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Life Insurance

Customer Service Done Right: From a Live Person

Almost everybody has had one of those customer service moments where you called to get a problem solved, and by the end of the call, you felt rage so deep that you want to scream.  It is frustrating to have a problem that boils over because of lack of communication between you and customer service.

In life insurance, the primary reasons I have found that causes problems are the line of information and control.  When a person calls for information or goes online, how they are served depends upon the distribution method used.  When you respond to a life insurance advertisement, a company can handle your request as a marketing company, a direct distributor or an independent agent.

To explain the line of information and control and show how it can break down, lets briefly look at the three distribution methods for life insurance.

The first channel of distribution is through marketing companies.  You may see life insurance advertised online or television. In many instances, if a potential customer calls an 800 number or goes online, their contact information is collected, and sold to multiple insurance agents.  For those insurance agents, it is a rush to call the customer and continue to call them until they buy insurance or are told not to call back.

The second type of distribution channel is if a customer is contacting a large life insurance company that is selling only its products.  If the product fits, this can be a quick process however the line of customer control is limited.  If you are the customer and have further questions or a problem crops up, all you have is an 800 number or email.  In a general business survey done by NewVoiceMedia almost 32% of call in customers had to talk to more than one customer service agent during their call.  Moreover, 21% of the customers had to repeat their story to the next agent.[1]  You probably have the feelings of similar calls you have experienced where you must repeat your problem repeatedly to the next agent.

The third type of life insurance buying experience is when you call or go online for information, and you contact the same person that you talk to every time.  If you have a problem, you talk to the same person that you initially contacted.  That level of customer service is available in the independent agent system.

My company, is an independent agent.  When you request information online, it is not sold to multiple agents.  You are contacted by one agent from beginning to end.  The one contact approach is not anti-technology, to the contrary.  Technology makes the independent agent system streamlined.  Most life insurance policies are done electronically.  Communication is done by text, LinkedIn Inmail, Facebook Messenger, email or live by phone.  Technology makes it easier for the independent agent to be able to give insurance clients a concierge level of service.

In a survey done by the non-profit organization Life Happens and insurance industry researcher LIMRA, the number one thing that life insurance customers ask for is easy to understand information.  The second thing wanted by 66% of respondents was the ability to talk to a real person. [2]

All three of the insurance channels mentioned do get to the point of talking to a real person. However, what I have found that keeps the level of customer problems to a minimum is limiting the line of information and control.  The person you begin with is the person that you stay with through the entire application process and in future years when questions or problems arise.


[1] Hyken, Shep. “Is Your Customer Support Killing Your Business?” Forbes. Last modified January 16, 2018.

[2] Life Happens, and LIMRA. 2017 Insurance Barometer Study. LL Global, Inc., 2017.

Good Financial Advice

When was the last time that you asked for a second opinion on your finances?  Money is one of those subjects that is hard to bring up in conversations.  If you talk about money with friends it may open your life more than you want or more than your friends, want to know.  The hesitation to discuss money also brings up the problem of trust. Just where does a non-financial person go for financial advice that can be trusted?  Here is the short answer:

Employee benefits education at work

CPA’s and attorneys

Fee-based financial planners


Investment product providers

Life insurance companies

Life insurance agents

Credit union



The internet

What are the pros and cons of the various sources of information? Here is some brief insight into the different sources of financial advice.  This is not meant to be the end-all of financial information sources, but rather enough information to point you in the right direction.

Employee benefit education is a major source for many people, and its reliability is getting a big boost.  In April of 2017, new laws go into effect mandating that all employer retirement plan information be in the best interest of the employee (Department of Labor, 2016).  That does not mean that all employee benefit information will be equally informative.  It also does not mean that employers are entirely responsible for employees’ financial lives.  It does mean that the financial advice concerning the retirement plan should be dependable.  How you relate that information to other aspects of your finances is up to you.

Stockbrokers have changed over the past fifty years.  Stockbrokers used to be just what their name implied, someone that bought and sold stock.  They did not offer much unbiased advice because they usually worked for an investment banker that was organizing the sale of a company’s stock.  As time has progressed, stockbrokers have become less sales-oriented and more concerned about if they are offering financial products that are in the best interest of their clients.

Investment product providers are mutual funds purchase directly from the provider or a unit investment trust sometimes shortened to UIT’s.  There are some providers that offer good advice, but remember that they still do not have a high responsibility to sell the products that are best for you.  They have certain regulations that they have to follow. For example, they are not supposed to say things that are blatant lies.  Moreover, they are not supposed to sell their products to people that they find are financially unqualified.  However, your overall best interest is not their legal duty.  To some degree, it is still buyer beware.

Life insurance companies have some similarities.  Like the investment product providers, they are not supposed to stretch the truth.  However, the average person is far from qualified to understand some of their products, making the need for an experienced agent more important.

Life insurance agents are separate from the life insurance companies in this information because there are many life insurance agents that are independent.  The autonomy of an independent agent does give their financial advice less likelihood of being biased. However most financial advice from life insurance agents will be compartmentalized to deal only with the financial aspects related to their products.

Credit unions remain a good source for financial products and information.  They sell credit union and life insurance products.   Nevertheless, just like any product provider, it is up to the customer to be sure that they are buying a product that they understand and can afford.

For a long time, banks were perceived as the gold standard of safety.  Recently that image has fallen because one big bank let its branches get out of control and cost its customers millions of dollars.  It gives the impression to the average person that they cannot trust banks any longer. Time will tell how that circumstance gets resolved and if their image will improve.

Fee-based financial planners are perceived as one of the most unbiased parties when dealing with money.  They do not sell products so their primary incentive is client fees.

CPA’s and attorneys are listed together.  However, it has been my experience that many more CPA’s deals with financial issues than attorney’s.  If you are looking for financial advice, a CPA or attorney will be very straight forward in telling you if they will or will not be able to help you. Some of these professionals have expanded their practice to include fee-based financial advice.  Because of their level of fiduciary duty, I would not have any reservations in stating that if a CPA or attorney provides financial advice as part of their service, it is dependable.

Robo-advisors have become a new option available for financial advice, and some are trustworthy sources of financial information.  The creators of robo-advisor services have taken the modern theories that are used to manage investments and put them into a computer program.  Plug in the parameters of your financial situation and the program will produce what is considered to be an appropriate investment allocation.  As the economy changes or personal financial circumstances change the program can alert customers of changes automatically or prompt customers to manually make changes.  Do robo-advisors work?  The reliability of robo-advisors is as good as the creator, person, or team that is managing the program.  Just as in the quality of investment advice that you obtain from real people depends upon the individual you are entrusting.  According to a study done by pollster Gallup, only 5% of U.S. investors use robo-advisors and an astounding 80% state that “they are not likely at all to use a robo-advisor” (Gallup, Inc.,2016).

flashing-red-lightIf I could post a big flashing red warning light on the page, this would be the place to put it.  The internet is an option that most people will turn to for financial advice however we should all be wary of internet financial advice because of the prevalence of scams.  It takes no financial experience, education or certification to start a website.  That is reason enough to be cautious. You may have found this article by surfing the internet for financial advice.  How do you know you can trust it or me?  The fact is you do not.  Ask yourself, does the source sound rational and can you research the advice?

When judging the quality or usefulness of any financial advice there is a reliable standard.  If a circumstance sounds too good to be true, it probably is.  People get caught up in scams because they find an answer to a problem or concern that they have and the solution they find seems to fit just right.  We all have some degrees of trust in us.  We could not live daily without some trust.  We believe a total stranger when we ask them the time of day.  Trust gets a little more away from personal control when we ask for information that will impact part of our life.  The education system teaches students to trust one another in projects.  Everyone’s grade in a group project depends on each other.  We trust colleagues at work when we share responsibilities.  However, even in these examples, you can see there is room for lapses in confidence.  As we broaden the circle of trust to encompass other aspects of our lives such as finance, reasons to mistrust widens.  There are people in our world that are putting their personal interest ahead of your best interest.  The cold hard fact is that there are people in our world that set out to deceive others.  How can you be sure that you are not getting advice for your money from a con-artist?

