Menu Close

Michael’s Blog

Around the world, at least 2 billion people use a drinking source that is contaminated.  You can change this for one family with a small contribution, and it is not hard to do. For those of us who live with clean water from a tap, the idea of traveling to a water hole to collect our daily water is alien. But for many, this is a daily occurrence. And the water that is collected is not clean, but often contaminated. Even those who do not have to travel for their
An article in the Financial Times announced, “profoundly low interest rates are here to stay,” which should cause investors to “recalibrate” assumptions with their investments. (1) On July 31st the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates for the first time since the financial crisis, a 25-basis point drop. Now some are calling for more cuts to keep the economy on track.  These low rates are an historic aberration – but some are calling them the new normal. Overseas, the rates are even lower. The European Central Bank rate is minus 0.4%
Tip #35: Your older clients should not shy away from a market review because of their age. They are often the ones with the least-efficient policies. Life insurance has evolved over the years. Older policies built on less-favorable mortality tables are often the least-competitive policies. Your older clients may feel that they cannot improve their current situation with their life insurance, but that would be a mistake. Your clients must have suffered no health setbacks since their existing policy was issued in order to take advantage of the better pricing
When Tom Petty headed west from Gainesville, Florida to seek fame and fortune, he brought his Rickenbacker guitar and a knack for writing crisp rock and roll songs that told vivid stories. Over four decades he left a trail of hits few peers could match. Petty songs stand out, with hooks you hum for days, but they are simple. In fact, the core of many songs consists of only a few chords. Free-Fallin’ – 3 chords. Running Down a Dream – 4 chords. Mary Jane’s Last Dance – 4 chords.
Tip #12: Even if a trustee is not part of the sales process there still is a duty to ensure the policy is suitable and matching the right policy to the client is essential to limiting policy management issues (and liability) down the road. There is a reason why I spend an entire chapter in The Wealth Advisors Guide to Life Insurance on selecting the best policy – for a particular client. For a TOLI trustee to accept a policy without understanding whether the policy fits for that specific client
Tip #18: Cash value investment projections at policy issue are often too optimistic. When Ronald Reagan took office in January of 1981, interest rates were sky high. The federal funds rate stood at 19.08%. The life insurance industry came up with a product to take advantage of the high interest rates on fixed investments. The product, current assumption universal life (CAUL) was a hit with consumers. One reason – projected crediting rates on sales illustrations as high as 12%, which made the policy very attractive. The problem? The rate of
Tip #11: There is no one best permanent life insurance policy, but there is the best policy for each particular situation or client. Too often, when your clients buy life insurance, they are sold a particular “hot” product. The life insurance industry has done a great job of adapting policies to the marketplace and customer preference. For example, today, one of the hottest-selling products is equity index universal life (EIUL). It gives clients (a portion of) the upside of the equity market while limiting the downside. With the market crash
Sunday nights are special around here. My wife and I head over the causeway to visit her 93-year-old parents who live on the river. The best part of Sunday dinner is afterward – wine is left on the table, coffee is added, and the family stories come out. Growing up motherless in Absecon, New Jersey. The joy of picking blueberries down by the seashore. Being deployed in WWII and losing your brother in the war. The hardship of living through the Depression and its aftermath when there was no safety
Are you like me? You can’t pass up the urge to buy a new book but never seem to find the time to read them all? Are unread books stacking up on your bedside table or office desk? Relax, there are those who believe your book buying is a “badge of honor.” (1) Why? The assumption is that it means you are an avid reader, but you purchase more books than you can consume. Reading is a necessity for lifetime learning – for keeping your edge and for getting ahead
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Of 2017 signed into law by President Trump drastically limited the number of estates affected by federal estate taxes through raising the federal estate tax exemption from $5.49 million to $11.18 million.  With the higher exemption it has been estimated that less than one in every 1,000 estates are now affected by federal estate taxes. During the decade-plus I spent managing life insurance policies for trustees across the country, I came across many instances where trust-owned life insurance (TOLI) trustees simply surrendered a policy