Bad Weeks

I had a bad week. For me a bad week is measured in two ways. (1)How many families did I help? (2) Was I able to help my own family?

Now if you are savvy, you may have guessed that there is a strong correlation between how many families I can help and how much I’m helping my own family but you may be unaware of the underworkings of how I get paid and how much or how little getting paid may have to do with helping my family. To answer this latter question, I’ll need to focus a bit on what I value. Not all insurance agents have the same values. Some lack a good life-work balance. Some lack lasting marriages. And not all cherish or evaluate honesty and integrity the same way.

James Carvin is perplexed

Here’s my story. I have a sort of Kantian belief that if everyone lied, the world would fall apart, whereas if everyone treated everyone else with kindness and honesty, not always serving themselves, that the world would be a much nicer place for everyone. Call me naive. Call me a dreamer. I don’t think about commissions much. I contract with as many carriers as I need to to provide the best value for as many families as possible. And I assume the money will follow. Eventually. Never lose faith in that.

But Is Aiming Wide and Long-Term a Shot in the Foot?

If you understand the insurance industry, you may understand how this sort of Kantian philosophy can be self-detrimental. Although it may be empowering, there are several ways in which contracting with too many carriers can be harmful to an agent. Firstly, every hour spent training is an hour taken away from selling. Contracting with many carriers and many types of products in many states is a long-term strategy. And it has a moving target, since carriers change their competitive edge with some frequency.

It’s also detrimental to a more efficient sales process. If efficiency was my top priority, I would stick with one area of expertise. I would either sell medicare or ACA, or hospital indemnity, or dental plans, or cancer, or accidental, or final expense, or IULs, or annuities, or health matching accounts, or group insurance – not all. (I do have multiple sources for all of those things in multiple states and much more).

If I was like most, I would have a store, not a mall, or a section of a store with just one demographic to target. I’d probably focus on life insurance, since that’s where the big up-front commissions are. And I sure wouldn’t become an expert in DSNPs.

I’ve spent days trying to help people get onto Medicaid, knowing they qualify, or on Medicare since they are on Medicaid but didn’t know Medicare came withb the disabity SSDI they were receiving. I’ve spent a lot of time teaching people how to access their social security accounts to access their Medicare numbers – only to find that they aren’t able to or won’t take the initiative to help themselves. A DSNP is a Dual Special Needs Plan. Use my abreviation chart if you see any acronyms you’re unfamiliar with. My plan is to be the ultimate source for training in all things insurance. Knowledge is power, but in the short term, it may not be practical to spend time gaining it.

Still, knowledge helps me to know how to fix things. I have a deep inner need to fix problems and the harder they are to fix the more determined I get to solve them. My friends, this sort of need is not compatible with efficiency and high volume sales. If I tell you that I’ve had a bad week, it probably means that I put in a great deal of effort to help people in desperate need of my help, but not only failed to meet that goal, but also took time away from my own family, not to mention the bills that I accrued both in my business and at home.

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be an insurance agent? Despite the presently very gloomy week I’ve been telling you about, it is actually a very lucrative career on average, especially if you do it the way the most successful agents do. And you don’t even need a college degree to get started. I could train you myself and show you the steps I took to get my own licenses. I’ve been turning myself into a human insurance encyclopedia. I could even offer practical advice about who to work with based on your personality type. I would be the first to tell you why my own personality type isn’t the best fit for certain types of insurance sales – at least not in the short term. I’ll explain.

A Tale of Two Personality Types

I love missions. I hate sales. Are you my type? I believe that if you do the right thing, the money will follow. I believe that if I do extra research for my clients so that I know with certainty they couldn’t possibly get more insurance for their dollar, that I’ll get as many referrals as I can handle, and that one day my referral business will be sufficient to end my need to ever pay for leads again. Does that resonate with you? Well, then you have what I call agent personality type one.

Then there is personality type two:

When you start in business, any business, not just the insurance business, if you’re not lucky enough to be a social media influencer, or if you don’t come loaded with startup cash to pay for a staff and an advertising agency, or pay for AI to do most of your work for you, or to organize a customer relations management system like SalesForce, then you are likely to do it the way I was told I should do it by the people who introduced me to this business. They are looking for people with personality type two. Only people with personality type two make a quick fortune in this business. The rest choose to leave the rat race. As a result, the majority of insurance agents do it their way. They are the only ones that last.

What is their way? I hate their way and it’s not how I want to spend my life. They pay a leads agency for leads. The cheapest leads go for about 50 cents. They are three years old or older. These leads have been sold and resold by Facebook, by Google, and by specialty agencies who bid for key words and take the same information and sell it over and over and over again.

There is nothing exclusive about these leads. They were generated by people like you and me who occasionally fill out a form we find online, usually on a trusted source, innocently enough – some ad we saw as we were scrolling through our favorite social media site, or from some active search we did. We probably cringed as we discovered we were being asked for our contact data in exchange for a quote or some hyped up piece of information that was probably too good to be true.

It really hurts, from my perspective, to find out that a $50 lead was actually from someone responding to an ad about free government money. Do I have to pay more than $50 to pay for someone who actually wants insurance?

Such people would have been smart to recognize it was too good to be true, and since the call went through, I can’t get a refund for the lead. And now it is too late. Too late for them and too late for me.

We’ve all done it. Our inbox, our text messenger, our phone, will receive dozens of messages daily for the forseeable future. We’ve learned to block it all, but it’s still a major nuisance in our life. Meanwhile, my business, on the receiving end, is ruined by it.

Sometimes, we actually want what someone is selling. Type two personalities count on that happening often enough. Some people are impulse shoppers. They count on that too.

Others of us are more methodical and like to compare and get the best value.

But all of us get worn out sooner or later. We don’t have the unlimited time or energy we need to do a thorough search. And once we see how the system works, we become fearful that the more places we check the more people we’ll have calling us. We hate callers, so we cut the shopping journey short even if we know we’re probably paying too much. This is what the type two agent personality depends on. They are comfortable calling people all day long if they can wear out enough people. They don’t feel bad about taking away a little from their quality of life by being the hundredth caller.

And from that weary prospect’s perspective, maybe just buying something and getting it all over with, will stop the endless stream of solicitations. But will actually buying the thing dozens of agents have been calling to sell us get the phone to stop ringing and the texts to stop pouring in? Not at all. So the type two agent’s call will be like a drop in the bucket. No harm, no foul.


I have a deep seated disdain for the fact that the reselling of leads is an American reality.

On the high end of the leads pricing scale is something called an exclusive lead, and at the tippy top, is the exclusive live-transfer lead. I pay $61 a piece for those. I get very specific information to show they were qualified and it is all ported over to me at the time of the call. To me, those are the only ethical leads to buy. The person has contacted me specifically as they’ve searched, even if they reached me indirectly through the leads agency. As a result, I don’t have to lie when I tell them that they asked for the information I am trying bring them. I pay that much just to be ethical. I could have bought 124 unethical leads for the same price and used the script my trainers gave me. To do that, I would have to push sell, rather than pull sell, not just lie. Sure they asked for that info at some point, some of them have anyway. But either way they didn’t ask me for it. They didn’t even ask a company I work for for it.