In her book, The Confidence Game, Maria Konnikova tells the fascinating story of Dr. Joseph Cyr, a surgeon in the Royal Canadian Navy (Konnikova, 2016).  Dr. Cyr was outstanding, he did surgery in the toughest conditions at sea, with little or no help.  The only problem was the Dr. Cyr was not a doctor at all.  He was Ferdinand Waldo Demar, a young man that had not even graduated from high school.  Konnikova’s captivating book looks at the reason why people fall for things that are not real.  She describes the people that commit these charades like this, “Their genius lies in figuring out what, precisely, it is we want, and how they can present themselves as the perfect vehicle for delivering on that desire” (Konnikova, 2016).  The thing we can learn from Konnikova’s insight is that when we are looking to find financial advice, be careful that the solution has not been created to prey on our needs.  If it is too good to be true, it probably is not true at all.

How do you make sure that you are getting sound financial advice?  Over the years I have worked for large firms and even though the firms had billions and billions of dollars under management clients did not rely as much upon the credibility of the institution as much as they did with the person that was in front of them.  Investment firms know this and try desperately to tie their employees to their company.  For the average everyday person or the CEO of the multi-billion-dollar corporation, knowing if you can trust the financial advice of your advisor boils down to work experience, life experiences, references, education, and last but not least common sense.

As people begin their careers, education is paramount.  As the years go by the value of classroom teaching is replaced with the work experiences encountered. Do not take me wrong, education is valuable, especially financial education.  My point is that life experiences have a significant impact on a person’s abilities.  If you are presented with financial recommendations, don’t be shy about asking for references of the advisor’s work.  Don’t be put off if there are not a lot of Yelp, Google or Angie’s List reviews. How some financial advisors interact online is regulated either by the government or their self-regulatory organizations making online research more difficult. If the circumstance warrants, ask for a referral.  Understand this too.  If you are asking for advice on a $35 per month life insurance policy, you probably are not going to get the phone numbers of the advisor’s top ten clients.  Samples of the advisor’s work can also serve as a good standard for trust.  I have mentioned it a several times, and it is worth saying again, the common sense factor is crucial.  If the service or results of services sound too good to be true they probably are not real.  Follow these guidelines, and it will help you in finding good financial advice.


Department of Labor. (2016). Conflict of interest rule—retirement investment advice (Volume 81, Number 68). Retrieved from National Archives and Records Administration website:

Gallup, Inc. (2016). Robo-advice still a novelty for U.S. investors. Retrieved from Gallup Poll website:

Konnikova, M. (2016). The confidence game: why we fall for it … every time. New York, NY: Penguin Random House.


Van Richards is the owner of and he can be contacted at or on twitter @VanRichards

Securing the American Dream

Steven and Ngoc Anh Tang left Vietnam to pursue the American dream: They wanted their children, Jimmy and Nancy, to have a better life. The elder Tangs were responsible and honorable parents.  They knew they wanted to secure a future for their children. However, they needed guidance to assure their dreams would come true.  With the direction of an experienced insurance professional, they were able to make plans for their future and make plans for the welfare of their children if the worst happened.  The couple purchased permanent life insurance for both Steven, who worked for an hourly wage, and for Ngoc Anh, who was mainly a stay-at-home mom.

It was on a trip with her mom and sister that Ngoc Anh was involved in a car accident. Her life-threatening injuries meant she was in and out of the hospital, but because her policy had a disability waiver of premium, she no longer had to pay for the policy. However, Ngoc Anh never fully recovered, and later died of a stroke. Again, her life insurance policy came through. Their insurance professional had advised the Tangs to get an accidental death rider, and because Ngoc Anh’s heart condition was a result of the accident, the family was entitled to double the original amount of the policy.

Now that he was a single father, Mr. Tang’s insurance professional encouraged him to get additional life insurance to protect his children, which he did. Unfortunately, tragedy struck just three years after his wife had passed away. Mr. Tang learned he had liver cancer and died soon after his diagnosis. Nancy, a senior in high school, and Jimmy, who had graduated from college, were now on their own.

