like the number, then you can reassess your purchase, possibly identifying an additional source of premium, or reducing the guarantee period for the coverage you want.

12. I Need This life Insurance Policy To Obtain A Loan From My Bank For My Business. Can You Ensure The Policy Covers The Loan?

The typical way to make sure this happens is to collaterally assign the benefits. Once your policy has been delivered and all delivery requirements have been submitted to the carrier, such as premium payment and signed receipt, coverage will go into effect. At that point, the carrier will assign the benefit to your bank.

Should you pass away before the loan is paid off, the claims department will notify the bank and require proof of the balance due. The bank will be paid the balance to clear your debt, and your beneficiary will receive the rest of the death benefit, if any exists. In these circumstances, both the client and their banker are usually anxious to close the deal. We work to fast-track the underwriting of your application and keep your banker updated on the status of the policy. My reassurance that the process is moving along is usually sufficient for them.

13. I Need This Policy To Be Owned By A Trust. How Does That Work?

The number one concern in this situation is to make sure the trust has been completed by the time your life insurance application has been approved. This way, the policy can be issued to the appropriate owner and beneficiary designations. We can submit the application without the trust, but then you and your attorney would have to expedite the legal work.

It’s important to avoid a scenario in which you get a good offer from the insurance carrier, but can’t accept the policy due to delays in finalizing the trust. You would then run the risk of something happening to your health, or otherwise affecting your eligibility for coverage, and losing the good offer.

14. My Business Will Be The Owner Of This Policy To Cover A Partnership Agreement. Will That Make Things Complicated?

The underwriting will be more complex in this case, but we handle these situations all the time and can manage them efficiently. You will need to provide basic financial data about your business, then, if you like, our underwriting team will coordinate with your controller or accountant. The underwriters will also need information regarding coverages on your partners to make sure there is parity. We also offer the option to bring in attorneys and financial planners to guide you in the structuring of the agreement, at no charge to you.

15. Once You Complete Prequalification, Am I Under Any Obligation To Do Business With You?

The simple answer is no, you are not. You do not sign a contract, nor do you pay for the prequalification service. However, as you will witness, I make a significant investment in giving you a competitive and reliable quote. I only provide this service for “ready buyers;” those who know they have a need for life insurance, have the means to pay for it, and desire to obtain a policy now. If you appreciate the value of becoming prequalified for coverage because it gives you confidence in the final outcome, my services are the right fit for you.

If you go through our prequalification process, you will not be submitting an application only hoping to be approved, let alone at the price you were quoted. We specialize in providing you with an application approved at the rate quoted. Our goal is to make life insurance quick, easy, and painless to purchase, regardless of your situation.

If this appeals to you, then contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I would love to help you on your life insurance journey.

Keep an eye out for part 6 of this series, where we will answer even more questions about life insurance and the need for special handling.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with over 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Spiritual Business Practices: It’s the Process That Makes Us Rich

Success and money. These are two powerful driving forces in our society. Everyone wants to be successful, and I don’t think anyone would turn down an opportunity to be wealthy. But attaining those things is where the trouble lies. What are your motivations? What perspective do you have as you go about your daily work?

What We Have Is Not Really Ours

Here is a contemporary rendition of an ancient fable:

The world’s most prominent scientists gather together and call God to a meeting. The group includes an astrophysicist, a molecular biologist, a geneticist, and the most accomplished professional of every other scientific discipline.

With as much respect as they could muster, they basically tell God that the jig’s up. “Anything you can do with life, we can do. All the power, knowledge, and technology needed to control life are now in human hands. We can modify it. We can prolong it. We can eliminate it. We can even create it!”

God listens to them patiently and raises an eyebrow at their last statement. “You can create life? Really? Show me.”

So the head of the group reaches down to scoop up a handful of soil to put into his test tube. “Not so fast,” declares God. “Get your own soil!”

The moral of the story is that no matter how much control people think they have over their lives, everything they do is still using material on loan from the Creator. This is an important perspective to have in everyday life, and even more so in business.

Perspective Of Ownership

Here’s why the lesson of this fable is significant: it puts the whole idea of ownership in proper perspective. Ownership is a way of distinguishing between my property and yours. For example, I own my home and you own yours. I own my business and you own your business. I have my own my life insurance policy and you have yours. What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is yours. No one is going to argue with that. We can certainly share our respective properties, but that’s through an intentional agreement that we make with each other.

Ultimate Ownership

But even those basic examples only explain ownership in a relative sense. The idea of ultimate ownership is that the true owner is Whoever initially created it in the first place. Whether that’s our home, our business, our assets or all the other stuff we build, collect, and value. In the end, everything passes through our hands because when we die, we can’t take anything with us. Even the biggest building or the most precious stone ultimately returns to the dust it came from.

Does that thought sober you as much as it does me? This perspective reveals the true purpose behind what we actually do when we conduct business and engage in the marketplace. At best, we strive to obtain something that will be in our hands for a comparatively short amount of time. It makes us appreciate the process of getting there, of making the acquisition or selling the policy rather than focus solely on the final result.

Process And Priorities

In this series, we’ve looked at how success guru Steve Siebold believes that faith in a higher power brings true success. When it comes to the process and perspective of business practices, he states that the best decisions in life are made when people prioritize how they get what they want:

“The masses repeatedly attempt to create happiness from the outside in, whereas the great ones know sustained happiness stems from being and becoming, not acquiring and possessing. Average people have mastered short-term happiness, easily gained through instant gratification mechanisms…[but] the world class vests a substantial amount of time ensuring their future happiness by creating congruency between who they are, what they’re doing, and where they’re going. Champions are masters at doing such things as marrying the right person, selecting jobs they love and building friendships with people they admire and respect.” (67)

I know this is a lot to dwell on. But as you dive into your motivations and your everyday business practices, take some time to think about your perspective. Do you take control of everything you have or do you recognize that it was given to you for your time here on earth? Do you put all your energy into obtaining some end product or do you glean as much wisdom from the process as possible? I’d love to hear your thoughts and find out how your business perspectives affect your day-to-day life. Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Spiritual Business Practices: The Power of Saying “Thank You”

If you do a quick search online for “secrets to success,” you’ll end up with a massive list of tips with everything from having vision to taking risks. But in my previous article on spiritual business practices, we learned from success guru Steve Siebold that “Faith in God, a higher power, or an infinite intelligence is…a trait of many champions.” (89) (1)

That’s all well and good, but how exactly does one tap into that higher power or infinite intelligence? How does that spiritual connection play out practically in everyday business practice?

