Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC –August 2019

 

When I first started in the business, I worked for The Prudential as a District Agent. As “the new kid on the block,” the old time agents in the office would tell me that I would never understand this business until I delivered my first death claim. Fast forward a few years later, low and behold, they were right. When you deliver that check, you really do get it.

As I write this post (and as strange as it sounds), I am celebrating my 34th year in this business. As true as those words were (and still are), I pass on that same wisdom to newer agents today. But I add one more line. I tell them that in addition to that death claim, they won’t understand this business until they have processed their first Long Term Care claim.

The life insurance policies that we sell today have greatly evolved compared to what used to be sold. They have a number of living benefits built in such as Long Term Care or Chronic Illness Riders. These types of benefits play such an important role as we navigate our clients through the planning process.

Our industry provides us with one of the most noble professions that one can be a part of. We really are in the business of changing lives. On that note, September is Life Insurance Month and in the spirit of that, I felt it was important to repost the following…

 

Many years ago, while attending an industry meeting, I was listening to a talk being given by one of the platform speakers.  During the speech, the speaker was talking about the industry as a whole and the importance of what we do for a living. He then proceeded to read the following to the group:

 

A life insurance policy is just a time-yellowed piece of paper, with columns of figures and legal phrases, until it is baptized with a widow’s tears. Then it becomes a modern miracle, a sort of Aladdin’s Lamp.

It is food, clothing, shelter, education, piece of mind.

It is the sincerest love letter ever written.

It quiets the crying of a hungry baby at night. It eases the heart of a bereaved widow. It is the comforting whisper in the dark silent hours of the night. It is a new hope, fresh courage and strength for the widow to pick up the broken threads of life and carry on.

It is an education for the sons and daughters (a chance for a career, instead of the need for a job). It is a father’s parental blessing to his children on their wedding day. It is the function of a father’s hopes and dreams for his family’s future.

Through life insurance he lives on. There is no death. Life insurance exalts life and defeats death.

It is the premium we pay for the privilege of living after death.

 

Although it is a bit dated and arguably a bit corny, it is powerful nonetheless. This piece was written back in 1929 by Jack J. Leterman, who established the first John Hancock Agency in the state of Virginia. As a 30 year plus veteran in the industry, I was extremely taken back by these words and have had them framed in my office ever since. I take any opportunity to share these words with as many life insurance professionals as possible.

What we do is so unique and powerful. These words are the core of what we do and I believe today, more than ever, it is so important to spread the importance of these words to our clients. This is what life Insurance was intended to do but as we all know it has become so much more than that.

Not only does it accomplish the most simplistic form of protection to surviving spouses and children such as, Income Replacement, Mortgage Protection, or College Funding. It provides solutions to a host of other, more complex problems facing our clients today. Whether we use Life Insurance to provide liquidity for heirs of larger estates, provide Supplemental Retirement Income, funding Buy/Sell Agreements, Key-Man Protection, etc., we are positioned to use this powerful product to find solutions to these, and other planning challenges.

With uncertainties surrounding us, it is a great feeling to know that we can provide so much in the form of “piece of mind” with a simple stroke of the pen.  Although the words above are over 80 years old, the core principles behind them truly capture What Life Insurance Really is.

It is Life Insurance Awareness Month so keep that in mind when you are speaking to your clients.  Perhaps this can further put things into perspective for them.

 

Find more of Mark’s Bark’s Blogs on our website: http://www.asglife.com/insurance-view/marks-barks-blog/

by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC-July 2019

When it comes to Life Insurance sales, one of the most dynamic products still available is a good old fashioned Whole Life Insurance policy. But as it turns out, unless you are captive to one of the few major mutual companies, very few advisors are still selling it on a regular basis.

In general, I am a fan of permanent cash value life insurance and Whole Life is still on the top of the list. When it comes to fixed products, Whole Life offers something that no other product can offer, a Guaranteed Cash Value (GCV) that in most cases, can equal the sum of premiums paid by policy year 10. Once you hit that threshold, your increase in GCV usually increases by at least the premium that you pay annually. Top that with dividends and you have an amazing financial vehicle that is truly unique. The guarantees are an amazing foundation that is un-rivaled in the financial world.

