Insurance Choice

The Skeptics Guide to Term and Whole Life Policies

A perception realignment of Whole Life and Term Life Insurance policies

Whole Life – A policy for YOU

Whole Life policies provide more than merely a death benefit for your family. It is primarily a policy for YOU. A whole life policy has a cash value component in that your premiums don’t disappear but rather your premiums accrue value over time. There are obvious advantages of this type of policy because now YOU can borrow or withdraw funds as needed because your policy has a tangible value.

One of the greatest benefits of a whole life policy is what the accrual of the cash value can actually do for YOU. Because a whole life policy is not a “traditional” investment, it is not taxed as such. So what would prevent you from funneling almost all of your cash into this vehicle? The federal government that’s who! The SEC has placed a limit where your policy then is considered an investment.

A modified endowment contract (commonly referred to as a MEC) is a tax qualification of a life insurance policy which has been funded with more money than allowed under federal tax laws. A life insurance policy which becomes a MEC is no longer considered life insurance by the IRS, but instead it is considered a modified endowment contract.

The loophole in the MEC law is you can not be limited in how many policies you can fund. Even though they have set a limit on an individual policy, there is no limit to the amount of policies you can purchase.

Advantages

• You now have the ability to become your own banker by setting up multiple policies and borrowing from yourself
• You can borrow against these policies and pay it back to yourself with interest but it is tax free – a tax-free retirement policy that still has a death benefit.
• Your cash is essentially held in escrow, untouchable for years, by the provider while they invest that money and make a return. After 5-7 years, you are now in the black with real cash buying and loaning power.
• No term involved…so the policy never ends, unless you fail to pay premiums.

Disadvantages

• You have to have a lot of money to afford the premiums of more than one policy or for it to be advantageous to get you to the MIC limit.
• As an investment, this is out of reach for the normal person
• Unpaid loans and withdrawals will reduce the guaranteed death benefit and policy cash value. Loans accrue interest.

Term Life – A policy for YOUR HEIRS

With term life, you choose to pay your premiums over an allotted period of time, and in exchange, the insurer agrees to pay your beneficiaries as stated in the policy if you pass away within that time.

If you choose a term policy, you are smart enough to understand that Term Life insurance isn’t an investment vehicle for the majority of the population. If you can afford high premium then disregard that last sentence as it is smarter to opt for whole life IF you can snuggle up to the MEC limit and still afford the premiums. Term Life insurance is playing defense and nothing more. It is a catastrophic, care-for-your-family, not-stiff-you on the funeral policy.

Advantages

• Premiums are really cheap and most term policy premiums remain flat.
• If you pass within the term, your beneficiaries are paid the full death benefit as long as premiums have been paid.

Disadvantages

• Once your term is up, so is your death benefit. If you purchased a 20-year term and do not pass within that 20 years, your policy is done. You will have to purchase another policy and at a much higher price due to your much older age.
• No Cash Value because you were essentially renting a policy. So, you better have a traditional investment in place or you will have to rely on your family or government for retirement funds.

The Enigma of BNI

I was skeptical when first invited to BNI Tuscaloosa by my friend Robby Hart. I knew of BNI, in that I had merely heard of the organization. The meeting was structured and altogether unremarkable. I remember thinking it was kind of corny. A lot of stuffy older gentlemen in a room delivering a sales pitch to each other so I thought.

That was 4 years ago. Another friend, Tyler Jolly, recruited me yet again for a new BNI chapter launching in Tuscaloosa. I went and my first impression still rang true as it was very wrote and structured. I couldn’t see past the clichéd way meetings are run to see just how effective BNI can be. Two hours after leaving the meeting, I received a call from Josh Angel with JMF Technologies alerting me that he had referred someone to me who needed exactly what I offered.

Well, I still serve that client today. I vacillated for about two minutes between the cliched, wrote style of BNI meetings and the mechanism that powers the whole show. I joined. I now see the reason behind the structure and I fully buy into the concept behind BNI. I have since worked with Trisha Conyers, Mary’s Cakes & Pastries, Zealco Insurance, Ryan Whitson Insurance, and Tech Smart. Those are just the people I have worked with from within the group.

Almost every industry is represented in BNI Powerhouse. We have commercial and mortgage lender First Federal, small business bank First National, and the financial advising group Raymond Jaymes.

Niche industries are represented such as Northport Funeral Service, Mary Kay, Jim n Nicks Catering, and 15th Street Pharmacy.

BNI is the perfect marketing vehicle for traditional industries like insurance, real estate, construction, and service industries. Those are represented by American National, Blue Creek Realty, TitleWorks, Holman Contracting, Tech Smart, Reeves Landscaping, Craig Worley, Colonial Printing, and Burnum Hahn.

However, as you all know, BNI may not be for everyone. For example, my friend Scott Parrott with Legacy Automotive came to one of our meetings on “Visitor’s Day” just to see what BNI was really all about. After returning several weeks, he decided that it wouldn’t be a good fit, so he didn’t join. So, all that to say, there are a lot of positives that come with BNI but it depends on the nature of your business. Every BNI group is different and you will never know if BNI is right for you until you try it out.

