The Investment Scientist

What Can Happen When You Have a Life Insurance Salesman as Financial Advisor

Posted on: January 19, 2012

Financial Salesman

In an online forum, a doctor’s wife shared with me her story that should serve as a cautionary tale for all doctors.

Her husband had a solo medical practice. They had a “financial advisor” who advised them to put their saving into a $5mm cash value life insurance policy. They believed the product not only provided protection in the event of the doctor’s death but also was a great savings vehicle.

Last July, her husband was struck by an uninsured drunk driver. He suffered brain damage. Though he recovered from the coma, he was unable to practice medicine any more.

In one night, the family’s livelihood was turned upside down. He was not killed, so she could not claim the $5mm death benefit. They had not saved much outside of the life insurance policy. The cash value of the life insurance was only a fraction of what they had put into it in premium payments.

On top of that, the practice took a few months to close down, during which, rents and overhead expenses had to be paid.

Now the family lives on a meager social security disability income, and the wife is struggling to get back into the job market.

There are three lessons all doctors and their families can learn from this:

1. You must have disability insurance.

I have found that most doctors have more than sufficient life insurance, thanks to all the salesmen out there, yet few have sufficient disability insurance. In reality, after an accident, disability occurs four times more frequently than death, and its financial impact on the family is often more severe than death.

2. You must have business overhead and expense (BOE) insurance.

That is, if you own your practice. This insurance pays for business overhead expenses for up to two years in the event the owner is disabled.

3. Most important, you should hire a fiduciary financial advisor

in other words, a financial advisor whose advice is not slanted by the commissions he or she receives. Generally speaking, there are three types of financial advisors: 1) those who are licensed to sell products (they are compensated by commissions paid by the financial firms); 2) those who are licensed to give advice (they are compensated by fees paid directly by clients); and 3) those who are licensed to do both (they are compensated by both commissions and fees). You should always opt for type 2, since they have the least conflict of interest.

Type 2 advisors are called fee-only financial advisors. I am one, but I am not the only one. You can find other fee-only financial advisors at the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) website.

Get my white paper: The Informed Investor: 5 Key Concepts for Financial Success.

1 Response to "What Can Happen When You Have a Life Insurance Salesman as Financial Advisor"

Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. I really like it.Definition of Life Insurance – Life Insurance Quotes And Term Life Insurance Agency Specializing in life Insurance Quotes.It not only provides financial protection to the dependants of the insurance policy holder, but it as well suggests a grand device for maintaining one’s funds.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Michael Zhuang is principal of MZ Capital, a fee-only independent advisory firm based in Washington, DC.


%d bloggers like this: