Tuesday Tips – March 3rd, 2015


North American Rate Decrease
North American has announced rate decreases affecting several of their fixed index annuities. The new rates will take effect April 1st. Call today for an update rate sheet and additional product information.

Athene Rate Decrease
Athene is reducing rates on several of their annuity products effective March 9th. Call today for an update rate sheet.

Sales Opportunity

Leveraged Cash Flows
Life insurance is often used for key man, deferred compensation, buy sell, etc. arrangements. While most of these types of plans are self funded either from the employee or employer there exists an additional option. Commercially financing these types of arrangements can create significant leverage as well as preserve the tax free status of future distributions out of the insurance plan. In addition to this these types of structures can be designed to be self collateralizing. Give us a call today to discuss.

Industry News

Robert Benmosche Passing
Robert Benmosche recently passed away after a long battle with lung cancer. Mr. Benmosche was appointed CEO of AIG in 2009 and led the company through financial crisis that followed to include paying back the 182.3 billion taxpayer bailout.

Hot Rates

Forethought TrustGuard Gold
Forethought has introduced an interesting Medicaid friendly life insurance product. This whole life product writes to age 99 and is a simplified issue contract designed for estate and Medicaid planning. Call for details.

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Marketing Corner – February 27th, 2015

The Bucket

Universal Life insurance can be a great tool for many consumers. But, like other financial products, the way UL works can be difficult to succinctly explain. For some consumers this can be the ultimate barrier that inhibits understanding of the value of this particular product. Which, for the agent, can mean the loss of a sale.

This is where the following diagram comes in. The “bucket” is a great yellow-pad concept that explains the core elements of universal life insurance. The basic idea of the “bucket” may already be familiar to many of you, possibly from other variations, such as the “retirement bucket” or the “annuity bucket.”


In our Universal Life Policy bucket, we have two main faucets: Cash contributions and compound interest. The cash contributions represent a larger influx of water (i.e. money, cash value) into the bucket, as indicated by a large single water drop. The compound interest faucet dribbles at a smaller, but steadier, rate than the cash contributions and goes towards raising the level of the death benefit and accumulated cash value.

Our bucket is not entirety free of leakage however. At the bottom, there is a tiny spigot through which some of water will escape. This spigot represents the mortality and expense charges of the universal life policy. The amount of water (again, money, or accumulated cash value) that exits through this spigot is small relative to the rest of the bucket, but is still important to consider and understand. Provided, however, there is enough regular cash contribution and compound interest, the minimum death benefit will keep rising and easily overcome these policy charges.

The overall idea this illustration conveys: keep your bucket full and your death benefit rising.

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Tuesday Tips – February 24th, 2015


American Equity Rate Decrease
American Equity has announced a rate decrease that will take effect March 3, 2015. Several of the products are affected and there are some substantial decreases. Call today for more details.

QLAC status is now available with Lincoln National’s deferred income annuity. Call today for state availability and rates.

Sales Opportunity

Buy Sell Arrangements
Many advisors are aware of buy sell arrangements and the ins and outs of this strategy. Typically most buy sells incorporate term insurance for the benefit but, permanent cash value life insurance can be a great product to use for these arrangements. Not only is there a death benefit a pool of cash is created that can be used for deferred income or liquidity purposes. Attached is a sales flyer discussing this concept.

Industry News

Public Pensions
The estimated shortfall in public pensions is estimated to be $4 trillion or more. While there are a number of reasons for this such as not setting enough money aside, employee contributions not high enough, and low investment returns. There doesn’t seem to be a clear cut solution to the issue that everyone can agree on.

Hot Rates

Genworth Asset Builder II
Genworth has launched its new indexed universal life contract. The product is designed for max accumulation with annual point to point caps as high as 18%. Call today for state availability and details.

