Insurance Policy Examples: Bad Policy #3

If you have not looked at the bad policy #2 yet I suggest you go back and read that one. This one follows #2 because it is on the same insured and from the same agent/company.

The only difference here is this policy is 23 years old already and it even terminates faster than the last one! Yes, you have that right, by age 73 the insured has no death benefit left because the fees and charges are being taken from cash value to supplement the premium.

If you read the blog on “bad policy #2” you remember the insured is non-insurable and has no money to get another policy that will last until he passes. Which is most likely at age 84 because he is male.

Make sure your policy is right from the beginning so you are not caught in this same situation. Again, call or email me and I would be happy to take a look at what you have. That is what this insured did. I am ok with that, I was not able to write another policy for them but I did help them see and understand what they have.

Insurance Policy Examples: Bad Policy #2 (Variable Universal Policy)

The first “bad policy” from the Fiscalbridge library was a Variable Universal policy and here we are going to look at a Universal. I call these kinds of policies “cross-breeds” because there are a few differences but at the end of the day, they are not performing better than each other.

Again, I have removed the name of the company as I don’t feel the company is important. It’s the type of policy and how it’s being sold that is important. These policies can work if you fund them correctly and hope and pray your return is what they (the agent or company) say it will be.

What you are seeing here (sorry it’s a little small) is $1,801.04 a year premium. He has paid a premium on this policy for 16 years already and should have an established policy.  Yet we look down to year 28 when the insured is 69 years old and see his cash value starts to decrease every year, even though he is paying his premium. Continuing to follow those numbers we see by age 80 his policy terminated due to no cash value. Unless of course, he wanted to pay unbelievably high premiums to keep it in place.

This is based on a 3.25% rate of return. That is not even that high of a ROR, yet the policy is not going to last.

This story does not end well. This insured is no longer insurable as he has an aneurysm by his heart. On top of that, he does not have enough money to start another whole life policy which means death benefit is very very important to his family. Unlike most people who call me and want cash value, these people wanted both. I can’t give them either!

Their agent did not look long term or they would have seen this themselves. This kind of stuff rips me apart. I can’t save the policy nor can I help them save the farm they are operating. The only thing I could tell them was he has to pass before 80 or there will be nothing there.

No one time their death and these policies are putting time frames on our lives.

Please watch what you are buying. If your agent is not looking long term you need to be. It is beyond me how agents don’t look at those dashes and show their client that the policy may terminate at that time. Look at your policy are there dashes or zero’s before the illustration stops?

If you have questions on your policies, whether variable universal or whole life, please call me or email them to me so I can take a look. If they are right I’ll tell you to keep it. I am not here looking to replace people’s policies, I am here looking to educate and be sure you have something when you were supposed to have it.

Insurance Policy Examples: Bad Policy #1

Over the years, I’ve accumulated illustrations and a handful of insurance policies from my clients, people who have attended the Secure Wealth Builders Conference, and others who end up in my office because they didn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. The information in this post is meant to educate and create awareness for those looking for answers and those who want to make sure their insurance policy is set up to benefit them the most.

If you’ve read any of my books or blogs, you have heard me talk about fees and charges inside policies that are not whole life policies. Other permanent products have these and on most account agents are sharing this information with you.

Here is one of those charges: Cost of Insurance (COI) is the expense factor which is the amount the company adds to the cost of the policy to cover operating costs of selling insurance, investing the premiums, and paying claims.

Every company has these COI charges but how they are handled is not the same for every company. Mutual companies take these charges from your dividend before they give it to you. Meaning the dividend you get is after all these are paid, yet you still get a dividend!  In a policy like you see below, that does not happen.

What you are looking at here is a variable universal policy with a non-mutual company. First things first, there are no dividends being given to policy owners so there is no place to get this money from beside you as the policy owner. Second, in these companies have recently gotten in trouble for astronomical increasing costs of COI’s. As you can see here, the COI charge was $3,662.39 and the projected amount for next year is $4,402.08. That is an increase of $740 in one year!

These COI’s are increasing rapidly with some companies because they have over projected the rates of return on these policies. The difference has to be made up somewhere and that is being passed off to you.

You can clearly see this insured has a yearly premium of $1,284.50 and his COI is MORE than his premium! What are they doing to cover the difference? They are taking money from his cash value to supplement.