There are obvious other attributes to a Whole Life plan:

  • Strong Death Benefit
  • Tax-Deferred Cash Build-up
  • Potential Tax-Free Access to Cash Value
  • Acts as a Life Long “Bank”
  • Competitive IRR’s

Even though I am a big fan of Whole Life, I also am a fan of other types of permanent cash value life insurance plans, namely Indexed Universal Life (IUL). Similar to a properly designed investment portfolio, I strongly feel that a Life Insurance portfolio should be diversified as well.

Through the strong guaranteed cash value of the Whole Life product, that great foundation is the start of a well-designed life insurance portfolio. Once you add the layers of an IUL and the upside potential of the underlying index options, you have the best of both worlds.
We are working on a number of cases currently that we are using the diversification approach. This concept has been widely accepted and is proving to be a differentiator with many advisors that are implementing it.

To summarize, Whole Life provides the strongest foundation of any product when it comes to guarantees. These guarantees act as a buffer against an IUL chassis and allow ultimate flexibility when designing a plan. When putting together a total program for any client looking to accumulate cash for a supplemental retirement, diversification is the key.

So don’t forget about The Whole Life Foundation.

by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC-June Blog

Sales Vice President

 

I would like to start off with a piece that was written back in 1929 by Jack J. Leterman, who established the first John Hancock Agency in the state of Virginia.   As a veteran with over 30 years in this industry, I had come across this years ago and ever since, I refer back to it over and over again because it catches the true essence of what life insurance is…

 

A life insurance policy is just a time-yellowed piece of paper, with columns of figures and legal phrases, until it is baptized with a widow’s tears. Then it becomes a modern miracle, a sort of Aladdin’s Lamp.

It is food, clothing, shelter, education, piece of mind.

It is the sincerest love letter ever written.

It quiets the crying of a hungry baby at night. It eases the heart of a bereaved widow. It is the comforting whisper in the dark silent hours of the night. It is a new hope, fresh courage and strength for the widow to pick up the broken threads of life and carry on.

It is an education for the sons and daughters (a chance for a career, instead of the need for a job). It is a father’s parental blessing to his children on their wedding day. It is the function of a father’s hopes and dreams for his family’s future.

Through life insurance he lives on. There is no death. Life insurance exalts life and defeats death.

It is the premium we pay for the privilege of living after death.

Here’s why I was compelled to share the above piece.  A few days ago, I (like many of us do), received a heart wrenching Facebook post of another family tragedy.  A 50 year old father of 5, with a sixth child along the way, dies unexpectantly.  He was the sole bread winner of the household and a GO FUND ME page had been established because the family was left in financial ruin and you guessed it, there was NO life insurance. 

So as not to come off as insensitive, it is possible that this person was uninsurable and unable to purchase life insurance.   There are far too many stories like this one though.  I find it hard to believe that with all of them, the people involved were not insurable. 

As life insurance/planning professionals, stories like this have to get under our skin and anger us.   We should never lose sight of the tremendous power we have when that pen is used to sign that application.  Stories like this should be shared with prospective clients.

Ask them if they want their families to endure financial pain to go along with the emotional toll of losing a loved one?

Do they want to be the next topic of a GO FUND ME Page?

The life insurance industry has been around for a while.  In fact, they kind of invented the Go Fund Me page.  Those words from Jack Leterman put it all in perspective. 

I know this is a little heavy handed, but just think of the impact that a life insurance policy would have made for the widow of that 50 year old and her five (soon to be six) kids…

Remember, Life Insurance is The Original Go Fund Me Page – It changes lives.   

Find more of Mark’s Bark’s Blogs on our website: http://www.asglife.com/insurance-view/marks-barks-blog/

I Hate Annuities

by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC-May, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

Annuities are the worst planning tool!  They can do unspeakable things like…

  • Guarantee competitive high rates of interest
  • Act as a safe market hedge
  • Can guarantee to double for income purposes
  • Can guarantee income for as long as you (and/or) surviving spouse live

 

Yeah!  Annuities are a horrible thing to have as part of a well balanced portfolio.  All of those benefits listed above are just a sampling of the useless advantages that you can get from them. So why would you ever consider purchasing one?   Here’s why…

Unfortunately, when the word “ANNUITIES” are thrown into the mix, there is usually negativity that surrounds it.  Annuities are probably one of the most misunderstood financial instruments.   Like any financial tool, annuities, if used properly, can play an integral part of a well structured retirement plan.

There are many different types of annuities that are available in the marketplace.  They come in many different forms; deferred, variable, fixed, etc.   You have to be very careful with some contract designs that have huge fee and expense charges, so knowing the nuances between products is very important.  However, a plain vanilla Multi Year Guarantee Annuity can provide contract holders with a competitive, safe & dependable guaranteed interest rate that talks to a risk averse client base.   But annuities are much more than that.  Annuities can be used creatively to help your clients with a number of unique planning solutions.

 

Single Premium Immediate Annuities (or SPIAs) are one of the most underused planning tools. They are extremely versatile and be used effectively in so many sales scenarios.

Market Downturns

In the case where you have clients that have lost money in the market and have not fully recovered, SPIAs are a great way of making up the difference without risk.    The downturns probably impacted their ultimate desired amount of retirement income and a SPIA can be utilized to fill in those gaps and possibly put them back to where they planned on being.

 

SPIA/Life Combo

If clients have non-qualified funds that are not needed, you can take income (annuitize), pay the tax and with the net income, make gifts and purchase trust owned life insurance outside of the taxable estate.  This technique is extremely helpful with respect to transferring assets to the next generation.  (Note: Older life insurance contract cash values can be transferred via a 1035 Exchange into annuity contracts (i.e. SPIA’s), maintaining the integrity of basis and lowering the taxable portion that is being distributed.)

 

RMD Scenarios

For clients that are taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from IRA assets when they turn 70½, SPIAs can be a helpful tool.  The qualified funds can be annuitized and the income generated will be fully taxable on an annual basis but the corpus of money will be out of the taxable estate.  In this scenario, the net proceeds (out of the IRA), can be used to purchase life insurance.  The net result is a significant amount of income tax savings and the heirs can ultimately receive a greater amount of assets tax free.

 

Competing with Guaranteed Income Benefit Riders

There is a lot of talk about the Guaranteed Income Benefit Riders, which can be costly.   Often times if you compare the Guaranteed Income payouts to that of a SPIA, the SPIA incomes are guaranteed on a higher level.  It is worth comparing if you have any situations like this.

 

Longevity Planning

One of the major concerns of people today is outliving their retirement assets.    A huge benefit of a SPIA is that you cannot outlive the income stream.  Whether you live 5 years or 50 years, the income will continue for your lifetime. This can easily be set up for a husband and wife so that the income will continue until the second spouse passes.  (Note: When structuring life income payments, a common objection is that if the annuitant(s) dies, payments cease. 

We never implement a payout option without an Installment Refund.  This assures that if the annuitant(s) die prior to receiving at least a return of the annuity purchase amount, payments will continue to a named beneficiary until that threshold is satisfied).

 

 

Multi-Generational Gifts

SPIAs can also be used to pay income on the life of multiple annuitants.  Perhaps a grandparent wants to provide income to a grandchild.  Funds can be deposited into an annuity with both listed as annuitants.  Even after the grandparent passes, income can continue for the life of the grandchild.   This can be a great way of being remembered for years to come.

 

Something else to consider, SPIA’s can also be used to either fund fully or defray the cost of Long Term Care premiums.  We have been repurposing funds that were earmarked to cover “self-funded” long term care expenses.  By utilizing those dollars into annuity, and funding some type of LTC or Hybrid LTC product, we are able to create a much larger leveraged bucket that provides far more LTC benefits.

Another area where annuities can be extremely helpful is using the “Guaranteed Roll-up” Options.”    With these options, you can guarantee that the annuity deposit will double for income purposes in as early as 10 years regardless of market conditions.   The older an annuitant, the higher the eventual income payout.  This can be a great longevity hedge or used to fund future life insurance and/or LTC policy premium in the future.  Either way, it can be an extremely effective strategy.

As you can see, annuities are a horrible tool. 

In actuality, annuities are misunderstood and not utilized to their full potential.  They offer a wide range of planning opportunities and if used in the right situation can help a number of clients achieve and protect their financial security.

The above is only a sampling of how annuities can be used effectively in a well-constructed financial plan.  For more information on how to incorporate annuities into some possible sales situations, call us today.