Live With Gratitude

Fortunately, Siebold’s answer is simple: it’s all about having an attitude of gratitude. Here’s what he says about this:

“Champions know the ultimate creative force is located somewhere beyond our everyday consciousness, and they must tap the source to generate their best ideas. The secular sometimes refer to this source as the unconscious mind. The spiritual often call it God. Whatever label their belief warrants, few deny the power of the source, whatever its point of origin. Champions know the fastest way to connect to the source is through gratitude. Thoughts and feelings of gratitude seem to elevate the performer’s consciousness to a higher plane than is accessible through any other means. Professional writers call it being connected. Athletes call it being in the zone. Psychologists refer to it as a state of flow. No matter what name you assign it, the experience is the same…Gratitude is their mindset of choice when they need to awaken the giant and tap their genius.” (37-38) (2)

In my religion, Judaism, we start our day by saying thank you to God for restoring our soul and entrusting us with it for another day. If said earnestly, this expression can be extremely enlightening. It makes you realize a number of important truths:

  • We need our soul/spiritual resources to do our day’s work
  • These resources are given to us by the Creator
  • They are “on loan” and should not be taken for granted

In light of this insight, I think any one of us would be led to feel appreciative and say thank you, either to God Himself or at least in general. Most certainly, we would say thank you to anybody and everybody who helps us accomplish what we do throughout our day. Just as we can’t take what God gives us for granted, we can’t take what anybody else gives us for granted either.

The Power Of Thankfulness

Robert Emmons, considered to be the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, found that living a life of gratitude improves mental, physical, and relational health to the point of having higher energy levels, less stress and depression, and heightened spirituality. (3) Finding ways to integrate gratitude throughout your business day can make a world of difference in your life and the lives of others.

I like to thank my employees for putting in a hard day’s work. I take the time to thank my prospects for giving me the opportunity to give them a life insurance quote. I say thank you to my vendors for excellent work in prequalification and underwriting. I like to thank my clients for giving me their business and for going out of their way to spread the word about my services.

And once you start saying thank you, your eyes are opened to everything around you that deserves your gratitude. It starts a chain reaction, and my day often involves one positive and productive interaction after another. Sure, there are ups and downs, but these expressions of gratitude keep me on track and connected. It’s a good way of “getting into the flow” in a business sense.

Thankfulness and Business

As you can imagine, there are also business benefits to saying thank you. Not only do I get a stronger work ethic out of my employees, but I also receive great service from my vendors and more opportunities to quote life insurance. Saying a simple thank you has led to more sales and referrals from my clients. It all boils down to this: if you take things for granted, they diminish pretty quickly, but if you’re grateful for them, then they multiply.

Do you live a life of gratitude? Have you reaped the rewards of this spiritual practice? Do you need some practical guidance on how to start living with thankfulness?  I’d love to hear your stories and answer your questions. Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

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(1) Siebold, Steve. 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class. 3rd ed. London House Press, 2010.

(2) Siebold, Steve. 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class. 3rd ed. London House Press, 2010.

(3) https://www.huffingtonpost.com/randy-kamen-gredinger/the-transformative-power-_2_b_6982152.html

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Spiritual Business Practices: The Connection to Faith

When you hear the word, “spiritual,” what comes to mind? The concept of spirituality has taken on a wide variety of meanings, ranging from new age and esoteric to traditional religion to Eastern philosophy. The common theme running through all these examples is that of the human soul, something beyond the material and physical world we live in, and certainly something above the realm of money and finance, right?

Can Business and Spirituality Work Together?

But money and finance do not need to run counter to spirituality. At the very least, they don’t in my life. I have always tried to take a higher approach to business, focusing not just on the big sales, commissions, or the huge roster of clients. I want to balance the practical with doing good. When you die, no one will remember all your awards and certifications. Their eulogies will attest to the kind of person you were, the deeds you performed, and how your life impacted others.

This new series of articles will examine how spiritual growth can take place while you conduct business. We will discuss the spiritual practices I employ and am still in the process of researching to make my business activity a way of adding value to others and the world.

The Goal Of Spiritual Living

Everyone has their own objectives when pursuing spiritual practices. Some want to achieve a certain state of mind, of experiencing enlightenment or euphoria. Others want to harness specific “powers” or “energies.” These may be well and good, but I see these pursuits as means to an end, not an end in and of themselves. What good is it to become more evolved if the world doesn’t become a better place as a result?

Spirituality has been closely linked to success in life and world-class performance. In his book, 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class, success guru Steve Siebold points out that champions have tremendous faith:

“Faith in God, a higher power, or an infinite intelligence is … a trait of many champions. There are atheists who are tremendous performers, yet as a rule, there seems to be a connection between professional performers and the spiritual side of life. Many pros draw a tremendous energy and power from a deep faith in a greater force. In recent years, many who were turned off by fear-based organized religions in their childhood have turned to new-thought churches and centers…Whatever the source of their spiritual faith, world-class performers do tend to hold strong spiritual convictions.” (1) (89)

I firmly believe that my spiritual convictions raise my work to a higher level of excellence. As we enter this series, I am very excited to explore the connection between the spiritual and the material, in the world of business and particularly in the selling of life insurance. Have you seen this philosophy in action in your life or in those around you? Share your thoughts with me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I hope you join me on this journey.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

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(1) Siebold, Steve. 177 Mental Toughness Secrets of the World Class. 3rd ed. London House Press, 2010.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

What Qualifications Should Your Life Insurance Broker Have? Part One: The Importance of the Life Insurance Specialist

Life insurance is the foundation of your financial portfolio. While you may think that’s an exaggeration, life insurance protects against the most catastrophic loss imaginable, the death of a provider. With so many life insurance companies and products available, how do you know what to choose? You don’t want to gamble with your financial foundation, so how do you know the person selling your life insurance is the most qualified?

