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Stop Kowtowing To Your Banker

The Daily Herald Business Ledger

BANKING AND FINANCE: published July 19, 2019

by Chris Everett

Last week while listening to a client complain about the hoops his banker makes him jump through for an equipment loan, I asked him why he doesn’t do his own financing?

“I don’t have $125,000 laying around,” he said.

But he DID have it. He just forgot.

He forgot about the $300,000 growing in his cash value life insurance policy.

“But that’s for my retirement!” he said. “I’m going to get a tax-free pension out of that when I retire!”

I told him it was possible to have those insurance dollars do more than one job simultaneously. In fact, every dollar he was contributing to his cash value life insurance policy was already doing more than one job: It was creating a growing tax-free death benefit for his beneficiaries.

A lion’s share of the death benefit was available to him for long term care expenses. If he became disabled, the premium would be paid by the insurance company. If he needed a cash withdrawal or loan, he could get it in about 5 days. This safety cash was earning at least 4% plus a dividend tax free. Banks are not paying that. And when interest rates rise, the rate on this cash-stash would rise as well.

But for the immediate issue at hand, his need to borrow $125,000, I reminded him that a loan against his life insurance cash value is not a loan of that cash value. It’s a lien. Therefore, his cash value would continue to enjoy uninterrupted compounding. That’s “breaking news” right there. But I digress.

He smiled when I reminded him that the borrowing cost in his insurance policy was lower than the bank rate.

And while a lower interest rate may be enough motivation, the beauty of this strategy goes further than that.

Most obvious — You don’t have to kowtow to a bank any more to get the money you need. If the money’s there, the insurance company doesn’t care why you want to borrow. They don’t even care if you ever pay the loan back. The loan is collateralized by your cash value. Of course, it’s in your best interest to pay the loan back. Especially, in his case, since he wants to access his cash values in retirement as tax-free income.

Retirement Advantage — What if he ends up not needing to or wanting to take tax-free retirement income from the policy as planned? Those cash values give him another advantage.

What if he set up regular withdrawals from his market-based retirement account and the market corrects? He can call us to stop the regular withdrawal and instead, take the cash from his life insurance policy … tax free. Because it’s tax free, he can take less than what he needed to take from his Taxable Retirement Account.

Now he can wait for his retirement account balance to recover before he takes another withdrawal.

Most attractive — You can design the payback any way you want. For example, you might decide on a five, 10 or 15-year payback structure or even longer. You can even amend the payback structure any time you want — a great business advantage if or when you experience a cash flow challenge.

If you die during the loan, the insurance company would simply deduct the remaining debt from the death benefit.

Tax deduction — You can still deduct the cost of the loan as a business expense in the same way you would if you borrowed from the bank.

Interest Rate Changes: The policy loan rate remains constant, at least in his case. There are policies with variable rates, therefore understand your policy.

My client thanked me and walked out of the office with a bit of a pep in his step. I love what I do!

Open Your Financial Kimono

Journal & Topics

Journal & Topics Media Group | Serving Chicago’s Great Northwest Suburbs
June, 2020

THIS WAY TO WEALTH:

By CHRIS EVERETT

Why in the world do you need to open your financial kimono to a financial planner?

Isn’t it obvious?  It’s like going to a doctor for the first time.  They want to see everything, right?  If not, find another doctor.

The same is true for your finances.

Hire a fiduciary financial planner who can help you see what you can’t see.  Eight out of ten people I see are leaking significant amounts of money unknowingly and very unnecessarily. 

If a fiduciary helps you rescue minimally tens of thousands of dollars, and in many cases hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime, they are well worth the cost.

And for those “Do-It-Yourself” investors, you can still do your own investing if you want, just get clarity about the structure.  If you are focused on investments only, you are probably seriously leaking.  I see it over and over again.

Here’s an example:  Don was a trader and he was making his wife uncomfortable.  She had seen large swings in their financial comfort over the years and could not get him to commit to a second opinion. What she was really saying is that she wanted him to stop trading.

What?  There’s no way to make a tiger change his stripes. I told her it wasn’t necessary for him to stop, and she gave me one of those very puzzled looks. 

It’s simple.  Just ask him to commit to come together to see the big picture.  It worked because he learned I was not going to try and “get” his investments under my management.

So, we had both of them pull all their data and expenses together.  I also had them do a communication profile that helps me understand how they process information, manage change, face risk and problem solve.  A little side note, these are valuable reports, but they are also great date night fodder.  They ended up using this report to create new language in their relationship which was lovely.

Back to their story.  Don was unaware of a lot. And as a self-confessed bread winner, he was apologetic to his wife when I showed them.  Here’s his list of must do’s:

  • Upgrade their liability protection because many of their assets were exposed and could have created a $3m wealth leak.
  • Fix their life insurance since it was about to run out and he wasn’t paying attention – a $3m potential wealth leak.
  • Get the beneficiaries correct – that was a rude awakening for her – a $1.5m potential wealth leak
  • Upgrade his disability insurance – if he goes down, so does the ship – with 10 years to go until retirement, a potential $4m wealth leak.
  • Diversify their asset container type to have different tax outcomes and a lower tax result longer term – a potential wealth leak of approximately $500k.
  • Finish their legal work that had been started three years ago
  • And yes, we also looked at his investments and gave him more to consider to smooth out his results.

During the course of working together, he referred me to some of his friends.  He said I never made him feel stupid.  He said it was cathartic and removed some of the stress.  He got clarity and a step-by-step process to follow as they repaired what was broken and potentially very harmful to their financial security.

I love what I do.  It is our pleasure to offer a pre-Discovery phone call or Zoom meeting if you are interested in a fiduciary relationship.

For more information or to schedule with Chris Everett visit www.EverettWealthSolutions.com or call 708-771-7777.  Everett Wealth Solutions, Inc. is a registered investment advisor providing fee-only financial planning and asset management services. Everett Wealth Solutions is located at 407 Marengo Avenue in Forest Park, IL and because of technology works with clients around the country. She’s a Retirement Shield Class Instructor and also heard on WGN, WBBM News Radio and seen on Business Firm AM Television.