The Sandwich Generation

The Sandwich Generation
By Sam Kaufman
Senior Partner, Agent Support Group-May 2017

sandwich generation I

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Carnegie Delicatessen in New York defined the meaning of a “Sandwich”. Anyone who has been to the Carnegie understands that it was truly a contest to devour an entire sandwich in one sitting. In fact, it was a wonder that so much could be put between two slices of bread making it impossible to fit the entire sandwich in your mouth. For many today their daily life seems to even make the Carnegie Delicatessen sandwich appear to be miniature.   Many parents are finding themselves emotionally and financially squeezed between their children and their parents. If you are one of those parents you can easily relate to feeling like the corned beef that was jammed between the two pieces of rye bread at the Carnegie.  

sandwich generationFamily dynamics need to be included in every advisors discussion with his or her client to determine the multiple financial needs that the new “Sandwich Generation” is facing or dealing with on a currently.   Planning for their retirement, many are also dealing with the cost of education for their children and caring for their parents. What happens if the breadwinner who is financially supporting both their immediate family and elders is lost or disabled?

What happens if the “Soccer Mom” is no longer able to run between taking the kids to after school events and providing care for aging family members? If you thought the corned beef sandwich at the Carnegie covered the plate from corner to corner, just think about those who are personally sandwiched stretching themselves both financially and personally.  

As advisors we need to be sensitive to these situations while assisting in providing solutions. There is a greater need than ever to focus on the living benefits that can be provided by life insurance. Tax deferred accrual of cash value for retirement, Long Term Care Benefits and a host of new enhancements make life insurance more than simply death protection. These benefits can help the new “Sandwich Generation” plan for themselves while protecting their family both short and long term.   

At Agent Support Group we are constantly designing new concepts to assist our advisors. Advisors are welcome to come in and meet to discuss these new concepts and learn how they may be helpful to you in your practices and for your clients. Look at the total picture and provide solutions. 

 

By: Gary Bleetstein
Partner, Agent Support Group-Mar. 17

Leprechaun going for the gold

CLIENTS CAN SAVE 15 % ON THEIR LIFE INSURANCE PREMIUMS – BY SIMPLY LIVING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE !

 That’s Right- SAVE MONEY AND EARN VALUABLE REWARDS JUST BY LIVING A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

John Hancock Life Insurance Company is the first and only Life Insurance Company in the US to offer Vitality – a rewards and premium saving program for new life insurance sales – Permanent and Term (outside of NY) and Permanent Insurance in New York.

 

Here is a quick summary on how the Vitality Program works and you should be looking at this program for all of your current and future sales opportunities. 

  • Apply for a John Hancock Life Policy and if you apply for Vitality- receive a FITBIT or APPLE WATCH from John Hancock plus
  • Have the opportunity to save 10- 15 % on your life insurance premiums
  • As you earn Vitality Points while staying healthy via Health Reviews, Check ups, Physical Activity, Eating Healthy Foods, healthy screenings and online education- use the points to Earn Rewards and Discounts for
  • Healthy Food, Gym Memberships, Health Gear Discounts from REI, Adidas, Garmin, Fitbit Walmart  plus
  • Apple Watch
  • Half Price Hotel Stays at Hyatt
  • Up to 50% off Cruise Rewards – Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Crystal, and Seabourn
  • Shopping and Entertainment Gift Cards from Amazon, I Tunes, Whole Foods and others. 

The program is easy and all your clients need to do is complete a one time registration, use the John Hancock Vitality App, earn the points by living a healthy lifestyle and this will assist your clients in obtaining Vitality Status in 4 areas-

Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum

Here is an example- to qualify for Gold Status- your client only needs to  

  • Annually have a health review, see a doctor for health screenings, workout 2 times per week, have a flu shot, and eat healthy –
  • This will save your client 12 -15% on their life insurance premiums and all health information is between the client and Vitality- NOT JOHN HANCOCK LIFE

STARTING NOW- WHY NOT GO FOR THE GOLD WITH JOHN HANCOCK VITALITY AND SEE YOUR SALES SOAR, SEE YOUR CLIENTS SAVE MONEY, AND SEE HOW HEALTHY YOUR CLIENTS WILL BE.

