How To Become A Conscious (Life Insurance) Consumer

Insights into why people buy - or postpone buying - life insurance. Studies from the disciplines of neuroscience, psychology, religion, and spirituality are called upon to explain consumer behavior.

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.

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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.

Have You Been Able to Face Your Own Death?

Dutch Harbor/Unalaska, Alaska

Life insurance is one creepy product. It pays out when you die.

Nobody likes to think about that. Nobody especially likes to think about the financial distress their death may cause their family or business.

People who have a serious medical condition often have an ultra-hard time thinking about death. It is hard enough to deal with the stress, the strain, the symptoms, the exams, and the extra cost of tests and treatments. Who wants to think about this all going to a lost cause and failing to prevent an early demise?

To make matters worse, physicians often downplay the seriousness of the prognosis. What physician really wants to give a dismal report? It is much easier to be overly optimistic and leave your patient believing in the virtual impossible.

The fact of the matter is that serious medical conditions unfortunately can make death more likely. It can come much sooner then the 120-year lifespan we all would like to have :(. Not only that: even for people in perfect health, death can be right around the corner. Undetected medical conditions, such as aneurysms. Drunk drivers. Freak accidents. Household fires. Car crashes. Street violence. Terrorism. There is so much that can happen to us..

How can people wake up and face their mortality right in the eye? How can people face the fact that today could be their final day on this earth? How can people accept the fact that they may have higher-risk factors that make their mortality a higher probability than those who do not have those factors?

Have you done this? Have you been able to accept that death is part of life? Please tell me how you have done it. Let me know the thought train you followed. Also please share how it has helped you make the tough but important decisions in your life – such as buying life insurance.

I am sure many people will be inspired by your brave tale. Thank you.

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.

Who Else Caused the GSK Scandal?

greedThe Guardian reports that pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has admitted to horrific corporate misconduct:

The pharmaceutical group GlaxoSmithKline has been fined $3bn (£1.9bn) after admitting bribing doctors and encouraging the prescription of unsuitable antidepressants to children. Glaxo is also expected to admit failing to report safety problems with the diabetes drug Avandia in a district court in Boston on Thursday.

I am not at all reluctant to call a spade a spade, and rage against corporate greed when it takes place. I hope that the stockholders of this company share that rage, and take their investment dollars elsewhere until when and if this firm makes complete amends. At the same time, I understand that corporate misconduct does not take place in a vacuum. Corporate personnel, sales people, marketing affiliates, and centers of influence all have a hand in the misdeed.

I think the Guardian article highlights how all these parties voluntarily helped GSK perpetrate this fraud. Here are some examples I see:

Sales reps

The company encouraged sales reps in the US to mis-sell three drugs to doctors and lavished hospitality and kickbacks on those who agreed to write extra prescriptions, including trips to resorts in Bermuda, Jamaica and California.

Nobody forces sales people to mis-sell anything. If your company trains you to be unethical, you should find another job. Sales people don’t have to be dishonest to be successful.

Physician consultants

GSK also paid for articles on its drugs to appear in medical journals and “independent” doctors were hired by the company to promote the treatments, according to court documents.

Nobody forces doctors to relinquish their independence and become paid promoters for companies. If they want to become known as independent advisers, they can conduct independent studies.

Medical publishers

GSK also published an article in a medical journal that mis-stated the drug’s safety for children, despite the journal asking several times to change the wording.

Nobody forces medical publishers to publish misleading material. If they want to avoid endangering their readership, they can find another author.

Public relations personnel

Despite knowing that three trials had failed to prove its effectiveness on children, Glaxo published a report entitled “Positioning Paxil in the adolescent depression market – getting a headstart”.

Nobody forced the PR personnel for this company to promote lies. For sure, it is tough to be a whistleblower, but you have to take a stand when the health of consumers – especially children – is at stake.

