Life Insurance Insights

Hello, and welcome to my blog.

Since the early 1960s, I have enjoyed a long and satisfying career in the Life Insurance industry. I have served as an expert witness before the California State Senate Committee, as a licensed Continuing Education Instructor, and as president of several industry organizations. I remain active today as a consultant.

Here you will find regularly posted articles designed to educate individuals and families about the value and importance of Life Insurance today. I welcome your feedback, and invite you to follow me on Twitter and Facebook.

- Mike (info@lifeinsuranceinsights.com)

11 September 2014 0 Comments

Leadership Part 4

shutterstock_197903279Concluding the elements that go into Presence in a leader.

Succinctness

Don’t you wish this was a trait that all of our leaders possessed?  Wouldn’t it be great to turn on “Meet the Press” one Sunday morning and actually have a politician answer a question with a simple “Yes” or “No” when that is all that is called for?   But that seldom happens with politicians. They go on and on and on and in the end very often don’t answer the question that was asked.

Leaders in business do a much better job at being succinct than do politicians.  But many striving for leadership in all walks of life often feel that the merit of an answer is measured by the number of words used.  In today’s need for instant answers, the overly verbose responder runs the risk of being “deleted” before their words end. More…

9 September 2014 0 Comments

Leadership Part 3

Continuing with the elements of Presence found in a leader.shutterstock_82371157

Eye Contact

This hardly seems like a topic that requires comment.  When you meet someone, when you’re talking to them, look them in the eye.  Simple enough.  But that’s not always what happens. A few years ago I was conducting a class at a local high school on how to present yourself in a job interview.  This wasn’t your everyday high school.  It was an Alternative High School that catered to young people who had special challenges in keeping to a regular school schedule.  Gangs often had a major influence on their lives.

One of the things I talked to them about was the importance of eye contact with the person conducting the job interview.  I tried some roll playing, but wasn’t having much luck in getting across my point to one young man.  He just wouldn’t look me in the eye.  After the class, the school principal told me what the problem was.  Looking at someone square in the eyes in a gang related incident can be viewed as a threat or challenge.  This teenager was taught not to have eye contact unless he was looking for a confrontation. More…

4 September 2014 0 Comments

Leadership Part 2

shutterstock_137766281In my last entry I discussed Presence as one of the elements of leadership.  Now, I’ll cover the elements of Presence.

Vision

Leaders are often visionaries.  They think outside of the box.  A discussion with a visionary will take you on a journey to unknown places.  Visionaries are dreamers so their concepts are not always practical.  With those around them going in another direction, they often conjure up visions in their minds that change the direction of events.  Without visionaries we would live in a very predictable, dull place and there would be far fewer home runs.  Just being in their presence can be a blast!

Visionaries can be all over the place with their planning process…always grasping for new concepts and directions.  When you meet visionaries for the first time you might think “Wow—can this be real?”

More…

2 September 2014 0 Comments

Leadership

shutterstock_188823320During my life I have held several leadership rolls.  I have also had the privilege of working with and for many leaders.  Some of them have been very effective; some less so.

My observations in the following several entries come from the leaders I have known and what I have learned from my own experiences as a leader.

Who wants to be a leader?

There are probably times when you will want to lead…when you will want others to follow you.  If you don’t use leadership to get them to follow, about all that’s left are threats, intimidation and bribes.  These tactics are not substitutes for leadership. In the long haul they will not work.

You can become a leader!  Here are some tips that might help. More…

28 August 2014 0 Comments

Social Security Planning Tips

shutterstock_112541258The Bridge

When you are about to retire there are several choices that face you.  If you are about to retire at age 62 you may not want to take Social Security retirement benefits at that time due to the early retirement reduction in benefits. You might also not want to leave the workforce until the full retirement age (FRA) of age 66, but then delay the beginning of Social Security benefits until age 70 to maximize the delayed retirement credits.  In either case you will need to provide bridge income as you await for the Social Security benefit to kick in.  Some might suggest using an immediate annuity (IA) for this purpose, but I believe merely drawing down from other investments to be more efficient since the load on short term IA’s can be excessive. More…

26 August 2014 0 Comments

Reflections

shutterstock_184421114Time flies when you’re having fun, they say.  What I barrel of fun I’ve had!  Rounding the corner last May, I’m on my way to 80 big ones above the grass.  Strange as it seems, I don’t feel that old…but how should I know how that feels, never having been there before?

Sure, there have been some changes.  Since I stopped showing up in coat and tie at the office every day at 8:00AM, I’ve had much more time to go to the movies…and my wife and I do love the movies.  We’ve also spent more of our travel time on cruises…enjoying long times at sea between ports for reading, lectures and each other’s company.  It beats checking in and out of hotels every other day on a quest for the next city.  The iPad has become my constant companion, keeping me linked just enough to my blog, consulting and an occasional sale…and Scrabble.   When at home, I’ve become the cook, albeit with a limited menu. More…

21 August 2014 0 Comments

More Life Insurance Uses for Foreign Internationals

shutterstock_165303932In my last entry I discussed special estate tax needs of Foreign Nationals and how life insurance can be an effective answer.  Aside from estate tax liability, there are also some other uses of life insurance issued by U.S. insurers that are attractive to foreign nationals.

International investors often look for safe, secure U.S. based assets in which to deposit funds.  American life insurance policies may be an effective choice.  The low pricing, stability and long term guarantees offered by U.S. carriers are typically not available off shore.  If the investors primary goal is the transfer of assets to heirs at death, then the lifetime death benefit guarantees offered by many Universal Life contracts is appropriate.  More…

19 August 2014 0 Comments

Special Estate Needs of Foreign Nationals

shutterstock_129797951Non-resident aliens who own U.S. real estate.

Non-resident aliens who directly own certain U. S. assets are exposed to U.S. estate tax liability and only $60,000 may be exempt from this tax, not the $5,000,000+ exemption normally allowed for U.S. citizens.  Here’s an example:

Pedro Sanchez is not a U.S. citizen and is a resident of the Dominican Republic.  On his last trip to Miami he purchased a $4,000,000 condominium in South Beach which he visits three times a year.  By buying this property and owning it outright, Pedro created a U.S. taxable estate and as a Non-Resident Alien he is only afforded a $60,000 estate tax exemption. More…

15 August 2014 0 Comments

The Flexibility of Universal Life

shutterstock_148496540My previous entry dealt with how Universal Life (UL) could be structured to resemble a 20 year term policy.  This is just one of the flexibility features of Universal Life.  There might also be some flexibility in amount of death benefit, but here I’ll deal just with premium flexibility and access to cash value in Universal Life policies.

Universal Life policies have no stated premium.  There may be a premium that you pay on a regular basis, but that is the planned premium, not the stated premium.  If you skip a planned premium, it does not mean that the policy will lapse.  The cost of insurance and policy fees are withdrawn from the policy’s account value and as long as there is enough value to pay for these items the policy will continue in force.  More…

12 August 2014 0 Comments

When You Want Term, But Conversion is the Only Answer

shutterstock_146949359 (2)I previously discussed how converting term insurance works.  It’s when you decide you no longer want term insurance and you exchange your term policy for a permanent policy without having to provide any current personal information to the insurance company.  The new permanent policy is issued in the same underwriting class as the term based on premiums for your then attained age.

Here’s an interesting scenario where a man purchased a $1,000,000 20 year term policy when he was age 32.  At the time he was a Preferred risk.  He is now age 52 and his 20 year term policy is coming to the end of its term.  If he does nothing the policy will continue as term insurance, but the premium will immediately quadruple and will continue to increase each year thereafter. More…