Five things to know about Juvenile Life Insurance

Five things to know about Juvenile Life Insurance

Juvenile life insurance, or life insurance on your kids, is scary to talk about. It’s almost taboo, and I get that. I mean, no one wants to feel like they’re going to profit off their child’s death. Also, the idea of your kid dying is jarring to your core, it goes against everything that feels right and good — heck, it goes against lifecycles itself.

We’ve put together a quick 5 point article on life insurance for kids, and we hope you’ll get something from it.

1. It’s not profiting off the death of your child

This is a super common emotion, and the biggest reason, other than talking about the possibility of your child dying, that people don’t bring it up with their spouses.

I say this, though: if you wouldn’t give up every penny of that life insurance policy to bring your child back, it’s not profit.

2. It can protect them in the future

Juvenile life insurance isn’t just for when they’re a baby or toddler. It can give them guaranteed insurability for their life.

“Hey, Eddie, what is ‘guaranteed insurability’?”

So glad you asked. Guaranteed insurability means they will always be able to be insured, at least in a small way. You see, getting a policy when they’re young gives them a baseline level of protection in case they get diagnosed with something that would otherwise exclude them. That could be diabetes, autism, cancer, MS, leukemia or myriad other diseases.

If they get a policy at a month old and diagnosed with autism at 3 months, they have that policy still. If they get insurance at a year and are diagnosed with breast cancer at 17, they still have that insurance.

3. It can be more than temporary

There are whole life, universal life, and term life policies available. Whole and universal will last for their entire life, term will usually expire somewhere between 18-22.

What’s great, though, is term is usually convertible. What that means is that temporary policy can be turned into a permanent policy, whole or universal, at certain points. That conversion usually doesn’t require underwriting, as well.

That means your child’s term policy can usually be turned into a permanent policy even if they were diagnosed with a life-altering disease.

4. It can fund the future

Many people are aware of 529 College Savings Plans.

Fewer people are aware that a well structures whole or indexed universal life policy can sometimes be more advantageous. This is a wholly different article, so we’ll touch on only a couple things here

First, the value of a 529 plan has to be reported on FAFSA, which may alter financial assistance options.

Secondly, you can help fund college and provide life insurance protection, including guaranteed insurability, in one product.

5. Life insurance isn’t just for breadwinners

Just because someone isn’t bringing in income to your family doesn’t mean there would not be a financial impact should they die, and that financial impact goes beyond burial costs.

Think of the time off one would need to grieve. I have a friend who lost her four year old child a number of years ago. She was able to take only two days off work, and never had the time to properly mourn. That’s inhumane.

Five years ago we would see car washes to raise the funds to bury children. Now we see GoFundMe accounts for the same. No one should have to beg to bury their child. Juvenile life insurance can often be had for mere dollars each month.

Wrapping up

Juvenile life insurance is a necessity. It’s affordable. It bring multi-faceted protection to those we promise to care for. We hope this quick article cleared up some myths and brought some clarity to this fantastic tool for your family.

If you have any questions or want a consultation on your options, just reach out to us below.

Independence Day Safety Tips

Independence Day Safety Tips

Here at Bow Tie Financial Group we’ve put together a quick list of simple safety tips to keep your Independence Day safe.

Fireworks

Keep it to sparklers, only. And keep it away from brush and buildings.

If it fires into the air, just don’t do it. We live in a dry desert and there’s an incredible fire hazard. Also, it startles pets.

BBQs

Charcoal grill? Make sure to watch the fire as it burns down while igniting the coals. Don’t squirt lighter fluid on hot or flaming coals.

Why don’t you want to put lighter fluid on hot coals? It vaporizes the fuel and makes it susceptible to flashing up. Eddie fire danced for years and has seen this happen before. It’s dangerous.

Gas? Double check your propane lines and all the connections. If it doesn’t light up quickly, turn the gas off and let it dissipate.

Heat up hot food thoroughly. Safe internal temperatures of meat are:

  • Pork, ground beef: 160°F
  • Chicken, turkey: 165°F
  • Beef (medium-rare): 145°F
  • Beef (well done): 170°F
  • Beef (medium): 160°F
  • Sausage: 165°F

Keep cold food cold, we suggest a tub of ice underneath the container holding the food.

Pets

Your walls should be high enough to keep a panicking dog in your yard. Regardless, make sure your dogs and cats are safe in a room, especially if they’re prone to panicking at loud noises.

Many people are using thunder blankets for their dogs to calm them down.

What’s a thunder blanket? It’s a weighted blanket or coat for critters (or people) that provides comfort.

For those who let their furbabies walk around au naturale at home, keep the collars on them with their tags: just in case.

Driving

There are likely going to be a lot of drunk drivers. Don’t be one of them.

Cabs are always available, as are ridesharing apps like Uber and Lyft. Of course those will be subject to surge pricing later in the evening, if not earlier, so a cab may be more affordable.

If driving during fireworks shows, make sure not to watch them while you should be watching the road. Especially because you can bet on other drivers being less vigilant than you.

One last thing

Remember that Independence Day is a great celebration of the start of our fine country.

Freedom isn’t free. Some pay that price with their efforts and lives, others pay it with their taxes and sweat, some pay for it with dissent and protest.

However you pay for freedom, we here at Bow Tie Financial Group thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We will always have your back to protect what you have worked for and what you cherish.

Life Insurance: Avoid MLMs, purchase from Agents

Life Insurance: Avoid MLMs, purchase from Agents

Life Insurance

It’s not a fun topic to talk about, mostly because the basics of this kind of insurance is not about life, but death. We generally don’t want to talk about our own mortality, much less plan for the eventual inevitable.

Life insurance is a much more difficult topic to think about than it is to actually talk about.

Because of the difficulty of this subject, many companies have started utilizing the multi-level-marketing (MLM) format which emphasizes selling to people you know.

The problem with the MLM format

There are five main downfalls we have found with the multi-level-marketing format of life insurance.