14 Websites for Clean, Striking, Modern Design Inspiration

Some men give up their designs when they have almost reached the goal; While others, on the contrary, obtain a victory by exerting, at the last moment, more vigorous efforts than ever before.

Herodotus

Yes, I know there are countless posts about website design inspiration, but this one is different! Actually, these are a handful of websites that I believe to be best in their respective categories which range from full-page photography to CSS3 animated illustrated designs.

There are at least a few design elements on each website in which you can draw inspiration. Peruse these 14 examples and incorporate some of these elements and techniques into your future designs.

Daniel Filler

A picture is worth a thousand words. This is certainly true for Daniel Filler’s quasi full-screen homepage. Notice the depth delivered from the intense focus on Mr. Filler. The picture brilliantly delivers his message: “I am a design geek and a whiz on a mac. Hire me.” The rounded CSS button is a little hokie as a sharp, rectangular button would work better.
DANIEL FILLER

Iceberg Quest

Beautiful color and yet not distracting. The user is presented with very little information which is required because of the aggresive design. If there were more information, text, or widgets, the user would be overloaded and quickly flee to a less off-putting design.
FULL PAGE

Green Woods Country Club

My eye is drawn to one thing: The gorgeous design of the top-half of the page. I can easily overlook the stock icons and poor typography below because the brilliantly crafted design above. Imagine what this site would look like if the upper container were taller and a small menu was presented at the bottom.
GREEN WOODS

Jolly Heating and Air

A full page slider with a transparent feel to the interaction between text and image. This is a very elegant design and is usually seen on higher end corporate sites. It’s hard to believe this is a small business website. Yes, the shortcode use and lack of CSS on sub-pages is a giveaway, but still a solid attempt at simple, elegant design.
Jolly Heating

Doorstep Dairy

This design has deceivingly good CSS. Clean typography, muted colors, and great illustrations. If you forget what Doorstep Dairy does, you are quickly reminded via Doorstep’s logo, graphics, content presentation.
MILK

City of Moundville Alabama

Moundville is a small city on the outskirts of Tuscaloosa, AL, but there is nothing small about this ambitious project. A full screen rotating background that incorporates stunning pictures that really show off the city’s qualities. The sub-pages are a little plain and typography is simple enough, but what the website does well is capturing your attention.
Moundville

Um..Russian Website?

This is probably the best representation of layered images that attempts to create a “limitless” effect. Similar to the technique used in the film “Limitless”, the photoshopped images give the impression the landscape is infinite. See utah.gov for similar design with the addition of a parallax effect. If there is a better example of this style, I haven’t seen it.
PHOTO FULLSCREEN

Relogik

I don’t know why I like the Relogik website but my guess is the old adage is true, “Keep it simple, stupid”.
RELOGIK

Trafika

I only like the top portion of this site. It is a one-page website with a very clunky and inefficient scroll. Nevertheless, the textured overlay, the use of color and the edginess of the typography make for a fun, urban design.
TRAFIKA

Jax Vineyard

Spend some time on this site and you will grow to love it. Has e-commerce ever looked this good? I know they have only a handful of wines to sell, but it is perfectly executed. Integrated into the site is what appears to be a slider whose margin extends to the top of the page, but thanks to the alignment of the bottles and proper use of z-index, it works.
VINEYARD

Identiq Interactive

Identiq is a wordpress theme. It would be perfect for a design agency, photographer, or architect firm.
WORDPRESS THEME

Adopt a Yeti

When you don’t have a lot of content to present, you can take risks with the design. Falling snow and a fun-loving yeti are come to life using CSS3 and Html5 techniques.
YETI

Tradewinds

This is my favorite design out of all 14 sites. This is perfection. I want to go buy tea now. Detail is meticulously implemented down to the occasional lens flare.
TRADEWINDS

Arctica

Arctica is not included in this list due to it’s design (which is tacky), but because of the slider used. The Revolution slider or Slider Revolution is just that, revolutionary. Revolution has intro parameters, end parameters, unlimited layers, video, animation and the list goes on.
AIT

seo color wrap

Page One SEO Vehicle Wrap Contest

Attention Graphic Designers!

Very Simple- I need a design for a vehicle wrap for my company vehicle (model unknown).

Winning design gets $250 cash!

Ill provide you with a few wraps I like for inspiration and some must-have’s for my wrap…

seo Vehicle wrap

Magnifying glass hovers over page one of Google showing results

wrap seo

Much too simple but would incorporate my call to action, “Are you page one?”

 

seo color wrap

I want a full color wrap. My colors are similar to this.

 

I love the 3d aspect and def want an element like this that fits my biz

I love the clean 3d aspect and def want an element like this that fits my biz

 

 

My must have’s:

3-d element

full color doesnt matter if its my color scheme or google color scheme

large call to action “Are you page one?”

smaller text- I’m Adam. I get your business on page one of Google where your potential customers can find you

phone 394 9954

www.impageone.com

 

Let’s Get Started

 

Page One SEO - Phonebook

7 reasons NOT to advertise in the Yellow pages

7 reasons NOT to advertise in the Yellow pages

1. The Beeline to the Bin

You immediately throw your phonebook away(you know you do)! No one opens them anymore…

Super Pages – Known as one of the largest yellow page companies, Super Pages experienced a 61.3% decrease in revenue from 2009 to 2010. Additionally, their net profit/loss went from breakeven in 2009 to a loss of $16.83 million in 2010.

