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.

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.

Why You Want to Be Grounded for Life

Every kid hates being grounded.

It means you did something really wrong.

But for adults, being grounded can mean you’re doing everything right!

As a matter of fact, remaining grounded should be one of your life objectives.

It’s all a question of keeping your feet on the ground.

Father Knows Best?

Marcus Aurelius praises the virtue of keeping your feet on the ground in his Meditations.

“From Sextus:
Kindness…
An example of fatherly authority in the home. What it means to live as nature requires…
Gravity without airs…
To show intuitive sympathy for friends, tolerance to amateurs and sloppy thinkers. His ability to get along with everyone: sharing his company was the highest of compliments, and the opportunity an honor for those around him…
To investigate and analyze, with understanding and logic, the principles we ought to live by…
Not to display anger or other emotions. To be free of passion and yet full of love…
To praise without bombast; to display expertise without pretension.” – Meditations, I.9

There you have it:

All the various benefits of living with your feet on the ground in one fell swoop!

All You Need is Love

That’s exactly right:

Self-love is the key.

Loving yourself means you don’t have to go crazy proving to people how great and wonderful you are. You know you’re okay.

It makes it easier to keep your feet on the ground.

Having your feet on the ground enables you to treat people equally, and allows them to treat you the same way.

And there’s more:

  • Natural living requires us to be grounded. It is contrary to nature – including human nature – to put on airs and try to be other than who we are. Staying grounded allows us to connect with people, and thrive in this world of connections in which we live.
  • Showing sympathy and consideration of others must become second nature. People sense when others are being pretentious, and resent it. But, we have to work at making such demonstrations second nature, so that they eventually are expressed naturally.
  • Passions drive us, but love sustains us. Passions are good for short-term execution and engagement. Love is needed to serve as a foundation for our relationships.

This Definitely Applies to Financial Relationships

The sign of good financial advisors are their ability to connect with their clients.

They really should show authentic sympathy and understanding.

They should relate to your specific circumstances.

Their ability to solve your specific problems means they have a client-centered approach, and not a self-centered approach.

How to Stay Grounded

Find things to love about yourself. Hold on to them. Build upon them.

You’ll stay rooted in reality, and in a good way.

Being grounded will help you deal well with everything and everybody.

Especially money.

What do you think? What ways do you use to stay grounded?

 

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 Walk the Walk

Are some people just better than other people?

Do people act “good” naturally?

Isn’t it enough to just talk about doing the right thing?

No, No, and No!

You know that talking the talk is easy.

So how do we learn to walk the walk?

A Prescription for Living

These days, “prescription” mean drugs.

A quick fix.

Treat the symptoms.

Not so among the ancients… “Prescription” back then meant a way to live.

To quote Marcus Aurelius:

“From Rusticus: The recognition that I needed to train and discipline my character. Not to be sidetracked by my interest in rhetoric. Not to write treatises on abstract questions, or deliver moralizing little sermons, or compose imaginary descriptions of The Simple Life or The Man Who Lives Only for Others. To steer clear of oratory, poetry, and ‘belles lettres.’ Not to dress up just to stroll around the house, or things like that. To write straightforward letters (like the one he sent my mother from Sinuessa). And to behave in a conciliatory way when people who have angered or annoyed us want to make up. To read attentively – not to be satisfied with ‘just getting the gist of it.’ And not to fall for every smooth talker. And for introducing me to Epictetus’s lectures – and loaning me his own copy.” – Meditations, I.7

Integrity is a big deal.

And guess what?

People who act with integrity are admired, respected, and have extremely positive interactions with people.

On Your Honor

Of course, anybody can tell you that “If you want to succeed, you need to be disciplined.”

Not so fast.

There is more to the story- if you really do want to walk the walk.

  • Developing a strong moral character takes work. It is not as if people are born good. They certainly can be inclined towards good things, but they need to work hard to cultivate a good personality. You have to practice being good.
  • The saying that “people who cannot do, teach (or preach)” is sometimes true. People often take their personal failings too seriously. They give up on themselves and take the easy way out, which is to try to influence people with words.
    They forget that actions speak louder than words.
  • It takes two to tango. If other people are acting petty or cheap, your interaction with them will not be bad unless you stoop to that level. But if you choose top be the Big Person, you can encourage them to rise up to your level. Needless hostility can be avoided.