  1. Agent dedication
  2. Marketing efforts
  3. Product direction
  4. Effective servicing
  5. Recruiting model

Before we get into these problems, let’s define a MLM organization and an agent.

Multi-Level-Marketing Organization

Multi-Level-Marketing organizations are companies with a group of offerings that focus on both product sales and recruiting. Rather than being a service and sales oriented company, they focus on selling a business model to prospects. For instance, World Financial Group (WFG), is a multi-level marketing company that offers various life insurance products. Their agents are taught life insurance basics, what anyone needs to learn to get licensed, and then are trained to recruit prospects to join their downline.

The downline is simply people an agent has recruited to work under them. Conversely, the upline is the people who recruited the agent.

Whether MLMs are legitimate businesses is a debate for a different website, as we here at Bow Tie Financial Group are all about insurance, not the nuances of what constitutes an “actual” business.

Most MLMs in the life insurance realm have a partnership with a few companies. WFG, for instance, has special contracts with Transamerica, Pacific Life, and a few others. People Helping People (PHP) has a special contract with AIG and, I’m certain, a few other carriers. Primerica has partnerships with Metlife, Franklin Templeton Investments, Lincoln Financial, and others.

You might be aware of a few other multi-level marketing organizations out there, such as World Ventures, Mary Kay, Amway, Avon, Jamberry, LegalShield, Herbalife, and innumerable others. There’s even a magazine periodical dedicated solely to the development of MLM participants.

All of these promise full-time income potential with part-time effort.

It’s time to dive into why, in our opinion, MLM life insurance companies are best to be avoided as life insurance consultants.

1. Agent Dedication

Agent dedication is critical. What do we mean by agent dedication, though?

We mean an agent whose primary focus in business is insurance. Who is solely focused on learning the policy types, differences between products, how each company operates differently, and wonky insurance nuances most people aren’t even aware of.

What else? Agents should be dedicated to their clients and to their carriers. Obviously their clients need to be properly protected. The carriers all have a demographic they best fit, usually represented by rate. Pairing the two up is really the thrust of the agent’s job.

Dedication also comes into play with longevity. If you have insurance questions about a universal life policy, or what some options are with a whole life policy after a few years of cash accumulation, you’ll need an agent who has been with you since it was the setup.

Speaking of setup, we need to make sure your agent is setting up your cash-value life insurance policy with your best interests, not maximizing their commission. Other than cash value, do you need a child rider, return of premium rider, or maybe a waiver of premium rider on your term policy? Do you even know what they are or what they do? These are all things full time agents know which many MLM agents don’t even have on their radar.

2. Marketing Efforts

This is a complicated part of this writing. Marketing is probably the most critical part of the prospecting and sales process, other than making sure things are written correctly.

MLM companies market to three distinct groups of people, on behalf of two entities. They market to

  • Current representatives on behalf of themselves
  • Current representatives on behalf of their specially contracted carriers
  • Prospective representatives on behalf of themselves
  • Specially contracted carriers on behalf of themselves

Agents have one job: marketing to prospects and clients.

What happens when you have a MLM company bringing agents to their annual convention, where their top one or two carriers talk about how great they are and how, without them, the MLM all these people “work for” would not exist? What happens when agents, who by their licensing, are in a position of authority, are lead to believe they’re superior to people with a job (which is often spoken derogatorily as a ‘j-o-b’) because they’re “owning their own business”?

Agents have, in our opinion, one job: match our clients up with the best program for their needs. The only thing we are superior in is our knowledge of insurance product, not business, life, or how to live.

Multi-level marketing organizations have an insular culture of us-first, largely because of their marketing. This results in an often cultist organization where people first represent the MLM company rather than the interests of their clients. Sure, they touch on the best interests of prospects, it just comes as one of the tools for the organization’s strategy rather than the root of the agent’s process.

So, to answer our first question, what happens when they bring agents to their convention and their agents buy into the idea of independence built upon the back of this organization? People are given options that are limited, at best, and duped into joining an organization that will suck them dry, at worst.

Agents are dedicated to marketing to new prospects to consult with them. That’s the daily marketing effort of the independent agent. We don’t want to recruit or sell a dream of owning your own business — we just want to set you up with an insurance program that benefits you.

3. Product Direction

Product direction is not a term the insurance industry uses. In fact, it’s a term we made up to describe the focus of how agencies position their products. It ties closely in with marketing efforts, though it slightly different.

A life insurance product is intimate. It is often the one barrier between your family’s success and destitution in the event of a death. It can be a cushion that lets you take time off for grieving and therapy after losing a child or loved one. It can save an entire matriarch’s legacy from ruin.

Life insurance is often the one protection between destitution and success

 

The one direction product for full-time life insurance agents is toward clients. It’s finding the blend of term, cash value, and long term care. It’s figuring out whether juvenile life is best set up as a whole life to help fund college, or if it’s more advantageous to set it as part of the parents’ coverage.

Our one goal is to build a client for life, as it were.

Furthermore, product direction is based in experience. A direct agent will have a team of underwriters backing them to answer any questions they have. Many even long-time representatives with MLM organizations are still in a beginner level of knowledge with how to set people up properly.

Agents’ products are focused on client protection, growth, and development. We are experienced and backed by teams with an immense collective knowledge focused on selling the right product, not selling mass quantities of product.

4. Effective Servicing

Servicing applies to more than a missed payment or adjusting how much you put into your indexed life insurance policy. Servicing is anticipating your needs when you call in with a problem. It is a periodic review of what you currently have and suggestions on how to move forward.

Servicing is critical to insurance, especially life insurance. It comes from a desire to maintain good relationships and empower people to maintain knowledge and control over their assets and life. Servicing is one of the most powerful tools in an agent’s set.

Speaking from experience, servicing through a MLM representative’s perspective and from a direct agent’s perspective is wholly different. A representative with a MLM does not own their book of business. What that means is while they have access to it, it can be taken away at any time. A direct agent owns their book and is able to stay on top of any issues faster.