Media personalities

The prosecution said the company paid $275,000 to Dr Drew Pinsky, who hosted a popular radio show, to promote the drug on his programme, in particular for unapproved uses – GSK claimed it could treat weight gain, sexual dysfunction, ADHD and bulimia. Pinsky, who had not declared his GSK income to listeners, said Wellbutrin could give women 60 orgasms a night. A study of 25 people using the drug for eight weeks was pushed by a PR firm hired by GSK, generating headlines including “Bigger than Viagra? It sounds too good to be true: a drug to help you stop smoking, stay happy and lose weight” and “Now That is a Wonder Drug”.

Nobody forced this guy to abuse his credibility. He certainly could have refused to promote any advertiser he chose.

And the physicians

The investigation also found that sales representatives set up “Operation Hustle” to promote the drug to doctors, including trips to Jamaica, Bermuda and one talk coinciding with the annual Boston Tall Ships flotilla. Speakers were paid up to $2,500 for a one-hour presentation – up to three times a day – earning far more than they did working in their surgeries.

Nobody forced these doctors to jump on the drug bandwagon. They let themselves be bought.

A lot of blame to go around

So, this sad tale is about more than corporate greed. It is also about how people both inside and outside the company let that greed run their lives. And, tragically for many, ruin their lives.

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! Capitalism is, indeed, moral.

c4eca364d5821f294a0006dffe6df4193bf932efRenowned economist Walter Williams of George Mason University has an enlightening five-minute lecture on the topic, “Is Capitalism Moral” on Prageru.com. Here are some of the points that struck home for me:

The free market is morally superior to any other economic system.

It is based on voluntary – and mutually beneficial – actions between individuals, without coercion. If I want something from you, I have to do something for you.

It is not a zero-sum game; it is a positive-sum game.

Both parties are better off because both parties win. It is the government that creates zero-sum games. The benefit that one citizen receives is at the expense of his or her fellow citizens.

True free-market capitalism will keep corporations in check.

It will force them to compete in the marketplace and be accountable to customers and stockholders. It is only when the government interferes that corporations lose this accountability and do not have to compete. The free market means limited government: you and I decide which businesses survive.

I thank God every day that I live in a country that promotes a free market. I don’t think I could have built such a successful life insurance sales practice anywhere else.

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.

Life Insurance Can Prevent Poverty

erase-poverty-326x235I live in a small town in northern New Jersey (population 30,000+). When good things happen, you know (especially since the mayor posts on Facebook nearly every day :). When bad things happen, you hear about them too. Let me tell you one sad tale from a few years ago.

A young couple with a young family. They were in their early 30s. They already had five young children, with another on the way. He worked various jobs to make ends meet. She stayed home with the kids. He was overweight, a diabetic, and a smoker.

You can guess what happened: severe heart attack. Fortunately, the end came quickly.

The family had very little money. She had no job. And he had no life insurance. The community rallied behind the surviving family as best we could. Of course, no one could expect neighborly assistance to support the family forever. You can bet they are still struggling.

You can also imagine the difference a life insurance policy would have made for that family. Bills would get paid. Rent. Food. Clothes. Medicine. Books. No need to worry about any of it. The heartache of poverty could have been spared.

Maybe the young widow will get lucky and marry a rich guy who will take them all in. Maybe she’ll find the intestinal fortitude to make something of herself and take care of seven kids at the same time.

I truly hope it works out for this family. But I do know that had there been life insurance, the suffering of poverty could have been avoided.

Economist John Goodman talks about preventing proverty. In a recent Forbes article, he writes:

We now know a lot about how behavior affects poverty. In fact, if you do these four things, it’s almost impossible to remain poor: Finish high school Get a job, Get married, and Don’t have children until you get married.

I would humbly add to this list a #5: buy life insurance.

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.

Faith, Football, and Life Insurance

-DistantDo you know one big reason why many people have trouble relating to life insurance? It’s because it deals with their death. And who wants to talk about that?

This natural and understandable reluctance to face one’s mortality makes the job of the life insurance salesperson harder. The fact of the matter is that any one of us could die today. Or tomorrow. You really don’t know when your time on this planet will be up.

Facing death is tough!

It takes quite some sensitivity and coaching to encourage a prospective buyer to appreciate that reality, and get motivated to buy now. If he or she waits, it might be too late. Their family, business, estate, and favorite charity could unfortunately lose out.