This is Certainly True in the World of Money

There are many financial gurus out there.

There are teachers, mentors, advisors, and bloggers.

Many people can talk the talk.

But who walks the walk?

Who actually is successful?

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

That’s the bottom line, isn’t it?

People need to back up what they say.

This is true whether they are talking about politics, finance, arts, or science.

Do you know people who walk the walk as well as talk the talk? How are they able to do it?

 

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.

Are You a Wise Guy?

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photos-grandfather-portrait-park-image6945903Wise guys are too smart for their own good, right?

They know too much. They cop a certain attitude that makes them obnoxious.

In fact…you probably know too many people like this.

Where do they get off being such smart-alecks?

The funny thing is, a lot of what they say is true…

It’s just that the way they say it turns people off so much, that nobody treats them seriously.

And that’s too bad, because we could probably benefit from their “wisdom.”

Grandpa knows best

In his Meditations (I.1), Marcus Aurelius says this:

My grandfather, Verus: Character and self-control.

My interpretation is that Aurelius is crediting his grandfather with having helped him build the character needed to gain self-control.

What can we learn from this?

That having strong relationships with grandparents, parents, and other older relatives and family friends can help you gain wisdom.

But you know what is neat here?

It’s not just what you learn, but how you learn it, that makes you wise.

Learning at the knees of your elders makes you more respectful.

You feel truly “privileged.” Not in the sense of  entitlement but in the sense of appreciating that you have been given something special to hold dear.

Test of time

Too often people think they know something because they intellectually understand it.

…but that is only the tip if the iceberg.

You really know something if its truth has passed the test of time.

If your parent of grandparent shares their knowledge with you, then that knowledge has passed the test of their lifetime.

It is already being delivered to you with a certain amount of truth.

Of course, people are different. What was true for your mother or grandmother may not be true for you, completely.

But a grain of it still probably applies to you. With the right relationship, the two of you can sort it out together.

The relationship you have with your elder, with your wise person, is the key to benefiting from their wisdom.

For example:

  • We all know the importance of controlling our emotions and behaviors. How do we do it? Our elder parents can teach us. How did they succeed? How did they fail? We can learn from their mistakes as much as from their accomplishments.
  • What worked for our parents and grandparents may not necessarily work for us. However, since they know us and care about us, they can help us apply what they know in ways that work for us. They have our best interest at heart. We should be able to rely on them to give us the “perspective from outside ourselves” that we need to find areas for improvement.
  • To benefit from the wisdom of our elders, we need to have relationships with them. We must actively seek to interact with them and build a solid communication. We need to just talk. It’s this “shmoozing” factor that builds the trust and affection that is key to “getting it.”

Financial wisdom

You know what?

It’s the same with learning from your financial advisor.

Many of us are here to teach you. But we need a strong relationship with you in order to advise what is best for you.

Even something as “mundane” as choosing between term and permanent insurance requires wisdom.

If you and I can communicate well enough, then I can help you feel how special and important that decision is.

As it was for me.

Do you feel privileged to know what you know about life insurance, and your finances in general?

 

 

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.

Keeping It Fun For Clients

bransonHave you ever bought something and felt that the salesman wasn’t really interested in you?

When was the last time you bought something and actually had fun making the purchase?

Believe it or not, giving the client a most satisfying buying experience is done all the time.

As a matter of fact, some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs make it a priority.

Secrets of the billionaires

Author Steven Kotler shares this wisdom and many other secrets of these billionaires in his article for Entrepreneur.com.

I really was knocked over by Richard Branson’s approach to his customers:

5. Emphasize a customer-centric approach. Branson’s fiery devotion to fun is relayed to his dedicated clientele and fervent fans. The net effect is a business strategy based on experimental customer-centrism. If Branson thinks a particular service might be beneficial to his customers (and fun), he tries it out. This is why Virgin Atlantic offers free seat-back TVs, onboard massages, a glass-bottomed plane and stand-up comedians. “…It’s about getting every little detail right. It is running your airline like you would an upscale restaurant — the kind where the owner is there every day,” he added.

