Thank You, Presidential for Earl E Bird Blog

In observance of President’s Day, I’ve decided to go a little presidential — Presidential Life Insurance (PLFE) that is. It’s hard to fathom, but I’ve worked with this company since the 1980’s. To this day, it is a company built on the foundation that the client comes first. You will never see 16 years of penalties attached to one of their annuity products. Yes, it has hindered their growth, but this NY based company was built on pride and integrity.

A gentleman named Herbert Kurz founded the company in 1964. Even though Herb worked near Wall Street and had investment banking connections, he chose to raise capital by going to clients, friends and relatives. He even went door-to-door in Nyack, NY, the eventual location, selling stock in the local venture. By doing it himself, the company saved money bypassing high Wall Street fees.

While snacking on a bowl of wheat bird seeds in Herb’s office one day, he proudly showed me how he invested 100 percent of his stock funds to PLFE and not greedy Wall Street.

Herb is the most interesting man I’ve ever known. He took so much pride in the company’s frugality. From printing their own marketing material using old carpeting, to residing in an old firehouse, Herb was never happier than when sharing a story on how he’s saving money for shareholders.

Don’t laugh, this mentality made PLFE the #1 stock performer of the 1980’s. But times change, and PLFE had some hard times with junk bond dramatics in the 90’s when it seemed the company’s end was near. However nothing could be further from the truth because Herb Kurz refused to yield. Captain Herb, the multi-millionaire in his 70’s, righted the ship and brought the company back into relevance a few years later.

Herb is no longer in charge at PLFE, but his bottom-line and customer-first mentality lives on.

It’s hard to believe that PLFE is the only insurance company since I started my business in 1989 that hasn’t been taken over or gone out of business. And I am proud to say, that I have been a shareholder since 1994 and have not sold one share of stock. Though PLFE’s future is uncertain due to takeover prospects, I will always be a believer in the company. Management is more competent than ever, and selling the best consumer products has always been their top priority. America needs more companies like PLFE versus the many that only care about the agent’s or their own pockets.

Yes, PLFE can be considered a sleepy little annuity company, but to me it’s a national treasure. I hope I can write a follow-up ten years from now discussing their growth while affirming the original foundation of customer-first still exists. I can still hear ol’ Herb telling me, “I’ll only create an annuity product that I would buy personally.”

Pay It Forward:

Your kids should know that going to a four-year college is not a god-given right.  And if you ask me, taking the community college road is the route I would advise for cost efficiency.  And, if your student studies hard and transfers with good grades, she could probably transfer to a top college.  Hard-working transfer students are desired by most colleges.  So a community college can save you money and earn your student a better education, just make sure your student takes the community college seriously!

 

Earl E Bird

I'm Earl E. Bird and I am very concerned about saving for my senior years. I am amazed at the stumbling blocks that exist when saving for retirement. That's why I take my time when making decisions on building my nest egg.

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