I have found that in some cases, religious people have an easier time facing their mortality. It is important to them to have a “good record” when they face their maker. They often see the purchase of life insurance as accomplishing that. It is an act of love, and caring, and responsibility.

Football men of faith.

It is interesting to note that the starting quarterbacks in this is Sunday’s Super Bowl are both men of faith. The spiritual beliefs of both Peyton Manning and Cam Newton have been widely quoted. Here is a summary.

One statement in particular from Peyton stands out to me, because it reflects the understanding that he may die today:

“My faith has been number one since I was 13 years old and heard from the pulpit on a Sunday morning in New Orleans a simple question: ‘If you died today, are you 100 percent sure you’d go to heaven?’” Manning wrote in his book called “Manning: A Father, His Sons and a Football Legacy” (which he authored with his dad Archie, a former NFL quarterback, and John Underwood).

Certainly a core question that we all need to answer, both when we manage our finances as well as when we conduct our lives in general. It makes sense that these great leaders on the football field would be great leaders of their own lives.

Do you agree?

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.

Should Millionaires Get Obamacare Tax Credits?

The Dailysignal reports that financial advisors are helping their millionaire clients receive Obamacare tax credits.

How can this happen?

It has to do with eligibility requirements based on income, not assets. The report describes the law as an “income-related welfare benefit.” If the millionaires are receiving taxable income lower than the maximum allowed, then what they are doing is perfectly legal. Even if they have substantial assets.

I don’t think this is quite what the law intended, do you? I mean, wasn’t the law supposed to help poor people? Read the rest of the article and tell me what you think. To get the discussion started, I’ll put some of my points on the table now.

Here’s my two cents:

I think Obamacare should be repealed. The government has no business in the health insurance marketplace. Insurance is not an entitlement.

Nothing wrong with being a millionaire. In our great country, everyone has the chance to be one.

Also nothing wrong with rich people taking advantage of laws designed to help poor people. Their advisers would be remiss if they didn’t tell clients to do so.

Should rich people refrain from applying for tax credits they don’t really need? That is an individual decision. I personally think rich people get gauged enough by an onerous tax system that nobody could blame them for taking advantage of every little break.

Maybe the government should stop passing laws that favor one part of the population over another. Creates nothing but class competition.

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.

Congratulations! You Are Now $58,000 in Debt.

images5PXO90TGPeople often buy life insurance to cover debt. They take out a mortgage to get on the road to home ownership. But, they don’t want their spouse to be saddled with the debt if they unfortunately die prematurely. They take out life insurance so their surviving family can be debt-free.

Men and women starting businesses take out life insurance to get a bank loan. Lenders typically want a policy to be in force before they will release the funds. They don’t want to have to chase the surviving family if the lendee dies before the loan has been repaid.

Students will take out life insurance to cover their college loans. They sometimes have to borrow hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a higher education. If their family should tragically lose them, they don’t want to run the risk that the lenders will come after their parents.

Life insurance is even used to cover private loans. Sometimes one family member will lend money to another in times of hardship. The loan is really just a stopgap measure until the ailing family member can get back on his or her feet. The honorable thing to do is to make sure the generous family member is made whole in case the borrower dies before the money has been paid back. A short-term life insurance policy does that.

Just a temporary fix.

In all these cases, the borrower understands that the debt is intended to be a stopgap measure only. Temporary. Simply a cash infusion to get to the next stage of life. Debt is never supposed to be a way of life in and of itself. If you and I knew someone who made it so, we would think that he is being irresponsible. Taking advantage of others. A bad risk. How could he ever pay back the loan if it grows larger and larger and larger?

What, then, do we make of the federal government? The news of the day is that the US national debt just hit a new record. I quote here from economist Romina Boccia:

On Monday the U.S. national debt hit a new record: $19,012,827,698,418. This is the first time the national debt has ever exceeded $19 trillion. That’s more than $58,000 for each person who lives in the U.S. today (including children).

Is this any way to run a country?

How did we get into this mess?

The main culprit behind the rising deficits and debt is growing federal spending—especially among Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare.

