Never Forget That Partners Are People, Too!

Spouses, life partners, and business partners need to cooperate on financial matters, especially regarding sensitive topics such as life insurance. Here I offer "relationship advice" :) to help your decision-making dynamics run more smoothly.

Honoring Your Parents: How Would They Deal With Trump Hysteria?

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Recent political events have caused people to react in sad, ugly, and hurtful ways. We hear of people cutting off their friends and family based on whom they support, and the internet is abounding with negativity. All of this behavior is completely unnecessary and only serves to drag us down and bring out the worst in us.

Agree to Disagree

I grew up in a family where political discussions were a regular family activity. Nobody ever agreed with anyone else, and that was okay. My parents set this pattern in our home. Their relationship could be described as “Jane Fonda married to Archie Bunker” so when they disagreed, they really disagreed!

I am sure they had their share of petty fights, but what I remember most were arguments over serious issues. Many lively discussions took place at our dinner table about everything from the New York City teacher strike to the Vietnam War.

When the teacher strike occurred, there were picket lines and protests in front of my school, with each side alternating days. My pro-union mother walked me to school on the days she could join the picket line, and my anti-union father took me when he could join the protest for his side.

The Vietnam War was also a major source of contention. My mother was vehemently anti-war. She even went so far as to conduct teach-ins to rally support for ending the war. My father was fervently anti-Communist. He wanted the Russian Bear stopped in its tracks. When the evening TV news reported on that day’s “body count,” the debate about the war would start once again.

But despite the opposing opinions my parents held on some very real problems, they always came home to each other, had dinner together, kept up their home, and raised their kids. They taught me how to put politics aside and get on with life. They were an example of how to respect each other’s differences without tearing each other apart.

Here are some things to remember when trying to stay true to your views without jeopardizing your relationships with loved ones:

Beware the Political Cult

Many social commentators today say that politics has become the new religion. For some people, it is has gone even further and become a cult. By definition, cults push recruits to show blind allegiance while demonizing the opposition, especially the natural support group of the recruit, such as family and friends. Anti-Trump hardliners who are taking the stance of “you’re either with us or against us,” are promoting a cult mentality, even though they haven’t told you to shave your head and put on orange robes. Beware of treating your friends as your enemies just because they think differently.

The President is a National Leader, Not a Spiritual Leader

Our president is our country’s chief executive, not its chief clergyman. He must first and foremost follow the Constitution and the duties prescribed for his office. His mission is to leave the country in better shape when he completes his term than when he started.

He has moral and ethical failings like everyone else. If these failings corrupt him on the job, then we have a problem. If they don’t, then we leave him alone. People who focus on his personal flaws set a tone of judgmentalism that won’t change anything. They use social media to feed the frenzy, so be aware of what you are reading and being influenced by.

It’s Just a Vote

A vote is a measure of political support, not necessarily a personal endorsement. It’s a practical way to for us citizens to exercise power in our legal system. We are always faced with limited choices, and they are almost never ideal. And while the election of our president is a significant national event, it is over in a day and then the business of running our country really begins. The world is not ending based on a particular person being elected to a particular position. Don’t let the hysterics of the doomsday prophets convince you that every day is a crisis. This too shall pass.

Divided opinions are part and parcel of democracy. In the era of social media, we are more aware of everyone else’s opinions than ever, and we are inundated with media sensationalism on a daily basis. This adds fuel to the fire and causes strife and fighting. In and of itself, these disagreements aren’t wrong, but let’s learn from my parents’ example. Despite what you believe, we can all work together and go on living our lives.

Did you see your parents live this out as well? How do you and your family handle political differences? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories so we can learn even more from each other. Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com today. #planrisklive

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.

How Business Owners Use Life Insurance to Provide Bonuses to Selected Executives

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As a business owner, you invest copious amounts of time, money, and energy into your employees. Don’t you want your investment to pay off? Employee turnover can be extremely costly to your business, and this is especially true when it comes to key executives.

The Cost To The Business

When you lose indispensable employees, money has to be reallocated to provide for recruiting, training, orientation, and management of a new hire. It can also take a lot of time to ensure that you find someone who is the best fit for the role. The longer the recruitment process takes, the more the business is exposed to a setback.

This is why companies spend significant amounts of money on compensation packages for key executives. The longer they can get these men and women to stay in their employment, the better return they get on their investment in them. Employers are always looking for benefits that can be legitimately offered to selected personnel only. How does life insurance fit into this equation?

