It would be nice to inspire or be part of a movement that could help underprivileged young people learn a skill set early in life. Living in a modern developed society it always amazes how many graduating from high school and in many cases college, still don’t have any type of skill set.

As part of my series about the “5 Things You Should Ask Before You Purchase a Life Insurance Policy”, I had the pleasure to interview Stuart Chamberlin. Stuart is the founder and owner of Chamberlin Financial located in Boca Raton, FL. Stuart has served as a financial advisor and securities principal since launching his career in 1988. Stuart went on to establish Chamberlin Financial in 2012 to focus on the insurance side of the industry and take advantage of the many guarantees offered by the insurance industry. His primary focus as an insurance specialist consists of helping his client’s preserve, protect and transfer their wealth. He works closely with individuals, families and businesses on fulfilling their financial needs with custom plans based on their unique goals and objectives. Specializing in creating income for life, transferring family wealth, tax planning, estate planning, life insurance, premium financing, business succession, and retirement planning — Stuart’s main focus is to be the “safe money guy” focused on guarantees of principal and/or guarantees of income when working with clients.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

When I was 20 years old, I met a few people that were stock brokers. They weren’t much older than me, but they were doing very well and that piqued my interest. I became a stock broker in 1988 at a small investment banking firm in Boca Raton. By 1991 I became a little bit disenchanted with the industry and started seeking other opportunities, but before I left I was exposed to a concept called “going independent” which was being pioneered by a few firms at the time. This concept stuck with me, so in 1995 I decided to get back in the industry but this time with a focus of going independent which I did in 1996.

After many years of managing stocks, bonds, mutual funds, trading options, plus living through three recessions, I came to a conclusion regarding risk. The insurance industry knew how to manage risk and had many products that did just that. Insurance companies offered products where they would assume the all-risk and my clients would only participate in the good years and never in the bad years. They also had strategies on how to minimize the amount of taxes you pay in retirement. In 2012 I decided to change my practice around and only focus on the insurance side of the industry. By doing this we shifted all the risk away from our clients to insurance companies willing to accept that risk.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting in the industry? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I first started in the industry, the Boca Raton area was saturated with small brokerage and penny stock firms. You could go to any happy hour in the area and find a number of stock brokers filling up at the bar bragging about how much money they made. After a few months working in the industry, no matter what part of the country they came from, it seemed that somehow they all acquired a New York accent. Apparently, it was the way to sound on the phone back then. However, I started to notice that they never seemed to brag about how well their clients did and that’s when the difference between a stock broker (at the time) and financial advisor dawned on me. Especially when it came to looking out for the best interest of their clients. This was a concept I wish I understood when I first started in the industry, though I’m glad I did eventually.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

The industry has changed so much since the internet age and the access to information is so easily available now. You really have to keep up with all the changing technology and use that technology to help people understand the financial concepts you want to show them.

This is why my team and I recently put together a series of 14 downloadable videos on wealth-building concepts. These videos are purely educational and intended to help people understand the strategies used by the wealthy.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lessons that others can learn from that?

One of the tipping points in my career was going independent and figuring a lot of things out on my own. This made me a much better advisor rather than just relying on what was put in front of me to push. When you’re independent you have to learn to be efficient and find the right tools or software to make that happen.

One of the best things I ever did was invest in a good client relationship management (CRM) system to keep track of every client, or potential client with notes and call back dates early on. It really changed the way I managed my business by being able keep track of every conversation or file associated with that person. One colleague of mine said to me at the time “you’re wasting your money.” Well, he was wrong and is no longer in the business himself.

What advice would you give to other people in the insurance field to thrive and avoid burnout?

In the insurance industry today you need to constantly be learning new ways to keep your name and message in front of people. You’ll want to build up a data base of clients and potential clients, and be able to drip that data base with targeted messages periodically. This way, when you call they know your name or when their situation changes they remember your name and call you. To avoid burnout you need to grow and nurture this data base instead of focusing on hunting and gathering. History will tell you that nations of planters and farmers prospered far more than hunters and gatherers.

As an “insurance insider”, you know much more about insurance than most consumers. If your loved one wanted to buy a policy from another person, which 5 things would you advise them to find out about before committing to a policy? Can you give an example or story for each?

When you’re considering purchasing a life insurance policy there are many things you should find out before you commit.

1) Ask yourself, why am I buying this policy?

Decide if it’s for the death benefit only or if you’re looking for a cash value policy. If you only need the policy because of the death benefit for your loved ones, then the next question you should ask yourself is…

2) For what time frame do I need this coverage?

If you have young children and cost is a concern, then a term policy would be the most advantageous. The first 18 years of a child’s life are what we call in the industry “the critical years” where coverage is a must. If you’re middle aged and you want coverage to a specified age, then consider a guaranteed universal life (GUL) policy to age 90, 95, or 100.

3) Does this policy have a critical care, terminal illness or a disability rider?

These are considered living benefits. A living benefit rider on your policy generally gives you some sort of payout while you’re alive to help with expenses associated with critical care, terminal illness, disability, etc.

4) Does this policy have a no lapse guarantee?

A cash value life insurance policy will lapse if payments are missed and the cash value has been exhausted. A no lapse guarantee is a provision added by the insurance company to keep the policy in force even if the cash value was depleted to zero as long as a specified minimum premium has been paid within a certain time frame. A term life policy lapses when the term is up or if premiums are not paid.

5) Does it have a return of premium feature?

A return of premium option allows you to surrender certain policies (usually at some anniversaries) for a refund of the premiums paid. This feature, however, will increase the cost of the policy. Determine if it’s worth it and find out what you’re really getting back based on the policy.

Insurance agencies or companies are often known to be very creative and innovative marketers. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?

When it comes to marketing, each insurance agency needs to create their own strategy that can adapt to the ever changing technology and industry. Many smaller agencies do this very well though many of the larger companies should consider adopting some of the same strategies.

One of the strategies to consider would be target marketing, i.e. Google or Bing ads that target certain demographics. Then as leads come in have them screened through a call center with notes added before assigning them to an agent.

Time is very important so having the ability to do a virtual appointment online with a potential client before the next agent gets to them is useful. Though face to face meetings have a higher closing ratio, virtual meetings will allow for higher volumes.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Throughout my career I’ve had many influences and a little help here or there. There was a time when I left the financial industry, though thinking in the back of my mind did I really give all I had? That’s when I decided I had to give it another try.

My Uncle Reggie from Wichita, Kansas was in the insurance business for decades, starting out at John Hancock. He encouraged me to get back into the industry and even offered me a chance to go out there to work with him, though ultimately I stayed in my area. After helping me get licensed again, he suggested I focus more on the insurance side of the business, which I did eventually years later. It was at this point I really turned things around in my life.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

It would be nice to inspire or be part of a movement that could help underprivileged young people learn a skill set early in life. Living in a modern developed society it always amazes how many graduating from high school and in many cases college, still don’t have any type of skill set.

Everyone should have at least one strong skill set that can sustain them financially by age 18, and if they want to go on to get a higher education they can but at least they have that skill to fall back on. It shouldn’t just be about getting a degree or certificate, but about actually knowing how to do something.

About the Author:

Matt Schmidt is the founder of which specializes in helping people with diabetes find affordable life insurance. Matt founded the company after his father was diagnosed with diabetes in 2010. He is also founded to provide helpful information for those living with diabetes. Matt is also pre-diabetic.