Myerson Agency

Thinking Outside the Matzo Ball

Occasionally, a fresh look at old traditions can produce some wonderful results. As Terri and I planned this year’s Passover Seder, I decided to introduce a twist to the otherwise mundane Matzo Ball Soup. On completion of the basic chicken stock, I went East for some inspiration and infused the stock with a mixture of lemongrass, lime leaves, fresh ginger and other ingredients. The result was an exceptionally tasty combination of the comfortable old standard with new and exciting flavors, and was apparently a big hit at our Seder.

Much like my passion for bringing a new and fresh perspective to what I do in the kitchen, I continually challenge myself in my professional practice to look at my clients’ financial and insurance needs with a different perspective. The same old thing just doesn’t cut it anymore. Products are becoming more complex and sophisticated, and the need to create tax and economic efficiencies is becoming far greater as tax rates continue to rise.

For example, to those who suggest tax rates will be lower when they retire, either because they will be in a lower income bracket, or because of anticipated lower future tax rates, I strongly suggest they take another look at both their retirement plan and the massively out of control federal deficit. Sadly, high tax rates are almost definitely here to stay. This requires fresh ways in which we approach retirement planning, in an effort to maximize non-taxable sources of income at retirement.

Similarly, many of us (estimates are one in three) will need assisted or skilled nursing care as we age. The cost today in an assisted living facility in the Los Angeles area is already averaging $9,000 per month, and the health care inflation rate is roughly 5% per annum. From these basic numbers one can determine how this can potentially ravage an estate that has been carefully planned to last until the death of both spouses. Yet many of us are unwilling to either think about long-term care needs or spend the money to protect against it. Part of that reluctance comes from the “use it or lose it” absolute cost of a typical long-term care policy. However, what if that coverage came with:

  • Guaranteed premiums;
  • Guaranteed return on premiums paid;
  • Either long-term care benefits during lifetime; or substantial death benefits to your heirs (or with some policies a return of your premium dollars)……all on a guaranteed basis?

Using this strategy we turn an insurance expense into a significant asset in one’s estate plan, un-correlated to other market investments. A fresh perspective!

It may also interest many readers to know that certain superior carriers now offer up to $1Million of life insurance coverage without a medical exam. This does not get around any pre-existing conditions, as medical questions are still asked in a phone interview, and depending on the answers from that interview full underwriting may still be required. But for most insureds requiring up to $1M of coverage, it does take the “hassle factor” and “white coat syndrome effect” away from the process. Again, a new product, with new perspective.

Eat well, drink well, and live well!
Richard

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