 

Find more of Mark’s Bark’s Blogs on our website: http://www.asglife.com/insurance-view/marks-barks-blog/

By Mark Milbrod, CLU, CLTC
Partner, Agent Support Group-April 2019

 

It is April, spring is here, baseball season is off and running and of course, as American as apple pie, our favorite Uncle has his hand out for his piece of that pie.  Tax season is upon us and with it comes our best prospecting tool, THE TAX RETURN.

As we are waist deep in tax season, what better time to remind ourselves of the countless sales opportunities that arise out of this time of year.   The best part is that with the focus on taxes, all of our clients are aware of the things that affect their financial lives. Whether its retirement plans contributions, annual gifts, charitable contributions, etc., it is all fresh in their minds. From just those few items, I’m sure a few sales opportunities come to mind.

As stated above, a tax return is probably our best sales prospecting tool.   As financial professionals, where else can you get a roadmap that leads you directly to all facets of someone’s finances?

Here are some examples of line items on a standard 1040 Tax Form that can lead you to where potential sales opportunities exist:

  1. Dependents– knowing how many dependents raises the question to whether there is enough life insurance in force to protect those family members who are reliant on someone. For younger dependents, the college planning conversation usually starts.
  2. Taxable Interest– See where this income is coming from.  There can be a more tax efficient way to invest funds.
  3. Business Income– knowing where business income comes from can start the conversation for business succession planning, key employee coverage’s, etc.
  4. Qualified Plan Contributions– this opens up the retirement planning conversation.  Are they maxed out in qualified contributions? What about retirement goals? Perhaps some supplemental non-qualified vehicles could be appropriate.
  5. Partnership/S-Corp Income– knowing if there are partnerships, perhaps buy-sell planning can be in order.
  6. Social Security Benefits– are they receiving SS benefits?  Do they need it?  Perhaps a more efficient use of those funds can be the answer.
  7. Capital Gains– where are their assets? Is there a better use of those assets?
  8. Medical Expenses– knowing what their medical expenses are can open up the Long Term care conversation.  Do they have any or what assets would they tap into if they had an LTC event?
  9. Interest Paid– mortgage interest paid can tell you more about their home.  For clients older than age 62, a Reverse Mortgage can be an option.
  10. Gifts to Charity– if someone is charitably inclined, you can discuss the leverage of life insurance for legacy gifts.

As you can see, there are a number of sales opportunities that exist by utilizing the 1040 Tax Form as a roadmap.  The examples above are just the tip of the iceberg.  By using this approach, you can start conversations with your prospective and current clients.  In addition, centers of influence, such as CPA’s and Tax Attorneys are excellent sources to have this conversation with.

With tax season upon us, there are excellent opportunities that will drive new business.  I have been using this approach for many years to huge success.  At ASG, we have tools designed to help you with this approach to marketing.  Contact us today so we can guide you through the process and navigate you through this road map provided by our favorite uncle. 

Find more of Mark’s Bark’s Blogs on our website: http://www.asglife.com/insurance-view/marks-barks-blog/

by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC-March 2019

 

Talking to agents on a daily basis, we are always asked for ideas on how to approach clients.  Sometimes we hear that they have nothing new to speak to their clients about.  So if anyone out there has that problem, I have put together a little list of some good conversation starters.   As you will see, there are a great deal of opportunities in today’s market.

 

  • SPIAs

SPIA’s continue to be a great (but underused tool).  The payouts continue to offer some of the best alternatives to maximizing income today.  The payments are guaranteed and will last forever.  For some, the payouts can be as high as 8 ½ – 9%

 

  • Guarantee Income Roll ups

For some looking to defer income, you can purchase annuity contracts with guaranteed roll-ups that for income purposes, will double in value by year 10 regardless of actual performance.

 

  • Uncapped LTC Benefits

It is possible to provide Uncapped/Unlimited Long Term care benefits by utilizing particular products.  This is one of the strongest values available in the Hybrid LTC space today.

 

  • Longevity Protection Using Death Benefit

To protect against longevity risk, your life insurance death benefit can be used as a living benefit by drawing down your face amount as income.  There is NO health trigger to exercise this option.

 

  • ROP Provisions

Many GUL policies have a return of premium window that allows you to receive your premiums back regardless of product performance.  These windows usually open up in either policy year 20 or 25.