Is it any wonder that people go out of their way to fly Virgin Atlantic?!

Those of us in business for ourselves should strive to have people flock to our doors, don’t you think?

Quite clearly the key is making the experience of doing business with us fun, entertaining, and something to remember.

Red carpet treatment

You know what I think?

The life insurance business is long overdue for a “fun makeover.”

Sure, those clients who spend big money on our policies get the red carpet treatment…

They are wined and dined and driven to exams in limousines…

But in my brokerage, people who don’t spend megabucks on their coverage still get optimum service.

They are given quotes at which we are confident they will be approved.

Their applications are promptly expedited.

They are continuously updated with our progress.

I personally try to make them feel like a “welcome guest in my (life insurance) home.”

How can life insurance be made more fun?

But is everybody having fun?

How can people have fun answering all the nosy questions about medical condition and lifestyle and finances?

Who wants to get their blood drawn and provide a urine sample?

What about all those cumbersome forms to complete?

I’ll be honest with you…this article was a bit of a revelation.

I want to give my business a huge infusion of fun.

…And I don’t mind saying that I am open to suggestions!

My team and I are going to rack our brains for ways to keep a smile on our clients’ faces all throughout the life insurance purchasing process — and we welcome your input.

What would have made the experience more fun for you when you bought your life insurance policy?

 

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How To Trust Total Strangers

images (1)Do you trust me?

It is hard to feel safe in this world. On the one hand, you can develop a certain feeling of security when you grow up with the same people and have good experiences with them.

However, nobody lives in a bubble. On a daily basis we encounter people we don’t know. How do we get to trust strangers?

The Internet can make that remarkably easy. John Stossel reports about this on reason.com. He writes about all the businesses that have started websites through which people can trade information and experiences about different service providers and potential associates.

In particular, he praises the rating system that sets objective benchmarks to evaluate potential candidates:

But why would you trust total strangers to enter your home? Task Rabbit says its “rabbits” are screened for professional qualifications, but so what? I wouldn’t trust any company’s promise. What I do trust is the reciprocal rating system that the Internet allows. Rabbits who are trustworthy get good ratings. Offices listed at Breather that are safe and pleasant get good ratings. Friendly customers who pay bills get good ratings. It’s wonderful. Internet ratings give us more reason than ever before to interact with new people.

The Internet becomes a hugely potent “branding mechanism” for the businessman. And we all know that there is nothing more dear to someone in business than his reputation. As John Says:

Even the greediest businessman knows he needs a good reputation. And now, thanks to the Internet, his reputation is easier to find than ever.

I think the life insurance industry would greatly benefit from entrepreneurs setting up these types of sites for us. Certainly, we have traditional industry rating companies such as AM Best and Standard and Poors who rate insurance carriers according to sophisticated financial criteria. Unfortunately, many consumers who are not financial analysts find these assessments meaningless. Wouldn’t you like to see consumer reviews about service and claims for the insurance companies with whom you have your policies? Those firms who work hard to maintain a good reputation would have a competitive edge.

This would certainly hold true for brokers. Those of us who engage in unethical or illegal practices do get reported to state insurance departments, and these filings become public record. But these brokers are on the fringe. How do you know that the broker who is offering you a quote is really a basically good guy who can get the job done? Has he worked hard to keep his reputation golden?

Wouldn’t you like to know that?

 

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Fight for Your Dream

“Stop watching your dreams go down the drain!”

…so commands Eunice, a fiery 5th grader in Kibera, Kenya.

Eunice is no stranger to struggle, living in a city where jobs and money are scarce.

But she dreams of one day serving her community as a doctor and “will not waiver” from her dream.

For an eleven-year-old, Eunice packs a powerful punch with her spoken-word poem, “My Dream.”

Watch her recite it in this trailer for the upcoming PBS special based on the book “A Path Appears”:

This young champion-to-be is as good a motivational speaker as anyone I’ve seen – and I have been learning from human potential teachers for a long time.

Dreaming of People

Personally speaking, I spend a good portion of my days dreaming.

My dreams deal with people with whom I am involved, and how I relate to with them, and what I wish for them. I am a moment-to-moment kind of guy and like to visualize my next encounter with people.