What that means, for you, is one less layer of red tape to cut through on the day before payday when you realize there’s a little more month left than there is check, and you need to adjust something. It means that direct agent is more likely to be able to pull you out of a sticky situation. It means that question you have about your unique underwriting case has fewer steps to get through for a solid answer.

It’s the difference between a policy being issued in days and one being issued in weeks. It’s often a 10% difference in premium, whether $18/month vs $20/month or $270/month vs $300/month. Oftentimes it even comes down to accuracy against speed.

Direct agents are more flexible and empowered to service their — our — clients. And we’re proud of it.

5. Recruiting Model

Most of this comes down to the recruiting model multi-level marketing organizations employ. In order to make recruiting attractive, there are weaknesses built into the representative’s business plans.

One of the largest problems is commission: a MLM representative’s commission is significantly lower and will still only go up to a fraction of a direct agent’s rate unless they can become among the top 5% of recruiters (recruiters is emphasized because amount and quality of sales don’t contribute to their commission).

We don’t work for free, of course, which is why we need commission. Our consultation to help you find, apply, and be accepted for the right insurance plan is our commission. It’s what keeps our lights on, our fridges stocked, and our tanks full. It feeds our pets, raises our children, and gives back to our community. The commission paid out on a policy is the same, whether it goes to a MLM or direct agent. It’s just your direct agent gets a higher commission because they’re empowered to service and work on your policy. The MLM organization absorbs 30-75% of the commission (usually on the higher end) to maintain their organization.

What this pay cut means is instead of being solely an insurance consultant and agent, MLM representatives have to recruit to survive and grow their business. This makes their friends, family, and insurance prospects potential downlines, to participate in these cut-rate commissions and recruiting models to train their own competition masked as teammates.

Direct agents only sell, service, and manage policies. We do not recruit.

In Conclusion

As distasteful as we find the vast majority of multi-level marketing organizations, we don’t wish to discourage people from joining them should they find a fit. Much like food, we can’t fault people for enjoying what they do. I, Eddie, the author of this post and president of Bow Tie Financial Group, cannot stand eggplant, yet I don’t think people should never eat it if it suits them.

This is more a warning, a tip, something to encourage people to take a second look at the organization they’re purchasing something so, so critical from.

Direct agents are local business owners with full stakes in their business. We are people who dedicate ourselves to knowing what you don’t know, and what you don’t want to know. We ask ourselves each day “What do I know? What do they need to know? Have I told them it yet?”

Keep it local, keep it in your community, and keep it in your best interest. Go direct.

Click here for a quote

Candle Safety: Chanukah and Kwanzaa

Candle Safety: Chanukah and Kwanzaa

Chanukah and Kwanzaa are two beautiful holidays. Both are about celebrating the roots of one’s heritage and finding the line between assimilation into the majority and cultural independence. Both are celebrated by candles. Both are celebrated with family.

Candles and family can be hazardous, though. Here are some safety tips for these two holidays. Some tips will be for candles, other will be for the traditionally fried foods of Chanukah, finally, one will be some general heat and burn tips.

Candle Safety

Whether you’re lighting a hanukiah (Chanukah menorah) or a kinara (the Kwanzaa candelabrum), you are literally bringing open flames into your house. Open flames, as we all know, can be incredibly dangerous. These are some basic safety guidelines

  • Place your hanukiah or kinara on a flat, fire resistant surface. Stoneware is good, as is a metal tray or even
    aluminum foil over a counter.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: make sure your candles are not under curtains or drapes, are clear of flammable objects, and that they aren’t in an area where they can easily be knocked over.
  • Never leave lit candles unattended — there are religious exceptions to extinguish flames for safety if you need to leave.
  • Keep pets away from lit candles.
  • Only allow children near candles with supervision, such as during lighting and prayers.
  • In some cases, electric candles are a viable alternative. Make sure there are no frayed wires.
  • Do not walk around with lit candles.
  • Only place candles in the non-flammable hanukia or kinara, don’t use improvised materials.
  • Be careful of hot wax.

Food (and Frying) Safety

Chanukah’s candles represent the time oil for one day lasted an entire eight — the time required to press more oil from olives in ancient times. As such, many traditional foods such as latkes and sufganiyot (potato pancakes and jelly filled doughnuts) are specifically made because of their connection to the oil.

Here are some basic tips to keep safe and injury free

  • Be careful when grating or chopping by hand.
  • Keep onions (and garlic) away from pets.
  • Be mindful of long sleeves and hanging clothes when near oil or reaching across it.
  • Use long-handled spatulas and spoons when preparing food
  • In case of an oil fire, turn off the heat and cover with a lid. Do not use water on an oil fire!
  • Use a splatter guard and oven mitts to protect from small oil burns.

General heat and burn safety

This brings us to the final part of our article, and the one its writer, Eddie, knows most about. He’s had his share of burns from his fire dancing days, though nothing too severe. He did work as safety for a couple “incidents” though. Luckily they all turned out fine, in no small part to him, so pay attention!

  • Move an injured person away from any flames or heat sources.
  • Smother any fires that occur on clothing, either with a towel or by rolling on the ground.
  • Do not pull off clothing that has stuck to injured skin. Many synthetic fabrics will melt when burn. If the skin under has been compromised with a severe burn and the clothing is stuck to it, just cut the clothing around the injured area then seek treatment.
  • Rinse any burns in tepid or lukewarm water for a few minutes. Do not use ice, cold water, or any ointments, creams, or lotions.
  • Check the batteries of your smoke detector.
  • Make sure you have an AB or ABC fire extinguisher available. We recommend keeping one outside the kitchen, as flames from cooking can prevent you from reaching it if kept in the kitchen.

Be safe, everyone. This is a wonderful time of the year to celebrate with family, friends, and loved ones. Whether you’re celebrating the cultural backbone of your African roots or the victories over societies that would have you change, do it with the kind of joy that you deserve.

We at the Bow Tie Financial Group wish you the deepest blessings for your holidays.

Christmas Safety

Christmas is a beautiful time of year.  Lights sparkle in most every neighborhood, familiar music plays everywhere, and families come together.