Gary Bleetstein

threeltcchronicillnessconceptsBy Jay Scheiner, JD, CLU
Partner, Agent Support Group-Feb. 2017

Its a new world now, as the traditional Long Term Care (LTC) marketplace has evaporated, replaced by innovative new life insurance policies with comprehensive LTC and Chronic Illness Riders and linked benefit products.

      Survivor Life w/LTC Rider Nationwide: This rider allows your clients (a couple) who desire LTC with guaranteed premiums first (and have less interest in life insurance) to obtain a large amount of LTC benefit for a far lower outlay than individual life policies with LTC riders.

*Note: This option is not approved in New York.

 o How it works: Each insured is entitled to 50% of the death benefit for LTC. Example: $2MM policy provides $1MM each for LTC – paying a Maximum Monthly Benefit of two times HIPAA or 2% of each partners half of the face amount ($20,000). The residual life insurance may be left to the insureds next generation or a charity of choice, etc…

     Term Insurance w/Chronic Illness Conversion Agreement Minnesota Life (Securian in NY):  For clients who plan to convert their term policy to permanent coverage in the future and desire chronic illness protection.

o  How it works: Client buys 10/15/20 year term w/Extended Conversion Agreement and CICA may convert to a policy with Accelerated Death Benefit for Chronic Illness prior to age 65.

o Allows conversion to UL w/Chronic Illness even if disabled!

o Perfect solution for one planning to purchase a policy with comprehensive Chronic Illness in the future and wants to qualify for it NOW.  *This option is approved in NY and most states.

     Life Insurance AS a SUBSTITUTE for LTC/Chronic Illness Insurance: Your clients who can afford to pay the outof-pocket costs of an extended illness can use life insurance to REPLACE the funds expended:

o  How it works: Show your welltodo clients how the purchase of a life insurance policy WITHOUT an LTC/Chronic Illness Rider can accomplish a similar or even better economic result as one with a rider resulting in cost savings so long as the client and his or her spouse/heirs can tolerate the delay in the payment of benefits.

o  Example: Male 60 NS STD $1MM w/LTC = $26,900/Yr. IRR of Death
Benefit Age 85 = 4.0% / Age 90 = 2.3% vs. $1MM w/o LTC =
$19,700/Yr. IRR of Death Benefit Age 85 = 5.1% / Age 90 = 3.2%!

o  Concept works so long as client has the assets to pay outof- pocket. Even spending down some principal, the assets can be replaced on a guaranteed basis. This opensup the insurance companies that may have the best life insurance rates for your client, but no LTC rider or in cases where your client may be shavedto Standard on life insurance but not on an LTC rider.

2017-tax-changes-for-life-insurance

By: Sam Kaufman
Partner, Agent Support Group

A new beginning is upon us as we enter 2017….

A new President will take over the reins of our government promising changes, many of which may have profound effects on our industry, some positive and some negative.    While the banter about Estate Taxes gets most of the headlines, the life insurance industry overall may be the beneficiary of many of the changes being proposed.

Estate Taxes always seem to grab the biggest headlines, but in the past trade-offs such as, ending the stepped up basis, have ended the discussion and Estate Taxes have remained, albeit targeted at a very small percentage of Americans.    It is likely, that the fight to extinguish Estate Taxes will have the same historic ending it has in the past.    Of more concern are changes in 1031 and 1035 Exchanges.   Can you imagine the impact of gains in annuities and life insurance no longer being sheltered when exchanged for a like-kind.    This would obviously have a major effect on future sales as we have always counted on being able to shelter the gain when replacing a cash value life insurance policy or rolling over an annuity.   Be on the lookout for these changes which tend to appear only in small print, these would be the true “Death Taxes”.

The biggest proposal is to reduce the corporate tax rate, a potential bonanza for life insurance sales.    For years, advisors have tried to devise techniques to make life insurance premiums tax deductible.  Those of us who were around in the heyday of Sec. 79 clearly remember the bonanza.    If the corporate tax rate is reduced to 15 – 20%, the need for “tax deductibility” becomes less significant leading to an increase in non-qualified plans, split dollar and other life insurance concepts utilizing corporate dollars.  It also would not be surprising to see more corporations electing “C” status as opposed to “S” to take advantage of the spread between the personal and corporate tax rates.