Tell me something: why on earth would the government take on more obligations when it can’t meet the ones it currently has?

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.

Our Country Needs a Policy Audit

magnifying-glassIn the life insurance business, we promote the practice of auditing your policy on a regular basis. That policy serves as the bedrock of your financial security. You need to make sure it is still performing as expected.

Why? Because things change. Life changes. The circumstances that were in place when you originally bought the policy, very likely have changed.

Maybe better deals are available in the marketplace. Maybe your needs have changed, and the face amount and guarantee period have to be adjusted. Maybe coverage is now needed on your spouse. Kids. New business partner. New key corporate personnel.

Makes sense, right? Of course it does. It’s all a matter of keeping your finances strong.

Medical practitioners have been promoting the idea of a “health policy audit” for years. That’s why we need to get annual check ups. Maybe we have to adjust our diet. Exercise routine. Frame of mind. Make life changes. Leave a bad job? Take a vacation?

Makes sense, right? Of course it does. It’s all a matter of keeping your health strong.

My father used to call it planning your work and working your plan. Staying in touch with your core mission and making the changes needed to stay on track. All the financial success experts suggest it. All the human development gurus advocate it.

Now here’s the question: when was the last time you heard a politician call for it?

These men and women set policies that affect the life of every citizen, as well as the nation as a whole. Foreign relations. Immigration. Environment. Energy. Jobs. National unity. What they do impacts the lives of over 300 million people, not to mention the lives of billions of others across the globe. We are, after all, the United States of America – a supposed world leader.

You would think that these people in Washington – more than anybody – would know the importance of auditing the policies they design and implement. When they get it right, great things can happen the world over. But when they get it wrong, bad things can happen – the world over.

At the very least, these people owe us an audit on an annual basis. The State of the Union should really be a leadership self-assessment to make sure we are still on track. What’s working? Leave it alone. What’s not working? Get rid of it. Try again.

When you and I mess up, it could impact our own lives. Our families. Businesses. Communities. It is incumbent upon us to learn from our mistakes, put fixes in place, and move on. For the better. We can’t get away with denying problems and whitewashing the picture. It all hits too close to home. A good, hearty, audit of the way we run our lives is the least we owe the people who depend on us.

Our politicians owe us the same thing, Big time. We should all be reassured that the government is in good hands.

Makes sense, right? Of course it does. It’s all a matter of keeping our nation strong.

Thank God we have elections. Maybe next time we’ll get leaders who know they owe us some policy audits.

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.

Should You Wait to Get Married?

downloadBack when I got married, it seemed that young people for the most part followed this path:

Find the right girl (or guy)

Get married

Start a family

Get a house – or get on the road to buying a house some day.

Along the way, they would, of course, buy life insurance.

Today, it seems that this is less of a trend. From a business point of view, this is no big deal. Single people can still buy life insurance. Single parents can still buy life insurance. Domestic partners can still buy life insurance. Being married is certainly not a precondition to buying a policy.

But I wonder why fewer people seem to be tying the knot? Dennis Prager addresses this topic in a thought-provoking article on his website. Here are some of his very interesting conclusions:

You don’t have to be in love to get married.

If you wait until you are older to get married, you do not decrease the possibility of getting divorced.

It makes no sense to wait until you earn more money.

There is no such thing is “feeling ready.” You “act married,” then you’ll “feel married.”

This perspective seems to be contrary to common thinking, don’t you think? Tell me whether you agree or disagree, and why. PS: in the interest of full disclosure, I got married at age 26 and last year celebrated my 32nd wedding anniversary. My father got married at age 32 and had been married almost 58 years when he passed away.

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.

Would Our Children Grow Up More at College or at McDonald’s?

imagesI think that for many of us, college was a growth experience. We had to choose a schedule. Manage our lives to get to class on time. Get along with roommates and classmates. Work at jobs and internships. Pay our bills.

College was a necessary transition point into the “real” world in which all of this and more would be expected of us. It was also something larger: a place to broaden our minds and get the big picture on society. To learn how to judge what was working and what was not. To ask where improvement was needed, and how could we ourselves become part of the solution and not part of the problem?