Did you know that Christmas also presents unique risks to your family?

Tree fires are one of those unique risks.  When setting up your Christmas tree, please consider the following tips:

  • Ensure plugs are fully in their sockets and wires are in good condition.
  • Make sure to water your tree: a dry tree can go from a small flame to an inferno within 60 seconds.
  • Keep any heat source away from your tree (this includes candles).
  • Use only UL or ETL/ITSNA listed lights.
  • Use no more than 3 strands of lights per extension cord.  Run those cords along the wall to avoid tripping on them; don’t run extension cords under rugs.
  • Using an artificial tree?  Make sure it’s non-flammable (not “inflammable“) and UL listed.
  • Don’t decorate with tinsel if you have dogs or cats. Tinsel may be beautiful, but its shimmering nature is irresistible to our furry wards; they’re likely to eat the tinsel or pull the tree down in an attempt to get at it.
  • “Angel hair,” made from spun glass, can irritate your eyes and skin; always wear gloves or substitute non-flammable cotton.
  • Spraying artificial snow can irritate your lungs if inhaled; follow directions carefully.
  • Decorate the tree with your kids in mind; move ornaments that are breakable or have metal hooks toward the top.

Christmas tree fires are fairly rare, but when they do happen, they’re absolutely devastating.  Click this link from FEMA for more information on Winter fire safety.

Click this link from the Christmas Tree Association for a number of tips on how to protect your pets and many other things.

Click this link (opens in a new window) for a bunch of great safety information from the National Safety Council on how to prevent some of the over 15,000 injuries that happen during decorating every year.

Click this link for pet safety tips from the ASPCA.

Finally, in case something terrible and tragic does happen, make sure your family is covered.  Call us today: (520) 867-4705 or get a quote here.

Up next: how to safely host a holiday dinner!

Happy holidays from all of us here at the Bow Tie Financial Group.  Celebrate to the fullest and be safe!

Our Endorsement for the 2016 Presidential Election

The 2016 election cycle has been unique in almost every way. The presidency of Barack Obama has been fraught with unprecedented division with GOP leaders openly admitting that they preempted good ideas simply because endorsing it would mean their opposition had put through good legislation (Source 1Source 2).

This, in our opinion, has hindered our country. From not allowing a Supreme Court nominee to be appointed, which has lead to many landmark cases being dismissed, to multiple government shutdowns, and even a law being passed which may allow people in other countries to sue the US government (Source). There is no excuse for this unprecedented gridlock, hatred, and division.

Much of this division goes well beyond a disagreement in policies. I, as a minority, have witnessed firsthand similar effects in my life: when all other things were equal, I have received extra scrutiny, obstruction, and even condescension for ideas I have presented. I have had ideas taken from me without credit at a higher rate than non-minority counterparts.

This is not a post about minority rights or endemic racism. These few paragraphs are here to establish some context.

To put it simply, Bow Tie Financial Group’s endorsement for the 2016 presidential election is Hillary Clinton.

This is not a begrudging endorsement nor is it a defeated one, akin to selecting the lesser of two evils. This is an enthusiastic, no holds barred, standing ovation endorsement.

This is an enthusiastic, no holds barred, standing ovation endorsement.

This post will lay out our endorsement in three sections:

  1. Why Clinton
  2. Why not Trump
  3. Why not Third Party?

Why Clinton?

Hillary Clinton has an incredible track record spanning decades. She has shown herself to be open to new information, dogged in her pursuits of passion, and an incredible listener to both allies and opponents.

Clinton is renowned in the political sphere for listening to people. Tom Harkin, Iowa senator from 1985-2015 said, “With Hillary, you’re in a meeting with her, and she really listens to you.” Ezra Klein, writer for Vox, laid out in extraordinary depth, how Hillary Clinton flies under the radar by quietly listening rather than boasting in his piece here.

Secretary Clinton is known for taking notes on conversations about peoples hopes, problems, and worries and sorting through them every couple months to get a bearing on what people need. She actually takes notes on what people say are plaguing them and does what she can to act on it.

This has been how she came to the conclusion the fight against opiate addiction needed more funding, that specific parts of veteran’s affairs needed changing, and any number of other policies.

In addition to listening to citizens she also listens to scientists.

Climate change is an incredibly real, incredibly dangerous foe to the human race. It has lead to more extreme weather events in the past few years than we have ever seen before. It is so real that insurance companies have acknowledged the change and are rating future projections with the effects of climate change factored into them. These are not inexpensive projections, either.

Wildfire risks are worse, hurricane and tornado risks are worse, and crop and livestock yields are threatened.

There is a 97% consensus by scientists that climate change is caused by humans (Source: NASA). Every argument against this staggering number of experts is based either on religious texts (which for our representatives to hold over science violates the First Amendment), on ignorance (which for our representatives to not listen to experts is inexcusable), or on lobbyist request (which is dangerous).

Hillary Clinton has not shied away from climate change. Yes, she has to deal with many issues brought about by massive energy conglomerates and their lobbyists. With that said, she has incredible plans to shift the US to clean energy, mostly solar and wind.

Donald Trump has claimed Clinton’s clean energy initiatives would cost the US $5 trillion, which is patently false (Source: PolitiFact).

On the economy: even a major Forbes.com contributor has extolled the effects of the Obama economy despite incredible media bias against it. We, as a country, have not only recovered from the ravaging our financial markets took from 2007-2009, we have recovered more than we lost. (Source: Forbes)

From that article (bolding is ours):

Obama’s administration has recovered all losses from the Bush crash, and gained more. Looking back further, we can see this is a common pattern. All six of the major market crashes happened under Republicans – Hoover (1), Nixon (2), Reagan (1) and Bush (2). The worst crash ever was the 58% decline which happened in 17 months of 2007-2009, during the Bush administration. But we’ve had one of the longest bull market runs in presidential history under Obama. Consistency, stability and predictability have been recent Democratic administration hallmarks, keeping investors enthusiastic.

One other thing to note is that net job creation under President Obama has been 9.3 million with a gross of over 14 million (Source: CNN Money). Gross is over 14 million because that’s how many jobs his administration helped to create, yet only an effective gain of 9.3 million because of how many were lost in 2008. A Clinton presidency continuing this trend would be most beneficial for our country.

According to Oxford Economics, a Trump presidency would set the US back $5 trillion, while a Clinton presidency would continue to grow the economy 1.5-2.3% each year through 2021 (Source: CNBC)

Of course, we still have massive income inequality regardless of the jobs created. Clinton’s economic policies will work to address that, Trump’s will not.

Aside from those incredible reasons, there’s her record on foreign policy, crime, bipartisan work, equal pay, and many other things (Source: VoteSmart.org).

Manufactured Scandals: The Media Case Against Clinton’s Trustworthiness

In an incredible piece for the Huffington Post (link – warning, some NSFW language), Larry Womack lays out the incredible bias for Clinton which is based heavily on the fact she’s a woman. It should be clear to most women that had a man acted with the forwardness and business aptitude Secretary Clinton displays, he’d be labelled “powerful” and a “go-getter”.

Regarding Benghazi, there were more attacks and deaths during Bush’s terms than Obama’s (Source: PolitiFact) and that 100% of Republican congressmen voted to cut $300,000,000 (million) from the US Embassy Security budget (Source: floor transcripts via CNN).

The last committee (also, the 7th committee and the 12th investigation) to investigate these attacks on the US Embassy faulted the Obama administration, not Hillary Clinton (Source: CNN). This is simply a tired red herring to distract us from the many accomplishments of Secretary Clinton.

Speaking of red herrings, the email scandal showed that Clinton not only operated within the law of the time (Source: FactCheck), she was one of many politicians to use private email servers, including Condeleeza Rice, Colin Powell, and John Kerry (Source: The Guardian).

Finally, the Clinton Foundation. FactCheck shows that the vast majority, 88%, of their funds goes toward their programs, not overhead and salaries (link). This is competitive with most major charities. This article from FactCheck.org outlines all the good the Clinton Foundation performs and all the non-scandals they’re involved in.

Why Not Trump?

The reasons for “why not Trump” are incredibly vast. For the purposes of our agency, we’re going to cover only three reasons: economic indications, personal security, and civility.

Economic Indications

Donald Trump touts an economic plan which he claims will create jobs, decrease the national debt, otherwise improve the economy (Source: his website). Every major economic analysis from independent companies say this is not the case. Moody’s determined it would “significantly” hurt the economy (Source: Politco) and the Tax Policy Center determined it would increase the federal debt by $7.2 trillion in the first decade alone, and $20.9 trillion by 2036 (Source: Tax Policy Center).

2036 is the time many of my clients should be finalizing their final steps to coast into retirement. That is not the time for our national debt to balloon out so largely.

Personal Security

Much of this section is about things which go unnoticed by many, though which affect an incredible amount of people.

We are a minority owned company with ancestry in Mexico, England, and Poland. It should go without saying that any bigotry, racism, or demagoguery must be completely and vehemently condemned. It should go without saying, yet it obviously doesn’t.

There isn’t much that hasn’t been said about Donald Trump’s rampant xenophobia (fear of the “other”), racism, and quickness to blame perceived problems on minorities. He called for a blanket ban on Muslim immigrants (Source: Washington Post). He called Mexican immigrants rapists who bring in drugs and crime, without even a cursory nod to documented or “legal” immigration (Source: Washington Post). He has made incredibly terrible remarks demonstrating his willingness to sexually harass women and demean their status in the workplace, whether working at a beauty pageant or otherwise (Sources: The Frisky, CNN, Daily Kos via CBS, US Weekly).

This list isn’t even touching on incomprehensible list of allegations of harassment against Mr. Trump.

Speaking to his racist tendencies (Partial list here) — we can’t even call them undertones because of their brashness — Donald Trump is quick to bemoan people due to their heritage. Whether it was claiming bias against a judge due to that judge’s Mexican heritage (despite him being born in the US) or his attacks against the parents of a Gold Star recipient because they are Muslim, he has shown himself eager to discount the beautiful diversity which makes this country great.

Not only has he outwardly spoken against minorities, he has been happy to cozy up to such figures like the former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Yes, the infamously disgusting white supremacist David Duke has endorsed Trump and Trump refuses to strongly disavow his endorsement. Every single statement he has made against the former leader of the KKK and current white supremacist has been lip service and obligation.

Even beyond that, almost every racist faction, whether they be Neo-Nazi, white nationalists, or any of their ilk, have endorsed Trump due to his policies (Source: Mother Jones).

As a Jew whose ancestors fled tyranny in Europe, the proposed ban on Muslims is more than unconstitutional: it is morally abhorrent.

As an American with proud multi-cultural heritage, the lack of strong condemnation against white supremacy and the oppression of minorities, including calling for unconstitutional and racially oppressive poll watching, is unfathomable.

As a human who wants to improve the world for my generation and the ones to follow, his lack of acceptance of climate change and his economic policy is unsustainable and misguided.

Why Not Third Party?

This is an incredibly difficult question to address. I have to break it down in two sections: third party policy and third party validity. That is, how do the third party platforms stack up and are they even electable?

There are two third party candidates running: Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein. Let’s begin.

Policy

Gary Johnson would seek to privatize prisons, get rid of the Federal Reserve, and views taxes as a means for competitors to fight each other. He views the IRS as an industry which wastes the time of its 100,000 employees. He has proposed a flat tax and a consumption tax, both of which have been shown to disproportionately affect lower income people.

Dr. Jill Stein seeks to get the US solely on clean, renewable energy by 2030, force Israel to stop defending themselves from missile attacks from neighboring Palestine, and…well…I can’t find any concrete plans from Dr. Jill Stein on her website. There are a lot of platitudes with no planning.

Are They Viable?

This brings us to the elephant in the room: is a vote for either of these third party candidates useful?