Why Do You Need A Life Insurance Specialist?

If you were building your dream house, would you hire your contractors at random? Would you choose an electrician who dabbles in carpentry or a plumber who does construction on the side? Of course not. You want the best of the best, a master builder. Because of the investment involved, you want someone with top qualifications who would get the job done right and deliver the highest value for your dollar.

Your financial portfolio requires the same degree of proficiency and should be handled by someone who is a master of the craft. The legal and financial advice you are given should be rendered by experts in the field. If you take the risk and settle for less than the best, you could end up with inappropriate product choices, or worse, costly mistakes that could impact your financial future.

When it comes to life insurance, a specialist is someone who sells the product exclusively or makes the product their primary focus. A life insurance specialist has the knowledge, experience, and contacts needed to provide the high-end, personal service you require for this significant purchase.

How do you know your life insurance professional is indeed a specialist? Here are the qualifications you should look for:

Underwriting Expertise

Life insurance is probably the most thoroughly underwritten financial product you will buy. Your current health, medical history, family medical history, vocation, hobbies, lifestyle, and financial, legal, and motor vehicle record are all considered. You will need expert guidance to negotiate the prequalification and underwriting processes to experience a successful result. A broker who specializes in life insurance will have this expertise.

Client Advocacy

A very large and diverse team of people will collaborate on your purchase. This team includes the broker’s own office staff, the general agent, and that person’s support staff, as well as the carrier’s underwriters, case managers, and management. Attorneys, financial planners, accountants, and other professionals may also get involved. The activities of all these people need to be coordinated and directed in such a way that your interests as the client are always front and center. A broker who specializes in life insurance will have the skills required for this amount of leadership and coordination.

Product Knowledge

Sure, the benefits and features of the product must be understood, but there is more to it than that. Life insurance is an incredibly unique financial tool in that it is the only form of insurance that guarantees that a claim will be paid. You may have medical insurance, but if you never get sick or hurt, you won’t use it. If you never get into a car accident, you won’t have the opportunity to benefit from your car insurance. But you know for sure you are going to die. If you keep your life insurance in place, your beneficiary will collect the benefit. It’s as simple as that.

As much as we try to avoid thinking about our death, the reality is that that a claim could be filed at any time. We all like to think our death will be some far-off event, but a good diet, regular exercise, positive thinking, and playing it safe are no guarantees against drunk drivers, freak accidents, and many other hazards beyond our control. We are not invincible and must not take our life for granted.

A broker who specializes in life insurance will encourage you to value your mortality. He will help you realize the importance of buying life insurance now and understand the risk in waiting. He will help you form a strategy for improving your insurability and qualifying for lower pricing in the future.

Does your life insurance broker bring all these qualifications to the table? If not, it’s time to reevaluate your relationship and find someone who can help you construct a life insurance foundation that will give you peace of mind. If you are ready to consult with a specialist, contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Stay tuned for my next article to learn why your broker should be a super-specialist.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

What I Don’t Want With My Medical Insurance

purchase-health-insurance-policyHere’s my two cents on the Obamacare/Trumpcare debate.
I’ll tell you what I don’t want when it comes to medical insurance:

I don’t want the federal government taking over the entire marketplace just to make sure a small percentage of the population has coverage. The vast majority of people financially and medically qualify for a private plan, either individually or through their employer. Those who don’t can get covered through some kind of public/private partnership. You don’t have to regulate 95% of consumers just to provide for 5%.

I don’t want bureaucrats managing even more of the economy than they do now. The size of the national debt is roughly the same amount as entitlements that have been passed out over the last few decades. These people are incompetent, and responsibility should be taken away from them, not more given to them.

I don’t want corrupt politicians having access to people’s personal health information. There is too much collusion between government and industry. I don’t want pharmaceutical companies and other manufacturers to know which of us have depression, which have diabetes, etc.

I don’t want ideologues controlling the allocation of medical treatment. Some amoral technocrat who believes that elder people are “disposable,” should not have the power to take benefits away from them in favor of younger, more “productive” people.

And I don’t like the political elite taking our money and giving themselves rich benefits while they force us to settle for less – and penalize us if we don’t. This is probably the most un-American aspect of this crusade to nationalize health care.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Honoring Your Parents: Learning From How They Started Over

honoring-parents-starting-over

As we enter a new year, we often take the time to reevaluate and look ahead with excitement and motivation. Aren’t you thankful that life is full of these second chances? That you always have an opportunity to try again, to grow, to learn, and to improve? This is a valuable life lesson that I learned from my parents, and I am thankful I had their example to follow.

What I Learned From Their Story

My mom and dad both came from immigrant families who moved to America searching for the land of hope and promise. Their families were originally from the Old Country, and they eventually settled in New York City, where I was raised. As my sister and I grew up, my parents moved us to the peace and quiet of the suburbs, and this change marked two significant moves in two generations, both of them to better situations.

But their story does not only include moves to different physical locations; it also involves major career shifts.

My mom started her working life as a secretary in a college psychology department. She then moved on to teacher training and ended up as the editor of an academic journal. She was always involved with education, but in a different role with each job.

My father began in show business. After that, he stepped into life insurance sales and then branched into motivational speaking. He ended his career in the travel business. He was ever the promoter and entertainer, but on a different stage each time.

What do their experiences with location moves and career changes teach me? What are some lessons I can apply to my life?

1. There’s Always Room to Grow

Yes, transitioning between cities and careers is no easy feat, but the changes that most impressed me were the personal transformations that occurred as they walked through the obvious outwards changes.

Dad started out in the wild world of show business, settled down to become a family man, and went on to build multiple successful businesses. Mom was the bookworm living at home, became the busy mother of two little ones, got involved in the school, and went on to establish herself as a key person in several businesses. Different ages, different stages, different ladders to climb. They saw the value in continual personal growth and accepted new opportunities as life afforded them.