Thankfully, the Tang’s insurance professional and the money from the life insurance were there to shepherd the children on their way. Nancy is now attending college, and the siblings have bought a house near campus so Jimmy can help his sister as they start a new chapter in their lives. They credit life insurance for that opportunity. “It’s vital for parents to have life insurance,” says Jimmy. “It means if you do die, your loved ones can go on without worrying about money while they get back on their feet.”

To see the Tang family’s story visit my webpage at:

Love Insurance

If you have a business with a partner and/or you are a physically disabled business person, you can learn something from Christy and Daryel Dunaway.  Their story is one of love, commitment, and understanding.  Their love story began as a friendship and stayed that way for more than a decade until, as Christy says, “I understood that love was about having someone who loves you as you are—heart and soul.”

Daryel also knew at a deep level that he needed to protect his love for Christy on a financial level, as well as an emotional one. He and his friend John had started a business together, Handicapable Vans, which adapts vehicles for people with disabilities. It is something both men knew about from firsthand experience. Daryel had become paralyzed from the chest down in a diving accident at 15; John was a quadriplegic as well.

The partners arranged legally for the business to pass to the other if one were to die with a buy-sell agreement.  However, Daryel knew he also needed to ensure his wife would be taken care of financially. You might not believe insurance is available for a quadriplegic yet with the help of an experienced insurance professional, Daryel got the life insurance he needed and made sure he increased it as his business grew.

It was fortunate that both men were so adamant about getting—and increasing—that coverage. Daryel faced his life with joy and optimism, despite his physical limitations, but it was eventually his body’s inability to shake off a series of infections that took his life at 57.

Christy was overwhelmed with grief in the wake of his death. She credits Daryel’s life insurance with giving her time to grieve and then being able to move on with her life. “It meant I didn’t have to sell our home, which we had adapted to meet our needs,” says Christy. Also, she has opened her consulting firm, which had been a joint goal for the couple. “Life insurance has allowed me to take action on our dream,” she says.

To see Christy’s story visit my website at :–love-insurance-1.html


ADHD and Life Insurance

Can ADHD sufferers get life insurance?

The perception that ADHD usually conjures up is the picture of a frazzled person who is fidgety and has a lack of concentration. It is a condition that is often misunderstood, and even some make jokes. Everyone becomes anxious at some point. Everyone forgets something now and then. Just because a person becomes anxious or forgets something does not mean they have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. It is important that life insurance companies understand this too. Incorrect labeling of mental health conditions by life insurance companies due to company protocol or misinterpretation of medical records can cause applicants to be charged more for life insurance coverage. Medical records are usually brief. If a doctor states that a patient appeared to be giddy, what does that mean? Does the patient have anxiety, depression, ADHD or does it mean something else? The person reviewing the information for a life insurance company is called an underwriter. How is an underwriter to interpret that statement? My doctor wrote that I was giddy in my file, and I have none of those conditions. However, an underwriter may take that to mean that I have a mood disorder.

When applying for life insurance, a history of ADHD can be interpreted in several ways. That is why it is important that you have an experienced advocate. In most instances an experienced life insurance agent is your best advocate. When the medical conditions are complicated, and the life insurance amounts are large, a life insurance medicine doctor is helpful in clarifying conditions and communicating risk levels to the life insurance company. A life insurance agent should be able to help identify if a physician consultant would benefit your life insurance application.

How to find the right company.

Mislabeling mental health conditions can occur because some life insurance companies lump mental health disorders like ADHD, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety all together and classify them as mood disorders. Insurers that follow this practice will often charge those they classify with mood disorders higher rates or decline to offer them coverage. However, not all life insurance companies follow this strategy. Some life insurers methodically categorize different mental health disorders and charge people rates based on that categorization. Most of the time, these insurers offer life insurance to those with mild to moderate mental health disorders at lower rates than companies that generalize many mental health conditions together.

