It’s hard to attain financial peace if you can’t accurately define it. How much money is enough in your lifetime? Do you borrow money from the bank for all of life’s major expenditures and then pay it back with interest? Borrow from your 401K? Gamble on the stock market? Go deeper into debt?
Teresa Kuhn is holding a 160+ year old key to real financial peace with a strategy that guarantees returns every year! It’s the same strategy that was used by Walt Disney, Ray Kroc and others to build their own businesses – only better than it was in their day! And, she’s handing it to you!
Based in Austin, Texas, this President/CEO of the Living Wealthy Financial Group has advisors situated all over the country and serving clients all over the US. In addition, they serve clients all over the world who started their policies in the US but have since moved. She manages her incredibly successful business with a great Austin support team in place.
Teresa Has 4 Wives! Well, Kind Of..
Teresa says, “I like to think that I’ve got 4 wives because I’ve got 4 people on my team who keep me straight and they’re amazing!” It’s very difficult to scale a business without T-E-A-M, without support; can’t do it!”
Her direct, tightly-knit team includes Lynette Ditlow, ‘awesome and hilarious’ Susan Malachowski (Client Relations Assistant), Kristin Colca (Authorized Advisor and College Funding Specialist) and, her very first hire, Lea Ann Durand (Client Relations Manager).
Teresa recalls hiring Lea Ann, a good friend who jumped at the opportunity when she heard that Teresa was looking to hire somebody. Teresa initially turned her down because they were so close. She told Lea Ann, “I need you as my friend. I need you more as my friend than as somebody working with me.”
Lea Ann assured her that they could make it happen. “I was very scared because I valued our friendship. Working with someone can be tough!” Teresa is happy to say that “many, many years later, its worked out great!”
There are other Team Members who aren’t directly in Austin. And, there are Contractors who work with the Group. “Together, everyone achieves more.”
It Takes A Mindset Shift To Build A Team; It’s Scary!
Teresa recalls that when she practiced Law in D.C., she was an Attorney working for a firm as a Law Clerk. Law Clerks have specific types of work to do to support the attorneys. “Then, when I was hired as an attorney, I had to use my Legal Assistant and my Law Clerk to do specific types of work.”
She informs us, “Attorneys in larger Law firms have the mindset that Law Clerks being paid $20 per hour can do work that the firm can bill at $100 per hour. But, the attorneys have to do the type of work that the firm can bill out at $300-$400 per hour.”
“When you look at a small business person in a service industry; a Real Estate professional, a Financial Advisor, an Attorney, a Chiropractor or whatever – if they’re spending time doing the type of work they can hire somebody else to do at a lower rate, then they’ve just lowered the amount of money that they can make in a year.”
Let’s all go back and read that part again! Teresa drives the point forward, “If they want to earn a professional type of income, they’ve got to be focused on the money-making activities and not focused on the stuff that really anybody else can do.” She asks the question that was posed in The E-Myth by the business skills training guru, Michael Gerber…’are you a technician or are you a business owner?’
“I think one of the mistakes that most service professionals do immediately is that they think they need to do it all.” Yet, Teresa knows that “if they had proper funding on day one when they opened up their practice or their office; if they’d had an assistant to focus on all of the details or things they aren’t good at and just focus on the sales and money-making activities, they could grow their business much, much quicker!”
“It takes a shift in mindset. It’s scary! All of a sudden, you are increasing your overhead and you don’t know whether you’re going to be able to produce. It’s a different way of looking at your business.”
Teresa Was Born an Entrepreneur
“I think I was born an Entrepreneur. I love the whole concept of business. I started working at 16 in High School and have worked ever since. I worked through college. I worked in the Securities Industry in college,” Teresa says.
“I have a degree in Finance and that’s where I learned that I wanted nothing to do with my clients losing money! I could never pick up the phone and tell my client ‘Oh, my gosh! You’ve just lost money because the market went down’ or whatever. That just doesn’t fit my personality.”
