Should I convert my 529 Plan into a whole life insurance policy?

No way. Whole life insurance is a bad vehicle for saving for college. These policies are great for accumulating cash on a guaranteed basis, and usually on a non-guaranteed basis… Read More

 

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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.

Should I list my ex-spouse as an In-Trust-For on a life insurance policy that has my children listed as the beneficiaries?

Here’s the thing: a life insurance company is not going to release proceeds to minors. So, if you unfortunately pass away before they become adults, your carrier will hold the… Read More

 

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 does a wash loan work?

The idea of a “wash” is kind of misleading. When you take out a loan from your life insurance policy, you really are not using your money. You are using… Read More

 

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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.

How can I get out of my IUL policy without surrendering a significant portion of my investments?

This is certainly a tough situation, and I appreciate your bitterness. Nonetheless, I think the emphasis should be on rectifying your portfolio, and not so much on recouping your losses…. Read More

 

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 can I best use the cash value of my life insurance policy to invest near retirement?

For sure. You could transfer the cash value into a retirement product such as an annuity without triggering a taxable event. Of course, this has to be properly handled, so… Read More

 

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

What Qualifications Should Your Life Insurance Broker Have? Part Two: The Role of the Super-Specialist

Life insurance is not something to mess around with. It is an integral piece of your financial puzzle, without which the rest of your finances could be in danger. We recently discussed the reasons why your life insurance broker should be a specialist, both in the product itself as well as the planning and purchasing process. Now that you know how important it is for the person selling your life insurance to be qualified, we’ll turn our attention to the necessity of a “super-specialist,” or “impaired-risk specialist.”

An Expert In Risk

The life insurance super-specialist is an expert in underwriting all varieties of risk. It doesn’t matter if you are perfectly healthy, being treated for a serious illness, love mountain climbing, or are fresh out of bankruptcy. Your super-specialist should be able to give you both competitive and reliable quotes and get your application approved at the rate quoted with no surprises.

What Is Risk?

The life insurance industry gives a rating to all types of risks and determines where you land on the risk scale. If providers don’t use risk factors to determine premiums, they could lose money down the road.

What the industry considers higher-risk or impaired risk includes a wide variety of medical conditions affecting every organ and system in the body, from the neurological to the orthopedic. It also includes multiple lifestyle issues, from smoking to drug use to alcohol use to foreign travel. They also consider your past. People who have a criminal conviction or multiple motor vehicle violations typically represent a higher risk than those who don’t.

Risk And The Super-Specialist

How does the super-specialist handle risk? The key to their mastery is the capability of getting people underwritten who represent higher risks. The logic is simple: if they can obtain policies for people who have heart disease or diabetes, they can easily get policies for those who are lucky enough to be disease-free.

A broker who gets the job done with these harder cases has an easy time getting it done for the simple cases. Remember our homebuilding analogy in part one of this series? The master builder who constructs your dream home will have a straightforward job of building an addition. But what sets the life insurance business apart from the construction industry is that it won’t cost you any extra to do business with a master broker because the premium for the product remains the same regardless of who sold it to you.

An Understanding Of The Personal Side

There is another reason why the impaired-risk specialist is ideally suited to help you purchase life insurance. It has to do with the very personal nature of life insurance underwriting. As we have discussed, virtually your entire life and history are assessed for mortality risk when you apply for a policy. Full disclosure is required to qualify for the best rate and to get your application approved without a hitch.

Everything must be put on the table: your discomfort with your Crohn’s disease, your bouts with depression, your prior and even current marijuana use. You can’t hide your treatment for anxiety and stress during your divorce, your recent job change, or the time you fell off the wagon and went into rehab. All these experiences are extremely personal and highly sensitive and must be handled appropriately. When you work with a life insurance broker, you need to feel that you are being treated with consideration and respect. And it’s not just about getting the details down. Your story must be presented to underwriters in a way that sheds the best possible light on your insurability.

The Highest Level Of Service

Consumers who pose a higher risk realize they need to deal with an impaired-risk specialist. They know that people who pose special risks need special care. Imagine you have a particular medical condition, such as a kidney ailment. To get the best care, you would go to a nephrologist. This is true for the legal field as well. You would go to an estate planning attorney for your will and trust and to a criminal attorney for legal representation.

The difference is that the impaired risk super-specialist isn’t pigeonholed into just the high-risk cases. They’ve mastered the complex so the simple becomes even easier. This is why the impaired-risk specialist is positioned to provide excellent service regardless of the mortality risk posed by any given client.

My Role As A Super-Specialist

In my many years of experience in this industry, I have obtained the expertise needed to specialize in helping people who represent a higher risk in multiple risk areas. Regardless of if you feel you have a unique, challenging situation or if your circumstances are straightforward, I can help you get competitive quotes for your life insurance. I’d love to hear your story. Ask anything at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

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

 

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

Transform Small Donors into Major Donors

Your not-for-profit organization is making a profound difference in the lives of those served. You are busy, your staff is busy, your staff is busy, and it’s time to put the pedal to the floor and launch a Major Gifts campaign.