Insurers that definitively categorize mental health disorders are more likely to consider treatment outcomes rather than protocol when it comes to determining the cost of life insurance. A typical example is an adult with ADHD that has received treatment and medication since childhood. Even though they are in excellent health, they may be charged higher rates because they are treating their ADHD with a single or multiple drugs. Some insurance companies have strict protocols for offering coverage. Their rating methods may call for decreasing their rating by one level for any mental health related medication and declining a person for life insurance if they take two medications.   The key to giving yourself the best chance of being offered the lowest cost life insurance coverage is to avoid life insurance companies that generalize mental health conditions. Seek those insurers that are more specific about how they offer coverage to those with ADHD and other mental health disorders. To find the best life insurance at the most competitive rates it is important for those with ADHD to work with a life insurance agent that has an understanding of which life insurance companies categorize mental health conditions rather than generalize.

How to get the best rates.

Once you have found a life insurance provider that will consider mental health disorders on a categorical basis the next step to getting the best rates is presenting your application. When someone applies to a life insurance company for coverage, the company considers medical history, lifestyle, and habits to determine if that person is an acceptable risk.   How the facts surrounding a person’s ADHD are presented to the life insurance company can significantly affect the life insurance policy that is offered. A complete description of a person’s ADHD plus a chronological representation of how the condition has been treated can help in getting a lower cost. Communicating how you have been managing your ADHD will help show that your condition is under control, and it does not inhibit your day-to-day life.

NEJM CT Scan 1990

It may be helpful to take a moment and give a basic overview of how ADHD is viewed. The aspect of ADHD that is commonly overlooked is a person with ADHD has different biological brain functions. The accompanying image shows the difference between a person with ADHD and without. The condition can be treated with therapy, medication or both. This is a condition that does not go away over a person’s lifetime, so presenting how it is managed will help show that it does not make you a higher life insurance risk. The image on the left shows “white, red, and orange [which] indicate areas of relatively high glucose metabolism, whereas [on the right] blue, green, and purple indicate areas of lower glucose metabolism” (NEJM, 1990).   Glucose was given to the people tested immediately following skill test. The person on the left shows a higher degree of brain chemical activity immediately following sessions where they were asked to complete a task that was to challenge their thinking skills.

From a life insurance company’s perspective, they are not as concerned about why there are biological differences in brain function as they are concerned about the effect it has on a person’s life expectancy. Non-controlled ADHD usually accompanies other life risk conditions or activities. Individuals with non-controlled ADHD are more liable to have depression, alcoholism and drug abuse (Coltar, 2003).  Controlled ADHD is a non-life event. In the best of controlled situations and the absence of other complications, some life insurance companies will offer their lowest rates.

How to apply.

If you know you have ADHD; there are two ways you can apply for life insurance. The process begins with a discussion of your situation with an experienced life insurance agent. Ask what their experience has been with life insurance companies that best work with applicants that have ADHD. Then go with their recommendation of a life insurance company. If your medical situation is not too complicated, this may be the best approach. A critical service that your life insurance agent should include as part of submitting your life insurance application is a cover letter to the underwriter. The cover letter details and clarifies any information that may be pertinent to your application. If your medical situation appears to be complicated, you may have a better chance of getting the best policy at the lowest cost by submitting an informal inquiry.

An informal inquiry is the best way to avoid being declined for life insurance coverage. An informal inquiry is where we take all of your health history information and anonymously submit that to several life insurance companies. Without disclosing who you are the life insurance companies will look at your circumstance and tell us if they are willing to consider a person with your health history. Also, they will say what they expect the cost will be. You can take advantage of the best offer that is made. This process gets you the best life insurance policy at the best possible price without having to bounce between life insurance companies. It is also the best way to avoid a denial for ADHD. Could you still be denied? Yes. This is not a foolproof process. However, if we can completely answer all of the questions up front and there are no unexpected circumstances, it is your best chance. It is the best process because you are getting the benefit of shopping many different life insurance companies at the same time.