Wouldn’t it be great to have college graduates across the country who are ready, willing and able to change society for the better? Who have a good sense of themselves as individuals, but who also have the skills needed to lead, and to work as a team? Who are able to tackle issues, and not attack people? Who have the maturity to deal with peoples’ guff and grief, and not make a big deal out of everything? Who have perspective?

Yes, indeed. Men and women like this make good citizens, good employees, and good employers. Good business people. And happy people. And happily married people.

Unfortunately, sometimes the college experience falls short of providing this training. When it does, other institutions can often pick up the slack in the maturation process. Here is a report from one college freshman about how working at McDonald’s helped her grow in ways her college cannot.

Please take a look and tell me what you think.

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.

Does God Want You to be Rich?

download (1)Does God want you to be rich?

Yes, indeed He does. No doubt about it.

You do understand that I am not speaking for God. I have no prophetic powers, and even if I did, I would still be speaking for myself. But even those of us who are not prophets need to try to see things from God’s point of view. It is, after all, His planet, and we are simply setting up camp here for a while.

So what exactly does God want from us while we are here? And could great wealth help us get that done?

Heal the sick? Feed the hungry? Clothe the naked? Shelter the homeless? Your wealth could help many, many people retain their dignity.

Fund a new business? Help people find a job? Support people without a job until they get a new one? Your wealth could help many, many people become self-sufficient.

Design a way to distribute clean, safe, and affordable energy across the globe? Provide a way to monitor media for national security but still protect privacy? Your wealth could help improve society with needed products and services.

Advocate for human rights? Secure civil liberties? Prevent abuse of power? Pursue justice for all? Your wealth could promote the legal and political reforms needed to secure the freedom of every man, woman, and child.

I think the world needs people with a ton of money putting that money to good use. If you are in a position to get more than you have right now, then go for it. And, frankly, I think most of us could be wealthier if we put our minds to it. We all could and should be rich.

There is such a thing as good wealth. It is wealth that makes our world a better place. God has designed life on the planet in such a way that we can make it a good or a bad place in which to live, or somewhere in between. Why not make it the best place possible? It is within your power to do that. And lots of good money can make that happen.

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.

“I Am a White, American, Male Millionaire. How Do I Make People Not Hate Me?”

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Successful people have many problems. One would think that in becoming a millionaire, the worst would be over. Unfortunately, for some people the trouble is only beginning.

These days, one of the big problems is being hated! Can you imagine?

Here is how one millionaire put it on Quora:

I am a white, American male who is a millionaire. How do I make people not hate me?

I wanted to expand on this. People hate me who don’t know me. As a white male, I am now “Privileged”, and apparently get everything handed to me. As a millionaire, I am a tax evader, even though I pay more money in taxes in one year than the average person will pay in their entire lifetime. People seem to think that I sold my soul (or their’s actually) to get to where I am. I constantly hear that people are poor and suffering and struggling because of me and the things that I do (re make money). I feel like the people in America want to burn me at the stake instead of viewing me as a success story of what is possible in America.

This is how I tried to help him.

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.

How Much of Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s Money are You Entitled To?

charityAre people who are critical of Mark and Priscilla’s donation more like Robin Hood, or the Sheriff of Nottingham?

I am sure you have heard the wonderful news: Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan have a new daughter, Max. Mazal tov! They are doing some pretty heavy-duty estate planning for both her benefit and mankind. It’s called the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, LLC, and is a family-run foundation. Here is a news bulletin on it.

Good for them. I hope that we all have the money to do what they are doing.

Let me ask you something:

Do you think that the world can tolerate only a fixed amount of rich people? That for every rich person there must necessarily be a poor person? Or worse, a thousand poor people for every one person with money?

That seems to be the viewpoint of people who are criticizing Mark and Priscilla for their good deed. Their complaints are instructive for getting a firmer understanding of wealth and estate planning. More than that: they point to what I think is a misinformed notion of morality.

Here are some examples:

Complaint #1: Mark and Priscilla will realize tax benefits when making their donations.