The organization has a strong fan base, and there are those who would like to really leave a legacy. But not everyone may be in a position to part with legacy-level dollars…

…while they are alive.

The answer: Life insurance.

Here’s how it works: A person can make a small or medium-sized donation to the charity of their choice. That charity uses those funds to purchase a life insurance policy on that donor, with the charity as the beneficiary. (The charity also creates a budget line item for the premiums in case the donations to cover the premium stop coming for whatever reason.) Upon the eventual passing of the donor, the benefit that the charity receives will be many times the sum donated over the years.

If it’s so straightforward, why aren’t I hearing about this all over the place? I hear you ask.

Certain institutions do this all the time, notably charities that promote medical research, United Way, and Jewish Federations. It’s also a common practice in estate planning. The word is spreading.
Life insurance is, plainly put, an underutilized way to help people leave a legacy.

A cautionary note: It is better for the not-for-profit to own the policy so that after years of paying premiums, the beneficiary doesn’t get changed by the policy owner. Make sure to run it past a lawyer because it has to be done in a certain way, to the benefit of everyone.

So help someone to hit the Good Deed button, they can make a difference in the lives of the people who will benefit from your organization!

To learn more, contact us today. Visit our website, read our blog, connect with me on LinkedIn, download our free ebook, The Guide to Buying Life Insurance, or request a policy audit today by calling our office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

We thank Jaime Campbell for her co-authoriship of this blog. Jaime is a CPA, CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountant), MBA, and co-owner and CFO of Tier One Services, LLC. Jaime’s passion is to combine her analytical, proud-to-be-a-geek mind with her creative, musical side to deliver accounting information in such a way that clients see their business future in a whole new light. She enjoys creating and nurturing fulfilling relationships with clients that help them achieve their dreams. You can reach Jaime at (704) 837-0185 or jcampbellcpa@tieroneservices.net.

 

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 a single person with assets above $1M buy life insurance as an estate planning tool?

Here’s why you might want to do this: Life insurance provides great value. Every dollar of benefit literally costs pennies in premium. So, it’s very economical way of making a… Read More

 

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 we delay paying the annual premium for our parents’ Second-To-Die policy if we feel we can’t afford it at its due date?

A tough situation. I hope that property damage is all you have to worry about! This is a common dilemma. When people take out flexible premium life insurance policies, it… Read More

 

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.

Can I recover my retirement savings after losing it all due to the market crash and a failed business?

As I see it, you have three objectives: To retire at age 60; To retire comfortably; And to prepare for emergencies. You haven’t specified this third objective, but I think… Read More

 

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 is a prudent investment strategy after I sell my business?

I find it so interesting that you think this is a “one-time deal.” Once you complete your five-year contract, you will be 63 years old. In today’s world, that is… Read More

 

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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.

Honoring Your Parents: How Long Should You Stay Married?

This may seem like an odd question, but have you ever thought about how long you should stay married? The traditional idea, and what you often hear in wedding vows, is “til death do us part.” My parents certainly came from that school of thought. They fought until the bitter end, and then death did indeed separate them into their respective corners (the boxing analogy says it all).

Is this the path you would choose for your own marriage? Would you recommend it to your children? I wouldn’t. Why would you?

When Relationships Go Wrong

Some people in a relationship are like oil and water; they never quite mix. In some cases, they may even be as explosive as gasoline and fire. Regardless, they have their reasons for staying together.

According to Huffington Post, finances are one of the top ten reasons people stay in an unhealthy marriage. (1) It can be daunting to consider not only paying for a divorce, but also dividing all the shared financial interests. Others stay together due to insecurity and fear of succeeding on their own. Then, there are those who have unhealthy mindsets of guilt, over-dependence or manipulation that lock them into bad relationships.

But despite the reason, is it worth it to stay in such a relationship? In my conversations with my parents, elder relatives, and personal and business contacts through the years, I have heard some heart-wrenching stories about people blowing up their marriages when they arrive at the golden years of their life. You would be shocked to know that I have come across situations of murder, suicide, rampant cheating, and plenty of psychological, emotional, and physical abuse.

Sadly, I have no answers or keen insight as to why people stay married and torture each other in this way. But I can identify several principles for living that can prevent your marriage from going down a tragic road. Since I am passionate about martial arts, consider these my tips for marriage self-defense:

1. Never Accept Second-Rate Treatment

No one person is better than another. We all deserve to be treated with respect and kindness as human beings. While there are hierarchies and power dynamics in every relationship, such as inequalities in income and social position, none of these factors makes somebody a lesser person. If somebody starts treating you in this way, correct the situation immediately. Don’t let it become a habit.

2. Commit To Self-Improvement

You won’t become a master at assertiveness or communication overnight. It takes work, sacrifice, and commitment. And it’s not just a question of protecting yourself from bullying; you need to make sure you don’t become a bully yourself and add fuel to the fire. You must find a way to embrace peaceful coexistence in your heart and try to steer your partner to do the same. Any act of self-defense on your part has to be focused on putting an end to the fighting.