She continues, “I went to Law School in Washington, D.C., and worked as an attorney practicing law in DC, Virginia and Maryland.” Her husband, David, had a very specific career task and he was transferred to Ohio. “I figured he could chase his career and I could do whatever because of my Finance and Law degrees. There was another move in store for Teresa; a move from Attorney to Advisor!
The Entrepreneurial Mindset took root In Ohio when Teresa worked for a very successful Real Estate Developer, one of the biggest developers in NE Ohio. “He had the Entrepreneurial mindset. Being his right-hand person, I was exposed to his thinking on a daily basis. It exposed me to how an Entrepreneur thinks…or should think.”
She credits that experience with helping her to shift from the Lawyer mindset, which is very risk averse, to appreciate that “there’s a way to build a business and be an Entrepreneur without being so concerned about risk.” Teresa explains further, “You do have to be worried about risk, but not with the Attorney mindset. That put me back on the business track!”
The Discovery of the Wealth Building Strategy of Bank on Yourself
Nineteen years ago, based on some reading she was doing, Teresa made an important discovery. “I discovered that what I had been taught in Business School and Law School about how money really worked was a BIG FAT LIE!”
She continues, “I went down a Rabbit Hole with a whole genre of information that helped me understand that conventional financial wisdom principles do not work.”
Teresa knows that there’s a lot of information out there that’s based on investing and not on building a foundation. She challenges people to think about who that kind of information really serves. Is it serving them or is it serving someone else? “It’s based on risk and there’s a huge difference between investing and saving. People need to save! They need to have savings that serves as their foundation!”
She confidently adds, “Once they’ve got that foundation in place, if they choose to invest, they can actually become better investors. And, by definition, investing equals risk. There’s an element of risk in investing. With savings, there should be no risk.”
“Savings needs to be there for life stuff that happens. It needs to be there to give you confidence that you can weather whatever financial storm comes your way. Investing does not give that to people.”
Bank on Yourself, a little known wealth building strategy, is based on a concept that has existed beyond 160 years! It’s the strategy used by Teresa’s Living Wealthy Financial Group to build a solid foundation for her clients.
Whole Life Insurance in a Whole New Light
There’s an asset that has increased in value during every single market crash in the US, without exception. “The asset that I’m talking about is Whole Life Insurance. As soon as you say ‘Whole Life Insurance’, a red flag comes up. That’s what Suze Oman and Dave Ramsey say stay away from!”
But, imagine a super-charged version of that asset and you have the makings of the Bank on Yourself strategy. “The Whole Life Insurance policies that we work with are very different than the typical Whole Life policy.”
“It helps individuals, families and business owners build their financial house on such a strong, rock-solid foundation! No matter what happens to the economy, no matter what happens on Wall Street, no matter what happens in Real Estate (all of those markets are cyclical) , they have a sense of financial peace.”
Can You Imagine Having $1,000,000,000 (Yes, One BILLION Dollars) And Zero Financial Peace?
Teresa knows what financial peace is, and she knows what it isn’t. “Most people think if they only made more money or had a million dollars in the bank, they’d have more peace around their money.”
“The reality is, Merrill Lynch, as a matter of fact, has a Wealth Management Group that manages more wealthy people than any other management group in the country.” She continues, “By wealthy people, I’m talking about people with hundreds of millions or billions of dollars.”
“They surveyed their clients and asked what their biggest financial concern is. The response was ‘running out of money’. They have no financial peace.” The definition of true financial peace, according to Teresa, is knowing that no matter what happens, you’ve got a financial foundation you can access; one that will grow for you, give you liquidity, let you maintain control of your money and provide you with options.
The Quality of Your Life Is Tied to the Quality of Your Options
Regarding options, Teresa shares the same words of wisdom that she offers to her son, Keating. “The quality of your life is in direct proportion to the quality of options that you have. If you don’t have many options, you don’t have a very promising quality of life because your options are limited.”