Some people believe that voting for a third party candidate will send a message to either party, that voting their conscience is more important than bringing about as much actionable change as possible.

Others believe voting for a third party is a “wasted vote”. That since their polling numbers are so incredibly low and they stand practically no statistical chance of election, their vote and voice will get lost in the sea of the majority.

I agree with both sides. On one hand it’s critical to feel you’ve done the right thing the best you can. I understand that. Being able to sleep at night feeling you did all you could is a luxury some people cannot afford. There is an inherent privilege in being able to do that, knowing that whatever happens, your general welfare will remain fairly stable.

On the other hand, in this historic election, with all the foibles of Donald Trump, a third party vote potentially helps give voice to the hate and demagoguery which has propelled him up. That hate and bigotry has already fueled anti-Semitism, violence against latinos, and violence against protesters and press.

Giving voice to those actions is a complicit and silent endorsement of those actions. With two electable candidates, one of who seeks out the rights of all and one who is happy to let those rights fall away, one must weigh pure conscience with practicality.

For those reasons I, and my agency Bow Tie Financial Group, cannot endorse any votes for a third party candidate.

In Summary

Throughout my career I’ve encountered people who weren’t licensed in insurance peddling fake health insurance policies. They said “I choose not to be licensed so I don’t have the regulations”. I picked apart their supposed-insurance programs in front of them as they sweated and denigrated my meticulousness. I researched the effects their programs had on families in front of them and debunked their work to their face.

In this election we have a reality TV entertainer riling up anger and sowing hatred while an experienced politician with over 30 years of experience and service doggedly working for us. Neither candidate is perfect, for sure, though one is obviously far more flawed than the other.

Just as we wouldn’t want an unlicensed insurance agent protecting our family, we don’t want someone who makes money off of free press generated by controversy running our country.

We deserve the best, most qualified, steadiest candidate out there. That candidate is, by far, Hillary Clinton and I am proud to give her the endorsement of my company, the Bow Tie Financial Group.

4 Things to Consider When Insuring a Second Home

4 Things to Consider When Insuring a Second Home

Everyone loves vacation. But, vacationing in your own seasonal home? Even better. Especially because we’re starting to get to Snow Bird Season, where people are looking to get second homes

However, there’s a lot to consider when it comes to protecting your investment in a vacation home, and you definitely want to protect it. We here at Bow Tie Financial Group can help by making sure you have the insurance coverage you want.

To that end, here are four things that may impact the coverage you choose and how much you’ll pay for it:

  1. Separate Policy: Your seasonal home won’t be part of your primary property policy. It needs its own policy, and you can expect it to be similar to the one for your primary residence. However, you do need to watch out for “named perils” coverage, under which your policy explicitly lists the perils it will cover. If a peril isn’t listed, no coverage. We typically steer homeowners away from this type of coverage, in favor of broader coverage.
  2. Location and Occupancy: The “where” of your vacation home is no doubt among the primary reasons why you bought it. But, it will also impact your insurance costs. Rural areas are harder for emergency responders to reach, and some homes are prone to flooding in surprising flood zones. These added risks can mean added insurance costs, such as the need for a separate flood policy. If the home is unoccupied or rented for much of the year, there are even more insurance considerations.
  3. Personal Property: Establishing and maintaining a separate inventory of the things you keep at your vacation home will help you select an appropriate level of personal property coverage. If it’s filled with expensive skiing and snowboarding gear, for example, you may need increased coverage or to schedule some of the more valuable items separately.
  4. Extra Liability Protection: If you plan to regularly host guests at your summer or winter retreat, you should consider an umbrella policy, which will help to increase your liability limits in case someone is seriously injured on your property. This can go for invited and uninvited guests alike.

We know you want to relax and enjoy your chosen spot in the sun – or snow. Having the right insurance coverage helps you do just that, so give us a call and let us help.

Guest Post: Lisa Benson with Roadrunner

Guest Post: Lisa Benson with Roadrunner

For our second featured guest post we have Lisa Benson with Roadrunner Auto Glass. They are our preferred glass replacement vendor and are 100% locally owned in Tucson, AZ.

lisa benson

The Auto Glass Replacement Process from Start to Finish

By Lisa Benson, Roadrunner Auto Glass and Window Tint

The dreaded incident

It happens to all of us.

The sound of a rock hitting your windshield as you’re driving along. It makes you jump and your heart pounds as it takes you a moment to figure out what in the world made the loud noise. Then you scan your windshield looking for a chip or crack.

If you’re lucky, it doesn’t make a mark, or the mark is so tiny you can barely see it. Otherwise, you will get a chip or crack that means the windshield needs to be repaired or replaced. Is it in your direct line of vision or is it bigger than the size of a quarter or dollar? Your insurance agent will let you know what they cover and if a repair or replacement is covered fully or if your policy requires payment of a deductible.

The aftermath

So what’s next? Call a reputable auto glass company like Roadrunner Auto Glass at (520) 722-5699 or go to www.roadrunnerautoglass.com to fill out an appointment request; you have the right to choose whatever company you want!

Be sure to know the year, make, and model of your vehicle and if there are any special features in your windshield. Many newer models have integrated antennas or rain sensors in them and some have tint strips across the top. Please describe the damage to the best of your ability to help determine if it can be repaired or if replacement is necessary. Knowing your insurance company and policy number will help to make sure that it is billed properly. A VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) can also help to insure the proper windshield is ordered for your vehicle but is not always necessary.

One phone call to Roadrunner Auto Glass and they will handle the insurance claim and schedule you during the same call! Appointments with Roadrunner are usually scheduled within 1-3 days of your initial call. A time frame is given to give you an idea of when a technician will be in your area. The great thing about Roadrunner Auto Glass, is that they will go wherever you need them to go. Wait in the comfort of your home or while you work, shop, or attend school.

 

The repair

On the morning of the appointment an office manager will call to confirm your appointment and to give you a 2 hour time frame for when the technician will be at your locationRoadrunner Auto Glass trucks are all labeled with a logo and phone number and the technicians all wear shirts with the logo on them. That way you can be assured that you are opening your door to somebody you can trust.