2. How to Prepare for Change

As I think about all the changes my parents went through, I see how well they prepared me to deal with the inevitable changes in my own life. I saw that they did not fear the new things life threw at them, and so I never experienced fear at the prospect of a new job, a new school, or a new set of friends.

Career-wise, I had five different jobs before I ended up in the life insurance business. I spent ten years post-college in various sales-related positions before I landed in a career. In hindsight, I can see how each position brought me a step closer to reaching the end-goal. If I had let fear of change hold me back, I would not be where I am today, and I have my parents to thank for that.

3. How to Appreciate Every Stage of Life

On a personal level, life also moves in steps and stages. I started out single, got married, and became a father. As life moved on, I then got the incredible privilege of becoming a grandfather. I was fortunate to be able to witness both of my parents in the role of grandparents as well. I learned how to move through life’s many phases by watching my parents accept each new season with grace.

The only guarantee in life is change. My parents walked through momentous changes in their lives, and I can honor them by taking the time to examine what made them successful and content through life’s transitions and following their example.

What can you learn by looking back at how your parents lived? Are there any key lessons that stand out to you? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com to share your stories.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

My Birthday Wish: Let’s Follow the 60s Wisdom to a Prosperous Future

Today I am 60 years old. The Biblical standard for a lifetime is 120 years, so I am at the midpoint. I truly hope the second half will be as exciting as the first.

I grew up in the 1960s, and went to high school and college in the 70s. The list of big-impact events that took place during that time boggles the mind:

The Vietnam war. The assassination of JFK. (And RFK. And MLK.) The Cold War. The Cuban Missile Crisis. Civil rights. School integration and Bussing. Kent State. Watergate. Moonwalk. The Bicentennial. The Beatles. Earth Day. Woodstock. Hippies, communes, cults, and Eastern religion. The Iran hostage crisis. (Do you remember all these? How many have your kids even heard of?)

One of the best takeaways from that era is the notion of “questioning authority.” It is reported that Timothy Leary said this, but legend attributes it to Benjamin Franklin. Either way, it’s more relevant today than it ever was.

If you had tried to sell somebody back then on the idea of government care cradle-to-grave, he would have thought you had taken too many drugs 🙂 He would have set you straight and reminded you that What the Man giveth, the Man can taketh away.

And, the prospect of the government forcing you to buy something like medical insurance would be rejected out of hand. The “Man” can’t tell you what to buy and what not to buy. Everybody knows that.

Today, too many people don’t know that. They are too quick to let the government do everything for them. People in their 20s, 30s, 40s – and even my age, sad to say – expect the government to provide everything from childcare to healthcare to eldercare. Of course, they forget that the bill for all these services will be sent to their children and grandchildren.

To me, making the next generation pay for our amenities is a very un-American thing to do. “Land of the free” means, among many things, freedom from the irresponsibility of your ancestors. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Ask your uncle Benny, the former hippie, if he agrees. He’s a wise man.

Let’s toast to a future of booming American enterprise and self-sufficiency.
Happy New Year!

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

If I Could Teach One Financial Lesson, What Would It Be?

If I Could Teach One Financial Lesson, What Would It Be-

I was recently asked this question, and it got me thinking. You would think it’d be difficult to choose just one lesson, but an immediate answer came to mind:

“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

This quote has been attributed to many ancient sources. Regardless of its origin, it represents wisdom that applies in all times. I find it particularly relevant when I think about the legacy I want to leave my children and grandchildren because it stresses the importance of adopting wise principles for living.

Let’s look at this in terms of a legacy plan. Suppose I planned on leaving a legacy of $1 billion. Most people would think that number to be quite generous and more than sufficient for several generations to live a comfortable life. This might be true if they knew what they were doing with this money, if they had guidelines to follow, and if they had wisdom to guide them.

Someone with $1 billion of investable assets can access the top advisors in the country. They lack nothing in terms of proper planning and strategies, products, and portfolios. What they need are principles. Principles help people define who we are and what we are all about. They help us remain true to ourselves, and they empower us to make everything we do — including the utilization of $1 billion — an expression of the best in ourselves.

Without a principled approach to life, that $1 billion could potentially be no better than a “quick meal,” in terms of what it provides and the good it does. But with proper principles in place, it could “feed generations” by enabling them each to do good works and make the most of that wealth.

The question now is, what principles would I pass on to my family to help them make the most of this $1 billion legacy? Here is what I would tell them:

Think big, reach high, and remain vigilant.

Our family fortune has been amassed by little people thinking big. Go back just a few generations, and you will find that none of us were here in America. We were all just ordinary men and women among the masses overseas, in Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. We faced terrible persecution in those places and we fled to the shores of America in desperate need of a new start.

No one came to America with a huge bankroll. None of us came from royalty, and no one was embraced by the upper-crust of society. We took advantage of everything America had to offer — most of all, the opportunity to dream big. America has long been a beacon of opportunity. We each believed that and, after giving it 110% effort, the dream became a reality.

Even after reaching this point of success, it’s essential to keep pursuing new heights and to live each day as if it were the last and to never forget our humble beginnings. We know all too well that if not but for the grace of God, our family could quickly face the unfortunate. We are no less human than anyone else, and so no less exposed to troubles coming our way.

While we may have the means to stay as self-sufficient as possible and weather storms longer than most, those who have much also have much to lose. If and when tragedy strikes, it will be of much comfort to know that those to whom we showed good will may now in turn show good will to us.

Treat every dollar as if it is a loan from God – because it is.

This brings me to the most basic principle of all. This money is not yours and it was never mine to give you. Sure, it has been transferred from an account with my name to one with your name. But this is all in name only.

Our wealth actually belongs to God. Everything we humans produce belongs to God. Everything we create to make our life better is made from something He provided, and so it exists according to His laws.

So what do we know about His laws? Really, they are pretty simple. Things are born, they live, and they die. The currency we print today won’t be here in 100 years. Same with the car, the jet plane, and the office building. Everything is temporary. But we can give it an eternal meaning and a transcendent purpose. The item may not last forever, but what it is used for could.