I used to own the domain name “” because I hated spam and pushy ads that intruded on my life and workspace. I started building a search engine in 1998 but I was unable to compete with the speed, efficiency and capacity of Google and didn’t get that business funded. It was designed to solve the problem Google has created by reselling personal data.

The type two salesman doesn’t care about any of that. Many of them will lie to make a sale. Others will find ways to rewrite their pitch so that what they say is all true. But they have this in common. They see success in numbers. And success is all they care about. They are told to call each lead nine times daily. Yes, that’s right. Nine times. Three times in the morning, three in the afternoon and three in the evening. There is rarely an answer on the first call, but by calling three times, the solicitation survivor may just figure it’s urgent and not be another salesman.

Never leave a voicemail until the third call, I was told. That’s how all the successful agents do it. Push! And never give up on that process, we are told. Do it for thirty work days in a row. Buy new leads every Sunday and Wednesday night. Work them from 8am to 9pm daily. Get licensed on the opposite coast from what you live on so you can have more calling hours. Date your leads. Slow down calls on the “older” leads to once every week after they’re a month old. And then after three months, you dial them once per month. That’s what I was advised to do.

Successful insurance agents on their teams follow this process religiously. Then one day they figure out how to use auto dialers and hire cheap labor from foreign countries to transfer their calls to them. A few of them hire marketing agencies to build them landing pages and ad campaigns to skirt this cycle, but most do it low tech. They just keep buying those old cheap leads. And when they hire somebody to make their calls for them, they leverage their time. Ahhh. Peace at last. No more people cussing at them and dodging them all day long.

It’s a better use of their personal time, but a type one personality will still see this as woefully unethical. It reminds me of the meat industry. Consumers don’t sense the killing because that part all takes place at the butcher shop. They pay for it and the problem remains. They just don’t have to personally experience it.

It takes most of the push away from their lives too. It even becomes enjoyable. Once they have you on the phone, they reel you in like a fish on the line. Pulling you in feels like pull. You improve your sales skills. Closing the deal feels like something they asked you for because it isn’t the hundredth dial you’ve made that day and all you need to do is get better at anticipating your objections. First they hook you on the line with a good listening strategy that involves repeating what you just got them to say, or verify from the data you purchased.

A good type two personality will master this and be convinced – “Whatever you just admitted to me you needed, you just asked for and you agreed I could solve your problem. You sold me. I didn’t sell you.”

An ideal type two personality may even be honest about all this and admit, “this may not be the best solution, but you didn’t call me because I had the best solution. You called me because you said you needed this.”

And they are closers. You just told me you needed this, right? You showed me you could afford it. Right? So what is stopping you from doing this right now? Why do you need to talk to your brother about it? What if you die today? Didn’t you just say you needed it? Why are you thinking about it? What are you not telling me? What are you afraid of? Let’s get this done right away. What is your social security number and bank-routing number?”

That last part was a joke. Insurance agents do need to access this personal information. We have to earn trust somewhere in this conversation. Trust is one disadvantage a person making hundreds of outbound calls daily has. But a true type two agent will recognize that this is just part of the numbers game they play. Some will balk at giving out personal info to someone who has just called them. They learn to ask these questions last as they complete their telephone applications. If something about that call seems like a scam, they’ll lose the sale. None of this matters. The sales agent who has the successful personality type – type two- will know what the SMSMSW acronym stands for. “Some will some won’t. So what?”

A good type two agent needs to have some narcisistic personality traits. They need to be empathetic enough to sense what a person is thinking, but not have so much empathy they can’t use and hurt them for their own advantage. They’ll learn to skirt the fact that insurance payments have to be made monthly for the better part of a prospective client’s entire life – that this is one of the more important decisions they will ever make. And if they know for a fact that they aren’t offering them the ideal product for their needs, no matter how well they convince themselves they really care about them, they’ll choose their personal comission over what is in the clients best interest. Have you won their trust? Are they feeling somehow uneasy? Call them on it. “Why specifically are you feeling hesitant? You won’t know if you qualify if you don’t apply. You can get a refund over the next thirty days if you change your mind and find something better.” Leave the responsibility of further research with the client. If they pay more for less or have buyer’s remorse after the thirty day refundability period expires, that’s their problem.

And that, my friends, is why five year-old leads are still being bought and sold. If I was a lawmaker, I would be doing something about that. Medicare is highly regulated to prevent this very type of thing. Non-government funded insurance products, not so much.

Bad Weeks Revisited and the IUL

Now step into my shoes. Imagine for a minute that I pay a thousand dollars a week for fifty live transfer leads at a rate of four leads a day, supposing that I can sell an average of 1:4, or one sold policy per day. An average life insurance policy commission advances me ten months of premiums typically yielding somewhere in the range of $500 to $1,500 in advanced commissions once the first premium gets paid. So I start out my week thinking I should be able to net $4,000/week in net income that I’ll receive into my bank account in another week or two. Now I can also expect that some clients will die in their first year. If that happens, I’ll have to pay back my commission advance. I’ll also lose it if they cancel any time the first year. These are called, “charge backs.” If the system worked the way it should, at that rate I would be earning over $200,000/year and probably paying back 20% in charge backs, so I should net $160,000/year. That was my business plan.

But there is a problem. Now imagine that the very same people that have called me have agreed with me, that me shopping for them so that they don’t continue to be barraged with phone calls is a good idea. But then picture them not responding to my texts or phone calls after I actually do conduct an hour or two of research for them to determine what the optimal solution is, given what they’ve told me.

Being a type-one agent, I might suppose the decision should center around whether what the carriers will offer fits into their budget. I may have done a quick scan while I was on the phone with them, but thinking that I am helping them solve the problem of shopping for insurance, I may need to compare things that an immediate scan won’t show, so that there is no possibility that my answer isn’t the ideal answer given their situation.

This happens when they are in poor health and I find out that the top carriers would offer them immediate coverage of the full face amount on a policy so I have to check outside that database and it also happens with people who are in very good health and qualify for an IUL.

Let’s talk about IULs. One of the most desirable insurance products is something called an Indexed Universal Life policy (IUL). I have contracts with quite a number of IUL providers, and these are considered the gold standard in insurance. But there are a lot of moving parts in IULs and not every carrier is offering the same product, making comparison shopping not all that simple. The better ones are like whole life policies in that they offer a face value benefit that is immediately payable in the event of death or certain conditions like terminal or chronic illnesses, but they also offer a cash value for life that is likely to grow more rapidly over time than a traditional whole life policy.

My point here is that researching the best policies is not something that can be accomplished during a single inbound phone call unless someone’s health falls somewhere in the middle. To do the right thing, I’ll have to do some research and call them back when I’ve come up with an optimal solution.

And therein lies the cog in the wheel of my business plan. As soon as I position myself to have to call them back, my very real, probably very best possible solution among all competitors, never reaches them. They have blocked my texts and calls and voice messages. They have failed to put my name in their contacts as they said they would, and I’ve wasted somewhere between two to three hours of my time and anywhere between $48 to $61. In truth, even though my lead was exclusive, they have already looked at Google to see what else they could find, and their contact info has been sold a hundred times. In the two or three hours it takes to gather up the information and take another inbound call or two, they’ve already received five more phone calls and they’ve forgotten who I was. As a result, I’m shooting myself in the foot by promising them I’ll check to make sure this is the very best product, or to go see if there is another carrier that might offer them immediate insurance, when an initial scan only indicated they could qualify for a guaranteed issue policy that won’t pay out full benefits until the third or fourth year.

