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Financial Friday Round-Up: September 20 – September 24, 2021

Welcome to the latest Financial Friday Round-Up, our weekly column filled with the best things for you to read, watch or listen to regarding finance around the web. Below you will find a podcast on women and work, an article on the importance of mentoring, news about mortgage qualifications, and more.

Two Indicators: Women and Work

Despite making progress towards equality for women in the workplace, some statistics still nag at experts who work to raise the status of women in business — like how fewer companies are run by women than men. This podcast episode from Planet Money highlights two reporters who are breaking down the biggest obstacles for equality.

Paying Your Rent on Time Can Now Help You Qualify for a Mortgage

Some lenders are introducing a new tool that may help renters qualify for a mortgage. By monitoring which renters pay on time, this change in the industry could help more people with slim credit histories or low scores buy homes. Check out this report from Money for more information.

The Importance Of Mentorship And Why Starting Early Is Key

Worth released an article this week on the impact of mentoring young women early and the importance of investing in younger generations. This inspiring piece collects quotes from girls who had mentors through the pandemic and the positive impact they had on them.

These 2 Emotional Biases Could Kill Your Retirement

Our money habits are always tied up in our emotions, and planning for retirement is no exception. This Kiplinger guide outlines the emotional attitudes to avoid when saving for retirement, such as overconfidence and following the herd. Check out this piece for further detail.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: September 13 - September 17, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: August 30 - September 3, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: August 23 – August 27, 2021

Why All Families Need Life Insurance Today

COVID-19 has been a part of our daily lives for almost two years now, and the pandemic has raised people’s anxieties and awareness regarding their financial health. Before 2020, there were 30 million families in America without life insurance. Another 30 million did not have enough in their policy to cover the loss of a primary wage earner.

Now that over 600,000 Americans have felt the financial impact of the loss of a loved one, the importance of life insurance is clear for more families than it has ever been before. This need for coverage means that now, more than ever, it is our duty to raise awareness about financial solutions, dispel misconceptions about life insurance and bring all people financial security and peace of mind.

"Over 600,000 Americans have felt the financial impact of the loss of a loved one — the importance of life insurance is clear."

Buying a Policy is Easier Than Ever

Automated underwriting has revolutionized the industry recently with almost 90% of life insurers currently offering or planning to offer this simplified process. With an average of nine days from applying to receiving a final decision, automated underwriting makes buying life insurance two-thirds faster than the 27 days it used to take.

Furthermore, e-signatures are now accepted by 90% of life insurance companies to simplify the application process and honor social distancing norms. 56% of insurers are allowing e-delivery of policies as well. This is good news for those who wish to protect families and safeguard generational wealth, as 50% of Americans surveyed have said that an automated underwriting process means they are more likely to buy a policy.

"Automated underwriting has revolutionized the industry recently with almost 90% of life insurers currently offering or planning to offer this simplified process."

Life Insurance Gives You Security and Peace of Mind

Life insurance is not only for financial health. It can also bring emotional benefits like peace of mind and lower stress levels. For example, upon knowing their families are financially protected, 69% of policyholders noted less stress than before they were covered. In fact, nine out of ten people with life insurance agreed that owning a policy gave them peace of mind.

Show your loved ones you care by protecting them against unknown risks. Financial security and emotional well-being are only two of the profound benefits that coverage can bring — there are also policy features that can be tailored to each individual, from living benefits to ABRs to protection against market downturn. There has never been a better time to buy life insurance, so if you or a loved one is still uninsured, connect with an agent today.

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Financial Friday Round-Up: September 13 – September 17, 2021

Welcome to the latest Financial Friday Round-Up, our weekly column filled with the best things for you to read, watch or listen to regarding finance around the web. Below you will find articles on the benefits of business coaches, borrowing money from a policy, the best places to retire, and more.

How Entrepreneurs Can Get the Most Out of a Business Coach

The Wall Street Journal published a testimonial from an entrepreneur singing the praises of business coaches this week. The best coaches challenge small business owners and keep them on track to their goals. Read this piece for more information on how coaches help small business owners achieve their dreams.

How to Use Life Insurance as Collateral for a Loan

When looking for a loan, most people may not know that they can borrow money from their life insurance policies. Whether it’s a whole life policy with an accumulated cash value or a process called collateral assignment, check out this piece from Money to get educated on all the ways life insurance can go beyond the death benefit.

The 25 Best Places To Enjoy Your Retirement In 2021

Forbes looked through the data on more than 500 places people retire in America — data like air quality, walkability and doctor availability — and narrowed them down to the 25 best places to retire for their readers. Check out this piece to see you could call any of these places home.

America's Inflation Story Is Entering a New Phase

Inflation is a complicated process, so it can help to read accounts from experts on recent spikes and trends for the future. This piece from The Overshoot argues that spikes from reopening and motor vehicle supply chain interruptions are slowing down — read this piece for an in-depth picture at how inflation works.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: August 30 - September 3, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: August 23 – August 27, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: August 16 – August 20, 2021

Share Your Umbrella Podcast: A Conversation with Victoria Le & Corey Vuu

The two top producers at First Financial Security sat down with the hosts of Share Your Umbrella this week to talk about their long run of success and what it took to become the inaugural Chairman's Club members. Victoria Le and Corey Vuu have built an incredible team over the years, and they gave us insight into what they look for in recruiting, the resilience their team has shown since the pandemic began and how to overcome fear to find success.

For this blog post, we have highlighted some excerpts of their interview for all to read.

See below for an excerpt of our conversation — you can listen to the full episode here.

How did you come to start working with FFS?

Corey Vuu: Back in 2009, we were doing catering. Shortly thereafter, I was recruited to teach. Then, there was a catalyst moment: we went to Virginia to meet up with Shirley Luu, and we got to see the Business Opportunity Presentation. It was in that presentation that she talked about the unlimited aspects of this business — income as well as territory. Then, she also mentioned the part about having the opportunity to control your fate and your destiny. It was at that moment, in 2009, that we had our lives changed.

When did you decide to go all-in with FFS?

Victoria Le: I was unsure in the beginning because I didn’t know anything about the industry. The insurance side and the investment side were so new to me. When I finally understood the value that I'm able to pass along to my community — the knowledge that I've learned and what I’m able to do one-on-one to help each individual — I found what I do is not simply selling to people out there. That completely changed my outlook. Slowly, I redirected more time into my FFS business, and let go of what I was doing before.

Did you have any challenges during your transition to FFS? How did you overcome them?

Victoria Le: With any new career or new business, there are so many challenges, so many unknown factors that lie ahead. To deal with those challenges, I had to put a lot of time and effort into learning the ins and outs of the industry, to understand the structure — a lot of reading and a lot of learning.

Corey Vuu: When you’re starting something new like this, you have to accept the fact that there’s the big F-word everywhere — it’s not the one that you're thinking. It’s “fear.” There’s a lot of fear: fear of the unknown, fear of uncertainty, fear in the form of “Can I do this or not? Am I good enough?” Please, if you're brand new in this business, accept that you will be swimming in a sea of the word “fear.” We've been through it. When you embrace that, you expect the fear, then it is not as overwhelming.

There’s going to be a lot of pitfalls, a lot of setbacks, a lot of challenges. It's very tough. We used to sit in front of a client and just sweat. So do not expect this to be easy. Success is challenging, but not impossible. Sometimes FFS does not stand for First Financial Security — it stands for “Fear, Fear, and then, Success.”

Speaking only to the new people right now: you are my biggest heroes. You guys are amazing. Whatever it is you're going through, Victoria and I have been through it: the challenge of having to manage family time and the commitment to growing your business. It's not easy, but if you want to have financial independence, you've got to go to war and fight for it.

Victoria Le: What you do is not easy, but it was never supposed to be easy. If you want to achieve greatness, you’ll have to go through a number of bruises and scars until you get to success. You’ll have to face a lot of rejections and be okay with that. When people say no to you, be okay with it. Maybe they’re saying no now, but, another year down the road, they may say yes. You continue and work on understanding that this is very valuable, and what you bring to the fight is valuable. We're just not selling something, we're educating people and helping to guide them.

We named the podcast Share Your Umbrella because umbrellas are an insurance symbol — they cover, shelter and help people. For us, the umbrella represents not only the products that shelter our clients from risk but also the opportunity to build a business in the financial services industry.  

With that in mind, do you have any stories of sharing that umbrella with others? What does that concept mean for you? 

Corey Vuu: When I look at the cross-section of our team members, the composition of our team, they’re over 90% women. On average, their profile looks like this: they’re about 40-years-old, they've got two to six kids, and they’ve sacrificed seven or eight years of their professional career years to raise their children — one of the most noble things to do — but with seven or eight years away from the workforce, you do lose your luster in an employer’s eyes.

What's beautiful about the FFS opportunity, though, is that we don’t care about that. The most successful people on our team are these women — their earnings are

Financial Friday Round-Up: September 6 – September 10, 2021

Welcome to the latest Financial Friday Round-Up, our weekly column filled with the best things for you to read, watch or listen to regarding finance around the web. Below you will find advice from a retail entrepreneur, an article on teaching kids about finance, and more.

Generation Owe: Here's the Average Debt at Every Age

Money released this article this week on how much money each generation owes in debt. Reporting from a new Experian study, the piece finds that Gen X holds more debt than the older baby boomers or the younger Millennials. Read the full piece for more insight on debt and demographics.

5 Tips From A Retail Entrepreneur Who Grew An 8-Figure Business

Forbes interviewed successful retail entrepreneur Ebony Swank on the five steps she took to build an eight-figure business. Read this for solid advice on how to play up your creativity, learn from your mistakes and manage your cash effectively.