 

  • Complimentary Business Valuations

For your Business clients, you can offer them Complimentary Business Valuations to determine the value of partnership interests.  This is a tremendous value add since it can save your clients a great deal of money.  This also paves the way to Buy Sell, Key Man & Personal Insurance sales.

 

  • Underwriting Enhancement Programs

A number of carriers offer underwriting programs that move table ratings down to Standard risks.  There are also carriers that offer single rating improvements that can boost your client to the next (higher) rating class.

 

  • Hybrid Guarantees to 90

Instead of a full GUL contract, take a look at the hybrid guarantees.  Often times, you can get a guarantee on a UL chassis that can last up to age 90.  These plans are extremely competitive, have increasing cash value and are a great alternative to a plain vanilla GUL.

 

  • Automatic Chronic Illness Rider

For clients that can’t get approved for any form of Long Term Care, there are options with certain permanent plans that will automatically issue a Chronic Illness Rider.  This comes in very handy for those client that cannot usually qualify for LTC benefits by offering some degree of protection.

 

  • Substandard LTC Options

For some contracts that offer LTC Riders, the LTC portion can be issued at a sub-standard rate (up to Table 5).  In these cases, it is another great alternative for a client that is not able to get approved for Stand-Alone LTC.

 

  • Non- Medical Limits up to $2.5M

It is possible to secure very large lines of life insurance without a medical exam.  This is offered by many carriers and can often be combined and pieced together.  The turnaround times with these types of plans can be 48 -72 hours.

 

  • Non-Smoker Rates For Cigar Smokers

For your Cigar Smoking clients, it is possible to get them Non-Smokers rates.  Many of these clients have older inforce policies that were probably rated as smokers.  This is a huge opportunity.

 

  • 40 Year Level Term

It is now possible to get a 40 Year Term policy up to age 45 for non-smokers.

 

  • Tax Free Supplemental Retirement Income

The old standby (permanent/cash value life insurance).  Where else can you show someone how to grow their money on a tax deferred basis and ultimately withdraw income on a tax free basis?

 

There are even more opportunities out there.  This is just the tip of the iceberg.  If something sparked your interest in the list above, something on that list will surely catch the attention of either your existing or new prospective clients as well.

For more information or to see how it all works, reach out to us today so we can help you start the conversation.

 

Find more of Mark’s Bark’s Blogs on our website: http://www.asglife.com/insurance-view/marks-barks-blog/

DON’T OVERTHINK IT!

by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC-Feb. 2019 Blog

 

When I first started in the business, I worked at a Prudential district agency.  A lot of things were different then.  For starters, there wasn’t one grey hair on my head but most importantly, there were not as many distractions around the sale of life Insurance.  It was pretty simple, we sold to true need. We sold Life Insurance!

 

I can vividly recall many of those kitchen table sales and the many lives that were changed by that stroke of the pen.  It was always a good feeling when we left a house at 10:00 at night knowing that we just insured the husband who had a wife and two kids that relied on him to keep the lights on.

Some of the old time agents in the office would talk to “the new guys” and tell us that we would never understand this business until we delivered our first death claim.  You really can’t understand that until you have done it.  Those words, as I learned years later, were so true.

The power of what we do is truly amazing.  Today however, I believe that many agents have lost sight of the simplicity of the life Insurance sale. We get smothered by abstract ideas and sales concepts that take away the true meaning of who we are.  We are Life Insurance Agents. Be proud of it.

On any given day, we see carriers releasing charts and graphs showing how competitive their particular product is for a 65 year old Preferred buying $1,000,000 of life insurance.  We see the IRR calculations, the interest fluctuations, etc.  We see complex sales ideas showing financing techniques, white papers and tons of interpretations to justify these techniques.  Don’t get me wrong, there are many situations where the esoteric stuff is appropriate and works just fine. But the basic “core” life insurance sale seems to be taking a back seat.

The life insurance marketplace is still one of the most underserved consumer bases out there.  If left on their own, consumers can turn to the internet and purchase commoditized versions of life insurance.  There are plenty of websites out there attracting these consumers.  But the reality is that that they will simply not buy or not buy enough life insurance.  They do need someone to guide them through the purchase.  After all, life insurance is a product that is “sold” and not bought.

