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Category: The Blog

Champions are made while others still sleep.

2016 edition has been published.  Good stuff.


So this morning the Albany Business Review announced the annual 40 Under 40, and I was not chosen.  Not that big of a deal except for a few things:

1.  As I turn  40 in July, this was my last shot at it.

2.  I have been nominated every year since they started this 12 years ago by a significant number of people.

3.  Well over a dozen of my close friends are former winners (and they wrote me nominations this year too!), so I will always get razzed by them over this.

4.  I had over 50 people say they nominated me this year, with nominations coming from all sectors (education, business, government, technology, etc), levels (CEO’s down to new managers), and from across the entire state and beyond.

5.  I am the only person to write for The Times Union WorkBytes Column that hasn’t been chosen, even though I was among the longest tenured and wrote the most articles.

6.  I am not among the 40 most influential people under 40 locally (who haven’t won), yet I won NAIFA’s 4 Under 40 last year on a national basis?!

Yes, I am grousing, especially when I see some of the previous winners and what they have ultimately ended up doing and (not) contributing to Society.  I guess what they say about a prophet not being recognized in their home town still holds true.  And now that I have that off my chest I can get back to work trying to improve the world.

To all my friends in financial services, here is a PSA in honor of Groundhog’s Day.  Don’t be Ned the Head!

November is Long Term Care Awareness Month.  It is a good time to review your planning and coverage.

What?  You are only in your thirties with young kids?  Great!  Review your parents’ coverage!  Why?  My grandparents went into a nursing home when I was young and spent several years there.  And my parents used most of the money that they had been saving for my college to help pay for it because there was no long term care insurance.  I am still paying off student loans, something my grandparents would have never wanted.  My parents have long term care partially to make sure that my siblings and I do not have to chose between our parents’ care and our kids’ future.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  But you know that, don’t you.   So encourage thoe that should be doing it to get the checkup to make sure that they are ok, because we can save a lot of lives  if caught early.

So now that LIAM (Life Insurance Awareness Month) is finishing up, let’s review.

Actually, let’s just keep it simple.  Did you review your life insurance program?  Why not?  Do I have to schedule the appointment for you?!  What more impetus do you need?

 if Life Insurance was such a bad deal, how come the more financially successful someone is, the higher the probability that they own permanent insurance?

Quick: what is your life expectancy?

Do you know?  Click here for a check as to your life expectancy based on your individual habits and family history, which will be different from the normal actuarial tables.

As you can see, if you take care of yourself (don’t smoke, aren’t overweight, eat a semi-intelligent diet, etc) you will live past 80 according to the government.  And we all know that SSA uses these tables to calculate the cost of benefits to the government, and the government never assumes low on the actual cost of stuff do they?  And there may be one or two medical advances in the pipe that could let you live longer.

So if you believe in numbers, it is pretty obvious that that term insurance you are considering buying will probably disappear before you do.  So should you not buy it?

FAIL!  WRONG ANSWER!  Buy the term insurance, because you need the coverage to make sure that your goals and dreams come true in case you shuffle off this mortal coil.


You might want some permanent coverage as part of your insurance program, as the probability is that you WON’T die before the term expires and as such should have some of the whole life coverage that will be there for your whole life.  Over a period of several decades it is actually much more cost effective than the term insurance too, so is a smart move.  The numbers bear it out: over an extended period, permanent insurance is the most cost effective way to own your insurance.

So look at the math people before you make your decision on life insurance: it might take several decades, but eventually you will see what is the best deal.

LIAM  is about understanding life insurance and its applications.  So let’s take a look at an application that maybe you haven’t thought of: insuring your parents.

The first thought that many people have on this is “That’s morbid!”  Death is an inevitable part of life, and understanding that death will eventually come allows us to embrace life even more, to be able to plan ahead with clear thoughts instead of emotional reactions.

Life insurance is designed to create an estate at death, whether it is when you are thirty and have young children and a mortgage that need to be taken care of, or when you are eighty and have grandchildren.  Assuming that Mom and Dad want to create a legacy to help their grandchildren or to assist grown children financially, life insurance is a smart financial planning tool.  Let’s look at a case study.

Assume that Mom and Dad are 70 and have three kids.  One of the kids is very successful, one is OK, and one is a financial mess because they just are lazy and has never grown up.  Let’s for simplicity say that each of the kids has two kids, so there are six grandchildren.  Mom and Dad are retired and aren’t going to worry about money, but aren’t lavish.  They have “enough, but not too much”.

Successful son knows that ultimately his brother that is a mess is never going to be able to send his kids to college nor own a house because of his inability to be a financial grown up (he has no mental or physical disabilities, just lazy and made a lot of mistakes).  The OK one will not be able to send his kids to school without a tremendous amount of student loans even though he is hard working and intelligent because of his career choice.  The successful one is not concerned about his children’s education or his own financial future, but does not want to be his brother’s keeper for the rest of his life.  So what should he do to make sure that he helps his relatives while not coddling or insulting them?

He buys life insurance on Mom and Dad.  He names the other brothers and their kids as the beneficiaries (and his kids too so that his wife doesn’t complain).  And he makes sure Mom and Dad sit down and explain the planning to his brothers.

When they pass on, each grand child and the other two brothers get one eighth of the insurance proceeds (say $100k each for ease of discussion), expected in a bit over a decade.  This will be enough top cover state school education for each of the grandchildren, guaranteeing at least a basic level college education.  If they want to go to a higher level school or for graduate work it will be the kid’s responsibility to cover the additional costs, but getting the threshold education covered is a huge help and very important to Mom and Dad.

There is also enough money for the OK child to either supplement their children’s education or their retirement savings, basically making sure that they too will be financially OK for the rest of their life.  They won’t be rich, but they will not be completely stressed about money.  The insurance makes their life a bit easier.

And the brother that is a mess?  His kids will have the chance for their education, something he would have never been able to achieve.  There will be an influx of cash to allow him to eventually buy a house if that is the goal, or actually be able to save for retirement.  Yes, he could blow it on stupid things like muscle cars and beer, but with some pre-planning by Mom and Dad that too could be avoided and this child protected from themselves (especially if they have a chemical addiction).

And the successful son, what does he get?  Peace of mind!  He knows his nieces and nephews will get a decent education so that they have a shot at success.  He knows his OK brother will continue to be OK, even a little better than that.  And his mess of a brother will not be his financial responsibility ever again.  Successful brother has basically bought himself independence from the financial and emotional burden of the rest of his family by planning ahead with Mom and Dad.

And Mom and Dad get to spend more money on themselves and their grandchildren while they are still here because of the life insurance planning.  They have a guarantee of a legacy for the future, so can go ahead and spend a bit more and spoil their grandchildren like all good grandparents do because now they can do so with a clear conscience.  All because of the life insurance.