To quote the Daily Beast:

Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t need massive tax benefits to do whatever he wants. He can just do whatever he wants. But he will get those tax benefits and estate planning benefits and he’ll be able to give up his stock while holding onto power over his company. So will others. Yermack’s work reveals that, in aggregate, when we pay people like Zuckerberg to fund their own foundations, we are really helping the rich and coddled few even as we thank and honor them for their charity.

Here are my questions:

Are we looking for some type of “moral purity” in people who are generous? Is their gift somehow “tainted” if they benefit in the process – even if the benefit is just to pay less taxes than they would if they had used another legal tool for the gift?

What is so bad about rich people getting to keep more of their money so they can put it to further use for the betterment of society?

It doesn’t seem fair to castigate people who take advantage of existing tax laws. If people think we have an unbalanced taxation system, then they should fix the system. That should not involve attacking people who are legally and legitimately making use of it. Does that seem fair to you?

Complaint #2: Mark and Priscilla will control where the money goes.

To quote Medium.com:

It is absolutely fair and necessary to be critical of Zuckerberg’s philanthropic efforts, both past and present, to ensure that this gift of $45 billion dollars is put to good use…   The most valuable path may well be to simply invest this enormous pool of resources in the people and institutions that are already doing this work (including, yes, public institutions funded by tax dollars) and trust that they know their domains better than someone who’s already got a pretty demanding day job.

Here are my questions:

Since when should a private donation be considered public property? By what right is anyone entitled to tell somebody else what to do with their money?

If people don’t like the way Mark and Priscilla are allocating their money, aren’t they free to allocate their own money the way they see fit?

If Mark and Priscilla had obtained their fortune illegally or unethically, then people could legitimately protest. Then you could say that one person’s illicit gain was another person’s tragic loss, and justice must be served. But if they got their wealth through entrepreneurship and smart financial management, then no one has a right to complain. Do they?

I get the feeling that people who are criticizing Mark and Priscilla are trying to play Robin Hood, but in a misguided way. Robin Hood did not steal from the rich to give to the poor. He took back from the Sheriff of Nottingham the money this tyrant had stolen from the people of the land, and returned it to their rightful owners. To me, going after people’s money that is not yours is a bit too much like what the Sheriff did, and not Robin Hood. 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.

Has Your Success Been Worth the Pain?

screen-shot-2015-08-29-at-1-58-13-pmSometimes readers on Quora floor you with their great questions. This one really excited me:

Has the success that you have experienced in your life been worth the pain, struggle and sacrifice involved?
When you look back on the successful outcomes in your life, was it worth the pain?

I suppose that this might come across as a bit of a “vague” query devoid of any real detail, but I’d like to leave this question as “open” as possible not only to be welcoming, but also to obtain the maximum amount of variety in the answers presented.

The term “success” is open for interpretation. It could mean anything, as long as it means something to YOU.

Provocative, don’t you think? Really gets to the heart of the matter. Here is my answer.

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.

Are You Glad You Paid for Your Kids’ College?

students-admission-bad-college-gradesWhen you first bought your life insurance, you sat down with your broker and discussed your financial needs. What should this policy cover?

Income replacement? Check. Mortgage protection? Check. Supplemental savings plan? Could be. Check. Policies for your business? If needed, check. Also maybe cover your estate and charitable interests. Check and check.

And, of course, college funding. That was pretty standard in those days, 20 or 30 years ago. So you added a few hundred thousand dollars onto your face amount, and considered yourself to be doing a good thing.

Why a good thing? Because in the 1970s and 80s, a college education still meant something. If you were on a professional career track, you got a solid grounding in academics. Extremely necessary for any architect, engineer, physician, lawyer, and so on.

If you chose liberal arts, then you got to broaden your mind. Innovative studies. Interdisciplinary studies. Working with others. Social awareness and responsibility. And you know what? Even this track was good for your career. I took this route myself and graduated with a liberal arts degree from a state school in 1980. One big reason I did so was because I understood that employers and corporations considered a liberal arts education to be great training for management. Successful people in business need to see the big picture. And work with anybody. And resolve conflict.

