October 8, 2015

186 It’s Tough To Get A Job With Half An Associates Degree




Newsflash: someone has finally exposed the real problem with student loan defaults.

Turns out that half a degree doesn’t get you a decent return on investment for money you borrowed.

And we all know why Vanguard can provide really low expenses for their mutual funds. You’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out more about that.

Here’s the full lineup for today’s episode:

Whistleblower’s expert says Vanguard owes billions in back taxes

Paying CEOs fat bonuses for stock performance doesn’t work

Who really defaults on student loans

The real unemployment rate

As always, we appreciate your comments and suggestions for things you’d like to hear us talk about (or complain about) in future episodes. You can always reach us here.

October 6, 2015

Certificate of Deposit Alternative: Multi Year Guaranteed Annuities

Certificate of Deposit Alternative

For the conservative savers out there who have found frustration in plummeting certificate of deposit rates, we have an alternative savings strategy you’ll likely want to know about.

For years the insurance industry has manufactured an annuity product that functions similarly to CD’s and, for the right person, this product is often favored for its superior interest rate.

It’s a rather boring annuity product, however, with lower commission rates than most of the annuities you’ll hear your financial advisor or local insurance agent pitch.  No wonder this product may be flying under your radar.

Read More…

October 1, 2015

185 Amazing, Simple, Easy, Fair



Well, today may be the shortest full-length podcast we’ve ever recorded. You’re welcome for that little gift.

Here’s what we discussed in episode 185:

New research shows that 401k’s haven’t hurt retirement benefits

A well-known market pontificator sounds an alarm

The tax code gets “Trumped” (pdf download)

As always, we appreciate your comments and suggestions for things you’d like to hear us talk about (or complain about) in future episodes. You can always reach us here.


September 29, 2015

An Indexed Universal Life Insurance Success Story

indexed universal life insurance success storyI was recently reviewing an indexed universal life policy issued seven years ago. We do a lot of reviews for life insurance policies (especially the ones we ourselves put in force for people) and such reviews look at performance to date as well as a comparison to the original policy projection to review how things have unfolded.

For a lot of policies, there’s little variance from the original projection. This is especially true on the whole life insurance side of things since dividends don’t tend to vary all that much (a few exceptions exist for policies we’ve been asked to review we didn’t have a hand in putting in force).

Not all that surprisingly the indexed universal life insurance policies have tended to do better than the original projections.

For the policies we’ve put in force, this is commonly due largely to our insistence on assuming a 6 to 6.5% annual index credit (a lot of less honest agents/brokers like to use numbers in the mid 7 to 8% range, though recent legislation is changing that).

The market has enjoyed a pretty good run since 2008 and indexed insurance products have certainly benefited. As a result, I often get asked what happens if the policy performs better than the 6% number I assume, to which I always point out, you’ll simply have more money.

This is great in theory, but a lot of people have a hard time grasping what that means in a more concrete sense. So today we’ll review publicly a policy that has been in existence for almost a decade and see how it has performed.

Read More…

September 24, 2015

184 Hey…Have You Heard About the “internet”?


We’re back after taking a week off and wouldn’t you know it…Gen Y still doesn’t like being forced to talk to insurance agents at their kitchen tables? (sarcasm light on)

This is a story that never gets old to us. It seems like financial services industry just discovered that the internet is here to stay. Turns out no one is interested in going back to the “good old days”. Read More…

September 16, 2015

Five Year Asset Growth Indexed Universal Life Companies

coin growthInsurance company asset growth is a measure of overall company success in accumulating assets. It’s a metric that certainly indicates positivity when the trend is upwards, but there are a few nuances that we have to keep in mind before ambitiously declaring a winner.

Insurers can accumulate assets either through the new business process (i.e. selling new policies and collecting more premiums) or through superlative investment performance. In either case, an upward trend is almost always favorable, the difficulty comes in trying to determine how much of an upward trend matters when looking at results from multiple life insurers.

Read More…

September 10, 2015

183 Reduce Your Retirement Income or Pay Up

Medicare part b increases premium



Today we’re back to your regular format. A veritable hodge-podge of news from the world of finance.

Yes, we could’ve spent another whole episode discussing the volatility of the markets, but we figured there are plenty of other places you can go to hear all about that.

And no one really has any answers when it comes to understanding markets anyway.

So we turn our attention to a few lesser covered topics for this week’s episode:

Medicare Part B premiums set to spike

Indexed annuities are now King of the hill (unseating the crown long held by variable annuities)

Long term care insurance premium increases spark a debate (in Minnesota)

And if you have anything that you’d like to hear us talk about future episodes, please let us know. You can use the contact form on this site or just comment on this post.  We’d love to talk about things that interest our listeners.

September 8, 2015

2015 Whole Life Focused Company Cash Flow Trend Analysis

life insurance cash flowOperating cash flow is the cash generated by an insurance company prior to the inclusion of investment income generated by managed assets. Under insurance statutory accounting rules, this is profits generated after deducting operating expenses. Insurers that have issued participating policies can cover planned dividend payments with operating cash and/or investment income.

We look at operating cash as a secondary indicator of insurer operating health. I say secondary because it commonly affects policy performance far less significantly than investment performance on managed assets.

Read More…

September 3, 2015

182 A Discussion of Risk: Percentages Be Damned, I Need Income

Concept Cartoon Illustration of Funny Businessman and Economic Crisis or Recession


Well, we take a week off from recording/producing the financial procast and the market decides it’s going to fall apart. I wasn’t aware that our podcast was the glue that holds it all together?

In light of that, and the fact that today marks the 3rd anniversary of our show, we decided to take a break from our normal show format. We dedicated today’s show entirely to a discussion of risk. Read More…

August 20, 2015

181 Cars, Houses and Yard Sale Knick Knacks

garage sale


In episode 181 of the Financial Procast, here’s what we discuss:

Money Flees U.S. stock funds

SEC commissioners push for greater pricing transparency for bonds

Variable Annuity surrender charges aren’t what some would have you think

Rents rise to “crazy” levels

An as a reminder, there will not be a new episode of the financial procast next week. But we’ll be back in a couple weeks with a new episode.

If you would like to reach out to us, we’re always happy to hear from you.