By Suzanne Takowsky
Photography by David Sobel
Having spent my life perfecting my craft—write interesting stories AND have people read them—I found it shocking weeks ago when someone brought to my attention that I was in the entertainment business. ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS? I protested that I do not write entertainment; that my goal as a journalist is to offer interestingly, informative articles. WHAT? Mission NOT accomplished? Reluctantly, I re-examined what my power with the pen brings forth and found myself considering three things:
#1. Out of all the places I could have lived and worked I chose LA; specifically Beverly Hills. Not exactly a political mecca or hard news arena like Washington. And I write for the Beverly Hills Times magazine—not the Wall Street Journal. Translation: So almost “by accident” I live and work in the “entertainment” capitol of the world. BIG DEAL!
#2. I ABSOLUTELY DO bring cutting-edge, newsworthy stories to my readers. BUT according to my staff, my stories gravitate toward how to stay looking young and skinny and live a fabulous life forever. WHO in Beverly Hills doesn’t think this is VITAL news?
#3. That I avoid writing stories that might bring readers “down”—SO NOT TRUE. I’m a staunch animal rights activist and include stories about rescuing animals and bettering their lives (stories and photos can be shocking!). Although my staff admits this to be true, they “alerted” me to the fact I preach more on how people can better the lives of animals, than on how people can better their own lives—that doesn’t revolve around beauty, health and fitness, or how to spring clean your brain and avoid a trip to rehab. OMG!
So here we go people. A serious, interesting, hard-hitting, eye-opening look into how to better your life that doesn’t revolve around how you look, but how to achieve peace of mind. The topic will NOT bring you down, but will change your perspective on two things NONE of us can run or hide from: life and death. And this article will shock you from the “deep sleep” of hoping to secure your financial future (and that of your family) by winning the lottery, buying a big house or stashing cash in a savings account for a rainy day. And who better for me to profile for this story, than a man whose business is educating adults on HOW to become responsible, independent grown-ups.
Michael J. Krupin rose from the depths of poverty with a fire in his belly to change his life. He was 17- years-old when he left the backwoods of a tiny town —Salem, Virginia to make something of his life that he could be proud of. He never went back. Home had been a two-room, small house where he lived with his sister, mother, father, grandmother and grandfather; all crowded in together. Although Mike took with him unresolved memories of a childhood filled with hardship and emotional void brought on by parents who were not supportive or nurturing in his life; he left behind the negative tapes that so often play in our heads telling us what we CAN’T do. He was on a mission to find out what he COULD do. Mike also took one more thing with him on his journey: the guts to not only survive, but thrive and succeed in a world that rarely gives a second chance at a new beginning.
Mike Krupin is legendary in the wealth distribution, financial advisory, insurance industry. With 41-years in the business world in his back pocket, there isn’t much he doesn’t know, or can’t do. He is a serious guy who does serious business, and he has built an empire educating people on how to “reorganize” their thought process to make their lives work for them. AS OPPOSED to continuing to run on a rat wheel that can and does dead end in financial disaster.
Could this be the most serious, interesting and life-preserving journalistic article I’ve ever written? Yes indeed, it just might be! Especially now in these uncertain times when everything we’ve worked for is riding on the decisions we make today, I don’t know one person who won’t go for some FREE financial “reorganization” tips from an expert whose business is to protect what we have built, and keep our hard earned dollars in our pockets. But what about the “wealth distribution” part? I considered if that would also appeal to readers. I know that whenever I hear Suzy Orman or some CNN expert talk about wealth building/distribution it sounds interesting, but I’m forced to contemplate the relevancy of “wealth distribution” in my own life (maybe you’ve felt the same way). I mean how many of us have wealth to redistribute? And on the topic of life and disability insurance; are people up for that right now? Well, after you read this article you probably will be.
As a single, working mother of three, I’ve spent years building a business that I hope continues to provide for my kids after I’m gone. Not that I plan to “check out” anytime soon because although my life is hectic and my work stressful, I’m as healthy as a work horse. Oye Vey what a glamorous comparison! But true. Nevertheless, because this is how I’ve always thought—that nothing is going to happen to me—maybe there are a few things I need to reconsider; maybe there are a few things we all should reconsider. Occasionally, we need to step out of “our world” and let someone with a new and educated perspective give us a qualified and unbiased view of ways to make our lives better; ways we never considered. Or maybe ways we considered, but never thought we could do.