3. Be Self-Sufficient

Hopefully, your relationship will work out. But sometimes that doesn’t happen. If you find yourself in that situation, then you need to be prepared to leave and start over. You can do this by having your own money, opening your own accounts, and coming up with a Plan B.  Even if you are in a season of not working or staying home taking care of family responsibilities, you can take steps to put yourself in a position to succeed. Brainstorm ideas of what you could do if you had to end the relationship and start out on your own. Even if you never make the move, having that kind of leverage and confidence could cause your bad apple spouse to back off.

No one wants to think about their relationship imploding, but it does happen. Before things go too far down an unhealthy path, look at ways you could defend yourself and turn the situation around. Examine your life and your future and be excited, not depressed or anxious. Have you been through this? Do you have questions about ways you can protect yourself or set yourself up for a favorable future? Ask anything at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

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

_______

(1) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/15/why-people-stay-in-unhappy-marriages_n_6330292.html

 

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

Do I need to be licensed to offer financial planning help?

There’s no doubt that new college graduates need sound financial advice. The subjects about about which you want to teach them are especially important. I whole-heartedly encourage you to get… Read More

 

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 happens to my annuity after I die?

When my father passed away a few years ago, my mother took some of her savings and investments and bought several single-premium deferred annuities. She was looking for strong guarantees,… Read More

 

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 do you speak to very young investors about saving/investing?

I agree with you. It doesn’t make sense to me to sacrifice the short term for the long term. The thing about long-term planning, though, is that if you want… Read More

 

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 should I be saving for retirement when I think that money could be better used when I am younger?

It’s a tough situation. Both my parents asked the same question. They both recently passed. I have an elder aunt and uncle who are both approaching age 100, and they… Read More

 

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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.

Should I take my lottery winnings in a lump sum or annually?

I vote for the 20-year payout. You’ll get more money in your pocket overall. Plus, if you find you need a large lump sum at some point in the future,… Read More

 

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.

Which pension option is the smarter choice?

I think it is wise to not choose their survivor benefit if you have a life insurance policy in force on your own life. This way you could take the… Read More

 

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.

Is it better to payoff my car loan than having a cash value policy?

I like to sleep well at night myself, and I know that debt can be worrisome. Here are my suggestions for giving you both peace of mind now, and also… Read More

 

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 People Hate Buying Life Insurance

elephant in the room

Did you know that only 3 in 5 people have purchased a life insurance policy? Of those who do have life insurance, nearly half have insufficient coverage. Why is that?

In my experience selling this product for over 25 years, I have come across many people who understand the need for life insurance but haven’t done anything about it. Based on their reasons, here are three obstacles keeping people from purchasing life insurance and practical ways to overcome them.

1. You Don’t Want To Think About Dying Soon

Many consumers believe they are in competition with their life insurance company. Their thought process goes like this: you give these companies your hard-earned money year after year, but you (meaning your family or business) don’t “get” anything unless you die. And the sooner you die, the bigger the return on your payments. Companies “win” if it takes longer for you to die because they get more of your money in the meantime. If you die sooner, you “win” because they get less. Who wants to take such a morbid bet?

In truth, it’s not a zero-sum game. It’s not an either/or proposition between you winning or them winning. A life insurance company is an ally, not an adversary. Once you change your perspective of the relationship, you realize that you have taken them on as a risk-sharing partner. No no can predict when you are going to die, so if you can’t afford to self-insure against your family or business losing you tomorrow, you need to bring in a partner to assume the risk.

2. You Treat Life Insurance As An Investment

I’ve heard many people say, “I think I’ll postpone this purchase until next year. I’ll only be one year older, so the premium shouldn’t be that much higher.” It’s like they’re saying, “I’ll invest in this product next year. I’ll have lost only one year of earnings.” This idea assumes that they will be as insurable next year as they are this year.

My experience has been that this is not a safe assumption at all. Think of all the factors that are considered in life insurance underwriting: current health, medical history, family medical history, vocation, hobbies, lifestyle, financial/legal/motor vehicle record. Something could happen in any one of these areas that could increase the premium price dramatically or even make you ineligible for coverage. Once you realize that you cannot take your insurability for granted, then you know that the time to buy is now.

3. You’ve Had A Bad Experience With A Life Insurance Application

Sadly, buying life insurance can be a miserable experience for many people. They may find the underwriting questions intrusive, and the whole process can be exhausting. All too often, they get approved at a rate higher than quoted or not approved at all. Thus, they give up.

All of this is understandable but unfortunate. Believe it or not, though, the experience of buying life insurance can be satisfying. The key is prequalification. Every consumer has a right to be confident of the rate they will be charged prior to submitting an application. It does take some effort from a broker to get a client pre-underwritten and deliver a premium commitment from a carrier, and most brokers and agents do not set up their business this way. But if you find one that offers this service, and I have been doing this for decades, then you can get approved at the rate quoted. Your purchase of life insurance can be managed with the integrity you expect when buying every other product.

Life insurance is critical and will provide tremendous peace of mind for you and your family. Don’t let obstacles or misconceptions hold you back from purchasing a life insurance policy and taking care of your loved ones. Have you experienced these hindrances or others I have not mentioned? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

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

 

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