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Do I need a life insurance advisor?
Find out how an advisor or agent can help you make a decision and more.
Why should I seek out advice when getting life insurance?
Working with a life insurance advisor can streamline the decision-making process as you shop around, saving you time and costly mistakes. They’ll help you make a decision that covers the “what if?” questions about your family’s future. An expert should recommend a policy tailored to your unique needs, so you can avoid one-size-fits-all options.
Is a life insurance agent the same as an advisor?
No. A life insurance agent works solely for a provider, and their job is to sell products from that one company. On the other hand, an advisor has knowledge about multiple insurance companies, and can scan through to find your best match.
Think of a life insurance advisor as a broker. While an agent might only be concerned with earning commission by selling the most expensive product, an advisor is more likely to consider your situation. It might be helpful to think of an agent as a salesperson and an advisor as a counselor.
Still, it’s important to be cautious regardless of someone’s title. At the end of the day, an advisor needs to put food on their table. Even advisors make money when you buy a policy.
What is a fiduciary advisor?
Unlike a normal advisor, a fiduciary advisor is obligated to put their clients’ best interests above their own. Fiduciaries pledge to act in good faith, and cannot use a clients’ financial assets to directly benefit themselves.
If you’re looking for a financial advisor, opt for a fiduciary if possible — these individuals tend to be more transparent, because they are bound by fiduciary duty to make the best recommendations for you.
What to watch out for
Yes. The mark of a good financial advisor is transparency and vulnerability. Since nothing is certain, anyone who appears over-confident or all-knowing should smell fishy. Look out for a life insurance advisor that:
- Pitches life insurance as a retirement strategy. Life insurance is just one part of your overall financial picture, and its main purpose is to protect loved ones after you’re gone. While certain specialized policies can serve as supplemental income in retirement, an advisor who views it as comprehensive may be taking a shortcut or overselling.
- Recommends products too quickly. An advisor’s job is to consider your situation as a whole, fine-tuning recommended products to match your larger financial picture. If turnaround time is too quick, that may signal an advisor that’s just trying to cut a deal.
- Practices without a certification. Before trusting someone with your hard-earned cash, you’ll want to verify their experience. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAFPA) recommends hiring someone with at least one of these certifications:
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
- Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
- Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
- Avoids communication. A good advisor should be relatively easy to get in touch with, since their job is to answer questions and guide you through the process.
- Doesn’t listen to your needs. If an advisor recommends products that conflicts with what you’d asked for, don’t just accept it and move on. Their job is to match your needs exactly.
- Charges too many fees. Initial talks with a life insurance advisor should be free, and there is absolutely no obligation to sign up for a policy when enquiring.
How do I estimate my life insurance needs?
Each plan should be tailored towards your financial situation is the first step in finding the right policy. So going into a meeting with a life insurance adviser with a rough idea of what you’re looking for is always a good idea. Adding up your debt, cost of income replacement, and major upcoming expenses is the first step towards calculating how much of a benefit to leave behind.
Compare life insurance companies
If you’re on the search for life insurance advice, an independent advisor is your best bet at bias-free guidance. But if you’re looking to dip a toe in on your own, compare life insurance providers to see what’s out there.
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