The day I walked into Mike’s Beverly Hills office for our interview (he also has offices in Richmond, Virginia and New York) the first thing that caught my eye was the array of exotic fish having a blast in a large, high tech tank they call “home.” Next…all of the “Thank you for your help and guidance” notes splashed across photos of superstars, athletes and tons of recognizable faces from every field you can imagine. Mike is extremely successful at what he does because he is working with an unbeatable team: his intelligence and his compassion for others. He is no-nonsense when it comes to business, but easy to talk to and non-judgmental. These are incredibly important when you’re detailing a laundry list of the hits and misses in your life, and need a sympathetic ear to evaluate your next move. I asked straight forward questions I thought everyone would want answers to, and even spilled the beans on personal concerns regarding my business, and how to best help my kids down the road. As a single parent, paying the bills and helping my kids launch into lives and careers of their own, these things are always on my mind. I’m sure many of you are in the same boat.
Mike’s first sentence set the tone for the interview: “The ONLY thing I require from clients is they are truthful with me about their health, finances and intention with their families; I take care of the rest.” DAMN—one minute into the interview and I was already stuck between a rock and a hard place. So in keeping with his honesty-request-business-mantra, I had to admit to him that winning the BIG LOTTO definitely has a place in my retirement/estate planning package. Smirk if you want to, but you’ve all thought about it, and bought Lotto tickets too!!!!
MK: Each person has specific needs and desires for their money and assets. What are yours?
ST: To have money for retirement and leave every penny and asset I have to my kids if something happens to me. Do you help regular people or are your clients only the wealthy?
MK: Although I have a reputation for helping high net worth individuals and families reorganize life insurance options for estate planning, I help 99% of everyone who walks through my door regardless of whether they are a doctor, actor, business owner, attorney, politician, school teacher, senior citizen or individual from another country who lives in the United States. If you want financial independence into retirement and to protect your assets for yourself and loved ones —you need a plan to accomplish these goals. We spend our lives working to take care of ourselves and our families. But with all the fine print that gets glossed over in financial/retirement/insurance/estate protection solutions, people often discover that what they thought would take care of them when they retire,
or take care of their heirs when they pass on—isn’t there. Without a financial plan for your life and, one in place in case of your death, every day is a crap shoot with you dreading what’s around the corner.
Without a financial plan for your life and one in place in case of your death, everyday is a crap shoot with you dreading what’s around the corner. People don’t realize they have it within their power to live—rather than fear life. But hindsight is always better than NOWsight. Why live in fear hoping the unthinkable won’t happen? Then, face disaster if it does.
People don’t understand they have it in their power to live, rather than fear life. But hindsight is always better than NOWsight. Why live in fear hoping the unthinkable won’t happen, or that things will fall into place when the time comes? Put in place NOW a retirement plan to accommodate your lifestyle later. Protect yourself NOW in case a disability appears later. Act NOW when you have a voice to protect those you love when you pass on. Prepare as best you can for what could happen; if it doesn’t terrific. But if it does…you have in place what you need to make any transition an effective one for all involved. Not one of us knows what tomorrow might bring.
“In this economic climate people know that liquidity is not to be taken for granted. Estate planning relies on longevity and market performance— neither of which we have any control over.
High net worth clients use life insurance to replace or supplement liquid assets that
plummeted in value during the recent downturn
such as real estate properties, stocks, mutual funds, business holdings… as well as to provide the cash needed to pay estate tax and cover other wealth transfer costs. New and more efficient policies benefit clients in achieving these objectives at a greatly reduced cost. Some people don’t understand the leverage life insurance offers, but once it is explained to them a light goes off. Life insurance is the only financial instrument that comes with guarantees: a secured retirement, leverage with wealth transfer, it preserves assets and, it is tax free cash!”
To read the rest of the article and April issue, click here.