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Marketing Corner- February 19th, 2015

Marketing Corner – February 19th, 2015

Go Big and Go Small: Periodization With Your Marketing

Name one goal for your business. Your biggest goal. What do you hope to achieve this year? The early months of the calendar is a time when many advisors and agents think about the successes and failures of the previous year and what they can do to make a big splash before the new calendar turns over.

Maybe you want to increase your AUM ten-fold. Maybe you want to see a fifty-percent revenue growth. Maybe you want to move to a bigger office. Maybe you want be more recognized in your field. Whatever it is, you undoubtedly have that one big, overarching goal for the year. While it can be daunting to think about the how, it’s easy to imagine the big win, the final objective that would put a nice bow on your practice come next Christmas.

It is good to have an ultimate goal as part of your annual plan. Where many businesses struggle is that either the big goal is too big to practically accomplish or the big goal creates tunnel vision that causes them to ignore other small opportunities and everyday needs. Let’s also not forget day-to-day operation tasks and unforeseen events that will affect any business, any person really, throughout the course of the year.

This is where the strategy of periodization can come in to help. The basic idea of periodization is probably already familiar to you. In essence it’s breaking down a big goal into a spread of smaller goals and training objectives. The concept has roots in sports training, especially for athletes that compete professionally. Adapted for business the concept is very similar and can be applied in several ways.

So let’s say your overall goal is to make $100,000 for the year. Not an impossible goal and when you’re identifying your key objective for the year, why not dream big. Now $100,000 is still a pretty significant chunk of money and if making that is your ultimate goal, you only have one opportunity for victory—that is, you either make that amount or you don’t. But what is $100,000 broken down throughout they year? It’s a little over $8,300 a month, which is a more palatable and achievable number, even if it has to be repeated over twelve months to reach that ultimate goal. By compartmentalizing the task, you give yourself twelve opportunities for victory instead of one.

The other reason periodization is a good approach to accomplishing an overarching annual plan is that it gives you better opportunities for metrics and progress tracking. This helps you understand why you may not be achieving the bigger goal—maybe you had to expend resources on a busted marketing campaign, maybe you lost one of your bigger clients, etc. Periodization allows you to figure out what is directly and indirectly impeding (or boosting) your progress. To go big, go small.

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Tuesday Tips – February 18th, 2015


American Equity Adds New Indices
American Equity has announced the addition of 3 new indexes for inforce Advantage Gold, Traditions Gold, Foundation Gold, and Benefit Gold fixed index annuities. The new indexes include an S&P performance triggered account, S&P volatility control index, and bond yield index. Call today for additional details.

Legacy Adds Death Benefit Option
Legacy has announced an additional death benefit option its Spectramark fixed index annuity. Now in addition to a lump sum a beneficiary can elect to take payments over 5 or 10 years for an increased amount. This change goes into affect February 27, 2015. Call today for additional details.

Sales Opportunity

Marketing Corner
If you haven’t yet I encourage you take a look at our Marketing Corner. Each week we add useful sales presentations as well as marketing ideas. If you have topics you are interested in let us know.

Industry News

Genworth Financials
Genworth has lost almost 44% of its value due to a reserve shortfall in November. It is estimated that the cost will be around $495mm.

Hot Rates

Athene Benefit 10
This competitive fixed index annuity offers an 8% rollup rate, 50% payout increase when unable to perform 2 of 6 adl’s. In addition to this it offers competitive caps and an enhanced benefit rider that includes death, confinement, and terminal illness.

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Marketing Corner – February 13th, 2015

Crossing the Bridge

When it comes to retirement planning, there are many aspects and strategies to consider. These complexities can overwhelm a prospect and turn them away from the very salient points you are making about the critical importance of retirement and financial planning. This is where a good visual metaphor comes into play.

The Bridge is a simple and useful analogy in retirement planning and it can be adapted to illustrate key retirement ideas for those currently in, or nearing, retirement (Boomers) and those some ways off (young professionals). The bridge can be used to describe where a prospect is right now and what challenges may await them, or it can be used to demonstrate why they need to have a good financial foundation.


