Warren Buffett Talks Structured Settlements

Warren Buffett Talks Structured Settlements

Berkshire Hathaway’s 2017 Annual Meeting Excerpt

 Warren Buffett Knows (and Likes) Structured Settlements  

May 22, 2017 – Earlier this month, attendees of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc.’s Annual Meeting witnessed Chairman and principal shareholder Warren Buffett respond to a question about the company’s structured settlement holdings.

You can watch the four minute excerpt of this exchange
on our company’s YouTube Channel >>> [HERE].

Although the respected “Sage of Omaha” steadfastly refrains from publicly making ANY personal recommendations on ANY type of investment or financial decision, those working in the personal injury litigation field can take comfort in knowing that one of history’s most successful financial investors clearly understands and appreciates the importance and value of structured settlements.

In addition to explaining that Berkshire Hathaway is often a preferred choice for those entering into structured settlement arrangements due to the company’s superior financial standing, Chairman Buffett explains that structured settlements are often . . .

“. . . urged by the court or urged by family members who really do have the interest of the injured party at heart.”

– Warren Buffett –

According to Chairman Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway accepts approximately $30,000,000 worth of structured settlement annuity contracts every week ranking the company first among the competitive 5.8-billion-dollar annual structured settlement market (2016 results).

I’m proud of the fact that many of our clients, like those Mr. Buffett references, prefer Berkshire Hathaway for the structured settlements we place on their behalf. And why not? They’re an excellent choice.

It’s probably safe to assume that nobody ever went broke emulating Warren Buffett’s approach to money. Long a believer in “slow and steady” winning the race, it only makes sense that he would appreciate the value of structured settlements.

If structured settlements were people, they would be Warren Buffett.

When it comes to making decisions about personal injury settlement proceeds, structured settlements might not stand out as the shiniest toy in the store. But anyone seeking the best, safest and most durable option when settling a personal injury claim would be hard pressed to find anything better.

Listen to your heart. Choose structured settlements.

RELATED: Be sure to read “Managed or Mangled Money” to better understand the lurking risks that can sabotage the futures of those who choose to focus on the sizzle of managed funds instead of the steak of guaranteed income when making financial decisions.

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service and best wishes for continued success in your personal and professional lives.

(Reprinted from our May 22, 2017 Newsletter)

Heart Money image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Market-Linked Structured Settlement News

From Our Newsletter:

New Brochure Added

Pacific Life’s Index-Linked Annuity Payment Adjustment Rider

Blending Traditional and Market-Linked
Structured Settlements for the Best of Both Worlds

October 20, 2015 – We’ll keep this newsletter short since we hope you’ll spend most of your time reading the latest brochure we just received from one of our structured settlement life company partners.

Stock MarketYou may recall our April, 2014 newsletter telling you about the then-newest entrant into the structured settlement marketplace – a structured settlement featuring a rider that allows the recipient to benefit from some of the market upswings when they occur but, unlike being invested directly in the market itself, guarantees no loss of value when the market falls.

Then, in one of our September, 2014 blog posts, we told you the IRS had weighed in on the subject when it issued a favorable Private Letter Ruling on the idea.

Now, in an effort to advance understanding and appreciation of the concept, the current brochure we’re sharing today takes a look back over the past 30 years to see what might have been in a hypothetical situation. While past performance of the stock market is never a guarantee of future performance, such an exercise is common and can be quite helpful when making decisions today about tomorrow.

Isaac Newton surely would be confused by Pacific Life’s structured settlement offering since, unlike his “what goes up must come down” adage, structured settlements with an ILAPA Rider can only go up.

We’re pretty bullish on this option for our clients, especially those who suffer from FOMO (“Fear Of Missing Out” on market potential) and might otherwise pass on the opportunity to structure their settlement altogether.

So next time you’re in the market for a structured settlement, don’t forget to ask about the one with stock market potential.

BONUS OPPORTUNITY:

This option works great for Structured Attorney Fees also!

I look forward to answering any questions you have on this or any related subject and hope you find the brochure helpful.

Stock market image courtesy of cooldesign at FreeDigitalPhotos.net 

When You’re Sixty-Four

GuitarSeptember 14, 2015 – Even some of the staunchest Beatles fans are surprised to learn that one catchy tune from the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album about reaching a certain age was one of the first songs Paul McCartney ever wrote, by some accounts as early as age 16 when the band was still calling itself The Quarrymen.

Give “the cute Beatle” points for looking almost fifty years into the future to ponder love, life and, even if he was doing so unintentionally, joint life expectancy.

Today, married couples probably don’t think enough about joint life expectancy but if they want to make sure their retirement assets last as long as they do, they should.

Fortunately, one “band” that calls itself the Society of Actuaries (SOA) thinks about this kind of thing a lot. These studious lads (and lasses) may never have charted any singles but the work they do is as vital to life as music, if not more so.