For most people the following step will not apply. For those special cases where a life insurance applicant has a complicated medical history, and they are applying for large amounts of life insurance, it is prudent to engage the services of a life insurance medicine doctor to review the medical history and clarify any potential problems. Consider this example. I am applying for a ten-million-dollar life insurance policy, and the consultant perceives that I could be rated as having anxiety because the doctor stated that I was giddy. The consultant would then communicate with my doctor and ask him to add a note to my file clarifying his statement and diagnosis. The clarification of the diagnosis could make a significant difference in the cost of a life insurance policy.

No matter what size of life insurance policy you are considering, if you have health concerns, you will need guidance in the application process. I have been helping customers find life insurance coverage to protect their families for twenty-eight years. I’d be honored to begin helping you. The best way to start is by completing the quote request form on our website, or you can call, email or text too.

Thank you,

Van Richards


Usually I recommend term life insurance and when you request a quote you will get the cost from several highly rated term life insurance companies. After reviewing your information, I can guide you toward the option that will give you the best opportunity to obtain low cost term life insurance.

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Cotlar, M. J. (2003). Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (adhd)— life insurance implications. Journal of Insurance Medicine, 51-56. Retrieved from

New England Journal of Medicine. (1990, November 15). Cerebral glucose metabolism processing [CT Scan]. Retrieved from

Sleep Disorders and Life Insurance

I stopped breathing over 100 times during my first sleep study. My general physician was the one who suggested a sleep study. He said it might offer some solutions to my health problems. My blood pressure was difficult to control, I was constantly tired and I snored. I tried to control my hypertension with diet and medication but that had mixed results. I found that having a sleep study was a turning point in my health.

You may find that controlling your health by improving your sleep will not only give you a renewed sense of living, but it will also get you better life insurance rates. If you are looking for life insurance and have sleep disorders, you should understand that life insurance companies want to give better rates to people who are trying to control their health.   If you are still struggling to get an upper hand on your sleep problems, there is hope for getting life insurance at a reasonable cost.

Here are four points that may lead you to better health and better life insurance rates.

  1. Sleep apnea may be the sleep problem that most people are familiar with, however sleep disorders encompass a wide variety of conditions such as “hypertension, cognitive impairment[..]restless legs syndrome [..] depression, substance abuse, and impaired waking function [..] narcolepsy [..] increased risk of Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions[..] increased risk of cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, obesity, diabetes, gastrointestinal disease, motor vehicle crashes, and difficulty adhering to school and work schedules” (NIH 2011).
  2. I have sleep apnea and have been using a CPAP machine every night for the past eight years. It has made a profound difference in the way I feel. When I was trying to find a solution to my sleep problems here a few things that I learned:
    • Talk to your doctor. He or she will be the best one to help you get started. Reading blogs like mine is great, but there is no substitute for your own doctor.
    • Ask your doctor if he or she can recommend a sleep clinic. Do not pick a sleep clinic because it’s the cheapest. I made that mistake. I thought I could find a cheap clinic close to my home. It was horrible, it was like a cheap motel. The rooms were very small, the walls were paper thin so you could hear everything, including other people snoring and the technicians talking. And there was one bathroom for the entire clinic. After the first night, they said I’d have to come back for a second night at a significantly higher price for more testing. Yea no, I don’t think so. So I ended up going with my doctor’s recommendation.
    • The second clinic was so much better. It had individual rooms that were like a nice hotel. Each room had its own bathroom. I found that selecting a sleep clinic that had accreditation through the American Academy of Sleep Medicine made a big difference.
    • Check to see if the sleep clinic you are considering is in your health insurance network, it will make a big difference in cost. Ask if they offer patient education, follow-ups as well as monitoring and will they allow you to visit their clinic.
  3. Life insurance companies want the same thing that you do. You want low rates, they want to give you low rates, yes they do! If you’re healthy, you have less chance of dying. If you’re healthy you get lower rates. Solving your sleep problems will help you improve your health.
  4. Not all life insurance companies are the same. Some life insurance companies have strict guidelines and some of them are more open to considering clients with a sleep disorder. If you use my services to find life insurance, let me know that you have a sleep disorder in the beginning and I will guide you to life insurance companies that are open to considering your condition, not all of them do. I cannot stress enough how important this is. If you even talked to your doctor about sleep problems, lets discuss this issue.