Keating, 19, is getting ready to go to Colorado State University at Fort Collins. Reflecting on this step, Teresa shares, “I know it’s the best thing in the world for him to go to college. I totally get that. But, from an emotional standpoint, I’ve had to grow.”
“It has been a very emotional journey,” she admits. “Parenting is about helping your child to grow. Hopefully, you’re growing at the same time that your child is growing.” Teresa reflects on how she had to learn how to let go when Keating was learning how to drive.
“When he started driving at 16, I had to grow. I had to become a different parent, to let him drive. Otherwise, I would be completely neurotic and be a little crazy thinking that something was going to happen.” Today, she thinks “he’s a fabulous driver! I’d like him to tweak a little thing but he really is a very strong driver. Thank God!”
Liquidity in a Whole Life Insurance Policy
So, how does this work? How do you get liquidity in Life Insurance? Teresa explains they use very specific designs in their policies with very specific companies, so the LWFG clients have a substantial amount of money in cash value from year one!
She knows she’s offering her clients something bigger and better. “A typical Whole Life policy does not give you that. A typical insurance policy doesn’t give you that. From day one, you’ve got cash value! You’ve got guaranteed growth! You can access that money at any time!”
And, here come those all-important options! “Clients can borrow against it. They can withdraw it. They can keep it sitting there growing for them.” It’s similar to having a savings account but it’s not a rider on a policy. “It’s just how the policy is built. There’s a savings component to it.”
Teresa continues, “The peace of mind comes from knowing that the companies we work with and the strategies that we work with have been around for 100+ years. They’ve survived every economic up and down.”
“There are guarantees in place. If you die prematurely, there’s a death benefit to take care of your family. We have business owners who use their cash value to borrow money, to fund capital equipment or fund business investing. We have clients who use their cash value to fund real estate investments, to pay for cars and to pay for college.”
Be Your Own Banker – Bank on Yourself!
Teresa says, “Most traditional financial planning or conventional financial wisdom is focused on getting someone from retirement to debt. And, there are maybe one or two strategies to help pay for college, which is based on market risk.” But what about life events? Buying houses, buying real estate, investment properties, paying for college, paying for weddings, buying cars, replacing roofs, etc?
Teresa recalls when bad storms stuck the D.C./Va. area years ago and people were without power for days. A handful of her clients used their cash value to purchase generators so they’d be prepared for any future power outages.
Generators can run up to $15,000! “They didn’t have to think twice about it. They just went to their policy, borrowed the money and paid themselves back over time.” In essence, you borrow from yourself. “You become the source of financing; you dictate the terms of paying back that policy or that loan.”
Giving an example, “Let’s say you buy a car for $30,000 and you lose your job. And, you stop making payments on the loan. No one is going to ruin your credit; no one is going to repossess your car. It’s not an issue. You just start repaying on the loan when you get a job again.”
But, what if the loan isn’t paid back? Teresa responds, “I encourage all of my clients to pay back their loans, depending on where they are in life. If they’re a retiree and they have no income, that policy is there to support them.”
“But,” she continues, “If they’re still young and they borrowed money for a car, what’s going to happen in the future? They’re going to buy another car. We want to make sure that money is in the policy to continue buying cars or college or whatever else they need.”
It’s Important To Understand Savings vs Investing
High-income earners typically have a ton of money in their qualified accounts but very little money in their checking and savings accounts. They don’t want to earn 1% at the bank; they want their money working for them.
People frequently suggest that it’s better to ‘Buy Term and Invest the Difference’ as though it’s a sound strategy. When asked about Term Insurance, Teresa advises, “Without a doubt, there’s a place for it. Most people have been taught that if you build up your investments, by the time you retire you won’t need insurance because you’ll have enough money set aside to replace any need for insurance.”