He will always introduce himself to you and will need your keys so that he can make sure your vehicle is on a flat surface in an area where both doors can be open during installation. Installation takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour (depending on the vehicle’s year, make, and model).

The first step is the removal of the old windshield. Often times the old windshield will break when it is removed due to the stress on the glass during removal. Don’t worry, your car will be cleaned of any debris! Old urethane and seals are removed and the area where the windshield attaches to the frame of the car is cleaned. The technician will install new urethane to the frame of the vehicle and will then install the new windshield by setting it into the new urethane and replacing all of the seals. He makes sure to glue your rearview mirror to the new windshield with a high quality glue and puts tape along the top of your windshield to help hold it in place.

The car should not be driven for at least 2 hours after replacement to allow the urethane the opportunity to cure. After 24 hours, it is safe to remove the tape and wash your car if needed.

Even more:

Roadrunner is a preferred shop and completely warranties and guarantees their work, workmanship, and installation for as long as you own your vehicle. They replace all auto glass including motor homes.

When you use Roadrunner find comfort in knowing that you are using a locally owned and operated company. The owners have 40 years of experience combined experience in insurance and auto glass. Also know that Roadrunner donates a portion of each windshield they replace to local children’s charities.

If there are any problems, simply call (520) 722-5699. Roadrunner will be right back to fix any problems you may experience.

As Lisa wrote, you have the ability to use whichever company you want to repair your windshield, regardless of your insurance company. They are a preferred provider, so their repairs are fully warrantied and of the highest quality.

If you don’t have glass coverage and want to know how to get it, request a quote and we’ll help get you set up.

How do I protect my retirement from market problems?

How do I protect my retirement from market problems?

On the heels of Brexit, where the Dow Jones dropped 900 points over two days because of a market decision by a single country, it’s time to reevaluate some ways to purchase your retirement.

It’s time we talked…

It’s time to talk about something that has been worrying many people for a while. It’s going to be painful for some, confusing for others, and a giant relief to the rest. It’s going to inflame some established professionals and I look forward to them denigrating me later.

The stock brokers, the traders, the certified financial planners will all shout me down. The Dave Ramsey die hards will say I don’t know what I’m talking about. The securities licensed professionals will mock my supposed lack of knowledge.

And that’s fine.

I’m not here to talk down about what others are doing, I’m not going to lambast anyone for their work. I’m simply going to teach you about some options that may work better in the future. I want to show you how the money you work hard for can be lost through no actions of your own. I am going to show you how it can be even better protected.

It’s not you, it’s them

The securities industry is shrouded in myriad misconceptions. Their financial representatives have been thought to be able to take $100 and turn it into thousands. Maybe you’ve even heard a company say their traders or company algorithm beats the market regularly.

What does that even mean?

Does it mean their traders lose 10% less than their next competitor 51% of the time? That’s beating the market. Does it mean the baseline they measure themselves against performs at 75% while they are at 76%? That’s beating the market, and they can even change their baseline on a whim. Maybe it means their highest value clients’ performance buffered all the losses in their lower clients’ portfolios. It can mean many, many things.

Very few of those meanings will mean much for the average worker. Here’s the point: each year the hidden fees in stocks and mutual funds could destroy whatever you’re setting aside in your 401(k), IRA, mutual funds, or stocks.

The bottom line:

Your retirement account might be slowly suffocating in low performing or stagnant markets.

Does this apply to me?

Maybe.

I generally look at this to apply to people making between $30,000 and $150,000 each year. There’s wiggle room downward and upward, depending on financial comfort levels and stability.

Millennials, the oft maligned generation I proudly claim membership in, usually prefers our solutions. Their forward thinking parents and family members who are worried for the future being left will also usually align with this viewpoint.

Why should I care?

If you have $10 in the market and it drops 50%, you have $5.

How well does the market have to perform to get back to $10?

Many people instinctively answer 50%, because that is the amount of the loss, but a 50% increase of $5 leaves you with $7.50, only an increase of $2.50.

50% of 5 is 2.5.

The market needs to increase 100% to compensate for a 50% loss.

The thing is, and this is where the securities oriented people will concede a point, it eventually will recover from any major losses.

Eventually.

Yes, over the course of months, or years, or a decade, it should recover. The major loss of 2008 when the housing market tanked took years upon years to recover. One of my clients lost over 85% of his pension, and even in 2015 had only 30% of it’s original value when he was finally ready to retire due to these many factors.

That’s what matters most

Ready to retire is the operative phrase. If you’re planning on retiring in September and the stock market supporting your mutual fund or stock options tanks in May, you might have to delay it. You might have to return the tickets for your 14 day Alaskan cruise, you might have to scratch off all the train stops around Europe, you might have to tell the grandkids you’ll take them fishing next year.

Rebuilding takes time and banking on longevity only works for so long. Eventually something will have to be solidified and the opportunity for that could disappear incredibly quickly.

I once had a fencing coach tell me “If you see the moment, it already passed.”

This is how I look at finances: proactively and ready to seize opportunities as they come, rather than reacting to negative stimuli.

The proposed solution

Cash value life insurance.

Four words which bring up untold emotions and reactions. People hate talking about life insurance to begin with, and adding the emotionally charged word “cash” to it just makes it more confusing. Oh, and let’s add “value” on top of it just to deepen the obfuscation.

All it means is that it’s life insurance which builds up an amount of money you can access while you’re alive. Yes, life insurance that helps you live!

A properly designed and funded cash value life policy, especially in an indexed fund (which we’ll get to) will outlast mutual funds from any period of history. They are likely to continue that performance simply because of how they’re designed.

The real impetus, the most important part, is that it’s designed correctly. Just as a crummy broker can put you into a fund which cracks your nest egg before it hatches due to fees, a bad life insurance agent can build a life insurance policy that doesn’t do what you need because it nets them a higher commission.