Look at is cash value, there is only $3005.30 left, this policy will collapse on him the next year unless he pays in more than the premium due. His premium plus his cash value does not even cover the projected COI for next year.

Sadly, this policy was issued in 1983, it was 2015 when he brought this to me. He was sold this policy that he would have money for retirement and make great rates of return. He is now around 83 years old and he has NOTHING!

When I warn about these policies it is not so I can sell more insurance, it is so you as the consumer are educated enough to make the right decision. Whole life is not the same as these other permanent products. Whole life with a mutual company is not the same as whole life with a non-mutual company. Dividends and guarantees are important.

This story is just one that I’ve heard over my career.

If you see anything here that you have questions about or if it sounds familiar, please contact your agent.

Did you Know this About John Deere Financial?

The Ag Industry made the Wall Street Journal this week (the third week of July 2017) and it happens to be in the middle of a farm finance squeeze.  I shared it on my Farming Without The Bank Facebook with a few of my own opinions and it sparked a great conversation.

It was so popular, I made a second post after I did a little research. Read Post Number One – My initial thoughts about the Wall Street Journal article.

Read Post Number Two – About the ZEROHEDGE Article with all of the financial data.

Haven’t read the article yet? Take a peek at it here:

Do You See What I See? 

The Wall Street Journal is making JD out to be the hero, coming in and rescuing farmers by lending them money when banks are backing off. Farmers are saying how awesome it is since they need the funds with commodity prices so low. JD is looking like the hero to those farmers and creating a long lasting relationship.

However, knowing the banking system I take a step back and look at this from another view point. This goes far deeper than just lending money to save our ag industry, we need to look at how JD is doing this financially and what their long term outlook may look like.

The Zero Hedge article is right on point and covered a lot of this for me, but let me explain a few things they don’t cover.

First, Deere Financial is not a bank. They are a ‘captive finance company’ which by definition from the is a captive finance company is usually wholly owned by the parent organization. The best-known examples of such companies are the giant subsidiaries of the “Big Three” automakers, and the store card operations of large retailers such as Wal-Mart, Target and Sears.

Due to the size and scale of their operations, the captive finance companies of theBig Threecar manufacturers: General Motors Acceptance Corporation (GMAC), Chrysler Financial and Ford Motor Credit Company – are arguably almost as well-known as their parent companies. Note that subsequent to thebankruptcyof General Motors in 2009, GMAC underwent a name change to Ally Bank and rebranded as Ally Financial in 2010.

The Pirates of Manhattan

As Barry Dyke, the author of The Pirates of Manhattan says, “Captive finance companies are just like banks, but because they have hard assets (e.g. farm equipment, factories, etc.) they actually leverage their balance sheets even more than banks, in GE’s case it leveraged its balance sheet 33 to 1.”

Let’s Be Transparent Here

What does 33 to 1 mean? That can be confusing if you are not familiar with the fractional reserve banking system we use here in the states so here’s a short video.

A typical bank will leverage its balance sheet 10 to 1, meaning they only have to reserve $1 and they can lend out the other $9, creating $19.00. Now imagine someone like Deere Financial leveraging their balance sheet 33 to 1! What happens when they get in trouble because they are over extended like GE, GMAC, or Chrysler? The government comes in and bails them out with YOUR tax dollars.

Deere financial is coming in and looking like the hero who cares about our ag industry when in fact that are just a “bank” trying to make money and doing what the banking system does…..creating money out of thin air causing the inflation of our dollar. The price of your tractors, seed, chemical and oreos go up because of inflation, not solely because the seller is greedy. They too are feeling the affects of the inflated dollars. (Go back and watch the whole video to get more information on this topic.) They may look like they are helping when in fact they are inflating the dollar causing your equipment to cost more!

At least John Deere is transparent in their statements that they are truly leasing to benefit John Deere. I have read several comments of farmers praising John Deere for making it easier, to which I say, “Yes they are throwing ‘affordable payments’ in your face along with the shiny new paint but that is about it.”

Like I talked about in my recent blog, Whose responsibility is it to make farm financial decisions?, it’s truly up to you the farmer to pay close attention to your cash flow and take responsibility for your decisions. Pencil it out, does it make sense to lease new equipment when you could have old equipment that has value on your balance sheet?

Ask Hard Questions

Start asking some hard questions and looking for avenues that will help you get out of the borrowing/leasing cycle. JD has a great hold on the farmers right now and in my opinion they are over extending themselves…how can a company like this grow in a time when commodity prices are low? By creating numbers to look good?

Who is going to subsidize JD when they go under? You and your tax dollars – possibly the family farm because they’ll be calling on the lease or loan to be repaid. The Zero Hedge article hit the nail on the head, when they said the bailout is coming it’s just a matter of when John Deere will be the next big bail out. They are too big to fail now.

JD is not stupid, customer loyalty is the first key to getting people on your side. I’m sure a few people sat in a room and came up with the 2017 and beyond marketing theme – Be there for the farmer when times are tough, they will remember that. When it’s time to bail them out your heart will go out out to them and you’ll be happy to help. After all it’s John Deere. Remember those GM die hards? They felt the same way and wrote check after check to get GM out of their hole.

Need more? This article written by showing us John Deere vs Caterpillar that gives us a deeper look.  “Caterpillar appears to manage its Finco more conservatively than Deere,” Duignan and Simonitsch write. “That difference also means that the companies face different risks, with Caterpillar needing to “better manage its forecasting and inventory turns,” while Deere’s “Finco bears significant residual value risk if the US agriculture down-cycle is extended.”

JD has been around forever and many have grown to love the green machines but they have gone far beyond green machines when they started Deere Financial in 2000. Taking a bite of the pie is one thing, being a pig is another.


The moral of the story here is farmers need to manage cash flow and pay attention to their numbers without letting shiny objects get in their way. Don’t let the banker, accountant or Deere Financial make those decisions for you. Make them yourself based on your long term numbers and historical commodity prices.

Just One More Thing

I’m NOT against John Deere Financial offering this service to the same farm families that I work with on a daily basis; but I am a historian when it comes to financial oversight by companies like John Deere Financial. I don’t like to see people lose when they don’t have to. We just have to STOP and think about our financial well being as well as the country’s. The “printing” of money causing inflation hurts everyone and farmers feel it worse than most.

Can the Farming Without the Bank system work? Yes it sure can and in this case it will STOP the banks and Deere Financial from turning money 10 to 33 times! When you borrow against your life insurance policy the life insurance company doesn’t turn money. In a long term look at this, if enough people did it, it could help stabilize the dollar and keep the price of your ag equipment down. We need to think like the bank and the book goes over that to help you understand. Mr. R. Nelson Nash figured this out 30 plus years ago and saw the collapse of the dollar coming. It all began in 1931 with the Federal Reserve, now others are jumping on the band wagon making it worse. Things can be changed over a period of decades but it has to start somewhere with someone, is that someone you?

Thanks for reading this article. It’s not a subject I normally go over, but these “finance companies” need to be in the spotlight for how they are leveraging money and what is ACTUALLY happening. The American banking system is no different as you saw in the video.

If you have not picked up the book please do so. We can’t change anything if we don’t change what we are doing and thinking.

Mary Jo

Mary Jo is proud to be a Certified Infinite Banking Practitioner helping family farms keep more of the profits, create financial systems, and bring financial clarity to an uncertain industry though correctly structured whole life insurance policies.

Need More Information? Use these books and learn what tool can take away the worry.

Wealth Without The Bank or Wall StreetGet Farming Without The Bank


Comparing The Stability of Banks and Insurance Companies

What do you think?

When something new and out of the ordinary is introduced there is one of two reactions. It’s either accepted or hated and from both ends come the very same questions.

“How secure is the life insurance company?” is an important question. It comes from the conditioned thinking that we talk about in the first chapter of Farming Without The Bank and Wealth WIthout The Bank or Wall STreet. The question originates from the fact that we don’t hear much about life insurance companies or even know much about them. You have probably never heard of the companies that I use and I’m ok with that.

If you’re thinking, “I never really thought of a life insurance company as a place to store and create wealth.” then you’re not alone. The information, case studies, and real examples in my books are based on hard-working American’s who came from the same place as you did. I want you to be aware of another option that doesn’t have the risk and has proven itself safe over time.

Here’s why the life insurance companies that I use for my client’s policies are safe and secure:

What people don’t understand is that a large percentage of the mutual companies that exist today have been around for more than 100 years. One company I work with has been around for 140 years as of 2016 – so when I say over hundred I mean well over a hundred. Again, have you heard of them before your ran into me? They are not table conversation like the stock market or banks, but we do have to look at the history of these institutions. No one wants to put money into a system that is going to leave them broke, right? That is why I left the stock market!

Many people feel the banks are safe because they are FDIC insured and ask me , “What kind of insurance does the life insurance company have?” Here’s the answer:

The August 2015 edition of the LMR, L. Carlos Lara said it best in his article A Closer Look at Commercial Banks:

The life insurance sector is completely different from the commercial banking system and Wall Street. Fixed within life insurance policies are long-term, intangible financial promises not found in any other form of financial product. In effect, life insurance companies are obligated to fulfill their promises as written in their contracts now, or 65 years from now. In fact, no other financial product contains guarantees and options

of such potentially long durations as those found in life insurers. Obviously, a lot can happen to the financial strength of the entity that supports these promises over such a long period of time. Consequently, the financial strength and integrity of a life insurance company are more indispensable to its customers than is true of most other firms.

Like commercial banks and the securities industry,the life insurance industry is among the most heavily regulated sectors in operation today. However, unlike the commercial banks and investment banks, which are regulated by the federal government, the individual state governments oversee the insurance industry and they are the ones that provide the rules and requirements on how companies should manage their finances and the products they sell. Although we have 50 states in the union, these insurance regulations, for the most part, are harmoniously similar.

When a life company experiences financial difficulty, state regulators take a very active role in its rehabilitation or in selling off the company to financially stronger competitors to make sure all insurer promises are fulfilled. In addition, “State Guarantee Associations, support payment of policyholder benefits of financially impaired insurers. In recent insolvencies, 100 percent of death benefits and 90 percent of policyholder benefits have been covered in full. Even in the case of the famous financial impairment a of AIG, it is important to recognize that its financial difficulty was neither precipitated by nor related to its mainstream insurance operations.

At the time I wrote this article, we were hearing and feeling the strain of banks closing their doors in Cyprus and even Greece within the last few years. Completely, closed and it was the headline for weeks! This same thing happened in the United States in 1930 when we had “banking holidays.” In 2008, we saw 1,200 commercial banks slip into financial trouble and people tried to get their money out. What depositors found is it was not possible to get their money as the bank did not have the funds on hand. The FDIC went $9 billion in debt and the U.S. Treasury had to loan them money to make depositors whole.

So, people did get their deposits, but there’s a bigger problem.

The stickers on every empty wall and information on our bank statements says that the FDIC is there to insure you and make you whole should there be a run on the banks, but the FDIC only has 18% of the reserves they need to make everyone whole.

In 2008, during this same period of financial crisis, only one life insurance company became insolvent according to the National Organization of Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Associations. Unlike the 1,200 commercial banks and their depositors who have a “back-up” of less than 20% of total deposits, each state has a guarantee fund set up for insureds should a company licensed in their state become insolvent. The typical guarantee is $300,000 death benefit and $100,000 cash value protection. If you’re interested in learning more about the guarantee limits, contact your state’s insurance department.

Do you see the huge difference in crisis rates? You can also bank on the fact that life insurance is two centuries old and according to the books, mutual companies are being managed very well. But again, they have to be because unlike commercial banks, no one is there backing them up like the FDIC and the U.S. Treasury has no inherent need to print money to bail insurance companies out.

Here’s another question to ask yourself:

Which is more stable? 140 Years and no bankruptcies

or 83 years of experience and more than one “troubled” time?

What do you think?

Would you rather own a business with a private individual that has 140 years of individual history or a business that has 83 yrs of history and went broke and had to borrow money?

Not one company or farm is exempt from failure, but it is possible to mitigate the chances and I’ll take my chances with the guys that haven’t failed for 140 years.

Hope this has helped eliminate the worry and clear up some safety concerns for you. You can always bury a coffee can in your yard, but that too comes at a price of lost opportunity cost.

As always, please leave your comments or feel free to call me with questions. If you’ve read my books and are ready to take the worry out of your financial future, let’s schedule our first conversation.

-Mary Jo

Mary Jo is proud to be a Certified Infinite Banking Practitioner helping family farms keep more of the profits, create financial systems, and bring financial clarity to an uncertain industry though correctly structured whole life insurance policies.


Disney In The News About Their Insurable Interest in Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher’s unexpected death in the last few days of 2016 shocked the entertainment world and the millions of Star Wars fans. Unfortunately, there are two things for certain in life and death is one of them.

I teach entrepreneurs and business entities how they can prepare for the future in more ways than one – and key man policies play an important role. See what I mean here: 

Admitted failure of 401k program

Read the full article:  Disney Could Receive $50 Million in Insurance Due to Carrie Fisher’s Death

Is your business prepared?

What do you think?

More Information About Farms and Key Person Policies

If something were to happen to a key person on the farm today,

What would happen to the operation? Would you alone be able to keep it going

If this worst case scenario goes unplanned, changes are the operation will suffer and in some cases collapse.

Many people have life insurance on themselves for the purposes of taking care of their spouse/family but rarely do we own life insurance on someone else’s life. I think today’s farmers and ranchers make this big mistake too often.

Read The Full Article:The Plan You Need To Save The Farm After A Death

Mary Jo is proud to be a Certified Infinite Banking Practitioner helping family farms keep more of the profits, create financial systems, and bring financial clarity to an uncertain industry.


What Does It Mean When The Government Is Trying to Replace 401ks?

Two articles were published in the first weeks of January 2017 that you have to read. One is about a bill that is being introduced in Congress to force savings for retirement and the other is an interview with one of the “founders” of the 401k about the over expectations that were set and the under-performance of the 401k.

Here’s a short video of my thoughts and how each topic affects your future.

Do you have a savings system in place that allows you to use cash while saving for retirement? Learn about an option that I believe is more fitting for today’s hard-working American.



Quoted from the CNBC On The Money interview:  “We’ve been trying to fix the 401(k) system, the IRA system and we have concluded it can’t be fixed.” – Teresa Ghilarducci Watch the full interview here:

Admitted failure of 401k program

Excerpt from Wall Street Journal Article: “Many early backers of the 401(k) now say they have regrets about how their creation turned out despite its emergence as the dominant way most Americans save. Some say it wasn’t designed to be a primary retirement tool and acknowledge they used forecasts that were too optimistic to sell the plan in its early days.Others say the proliferation of 401(k) plans has exposed workers to big drops in the stock market and high fees from Wall Street money managers while making it easier for companies to shed guaranteed retiree payouts.“The great lie is that the 401(k) was capable of replacing the old system of pensions,” says former American Society of Pension Actuaries head Gerald Facciani, who helped turn back a 1986 Reagan administration push to kill the 401(k). “It was oversold.”

Social Security is already broke and they want to mandate we hand over money so they can manage YOUR retirement. Teresa Ghilarducci has pushed the GRA bill since 2007 and she’s even calling it the guaranteed retirement account bill. Her will to push this through is undying, but it would be just another failed experiment if you ask me.

Excerpt from the MoneyWatch Article:“The proposal would be funded by a mandatory contribution of 3 percent or so of full-time workers’ pay, half of which would be paid by employers. Low-income earners would receive tax credits to offset the additional cost, and self-employed workers would pay the full amount, like they do now with Social Security taxes.

The funds would be automatically deducted from pay, pooled together and invested in long-term, low-fee vehicles that could generate better returns and fewer losses than 401(k) plans. In that sense, GRAs are more akin to pensions, which many employers long ago traded in for less expensive 401(k)s.

Read An Additional Article that talks about the GRA Bill: Why the 401(k) Is A Failed Experiment

Mary Jo is proud to be a Certified Infinite Banking Practitioner helping family farms keep more of the profits, create financial systems, and bring financial clarity to an uncertain industry.


where to find good life insurance agents with infinite banking

Outstanding in My Field – Qualified Agents and The Other Kind

You know those seed conventions you go to?

How about that "Vet Guide For Dummies" book you read once?

If I was a betting person, I'd bet that you attended the convention or read that book because there was a guide or a teacher who was an expert.

I’m an expert on helping farmers and ranchers fund their operation without the bank. I use a tool - whole life insurance - with a whole lot of know-how that I’ve gathered, personally tested, and put into action since 2009.

Less than 1% of Life Insurance Agents Have Taken The Time To Learn The Strategy Behind Farming Without The Bank

I wrote this article to explain why 99.94% of the 386,140 registered life insurance agents aren’t a good match for your goal to farm without the bank.

It’s pretty normal for me to get calls from readers who want to put this concept into action and went to their general agent to do it. So, I’ll answer a few questions and then ask for them to tell me about their agent and the illustration that was provided.

Just yesterday I visited with a farmer whose relative was an agent. She told him she knows what the Farming Without The Bank concept is so he had her put together the paperwork. The farmer, who thankfully called my office to get a second opinion, read me the policy details, and it didn’t take me long to stop him and point out a few discrepancies.

It was clear to me that she wasn’t the right agent for the job.

Had he not called me, he would have lost five years. That’s a lot of wasted time and expensive opportunity cost!

Finding The Agent That Is Outstanding In Their Field To Help You Be Outstanding In Yours

In six years I have seen two clients who had an illustration or policy that was set up correctly. In both cases, their agents practiced the Infinite Banking Concept from R. Nelson Nash. Their policy was correctly set up!

Of the 386,000 life insurance agents, 200 of them are certified Infinite Banking Practitioners!

I understand you have a commitment to your agent. After all, they are your friends and family, but I’d like to think you have a bigger commitment to yourself and your financial well being. If your agent isn’t practicing R. Nelson Nash’s Infinite Banking Concepts, you are putting your money at risk. Before you give them my book, ask them if they know about the Infinite Banking Concept and R. Nelson Nash - and then feel free to check with me.

If they don’t, but they are interested and read Farming Without The Bank based on your recommendation, it should also be a warning if they don’t immediately order Becoming Your Own Banker. There are several other book suggestions within my book. If your agent doesn’t bother to read them because they feel they know it all already, then you may want to go back and read the chapter on the arrival syndrome. (It's Chapter 2)

Don't Just Plow Through The Details - They Have To Be Correct

This is what I see most, agents will read Farming Without The Bank and just plow forward missing the big picture of what we do and what R. Nelson Nash teaches.

Call and ask me questions and I’ll take a look at what they have shown you, please! The majority of my readers don’t call, and it can only mean that they are putting their financial well-being second and emotions first.

Buying a policy is one thing. Buying a policy and getting continued support and best practices to make that policy work harder for you is another...Don’t wait years until your agent figures it out. Do what is right for your financial well-being. Read the book, call me to start the process and get continuing education and access to someone who knows what they are doing today. After all, yesterday’s money is more valuable than today’s.

If you read or listened to all 99 pages of Farming Without The Bank and are ready to get started the right way, let’s schedule our first conversation. I have clients all over the country and we work via the web. It’s easy and there is no charge to you.

 Talk to you soon, 

Mary Jo


Mary Jo is proud to be a Certified Infinite Banking Practitioner helping family farms keep more of the profits, create financial systems, and bring financial clarity to an uncertain industry. 


Stop, With the Limiting Beliefs!

What is your first reaction to seeing someone driving a brand new tractor or combine? How about that same guy who has a million dollar home in addition to that tractor and/or combine?

Are the first words out of your mouth?

“Must be nice.”

“I wouldn’t want that debt. Anyone can finance anything.”

“Rich just keep getting richer.”

“They make too much money.”

Thoughts like these are limiting and even I find myself thinking them at times.

Recently, I was invited to an event hosted by a young couple who are around thirty-five years old. This young couple graciously allowed many strangers into their brand new home, which was unbelievably gorgeous.

Now, I don’t say that lightly since I am one of those ladies who loves to look at new homes and critique them. My mom is a contractor and if there is a flaw in the wood, mudding, or paint I seem to find it. It truly amazes me what people pay for homes that are brand new and not finished to par.

Anyway, this home was amazing. This young couple did NOT leave out any details. They thought ahead to what they will need when they are 80 yrs old and needing care. Clearly, they do not plan to leave that farm anytime soon, and this WILL be their forever home God willing.

After a short tour by a friend of theirs I shared my thoughts with the couple.

“Your home is beautifully planned!” I said, “I love how much you paid attention to the details!” The wife’s response was something to the effect of “Thank you. Coming from what we lived in before this is great!” and the husband’s response was, “Thank you, we really saved every penny we made for years to build our dream home.”

I was astonished at the fact that they both felt as if they needed to justify why they had such a beautiful home and of course I had to say as much because I don’t keep my mouth shut. So I said “Who cares how you afforded it or what you had before and who cares if others judge you. You should be proud of what you have without having to justify it.”

They seemed refreshed to hear someone say that to them and the subject quickly changed to the “backlash” they are getting from those who think they are living lavishly.

You can probably tell that this subject has been bothering me for some time, but this incident sealed the deal. I needed to share how jealousy and curiosity played into the concept of wealth.


