The majority of military and veteran life insurance solutions are out dated, costly and don't offer an efficient way to protect the value of your military pension. We live in modern times and need better solutions. So we created a modern a veterans survivor benefits guide.
Why We Created the Survivor Liberty Plan
I first learned about the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) and Veterans Group Life Insurance (VGLI) when I separated from the military and entered the financial industry in Europe ten years ago. When I was on active duty, I had never heard of this stuff, and I had never thought about it. So I started to learn about it. One guy showed me a way that life insurance can solve the SBP/VGLI problems that we talk about in our white paper. His was a kind of haphazard approach, but it showed me that there was a genuine problem to be solved and started me down the path of solving it. As I met more experts in the industry, they taught me more about how various life insurance vehicles work.
A lot of military financial advisors get accused of trying to trick people into buying life insurance, and maybe there is some of that going on. But I think that in most cases, these financial advisors are just trying to make a living like everyone else, and selling life insurance is one way that they’ve been told how to do it. Someone above them is making money that way, and everybody knows it, and the greed thing kicks in. Maybe they tell themselves a story about how they’re helping people by setting them up with life insurance, and maybe they are helping people in a sense, but they’re not giving a client a good solution if neither they nor the client really understand that solution. And often, the identities of the advisor and the client really aren’t aligned, and there is a tremendous risk of things falling apart. This happens quite often in the industry: either the advisor fails, or the client gets upset, and advisors and clients are just constantly moving around and around. They don’t know what they want. They’re not happy. It’s just a big, inefficient mess. The goal of the whole thing is to get people to retirement, so they can finally stop working and try to enjoy life. But even then far too many people DON’T enjoy life. Instead they’re dealing with their or someone else’ health issues, or they’re unexpectedly raising their grandkids, or they just plain don’t have enough money to keep them going for as long as they might live, and they know it.
I eventually read a book called Tax-Free Retirement, by Patrick Kelly, that taught me about a whole new product. He didn’t even mention what the product was in the book, and I didn’t learn what it was until I got to his seminar. This happened during a time when I was grasping at straws to find any resource online to give me some unique edge that other financial advisors weren’t providing their clients during the financial crisis of 2008. Kelly’s solution blew my mind.
But I didn’t jump right into applying this new product where I thought it was needed the most, because I didn’t just want to solve the SBP/VGLI/retirement problem, I wanted to solve the understanding finances problem. Frankly, the way that traditional retirement planning, military financial planning, and insurance planning works is very boring. There’s no fun, no incentive, no motivation in those conversations to get a client to want to really do something with their life. Rather, there’s so much negative talk, so much “you’re doing this wrong,” or “you could do this better.” These kinds of conversations don’t offer somebody any real hope for taking control of their future. There are so many variables to how their planning efforts will turn out, and all the while they’re slaving away, working for somebody else to get that paycheck, and sacrificing some of their money so they can save for the future. It’s just the saddest thing to see.
I can't believe that as a country we’re leading our best and brightest and their families down this path of mediocrity and telling them that they’re making the smart move, when really the government's just trying to stop the suicide epidemic. They need to cover their own ass and throw more and more money and band aids at the problem. But their solution—the traditional path of SBP/VGLI and 401(ks)/Roths—is stifling our community. It's not empowering them. It’s not incentivizing them to do or create something exciting. Quite frankly, in my mind, it's experimental. Which is why we actually need more than a modern veterans survivor benefits guide, we need to overhaul how service members prepare for post military life financially.
A New Veterans Survivor Benefits Guide
The team members making up US VetWealth each quit the financial industry as it traditionally stands years ago, each of us in our own way, because we recognize that there are new technologies and new opportunities available. Instead of churning away in the way I already described that ends up with everyone feeling insecure and unhappy, we set out to figure out how these new technologies and new opportunities that I first heard about at Kelly’s seminar work. We did the research, and we didn’t only find the exact kind of insurance that can solve the SBP/VGLI and understanding finances problems, we found that there are specific companies that are way ahead of the game in how they structure these vehicles.
Other financial planning companies think their products are the best of the best. Of course that’s what they tell their advisors, and their advisors drink the Kool Aid. But none of these companies are solving this problem of the government insurance trap. Federal employees have similar issues with the Federal Employee Group Life Insurance (FEGLI). The old solutions simply aren’t working to solve these problems. As professionals we can be a better guide to veterans survivor benefits!
Unfortunately, the majority of those in the industry who are selling these newer products are still trying to learn them, and because they don’t understand them, they’re selling them like they’re the old products, and we recognize that. They haven’t adapted their strategies to something that works differently. But we recognize that these new tools are different, and as different tools, they bring different opportunities. We have really figured out a way to design these things so that they can work for service member and veteran families in the most efficient way and with the highest probability of providing a good return on investment—by far more than anything else we've ever seen.