Life Insurance As The Answer

Life insurance is frequently at the top of this selected benefit list. If a number of factors fall into place, then the use of this product can be a big win for both the executive and the firm. Here are some factors that will ensure the success of life insurance for this purpose:

  • The executive has a need for life insurance for personal reasons, such as family protection and retirement planning.
  • The executive qualifies for a policy that can provide both significant cash accumulation and a sufficient survivor benefit.
  • The executive is willing to let the firm control policy proceeds.

If your executives meet these criteria, what are some tips to take into consideration?

1. The Importance of Underwriting

The lower the cost of the insurance, the higher cash value and survivor benefit a policy will provide. If the executive qualifies for a comparatively low rate, then additional money can be paid into the policy for use in retirement, as well as for the protection of beneficiaries. If the executive has a chronic illness or another higher-risk factor that drives up the cost of coverage, a policy may still be a worthwhile bonus from the employer. Be sure to contact your life insurance provider to talk through any extenuating circumstances and how they could affect the policy.

2. Seek Advice On Premium Payments


The whole point of this benefit is for the employer to subsidize the cost of a life insurance policy that can have a major impact on the life of the executive. Because these policies can cost substantial amounts of money, the employer will take on a considerable expense in financing them. Make sure your financial experts talk to your insurance advisor about how to minimize the tax impact for both your firm and your executive.

3. Implement Sensible Policy Controls


The primary purpose of providing this benefit is to lock executives into a commitment that protects the business. What kind of stipulations can be applied to ensure the benefit pays off? One option is to build controls into the executive’s contract that give access to increased policy benefits over time. Secondly, provisions can be made to reimburse the employer for their expense while still providing the executive with a lucrative cash account and survivor benefit. Speak to your business advisor to review your options in this regard.

You build your business to be successful and a major piece of that success is in holding onto key personnel. Don’t overlook the importance life insurance can play to ensure loyalty from your chief executives. I am here to answer your life insurance questions and help you find creative ways to protect your business. Ask anything by emailing me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

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

 

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

How Business Owners Use Life Insurance to Make Charitable Gifts

Money - The best present

What is one trait that successful business owners share? An attitude of gratitude! Business owners who have advanced in their field don’t forget those who helped them get to the top. They honor their parents, they give credit where credit is due, and they see the importance of every contribution to the cause, whether from the janitor or the CEO.

On top of that, they also value and appreciate charities and the work they do. It might be that the business owner was touched and assisted by a religious congregation. Maybe a family member benefited from the services of a medical research group, hospital, or home care facility. Many business owners support universities or advocacy groups. Regardless of the reasons or the particular charities, they often desire to give back to the organizations that made a difference in their life. Other than donating funds from time to time, how can successful business owners give back in a way that will significantly impact the charities they choose?

Using Life Insurance to Give Back

Life insurance is ideally suited for charitable giving. By taking out a policy on yourself for the benefit of the charity, you can turn a small amount of money into a substantial gift. Each dollar of the benefit only cost pennies in the original investment. This means that the gift does not have to be an excessive expense for the donor, but the investment adds up and the charity’s cash flow is considerably impacted.

Here are three quick tips for business owners for using life insurance to make charitable gifts:

Familiarize Yourself With The Legalities

Make sure you understand the laws regarding the use of life insurance for charitable giving. Many states recognize that charities have an insurable interest in contributors. They realize that these organizations can be as dependent on donors as businesses can be dependent on key personnel. Work with an attorney who can guide you on the best way to structure the policy and help you answer the questions of who should be the owner, beneficiary or premium payer.

Get Creative With Permanent Life Insurance

The life insurance policy you are gifting will be part of your estate plan, and thus must last as long as you do. That means you need permanent life insurance. But just because the policy will last your lifetime doesn’t mean you have to pay for it for your entire life. You can design the policy so you can make one single payment, payments for ten years, or even payments for twenty years, yet still retain a lifetime guarantee. Work with your broker to generate some options and pick the one that best meets your financing preferences.

Work With a Team

Collaborate with your fellow contributors to maximize the benefits to the charity. The healthy charity is the one that receives support on an ongoing basis. Long-term contributions could be generated for a charity if donors of all different ages took out policies for its benefit. Year after year after year, big dollars could roll in as donors pass on and benefits are paid out.

Generous business owners can increase their donations to their charities by using life insurance. By naming a charity as a beneficiary, you can give that charity an extraordinary amount of money that can create a lasting legacy for a cause that is important to you. If you are interested in contributing to a life insurance policy for the benefit of a charity, I’d love to walk you through the process and answer any questions you may have. Ask anything by emailing me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

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

 

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

How Business Owners Use Life Insurance to Protect Against the Loss of a Key Person

As any business owner knows, when it comes to running a company, everyone counts. You can’t bring in money without a salesforce. You can’t count the money without an accounting department. You can’t run the computers without an IT specialist.

You can’t secure the building without security personnel. And you can’t keep the floors clean without the maintenance staff. The same goes for every clerk, administrator, secretary, supervisor, manager, and executive. Your business runs on the shoulders of many people in a variety of positions. Have you made sure that the loss of a key player won’t harm your business?

Why Do You Need This Coverage?

While everyone is integral, some people play principal roles. For example, revenue may suffer if you lose a top salesperson, and investors and shareholders might get anxious if you lose a chief executive. Clients and vendors might get nervous if a key manager leaves, and future production may be jeopardized if you lose a key technician, inventor, scientist, or idea person.

These situations show why businesses insure leading personnel. They take out life insurance to protect themselves against the loss of men and women whose death could impair the operation. The insurance benefit protects you by giving you the time needed to recruit the right replacement. In the meantime, client service continues, bills get paid, and employees have reassurance that the show will go on. Business can take place as normal.

Here are three quick tips for business owners to make the right decisions when insuring key personnel.

Determine the Policy’s Face Amount

How do you value the services of primary employees? Your answer to that question will vary according to the role they play. The service of a key chief executive would be assessed differently than the service of a key technician. Your firm’s accountant or chief financial officer should consult with an insurance company advisor to calculate the appropriate insurance benefit for your situation.

Decide on a Time Period

Key person coverage came about at a time when the main employees tended to make long-term commitments to their employers. Today, many key men and women tend to switch jobs more frequently. If you think that is the case in your business, then term insurance might be more applicable than permanent insurance.

Establish Your Options

What should you do with the policy on a vital person if he or she does leave? You have a number of options to choose from. You could simply terminate the policy, or, if it is a cash value policy, you might be able to surrender it for value. In some cases, the former employer keeps the policy in force and collects the benefit when the former employee passes away. The policy may also be sold for cash in a life settlement depending on the age, medical condition of the insured, and other factors related to the policy.

Your business is built on the shoulders of all those who work for you. How protected are you if one of your principal players passes away? I’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have. Ask anything by emailing me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

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

 

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

How Business Owners Use Life Insurance to Fund Partnership Agreements

PartnershipAgreementsIt’s a common practice for business owners to take on partners. While there are many reasons behind why you may want to take this step, there are also some crucial things to consider when entering into a business partnership. What legal bases do you need to cover? How can life insurance protect you, your business, and your family?

What a Partnership Looks Like

Some business owners enter a partnership because they need someone to complement their personal strengths. For example, one person could be an expert in operations, the other in sales and marketing. Sometimes professionals with the same area of specialization will join together to serve more clients. In other arrangements, one partner could be passive and responsible primarily for funding, while the other is the active manager of the enterprise.

The partnership could and should be a very structured relationship. A legal agreement should be formulated and should cover all the financial technicalities such as the percentage of ownership, tenure of the partnership, how and when the business is to be valued, etc. It should also plan for events that may dissolve the partnership, such as the death, disability, long-term sickness, or early retirement of a partner.

How Life Insurance Can Help

Life insurance plays a key role in the funding of a partnership agreement. When a partner dies, that person’s spouse or estate will probably end up with his shares of the business. The surviving partners want those shares, but they need money to buy them. Life insurance can provide the exact amount of money to do that at the exact time it is needed. It is typically a much more economical way taking care of things compared to other options such as taking cash out of the business, selling assets, or borrowing from a bank.

What are some integral pieces to consider when using life insurance to fund your partnership agreement?

Finalize Your Agreement

Before you do anything else, get the arrangement finalized before you get approved for your policy. There is nothing worse than getting approved at a great rate, only to delay paying for the policy because the legal work has not been completed. Until it is, you won’t have coverage, and something disastrous could happen that could either raise the price significantly or disqualify you altogether.

Costs Will Vary

Remember that not everybody qualifies for the same price. Each person represents a different risk profile to a life insurance underwriter. Age, gender, smoking status, health history, and a multitude of other factors affect the rate. Don’t expect life insurance to cost the same for each partner.

Explore Your Options

Research your options for policy ownership. In some instances, your business should be the owner and the beneficiary of the policies. In other cases, partners should own policies on one another. Talk this through with your business advisor to make sure your policies are issued correctly and fit your needs.

Life insurance is critical for business owners. It covers you, your business, your partner, and your families, and can be a game changer if the unexpected occurs. Don’t get caught without it. I’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have. Ask anything by emailing me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

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

 

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

How Business Owners Use Life Insurance to Protect Their Families

BusinessOwners

Owning your own business has many perks and can bring plenty of freedom and success. You may have started a business because you like your independence or you wanted to get rich. You may like a challenge or simply want to build a better mousetrap or mop. Maybe you believe you can make the best pie, or computer, or automobile, and want to share your passion with the world. But will your business alone be enough to take care of your family in the future?

Taking Care of What’s Important

For many of us, owning a business is simply a way of living the good life, following a dream, and providing the best for our families. We desire to become independently wealthy and do what we want with our time. Since we are devoted to our spouse and children, we want to make sure our surviving family members can maintain the same standard of living even if we meet our tragic demise prematurely. As business owners, we often make provisions so our business can at least partially subsidize this ideal life in our absence.

However, the business usually cannot fully care for your family in the manner in which they have become accustomed. The full range of family financial needs, such as income replacement, mortgage protection, and retirement supplementation, cannot be met through the business alone. There is usually not enough to cover college funding or elder care for senior parents who become dependent, along with regular life expenses. As a result, life insurance is typically used to pick up the slack.

So how can you, as a business owner, ensure that your family is covered? Here are three quick tips for business owners for using life insurance to take care of their families.

Use Separate Policies

In many cases, the owner and beneficiary of a personal policy are different than for a business policy. A trust may be utilized, and a separate policy is therefore needed.
A personal life insurance policy will provide for your family and their future, while a business policy can provide for a buyout if your business has multiple partners. Make sure all your policies are separate and up-to-date so that there is no confusion or legal hold-ups if a tragedy occurs.

Use Multiple Policies

Most personal financial needs have different timelines. You may need 20 years to plan for college, but 40 years to plan for retirement. Separate policies with various face amounts and different guarantee periods can be employed to provide the exact sum of money for specific needs and further ensure that every aspect of your family’s life is taken care of. Take the time to look at all your family’s needs and determine what is necessary to provide for each one.

Beware of Tax Traps

Business owners like to have the business pay for everything. This practice can be very convenient and beneficial, but you need to know what you’re doing when it comes to taxes. You don’t want to get into a tax mess by using the wrong account for your life insurance payments. Get good tax advice from the right professional and cover your bases.

As a business owner, are you making sure that your family is taken care of? Do you know what type of life insurance you need and how to go about planning for your family’s care? I’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have. Ask anything by emailing me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

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

 

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

Why Stay-at-Home Moms Need LOTS of Life Insurance

22779373068_1a9fb8a1cdI am a big advocate of men and women both having careers. However, I am a bigger advocate of children getting the parenting they need. That is why I applaud those households in which Mom can stay home with the kids. Or Dad! Whatever works for them. I have seen families in which both Mom and Dad manage to split the chores. This takes some creativity in getting the right jobs and managing time, but the effort is well worth it. Everybody wins – especially the kids.

You can read any number of studies that prove children flourish under consistent and stable parental influence. They develop emotional resilience and a deep sense of security. They form a strong identity and a healthy personality. They learn how to behave. They are given the basics for succeeding in life and love. And for weathering the storm when life gets rough.

Death is quite a blow to kids

Perhaps the most severe storm to weather is the death of a parent. Maybe you have tragically experienced that yourself, or are close to someone who has. Talk about the proverbial rug being pulled out from under you! It’s hard to imagine something as devastating to a child’s world, as losing one of the pillars of that world – Mom or Dad.

People buy life insurance to secure themselves again such a fate. The question is: what exactly should they do with that insurance money, should a claim unfortunately have to be paid? I think a lot of people jump to rash conclusions when planning for such a possibility. They don’t think through the process their family survivors would need to go through, to move forward from such a tragic loss. It takes time, lots of time. Lots of crying. Lots of family togetherness, hugs, supporting one another. People need to heal. Healing won’t erase the sorrow; just make it manageable.

Kids can’t afford to lose Dad, too

But if Dad has to work his 40 or 50 hours a week, then he will really not have the time to be there for his kids. If he has to scramble to get the household chores done, he will be too busy to be with them. Even if he has the money to hire a nanny or full-time housekeeper, these folks will be poor substitutes for Mom. His kids will need him more than ever, and he really should make himself available as much as humanly possible. For their sake. They will have already lost one parent to an untimely death; why should they lose their only other parent to the job?

For this reason, I believe stay-at home-Moms need tons of life insurance. With a sufficient amount of coverage in place, Dad could afford to work less and stay home more. He could take the time needed to lead his family through this tremendously difficult transition, into the next stage of 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.

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.

How to Keep Your Child – and Grandchild – From Being Awful

kids-sharing-ice-cream

When I was a child growing up in the 60s, we were raised to be respectful.

We were constantly prodded to say “please” and “thank you.” And “I’m sorry.” Especially if we picked on younger siblings.

We did not call the parents of our friends by their first names. The few exceptions we made were people who had become almost like family.

We had to be home by dinner time. Dinner was with the family. If we had friends over, they ate with our family.

Libraries were almost sacred places. Reading was serious business and we could not talk or run. We had to take special care not to lose our library card. It was essential to return our books on time because other people might be waiting for them.

Even movie theaters deserved our best behavior. We were in a public place and had to be considerate of others.

We never, ever talked back to teachers. Clergy people – of any religion – were treated with the utmost courtesy.

We did not disrupt the classroom. Any problems we had – with either the teacher or a classmate – had to be dealt with after school. If we did have an argument with a friend or classmate, we had to shake hands to show no hard feelings.

If we ever got into trouble on the street, we were told to find the nearest policeman. Soldiers were people who deserved our gratitude for their sacrifice. (And this was during the heyday of the Vietnam War when antiwar sentiment was rampant, and returning soldiers were often disparaged).

Nowadays, it seems things are different. A “culture of disrespect” has started to erode our values. Awful behavior seems to be the norm all too many times. It seems all too often that kids and grandkids have no shame.

Dr. Leonard Sax recently wrote about this downturn in an article for the Wall Street Journal. He offers some solid tips for parents – and grandparents – on how to get our kids back on track. On how to keep them from being awful.

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.

High Touch in High Tech

millWouldn’t you like hundreds and thousands of young people to be your clients?

Can you imagine how many prospects there are in their late teens, 20s, and 30s?

Think about it.

Decades of potential fees and commissions lie waiting in this demographic.

But the life insurance industry as a whole isn’t doing a very good job of reaching them, is it…

No worries.

It’s NOT about the sales pitch.

USA Today just laid it out for all to see.

Insurers are doing a poor job of reaching millennials:

Faced with slumping sales, life insurers throughout the developed world are targeting young adults for a massive infusion of little-risk income. Trouble is, their would-be customers distrust their objectives; see their products and sales methods as antiquated; and aren’t thinking about death, given their record life expectancies.

That kind of sums it up.

With such a horrible disconnect with their future customers, one would think that life insurance will go the way of the dinosaurs in just a few short years.

But the fact of the matter is that millennials will need life insurance for their families, their businesses, and their charitable pursuits.

And they will buy it from us brokers if we can modernize (meaning PERSONALIZE) our approach to them.

But personalize in a high-tech environment.

It IS about the people.

I am a second-generation life insurance salesman.

Believe me when I tell you that I know how to pitch the virtues of buying life insurance for peace of mind.

Doesn’t work here.

Let me tell you what will work:

  • Getting online. Sales people who can manage electronic relationships with their clients will be able to connect with them. Consumers who like to be wired can be contacted via wires. As hard as this may be to believe, face-to-face appointments with their vendors is just not that important. This may be a tough idea to swallow for those of us who were trained to make personal presentations, but it is true.
  • Your company is secondary. These are people who switch vendors for their internet connection, their smart phone, and all their other amenities at the drop of a hat. They switch jobs a lot.  Do you think it really matters that your insurance company is 100 years old? Or that their rating is A+ and not just A? If you come across as a company man, you will lose credibility.
  • Short-term is a good starting point. People with an expected mortality of over 100 tend to think that time is on their side. It is hard to relate to ideas like locking into long-term guarantees. Fine. So think short-term, get something in place, and build from there.

RELIEF = High Tech AND High Touch.

It seems that every time the life insurance industry comes across a problem like this, they start tinkering with their products.

Fine. That could help a bit. But it only goes so far.

The real tinkering should take place in our sales and marketing approach.

Insurance sales people need to restore the trust consumers once had in us.

We need to connect with people on their terms.

You’ve heard the saying, High Tech/High Touch?

Well, we need to be high touch via high-tech.

What do you think? How have you been able to reach millennials?

 

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 Can Lead the Way

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-agent-sitting-couple-image29295186You probably have 1,000 things you would rather think about than life insurance.

You probably have 10,000 things you would rather talk about with your spouse.

Good news! This topic does not have to be that yucky.

We just have to get rid of some of the muck that sticks to it –  like boredom and anxiety.

And the feeling that the whole thing is really just a racket.

Peel away the muck

Financial writer Ester Bloom does a great job of cleaning up financial topics to make them easier to handle.