Dex One – Producer of dex and dex plus yellow pages, the company experienced a 63% drop in revenue from 2009 to 2010. Additionally, their net loss increased from $435 million in 2009 to $903 million in 2010; they defaulted on $6.9 billion in loans, and they have $6.3 billion in debt

See what Bill Gates says about the decline of the Yellow Pages and Print Media.

2. The ROI Stinks

Because of #1, the Roi sucks. Look how SEO is crushing them…

SEO ROI

3. Where the Eyeballs Go, the Money Goes

Page One SEO - Why choose SEO

4. Inflated Pricing

For decades, the yellow pages were the main outlet for local advertising. Ummmm, this has changed…Depending on the size and location, an ad can cost around $2,000 per year. Add in extra for designing a customized ad per letter or bold font. I used to pay $3,800/year for my two ads in one  of the phone books. I know of a business in town who spent $12k a year. With the impossible task of tracking a yellow pages ad, how can you justify paying even $1k/year???

5. There are 3 Phonebooks!

You are throwing darts at a wall trying to nail a customer unless you advertise in all 3 books. That is a losing proposition. In order to have a business card size ad in all 3 books, it will cost you around $1800/month. I know you are scared to pull all of your advertising from the phonebook, but I think sinking $2k/month in a dying medium no one looks at anymore, hoping a handful of people a year see it, is terrifying.

6. Extinction

Meet who killed the phone books…

Google Computer Screen
7. Mobile Browsing

The final blow to the books was smart phones. Which one have you seen lately: Someone carrying around a phone book under their arm everywhere they go OR someone using a cell phone? Thank you and good night.

Page One SEO - Customers

Five Reasons you need SEO

Don’t think you need SEO? Think again. The list of reasons you need my service….

5 reasons you need SEO…

 

 1. Phonebooks are Dead.

I can sum up why you need Page One SEO - Phonebooksearch engine optimization (SEO) in three words…phonebooks are dead. SEO killed them. My prediction is phonebooks will no longer exist in two years. You will no longer see the yellow plastic bag on your doorstep. You won’t have to make the obligatory walk to the trash can(which you do!) Let me ask you a question…and be honest; when is the last time you opened a phonebook up to look up a number? Case closed. See my 8 reasons not to advertise in the Yellow Pages if you aren’t convinced. I can make a case that SEO should be your #1 investment(not an expense) in your marketing/advertising budget. That leads us to our next reason why you need SEO.

2. Return on Investment

The return on investment(ROI) on SEO is much higher than all other forms of advertising and monumentally higher than print media. The infographic below shows the dominance of SEO’s return on investment…SEO ROI

 

3. Cell Phone Usage

With the rise of smart phones, internet usage on-the-go is surging. Look at the stats…

  • 80% of humans own a mobile phone.
  • There are 91.4 million smartphone in the United States alone.
  • Out of the 5 billion mobile phones in the world, 1.08 billion are smartphones.
  • 9 out of 10 smartphone users use their phone on a daily basis.
  • The most popular smartphone activity is texting, followed by internet browsing and playing games.
  • People between the ages of 25 and 34 are more likely to own a smartphone (62%) than any other age group.
  • iPhone users download more apps on a monthly basis (48) when compared to users of other mobile operating systems.

This is the final nail in the Yellow book coffin. Picture of which one are you more likely to see :carrying phonebook and cell phone.  This medium of connecting customers to businesses because results are:

  • Instant
  • Relevant
  • Geographically relevant

4. Google Searches

When looking for businesses, 86% start online. In July, 2009 there were 10.5 billion searches on search engines. 70% of users find a website via search engines like Google. This is self explanatory. If your website isn’t ranked high or you don’t appear high in the local results you lose out on this huge, ever-growing majority of Americans who search for services online.

Page One SEO - Why choose SEO

5. Website Linked to Business Legitimacy

Consumers are increasingly equating your website with legitimacy- I hear it more and more, “I was on your website and I read…”, “It said on your website..”. You no longer hear, “I saw your full page ad in the Yellow Pages” or “I saw your ad in the newspaper”. Sidenote, I’m not wamblasting all print media. There are some forms of print media that I use every year in my other business, so Im not saying drop all print advertising. I’m merely suggesting that two of the largest print media outlets are going the way of the dinosaur. Think about it, most are getting their news online from two or three trusted blogs/sites and statistics show a growing number are reading their local news online.(show declining subscription) Im off my newspaper and phonebook soapbox.

The public is putting more stock into the look and feel of your website. They judge the functionality and accessibility within the first minute and generally form their opinion of your business based off what they saw in that first 60 seconds. With a website being so important in the branding and reputation of your business, how much more imperitive is it that your website be served up as #1 in the results.