Every year, we review more than 1,000 existing life insurance policies with our Life Insurance Portfolio Analysis. Most of our time is spent understanding the “what” of life insurance, and rightfully so. Families, businesses and charities depend on the “what” of these policies. People need to understand how their policy works, how long it lasts, how much to pay and when, etc.
So the “what” is critical, but it’s not the whole story. In fact, our entire analysis means very little without the “why.” Life insurance is an incredible tool that can solve a multitude of issues, but if you don’t know why you have such an asset, it has little perceived value.
When we review policies, we need to better understand why the original policy was purchased, what purpose it served at that time and what purpose it can serve today. Reviewing a policy means very little without considering what is important to the family it is intended to serve. A needs analysis can be done, but you have to ask how it fits with your clients’ hopes, plans for the future and desires for the most important people in their lives.
Really, the “why” can be summed up with one question: “Who’s counting on you?"
Put it in practice: Think of a few clients who have existing life insurance coverage and ask if they would be willing to review the coverage. Then ask the question, “Who’s counting on you?”
When it comes to buying ice cream, the options we have today are astounding. No longer is it just plain vanilla … there’s rocky road, chocolate chocolate chip, cookie dough, strawberry … you name it, and it’s probably out there. Sometimes all you really want is a bowl of plain vanilla, but it’s nice knowing you have multiple options to choose from.
The same is true when it comes to long-term care (LTC) planning. For a long time, all we had was plain vanilla, offered by more than 100 different carriers. However, as the market began to expand, there became a demand for some different “flavors” and things got exciting.
Today, the options are many, depending on the flavor that appeals to you and your client’s situation. We have single-premium, asset-based solutions that leverage a death benefit while still maintaining some cash value. There are solutions that allow clients to exchange their existing non-qualified annuities and leverage that account value TAX-FREE if care is ever needed. We also have the option of adding LTC or chronic illness riders to life insurance policies; these riders allow clients to accelerate the death benefit if they ever need care.
But, lest all these options overwhelm you, let’s not forget about the plain vanilla of traditional long-term care insurance. Yes, it may not be for everyone, but sometimes, plain vanilla is just what’s needed.
Put it in Practice: Now is a great time to reflect on the wide variety of flavors you can offer your clients. Ash Brokerage will not only help you understand all of the flavors available, but we’ll also help you determine which one will best suit your client’s tastes.
While sole-owned businesses continue to dominate, multi-owner businesses continue to increase by record numbers year after year. Business continuation is a vital part of any business succession plan, but with multiple owners and estates involved, it can be disastrous without proper planning. The surviving owners and the heirs of a deceased business owner have wants and needs that can be fulfilled by a well written business continuation plan.
When a business owner dies, the surviving owner(s) may want total control of the business without interference from the deceased owner’s heirs. They may want a prompt transfer of the deceased owner’s interest at a fair price. They may also want the loyalty and support of employees, customers and creditors during and after the transition in ownership.
The heirs may want ongoing financial security after the loss of the deceased owner’s salary and benefits. They may want a prompt settlement of the deceased owner’s estate, including proper tax-valuation of the business interest, if it is to be sold. They may also want retention of the business by family members or a prompt sale of the interest at an attractive price.
Without a written buy-sell agreement that spells out in detail what will happen when an owner dies, UNWANTED consequences may result. These include conflicts – and possibly litigation – between the deceased owner’s heirs and the surviving owners, delays in the transition to successor ownership and delays in settling the deceased owner’s estate. In addition, there could be potential loss of customers, employees, and creditor confidence that can damage the business and force liquidation.
Your clients could avoid these consequences and find many other advantages in creating a formal buy-sell agreement. This could be the first step in assuring an orderly and successful transition in business ownership following an owner’s death. It could assure a fair price for the business interest and terms of sale that are reasonable to all parties. It could help set a value for the business interest for estate tax purposes to help avoid estate settlement delays and IRS challenges. It could also create confidence in the ongoing vitality of the business in the eyes of customers, employees and creditors.
The Bottom Line: Creating a written buy-sell agreement can fulfill the wants and needs of surviving business owners and the heirs of the deceased business owner.
What’s keeping you from offering your clients disability income insurance? I know a majority of advisors will say it’s the exhaustive/dreaded/lengthy financial and medical underwriting process. If you’ve ever had a policy take more than two months in underwriting, I can see why you’d think twice.
But it doesn’t always have to be so hard! Many advisors don’t realize that most disability carriers offer “simplified” underwriting guidelines, so your client may not require any medical or financial underwriting.
Believe it or not, with simplified underwriting you can get away from those pesky paramed exams, fluid requirements and tax documents. In most cases, all you need is a short application and a telephone interview. The simplified process can significantly reduce the underwriting timeframe – some carriers can have a decision as soon as two days after the telephone interview.
This process does NOT sacrifice any of the riders/features of a fully underwritten policy, and the policy is still individually owned and portable. The benefits at claim time are still tax free when premiums are paid with after-tax dollars.
If your client is under age 50 and looking for a benefit amount of less than $6,000 a month, simplified underwriting options may be available.
Put in Practice: Make your life easier by offering your clients simplified disability underwriting options! Talk with the Ash Brokerage DI team today!
If your clients’ children are looking at student loans, your clients should be looking life insurance.
Right now, deadlines are approaching for the Federal Application for Student Aid, and students may be looking at options to pay for college. While grants and scholarships are available, the ever-rising costs of tuition will likely force students to fund their education with loans as well.
According to an article from the Wall Street Journal, 70 percent of the class of 2014 graduated with an average debt of $33,000 from federal, state and private loans. The longer they go to school, the longer it will take to pay it all back. According to an article from the Huffington Post, individuals with an associate's degree on average take 18.3 years to pay off their debt, compared with 19.7 years for those with a bachelor's degree and 23 years for those with a graduate degree.
Most parents of college-age kids are heading towards their retirement years and have financial obligations of their own. Before your clients cosign a student loan for their children, here are some questions to ask them:
Put it in Practice: It costs as little as $13 a month for $100,000 of coverage on an 18-year-old male for a 20-year term.* That coverage can not only secure your client’s financial future, but it can also protect their child’s future spouse and children. Ask if they can give up three cups of coffee a month for peace of mind.
*Premium rates vary by a number of factors, including carrier, product client health and age, and a number of other factors.
© 2018 Ash Brokerage LLC.