I’ve had more than a few bad weeks because of this and it adds up. I can’t compete with AI and highly funded, organization-slick champion type two agents, who keep stealing my ethical old fashioned business. It’s even become unsustainable. Life before health made sense when all I was doing was in-home appointments here in Tallahassee locally. But I outgrew my local market. Tallahassee is a small city.


My wife hates the word “pivot.” She’s heard it way too many times and it always means that some business concept of mine is failing and needs to be adjusted. “Pivoting” sounds sort of like a radical change of direction, in fact, not just a minor tweak. And to be honest, one thing I know I can’t do, is pivot to an unethical proven success model. I can’t pivot my personality type.

What I can do, is I can ask for referrals. What I can do, is I can go out into pharmacies with a table and let people come to me out there. I can focus my energy on my ACA, Medicare, DSNP and private plan business. What I can do, is ask that if my friends see anyone who is on Medicaid, or needs to be, or qualifies for disability but got refused, that they be the ones to help them connect with Health and Human Services to get them the Medicaid they need, or with a social security disability attorney who will take them through another round of applications, and to help them log into and make sure they’ve applied for Medicare. They need to write down their Medicare Part A and Part B numbers once they’ve applied and if they have a Medicare card, I’m going to need to see it so I know what plan they’re currently on.

I’m thinking of people who have had life-altering accidents and strokes or who have otherwise become impaired and unable to help themselves or help me help them. Not everyone has family members who know how to help. If you will do that, then I can add efficiency to my business model by spending my time researching their best health plan options. I am really good at both life and health. But life has been beating me up. I’ve had one too many bad weeks. I’ll still do it, but I can’t both be ethical and win the rat race without your help. Help me help others. Quality referrals are my only hope. Can you help me with this?

The Multiverse

I’ve become an insurance agent. If I had my way, things would be very different. There would be no need for insurance – neither health insurance, nor life insurance. There would be some forms of property insurance, but that wouldn’t involve money. It would involve privilege and rights. It’s a long story. But I don’t mind sharing it. Do you have a moment?

Well, if you are interested in insurance as privilege, click here. That’ll take care of that. But to get to what drives me, I’ve got to start at the beginning. The drift of it all begins with the question of what is wrong with everything.

I’m serious. What is wrong with everything?

We don’t know the small, the large, the young or the old. Could pure reason explain it better?

You might think I’m asking a rhetorical question, but I am serious. And on a metaphysical level, I’m being literal – what is wrong with everything? And …

… what is everything to begin with? The particle physicists can’t even tell you what quarks are made of. The cosmologists don’t know how big or old the Universe is. How can we delve into what is wrong with everything if we don’t know what everything is?

We might also ask why everything is. Why?

As a philosopher, I think the answer to this second question provides the key to the first. The purpose of everything is the maximization of awesomeness. This is not just a catchy phrase. It is the actual reason. If you want to follow my reasoning and see how I came up with this answer, subscribe to Season One of my Podcast. I’m 100% serious.

So that takes care of that.

If you follow those links, you’ll see that I’ve covered a lot of ground I won’t have to repeat here. Let’s start with that context. Assume for a minute I’m right. If so, then the why question leads us to other big questions. Is what concerns us on a daily basis fufilling our purpose? If we are here to maximize awesomeness, then how? If your life is just, “blah” and “getting by” then does it concern you at all that you may have been missing out on something wonderful? Why is your answer not the maximization of your awesomeness?!

What if everything was very different? Imagine, for instance, if we had always lived in an incentivized asynalogonomy, rather than in the constant tension between capitalist and socialist dystopias. (Click here if you don’t know what that means).

There are better ways to deal with economic problems than plagues and wars. Just sayin’

If only more people knew about the HAND System. (Refer to the above link if you don’t know what the HAND System is). I believe that in the Multiverse, there are many Universes that incorporate the HAND System. I believe there are a vast number of worlds that aren’t nearly this dysfuntional. I’m presently in the insurance business because this world doesn’t know anything about the HAND System. They don’t know that it would fix this world much better than insurance ever could. People don’t know. So I have to settle for the insurance business.

I know that all sounds strange. I’m a little geeky, I know, but I’m not so other-worldly. In fact, I’m perfectly normal and safe to be around – just a little different than what you’re used to. And I can be practical. I may not be of this world, but I live as though I’m really in it. My philosophy holds that this world is at least partially real, even if it seems to be falling apart. Belief in the Multiverse as a product of Maximized Awesomeness does not make a person so other-worldly that they can be no earthly good. I see it as my mission to make this world a little less bad for people, if I can.

Other worldly leadership?

The Ghost Machine was another example of an attempt I made to maximize the good, as I knew how, given what I knew and thought I might be able. As with all of my business ventures, I started with the belief that it wouldn’t necessarily take money to make money. I still haven’t given up on that thought but I’m reminded daily of how pollyannic the concept is. I so much wanted that to be true. I had very little money. If I wanted to be in business for myslef, it would have to be true.

My father hadn’t wanted me to go into business for myself. He knew I wanted to have a positive impact in this world, one that required some entrepreneurial courage, but he wanted me to keep the good government job I had. He said that all the people he knew who’d gone into business for themselves had sacrificed a life without worry. Taking risks could rob a person of their time and of their health. He tried to spare me. He meant well. And I know he was right.

Dad spoke from his personal pain. He had lived in a very different world. It started well enough. He had inherited a fortune from his own father. He started out with a great career in textiles his Dad, my Pop Pop, Charles Carvin, Sr. had taught him. Dad became a marketing man in the textile industry. Even before his Allied Chemical days, he was doing commercials for Chemstrand. If you followed the Netflix series Madmen, you may have caught some of the flavor of my father. He had a trophy wife in Rye. He took the same train from Mamaroneck to Grand Central Station and back every day. “Draper” was even the name of one of his peer VPs at Allied.

One of Dad’s Chemstrand Commercials – images of home

I hope you enjoyed that video. Please watch it. See what I mean by “flavor”? And if you are really astute, you may have found the word, “Cumuloft” familiar too. Well, I should tell you that I was no more than one or two years old when the above commercial was made. Dad’s move to Allied’s Caprolan from Chemstrand was in 1962 and there was no more talk of any Cumuloft after that, if there ever was any in my presence. Assuming it wasn’t just a coincidence, somehow the term “Cumuloft” appears to have managed to stick in my young brain for forty years or so before I incorporated it into the Ghost Machine. The Cumuloft was the Ghost Machine’s “cloud” security storage system. Then one day, I decided to check to see if “Cumuloft” was a word I could trademark. The Internet didn’t show me anything at the turn of the Millennium, as I was developing the Ghost Machine’s blue prints. I only encountered my own father’s commercial, well after that search. I wonder what else is stored in my head without my knowledge. I don’t think we found this video until about 2016. Development of the mobile app started in 2011.

