What’s In A Name?

I’d like to start our message with an exercise I have found highly successful in making financial planning conversations more productive.

  1. Please think of the person you love most.
  2. List five reasons why you love them or think them unique.
  3. Look at your list. Is their name listed as one of the reasons?
  4. Now ask yourself, would I love that person any less, or would my reasons for loving that person change, if that person had a different name?

Please save your answers until the end, and we’ll revisit them.

All too often in my planning conversations, I find productive discussions come to a screeching halt when certain strategies or products are being assembled to address a solution that moments earlier was found to be appropriate if not ideal.  None most common than in the case of life insurance and annuities.  These, all too often, can be deal breakers as soon as the name is brought up.  When digging deeper these reactions are often founded on unpleasant buying experiences rather than proper knowledge and understanding of these products. This article aims to put things in perspective, rather than defend or promote these products, through an unbiased and neutral lens.  We believe that the best plan starts with having an open and transparent conversation without a predetermined agenda. Most importantly, keeping an open mind to what is being discussed so that no stone is left unturned.  For decisions, for or against, to be based on substance and understanding rather than emotion.

We hear repeatedly of how unpleasant the experience is for so many speaking with life insurance and annuity agents.  They sit in your kitchen or living room, eat all your pastries, tell you that without these products your financial future and that of your family’s will be in shambles, and won’t take no for an answer.  So to get rid of them you buy a policy you may not understand, only to further regret it after you speak with your friends and other advisors who understand it no better than you.  Why wouldn’t you resist?

In our previous article, BAD PRODUCTS OR BAD ADVICE, we alluded to the concept that there are no bad products, only bad advice and that two people may have an opposite experience with the same product.  The reason we chose life insurance and annuities to write about is simply because that is where we find the most reluctance on behalf of consumers of financial products to engage.  Furthermore, those seeking financial stability attempt, on many occasions, to emulate the asset building practices of the wealthy yet fail to recognize that these very products are a core asset class of their financial wealth.  We find that the disconnect is too often in the advice and the manner in which it’s given.  Not the products themselves.

That is why, when we share the exercise in the beginning of this message, we have yet to hear anyone answer YES to question 4.  The fact is that names don’t matter.  The substance and value (the reasons) these people bring to your life do.  So, let substance and value of any product or strategy determine its place in your financial plan rather than the product’s name.  If you don’t like the experience you are having then change the experience before you reject the product or strategy.  Let it be the advice provider’s loss, not yours.  Your loved ones, especially those too young to speak for themselves, depend on it.


Joseph Yagar is a Registered Representative and Investment Advisor Representative of and offers securities and investment advisory services solely through Equity Services, Inc. 675 3rd Avenue, 9th Floor, New York NY 10017, (646) 898 3562.  Member FINRA/SIPC.  Broker/Dealer and Registered Investment Advisor affiliate of National Life Insurance Company, Montpelier VT.  Legatus Group, LLC is independent of Equity Services, Inc. TC97756 (1017)1