Who is John Olsen and why should I work with him?
First, let me give you some background.
I've been in the life insurance business for over 47 years as an agent, sales manager, Agency Director of Training, and Regional Marketing Consultant. For most of that time, I was also a Registered Representative (selling securities) and an Investment Advisory Representative (doing investment and financial planning). I surrendered those licenses in 2012, having decided to concentrate on teaching, writing, consulting, and offering Expert Witness services in litigation involving insurance, annuities, and investments. I hold Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), and, until my retirement from active estate planning, the AEP (Accredited Estate Planner) designation.
I am a Past President of the Estate Planning Council of St. Louis, a past board member of the St. Louis chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals, a Past President of the St. Louis chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, and I sit on the Editorial Advisory Board of Tax Facts (an industry reference source; I edited all of the annuity questions in several releases). I've written or co-written five books on annuities and dozens of articles on annuities, life insurance, and retirement & estate planning, published in various industry journals. For over 35 years, I've given Continuing Education classes to industry groups, mostly on life insurance, annuities, and retirement income planning.
I am not "for" or "against" annuities. They're just tools, like a screwdriver or hammer. For some jobs, a particular kind of annuity contract can be the right tool; for others, it won't be. There's nothing inherently good or bad about any annuity contract.
There are a lot of myths and misconceptions about life insurance and annuity policies (especially the latter). Often, these are the products of people with a strong partisan agenda (either "pro" or "anti"). These days, there is a clear and widespread suspicion and dislike of annuities, for example. Much of this is due to repeated statements by people with a clear "anti-annuity" bias, but some of it is due to agents who will say almost anything to make a sale. In my experience, for every self-proclaimed "consumerist" who makes statements like "all annuities have high fees" (patently untrue), there's an agent who says things like "you're guaranteed a minimum 6% return" when describing a 6% "rollup rate" in a Guaranteed Lifetime Income Option (just as untrue).
My goal is not to promote life insurance or annuities, but rather to promote accurate understanding of these instruments. If you need objective, accurate answers to your annuity questions, give me a call. If it takes only a few minutes to answer your question, I won't charge you. If it's going to take more than that, I will let you know what my fee will be right up front.
- John Olsen