She did a nifty job with her article “Life Insurance Ugh Why“: 

Do you do the mature thing and pay for life insurance, for the sake of your kids and/or your spouse? Or are you throwing caution to the winds and encouraging others to do so too?

There you have it.

She has peeled away the ambiguity and reluctance we all feel, and set us straight.

Whew! It’s nice to be rid of the messy myths and get to the bottom line.

The root of the matter

Now that we have stripped away the ugly, we can focus on the good and bad of life insurance.

Here are a few things you need to know:

No job, no benefit. Ester makes this point in her story. Many times young couples will depend exclusively on employer-sponsored life insurance.  As was the case in her tale, once the employee loses the job, they lose the coverage.

No assets, no protection.  Many young families starting out do not have the liquid assets on hand to self-insure, should they suffer the tragedy of losing a breadwinner.  So where will the money come from to pay the bills, if there is no life insurance in force?

Term – yes and no.   Many financial advisors recommend the purchase of term life insurance.  The thinking is that as you get older, you just won’t need a policy.   Could be true for some people.  Nonetheless, there are a whole bunch of reasons as to why people need life insurance in their 50s, 60s, and even 70s and beyond.   Here’s one: maximize your pension.  (If you would like to hear more on this, give me a shout).

Lead the way!

Ester hits the nail on the head.

There is no need to throw caution to the wind, and influence others to do the same.

You (yes, you!) can lead the way and do the right thing for your spouse and kids.

Have you done this already? Please, tell me in the comments below what it was like getting to the root of the matter.

 

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.

Building Community One Slice At a Time

There are some things that take place in this world that just bowl you over with their simple majesty.

This is one of them.

Mason Wartman left Wall Street to start Rosa’s Fresh Pizza in Philadelphia.

He put together this wild promotion:

You can walk into his shop and prepay a slice of pizza for a homeless person. It’ll cost you a dollar.

Then, a homeless person walks into redeem it.

And what do you think that homeless person will do once he has a change of luck and can afford a buck?

Shall we go ahead and list all the great things about this?

  • It shows how small business owners can have a huge impact on the quality of life in their community.
  • It shows how a simple act of caring can be quite cost-effective and at the same time empower people to help others.
  • And it shows how a small business man or woman can generate a heckuva lotta good will. Good for people, good for business.

What do you think of this idea?

Doesn’t it make you want to go right now to Philadelphia and buy yourself a slice from Mason – and another one for the guy in the street?

 

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 Find Your Financial Harmony

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-dollar-banknote-tao-symbol-one-image40265140Finding harmony in our lives often seems like a lofty idea.

But you know what?

It’s easier than you think, especially financial harmony:

The key is finding a way of managing your money that works for you.

Find out what works for you

The world abounds with financial experts.

People can drive themselves crazy listening to one guy, and then switching to another guy.

Or even worse – trying to find some consensus among them all.

Life does not have to be this hard.

Sure, we all have to go through a process of learning, doing, making mistakes, and learning from those mistakes.

But if we keep in mind the old adage, “the buck stops with me” (pun intended?), we realize that we are ultimately rising and falling by our own efforts.

And that realization is very empowering.

It all boils down to finding out what works for you.

Your way and your partner’s way

Marcus Geduld makes this point very clearly in his philosophy on money and marriage. Here are three of my takeaways:

  • An approach to money that fits you in your 20’s and 30’s may not be the same one you use in your 60s and 70’s.
  • If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. If you have a method that works for you, stick with it until there’s a need to change it. Then don’t be afraid to change it.
  • If people feel concerned about the approach to money other people have, they should spend the time needed to reflect on their own situation and make sure they are satisfied with their own approach.

Do these make sense to you? How does your approach to money differ? Does your partner have the same approach?

 

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

The Gift of Growing Together

holding hand friend love close (21)But of course the marriages of our favorite stars get tested all the time. They do face all kinds of trials. Like you and me, they have to get down and face reality to make the best of it. Or, reality beats them.

Take Anna Faris and Chris Pratt (one of my favorite actors, btw – I love him in Parks and Recreation, and thought he was great in Everwood). They had quite a trial when their son Jack was born prematurely. Fortunately, as Anna describes it, they stepped up and made it all work. Their marriage got stronger in the process.

I am sure that you can think of many couples whose marriages have been sorely tested. I thought about it just for a few minutes and came up with a quick three (their names have been changed to protect their privacy):

Abraham and Sarah were survivors of the Holocaust. They went through the hell of the Aushwitz death camp together. The Nazis savagely killed their infant son right before their eyes. Yet they came to America and built a normal life together.