But I digress. Thinking about Dad can make my mind wander. I was talking to you about the insurance business. Specifically, I was thinking about how a person like me, who’s head is happier in the clouds, could possibly take interest in solving the problems inherant in dystopian economic systems. Insurance is a help. I was telling you it was the best I could do. At least it helps some people in this world. I’m sure there are many Universes much like this one where it comes in handy.

And I was telling you about the Ghost Machine. Like the insurance business, it would have put a bandaid on socio-capitalism. The idea was to create a fun way for people to make money. This world can be a very dull and even cruel place. Why isn’t earning a living easy and fun? It’s such a shame I was unable to raise the cash needed to build the Ghost Machine. The world would be a very different place right now if I had succeeded.

Use the ghost machine's finder to plan your ghost hunting all day long every day so you can earn Ghost Bucks!
The Ghost Machine App
Pokemon Go meets Bitcoin

with some ghostly edutainment

At least in the insurance business I don’t have to start from scratch. There’s already billions and even trillions of dollars in this business. Getting my personal brokerage started has taken time, more than money. I was able to survive on rideshare earnings while getting my first few sales. It didn’t take hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But you deserve a little more back story.

Dad lost his fortune. My mom, who outlived him by decades, lived a miserly life after he passed. And she was spared the difficult ending to her life that my sister and brother had. She was in great health clear up to the age of ninety. Then she had a heart attack. She never had to pay for assisted living, much less a nursing facility.

Contrast that with my sister, Corinne. She had a stroke ten years before she died. The majority of her remaining years were spent on a feeding tube in a nursing home. Her husband abandoned her. Her four remaining brothers deliberated over her care. One wanted to put her on palitative care and another thought she wouldn’t want that and the right thing to do was to bring her to a new nursing home in Tallahassee. He prevailed. And that is why we moved here – to watch over her before she died.

My wife, six years my younger, also had had a stroke the year before my sister, six years my elder. She was only thirty eight. She’d been in perfect health until it happened in 2004 but she’s been paralyzed in her left side ever since. It shows me that bad things can happen to anyone at any time. Jeanne Calment, who according to the Guiness Book of World Records is the oldest documented woman to ever live, was a smoker. Lisa never smoked, drank or took drugs and she worked out regularly. Bad things happen to good people. It doesn’t matter how rare it is. It happens. And that is why we have insurance.

We still managed to have some good times after Lisa's stroke even when we had no money. Hardship is bad. God is better.
We still had some good times after Lisa’s stroke even when we had no money. Hardship is bad. But you can work through it.

With that picture, it may make better sense why an inventive philosopher would wind up in the insurance business. It positions me to help people deal with the hard realities that exist when bad health, or death, comes at an unexpected time. We can deal with problems before they happen. I can’t prevent an occult arterio-veinous malformation, like Lisa’s, from bursting. But I can make it easier for families to deal with the financial issues that ensue if and when such a thing happens.

And it wasn’t just Lisa, or my sister Corinne. Do you know what was really eye-opening to me? It was visiting Corinne in that nursing home. Nursing homes are places filled with people suffering. I wish more people knew. Maybe they would visit them. There is so much loneliness there.

And they need care. They shouldn’t go without much needed care. Caregiving takes money.

I don’t mean family caregivers. Lord knows I’ve never been paid for family caregiving and few have. Maybe we all should have been and maybe there are even some insurance plans, ones that I can even write for, that actually cover that to some extent. If anyone would know about those plans, I would. But what I mainly mean is professional nurses, doctors, medications and treatments. It all has to be paid for.

So, I’ve decided that the best way for me to maximize my personal awesomeness, is to learn all I can about health insurance for young and old. And life insurance too. When I was young, I had my days of fun and adventure. I have no shortage of stories to tell. But I continue to ask how I can do the most good for the most people – not just myself – before I die. I continue to focus the answer on the areas I would be most capable of. I still have a few brain cells left. Let me see what I can dig up for you. You have not because you ask not.

Licenses & Certifications

I am an independent life, accident and health insurance producing agent based in Florida, licensed in multiple states:

  1. Arizona (20666979)
  2. California (4328990)
  3. Florida (W965746)
  4. Georgia (3650990)
  5. Michigan (20666979)
  6. New Mexico (20666979)
  7. South Dakota (40718581)
  8. Tennessee (3002978899)
  9. Texas (3069623/3069636)
  10. Virginia (1398323)
  11. West Virginia (20666979).

My license information and up-to-date certifications for continuing education requirements are included below for those who may need to check my credentials and eligibility.


As my business expands, I will continue to add state life and health insurance licenses to this page. All licenses and certifications listed here are current.

Michigan 20666979

Medicare Certifications

Marketplace Certifications (ACA/FFM)

About Me

I got into the life insurance business in my sixties after graduating from Arizona State University with a 4.0 average. My degree was in Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Organizational Leadership and Philosophy. I already had a degree in Music Composition from the University of South Carolina that I’d earned in 1980 while on a springboard diving scholarship. And then after that I earned a theology degree, as well, after six years of study in two small colleges in South Florida – St. Vincent de Paul Seminary and St. Michael Academy, where I also served as an adjunct professor. I am a highly dedicated, very detail oriented person, who loves to teach and lead. is a comprehensive web site that tells you not just about my life and health insurance brokerage but about my philosophical and entrepreneurial endeavors. Last year I completed Season One of my Awesomeology solo podcast. I’m currently looking for a co-host for Season Two. My motto is “Maximized Awesomeness.”

James Carvin, 1981

I am an Independent Broker working with Multiple Carriers and Plans.

I am not captive to one company or plan. I work with you as an independent broker to assess your family’s needs and goals. Many people ask for quotes when what they really need is guidance. Being independent enables me to do this.

There are three major marketing organizations I work with. Each contracts with multiple carriers to serve as many needs as possible. I do not have contracts with every carrier that these IMOs serve:

  1. Family First Life – FFL contracts with a majority of A-rated life insurance companies, as assessed by AM Best, Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. I personally scan through ninety five A-rated carriers to find you the cheapest plan within your budget using FFL’s unique tools. FFL specializes in whole life, term, mortgage protection, children’s policies, annuities, IUL’s and accidental insurance.
  2. Benzy – Benzy has contracts with well known carriers to provide health matching accounts and private indemnity plans that cover hospital costs, accidents, illness and out of pocket expenses from dental, health, vision, cancer, heart attack and stroke. Their ideal clients are in generally good health and they don’t benefit much from ACA tax benefits or cost sharing from the health marketplace. If you’ve been paying high premiums, high deductibles, high copays and astronomical cost sharing on top of that, then I can help you eliminate it through an indemnity plan and a health matching account. Benzy specializes in private health plans that don’t pass the high costs of pre-existing conditions and predictable expenses like pregnancy onto other members of the network, as is the case with ACA plans and other comprehensive medical plans.
  3. Kellogg – Kellogg Insurance is my marketing portal for traditional comprehensive health plans and plans for seniors. Whether you qualify for accelerated tax credits and cost sharing due to your lower income, or you have pre-existing conditions or you are in your silver years, Kellogg has provided me the organizational power and training to help me help you.

In any of these areas, it is my goal to help you locate the ideal product for your personal, needs, qualifications and budget. Please note that I have contracts with many but not every carrier and my portfolio of products continues to improve over time as do the number of markets I serve.

