Monday, December 19, 2016

Your Second Paragraph

I can’t help it. As a life insurance guy I read the obituaries at least once a week. It reminds me why I do what I do. In just the smallest of ways life insurance brokers help families and business owners get over the financial obstacles when a member of the family or a business partner passes away. By helping our clients, often decades in advance, we strive to bring order out of what can often be chaos.

Back to my reading habits. Have you ever noticed that the typical obituary is comprised of three paragraphs? Sort of a metaphor for our lives. A beginning, a middle, and an end. The obituary usually starts by telling us the deceased’s age, where and when they were born, and possibly their educational or military history.

The third paragraph usually tells us who the survivors are, funeral arrangements, preferences for flowers and donations, and other similar information.

How will your second paragraph read?

One thing that a career in the insurance industry has taught me is that, in many ways, families are far more alike than different. I have met thousands of them and it doesn’t matter what ethnicity, religion, economic status, education level, or sexual orientation you are, families by and large want the same things. They want to make their way in the world, raise happy and productive children, achieve economic security for all, and share with others to the best of their ability. They want work that gives them more than just a paycheck and they need a bit of spare time to enjoy their favorite activities whether those activities are baking or backpacking, sports or sculpting.

The majority of us are driven by our desire to be recognized and remembered. We would like to be remembered for how we left the world a better place than it was than when we entered it. That’s what we want others to see in our second paragraph. For many of us that desire is exceptionally motivational. Fortunately, as life expectancy has increased over the last hundred years, many of us will have the time for our post working lives to be the best and most influential chapters of our lives. A time to turbo charge our second paragraph and do more good than we had time to do when we were working full-time or raising children.

It will now be commonplace to have twenty or thirty years of retirement. In fact, it’s probably time to invent a new word or phrase for the period after we stop working full-time in our primary career. The word “retirement” just doesn’t work (no pun intended) anymore. We need something that’s more “rocking on” than “rocking chair”. Your thoughts?

During this season our thoughts turn to family whether it’s actual family or your work family. I’m sure that, like me, each of you has an “interesting” family member or two and can tell some “interesting” stories about when the family gathers. It’s also a time to remember those of us who aren’t around anymore and how they impacted our lives. From the show “Wicked”, it’s how they “left a handprint on our heart.”

The stuff that goes into your second paragraph will be the most remembered aspect of your life. How will your second paragraph read? How will you make the world a better place?

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year. And as always, thanks for reading.

Alan Leafman, President
847-559-9699 x 222
480-654-1200 x 222

Friday, December 9, 2016

How Much Is Your Autograph Worth?

Imagine that your job is to climb into a six million pound rocket ship and fly it about a half million miles, to the moon and back. Now imagine that you've got a family on earth that you love and need to protect from the hazards of your job. If you want to buy some life insurance, just in case you don’t make it back, you can't just walk into an insurance store like mine and buy a policy "off the rack". "A $50,000 life insurance policy? Sure, that will be just $49,999." That was exactly the challenge that faced the Apollo astronauts, the group of outstanding individuals who were the first humans in history to journey to the moon and safely back to earth.

It is believed that as early as when the original group of astronauts, known as the Mercury Seven, realized that they needed to protect their families from the occupational risk of dying in a rocket ship they knew that buying life insurance just wasn’t an option. They had to apply their creative intelligence to a very practical problem. Instead of buying life insurance, which, in reality no company would sell to them, they came up with an innovative solution to their problem.

It is hard to convey to someone who wasn't around in that era exactly how famous the early astronauts were but they were easily the most famous men in the world. You couldn’t pick up a newspaper or magazine, you couldn’t watch a news broadcast without hearing about their exploits. They made history with every mission. The seven members of their elite group were culled from an original group of 508 military members, mostly combat veterans and test pilots. They were put through the most rigorous screenings and testing in the history of aviation. You couldn’t get much closer to Superman than an astronaut.

So what was their brilliant substitute for life insurance? The astronauts autographed the outsides of hundreds of envelopes and made sure to have them postmarked on the dates of their launches into space. They knew that if something happened to them those autographs would be worth thousands of dollars each and that their families would be financially protected. Today those envelopes sell at auction for up to $30,000 apiece. Brilliant! 