John and Mary were just married and living in New York City. Mary tragically was raped one night. They just needed to leave and restart their lives far away to put this horrible incident behind them. So they moved to California, got new jobs, and grew their family there.

Sam and Lois knew each other for a number of years before they finally got married. Their union had a tough start. Sam was either fired for performance or downsized from five jobs before he finally launched his career. Lois was hit with a number of serious and chronic medical ailments. Nonetheless they persevered, started a family, and became very successful.

Do these couples have any secrets to making a marriage work through “hell and high water?” You know, of course, that they don’t. They just took a lickin’ and kept on tickin’. They eventually learned the values of patience and perseverance, and not letting issues pull them apart. In their own way each couple came to understand that “this too shall pass” if they let it, and move on.

Now I would like you to think about something. You know that money doesn’t cause trouble; it could just make matters worse if you already are troubled. Imagine yourself having a tough time in life, and on top of that, money is tight. Might just send you over the edge, unless you are strong and centered. But it would be nice to not have financial worries so it would be easier to concentrate on remaining strong and centered, and dealing with the issue. And eventually moving on.

That, my friends, is the value of life insurance. It takes the financial edge off the trials and tribulations of your family, and of your business, when they lose you. Life will be hard enough without you – better to not have money worries to make matters worse.

Make sense to you?

 

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 a Lazy Marriage Work?

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-couple-lying-carpet-image27227887I love contrarians.

Since I am a contrarian myself, I have a special affinity for others who will “buck the trend” in an honest pursuit of truth, honesty, and sanity.

Noah Berlatsky is one such trend-bucker.

He takes on the prevailing mandate for working on your marriage and holds a finger up in caution:

Not so fast.

Believe it or not, Noah says, you can work too hard at a marriage.

I agree.

As a matter fact, I can name three areas in which I think most couples just work too damn hard.

  1. Communication. Not everything could and should be talked about. Not everything is an issue. Not everything has to be seen eye-to-eye. Sometimes it’s best to just let it drop.
  2. Having fun. There is no such thing as the perfect evening, or the most romantic date with your partner. Try as you might, something always pops up related to the kids, the house, the job, or whatever. Chilling, chatting, or just scooping some ice cream together are often all it takes to renew the bond.
  3. Parenting. Of course your child needs attention, care, nurturing, and nourishment. Supervision, direction, and guidelines are all important… in measured doses. But after a while, enough is enough. Leave the kid alone for a while. He or she may surprise you with an ability to manage and even thrive without your constant hovering. Cut the poor kid some slack and let him breathe.

I preach the gospel of moderation not just as an amateur philosopher but also as a life insurance broker.

I find that couples who know how to not overdo it can make buying decisions more efficiently. It’s much easier to do business with them.

What about you?

Are you overdoing it in your marriage, or have you learned how to “slack off” a bit?

 

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.

Take Time To Talk Together

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-couple-having-discussion-image22219467When’s the last time you had an honest conversation with your partner about money?

Financial blogger Crystal Paine talks with her husband all the time about everything – especially their finances.

They seem to have made talking about stuff a core activity of their marriage. With that kind of foundation, you can see how money talk would come about naturally.

It’s not as if they haven’t faced the obstacles you and I have. The thing is they have overcome them. Here’s an example:

We’ve set aside the whole “his money, her money” fights and made it all “our money”. We don’t talk about “your earnings vs. my earnings”; it’s all “our earnings”.

That’s a big key. It seems to me that once you transcend the “you vs. me” scenario and start talking about us, then the money talk becomes a lot easier.

Complicated topics

Does this approach work when talking about life insurance?

I can see how that particular topic is a bit more complicated.

After all, in order to have a realistic understanding of life insurance, you have to have a realistic view of life – and death.

Many people are not comfortable talking about that. And so you can see how attempts to talk about this product often do not gain much traction.

What has worked for you?

When you discuss your need for life insurance with your spouse, how do you get on common ground?

 

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.

Marriage and Friendship

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-woman-smiling-watching-her-friend-image25332807People are connecting these days in a multitude of ways.

Social media technology is making a lot of it happen.

At the same time, more traditional forums are being reevaluated for their potential to bond with others…

…and believe it or not, one of them is marriage!

Changes in marriage itself

Claire Cain Miller reports in the New York Times about how friendship has become a big reason to get married. She notes how attitudes about this institution have been changing in recent years:

Marriage has undergone a drastic shift in the last half century. In the past, as the Nobel-winning economist Gary Becker described, marriage was utilitarian: Women looked for a husband to make money and men looked for a woman to manage the household. But in recent decades, the roles of men and women have become more similar. As a result, spouses have taken on roles as companions and confidants, particularly those who are financially stable, as the economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers have discussed.