So, many of us bought life insurance to cover college, wanting the same good thing for our kids.

Now you and I have moved on to the next stage of life. Our kids have gone through school, or done whatever they could do. Our life insurance to cover college funding did it’s job of securing the opportunity for our kids to get the same growth experience we had back in school.

But to tell you the truth, I have my doubts as to whether the vast majority of our kids got anything close to that.

Have you been paying attention to what’s been happening on our campuses? “Safe Spaces?” Free college? “Inclusive language campaign?” “Interactive sex workshop?” “Gender binarism?”

Here’s the key question: are the young men and women pursuing these ideals and experiences being equipped to lead responsible lives as adults in this country?

I don’t think so. And I think many of us have a little bit of buyer’s remorse because of that. We can’t be confident that our children can become successful in either their personal or professional lives.

What a shame. And a waste of money. Don’t you think?

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.

I’m Healthy Now! Should I Reshop My Life Insurance?

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAjCAAAAJGJkNzFhNGU3LTgwYTktNDU0ZC05MzkwLTAyMGM4ZTE0NGZhZQYes, you should. You have nothing to lose!

I get asked this question a lot by clients who originally bought life insurance when they were dealing with a serious illness. Hepatitis. Diabetes. Heart disease. Recent cancer.

But that was ten or fifteen years ago. Now you have successfully completed treatment! Or you have modified your lifestyle for the better. You are stable. Your labs are good. Your physician has made all kinds of nice comments about you in your medical file 🙂

You are healthy! Would it be possible to reduce the cost of your coverage? Let’s give it a shot!

First I will try to get us into a price ballpark. This way we can determine what savings just might be available. If those numbers look good, then we can go through full prequalification.

All this takes place before you submit a formal application, of course. We don’t want to raise false hope or waste anyone’s time.

If it looks like we can get a better a deal, then by all means you go through underwriting. It goes without saying that you do not drop your current policy until the new one is in place. We DO NOT want a lapse in coverage.

And rest assured: your attempt to get better pricing from another company will in no way violate your contract with the current carrier. As long as you keep paying that premium, they are stuck with you 🙂

Here is the bottom line: since you are now healthy, you may very well qualify for a lower life insurance rate. Prequalification is a short and sweet way to find out. Take advantage of it!

“Compare term life insurance rates at no cost from top rated companies in seconds.”
https://www.insurenowdirect.com/stevenkobrin/Default.aspx

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.

Why Single People Need Life Insurance

individualPeople often think that life insurance is something you buy when you get married. Yet, there are so many single people who have bought the product, for a number of reasons.

I provide a few reasons in my recent post on InsuranceLibrary.

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.

Recent posts, including “What are the top 3 reasons people don’t have life insurance?”

recent-posts3Here are some of my recent posts on the topics of life and life insurance.
I feel strongly that the more people know about the product, the more comfortable they will feel buying it. Simple as that!
Feel free to share them.

“What is a dependent on life insurance?”
http://www.insurancelibrary.com/life-insurance/what-is-a-dependent-on-life-insurance#comment-27304

“How relevant is “Think and Grow Rich” in 2014?”
http://www.quora.com/How-relevant-is-Think-and-Grow-Rich-in-2014/answer/Steve-Kobrin-1

“Can I Get Whole Life Insurance If I Am A 24 Yr Old Felon Out On 1 Yr Probation?”
http://www.insurancelibrary.com/life-insurance/can-get-whole-life-insurance-24-yr-old-felon-1-yr-probation#comment-27293

“Can An 83 Year Old Get Life Insurance?”
http://www.insurancelibrary.com/life-insurance/can-an-83-year-old-get-life-insurance#comment-27280

“What Is The Purpose Of Whole Life Insurance?”
http://www.insurancelibrary.com/life-insurance/what-is-the-purpose-of-whole-life-insurance#comment-27277

‘What are the top 3 reasons people don’t have life insurance?”
http://www.quora.com/What-are-the-top-3-reasons-people-dont-have-life-insurance/answer/Steve-Kobrin-1

 

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.