The real reason why I have $1 billion to give is that I never considered this fortune to be mine to keep. I have simply been the steward of every dollar, from the first to the last. God has been nice enough to let me use His planet to do great things – to grow personally, to help people, to bring people together.

Estate planning, investment strategies, market savvy, and smart business decisions have all been useful tools, but it is essential to realize that they are not ends in and of themselves; they have all been employed in service of a higher purpose: to enable me to do my Good Work – and to enable you to do it, too.

God has loaned me this fortune, you might say, so that I can pass it on to you and so you can then pass it on to your children and grandchildren. Let’s not let Him down.

What about you? What is one financial lesson you hold dear? I’d love to hear your story. Do you have a question, about life or life insurance? Ask anything by emailing me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

The Seven Don’ts of Buying Life Insurance

LifeInsurance2Believe it or not, buying life insurance can be a most satisfying experience. Like anything else, you just need to know what you’re doing. A lot of it comes down to avoiding the pitfalls that give many people frustration and aggravation.

Here are the Seven Don’ts of Buying Life Insurance that I have identified in my 25 years of working with consumers. Steer clear of them, and I guarantee you will be quite happy with your purchase.

1. Don’t kid yourself about the risks involved.

Sure, you are healthy. Sure, you take care yourself. Sure, you are a very safe climber or diver. Sure, the problems with alcohol/drugs/finances/the law are all behind you.

But here’s the thing: in the final analysis, nobody really knows when his final day on this earth will come. It could come at any time, and in any way. There are a multitude of threats beyond our control: undetected medical conditions, such as aneurysms. Drunk drivers. Freak accidents. Household fires. Car crashes. Street violence. Terrorism.

You and I can certainly take care of ourselves and live a good life, to tilt the odds in our favor. These efforts can help keep the cost of our life insurance down. But don’t think that a lower premium guarantees longer life longevity. If you are indeed committed to securing the financial future of those who have become financially dependent on you – your family, your business, and your favorite charities – then you have to admit that their future without you could very well start tomorrow.

So buy the life insurance now.

2. Don’t treat insurance like an investment – or a form of gambling.

People tend to lump all financial products together. Insurance, annuities, investments, etc., seem all too similar. This is especially true when life insurance products build cash value and provide a benefit while the insured is still alive.

But life insurance is not an investment. Investments are for you while you are alive. The longer you live, the more value that investment can attain. Life insurance is for your financial dependents when you die. The sooner you die, the more bang for your premium buck these beneficiaries receive.

It makes no sense to say, “Well, I can take the same premium amount and invest it. With good returns I should be able to self-insure at some point in the near future.” That may be very nice for you, but it will do your beneficiaries absolutely no good if you die sooner than you hope. Besides which, what if you get hurt, or sick, or lose your job, or the market crashes? Your plan to self-insure may fall short, and so your dependents may end up with absolutely no security at all. That is called gambling with their financial future, not insuring it.

3. Don’t compare your quotes to somebody else’s.

Life insurance is probably the most comprehensively underwritten product in the financial marketplace. Many diverse factors are assessed for their impact on your mortality: age. Gender. Current health. Medical history. Family medical history. Lifestyle. Hobbies. Job. Smoking. Alcohol and drug use. Financial record. Criminal record. Driving record. Foreign travel.

Insurance actuaries have compiled a gigantic amount of mortality statistics to help them set reasonable rates. Trends emerge that prove to be consistently true: women typically live longer than men, so they pay less. Smokers typically die sooner than non-smokers, so they pay more. You can have two people of the same gender, same exact date of birth, and same everything else, but if one has high blood pressure, and the other one doesn’t, then their rates for life insurance could be different. It goes without saying that if the face amounts and guarantee periods of their policies are different, the rates will be different as well.

Also remember that you may not know every factor that contributed to somebody else’s premium. People disclose personal information when they apply for a policy. Many times, their spouse, children, and business partner don’t know the whole story. This information is kept confidential by the professionals involved, of course. But friends and family are often not in a position to really know how somebody else qualified for the rates they were given.

One other point: let’s suppose that you have been assessed an extra premium because of a higher risk. Maybe it’s a medical condition, or an adventurous hobby. Is it worthwhile knowing what the rate would be for somebody who didn’t have that extra risk? Could be – but only if that gives you something to shoot for by improving your health, or dropping the hobby. For now, you have to bite the bullet and pay extra until you qualify for something lower.

4. Don’t let your doctor play insurance man.

Doctors are supposed to be in the business of healing, of diagnosing and treating medical conditions. A good doctor upholds the ethic of “do no harm,” and tries his or her best to abide by that. If a mistake is unfortunately made, or things just turn for the worse, they should do their darndest to help the patient recover.

Either way, they get paid. That is the stark truth. Hopefully, you as the patient live a long, healthy life; but if tragically you do not, the doctor bills your family anyway – and expects prompt payment.

The life insurance underwriter, on the other hand, often makes a much more critical assessment of your mortality and possible life longevity. The reason is very simple: he has to put his money where his mouth is. He has one shot – the time of your application – to determine what risk you represent to his company. Based on his assessment, his company will be liable for hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars to your beneficiary. And that amount would have to be paid even after only one monthly premium was submitted, if tragically that is when a claim is filed. Quite a deal.

Frankly, I have found many times when the mortality assessment of an underwriter has more credibility than the doctor’s prognosis. It is simply the business of the underwriter to be an expert in this matter. They don’t pretend to be doctors and don’t give medical advice. Physicians should show the same professional courtesy. They shouldn’t pretend to be underwriters, and so shouldn’t venture their opinion on whether or not their patients could qualify for coverage.

5. Don’t second-guess your advisor.

You hire professionals to do things you don’t know how to do. They are experts in their field. You are not an expert in their field. That is why you hire accountants to do your taxes; lawyers to defend you in court; and doctors to treat your illnesses.

Life insurance brokers are hired to get you the best value for your premium dollar. Our job is to get to the lowest cost, the most benefit, or the longest guarantee. You don’t pay us out of your pocket, but your premium includes our compensation.