Just think what society would be like if people like this were asked how they did it rather than other assuming they are lucky. I have been told I ask too many questions, but I want to learn. There is a difference between being nosey and having a desire for new things.

The moral of the story here is STOP being jealous and start being curious.

In my experience, wealthy people love to share their story and help. I have yet to ask a wealthy person how they did it with them telling me to buzz off.

So how did this young couple and other couples I have as clients do this without financing their house?

  1. They saved money over the past 7-10 years when commodity prices were good.
  2. They worked hard and saved every penny they could.
  3. They did NOT buy things to avoid taxes; they understand cash flow. There should not be cash flowing out of your system but into it. If they couldn’t afford a piece of iron on $4.00 corn, they didn’t buy it on $7.00 corn.

Today, they still have cash flowing in and not out.

They also beat Parkinson’s law which you will find covered in the book Farming Without the Bank. Parkinson’s law is not easy to break, but those who do "break through it" seem to create far more wealth than those who don’t.

Order the book today and call 701-751-3917 to schedule a free no obligation consultation when you finish reading it.

-Mary Jo


The Bank is Plan B, Not Your Only Plan

Many say I am too hard on bankers, and most tend to defend their banker in my presence, so I figured it’s time to set the record straight.

I don’t think bankers are bad people.

Just like anyone, I use a bank, and I enjoy my bank because of the people in the bank (and the free cookies). We all need the bank at times and even if we don’t need them today, we may need them in the future.


The bank should be plan B, not the only plan.

From Farming Without The Bank book:

“Every time you get a loan, the bank has control and has rights to your farm collateral. You, on the other hand, just put up your livelihood, leaving you with all the risk. Should you default on the loan, the bank takes your assets leaving you with no way to farm.”

In my blogs, book and speaking engagements I will say things like, “Sorry Mr. Banker.” What I am referring to is the bank board and not the actual loan officer. Loan officers who are lending money to farmers are known as the “banker” yet these employees only have as much power as the bank board allows them to have.


Farmers build a relationship with their “banker,” and this makes them feel secure, and the “banker” lets them feel as if they are in power when in fact neither the “banker” nor the farmer have any power.

All the power is held by the board members and if the members feel a note needs to be pulled it will be pulled. The farmer’s friendly “banker” is now just trying to keep his job.

No matter how secure a farmer feels with their “banker” it’s time to look deeper and realize the bank board holds the farm in the palm of their hands. Just as I discussed in my blog about Joe who lost his farm, he had a great relationship with his “banker,” but the bank itself caused Joe extreme hardship.

None of what I am teaching should be taken personally by the “banker,” but farmers should not be using the bank as the main plan or only plan in their operations because of these reasons:

REASON #1: Farmers and ranchers work too hard to have the bank’s name on the grain or calf check.

REASON #2: Banks live off the interest payment, and farmers suffer the loss of interest that could otherwise go back into their operation.

REASON #3: There’s a better option for farmers and ranchers that work for both big and small operations.

I work with people to help make the bank plan B and sometimes, plan C!

Making the bank the only plan is giving them control that can be detrimental to a farmer. In my opinion, family farms would be a lot better off if control is removed from the bank board and reclaimed by the farmer.

It’s not hard to do, in fact, you can get your answers in a short 98-page book, Farming Without the Bank. If you don’t have it yet, what are you waiting for?

Your livelihood shouldn’t be collateral. Let’s make that happen.

Order the book today and call 701-751-3917 to schedule a free no obligation consultation when you finish reading it.

-Mary Jo


The Plan You Need To Save The Farm After A Death

If something were to happen to a key person on the farm today,

What would happen to the operation? Would you alone be able to keep it going?

If this worst-case scenario goes unplanned, changes are the operation will suffer and in some cases collapse.

Many people have life insurance on themselves for the purposes of taking care of their spouse/family but rarely do we own life insurance on someone else’s life.

I think today’s farmers and ranchers make this big mistake too often. 

You may be asking why would you need to ensure someone else’s life? Well, think about the fact that if you are farming with your child and God forbid something happens where your child dies, how are you going to farm without him/her? Next scenario that’s more common — If you are the child taking over and your parent dies, how are you going to buy out those siblings or take over all those operating expenses?

If the answers above were “I hope that doesn’t ever happen” or “I don’t know” you need to look at how a Key Man Policy is part of the plan you need to continue the operation after a death.