The main things to look for

For our purposes, we’re going to talk about an indexed universal life policy, or IUL. Whole life can also work, especially with dividend options, but a good indexed life policy is really the meat and potatoes of the future of planning.

The first, and biggest, thing to look for is Option A or Option B. Two industry terms that mean only one thing: level death benefit or increasing death benefit, respectively.

The death benefit is basically what the life insurance company will pay upon your death, or the expiration of the policy. It involves the total stated death benefit minus any loans that haven’t been paid back.

Level death benefit is A, and it’s not ideal for building wealth. As your life insurance builds a balance of money you can borrow against, it doesn’t get added onto the check the company will cut your family should you, G-d forbid, die.

Increasing death benefit is B, and it’s exactly what you’d to use to build wealth. As the policy increases in value, so does the check the company would pay.

Yes, cash value not only builds something you can use while living, it can increase the total amount paid to your family.

These two tools with completely different outcomes are based on one kind of life insurance. The former (A) is what every unlicensed mainstream financial adviser rails against, the latter (B) is what agents sell because we know what works.

The other main thing to look for is how much you can fund the policy without hitting the MEC limit. All that means is that you want to keep it as a life insurance policy according to the government rather than a modified endowment contract (taxed like an annuity, not a life insurance policy).

Why would I care about an IUL?

The indexed universal life insurance policy will do something amazing: it increases when the markets do well, and it stays level when they don’t.

When the exchanges tied to your policy’s index go up, the value of your policy goes up. Simple as that. When they go down, which they will, the policy will stay level.

Generally speaking, most of these programs will take the first 0.15%-1.45% of the increase, called strategy spread, to compensate for the inevitable downturn and for fees. The best ones will only take that strategy spread when the market does well, and they don’t compound it if they didn’t take it last go-around.

A properly designed IUL will not only perform just as well as a similarly funded mutual fund long term, it will provide immediate life insurance. That means just from purchasing your retirement plan you will have some life insurance protection, which you can supplement even more with lower-cost term insurance.

Even better, and perhaps most importantly, a long term care rider can be added on, often for mere dollars. This provides access to the death benefit and cash value should the insured become ill or injured to the point where they need assistance with multiple activities of daily living.

Long term care insurance becomes exponentially more expensive later in years, and taking care of it with this option in your 20s, 30s, 40s, or even later can save not only thousands of dollars, but many headaches. With over 90% of married couples and 70% of individuals eventually requiring long term care, this is practically a necessity.

Finally, I write a lot about properly funding an indexed universal life policy. Many of us go through lean times and, during those times, you can scale back how much you pay into the policy. This will, of course, affect its growth, but it’s easily recoverable.

The long-short of the IUL

With access to riders which provide long term care, other rider options which we didn’t get into, no market loss, growth potential, and payment flexibility, this is a great option not only to start with, but to stick with.

After years of building the cash value in an indexed life insurance policy, you can either start borrowing or withdrawing from the value, or you can take all or some of it and purchase another product, like an indexed annuity to grow further with guaranteed lifetime income.

If it’s made right and funded right, a 20 year old could have access to over $1 million by their mid 30s. With it used as a retirement supplement started by someone in their 30’s, they can borrow against the fledgeling cash value in times of emergencies or even as a down payment for a home. The possibilities are really quite endless.

The best part is that if the S&P 500 absolutely drops, tanks, craps out in May and you were planning on retiring in June, you still get to.

One further advantage

There is one more reason to trust a cash value life insurance policy: protection from seizure.

If you are found at fault for injury, whether from an auto accident or personal liability, and you don’t have enough insurance to cover it or money enough to pay for it all, the state of Arizona can seize your assets. This can include your 401(k), IRA, draining your bank account down to $150, and even 25% of your future wages — all from a couple terrible moments in a car accident. One of the few things Arizona cannot seize is cash value life insurance.

It’s protection from market fluctuations and from massive life fluctuations.

The summary

There are many, many products out there to ensure your golden years are golden for many years. This is simply one astoundingly flexible tool which provides stability, options, and layers of protection to your and your loved ones.

If you have any questions, please do reach out.

The Bow Tie Touch

Bow tie tribe, Eddie here.

I am beside myself to announce the next iteration of our service reach: podcasting. It’s been a long time coming and a long time in the works, but we’re finally ready to announce The Bow Tie Touch. This will be a semi-weekly podcast launching July 11, 2016.

With The Bow Tie Touch we’ll be interviewing entrepreneurs, employers, employees, and consumers to empower experiences.

Empower experiences? What does that mean?

It’s simple

We all want the same thing from our business interactions: a successful transaction. Consumers, employees, and employers don’t have to be on opposing sides. The transfer of money doesn’t make us enemies, adversaries, or in any way at odds. It makes us allies.

The customer isn’t always right, the employer isn’t always wrong, and the inverse isn’t true either. We’re all humans (you know, people) trying to get stuff done. So let’s help each other get it done.

The format

As I said, I’ll be interviewing people about their experiences helping customers, as customers, or as the directors of those who help customers. There will be a bio introducing my guest, some long-form discussion questions, and then a quick-fire round. Some of you will see this modeled after EO Fire, and it definitely took much inspiration from that podcast.

Between guest interviews I’ll be speaking on a subject at hand. It might be influenced by recent experiences of my own, it might be influenced by industry changes, it might be from current events, it could even be random inspiration. The goal is to have an overarching view of customer experiences and how to empower customers and service providers to make everyone’s experience better.

The inspiration

Aside from Johnny Dumas’ EO Fire, this came about from two things: a podcast addiction and a service addiction.

While listening to podcast after podcast about starting and running businesses, I didn’t hear any about making it better for the consumer. They all touch on the necessity of a good experience, but that’s just as a function of running a company and keeping clients/customers/members with you. I want to talk with people about the actual lifeblood of the company.

Thank you for reading this, bow tie tribe. I’m excited to bring you our first podcast Monday, July 11, 2016. The link will be shared and posted as soon as it’s available.

Pin It on Pinterest