It is important that we all stay tuned as our new President enters his first hundred days.    This is usually a time when the Houses of Congress tend to be favor a new President and given the majority of both Houses being Republican many tax reforms will be given a fast track.  We can count on business expansion, leading to perhaps the most favorable employment figures in decades.   Need we forget the DOL legislation which affect all those selling annuities. This will lead to more people needing advisors to guide them on how to provide for their families and future supplemental retirement benefits.

Get up to speed on new life insurance products that can provide a myriad of solutions from Long Term Care to Supplemental Retirement Benefits.    Get familiar with indexed based products that offer true crediting transparency.   Upward trending interest rates will have a positive effect on products using “New Money Crediting” as opposed to “Portfolio”.   We are here to assist you in navigating through what promises to be a very exciting year.  A year filled with many new opportunities for you as advisors to bring to your clients.    Don’t be left at the station as this turbo charged train pulls out.

silver-tsunami

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU
Partner, Agent Support Group-Dec. 2016

 

asg-advisor-channelWARNING! WARNING! WARNING!
FROM: THE ASG ADVISOR CHANNEL
TO: ALL FAMILIES LIVING ON THE FRAGILE COAST BETWEEN FINANCIAL SECURITY AND FINANCIAL DISASTER, THERE IS SOMETHING COMING YOUR WAY – A SILVER TSUNAMI. THIS IS LARGER THAN ANYTHING WE HAVE SEEN BEFORE. WE ADVISE BABY BOOMERS TO SEEK SHELTER UNDER A PROPERLY DESIGNED INSURANCE PORTFOLIO TO GET YOU THROUGH THIS COMING STORM. THIS IS NOT A DRILL. PLEASE TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY AND STAY TUNED FOR FURTHER DETAILS.

A forecast is always helpful. It helps us prepare for events that can severely impact our lives. That’s why millions of us look to The Weather Channel when there is a storm coming. We want to know the facts. We want to know what is headed our way so that we can not only stay safe but properly prepare so that we can mitigate risk. So why should this be any different?

As a leading General Agency, we feel an obligation to you, the advisor, to provide you with insights and resources to guide you through “the storm” that we all face every day. To that end, we feel very strongly that the coming years will bring unprecedented challenges to you and the clients you serve. The Boomer generation is facing a huge crisis that we refer to as “The Silver Tsunami.” By the year 2030, it is projected that there will be over 72 Million older Americans over the age of 65. Of that, it is predicted that 70% of them will require some type of Long Term Care and over 40% will need a nursing home at some point in time.

The math is staggering. If nothing is done to prepare for this, it is apparent that many lives will be changed. Not only will the seniors requiring this care be affected financially, but the families around them will be as well. After all, less than 10% of the care provided will be from paid caregivers. So, what does that mean? Family members will be providing the large majority of care which will have a negative financial impact on them as well. Considering that almost 50% of children of retirees expect to eventually take care of their parents, it is even more impactful.

So, where is the money coming from to pay these expenses? Sure, it can come from personal assets, but we all know how that story ends; it’s gone before you know it. Why would anyone want to deplete a lifelong nest egg and sacrifice all they have worked for and built over the years when there is a better, more economic approach to mitigating that risk?

The answer is that today we have so many ways for you to provide products for your clients that can provide a full circle of benefits to protect against the threat of a Long Term Care event. They range from Stand-Alone LTC Policies, Blended Life Alternatives and Life Insurance with Long Term Care Riders.

The standalone marketplace has just seen even more contraction with additional carriers exiting the space. This leaves only a few players left. The long term sustainability of these types of policies does not look promising as the costs are not guaranteed and it is difficult to sell to a client when the premium structures keep going up. This has led the way for LTC Planning Alternative products that have been offering viable options to this marketplace.

The Blended Life designs are attractive havens for lump-sums of money that can be heavily leveraged to provide large Tax-Free pools of LTC benefits. There are several carriers offering these types of products on both a Universal Life and Whole Life chassis. Further, depending on the carrier, product and state of issue, there are a host of options available such as reimbursement or indemnity style benefits. There are also options available on a Survivorship Life platform with blended age ratings that can be used for Spouses, Same-Sex couples and Parent/Child variations. There are even provisions for un-capped lifetime benefit pools.