Key Man Policy Defined: Where the owner of the policy and the insured are not the same person. For example: The child is the owner of the policy, the insured life is the parent and when the parent dies the child gets the death benefit. The child owns the policy, therefore pays the premiums and has access to the cash value.

Some think this sounds morbid, but there are only a few things we can ultimately count on happening. Death is one of them. Having key man policies in place is essential in the planning process for whoever will take over the operation. If a child is going to take over, that child will, in most cases, need money to take over all operating expenses or buy out siblings. If they had a whole life insurance policy on the parent, when that parent passes away they have a significant amount of tax-free money in the form of a death benefit to buy out any siblings or outside interests without having to go to the bank.


Most children are ending up at the banker’s office when they are in their late 40’s to early 50’s to borrow a million or more to buy the place they have farmed for decades.


In order to eliminate this unnecessary borrowing and stress at this age, it can simply be taken care of through planning and death benefit.

This death benefit is not only allowing them to purchase the farm but allowing them to do so with discounted dollars! If you have no read the blog post Where to get Discounted Dollars Today you will want to do that. A child who purchases a policy on their parent and receives the death benefit may have only paid 34 cents for every dollar they get in death benefit. Where else can they go to get discounted dollars to take over the family operation?

Not only is the child getting a death benefit but they are getting cash value to use as well while their parent is still alive! The need for financing a farm is a yearly struggle, easing that struggle throughout life is truly priceless and easing the process of death is also beneficial. No one is ready to deal with death, much less the amounts of other decisions that come at that time.

Start thinking beyond yourself and starting thinking of ensuring those who you are farming with or may be taking over the farm from. Being prepared is so very important and the longer you wait to buy insurance on parents the more expensive it is. To get the most for your money and the biggest discount in dollars start as soon as you can before they are 65 is ideal but after is not impossible. Make this a priority and get more answers in the book Farming Without the Bank.  

FIRST STEP:  if you have not already, is to get and read the book, Farming Without the Bank. There’s an audiobook available too! 



SECOND STEP: set up an appointment to visit with me after reading the book by calling 701-751-3917 so we can look at if a Key Man Policy is something that will work with your operation.


Universal Life Policies and Increasing Premiums

Here’s a quick breakdown on why Universal Life Policies may terminate or have increased premiums and how Cost of Insurance is different between policy types.


Universal life insurance along with Variable and Indexed Universal life are popular products on the market and have been since they were added to the market in the mid to late 80’s. I would say I am seeing new clients with as many of these new permanent products as the term.

Even though there are a lot of these policies out there, it does not mean they are the safest or best place to put your money or even rely on them for the death benefit for that matter.

So, you’re probably asking, “Why do you think that, Mary Jo?”

My answer: All of the above-named policies, have numerous charges and fees and one of those charges is Cost of Insurance (COI). COI covers the cost of the death benefit on the policy. What you typically see in these policies is the COI charge will be minimal while you are young but as you get older and closer to death this fee increases quickly and becomes very expensive.

ITM twentyfirst recently wrote an article about the cost increase in the COI charge. Companies like TransAmerica, AXA, Phoenix, and Nationwide have increased the cost of this charge anywhere from 40% – 100%! Policy owners are getting a letter stating their premium has doubled from the previous year due to the cost of insurance charge going up. Can you imagine getting your premium notice and having to come up with double the premium and if you can’t come up with it, you risk losing your death benefit?

It wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t point out that COI charges are found in all policies, even whole life, but the difference lies in how those charges are accounted for.

In a whole life policy with a mutual company, any charges or fees are paid for through the dividend you get as a policyholder. For example, if the mutual company declares a 6% dividend they will take fees and charges out of that and they will give you the remaining 2% and the policy will remain in force and premiums will never increase and your cash value will not go down.

Universal life charges and fees are taken through your premium payment or in some cases your cash value if your premium is not enough to covers all the fees and charges. For example, if your fees become larger than your premium payment they will start grabbing cash value to supplement the difference, and you start seeing a decrease in available cash value. If you don’t have enough cash value to cover any of the fees, charges, or cost of insurance you will receive a letter stating your premium payments MUST increase in order to keep the policy in force. Hence, you have to come up with money to cover this additional cost.

As you can see, with a policy that is not whole life you must be careful that you are paying in enough to sustain the policy as well as be aware that charges can be increased at any time.