“My clients,” she continues, “when I meet them, they have very little interest in death benefits at all. They’re looking at Bank on Yourself from a savings perspective. But, very interesting…as soon as they have their policies and there’s a death benefit, they do track how much money is in their death benefit.”
She notes, “One of the cool things about Bank on Yourself is that their death benefit can go up every year as they’re putting money into their policy. That death benefit, knowing it’s there and it’s permanent life insurance, gives them options for the future.” The clients have financial peace knowing that if they become uninsurable (yes, it can happen!) or die, their children or spouse will have that extra insurance.
“If they retire and are living on their income and they need to draw more income or more money from their investments, that death benefit is going to help support the spouse or enable them to leave a legacy for their children or grandchildren. Without it, they might not be able to spend down as much of their investment because the extra money wouldn’t be there.”
One Million In Life Insurance Is Plenty! Or…Maybe Not?
Teresa lays it right on the line. “Some people think that a million dollars in life insurance is plenty. But, if you’re thinking of replacing an income? If someone is 50 years old and they die and there’s ONLY a million dollars in death benefit, that million dollars invested (if you could SAFELY earn 4%) only replaces $40,000 per year in income.
Sounding a louder wake-up call, she continues, “If the million dollars is used to pay off the house and pay for college, there might be only $500,000 left over. Then, it’s down to $20,000 income per year.” Do we want to imagine it getting any worse? You have to know what you’re getting. Cautions Teresa, “Some Whole Life Insurance is NOT as consumer friendly as Bank on Yourself!”
The 3 Emotions That Influence Typical Investors And Gamblers Alike
“There are myths around investing with Wall Street. You can average 10-12% returns if you’ve been in the market since day one. The reality is that there are 3 strong emotions when it comes to investing; fear, greed and exuberance. Those same 3 emotions that guide the typical investors are the same 3 emotions that guide those who gamble on Wall Street.”
“Fear: the market’s going down; you get scared and you pull out. Greed: makes you want more; it’s the gambling aspect. Exuberance: excitement when you look at the portfolio when the market is going up and it seems like you’re making money so fast!!”
Teresa follows through, “Those 3 emotions really affect people’s investing strategies. Whatever the market statistics are, they are very different from the investors’ perspective because those emotions rule investing decisions.”
Bank on Yourself makes a huge difference. “If you want to invest, knowing you have that financial foundation, it takes away the emotions to a certain degree in your investing decisions. You’re no longer so afraid when the market goes down, so you can hang in there longer knowing you’ve got money set aside.”
“It takes away the greed,” continues Teresa, “because you don’t feel like you need to make up time so much and keep investing and keep chasing the hot stocks or the hot investing strategies of the day. And, it takes away the exuberance because you become more grounded with money.”
A Saying for All Situations
This very successful CEO/Entrepreneur is happy to share a powerful quote from another very successful Entrepreneur, Paul DeJoria. ‘In the end, everything will be okay. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.’
It’s easy to recognize the tremendous admiration she has for this ‘amazing entrepreneur’, ‘amazing man’, ‘amazing businessman’ who had a tough upbringing, tough life and tons of rejection trying to get a business off the ground.
Says Teresa, “You can apply this to business, you can apply this to money, you can apply this to relationships, you can apply this to, I think, every area of life.”
Teresa’s Living Wealthy Financial Group Only Wants Happy Clients
“I opened up my practice many years ago, with certain values.” Teresa’s values include “I only want happy clients, which sounds very Pollyannaish, especially when it comes to working with money, right?” It also includes “I only want to work with strategies that do exactly what we say they’re going to do.”
“Bank on Yourself” was completely congruent with my understanding of how money works outside of conventional financial wisdom and met the criteria. Last year, we had over 300 referrals from our existing clients. Most Financial Advisors, most Realtors and most service professionals would love to have one referral a month. We get a ton of referrals every single week!”