Arrange a Consultation

  1. If you are married, it is advisable that your spouse be present and attentive.
  2. Carriers require payment and other sensitive information to set up monthly payments and check medical history for simplified underwriting.
  3. Bloodwork and labs are not required for the majority of policies.

If you live in the Tallahassee vacinity, I am happy to accomodate those who prefer in-home consultations up to about fifty miles in any direction. Most of my work is over the phone or on Zoom. When signing electronically, many carriers will require an active email address and/or text. If you don’t have Zoom, I can share screens using your desktop or laptop’s browser. Typically over the phone there will be a discovery call followed by a plan call. Some carriers may require recording all contact and a 48 hour advance appointment using a scope of appointment form. To arrange a consultation of any type, click here.

Twelve Life Insurance Myths

Every Monday and Thursday I spend all day booking appointments to help families with their life and final expenses. I like to meet families face-to-face when I can. It helps me know who I’m helping. I literally love helping people. It gives me a sense of purpose. And I love the way people think about the people they love. It renews my faith in humanity. But a lot of people won’t let me help them because they are confused. This is a very serious problem. So, today I’m going to clear up this confusion by addressing the twelve most common erroneous assumptions people make about me when I call to book an appointment, almost always hurting those they care about in the process.

Tap on the insurance myth that describes what you were thinking when you hung up …

Look at the list below. Click on the myth that describes your last conversation with a life insurance broker like me. It will show you what we were thinking when you told us you didn’t want our business and hung up …

  1. You were thinking, “Why is yet another telemarketer calling. *$%#^$?!”
  2. You assumed I was trying to sell you something.
  3. You asked, “can you just send me an email with a quote?”
  4. You said to me, “I’m not interested.”
  5. You told me, “I already took care of it.”
  6. You have a policy from work.
  7. You’re prepaying a Funeral Home.
  8. Your “PreNeed” policy is all you need.
  9. You avoided me because someone said you wouldn’t qualify.
  10. Your spouse said it was too expensive.
  11. You got a really good policy through the mail.
  12. You told me, “whole life insurance costs too much.”

Watch the video below that fits. And then if you want to become a quick expert on life and final expense insurance, watch the rest. When you’re ready to do business, fill out the form at the bottom of this page to book an appointment. Then after I’ve helped you, join in the fun and satisfaction I get out of all this by sharing this page with your friends. 🙂

Myth #1 – I am a telemarketer.

If I am calling you, there is only one reason I’m doing it. You requested information. I don’t make cold calls. Now to be sure, depending on how the request came in, there may be more than one agent who follows up on it, but more often than not, people looking to protect their loved ones will make the mistake of submitting multiple inquiries while it is on their mind. That can trigger a flurry of never-ending phone calls. Even if you just filled out one online form to the wrong place, many agents will call, rather than one. And the problem just begins there. Something that makes me even angrier is that social media, Google, and other generic sources, will often sell “leads.” In fact, big data, as it is called, is even known to resell the same leads to multiple buyers.

I respond when you’ve contacted me for help. Do you know how frustrating this is?

So here is my reality. I don’t ever know when any of that has happened when I call. If you’ve received too many calls, then you’ll hang up on me, thinking I’m a telemarketer. At that point, I can pretty much guess the reason, but by then it’s too late. Of course, I can totally relate. I hate to get sales calls too. It drives me bananas. I don’t blame you for hanging up, or even cussing me out in the process. What does bother me most though, is that I’m not helping someone. I happen to know that more often than not, people actually do need my help. They just don’t know it. And when they hang up on me, I’m not given the chance to help them.

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Myth #2 – I am a salesman

While some people are natural-born salesman, I am not. I stutter when I speak. And the older I get, the more pauses there are as I search for words. Plus, I have ADHD and easily move off topic. I’m the opposite of a smooth talker and I’m no extrovert. If I make a video, I’ll have to edit it a lot just to speed it up to a normal pace and remove the ands and ums. I can also write. At least I can do that. I know this about myself. That’s why when I graduated from ASU and started to get offers from Insurance companies, I didn’t apply. I knew they needed smooth talkers to push their one-size-fits-all products onto people that those products might not be best suited for.

It seemed both better suited to my own personality and to my sense of ethics, to be in the business of helping people find what they needed, rather than to convince them they needed what I happened to sell.

Salesmen and consultants are two very different things. I’m not a captive agent!

You should know how this works. I am in business for myself. I’m an independent agent who works with dozens of companies that each has many products. Most agents work for insurance companies as employees. Those agents are very limited in what they can offer you and they have to sell one-size-fits all policies. Very typically, those policies will not be in your family’s best interest. Me, I make a great teacher. I prefer to help someone shop and make the best decision. My role is that of a consultant. I save you time because I can connect you to the products that will help you the most within your budget. If you ultimately are able to find an insurance product that gives you more coverage, or the same coverage for a lower price than I can find you, I will thank you for finding that for me and seek out that company so I can contract with them to provide that product to any future clients I have that fit your profile. But that rarely happens because I’m plugged into a very sophisticated system that has already done most of that work for you. I already have contracts with all the best A-rated carriers.

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Myth #3 – I can send you a quote.

Look. Let’s be realistic. I’m here to help people – not waste my time or yours. If a letter doesn’t have a first class stamp in my house, it’s going into my trash. How about you? And if it’s going to my email, I’m probably going to delete it. How much of your junk email do you read?

What good would a quote for a policy you didn’t qualify for do you?

But even if that wasn’t the case … even if you did read it, what would I send you? I need to know what you need first. And I need to know what you qualify for. Otherwise, you’ll be shopping for something you can never have. Do you want a multi-million dollar mansion? So do I, but if I don’t qualify for it, I won’t waste my time, or my realtor’s, trying to buy it. That realtor is going to prequalify me. Until I’m prequalified, they won’t even talk to me. So, ask yourself this question: how much time and effort does getting prequalified to buy a home take you? You have to supply bank statements. Don’t you? You have to have a credit look up. Right? That means you have to give them your social security number and your bank account info. Doesn’t it? Yes, it does. And you’ll need to verify your identity with something, probably a driver’s license. I’m going to need certain information too.

It won’t be quite as detailed as buying a home, but I can’t give you a quote without knowing what you qualify for. You should be aware that that’s going to happen no matter where you go for insurance. If you do get a quote without that information, there will be a catch. I’ve warned you. Beware. I do want to give you a quote, but I’m going to have to prequalify you first. That should take about ten or fifteen minutes. Most of the information you need, like what prescriptions you take, will be at your home. That’s one of the reasons I prefer in-home appointments. Sound fair?

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Myth #4 – You are not interested

By the time I reach you, it’s always possible that you’ve already bought insurance, but when I’m calling back about the information you’ve requested and you tell me you’re not interested, I’m going to think that either you tried to get insurance somewhere but weren’t qualified, or that you did qualify but it was too expensive, maybe somebody already came over to help you, or maybe you bought something you found in the mail. I’m not going to think you weren’t interested. That would mean you didn’t care about your family and at some point you were asking about benefits for them. I’m assuming you just don’t want to talk about it.

There are people you love. Don’t tell me you weren’t even curious.