The next plan design, and probably the most popular, is the use of Guaranteed Universal Life with Long Term Care Riders. Unlike standalone LTC policies, the rates for these plans are guaranteed and do not have a “use-it or lose-it” approach as they relate to potential claims. If you never go on claim for the LTC benefit, there will always be a death benefit payable to your named beneficiaries. These are also available as either reimbursement or indemnity style and may also be available with certain carriers in a Survivorship GUL form.

Keep in mind that not every client will qualify for the Long Term Care/Life products outlined above. However, it’s important to note that it is possible to offer sub-standard rating classes for some of the above designs. In those cases, where clients would not qualify for the LTC options, there are also Chronic Illness variations available with some carriers that can provide similar types of benefits.

At ASG, we believe very strongly that the products outlined above represent the future of Long Term Care protection. By utilizing these products, there a number of creative approaches that can be employed to help you guide your clients and their families through the risk management process of potential Long Term Care events. Every client has a different story and we can help provide solutions for a large number of them. Some of the techniques may include the repositioning of assets, such as Social Security benefits and “lazy cash positions.” Without getting too complicated however, paying smaller annual premiums to provide a guaranteed pool of money to guard against these threats can be the best approach.

As the forecast mentioned earlier, there is a Silver Tsunami approaching. Like any disaster, being forewarned gives us an opportunity to prepare. You will be able to get your clients ready for the coming storm and with the resources we can provide and properly protect them from the risks they can likely face.

 

 

potusBy: Gary Bleetstein
Partner, Agent Support Group

 

By the time you read this, the election for our next President will be a few days away and whoever wins will bring some forms of change – some popular and some unpopular.

We have had change forever in our business- this is nothing new and nothing to really be concerned about right now. To make changes, there are vast numbers of committees, voting and dealing with the two parties even before these changes get to the place where it is in final draft.

We have all lived through changes in Section 79, 419, Pensions, Minimum Deposit, changes in the Estate and Gift tax laws, Split Dollar etc.

Furthermore, it takes more than a new President to affect these types of changes-

We have no idea what the makeup the Congress or the Senate will look like, how the stock markets in and abroad will react and what kind of changes may be in store for our business.

We have already experienced DOL, Coli Changes, Increases in Costs of Insurance as well as promises to change Obamacare, Medicare, Estate Tax Laws, the inside build-up of cash values and more and more and more.

We cannot and should not let these possible changes interfere with our day to day operations of selling Life Insurance which is still one of the best financial products available.  A product that allows families and businesses to maintain their financial stability.

While we deal with changes every day, we do not have to deal with changes in our business until that time has come. If you would like to get involved in our business regulatory environment and assist, a great way to do this is to join AALU – our best advocate organization for our product and our business.

So congratulations to our new President, and all of us in the Life Insurance business should just go forward and sell our great product as we do have so much to offer.

partnersinsight

 

makethemanoffertheycantrefuse

By: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU
Partner, Agent Support Group

 

 

 

Let’s face it; Life Insurance is not an easy sale to make.  Aside from the emotional aspect of the sale, the reality is that when you get past that point, most people look at life insurance as nothing more than an expense.  That is what makes it so difficult to sell.

You will encounter objection after objection.  You may hear…

  • It’s too expensive
  • If I die, they’ll live off savings and be fine
  • If I don’t die, there’s nothing in it for me
  • It’s a waste of money
  • I have insurance at work
  • I hate insurance

And the list goes on and on.  We know that most of these, although valid in a prospect’s mind, are nothing more than excuses which often leave them underserved and underinsured.  In today’s world, we have to impress upon individuals the importance of taking care of themselves and their families.  After all, they can’t rely on The Go Fund Me approach after its too late.

We have so many tools at our disposal that if you present it properly, you can get past most , if not all, of the most common objections that arise during the life insurance sales cycle.  With one product, you can accomplish most solutions to a host of threats that will face any family.  The three most likely outcomes that will affect a family’s financial plans are a premature death, a catastrophic health event or a temporary disability.

You can provide the needed life insurance benefit with the ability to grow potentially tax free supplemental retirement assets, In addition, you can create a tax free pool of money to protect against a long term health event or waive premiums during a short or longer term temporary disability. And if they want, we can also include a Guaranteed Refund Option to get their money back at pre-designated points in the future, regardless of the cash accumulation performance of the contract.

