In 1994, I was given the opportunity to change careers from being a paralegal working with estate planning and litigation attorneys, to becoming a financial service representative in my father-in-law’s business, Great Lakes Insurance & Financial Services. The change started to come about in 1992 because of two things: 1) My employer at the time, Anthony Mansour, was moving into retirement and our work together was coming to a close; and, 2) I married my husband and we needed to renovate our home to accommodate our three children. Unfortunately, at the time, neither of us had any savings – we were living paycheck to paycheck, with one exception. In 1986, I had purchased a cash value life insurance contract at the suggestion of my then husband’s high school coach who happened to also sell life insurance. The key components of that purchase was I would be saving money and earning interest; in the event of my death, my daughter Jessica Marie, then three months old, would have a college fund; and, the money I saved could be used for anything by asking the insurance company for a check. That was literally my understanding of how the cash values would work for me. I started with a $50/month commitment and the death benefit was for $50,000. I continued to save in that policy and never gave it another thought until 1992 – six years later, of the $600 per year I had saved (a total of $3,600), I had access to about $2,000. I told Jim (my husband) about this cash and that I believe we can use it to fix up the house, but I’m not sure how to go about getting to the money. When Jim reviewed the policy statement, he said, “My dad works for that company – he can help you.” And so he did. We took a policy loan that year and Earl (my father-in-law) counseled me on the need to pay it back. In addition, he offered me a job for the same pay I was making in the legal field. I would still be working with attorneys to help people create their estate plans, but in addition, I would be managing his life insurance business. Before the end of that year, he had me taking my state licensing exams for health, life, and securities products. From there, he introduced me to the local branch of the national association for life insurance agents – the Flint Association of Life Underwriters (now National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors-Flint), of which I have been a member since 1994.
Once I passed my licensing exams in 1994, I was first licensed with Ohio National Financial Services. Their agent training program helped me to learn to guide the financial stability of the client’s I represent. Through my professional affiliation with all three organizations, it was suggested I continue my education with the American College. To this date, my career flourishes because of those affiliations and the requirement that I keep current on education each and every year. The state of Michigan’s continuing education requirements state I must have a minimum of three house of ethics and a minimum of 21 hours of additional course work, over a two year period, which also serve to satisfy the requirements for sustaining my designations received from the American College (LUTCF – Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow; CLU – Chartered Life Underwriter; and ChFC – Chartered Financial Consultant). Because of my dedication, faith and trust in God, in my family, in this industry, and the client’s I serve, I have come to truly love the work I do. Using a macro-economic planning process, the focus is on every financial move, what will you be exposed to, risk or reward, what are the benefits, and what are the costs. Most importantly, how one financial move will affect another, by way of both costs and benefits. Learning how to measure the impact of these moves is crucial as it relates to each and every aspect of your protection, savings, and growth. The bottom line for our family personally, and for those I represent is as follows: the more money you control, the more money you accumulate, the more money you eliminate from risk, and the more benefit s you derive from your money for whatever reason, the better off your family will be. I know this, because my husband and I have had the pleasure of experiencing the use and control of our money. We have had the pleasure of contributing to the careers of our daughters, to their weddings, and to their children.
From the initial purchase of that first policy, learning how to properly access the money, use it for renovations, then replace the principal borrowed back to the policy to be used again, was the best lesson I could have learned – not to mention, the start of a career path I have grown to love and cherish. The last few decades have been spent sharpening my skills so I in turn can help you sharpen yours. What I have learned and continue to learn is you can never know enough; be guided by your faith in God; build strong affiliations with other professionals to help grow your career; save money in an account that gives you as many benefits as you want. Benefits such as growing tax deferred; ability to be used as collateral so your money is uninterrupted from compounding; allows you to set the schedule with which to put the funds back so they can be used again – if you put the funds back to a non-collateral account, then pay yourself back at interest so the account will be where it should have been had you not used the money; an account that is protected from creditors; allows for tax free distribution; has competitive returns; high contributions; guaranteed loan options; unstructured loan payments; gives you the most liquidity, use, and control of your money; a place that can be guaranteed contractually for your principal deposits and return of your money. These are what we have focused on in our family to be in an improved position every year. Focusing first on savings, then living within our means, holding only debt that is collateralized against an asset we own and control, and providing for the transfer of those assets without intervention, directly to our family.