Sleep disorders can be a significant problem in applying for life insurance, but don’t let that stop you. Remember you are buying life insurance to protect your family. If you are worried about qualifying for life insurance, there are three options to consider

  1. Apply to the best sleep disorder friendly life insurance company we can find.
  2. Submit an informal inquiry.   This is where we gather your health information and informally submit it to several life insurance carriers on your behalf anonymously.
  3. Accept a guaranteed issue life insurance policy. It will be more expensive; however, you may want to avoid the depth of disclosure necessary with a life insurance company that wants more medical information.

The reason you want life insurance is to protect your family in the event that you are not alive to provide for them. When you start to look at what is involved in applying for a life insurance policy, especially when you have a sleep disorder, you can lose sight of why you are doing this. If you do not want to go through this process alone and you want someone who understands the system, I’d be honored to help you. The first step is completing the term life insurance quote request information on my website at

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog,

Van Richards


National Institutes of Health. (2011). 2011 nhi sleep disorders research plan (NIH Publication No. 11-7820). Retrieved from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website:

PruebasBMA (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Women are Just as Important as Men.

Since the 1900’s International Women’s Day has been observed to celebrate social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. Gender equality is the ultimate goal. Women have a great responsibility in society and it is important to recognize their contributions to the family and the workplace. Even though women take on equal financial responsibility society, is slow to catch up by accounting for the financial value of women. More women than men have no life insurance at all to cover their financial obligations.


For Married Women

The majority of today’s families depend on two incomes to make ends meet, yet working wives are less likely than husbands to carry life insurance coverage[1]. In a family situation, if a woman died suddenly it is unlikely that the family could maintain their standard of living on the spouse’s income alone. Life insurance makes sure that the security of the family remains stable.

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For Single Mothers

A single mother is the primary caregiver, breadwinner, and so much more. Yet more than one in three single mothers have no life insurance whatsoever, and many with coverage say they need more[2]. With so much responsibility resting on their shoulders, single parents need to make doubly sure that they have enough life insurance to safeguard their children’s financial future.


For Stay-at-Home Mothers

Just because a woman that is a stay-at-home mom does not earn a salary does not mean they do not make a financial contribution to their family. Child care, cleaning, cooking and household management are all important tasks. The replacement value of which is often severely underestimated. In this situation could the husband afford to pay someone for these services, or take over these obligations and still work full time? Life insurance provides financial parity to a family.

The good news for women is that life insurance is generally cheaper for women than for men. Educating society on the value that women bring to their family will help in understanding the importance of protecting their family in the event that they are not there to provide for them.

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[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Characteristics of Families, 2010

[2] LlMRA, Flying Solo Single Mothers Protecting Their Families, 2011

How much of a student loan is too much?

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—   College is an expensive challenge and many parents must share the expense with their child. Choosing a major is more important now than ever. If a college graduate goes into a career that has an annual income that is less than the total amount of their student loan, the loan will be an extreme burden on their life for years. A $45,000 income job with a $50,000 student loan is a big problem. Paying back a $50,000 loan at 6% over ten years is about $600 per month.   The Institute for College Access & Success provides a comprehensive state-by-state list of college students’ average debt. The average public college debt per student in Texas is $26,250 (TICAS, 2014). The TICAS website does not list many of the private college’s average student debt, and that is probably because private colleges are so expensive.   U.S. News & World Report list private colleges with the highest per student debt close to or above $50,000 at graduation (Snider, 2015 Feb. 17).