Teresa believes it’s because there’s a built-in filtering system for ‘like mindsets’. “I believe our values, our philosophies, filter those clients, filter those prospects who either get what we’re doing or don’t get what we’re doing. That’s fine, either way.”
Teresa Kuhn and Eric Verdi: A Tale of Two Successful Entrepreneurs Sharing the Same Mindset
About 6 years ago, Eric read a book called The Richest Man in Babylon. The premise of the story was to ‘pay yourself first’. Inspired, Eric, and his wife, Susan, put away x% of their earnings every month for 3 years. They were then looking for a financial vehicle to secure the money so it wouldn’t lose value.
Eric went to the library with his young son, Anthony. While the six-year-old was busy looking at DVDs and books, his Dad headed for the financial, self-help, marketing section, per usual. “I saw a book that stood out from the rest called Bank on Yourself,” says Eric. “I glanced at a few pages and it looked interesting enough to take home. I went home and read it cover to cover that very night!”
He went to the website and entered the contact data and waited to hear from a representative of Bank on Yourself. Teresa got in touch. Ever since, she has become a very good mentor to Eric. He bounces business ideas off her and seeks advice on the financial direction to take based on standings. She’s become a good friend and he trusts her advice.
Eric compares Bank on Yourself to The Tortoise and The Hare. “That’s exactly what it is. It’s steady growth! I look at my statement every month. It doesn’t go down. It goes UP, every month! There’s guaranteed growth in my policy!”
There Are 2 Types of Mindsets
Teresa adds, “I do have people in my life who I do mentor and I have people in my life who mentor me. One of my requirements for mentoring someone is that they must have a ‘learner mindset’.
She continues, “People have two different types of mindsets. A mindset where they know it all; they know everything! They can’t really learn anything because they know it all.”
“The other mindset is the ‘learner mindset’; someone who is open to learning; someone who knows that they don’t know it all. Someone who is constantly looking to grow and better themselves. Most people don’t have THAT mindset!” And, yes, Eric fit the ‘learner mindset’ to a ‘T’!
“Before you found Bank on Yourself, you had shifted your philosophy and mindset around about money based on the book that you read, The Richest Man in Babylon,” Teresa relays to Eric. “So, your mindset had shifted to be open to Bank on Yourself. IF your mindset hadn’t shifted..if you were still thinking the conventional way, you probably wouldn’t have been attracted to Bank on Yourself.”
When she asks Eric if there’s a lack of financial peace because there’s a lack of information out there, he doesn’t hesitate to respond. “There’s definitely not a lack of information; it could be misinformation but there’s a ton of information out there. Or, a different mindset!”
Eric goes on, “I don’t know if its misinformation. People believe what they believe. But, you are exactly right. You’ve got to have the right mindset.”
Teresa replies, “We’re all about educating our clients. At the end of the day, that’s our purpose. We want educated prospects. Remember, it all starts with ‘mindset’. If you want to shift or change your ‘mindset’, you’ve got to read; you’ve got to learn!”
“Today? Oh my gosh! With the internet? If you don’t like to read, there’s so much amazing information out there. Once you start changing your ‘mindset’, your life changes.”
See if you have the ‘like mindset’ that can set you on the path to building your own rock-solid foundation of real financial peace. Just go to the Living Wealthy Financial Group site and you’ll find Pamela Yellen’s best-selling book ‘Bank On Yourself’ available for free.
Listeners of Eric’s Frederick Advice Givers podcasts receive a special welcome packet that includes a book and DVD on the concept of Bank On Yourself.
You can also go directly to the Bank On Yourself site for a ton of great information. However, your request to be contacted by a Living Wealthy Financial Group Advisor on that site may or may not get forwarded to the financial group.
So, it’s advisable to go directly to www.LivingWealthyFinancialGroup.com or call (800) 382-0830. The 160+ Year Old Key is waiting there for you!
Content from Frederick Advice Givers Podcast #008