Let us do our job. We make an upfront investment in you as our client. We don’t get paid until you are satisfied. We have a huge incentive to make sure you are happy now, and stay happy throughout the duration of your coverage. We don’t want to give you restless nights, worrying that you have the wrong policy. If you have selected the right professional – an independent, life insurance specialist, who prequalifies you before you submit a formal application – then you are in good hands.

6. Don’t expect the perfect product.

A life insurance policy is comprised of three main factors: face amount, premium, and guarantee period. In an ideal world, we would all buy all the coverage we would ever need, for as long as we would ever need it, and at a guaranteed rate. It would make sense to keep it in force for our entire life, so we can be sure a claim will be filed and the benefit paid.

Many times, though, we cannot do that. There are often budgetary constraints. And, we don’t always know how much insurance we will need in the long term. So what do we do? As with any case like this – facing multiple considerations – we set priorities.

There is no doubt that the number one priority is face amount. Make sure you have enough coverage in force today. This is simply because, as we said above, you simply do not know when a claim will have to be paid. Too often, people try to get a “good deal,” and skimp on the face amount in favor of a long-term guarantee. But if their family or business tragically loses them sooner rather than later, the beneficiary will have been short-changed. They would rather have the extra benefit than the longer guarantee. That’s why I tell clients that if your budget is forcing you to choose between $2 million of 10-year term insurance, and $1 million of 20-year term, for example, you take the product with a higher face amount and the shorter guarantee period.

It is smart business sense to have a budget for any purchase. With such a constraint, it is often hard to get maximum coverage with the longest guarantee period. If you find yourself with this dilemma, then first look to alternative premium funding sources. You might be able to leverage, liquidate, reallocate, refinance, or use any of a number of other techniques to free up funds. If this is not possible, then shorten the guarantee period. Revise your financial planning to secure funds in the near future for additional coverage. There is nothing wrong with buying life insurance in stages – as long as you make sure you remain eligible for coverage.

7. Don’t put the investment cart before the insurance horse.

How do people get rich? We work hard. Earn. Borrow. Invest. Leverage. Provide greater value to bigger payers.

How do we stay rich? Insurance. Insurance prevents catastrophes from wiping out your riches. You could have a huge amount of savings and investments, but any number of man-made or natural disasters could clean them out. Even if you could afford to sustain the loss, why pay dollar for dollar to do so? Every dollar of life insurance benefit costs pennies. It’s much smarter to let an insurance company take on the risk.

So, it makes sense to have a strong insurance portfolio in place to serve as the foundation of your financial portfolio. Now the question is this: there are many types of insurance policies. Which is the most important?

That’s an easy question. Do you know why? Because the type of insurance that is the top priority should be the one that protects you against the most likely risk. And that is life insurance. You can buy medical insurance, but you may never get hurt or sick. You can buy disability insurance, but you may never lose your ability to work. You can buy professional liability insurance, but you may never get sued. You can buy business liability insurance, but you may never sustain workplace damage. You can buy auto insurance, but you may never have an accident. And on and on. But you know with 100% certainty that you will die, and that therefore a claim will be filed on your life insurance policy. As long as you keep it in force. This is why you need to buy insurance before you invest your money, and why buying life insurance is a top priority.

Please feel free to comment, or to contact me directly with a specific question. If you need a quote now, or a second opinion on a quote you have received, the best thing to do is to call me toll-free at (866) 633-1818. Or email me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I also encourage you to download my free Life Insurance Guide – see the above tab. Many people have found it to be extremely educational.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Yes, the rich DO pay their fair share.

797499450_8d782a99cdI spend a lot of time helping “rich” people protect what is valuable to them. Do you know what many of them hold dear? The welfare and prosperity of their families. The continued success of their businesses. Their key executives. Their rank-and-file employees. The numerous charities and good causes they support. Life insurance gets the job done quickly and efficiently in every one of these cases. And you know what? You don’t have to be rich for these things to be valuable to you. Even a poor man wants his family to have the best of everything.

All too often “rich people” are targeted by politicians as the bad guys. They claim that society will be “better” once everyone else has some of what these guys have. They pledge to use the the power of their administration to make these “exploitative villains” pay their “fair share.”

No thanks.

UCLA Professor of Economics Leo Ohanian has a short and sweet presentation proving that the rich already pay their fair share. And more. It is showcased on Prager University, and runs under five minutes.

Check it out. Here are some highlights to get you started:

There are not so many “rich” people out there.

Even the top 5% of income earners don’t make the big money that everybody talks about, let alone the top 10%.

The top 1% has paid their dues.

The vast majority of these people did not get a free lunch. They took on enormous risk, spent many years working hard, and paid enormous debt to get to where they are. No reason to begrudge them what they have.

The rich people already pay more than their fair share.

The people that make most of the income already pay most of the taxes – and disproportionately so. If you really wanted the tax system to be more fair, you would tax them less and make a lower wage earners pay more, at least in terms of percentage of income.

High tax rates stifle economic growth.

If you tax rich people too much, they will invest less. Start fewer businesses. Reduce the size of their existing businesses. And that means cutting jobs. The rich would still be OK. But who do you think would suffer?

Please feel free to comment, or to contact me directly with a specific question. If you need a quote now, or a second opinion on a quote you have received, the best thing to do is to call me toll-free at (866) 633-1818. Or email me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I also encourage you to download my free Life Insurance Guide – see the above tab. Many people have found it to be extremely educational.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

What God Should Politicians Worship?

imagesQKV1W8SSThe religion of political candidates often creates controversy. I recall that people took issue with Kennedy being a Catholic. They did the same with Romney being a Mormon. People are still concerned about Obama’s Muslim heritage influencing his foreign policy. Today, the religious practices of Cruz, Rubio, Trump and Sanders have all come under scruntiny.

Unfortunately, I think people all too quickly associate “religious” with “fanatic.” This can lead to some rash judgments. I understand that many of us are not comfortable with others who seem to be “religious fanatics.” However, I think that is in large part due to a confusion about religion in general, and worship in particular.

What is worship?

What you worship is what you make your life all about. Obama worships himself, so he has tried to radically transform America in his own image. Hillary worships ambition, so she put has put up with all kinds of personal, family, and professional disgrace to get to where she wants to be. Trump worships power, so he will make a deal with anybody to get it. That’s what makes him so dangerous.