If your autograph doesn't carry the same value as the early astronauts chances are that we can get you a little better deal on life insurance than an astronaut could get in the 1960's. In fact life insurance has never been a better value. In many cases just tenths of a percent per thousand dollars of coverage....about a dime a month for a thousand dollars of coverage if you're in your twenties or thirties, a bit more if you are older.
Back to outer space for a moment. The Mercury Seven astronauts were one of the most outstanding groups of men in the history of the United States. They were so renowned that boys and girls knew every one of their names and life stories. There were even trading cards with their images and "stats". At the pinnacle of this group was John Glenn. I have written about childhood heroes before and most of us had our own, usually local ones, often sports heroes. But John Glenn was everybody's hero. Not only was he brilliant and physically capable of everything demanded of an astronaut but he led an exemplary life and went on to become a distinguished United States senator, a one-time prospect for president of the United States. President Kennedy realized that he was so symbolically valuable to our nation that he grounded Glenn from future missions in space for fear that we would lose our greatest American hero.

Earlier this week John Glenn passed away at age 95. Immediately before launching his mission as the first American to orbit the earth in a space ship named Friendship Seven, another Mercury Seven member, Scott Carpenter picked up the microphone at Mission Control and spoke these words to his good friend, "Godspeed, John Glenn." Indeed, Godspeed, John Glenn, America and the world thank you for your service and your shining example. I don't think anyone like him will ever pass our way again.

Thanks for reading. 

Alan Leafman, President
847-559-9699 x 222
480-654-1200 x 222

Friday, December 2, 2016

Life Insurance its not that complicated

December is the month in which more life insurance is purchased than any other month of the year. “Experts” speculate that this may be due to the fact that the holidays  make us more mindful of family and family obligations.
Others believe that it may simply be a matter of having procrastinated throughout the year and not wanting to let things go into the new year. After all, it’s not that easy for most people to deal with life insurance and their own mortality. Regardless, this message is about un-complicating a subject which, for most of us, is very confusing.

Let’s demystify life insurance right now.

Here’s what you need to know...

If you have kids aquire lots of it

If you’re on a budget aquire term insurance for 15, 20, 25 years….long enough for your youngest to (hopefully) be out of college and self-supporting. If you’re not around, your kids and spouse are going to need a lot of money.

Term Life Insurance…what is it?

It’s a policy that pays a tax-free benefit if you die. That’s it. You choose how long to lock in the rates and how often to pay premiums….monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually. Life insurance companies aren’t picky, they’ll take your money as often as you wish to pay.
Also, it’s cheap (like $21 a month for $500,000 for a healthy 35-year old female and it’s locked in for 20 years). Rates are low because this is really “premature death” insurance. It’s designed to cover that small number of us who won’t make it to today’s long life expectancies.

If your budget is a little higher consider whole life or universal life. These are policies that combine a savings component with life insurance protection. They are a good option for those who can benefit by a forced savings program, a supplemental retirement savings plan, or those who truly require lifetime protection. These policies can also be “blended” with term insurance for a “best of both worlds” solution.

How much to get?

A lot...hundreds of thousands, maybe a million or more. No survivors ever complained about getting too much life insurance. Many are hard stricken by too little. Ten times your income is one rule of thumb but each person has different circumstances and needs. We’ll help you determine appropriate amounts.

    If you own a business with a partner or two aquire lots of it

If your partner dies use the money to aquire out your partners’ families and get them out of your business. No partners? Set up an agreement with a key employee to take over the business if you die. The employee aquires a life insurance policy on you, pays the benefit to your survivor(s) and aquires them out of the business with the money. Set a realistic value for your business (a whole separate topic) and then fund the agreements with life insurance.

    If you’re a senior without much debt aquire a policy for $5,000 to $50,000

Especially if you’re married or have adult children. It will clean up your final expenses of funeral, medical, and legal bills. It’s a stress reducer for your spouse. If you have a lot of debt, consider a larger policy that will pay your final expenses and retire your debts. Life insurance companies today will write new policies on individuals up to 90 years of age.

Where to get these policies?

Here of course. This is a shameless solicitation. We have more than thirty of the best life insurance companies in the world, offering policies from $5,000 to $10 million and we’ll do all the work.
Any questions? Call us at (855) 798-9887

Thank you for reading,

Alan Leafman, President
847-559-9699 x 222
480-654-1200 x 222