Disability and life insurance are crucial for parents and college graduates that are responsible for loans. If parents have taken on or co-signed student loan debt, it is important to consider increasing their insurance.   A two-parent family, going into retirement with one or more student’s loan debt can be a burden in the event of the death or disability of a spouse. If the new college graduate has taken on student loan debt, it is important for them to consider the burden it could place on their family in the event of their death. It is difficult for a 20-some-year-old to worry about life insurance. None-the-less, life insurance is cheap at that age. What should be more of a concern is not being able to work. Being disabled and not being able to pay student loan payments is a higher possibility than dying (SSA, 2011). A college graduate in their 20’s has a 1-in-4 chance of being disabled (SSA, Pub. 05-10570). Permanent disability is possible; however consider that having two broken legs from a snowboarding accident is a disability too. Not just any disability insurance will suffice for a college graduate trying to protect their income. The definition of disability is essential. Disability insurance that will pay if the graduate cannot perform the substantial duties of the job that they have the education and training to perform is critical. A disability insurance policy with the same definition of disability as Social Security would not be a wise choice (SSA, Pub. 64-030). Click below to

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Snider, S. (2015, February 17). 10 colleges that leave graduates with the most student loan debt. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved from

Social Security Administration. (2011). Actuarial life table. Retrieved from

Social Security Administration. (2015). The facts about social security’s disability program (05-10570). Retrieved from

Social Security Administration. (2015). 2015 red book (64-030). Retrieved from

The Institute For College Access and Success. (2014). State by state data. Retrieved from

Caring for your retirement and your family

Consumers who have the foresight to plan for the future can help their plans for retirement as well as reduce potential financial burdens on their family by using life insurance.   Two out of three Americans are concerned about having enough money for retirement and more than one out of three are concerned about burdening their dependents if they die prematurely (Durham).  Life insurance can connect retirement plans and the concerns of providing for one’s family.

Family birth certificates, marriage certificate, deeds of ownership, paychecks and retirement accounts have one thing in common: they represent something that most people care about. There is one class of asset that can connect all of them, life insurance.  It provides for your spouse and children as well as paying off financial obligations such as your home mortgage, and it can offer a paycheck at retirement in the right circumstances.

In general there are two types of life insurance, term and permanent.  Term insurance only pays if you die.  It is purchased for one year or more.  If purchased on a year to year basis, the price will increase year by year.  Life insurance that is purchased for a particular period, such as ten-years, may be more expensive than the yearly term; however its cost remains level for the ten-year term of the policy.  Term policies do not accumulate any cash value.

In brief, permanent policies allow consumers to build money year by year until the death benefit equals the cash value of the policy.  When the cash value equals the death benefit, it is called endowing.  In many instances but not all, over a period of years the cost of life insurance is cheaper in a permanent life insurance policy.  Why then does not everyone buy permanent life insurance if it is cheaper in the long run?  The answer is cash flow.  Term life insurance policies are less expensive in the beginning years and become more expensive in years beyond their fixed term.  For those who have the foresight and the cash flow, permanent life insurance can add money to retirement savings if the owner lives in retirement years.

A quick internet search of how to find the best life insurance policy quickly leads to buying the cheapest term life insurance and that may be the best option for some.  However, all of the attention to a one-size-fits-all product has led a large number of consumers to be skeptical.  Thirty-eight percent of people have not purchased life insurance or more of it because they are unsure of how much or what type to buy (Durham).  Life insurance serves many purposes, and several top corporations offer life insurance policies as a part of employees’ compensation.  Last year General Electric paid $314,511 for a $22 million dollar life insurance policy on its CEO, Jeffery Immelt (Melin)

Permanent life insurance (except for variable life insurance) can serve as a long term conservative asset class with significant tax benefits.  Yet the most significant benefit of all life insurance is the tax free death benefit. Over the past 27 years, I have delivered six checks for life insurance death benefits. These were real everyday people: a police officer, a nurse, a flooring store owner, a heating & air conditioning business owner, a manufacturing business owner and my father-in-law. Fifty percent were term insurance, and fifty percent were permanent life insurance. The real key was that even though they did not know what the future would hold, they knew their family would need help without them. A well-planned life insurance policy can pay in the event that the owner dies or be a part of the owners’ retirement.

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Melin, Anders. “GE’s Death Perk for Immelt Is a $22 Million Life Insurance Benefit.” Bloomberg, 20 Aug. 2015. Web. 8 Sept. 2015.

Durham, Ashley. Insurance Barometer Study, Life Happens & LIMRA, 2015., 8 Sept. 2015

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