Who would have thought that marriage could be a good way to find a friend? 🙂

Not only that – it appears to have benefits with regards to health and finance:

Even as fewer people are marrying, the disadvantages of remaining single have broad implications. It’s important because marriage is increasingly a force behind inequality. Stable marriages are more common among educated, high-income people, and increasingly out of reach for those who are not. That divide appears to affect not just people’s income and family stability, but also their happiness and stress levels.

Big benefits in life insurance

You can you can see how these benefits would be a big boost when qualifying for life insurance.

More happiness and less stress leads to better health and lower rates.

Stability and higher income help you qualify for larger face amounts and provide more money to your family, business, and favorite charity.

What do you think? Can and should marriage partners also be friends?

 

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 They Knew 60 Years Ago

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-senior-couple-celebrating-image12059814You probably don’t think there’s much to learn from marriages sixty years ago.

A lot has changed since then.

Today we have many marriages in which both spouses have careers.

Nannies and babysitters are virtual members of the family.

Same-gender partnerships are common, as are single-parent households.

However, there are many things we can still learn from successful marriages of past generations.

Successful Indian Couples

Meenu Bahuguna offers four pieces of advice for couples today, drawn from the experience of successful Indian couples sixty years ago.

My favorite piece of advice was:

In the 50s, family was the most important part of a person’s life. Couples were taught to prioritize family over career. This was perhaps one aspect that kept families together. If you consider the present scenario, where professional and personal desires and achievements have taken a higher priority, broken marriages have also become rampant. This is one advice that the current generation does need to adopt from the past. Working as a team is important for couples, to make sure that they enjoy a long, happy and fulfilling life together.

Keep Track of Priorities

When people think about their financial futures, they often lose track of priorities.

They tend to forget that the name of the game is keeping the family together. Making sure the surviving spouse is safe, comfortable, and independent… making sure the kids have everything they need to cope and function.

When a beloved family member and breadwinner is tragically lost, the surviving family members need one another more than ever.

A sufficient life insurance benefit can take care of debtors and the monthly bills, and buy the time that is so badly needed to mourn, heal, bond, and move on.

 

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.

“Early” Marriage is a Bad Idea

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-newly-weds-image23566107How do you know when you’re ready for marriage?

Different cultures have different customs and laws with regards to marriage.

In some places, early or child marriage is prevalent.

This practice often offends Western sensibilities. Unfortunately, studies have also shown that the child brides, and society as a whole, are often adversely impacted.

Health and Social Problems

Such is apparently the case in Bangladesh.

Two prominent NGOs recently collaborated on research into the practice of early marriage in this country. Here is a summary of their conclusions:

A recent study by the development organization Plan Bangladesh and the nonprofit International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, showed that 64 percent of women aged 20-24 were married before the age of 18. Early marriage and early motherhood are the cause of a host of social and health problems, from a greater incidence of domestic violence to an increased risk of child and maternal mortality. Young brides stop going to school (according to Unicef, 5.6 million Bangladeshi children have dropped out of education early because of marriage) and thus have fewer opportunities for employment, and, crucially, little knowledge of their rights within marriage.

The author of the article, Tahmima Anam, emphasizes how the independence and well-being of the young brides are often lost through this arrangement.

Anam also mentions that the rate of early marriage is declining. The question is how many young women will have to be sacrificed before the trend can be reversed.

Second-Class Citizen

From a relationship point of view, this situation is rather sad.

How can a couple be happy if one of the partners is forced into the marriage?

Who could tolerate being treated as a second-class citizen?

But from a life insurance underwriting point of view, early marriage poses some very unique challenges.

First of all, insurance companies want all parties to the contract to be of legal age. The article mentions that girls as young as 12 are getting married. I doubt any state in America would allow that.

Moreover, the research cites an increased risk of maternal mortality. That would certainly be of concern to an underwriter. In particular, factors such as domestic abuse and suicide would have to be looked at closely.

 

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 Unknowingly Kill Your Marriage

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-couple-watering-flower-image6049536Are you unintentionally destroying your spouse?

We often slip up into thinking that tackling the “big stuff” in life is the hard job.

Once you’ve got those issues taken care of, it’s easy to overlook the (very important) “small stuff.”

After all, you’re (presumably) already doing a lot.

Is it really that big of a deal if you don’t go the extra mile and take care of all the “little” things? [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.