So, let’s take a look at those earlier listed objections and the solutions/responses that we can offer:

OBJECTIONS SOLUTIONS/RESPONSES
It’s too expensive

 

The costs are all relative.   The growth of cash value will overtake the amount of premiums paid, so essentially the net cost will be zero and then some.  Couple that with tax deferred build-up of cash and the potential of accessing those funds tax free and you have a significant positive impact on that client’s bottom line at some point in the future.

 

If I die, they’ll live off savings and be fine

 

We all know that this never works out.  Even if they had “so much” cash on hand, which they usually don’t, it is just not a wise use of funds.  By leveraging small dollars today into a properly designed life insurance program, there will be a large tax free death benefit and little or no invasion of other assets that may not have advantaged tax treatment when needed.

 

If I don’t die, there’s nothing in it for me

 

Today, via living benefits, we can show significant cash value growth that can be used to supplement retirement income.  In addition, in the event of a Chronic Illness or other Long Term Health event, a policy can provide a pool of money, usually equal to the death benefit face amount.  This pool can be utilized to assist with the expenses associated with those types of situations while shielding other assets at the same time.  Also, if there was a temporary disability, riders can be added that assure premiums are being paid during those periods.

 

I have insurance at work

 

In past generations, it wasn’t uncommon for people to stay employed with the same company for a lifetime.  This is simply not the norm today and most benefits provided by employers are temporary, limited and usually not portable.  Having an established external plan is far better and will provide more robust benefits.

 

It’s a waste of money

 

Seeing all of the benefits listed above will hopefully show how the benefits outweigh the cost.  We can even include a Return of Premium guaranteeing the return all of their premiums paid.

 

I hate insurance Life Insurance is a necessary planning tool.  Granted, it’s not a fun topic to talk about but with the additional of all of the living benefits, the conversation can be a little less intense.

 

Whether it’s the cash value potential,  the provided death benefit or  the ability to provide a large pool of funds in the event of a catastrophic health event , the most common objections can be set aside much easier.    And if all else fails, you can offer them an option to have all of their premiums returned to them on a guaranteed basis.  All of this can be accomplished with one product, and you can truly MAKE THEM AN OFFER THEY CAN’T REFUSE.

Life Insurance Awareness Month

Life Insurance Awareness Month

Sam Kaufman, Managing Partner
September 2016

Partners Insight  Partners Insight

Insurance buyers are always concerned with insuring their homes, cars and other valuables for their “Replacement Value”. Perhaps, as part of Life Insurance Awareness Month” life insurance advisors should talk to their clients about replacing their “Life Values”.

What could be more important, the loss of your home by fire or the loss of the financial provider or providers that enable the family to live in their home? The answer is evident, but amazingly the primary focus is the financial loss of the property and not the person or persons who are paying the mortgage, electric and taxes.

Mortgage loans normally contain due-on-sale clauses, or “acceleration clauses,” that allow such loans to be made payable upon borrowers’ deaths. By law, a deceased mortgage borrower’s estate must settle the borrower’s debts, including any mortgages. If enough equity exists in a deceased mortgage borrower’s estate to settle the mortgage, the estate’s executor may decide to pay it off. However, deceased mortgage borrowers frequently bequeath their mortgaged homes to inheritors, which is legal and acceptable to do.

Mortgaged homes being bequeathed to heirs don’t necessarily have to be paid off upon their owners’ deaths. Rather, the mortgaged homes of deceased people can be passed to heirs, with the heirs becoming responsible for settling those mortgages. In some cases, the mortgages on homes being passed to relatives of deceased homeowners may even be assumable by those relatives. Until a deceased mortgage borrower’s home is transferred to inheritors, though, the deceased borrower’s estate should continue making mortgage payments.

Mortgage due-on-sale clauses give lenders foreclosure rights when mortgage borrowers die. Deceased mortgage borrowers’ estates or inheritors of mortgaged homes not wanting to pay off existing mortgages can allow foreclosure. However, foreclosure is expensive for lenders and when borrowers die they may search for other solutions with heirs, including mortgage refinancing. Inheritors of mortgaged homes, then, could be given an opportunity to settle those mortgages in some way other than foreclosure.

Sometimes we need to return to basics and what better time than Life Insurance Awareness Month to make people aware of the socio-economic importance of life insurance. Whether it it’s the importance of keeping a home for a family after a death or maintaining continuity in a business, advisors have important function in communicating to their clients the need for life insurance.