Cruz worships his Lord according to Christianity, so he tries to make himself a humble servant. He can place his own interests subordinate to a higher authority: the Bible, the Constitution, to conservative values. This is much closer to what I think “true religion” is all about: it is supposed to help you become a better person.

As a religious Jew, I can relate to this approach. I worship the Master of the universe, who rules with the proper measures of justice and mercy. I must strive to employ the proper balance of those qualities in my own life.

We are all “religious”

I really do not believe that the world is made up of people who are religious, and others who are not. If I was to define a human being, it would not be Homo Sapiens or Homo Economus. It would be Homo Religious. I see worship as being the core human activity. The problem is that we have a very watered-down definition of what worship is. People think it is simply babbling incoherent words, in a service that is a meaningless, to a God they do not know, for reasons they do not comprehend. Maybe at some point this all made sense, but nowadays, I think all the religions are off the mark.

Once you realize that worship is the vehicle through which you actualize yourself – through which you, in essence, make your dreams come true – you see that we all do it. It’s really just a question of whether or not the world will be a better place due to our efforts.

Who to vote for?

From that point of view, it is easier to assess whether or not a candidate’s religion would have a good or a bad influence on his governance. You can basically ask: will future generations thank him or curse him for the world he handed down to them?

Please feel free to comment, or to contact me directly with a specific question. If you need a quote now, or a second opinion on a quote you have received, the best thing to do is to call me toll-free at (866) 633-1818. Or email me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I also encourage you to download my free Life Insurance Guide – see the above tab. Many people have found it to be extremely educational.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Land of the Self-Employed

self-employed-nutritionist25 years ago I promised myself that I would never again ask anyone for a job. A big move, don’t you think?. What led me to do this?

Here is my story.

I had been working for a distributor of computer supplies. They were a relatively new business that was on the move. I started out as a customer service rep. Also assisted on special projects. I worked my way up into management, and became a key member of the firm.

Then, the owners of the company sold the business. They had learned how to start an enterprise from scratch and build it into a multimillion-dollar moneymaker. But they couldn’t get it to the next level, or the level after that. So they sold it to two guys from an international firm who wanted to “adopt a baby” business, as opposed to “have one themselves,” you might say.

Tragically, the new ownership had no idea what they were doing. Their idea of cleaning up the balance sheet was to cut the biggest expenses. Those happened to be the salaries of the key managers – like me. In the first three months of their stewardship, they fired a manager each month. I was the third.

The irony is that in a small business like this one, the management knows the operation as well as, or even better than, the owners. So you can imagine how this downsizing crippled the firm. They basically ran it into the ground.

What a shame.

I took away two lessons from this experience. The first was that I would never again work did not know what they were doing. People who were so reckless as to ruin a perfectly good business did not deserve to be employers. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but owning a business is a big responsibility. The jobs and livelihoods of many households are at stake. A prosperous business can grow the local community around it, not to mention all the out of town vendors. If you can’t take that to heart, then don’t get involved.

The second lesson was that for the rest of my working career, I would be in sales. At least as a salesman, I would have control over my own fate. I would live or die by my own efforts. Since I was familiar with the life insurance trade from my father, it was a natural move for me to switch careers.

Within three weeks of my termination, I was signed up with a life insurance agency. And I have not looked back. I have learned how to ask people for appointments, and for applications, and for checks. But I have never had to ask them for a job, and I never will.

I will be forever grateful for the opportunity this great country has provided me to be self-employed. I and millions of my fellow Americans – including my father and grandfather – can take charge of our destiny. Even though many of us fail, those setbacks can be temporary. We are still given second and third and fourth chances to succeed.

The small business is one of the many institutions that makes this the land of the free and the home of the brave. Now that we are officially in the election season, I will be looking for candidates who will make sure the government keeps it that way.

Will you?

Added note: Senator Ben Sasse sums up what makes America great in 90 seconds! Listed here.

Please feel free to comment, or to contact me directly with a specific question.

If you need a quote now, or a second opinion on a quote you have received, the best thing to do is to call me toll-free at (866) 633-1818. Or email me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

I also encourage you to download my free Life Insurance Guide – see the above tab. Many people have found it to be extremely educational.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Do Religion and Business Mix?

businessreligionI was raised with the adage that you don’t talk religion with clients. This is a rule I have broken many, many times, and happily.

I can see the concern of this admonition. Religion is a personal topic, and people believe what they believe. You don’t want to offend anybody, or appear insensitive. You certainly don’t want to judge or criticize somebody you want to sell.

But early on, I realized that these problems are caused when salespeople make the purchase too much about themselves. It’s really not. It’s all about the client and what he or she wants to do. What’s important to them.

Given that, let them talk. Let them have centerstage. They are, after all, writing the check, and you won’t get paid until they do.

In all truth, the purchase of life insurance easily creates a forum to talk about the deep and personal issues of life. People must face their own mortality. They must determine what is important to them. And they must take measures to protect that which is important.

That’s what life insurance does.

I think this is one reason why people of all different religions buy a policy. The product reinforces their values. It is so interesting to me that in my career, I have attracted clients from many different sects and denominations: Orthodox Judaism. Hasidism. Conservative Judaism. Reform Judaism. Catholicism. Evangelical Christianity. Protestantism. Lutheranism. Islam.

I have done business with atheists and secularists. Their dedication to “no religion” is as strong as the dedication others have to religion.

I have worked with people for whom politics is a religion: Conservative. Liberal. Leftist. Right wing.

I have also helped people who have taken traditional religious values, such as family and community, and modified them along non-traditional lines: Single parent. Households with two fathers. Households with two mothers.

(One of these days I have to run a client appreciation event and bring all these folks together. That could be a lot of fun :))

The bottom line is that if you want to do business with people, let them be. Find some kind of common ground, and join forces on that. It makes it much easier to see how delightful and caring people can be. And you can connect in a mutually-beneficial transaction.

To tell you the truth, I think that if people from different persuasions did more business with one another, there would be more peace on earth. More understanding of one another. And more money to be made.