In its Phase 1 (of a four-phase project) Baseline July, 2015 research newsletter on “Optimal Retirement Income Solutions in DC Plans,” the SOA authors analyze various retirement income generators (RIGs) with the goal of evaluating the pros and cons of each method to find the optimum solution for ensuring steady cash flow for life.

(Full Disclosure: One of the authors, Dr. Wade Pfau, was one of my professors during my Retirement Income Certified Professional® studies through The American College)

Quotable Highlights

This report is YET ANOTHER in a series of studies we keep finding that points to the advantage of life annuities to meet one’s future income needs.

Here are a few of the highlights we especially liked with our own emphasis added:

“RIGs that pool longevity risk (annuities) provide higher expected lifetime retirement income than investing approaches that self-fund longevity risk.” (p. 8)

“An effective compromise may be retirement income solutions that dedicate a portion of savings to annuities and remaining assets to investing solutions to realize the advantages of both.” (p. 9)

(NOTE: Check out some of our recent newsletters and blog posts. We’ve been advocating this approach for years.)

“Traditional annuities produce higher expected average retirement income than SWP (Standard Withdrawal Plan) strategies due to longevity pooling.” (p. 12)

This last one is worth analyzing a bit further.

The classic “four percent” draw down approach (a common SWP where retirement assets are invested in a mix of stocks and bonds and retirees withdraw four percent of the principal each year to live on hoping what remains will earn enough to allow the money to last a lifetime) has recently been called into question.

So much so than this SOA paper didn’t even consider this approach as an option since prior research “showed this method failed (savings were exhausted) in unfavorable investment scenarios.” (p.14)

    Translation: The four percent thing works great when it works. But it doesn’t always work.

Saving the best part of the report for last, it doesn’t get any more straightforward than what the authors concluded about single premium immediate annuities (SPIAs) for a hypothetical sixty-five year old female with $250,000 in retirement assets:

“SPIAs produce highest income with lowest risk” (p. 23)

You’ll Be Older, Too

For married couples, the case for annuities is even more compelling.

Everyone has a statistical probability of living to a certain age. But when that same person marries, the chance that one of them will live beyond their individual life expectancy increases by a significant factor.

NOTE: This calculus also extends to same-sex married couples by the way though it is unknown to what extent outcomes might vary. Additional research is needed.

If continuation of cash flow to a surviving spouse is important to ANY married couple, placing value on these statistical probabilities should be a top priority.

Here’s a quick look at how this plays out for a sixty-four year old married (male, female) couple courtesy of our bean-counting friends at the SOA (individual chances in parentheses):

72% chance one of them will live to age 85 (Man: 41%, Woman: 52%)
45% chance one of them will live to age 90 (Man: 19%, Woman: 31%)

18% chance one of them will live to age 95 (Man: 6%, Woman: 18%)

If want to see what YOUR OWN chances of living to a certain age will be, Vanguard has a nifty interactive “Plan for a long retirement” tool you might like. It’s a fun (and possibly frightening) exercise.

So whether you’re trying to decide what to do with an anticipated personal injury settlement, a larger-than-usual attorney fee or the current 401(k) balance you’ve managed to accumulate during your working life, I hope this information on life expectancy has given you something to think about.

Guitar image courtesy of Iamnee at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Robin’s Story

Reprinted from our March 5, 2014 newsletter:

Structured Settlements Changing Lives

Looking for proof that structured settlements change lives?

Then please take a few minutes to watch this short video of Robin, a woman whose touching first person account of her journey following the untimely death of her husband underscores why so many people – claims associates, attorneys, mediators, judges, Members of Congress, disability advocacy groups, etc. – passionately endorse the use of structured settlements as a means of resolving personal injury claims:

Robin

[Click HERE] for link to video

Two years ago, Prudential Structured Settlements reached out to select industry leaders from across the country to form the Structured Solutions Leadership Council in an effort to help them, as a provider of structured settlement annuities, better understand the challenges our industry faced.

I am honored to have been invited to serve as one of the charter members of the Council and am extremely proud to have played a small role in helping this video move from concept to reality.

While a wealth of exceptional written material about structured settlements exists, there was consensus among the Leadership Council that the industry could benefit from actual “day in the life” video testimonials from structured settlement recipients themselves who could explain how they personally benefited from choosing a structured settlement in ways pamphlets and magazine articles never could.

It had been more than a decade since I received a very heartfelt letter from a young widow, whose structured settlement I helped implement, thanking me for my “sensitivity to (her) broken heart” and for orchestrating something that would “provide financially for (her) family in the years to come” even though structured settlements “seemed too good to be true.”

So when considering potential candidates for this initiative, Robin was the first person who came to mind because I knew her story was so compelling.