The words of those old Prudential agents about delivering that first death claim hold up quite strongly today.  In fact, we can probably add a few words and take it one step further and add…“you won’t understand this business until you deliver your first death claim or facilitate your first Long Term care claim.” 

There are plenty of opportunities out there to sell life insurance.  Whether it is a plain vanilla sale or one that includes LTC benefits, don’t lose sight of the importance of what it is we do.

There is a virtual never ending market waiting to be sold and most times it is the simple sale that we overlook.

Don’t Overthink It!

 

 

Find more of Mark’s Bark’s Blogs on our website: http://www.asglife.com/insurance-view/marks-barks-blog/

 

by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU, CLTC –January 2019

 

 I recently had a conversation with a friend that was in need of some life insurance to protect his family.  With the exception of some small amount of group coverage, he basically had no life insurance.  This was concerning since he is 38 years old and has three children ages 12, 9 & 7.   He is the sole wage earner in his household, has a fairly large mortgage and his savings are modest.  It is a logical conclusion to say that if something were to happen to him, his family would surely suffer financially. 

He asked me about life insurance and he, like most people, was reluctant to talk seriously about the topic.  Before you read on, relax, this is not one of those stories that ends with me telling you that he tragically died and his family was left in financial ruin.  He wound up buying some term insurance but it took some convincing on my part.  It does prove the point however, that life insurance has to be “sold” and not bought.  He really didn’t understand how much he needed and what type was best for him so he could adequately protect his family. 

The main objection that kept resurfacing was the cost of the insurance.  The “cost“of life insurance is one of the most convenient excuses to not buy it.  The reality is that the cost is very low when you think about it, especially when you understand what it represents.  The paying off of a mortgage, income replacement, food on the table, etc.  The list can go on and on.

What’s funny is how much money is thrown away on the things that really do not matter.  As it turns out, my friend likes his Starbucks coffee every day.  His Grande costs him $2.10 every morning before he gets to his office.  That’s over $46 per month without even thinking twice about it.  His cell phone bill is $173 per month and his cable bill $256 per month.  These three things “HE CAN’T” do without and they amount to over $475 per month.

The irony is that if something happened to him, these are just a few items of a very long list that his family would have to do without.   For just about the cost of his cup of coffee ($46/mo.), a $1,000,000 term life policy could offer a great deal of financial security. 

Ultimately, he ended up procuring $2,500,000 of laddered term policies, some 15 Year and some 30 Year for a total $120 per month.  That worked out well for him but it never fails to amaze me how people will so easily shell out money for things like their Cell Phone Plans, Cable TV and even a cup of coffee and not realize the bigger picture.

This example has to do with an old fashioned sale of life insurance but the concept of the big picture is scalable.   It applies to almost any sales scenario involving the sale of the products that we provide.  It can just as easily be for a large estate planning situation, the funding for a buy-sell agreement or the purchase of Long Term Care protection. 

The bigger picture is what matters most.  It may be a bigger cup, but it all comes down to the price for that cup of coffee.

 

Find more of Mark’s Bark’s Blogs on our website: http://www.asglife.com/insurance-view/marks-barks-blog/

by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU
Sales Vice President, Agent Support Group

By far, one of the largest fears of retirees is the notion of outliving their retirement assets. As the holidays are upon us, the focus is on spreading cheer, gift giving and being with family and friends. But we also can’t help being distracted by the daily market volatility that we are seeing on a daily basis. This definitely causes anxiety and feeds into those fears.

Knowing full well that outliving one’s retirement assets is of paramount concern, we as advisors have a tremendous opportunity to help our clients put plans in motion to help insulate and protect them against many of the financial threats that can destroy their plans for a sustainable financial future.

When planning for retirement, most people think that it is all about protecting their assets when the truth of the matter is that it is all about protecting INCOME. They often will not spend money and hoard their assets, tucking them away until they may need it. Through techniques at your disposal, there are many ways that you can protect your client’s income and truly guarantee that it will be there for as long as they live.

Some of the most common techniques used to guarantee income are through the use of individual annuity products. Most people will tell you that they don’t like annuities or simply don’t trust the insurance companies. The truth is that they don’t fully understand them. Here is the ultimate irony, Social Security and Pensions are nothing but “annuity” payments and I don’t see anyone turning away those checks when they arrive. So isn’t it reasonable to add another guaranteed annuity payment through the use of a “repurposed asset.” By purchasing an annuity, you are essentially adding an additional bucket of guaranteed income, because after all, it’s about protecting income and not assets.

The annuities can come in many different forms. The three most popular are Single Premium Immediate Annuities (SPIAs), Deferred Income Annuities (DIAs) and Deferred Annuities with Guaranteed Roll-Ups/Income Riders. With either one, or a combination of different types, you can provide your clients with very large streams of guaranteed income. If your clients truly understand what these products can do, they will most likely welcome them as part of their retirement portfolios and allay some of the fears of outliving their money.

Even if Guaranteed Income Annuities are incorporated into a “well balanced” income portfolio, the INCOME is still not 100% safe from all threats. So be sure to include some degree of Long Term Care protection into any retirement plan. In my opinion, no retirement program is complete without it. After all, you are not trying to guarantee that the nursing home gets their money, you want to protect your client’s income that was supposed to go to them first. The LTC element protects the income intended for them from going elsewhere and makes sure that there is extra income available for the LTC threat.

One last note, since annuities will usually spin off larger amounts of income than other types of assets, some of the money can be used to purchase life insurance that will be there for the heirs. Remember, the ultimate goal is to NOT outlive your retirement assets. Turning as much of it into guaranteed income is the key.

The holiday season is all about giving.

Just make sure that in addition to giving to others it also “tis the season to plan your future.”

Happy Holidays!!

Find more of Mark’s Bark’s Blogs on our website: http://www.asglife.com/insurance-view/marks-barks-blog/

The Last Dodo?

by: Mark D. Milbrod, CLU
November 2018

The dodo bird inhabited the island of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean, where it lived undisturbed for so long that it lost its need and ability to fly. It lived and nested on the ground and ate fruits that had fallen from trees. They basically lost their edge, and by the late 1600’s became extinct.

Are we the next Dodo? Are we as life insurance agents losing our edge? Have we become complacent? Have we lost our need and ability to fly?

When I first started in the business, I was fortunate enough to go through the training program of a major mutual company. Under the tutelage of my Sales Managers, I learned how to truly sell life insurance. Sadly, today, that really doesn’t exist anymore. The old fashioned way of training life insurance agents is a thing of the past. This lack of training has created a tremendous void of “new blood” that is able to service a marketplace, that more than ever, needs the products and tools that we provide.

When surfing the internet, looking through our e-mail or within social media platforms, we see tons of ads from insurance carriers that are marketing direct to consumers and trying to sell the same life insurance products that we are trying to sell. At first glance, it can be quite annoying. But when you think about it, what is the true value of that? Can a person manning the other side of the phone or even a totally automated quoting and application process do a better than job than you?

Life Insurance has been and always will be a product that needs to be “sold.” No matter how knowledgeable a consumer may be, they really don’t know the proper way to determine need. They don’t really understand what lies beneath the surface of a life insurance sale. Think back to any client you have sat with that started out by asking for $1,000,000 of term insurance. They think they will have enough, then you explain the subtleties of a surviving spouse being forced to sell their house and uprooting their children from the comfort of that home. And then what about the continuation of income, money for college educations, etc. If you have done your job correctly, they now understand that the amount they were originally seeking was not enough.

Shifting gears for a moment, that was the individual “kitchen table” sale. What about the business client and the need for a funded Buy-Sell Agreement that provides liquidity for the continuation of a business? Or better yet, the estate planning sale that provides funds for the taxes due for literally pennies on the dollar. And last but not least, the real need for Long Term Care Insurance. The list goes on and on.
The point in all of this is simple. The products and services that we, as insurance professionals provide, are needed today more than ever. We live in an age of obsolescence. Technology moves pretty quick. Even in our industry, it’s a real threat, but life insurance is not a commodity and it shouldn’t be sold as such.

There has never been a better time to be in our industry. Perfect your craft! Learn more about what makes our clocks tick and there will be an unlimited amount of opportunities waiting for you. The market is ripe and grossly underserved.

Do we want to follow the path of The Dodo, becoming complacent, losing our edge and our need and ability to fly? I don’t think so. ASG has all of the tools and resources that you need to assist you in perfecting your craft. Reach out to us today so we can show you how to NOT lose that edge.