Have I done anything wrong for which I need to make amends?

Can I be sure to be on my best behavior?

Am I focused on what I need to accomplish?

In a lot of ways, I think the life we have today is the manifestation of the dream we had yesterday.

Part of Their Dreams

One important note:

When we become involved with people, we become part of their dreams.

This is certainly true of family members, but it applies to people in our businesses as well. Just as they become key characters in our dreams, we become key characters in their dreams. Their “show” must “go on,” even when we must take our final bow.

That is why we buy life insurance for their benefit.

 

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A Soft-Hearted, Hard-Minded Foreign Policy

fsi_basicheatmap_2013_wideHave you ever noticed how much of life is a balancing act?

In order to grow, we need to be gentle with ourselves, yet we must also follow a spiritual discipline;

Our children need us to show them unconditional love, yet at the same time they need us to set defined limits;

In business we must be as accommodating as possible to our clients, vendors, and employees, but not to the point where we erode our bottom line.

This kind of balance is especially needed in our foreign policy. [Read more…]

 

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You’ll Be Okay, Charlie Brown

cbxmasDid you know that the CBS executives who first aired “A Charlie Brown Christmas” expected it to flop?

Instead, the prime time holiday special based on George Schulz’s popular comic strip was a huge hit. It’s shown every year since it first aired in 1965 and has become a favorite across generations.

Many people think that the show is about the commercialization of Christmas and the holiday season in general. That definitely is a running theme.

However, Paul John Scott, writing at the Star Tribune, has another take on what “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is all about: [Read more…]

 

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Ferguson, Fairness, and Justice

fergusonsignsAs you probably have heard by now, yesterday a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, did not find probable cause to indict Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown.

While a grand jury is not the same as a trial – different rules, different results – political pundits and residents of Ferguson alike reacted to the decision as if a verdict had been reached on Wilson’s guilt.

Neither you nor I know for sure what really happened that sad day in Missouri. Alongside the public outcry over the tragedy, many points have been raised in Wilson’s defense.

It’s worth wondering: if the grand jury had indicted Wilson, does that automatically mean that he would have been convicted?

Scott Shackford, writing on Reason.com‘s Hit & Run Blog, asks that and the following important questions:

Should we be upset at the amount of deference and effort made to find reasons not to indict Wilson in this case or should we be upset that the same doesn’t happen to the rest of us? Is the outrage that a grand jury didn’t indict Wilson or is the outrage that the grand jury indicts just about everybody else?

For me this case places front and center the relationship we should have with the police.

As a child, I was taught to find a policeman if I was ever in trouble. I would still do that. As a matter of fact, I have graduated my town’s Citizens Police Academy, and helped form my local block watch. I encourage my neighbors to call a cop even when they are not sure they really need one.

At the same time, I know personally victims of police brutality.

I know all about the “blue wall of silence” that surrounds bad cops. And personally, I would not hesitate to go after a rogue if people I know are being victimized.

Professionally, I go out of my way to try to get life insurance for police officers and other law enforcement officials. They put their lives on the line for the public welfare and that sacrifice deserves my full commitment to the protection of their families.

How do you think we can prevent police brutality and improve our relationship with officers of the law? Leave your comment below.

 

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Can Philosophy Bring Wisdom?

PhilosophyBookMost people respect wise people – but never figure out how they became wise. While not every philosopher is truly wise, the practice of philosophy is very important to developing wisdom in life.

Patrick Allan from Lifehacker shares five ways in which philosophy brings you closer to wisdom.

Here is my favorite:

We sometimes lose perspective: So many things in our world are much bigger than we are. We spend our days concerned with what we have and what we want, but philosophy helps us gain perspective and see the big picture.

Which is your favorite way in which philosophy brings you closer to wisdom?

By the Way…

We life insurance sales people must take a philosophic approach to life to effectively serve our clients.

After all, the men and women who buy life insurance from us must confront their own mortality in order to make the purchase meaningful. It’s our job to coach them so they feel comfortable addressing issues which by nature are distressing and discomforting.

 

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Do You Take Out the Garbage?