Money Doesn’t Grow On Trees: How To Teach Kids About Finance

Financial education is an important step to bringing people financial security and peace of mind, and the sooner we teach financial concepts, the more likely that information sticks. Worth wrote up a useful guide to having financial conversations as early as possible — read more for the bigger picture.

Financial Fixes to Make after the Pandemic

The pandemic changed saving and investing habits for most people. As the nature of the pandemic changes and more people resume their pre-lockdown lifestyles, is it possible to keep those habits with all the expenses that come with leaving the house? The answer is yes, and Kiplinger has a great guide on the subject.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: August 30 - September 3, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: August 23 – August 27, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: August 16 – August 20, 2021

Industry Insights

Industry Insights is our quarterly round-up of recent news and data on the state of the insurance industry today. With the latest issue of LIMRA’s Insurance Barometer Study, a fuller picture of the 18-month influence of COVID-19 emerges — Americans have seen the toll that financial insecurity takes on families, and demand for life insurance is higher than ever before.

However, a coverage gap persists, as it always has, largely through misconceptions about how to purchase life insurance. Many families are mistaken about how much their coverage would cost, how complicated the process is and whether they would even qualify. This makes raising awareness of how to purchase life insurance one of the industry’s top priorities, and Life Insurance Awareness Month as important as ever. Check out the reports and studies below for the full story.

Study Finds COVID-19 Spurs Greater Interest in Life Insurance

COVID-19 left 31% of consumers more likely to buy a life insurance policy in the next years, with Millennials emerging as the generation with the greatest increase in demand at 45%. Financial security and family protection are on the minds of millions — 42% of Americans would fall into financial hardship should their primary wage earner pass away — while awareness of the value of life insurance skyrockets.

This leaves a gap between America’s record-low life insurance ownership rate and the demand for coverage reaching an all-time high. This gap is largely caused by hesitancy due to misconceptions about the process of buying life insurance.

How can we close the gap between demand and ownership? Read the full study for Life Insurance Awareness Month to get a bigger picture of this rise in demand and how agents can bring families the financial security they need.

Common Misconceptions Prevent Americans from Getting Life Insurance They Need

While consumers understand the importance of life insurance now more than ever due to the pandemic, too many Americans are still mistaken about key aspects that keep them from buying coverage. These misconceptions include things like who would qualify for a policy, barriers of cost and concerns about a complicated buying process.

For example, 53% of potential buyers admit that they do not know what product they need or how much coverage is enough for them. 47% know they need coverage but have put off purchasing, while 36% believe they would simply not qualify for a policy when there is a chance they will.

Read this report from LIMRA for Life Insurance Awareness Month for the full study on consumer misconceptions so agents can better help the 102 million uninsureds who are simply unsure about how to buy.

New Study Finds Black American Life Insurance Ownership Increased During the Pandemic but a Significant Coverage Gap Remains

The number of Black Americans who own life insurance rose three percentage points from last year. These families now beat the general population’s life insurance ownership by four percentage points, making Black Americans more likely to own life insurance than any other race.

Still, a coverage gap persists as 19% of Black Americans who believe they need life insurance still do not own a policy. This gap stems from similar reasons to the general public’s, with 75% overestimating the cost of life insurance while many believe the policy they get through their employer is enough. This full study from LIMRA and Life Happens offers a snapshot of families who experience a higher level of financial concerns than others and how agents can help bridge the coverage gap to bring them peace of mind.

Financial Friday Round-Up: August 30 – September 3, 2021

Welcome to the latest Financial Friday Round-Up, our weekly column filled with the best things for you to read, watch or listen to regarding finance around the web. Below you will find a report on starter homes, the latest installment of Planet Money’s Summer School, a guide to spending in retirement, and more.

More Starter Homes Are Finally Hitting the Market

It has been quite the hot market for real estate this year, but according to data reported in Money this week, August was the second month in a row that listings for starter homes grew. This is good news for anyone who has been missing affordability as the demand for real estate rose — check out this article for more information.

Spend Without Worry in Retirement

This week, Kiplinger published a piece on how to pursue your retirement dreams without worrying about running out of money. With advice on annuities, the 4% Rule and more, this piece could offer great advice to everyone looking to make the best of retirement.

Planet Money Summer School 6: Crypto & Commencement

Planet Money’s Summer School podcast episodes have been a great ongoing series educating listeners in the more confusing parts of the financial world. The latest and final episode tackles cryptocurrency by outlining what potential investors should keep in mind about this new form of currency. Check out this episode and the rest of the series for lots of information in bite-sized packages.

Walmart Gives Raises to More Than 565,000 Store Workers

Big news from one of the world’s largest retailers comes as Walmart states it will increase its minimum wage to $12 an hour for hundreds of thousands of workers. Check out this article in The Wall Street Journal for more information.

Check out our other Financial Friday Round-Up posts for more great reads!

Financial Friday Round-Up: August 23 - August 27, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: August 16 – August 20, 2021
Financial Friday Round-Up: August 2 – August 6, 2021