So, put yourself in my shoes for a moment. When you tell me you are not interested, expect me to ask you why you changed your mind. And if you do give me time to ask you that before hanging up, please try to understand why I’m asking. I’m asking because I care. And I care because I know that in every one of the most likely explanations I just mentioned, it’s most probable that you could have made a better decision. What’s more, if you would just give me the time, I would be able to show you how to correct it. And that could make a huge difference both for you and for those you love. The most common underlying reason is that you already took care of it and just don’t want to talk.

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Myth #5 – You already took care of it

Caring for those you love is something you maintain and double-check. It’s not something you don’t periodically review, and I want you to really think about this. If you had a child who was sick, you would take them to the doctor. And if the doctor gave you a certain drug you had never heard of before, would you trust them? Or would you trust your friend who used home remedies? Even if you had a doctor, if your child was about to die and needed surgery or some difficult treatment, wouldn’t you seek a second opinion? Of course you would. You haven’t taken care of your child if you haven’t consulted a licensed professional. And even if you have, you haven’t taken care of them without a second opinion. You allow your doctor to revise your prescriptions. Allow a licensed independent agent to review your policies. You are not truly taking care of your family if you don’t. So, you haven’t really taken care of it.

Here’s what an insurance broker is thinking when you say you already took care of it

Now these days, a lot of people go to Google to learn a lot of things and people self-prescribe the right thing more often than they used to. And that’s a good thing often enough, especially for those who avoid doctors because of medical bills. But second opinions from independent life insurance agents cost you nothing. An agent like me will check your policies without charge because more often than not we will be able to make a significant improvement over your current policy – either qualifying you, when you couldn’t qualify before, or getting you more coverage for the same price, or perhaps the same coverage at a significantly lower price.

And it involves much more than mere price. It also involves misunderstanding. Check through the other myths I’ve singled out here. For those who’ve already purchased insurance policies, it is very common for people to think they have more coverage than they actually do, or to think that a policy is much cheaper than it actually is. Be sure to watch all of the myth busting videos on this page and see for yourself what I mean. Even if you have already taken care of it, then share this page with a friend who probably hasn’t. Even if you’ve truly taken care of your family, have you cared for your friends? Share this with them.

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Myth #6 – I have a policy from work

Employers contribute to health care plans and sometimes offer life insurance policies as a benefit, in addition to retirement plans. However, there are several things you should be aware of before relying on an employer’s insurance plan for either your health or to protect your loved ones when you pass away or if you become disabled.

First, be sure your company’s life insurance is not “key employee” insurance. Key employee insurance is not a policy for you or your family as a beneficiary. It is a policy taken out on you with the employer as the beneficiary. It keeps a business running when a key employee dies. It does nothing to help the employee’s family at all in the event of their death.

Let a licensed professional review the life insurance policy your employer is providing.

Second, only a handful of employers anywhere offer individual policies for their employees. Most often, if they offer life insurance at all, they will offer group term policies that will lapse when an employee is no longer able to work, which is unfortunately typical if an employee suffers from a long term illness. It is very tragic, but when an employee gets a fatal disease and is unable to return to work for a given period of time, usually just thirty days, they may be able to extend their health benefits if they personally contribute to a COBRA policy, but the life policy will not be offered without a health examination. Of course, no one with a terminal illness will qualify for a life insurance policy. Unless your employer is offering a whole life policy that is portable, your employer’s life insurance policy will be of no value to your family.

Third, you should own your own policy. Even if your employer was providing you with fully portable whole life policies, they could still decide to cancel every policy every employee had at any time, all in one group fell-swoop. If its going through an aggressive hiring phase, an employer might over-buy benefits to attract new employees. But if it is going through a lay-off phase, it will typically choose to trim benefits rather than lay off employees. Your family matters too much for that sort of risk.

The bottom line is that you should own your own policy – not rely on an employer’s policy. Statistically, only 2% of employer policies pay out as employees expect them to. So, when I hear someone on the phone tell me their employer offers a policy, I cringe. How can I explain all this before they hang up? It’s hard to know where to begin. That’s one of the reasons I prefer to discuss this at someone’s home rather than over the phone. At your house, I can look through your employer’s policy with you. I can check every policy you have with you. Think of me as a doctor giving you a check up. You are not the professional. I am the professional. Google is great, but it doesn’t have a license. I am the one who studies this round the clock so I can protect you.

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Myth #7 – I prepaid my mortuary

Typically, a person will choose to prepay a funeral home or crematory when they’ve discovered the hard way that final expenses can be a huge burden on a family mourning a loss. This motive is a really good one. You don’t want the same thing to happen to those who survive you as what happened to your family when someone you love passed away. But to be frank, it’s not as good of a solution as final expense insurance. And its not hard to understand why. So think about how all this works.

When you prepay for your funeral, your plot, your casket, the burial service, maybe a ceremony with a pastor followed by a luncheon, your cost will be something a little greater than the cost of a luxury car, even if you try to trim expenses through cremation, assuming cremation is allowed according to your faith tradition. And like the cost of cars, the cost of funerary services and items for sale keeps increasing year after year, often out-pacing inflation. So, when you pay for all of this ahead of time, you are thinking you are skirting inflation and solving the problem by removing a huge burden from your family. You are sending them one last message that says you thought about them. You told them you loved them one last time. It is such a beautiful gift. And it gives you peace knowing you’ve taken care of it.

Great. In a lump sum? Or are you still making payments?

The problem is that unless you pay for the whole thing in advance with cash, you will be making payments to the funeral home, and until you have paid them in full, the remainder of the cost will be imposed on those who survive you. Funeral plots have deeds and like any real estate, deeds are subjecty to liens. And the truth is, most funeral homes won’t do anything for your family at all, unless the bill is paid in full. There will be a lien on that property untill all bills are paid. So, you may just have created a problem rather than solved one.

Contrast this with final expense insurance. With final expense insurance, you get the full amount of a policy from day one. It doesn’t have to be paid in full. If you have an accident and die tomorrow, all of your final expenses will be covered. Whereas, when you prepay a funeral home, unless there is a clause in your contract stating otherwise, any credit you have paid in advance to the funeral home, they get to keep. Just like a bank, they can foreclose on your property when you don’t pay. So, if your family can’t pay the balance, that’s their problem. This is so tragic. I hate to have to explain this but this is what it looks like. Whereas you thought you picked out your final resting place, your body, or cremains, can easily wind up spread out over a lake or under a tree somewhere. Who knows, but it won’t be where you thought. And more importantly, the ones you love will be anything but relieved with that arrangement. I hate to be frank about these things but it is important. You do not want them to be upset with you after you are dead for mishandling what you’ve left them with.

Now all this begs a question: what if you’ve been paying a funeral home in advance, hoping to care for your family, but now you realize this whole arrangement may have been a huge mistake? I know I’ve painted a very bleak picture here, but there’s good news. Don’t worry about it. All you have to do to fix this is take out a final expense policy. Keep paying the funeral home. You’re on the right track. The policy will pay the remaining expenses owed to the funeral home in the event of your death, plus whatever more you decide to bless your family with. Problem solved. You’re going to need me for that, of course. So please don’t hang up on me or close your door telling me you’ve taken care of your final expenses, when all you’ve done is start prepaying a mortuary. Good for you. Now let’s really protect your family.

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Myth #8 – My PreNeed policy is all I need

Seeing the basic problem I just addressed in Myth #7, the Funerary business came up with a sort of insurance policy that would pay out the full amount of the cost of Funeral expenses known as “PreNeed.” PreNeed policies are a step in the right direction, but they are far from ideal. Yes, they do pay out the full face amount of a policy so long as you pay your premiums. But that’s where the benefit ends. And they’re not what you might expect.

For one thing, suppose you have a PreNeed policy for $10,000 that you take out when you are sixty five years old and you pay a $100/month. That’s $1,200/year. So by the time your seventy three, you’ll have paid in the full amount of the policy. So, what will happen if you live to eighty? Well, you’ll have to keep paying $100/month to keep your policy or you will have nothing at all, even though you’ve paid in $10,000. By the time you’re eighty, you will have paid in about $19,000 for your $10,000 policy. Do you see what a bad net outcome that is? And that’s just one problem…

Is it irrevocable? Let’s look at the fine print and the laws in your state.

A possibly even greater problem is that PreNeeds policies from funeral homes don’t assign the family as the beneficiary – at all. The funeral home is the beneficiary. Think about that. So, what that means is that the funeral home is going to upcharge all it can, while it scrimps on as many of its costs as possible, so that it gets 100% of the face amount of the policy with a minimal expenditure and maximum net profit – even if that happens when you’ve paid more than the policy’s face amount, like I just showed you.

So, let’s be realistic here. Businesses are in businesses for profit – even businesses that serve families in their time of grief. By paying a business a set amount, the business is most likely to trim its costs and upsell more and more services as necessary, to retain all it can of the face value that the insurance offers. You’ve seen health care companies jack up prices to do this. The funerary business is no different. Once you contract with the company and have an insurance policy that will pay a set amount, free market competition is no longer a factor. A competitive market place is what serves the public, driving down prices. And once the funeral home is chosen as the beneficiary, the family can’t exactly take their business elsewhere.

Now to be sure, there are some laws regulating funerary contracts. Some are irrevocable and fall under planning laws, depending on your state, and those laws may require expense planning to avoid the exploitation of consumers this way. Revocable contracts, on the other hand, may allow you up to a 90% refund at any time during the contract. The upshot of all this is that it may be worthwhile to switch from a PreNeeds contract to a whole life policy for a number of reasons. Certainly, you should weigh it out. For one thing, whole life policies normally assign the family as the beneficiary, not the funeral home and give the family the liberty to spend proceeds as they see fit. This may involve the cost of airfare and other expenses such as time off work, that are often overlooked, and definitely not covered in PreNeeds contracts. Always keep in mind that any monies left over after final expenses are paid, are not subject to probate or taxation. They are gifts to those you love. That’s why life insurance policies are the ideal way to bequeeth savings.

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Myth #9 – I won’t qualify

As true as it may be that the older you are the more expensive final expense benefits become, I should let you know that there is at least one A-rated carrier that covers those up to age 89. You might also want to consider that when you are that old, you are likely to not pay premiums for as many years as someone who is much younger, so your total cost may not be that much higher than your younger peers would pay after all.

I also know which carriers offer the best coverage for those with serious health problems, including cancer, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, kidney problems and so on – you name it. Typically, these will be graded policies, which means you won’t get the full face amount of the policy until the third year, but as graded and modified policies go, I know how to find you the best value. The first thing I should say about this is to look closely at the terms. Most graded policies offer something called a 10% return of premium. This means you are offered a benefit of 10% of the total premium you pay during the first two or three years on a policy. Compare that to a savings account. Where can you get 10% guaranteed interest on a savings account? Nowhere. And show me a savings account that suddenly pops up in value in the third year to tens of thousands of dollars. It’s a no brainer investment. I’m a specialist in finding you these.

Never say never! You can be on your death bed and I’ll find you a policy.

That’s good news, but it gets even better. Modified policies, with the right companies, pay even more even faster. As long as you pay your premiums, the value of your policy will jump up from year to year. So for instance, if you’ve got a $30,000 policy that pays 30% of the value after the first year, 70% after the second year and 100% of the value after the third year, your family would receive much more than their return of premium plus 10% back, as they might get with a graded policy. For example, if you passed away in month 15 and the policy paid out 30%, that would be $9,000 to your family. If your premium had been $100, you would have only paid in $1,500 at that point. That’s much more than 10%. It’s 600%.

I’m not going to say that I can qualify every single person for all the insurance they want. But I am going to say that in over 99% of cases, it is going to be a myth to say you don’t qualify at all, and I can get more people qualified than most other agents can due to the large number of carriers I can call on. Therefore, you probably will qualify – maybe not for a million dollar policy, but for enough to help your family out when you pass, having done what you could. If your family wants more than the best you can do, then please give the money to me instead. They are ungrateful and I wouldn’t be. I can think of all sorts of charities I would rather give that money to.

Okay. I’m kidding. Give the money to your family. But do be realistic. I’m here to help you. I don’t want to waste my time. And I don’t want to waste your time. I’m happy to help you do what I can.

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Myth #10 – I don’t have the money

This is probably my favorite complaint. When people say they don’t have the money for life insurance, it tells me they are responsible people who have priorities. They may value a policy, but they are figthing the good fight of daily life, quite possibly living from paycheck to paycheck, as they start to see inflation get the better of them and defeat them in the rat race. As they seek to trim expenses wherever they can, to stay within their monthly budget, especially husbands and wives, they see a final expense policy as something they might be able to put off until some later date when they can finally get a break in life … some good news, maybe a new job, maybe some windfall like winning the lottery or being the beneficiary in some lawsuit.

I do deeply appreciate that thought because I’ve experienced that thinking myself. But it overlooks the fact that the cost of insurance is never lower than what it is today. Year by year two things happen. #1 – Our age increases, bringing us closer to our last day on Earth. And #2 – we start losing our great health. Both of these factors chip in to increase the cost of life insurance at a later age. And for couples, the chances of bad news are doubled. Typically an income will disappear. Who will pay the bills when they are gone? How long will it take to make an adjustment to living arrangements? Will a bank foreclose on your house so the surviving spouse loses their hard earned equity?

This is worth an extra paragraph or two to really think about.

Think ahead and keep in mind that younger people qualify for better policies that older people can’t get – and they’re cheaper. Many of these policies offer cash back options too. Whole life insurance, in particular, is easy to borrow on. Its cash value can be used to collateralize loans, maybe buy a house so you don’t have to pay rent any more. Other policies serve to force savings you wouldn’t have the discipline to lay aside otherwise. And if a person is older, there are many policies that offer living benefits. This means that if the policy amount is needed early for things like chronic or fatal illnesses or assisted living, the policy will cover those expenses. It saves your family from paying for your medical expenses when you get old. And that’s as much of a final “I love you” as paying for a funeral expense. It may be something you all want.

We all do what we can. But if you really want to have value, where you don’t have to compromise in the end, start early. When you are young, you may think that you can’t afford it. Just be aware that I can show you policies that allow you to build up incredible cash value. Ask me about IULs. Not only do they build up cash value, but they are indexed to stock values in such a way that if indexes like Standard and Poors go up, they go up with it, but if the S&P goes down, they hold at 0%. Amazing, and you can borrow from them at very low interest rates. You might just discover that the whole policy has a net zero cost.

