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Russell likes helping people

By MICHAEL STRAND | Salina Journal

When people are in their 30s or 40s, they’ve usually got more immediate concerns than how they’ll pay their nursing home bills four decades from now.

After 11 years in the insurance business, and specializing in long-term care issues, Randy Russell often finds himself in the position of persuading people to plan ahead.

In fact, he bought his own long-term care policy when he was just 38, and points out that such policies cost less for younger people.

Just in the time he’s been in the business, he said, the age of people buying long-term policies has dropped.

“It used to be, I’d see people who were 60, up to 67,” Russell said. “Now I’m seeing more people in their 50s.”

Russell represents about 50 different insurance companies, each with various policies and options; figuring out which is best for a particular family isn’t easy, but he said he enjoys the challenge.

“I’m good with numbers, and good with people,” Russell said. “This lets me do both.”

As a relatively simple example, Russell said, he might be able to find a life insurance policy that costs $35 a month, instead of the $45 a month his client is currently paying.

“I’ve just saved them 10 bucks a month,” Russell said.

Other times, it can be a lot more complicated.

“Say there’s a long-term care policy that will pay $130 a day, and it’s $100 a month,” Russell said. “That sounds like a good deal, yes? But it might not have an inflation provision.

“I’ve seen policies from the ’90s that pay $50 a day, which was good then, but don’t have an inflation provision — and their expense is $130 a day now.”

But that’s just the beginning of the complexity he’s used to helping clients through.

Inflation provisions cost more, and “maybe the client can only afford $100 a month. In that case, the best thing might be a policy that pays the full cost for three years instead.”

Russell also works with annuities, life insurance and other products, and said that in an increasingly uncertain world, of the uncertain world of international financial problems, people are looking for safe harbors for their money, rather than the exposure of playing the stock market.

“Between the recession and unemployment, people are looking for safety and guarantees,” he said.

“The first thing I ask people is what’s their goal in life,” Russell said, adding that’s not always an easy question for people to answer. He also makes it a point to wait five days or more between first meeting with a new client and a follow-up meeting, so the client has a chance to ponder what they’ve discussed.

“Helping people is a fun thing to do,” he said.

n Reporter Mike Strand can be reached at 822-1418 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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