Tread Lightly Chapter Guide
What is "Tread Lightly"?
Tread Lightly is a colloquialism we at TFP often use around the office. For the uninitiated, it means that you should be careful about the decisions you make, as you can very easily cause yourself irrevocable damage.
Life insurance is a complex, confusing product, and mistakes regarding either an in-force policy or the purchase of a large amount of insurance can be dramatic and costly. If you are somehow involved in the management or purchase of large amounts of life insurance, this guide will give you clear directions on how to navigate that process.
1. Obstacles to securing insurance coverage
Tread Lightly’s opening section outlines a broad overview of the major obstacles that stand as potential barriers to achieving our definition of success. If you fully understand these issues, you will be a more informed buyer, which is especially important in dealing with an industry that often benefits from uninformed consumers. By being unable to advocate for yourself, you can be susceptible to making costly mistakes.
2. Finding an advisor worthy of your trust
A major theme of Tread Lightly is trust. During the process of purchasing a policy – or maintaining a portfolio during your lifetime, there are few decisions more crucial than finding the right advisor and agency. Tread Lightly aims to efficiently deliver our reader a snapshot of the type of advisor that we believe is worthy of your trust.
3. Policy purchase checklists and guides
Our goal is to ensure that you are buying your insurance in a responsible, prudent way that will keep you from becoming a disgruntled policy owner. You simply “can’t know what you don’t know”, which is why this section is at the heart of Tread Lightly. Our intent is for our checklists to take you down a path where you find yourself confident that you are getting the proper information while making critical decisions. In the end, it will be up to your advisor to find you the answers that you need – but these checklists are the guides that will help you understand what questions to ask after you’ve determined the right person to be asking them.
4. Navigating the underwriting process
Did you know that you should never submit an application before your advisor and their underwriting team have fully prepared your file and have a complete understanding (both financially and medically) of your history ?
It is impossible to understate the impact a great advisor team has on behalf of the client during the underwriting process. Tread Lightly uses this section to not only reinforce how your advisor should be guiding you through the underwriting process, but we also share our firm’s methods and philosophy of underwriting. The bottom line is that before you chose an agency, you must have a broad understanding of the “rights and wrongs” of policy submission. This is because building your file in the most honest and favorable light possible can literally change policy prices by thousands upon thousands (and in large cases, even more!) of dollars.
This section includes the “Underwriting Checklist” and “The Medical Examination Guide.”
5. Maintaining the policy
To achieve our definition of success we recommend every life insurance owner review their policies at least once every two years. However, it is crucial that our readers understand that maintaining a life insurance portfolio doesn’t stop at the time of purchase (or after a review.) Owners must understand the risks that their policies face. Just like your overall financial strategy, your life insurance philosophy must be dynamic; as your goals change, so should your coverage. This section includes “The Eight Biggest Risks to Policy Maintenance”, “How to Maintain Your Policy” and the “Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust Checklist.”
Industry Experts on TREAD LIGHTLY
Tread Lightly is a great resource for any person in a fiduciary role with respect to a life insurance policy. Mike Smith brings his many years of experience in a concise summation addressing all the issues that a fiduciary needs to consider. Being a fiduciary for a life insurance policy is often regarded as an auto-pilot type duty. However, it is much more than that. Tread Lightly walks you through the various steps required for a fiduciary. Tread Lightly is an essential guide to understanding the basics and efficiently fulfilling your obligation.
TONY STEUER CLU, LA
- Author & Insurance Literacy Advocate
Tread Lightly is an invaluable resource to anyone who owns or contemplates owning a large amount of life insurance. It offers uncharted and long overdue insight into a very complex process. Regardless of your ultimate course of action, you will be glad you read it. Tread Lightly provides peace of mind for the high-net-worth client and the professional advisor.
Tread Lightly will create an environment where life insurance policy owners and advocates can be well educated in the important decisions they are making and can dramatically improve the transparency of that industry. This book could also serve as a resource for any financial advisor attempting to grow their life insurance business the right way.