We live in a world in which too many people want immediate gratification and to get rich quick. But we all know that in reality, the world doesn’t work that way. True success comes to people who will work for it. It takes the right combination of working hard, working smart, and working from the heart. You have to be willing to start at the bottom of the ladder.

Media executive Michael Casio put it this way in his recent essay in the New York Times:

Before I was an E.V.P., S.V.P. or V.P., I worked as a janitor. For two summers I cleaned toilets, mopped floors and smelled like garbage. It had nothing to do with my chosen profession. And yet nothing was better for preparing me for work and life as an adult.

People have to earn their keep. When I was a kid, if I wanted to buy something, I had to earn the money to spend. Even before my teens I was stuffing envelopes for my father’s life insurance general agency. I remember getting my pay and then taking a long walk to the local bookstore to buy a new Hardy Boys book.

Experiences like this keep you rooted. They keep you from feeling entitled to the rewards that come your way. They help you understand that it is your assiduous effort that yields either feast and famine.

Do your children understand this? Do your employees? Do your financial representatives take this attitude when servicing your account? Or do they take your business for granted?

 

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Is America Still Beautiful?

In Mecca, under the autocratic rule of wealthy despots, some of the worst byproducts of modernity – social fragmentation, the destruction of historical treasures, and the commercialization of religion – coincide with the rise of a fundamentalist brand of violent extremism. Ziauddin Sarder talked about this recently in the New York Times. Mr. Sarder is the editor of the quarterly Critical Muslim and the author of “Mecca: The Sacred City.” He bemoans the cultural devastation of this once-holy city:

The cultural devastation of Mecca has radically transformed the city. Unlike Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, Mecca was never a great intellectual and cultural center of Islam. But it was always a pluralistic city where debate among different Muslim sects and schools of thought was not unusual. Now it has been reduced to a monolithic religious entity where only one, ahistoric, literal interpretation of Islam is permitted, and where all other sects, outside of the Salafist brand of Saudi Islam, are regarded as false. Indeed, zealots frequently threaten pilgrims of different sects. Last year, a group of Shiite pilgrims from Michigan were attacked with knives by extremists, and in August, a coalition of American Muslim groups wrote to the State Department asking for protection during this year’s hajj.

Mr. Sarder shows how the spiritual degradation of Mecca is reflected in the Muslim world at large:

Mecca is a microcosm of the Muslim world. What happens to and in the city has a profound effect on Muslims everywhere. The spiritual heart of Islam is an ultramodern, monolithic enclave, where difference is not tolerated, history has no meaning, and consumerism is paramount. It is hardly surprising then that literalism, and the murderous interpretations of Islam associated with it, have become so dominant in Muslim lands.

Such an incisive critique gives cause to reflect on our situation here in America.

Fragmented, Disengaged, and Alienated

I think our country has become very fragmented in recent years. I think that the current administration has caused a lot of damage with its inflammatory rhetoric about class, race, and gender.

We have also become disengaged from the land that has been our historical treasure. Many of our citizens do not realize that our country has been called “America the Beautiful” because they have very little to do with the natural environment.

And, we have become alienated from the “Judeo-Christian” heritage of our forefathers. It is not so much that our religions have become commercialized. It is more that the importance of philosophy and values has been underplayed, while economic success has been over-stressed.

Literalism vs Realism

I do believe that many consumers take a dogmatic approach to making financial decisions. An example is the idea of “buy term and invest the rest”. Many advisors preach that like the Gospel. They pay no attention to the potential benefits of permanent life insurance, and of policies that build cash value.

The fact is that no one approach is right for everyone. Depending on your circumstances, needs and goals, term may be appropriate; then again permanent, might be appropriate. And this can change over time.

The willingness to look at yourself realistically, the courage to do what is right for yourself regardless of what others say, and an openness to different viewpoints, can together yield a truly good decision about life insurance and your finances.

Hajj and Life Insurance

It may very well be that this year such a trip would be considered a higher risk factor. Travel to locations in which street violence, insurrection, and other dangers are possible can result in a higher rate. It may even result in a declination. An underwriter would have to be made fully aware of all the precautions for safety that would be taken, in order to get a comfort level with the risk.

 

 

 

 

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