We know we’re different. No other military financial advisor is going to be able to replicate what we are doing. They don’t have the relationships we’ve developed with companies who are willing to design these products in a certain way. They don't have the expertise that we have with the software. Don’t be led astray by the financial counselors and financial bloggers out there who are giving financial planning advice on this stuff who are not licensed insurance agents and who don't have relationships with the companies providing the products. They haven’t done deep-dive due diligence with these companies, or learned their software. Every company's products are so different, and their software is so different, that you have to learn this stuff inside and out to be able to design a policy correctly. We've spent the last ten years doing that work, and no one else can possibly catch up to us.
It's hard enough for us to try to teach other financial advisors who we want to join us, but some just refuse to see the potential of these products, so they keep going back to doing things the old way, and struggling. Meanwhile, we’re getting tons of referrals and lots of goodwill, and it's because we know we've done everything in our power to find a new solution, to learn everything we could possibly learn about it, and to really understand how to optimize that solution for the people that will benefit the most from it. We didn't take paychecks for over two years because we didn't want to have clients for whom this solution wasn't the ideal fit.
Implementing a Better Life Insurance Solution
All of our testing, and our development of a proprietary system for how we structure our products in the software, knowledge that only we have, is a reflection of our world view and our drive to address solving the SBP/VGLI problems. It’s also about recognizing who our solution is meant for and who it's not meant for, because it's really not meant for most people. That's why we're so different from any other firm out there who's trying to differentiate their products from the government solution, because while we are doing something that is genuinely different, they’re forced to provide a more or less cookie-cutter solution for everybody. We take great pride in having designed the Survivor Liberty Plan. We took a huge pay cut in order to figure it out, but we know it’s going to work out better for us in the long run, because as people come to us to set up their individualized plans, and we take the time to make sure that understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it, they’re going to want to share the knowledge about how awesome this is. '
We aren’t a good fit for the kind of clients who just want to find a $100,000 a year job. We’re a good fit for clients who have the incentive to create a million dollar business or become super successful, self-employed people. That's who I want as a client: not someone who is wealthy, but someone who's going to be wealthy. And guess what? They might be dirt broke for a number of years, but I'm going to give them everything I’ve got to keep them as a client because I know that as long as they have the wealth mindset, that one day they will blow up. And once that happens, those individuals will recognize the fact that I've helped them as much as I could to position themselves and to have the confidence to go find what they really, truly wanted to do. They will remember that I didn’t just support their money; I supported their mindset, and their desire to provide for their families, and they’re going to want to come back and continue to invest with us and leverage our tools to keep growing their investments.
It's a win for all parties involved. It's the highest amount of integrity I could have possibly imagined having when I set out years ago to even attempt to find a new way to do financial planning for military retirement. What spurred me on was that I hate being called a financial advisor because I don't believe in investment advisors. I don't believe in how the whole system works. It's all tied the Wall Street and government bureaucrats and crooks. At the end of the day everybody understands that, and we just accept it. Why? Why would you do that? Why would you take all the money that you have worked so hard for and just hand it over to these banks and firms without understanding how our whole financial system truly works, without knowing who's taking a cut, without having any idea about the multiple variables that go into what happens to your money?
You have no control over future marginal tax rates. You have no control over what the stock market does or in most cases even what you’re invested in. You have no control over the bond market. You have no control over the fact that the federal government can just print money and buy stocks to prop up the market. What will happen to you and your family when the shit hits the fan, and everything drops, or taxes skyrocket, or you get sued? What happens if you have more children than you planned to have, or some other major life-changing event happens? Traditional financial planning puts all of your eggs into one basket, when there are vast amounts of variables—including unknown unknowns—that are completely out of our control that affect what happens to it.
You Don't Have To Follow The Status Quo
That almost everyone continues to do this is fascinating to me, as a West Point graduate who was taught to be diligent and to plan and to make smart decisions with my soldiers. What’s more valuable to you about your money, that it makes you rich or that it gives you time? The fact that we spend all of our time just to get money and then have no idea what to do with it is crazy. The key to happiness is to do just the opposite: we need to know what we want to do with ourselves and then spend our money to get more time so we can do that thing that we most want to do.
We created the Survivor Liberty Plan because we want our clients to be incentivized, like we are. We want to show you how much opportunity there is out there right now. We want to motivate you to go out and find where you want to be so you can go create wealth and liberty. Why not? What else do you have to do? What do you have to lose? We're in America in the year almost 2020. Figure out what you want to do, and do that. Choose it. See what happens. You’re already been to war. How much worse can trying this be?
We have been uniquely focus on being a veterans survivor benefits veterans survivor benefits guide and can establish a strategy with you to maximize your military pension and more.