The idea and the development of this book didn’t spark from an extraordinary series of events, but instead the natural progression of our business practice.
Too often in this industry, we see individual biases that are rarely in the best interest of the client. There are many factors that lead these biases to develop, but they are almost always driven by compensation, carrier/agency rewards, employee benefits, and sales pressure. The effect is often an environment where personal reward is more heavily weighted than advocating for the client’s best interest. - Preface


Mike SmithAbout the Author

Michael R. Smith is President of The Financial Partners Group LLC, the parent company of The Financial Partners & TFP Brokerage. He graduated from Virginia Tech in 1983 & began working in the financial services industry that same year. Mike's unique perspective shared in TREAD LIGHTLY has been shaped by the numerous agent & management positions he has held throughout his career and TREAD LIGHTLY is the culmination of both his industry experience and passion for protecting and educating his clients.  As a direct result of developing TREAD LIGHTLY, Mike created, an organization committed to furthering the life insurance industry through accountability and dialogue. His belief in consumer education and that there is no "one-size-fits-all" approach to financial services, is a cornerstone of both TREAD LIGHTLY and  Mike is the proud father of two children, Nick and Kennedy, happily engaged, and has been known to sneak off to the golf course when time permits.

About Tread Lightly

Tread Lightly is a guide to life insurance for the affluent client.  This book (including the guides and checklists) is a resource for any buyer or Client Advocate involved in the purchase or maintenance of large insurance policies.

Tread Lightly is for any client, Client Advocate or advisor involved in the purchase or management of a large amount of life insurance.  Examples include:  estate planning attorneys, business lawyers, CPAs, Trust Offices, members and employees of family offices, insurance agents and anyone else acting in a fiduciary capacity regarding life insurance.


TFP Brokerage:

TFP Brokerage: "Always Your Advocate."

About TFP Brokerage

 TFP Brokerage (TFP) is an independent life insurance brokerage general agency.  We are equity members of AimcoR, a national insurance marketing organization which represents the interests of 38 independent brokerage general agencies across the US.  We also maintain a traditional broker dealer relationship with Financial Telesis, Inc.

 TFP was founded in 2008 by Mike Smith, the author of this book, as an extension of his general agency to offer and promote other products and services to the agency advisory team. The roots of this organization date back to 1983 when Mike first joined the life insurance industry. TFP is a Georgia LLC with 4 member owners and became completely independent from any carrier in 2011.

 TFP’s business model encompasses forming and maintaining strategic partnerships with other professional firms that offer financial and insurance advice but don’t have expertise in the life insurance business.  We have experience helping our partner firms establish a meaningful business as an extension of their core businesses.

The processes and checklists we have developed over the years are the key to achieving our definition of success when it comes to owning or maintaining life insurance.  To learn more about our Partnership Program, please visit


Never hesitate to contact us with your concerns, questions or needs.  Our mission is to generate transparency, advocacy and clarity in the life insurance industry.