Now we are not just talking about any bridge—this is a bridge with trusses and cables. On a bridge this size, trusses are used to give the road stability over it’s span. In our retirement planning model, these trusses represent risk diversification; safe money v. risk. Generally financial plans that go the distance will involve some kind of necessary risk and upside potential, offset by safe money financial structures. These support the road of the bridge from below, and provide a base of safety.


Supporting the bridge topside are the cables and pillars. On a real bridge these are designed to the keep the road and the rest of the structure on point during times of natural volatility—high winds, tremors, and yes, even earthquakes. In our retirement model, these represent tax diversification strategies (taxable and non-taxable retirement programs). Much like high winds and earthquakes are uncontrollable, so too is the tax environment, which is subject to constant change.


What then makes a strong bridge that safety spans over a great distance and allows it’s user to reach the goal of sustainable retirement?

Strong, safe programs with diversified risk and a level of flexibility to weather changes. Otherwise the bridge will go nowhere.

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Tuesday Tips – February 10th, 2015


Transamerica Suspends Gul Products
Effective last Wednesday Transamerica has suspended their Transace GUL and Transace SUL. In addition to this they have cancelled all pending policies with the exception of policies out for delivery. If you have any cases that were pending give us a call to discuss other solutions.

John Hancock and Term Insurance
John Hancock has traditionally been know as a UL and SUL company but has recently decided to get back into the term marketplace. Not only is the product competitively priced but it uses the same underwriting standards that are used on their permanent products. So for clients that do have some health issues there is a lot more flexibility to get the rates you need to place the case.

Sales Opportunity

Deferred Income Annuities
The creation of qualified longevity annuity contracts has caused the sale of deferred income annuities to spike to over 2.5B last year. This product can be a great solution for clients concerned about rmd’s and income in retirement. Available for download is a great pdf discussing premium limits, income options, source of funds, and payment specifications.

Industry News

Union Retiree Health Benefits
It has typically been assumed that health care benefits for pre retirees under a collective bargaining agreement are vested at the date an employee retires. A recent supreme court ruling had added a wrinkle to this in that this is only the case if the agreement specifically states that the benefits are vested. This could open the door for employers to change post retirement benefits.

Hot Rates

American Equity Choice Series
American Equity has rolled out a new series of fixed index annuities. The series is designed around giving the client more options. There are 6, 8, and 10 year surrender periods available along with competitive caps and multiple income rider options. Call today for state availability and additional details.

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Marketing Corner – February 6th, 2015

Sequence of Contacts and Off Holiday Marketing

Christmas. Done. New Year’s. Over. We are through the first month of 2015 and time is only moving faster. If you are like us, you are back in the swing of things, back in crunch mode, drumming up new business and building on your client base.

Those end-of-the-year holidays are good times to reap on your year’s efforts and place big marketing pushes. With Christmas and New Year’s seeming like ages ago and the rest of your year to think about, you may feel like you are starting over fresh. New numbers to hit. New objectives. New budgets. New challenges. No big holidays.

This is where using off holidays in your marketing and prospecting structure can help.

What are off-holidays?

Holidays are tied to commerce and vice versa. Christmas, Thanksgiving, and even New Year’s, are great times of the year for many industries. These are high-profile holidays that have a lot of build up to them and many industries expend much of their marketing effort around this time of the year. Off holidays are those that, while still important and culturally relevant, don’t see the same kind of attention and commerce. Holidays such as:

  •             President’s Day
  •             St. Patrick’s Day
  •             Easter
  •             Mother’s/ Father’s Day
  •             Memorial Day
  •             Grandparent’s Day
  •             Independence Day
  •             Labor Day

What does this mean for the financial services industry?