Nothing can prepare a person for the unexpected death of a family member or the aftermath of any ensuing claim following such a shocking loss. Such turmoil can embitter even the strongest among us.

But those facing similar grief now have a kindred spirit in Robin and her story can serve as a beacon of hope amid their own sea of wariness, fear and uncertainty. We applaud her bravery for being willing to share such a personal experience.

Thanks also to Prudential Structured Settlements for its vision and support of the structured settlements, claims and legal communities. Along with the many other excellent life markets we are proud to represent, Prudential’s exceptional leadership on this particular initiative deserves special accolades.

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service and best wishes for continued success.

Enjoy the video!

Recognizing a Noble Profession

This Week We’re Celebrating:

Claims Professionals Appreciation Week

 

January 27, 2014 – January 31, 2014
 

What’s that you say?  Didn’t know such a holiday existed?

Don’t feel too bad.  According to Google (and every other source I could think to consult), it doesn’t.

That’s why I invented it last year.

Full Disclosure I’m from a family of insurance professionals.  Add up the claims service of my dad, brother, wife, step-daughter, a couple family godparents and myself, we have dedicated more than 150 years to the insurance industry.

Even if Hallmark never designs a new card to honor the occasion and I’m the only one who ever celebrates it, I plan to set aside this week for the remainder of my career to pay homage to the fine men and women who toil in the claims departments of America each and every day of the year.

And I’m making it a week because it deserves to be more than a measly day given all they have to deal with throughout the year.  I know.  I’ve been there.

Why do this?  A couple of reasons:

They Make The World Go ‘Round

Take a moment to think about all the people, in addition to those for whom insurance coverage is provided, whose lives are enriched because of the work claims representatives perform:

  • Contractors who repair physical damage,
  • Doctors who treat those with physical injuries,
  • Attorneys who represent clients involved in the settlement process,
  • Shareholders, Mediators, Car Dealers, Manufacturers,
  • Consultants, and Vendors of every stripe imaginable.

It’s impossible to quantify exactly how much economic activity is generated simply because claims professionals do their job.  Suffice it to say that it’s probably . . . “a lot!

The Job Requires Skill In Multiple Disciplines

A claims professional is the quintessential “Jack of All Trades.”  At various times, they wear  multiple hats which can make it hard to differentiate them from numerous other professionals such as:

Banker – Counselor – Pastor – Lawyer – Appraiser – Mathematician – Researcher – Investigator – Mediator – Politician – Time Management Specialist – Physicist -Philosopher – Educator – Statistician – Communications Expert – Interpreter – Etc.

Claims departments frequently draw from a talent pool which contains people from a wide variety of interests and college majors which results in a broad background of experience.

In fact, many smart plaintiff law firms and other businesses often hire ex-claims professionals because they value their skills and training so highly.

It’s a Noble Profession That Helps People 

Claims professionals serve as the conduit between a suffered loss and recovery.

Unfortunately, money is the only medium available that can help restore an individual to their pre-accident condition following a covered loss.  And quantifying intangible damages is an impossible task at best.  Consider:

  • What value can you really ever put on the life of a child who’s been killed?
  • How can money replace the memories of a home destroyed by fire?

These are among the many challenges claims professionals confront each and every day.  And they do so in spite of the fact that they often garner about as much as respect as an offensive right guard on a football team for their efforts.

Theirs is NOT an easy job by any stretch of the imagination.

But ask any person who’s ever been aided by a Catastrophe Duty Claims Professional how appreciative they were when the insurance representative showed up, check in hand, to help appraise and pay for their loss.

Ask anyone’s who has ever accepted a structured settlement when settling a physical injury claim how glad they were to receive guaranteed future income that is 100% income tax-free.

There are countless other examples of appreciation people feel each and every day for claims service even if it’s very rarely expressed as often as it should be.

So here’s to you, Claims Professionals.  This week we pause to salute you by saying simply

 “Thank You!”

for doing what you do.

We hope you are as proud of your contribution to society as we are of the the service you provide that helps so many.

Best wishes to all of you for continued success in your careers and your life!

2 Steps To A Happier Life

Smiley_Face_clip_art_small

 

Click on the Smiley Face . . .

 

. . . to be transferred to our November 15, 2013 newsletter where you can learn about two choices you can make that are scientifically proven to make you happier.