Finally, you should consider accidental death benefits. The number one cause of death among young people is accidents. The younger you are the truer this is. Among teens – accidents account for almost half of all deaths. The nice thing about accident insurance is that only dare devils and people who die committing federal crimes don’t qualify for it, and it’s the cheapest insurance there is. Even if a younger person just puts in a few dollars a month into a policy, they can make a huge difference to their families when they die. Minors are typically covered with a few extra dollars added to an adult’s policy too. Always ask about children and grandchildren riders on your policy. Some of those riders offer options to continue insurance as separate policies when the child gets older. And that gives them even more value.

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Myth #11 – I already have a policy

A lot of people think they have insurance they don’t really have. It’s very common and here are the main reasons why. To start with, ten thousand Americans turn sixty-five years old every day, which means suddenly they can officially collect social security. They are on a fixed income for the first time in their life. The banks know it. Direct mailers know it. And they know that everyone needs to make a plan for their final days so these people are top targets. What senior citizen hasn’t filled out a few forms in response to this? Mailer after mailer will offer policies for pennies. A lot of citizens get tired of thinking it’s too good to be true. Even your local bank, in whom you trust, has offered you some free starter insurance, hoping you’ll buy more. How can you resist?

Really? What kind? How much? Who with? What are you paying? What’s the catch?

Insurance consultants, like me, know something about all this. We’d be willing to bet that that convenient form that got filled out leads to one of three things – a graded policy, a renewable term policy, or to an accidental death policy. The first type doesn’t pay the full benefit the first few years. The second keeps increasing the price and ends at a certain age. And the third is really accident insurance. It won’t cover any death by natural causes. Even if a well known and trusted bank name is under it, senior citizens need to understand what they’re paying for.

And I have a question. Are banks really in the insurance business now? Rest assured, your bank is not in the insurance business and neither is your credit union.

But maybe I’m wrong. It could be a valuable policy – or at least seem that way. Beware because there’s a very good chance it has an introductory price that is scheduled to increase after five years. It’s actually renewable term insurance rather than whole life. At an older age, this matters a lot. A five year term at age 65 is pretty cheap. Most people live past seventy. From 70-75, a lot more people die. So what happens to the premium cost? It goes up. And then what about the five years after that? You may have a renewable term policy that says it’s good to the age of a hundred. Don’t let the high age on that contract fool you. That insurance company is hoping you won’t notice the fact tht the premiums are not level. They are going to increase. Have they made it clear to you how much the premiums would be once your reached the age of 80? How about 85?

Do you see what I’m up against? You might just have several of these types of policies before you meet me. And you’ll likely ask yourself, what do you need me for? You’re thinking to yourself, you can just keep adding more and more policies you’re getting in the mail. They’re cheap. You’re insured to the age of a hundred, for some huge amount, and you’re pretty sure that you can afford it. But really you can’t. And you won’t know that because you won’t let me in your door.

So, what I have to do, if you let me in, is get you to call all of your insurance providers and get them to tell you directly what’s going to happen when your term renews, when it will renew, how often, and what the price will be when that happens. I’ll also want to know what sort of graded policy you were issued, because you may just have no insurance at all. This may require you to look for your policy, but I will help you. If you’ve lost your policy, you can get a new one. And if you can’t remember who your insurance providers are… (Good grief, I can’t remember why I was looking for my keys in the refrigerator a minute ago)…. If you can’t remember who your insurance providers are, then all you have to do is check your bank statements.

Thank God for bank statements. Every month, you pay your insurance bill and every month, your bank statement will show you both how much you paid and who you paid it to. If you want me to help you go through that I can. I’ll put us on speaker phone talking to your insurance carrier myself, both of us together. I’ll make sure they send copies of your policy both to you and to your beneficiary, so they’ll know that you have it. You do realize that your loved ones and the charities you want to bless when you die won’t receive a penny unless they know you have a policy. Right? So I’ll make sure you have all the copies of your policy you need.

But do you know what I won’t do? I won’t ask you to cancel any of your policies unless they are completely worthless. We’ll figure that out together. And then I’ll see what kind of an actual whole life policy you would qualify for – one that won’t have increasing premium costs; one that will last until the day you die; one you can afford when it’s most likely to be essential that you can.

Friend, in your final years, you are on a fixed income. You can’t risk making bad decisions. It’s my job to protect you. It may take some work to give you a good insurance check up. Be ready for that when I come to your home, both you and your spouse if you’re married. It’s some work, but that’s what I do. And it’s worth it. I’m a licensed professional. I don’t work for any insurance carrier. My business model is built around helping you avoid the misakes that thousands of others do so that you can get the best coverage and protect those you love for a price you can afford. That’s my job. I rarely give a thought to what I get paid for it. All I care about is you. I just need you to let me help you. A consultant and a salesman may both be paid commissions but they are two very different things.

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Myth #12 – Whole life is too expensive

If you don’t like whole life, I can consult with you on term life instead. As I said in a previous video, the carriers I work with have dozens of products each. Many of them are the best term products in the industry. Everybody shops price, price price, but my job is to educate, educate educate.

Of course, I know you can get a much larger policy for a far lower premium! Particularly when you are younger, term policies make really good sense. All I ask is that you think about what you’re betting on. You see that a term policy would certainly help those yoou love if you did happen to die within the term. But if you outlive your term by even one day, and you don’t pay extra for a cash back or return of premium option, then you’ll lose every penny you paid in. So what seems like more policy per dollar can easily become valueless the day the term expires. See how that works? It’s a tradeoff. It’s a gamble.

“Coverage” means covering every possibility.

But did you know that you can have it both ways? If you want the high value of a term policy with a low premium that converts to a whole life policy at the end of the term – irrespective of your health at the end of the term, I know of a carrier that will convert your policy. You can also stack policies – one can be whole life while another is term and you can pick and choose products from multiple carriers to optimize your protection. If you can afford it, I recommend you start stacking insurance policies of different types early because your health and age are going to keep driving up the cost of any whole life policy you eventually buy. Conversely, if you don’t buy young, you risk being forced to apply for a policy when your health is declining. That will drive the price up much higher than it is right now.

In the long run, I’d generally recommend having a good whole life policy as a base. That should be your core long term policy. Let it build up value as you age. Consider it a savings plan you can borrow from for the rest of your loife. You can’t borrow on a term policy. Unless you have a rider for return of premium or a cash back option, a term policy has no cash value. Add a term policy to your whole life policy.

Following my advice is particularly important for young couples. Not too many people live forever, and bad things happen to good people way too frequently. When you and your spouse take out policies for one another, if the worst imaginable news comes to your home, at least you won’t have to feel the full brunt of the financial impact of losing part of a two person income while you’re grieving. You may be able to prevent a foreclosure on your house. You may save its equity from going to a lender with a lien. You may buy yourself enough time with your benefits to make new living arrangements.

Whole life may cost more than term, but if it acts as a savings account and also protects you against life’s worst nightmares, it isn’t all about face and premium amounts. It’s about dealing with life itself. If it pays for itself, as many do, then your net cost is zero. Which is more expensive then? Let me help you with both term and whole life policies. I’m here to help you think it through. I would never steer you wrong.

You’re welcome!

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