These off-holidays give you an excuse to make contact. We know that the average consumer has to be “touched” 5-12 times before they buy, so these off holidays give you reason and context to make serial contact with consumers. While you might not want to send a client Valentine’s Day card (or maybe you do) you can still use the context of this holiday when reaching out to prospects or leads. Same thing goes for Memorial Day or the Fourth of July and so forth.

Off holiday marketing is not an especially radical concept. Retail stores and car companies have turned these lower profile holidays into monthly boosts and promotions. What is radical is it’s use in the financial services industry, where this concept has been underutilized. Because the practice is so underutilized by advisors and agents, this actually gives whoever is using these opportunities a huge advantage.

Getting the most out of your off holiday marketing is the same really as any marketing and prospecting efforts—make sure your message is tailored to your target market and the appropriate platforms are used.

For more information about Off Holiday Marketing, check out our latest whitepaper “11 Tips for Effective Off Holiday Marketing.”

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Tuesday Tips – February 4th, 2015


Genworth Discontinuing Genguard UL
Genworth has announced that it will be discontinuing sales of its Genguard UL product. The Genguard UL has been a flagship product for Genworth for a number of years. Effective February 16, 2015 the product will no longer be available.

Equitrust Income Rider Change
Equitrust has announced a change to its income rider that will take affect February 13, 2015. Currently the income rider can roll up for 15 years. The new rollup period will be 10 years. In addition to this there will be an updated income rider disclosure that will need to be used.

Sales Opportunity

Off Holiday Marketing
Off holiday marketing can be a great reason for a contact with a client or prospect. Staying in front of consumers throughout the year not only leads to more potential business but more potential referrals. Download our 11 tips for off holiday marketing.

Industry News

DIA Sales Increasing
According to the LIMRA Secure Retirement Institute, deferred income annuity year-to-date sales ending Sept. 30, 2014 hit the $2 billion mark, an increase of 35% over the year-ago period. The Treasury Department allowing people to shift a portion of their 401(k)s or individual retirement accounts (IRAs) into DIAs to give retirement investors a guaranteed-income option is partially credited with the increase.

Hot Rates

North American MYGA Increase
Effective February 3, 2015 North American has increased the rates on its 5 year myga. The product is now paying 2.70% for deposits of 200k or more and 2.50% for deposits less than 200k. Call today for details and state availability.

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Marketing Corner – January 29th, 2015

Retirement Planning and the 4 Principles of Flight

After a few weeks of offering best practices, this week we wanted to discuss an illustrative yellow-pad concept to convey the basic forces at play in retirement planning. This particular diagram is relatively simple but can do a good job at explaining that retirement planning goes a little beyond accumulation and distribution.

I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the four basic principles of flight. Although there are other complicated factors at play with flying an aircraft, flight can be reduced to four main forces: lift, weight (gravity), thrust, and drag.

plane1 (1)

In this model, lift, created by the variation of air pressure on a plane’s wings, causes the craft to rise. It is countered by weight, which acts to pull the craft downward. Forward movement is provided by sufficient thrust. This is force is countered by drag, a result of friction and air pressure variances. In level flight, all forces are balanced.

We can use this model as way to explain concepts within retirement planning, especially plans with variable products and direct investments.

plane2 (1)

Here we see that thrust has been replaced with savings, drag with taxes and fees, lift with positive returns, and weight with negative returns and inflation. As with flight, we see an opposing relationship between the pairs; as one accumulates and moves forward with a retirement strategy, eventually there will be taxes and fees, even if they are minor compared to the movement and are easily overcome. Positive returns compound on accumulated value (hence lifting the aircraft upward), but this countered with negative returns and inflation that can drop the craft downward.

This is not a hard and fast analogy; you can easily adapt to your client’s scenario. But as a way to touch upon different external forces in retirement planning and conveying the importance of keeping a strategy “aloft,” the flight analogy drives home hard the value of a strong plan. In this diagram, it is not enough to get in the air; retirement plans need to be sufficiently structured to fly further and higher.

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