What do you think?

Please feel free to comment, or to contact me directly with a specific question.

If you need a quote now, or a second opinion on a quote you have received, the best thing to do is to call me toll-free at (866) 633-1818. Or email me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

I also encourage you to download my free Life Insurance Guide – see the above tab. Many people have found it to be extremely educational.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

“Making Amends for My Time as a Bully.”

1486543461853At this point in my life and my career, it has become important to get a sense of direction. Where, exactly, am I headed? This is a very philosophical question. It boils down to: who have I been? Who am I becoming? What kind of person have I been? What kind of person am I becoming?

I think you can see that the answers to these questions have a direct bearing on our happiness and our success in life.

The Internet makes it possible for us to find answers in conjunction with men and women across the globe. There are many, many fine people and organizations helping others take charge of their life story.

One such group is Lightmakers. They were recently kind enough to give me an opportunity to share an installment of my own personal journey. It is published here and is called “Making Amends for My Time as a Bully.”

Thanks for dropping in!

Please feel free to comment, or to contact me directly with a specific question.

If you need a quote now, or a second opinion on a quote you have received, the best thing to do is to call me toll-free at (866) 633-1818. Or email me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

I also encourage you to download my free Life Insurance Guide – see the above tab. Many people have found it to be extremely educational.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

You Don’t Have to Settle for Mediocrity

MediocrityHere’s my answer to the question on Quora, “What is mediocrity? And how to overcome it?”

I bet it rings a bell with you. If you think about it, most people you know probably live lives of mediocrity. What a shame. It simply does not have to be that way.

Thanks for dropping in! 🙂

Please feel free to comment, or to contact me directly with a specific question. If you need a quote now, or a second opinion on a quote you have received, the best thing to do is to call me toll-free at (866) 633-1818.

I also encourage you to download my free Life Insurance Guide – see the above tab. Many people have found it to be extremely educational.

 

 

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

How to Trust Your Wealth Advisor

How do you know you can trust somebody?

Simply because he says, “trust me?”

Or because he holds an important office, or a fancy title?

Or that he advertises himself as an “advisor?”

Not enough for you.

The key is making people prove they are trustworthy.

Trust Based on Sweat Equity

Marcus Aurelius talks about this in his Meditations:

“From Fronto: To recognize the malice, cunning, and hypocrisy that power produces, and the peculiar ruthlessness often shown by people from ‘good families.'” – Meditations, I.11

Here’s the bottom line: trust must be earned.

Looking Behind the Scenes

We all need to be able to trust others.

This includes family members, friends, and business associates.

But how do we know we can trust somebody?.

This is especially important when peopler have political power, or financial power, or are considered experts.

It’s not just a case of, “power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

You have to be able to look behind the fascades of power.

  • Just because somebody has authority, doesn’t mean they should have power. Titles are just names. Authority means you have the ability to control and influence people’s lives. Power over the people must come from the people.
  • Social status doesn’t mean much. It is easy for people with money or connections to buy prestige. This doesn’t mean they are role models. Their benevolence towards other is what should lead people to look up to them.
  • Character is what people show behind closed doors. What people say to your face is one thing. What they do behind your back could be something else. But if the two are consistent, then at least you know who you’re dealing with.

No Advisor Should Take You for Granted

We all need wealth mentors and advisers.

We cannot grow without the proper counsel.

Many people have achieved wealth, but how many are worthy of our trust?

The right ones will continually seek to earn it.

Eagerness to Prove Trustworthiness

Trust is something that can’t be taken for granted.

Even if people are worthy of your trust today, circumstances might change tomorrow.

They then have to prove that they are once again worthy of your trust.

Should you give them the benefit of the doubt, based on past performance? Sure.

But if they have the right character, they will want to come through for you again.

Your trustworthiness is something you should want to show, every chance you get.

What do you think? Are you able to trust people? How?

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Do You Get Respect by Giving Respect?

caningAre some people in your life constantly correcting you?

Do they jump on you every time you mispronounce something, or use incorrect grammar?

Do they make debates personal, as opposed to sticking to the point?

These folks may be well-intentioned, but they do need to learn some respect, don’t they?

Good news! You can teach them.

Quick and Easy Tips

Marcus Aurelius has some solid lessons about this in his Meditations:

“From the literary critic, Alexander: Not to be constantly correcting people, and in particular not to jump on them whenever they make an error of usage or a grammatical mistake or mispronounce something, but just answer their question or add another example, or debate the issue itself (not their phrasing), or make some other contribution to the discussion – and insert the right expression, unobtrusively.” – Meditations, I.10

He shows us how to be respectful and considerate.

When you correct somebody about something – it could be about any topic – it is essential to preserve their dignity.

YOU could be in their shoes

What goes around, comes around.

Remember that next time, you could be on the receiving end of advice, not the giving end.

Then, you’ll see it’s not so easy to simply say to somebody, “Don’t say ‘No,’ say ‘Yes, and…'”

There’s a bit more to showing respect:

  • Nobody likes a know-it-all. The goal in life is not to be right, but to be righteous. This means you give everybody the respect they deserve.
  • People need to willingly accept your advice. If you give it the wrong way – in a way that brings them down – they will not be open to making changes. If you offer it in a way that builds them up – constructively – they will want to adopt it.
  • People aren’t always the issue. Stick to the topic. Don’t make it personal, and they will understand better what you mean.

Don’t Forget: There are Two Sides to Every Story

There is a financial know-it-all in every newspaper, magazine, and website.

Too often they think they are right, and that people who disagree with them are wrong.

Some of them sing the praises of term insurance and ignore the benefits of permanent insurance.

Some of them hawk permanent cash insurance as the investment of the century.

There is always another side to the story when it comes to financial planning

There is a Graceful Way to Advise People

If you care enough about somebody to advise them, it makes sense to want that advice to stick.

This applies to advice about life, love – and especially money.

After all: for whom is this advice, anyway?

If you want to just to toot your own horn, then why waste their time?

But if you want to make an impact, then treat them with respect.

What about you? Are your advisors treating you with the respect you deserve?

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.