 

Structured Settlements for Taxable Damage Awards

From our August 19, 2013 Newsletter:

 We’re Published Again

“Taxable damage awards and the use of structured settlements”

appears in the August, 2013 issue of:

Plaintiff-Aug13-cvr

“The magazine for Northern California Plaintiffs’ Attorneys”

Click [HERE] to read the article online

In 2013, our firm has been exceptionally focused on the the topic of structuring taxable settlements, verdicts and attorney fees for one very simple reason:  Recent changes to top end tax brackets, particularly in California and other high income tax states, have elevated the importance of this subject to unprecedented levels. Another way to look at it:

Taxable $ x (^ Tax %) = < $ 4 u

To better serve you, we have researched the subject extensively and developed some proprietary analytical tools designed to specifically help address the impact of Proposition 30 and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

We invite you to contact us anytime for a complimentary and confidential demonstration so we can help you make more informed decisions about these taxable matters in advance of settling any of your pending cases.

BONUS: Schedule Your MCLE Session TODAY

As a service to the California legal community, we even created a FREE seminar/webinar based on this timely topic which has been APPROVED by the State Bar of California for 0.50 hours Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) credit.  If your law firm, bar association or other attorney group wants to learn more, just let us know.  Designed to conveniently fit into a “lunch-n-learn” session to accommodate your busy schedules.  Or, the perfect complement to a lawyers’ convention agenda!

I hope you enjoy the article and find it helpful in your practice.

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service and best wishes for continued success!

Dan Finn

“Best Structured Settlement Resource” Honor Awarded

For Immediate Release:  August 7, 2013

Newport Beach, CA – The Finn Financial Group proudly announces that it has been honored with a 2013 APEX Award for Publication Excellence in the Education & Training Electronic Media category.

2013 Apex Award Winner

” . . . based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content and the ability to achieve overall communications excellence.” 

Among the notable organizations vying for an award in the various categories this year were:

The Walt Disney Company
Ernst & Young LLP
Jackson National Life Insurance
American Cancer Society
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
American Airlines
Ford Motor Company
The Vanguard Group

The Award of Excellence further distinguishes Finn Financial Group as a:

Best Structured Settlement Resource.

“We are extremely proud to have been selected from among over 2,400 entrants for this unique honor, especially in a category we’ve worked hard to differentiate ourselves in,” said founder, CEO and President Dan Finn.

“Our firm was founded with a commitment to helping clients achieve long-term financial security and success using structured settlements, tax-advantaged annuities and related products and services.

“Providing timely and relevant educational content using a variety of educational media helps us fulfill that pledge and this award acknowledges our commitment to helping those we’re dedicated to serving.”

APEX Awards for Publication Excellence, now in its 25th year, is an annual competition for publishers, editors, writers and designers who create print, Web, electronic and social media.

Taxable Damage Structured Settlements

From our May 6, 2013 Newsletter:

Be sure to read my latest article

“Taxable Damage Structured Settlements:
Solving the unintentional verdict and settlement unfairness problem caused by Prop 30 and ATRA”

appearing in the May, 2013 issue of Advocate:

Advocate-May13

Click [HERE] to read the article online

For those outside the area who may be unfamiliar with this particular periodical, Advocate is a monthly publication of the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, the nation’s largest local association of plaintiffs’ attorneys.

While the topic of structuring taxable settlements, verdicts and attorney fees is nothing new, recent changes to top end tax brackets, particularly in California and other high income tax states, have elevated the importance of this subject to unprecedented levels.

In short: Many taxable cash settlements come with a high cost attached which, for most, can be ameliorated by structuring.

For this reason, we have developed some proprietary analytical tools designed to specifically address the impact of Proposition 30 and the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.

We invite you to contact us anytime for a complimentary and confidential demonstration so we can help you make more informed decisions about these taxable matters in advance of settling any of your pending cases.

BONUS: Schedule Your MCLE Session TODAY

As a service to the California legal community, we even created a seminar based on this timely topic which has been submitted for Minimum Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) credit. If your law firm, bar association or other attorney group wants to learn more more, please let us know how we can help.

I hope you enjoy the article and find it helpful in your practice.

Thank you for the opportunity to be of service and best wishes for continued success!

Our “Best” Structured Settlement Endorsement Yet

Best-Structured-Settlement-Expert

With great pride we announce today our firm’s inclusion in Best’s Directory of Recommended Expert Service Providers in its Structured Settlement listing.

America’s premier independent insurance rating organization, A.M. Best Company, Inc. is  designated as a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization (NRSRO) by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

Directory listing eligibility is based upon an applicant’s “reputation, character and industry experience” and requires endorsements from past clients and peers familiar with the candidate’s credentials.

We are honored to be acknowledged as one of the nation’s only Structured Settlement Experts recognized by A.M. Best and are humbled by the outpouring of support received from the many attorneys, claims professionals and insurance industry veterans who gave so willingly of their time to validate our candidacy when contacted by this respected organization.

We share this distinction with all of you who make our success possible by trusting us with all your structured settlement and specialty annuity planning needs.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the vetting process and thank you all for continuing to believe in us.  We appreciate the opportunity to be of service to YOU.

Best wishes for continued Struccess!