For more information: email@example.com · 212-426-6265 · PO Box 287415, New York, NY 10128-0024
New life insurance
I will help you make all of the decisions that arise in the process of buying life insurance, including how much coverage to buy, which types of policies to consider, which specific policies to look at, how to apply for coverage and which premium schedule to choose. I’ll also discuss any proposals that you have already obtained.
Existing life insurance
I will review your existing policies to help you avoid the two mistakes of keeping a policy that you should drop or dropping a policy that you should keep. If a policy is not worth keeping as it is, I will look for ways to salvage it before I recommend replacing it.
I will help you decide if an annuity is an appropriate investment for your goals. If so, I will help you make the decisions that arise in the purchase process. If you already own an annuity, I will help you decide if it is worth keeping.
I will help you decide if it makes sense to sell your policy in the secondary market, and I can also help you reduce the high transaction costs.
Q & A
- Why should I hire you?
After hiring me, almost all of my clients wind up doing something different from what their agent proposed. Sometimes they choose a lower-commission version of the agent’s proposal or a more cost-effective premium schedule. Sometimes they decide to keep a policy that an agent recommended replacing. Sometimes they decide to walk away from an agent’s proposal after understanding the risks.
Fee-only insurance advisors get paid to produce informed decisions; agents get paid to produce sales.
Naturally, insurance agents claim that their products meet their clients' needs — as determined by the insurance agents. My impact on clients’ decisions shows that agents do not provide the necessary information to make informed decisions.
- How much do you charge?
For most assignments, I charge an hourly fee, with a maximum number of hours that is agreed upon at the beginning of the assignment. For some assignments, I charge a fixed fee. In rare cases, I charge a contingent fee or a reduced hourly fee with a contingent bonus.
- Do we need to meet in person?
No. I have clients throughout the U.S., and I've never met most of them. E-mail, phone, fax and GoToMeeting work fine for communication.
- Do you do all of the work yourself?
In most cases, yes. For some assignments, I also use a research assistant, an underwriter or a financial economist, or I can turn to my actuary partners at Sutter's Mill Valuation Services.
- How long have you been doing this?
Since 1985. I got into this line of work as a result of my own experience shopping for life insurance. I was asking sensible questions to try to decide between term and whole life, but I wasn't getting helpful answers. After doing more research, I realized that my experience was common. So I undertook the task of translating the life insurance industry's gobbledygook into investment language, and that led to many articles, a 500-page book, a 40-page booklet and many years of interesting work.
- Are you a fiduciary?
I don't use that word, but I don't run away from it, either. I believe that my practices comply with fiduciary standards, and I’m willing to go through any checklist that a client has in mind.
Many years ago I saw an article in The Economist that quoted an attorney saying that he expected to live to see the day when one of the dictionary definitions of "fiduciary" was "thief”. Dealing with a self-described fiduciary will put you in a better legal position if you have to sue the person, but it won't guarantee fair treatment. The best way to protect your interests is to get advice from multiple, independent sources.