Life's Unwanted Surprises & What Happens if Something Happens to You

Life’s Unwanted Surprises — with Lawrence B. Keller, CFP

Hello, and welcome to Beauty and the Biz where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery, and life’s unwanted surprises.

I’m your host, Catherine Maley, author of Your Aesthetic Practice – What your patients are saying, as well as consultant to plastic surgeons, to get them more patients and more profits. Now, today’s episode is called “Life’s Unwanted Surprises — with Lawrence B. Keller, CFP”.

Nobody wants to talk about protecting yourself against life’s unwanted surprises until something happens…..

  • Surgeon’s tractor fell on him and now he’s paralyzed from waist down
  • Surgeon fell off polo horse and was out of work for 6 weeks
  • 2 other surgeons I personally know ended up in the ICU for weeks during the pandemic

Your best defense is always a good offense so I interviewed an expert on income protection, wealth accumulation and asset protection (no sales pitch).

⬇️ Click below to watch “Life’s Unwanted Surprises — with Lawrence B. Keller, CFP”

Larry Keller, founder of Physician Financial Services, has worked with surgeons and physicians for the past 31 years to protect them no matter what happens.

Here’s what we talked about:

  • Protection strategies for doctors at various stages of their careers and family lives
  • Strategies for surgeons in partnerships, when divorce happens or someone leaves the practice
  • A bizarre story about murder, suicide, and insurance – crazy!

P.S. If you missed Tuesday’s email, I offered my latest guide about a smarter, faster, easier, and cheaper way to grow your revenues. 


Life’s Unwanted-Surprises — with Lawrence B. Keller, CFP

Catherine Maley, MBA: Hello and welcome to Beauty the Biz, where we talk about the business and marketing side of plastic surgery and life’s unwanted surprises. I’m your host, Catherine Maley, author of Your Aesthetic Practice — What your patients are saying, as well as consultant to plastic surgeons to get them more patients and more profits and avoid life’s unwanted surprises.

Now, today’s guest is not a surgeon. However, he’s someone who does help surgeons protect themselves against life’s unwanted surprises.

Now it’s Larry Keller. He’s founder of Physician Financial Services. He’s a certified financial planner from New York, and he, for the last 31 years, he’s worked with surgeons on income protection, wealth accumulation, as well as asset protection by providing them with services such as disability, income, life insurance, which helps deal with life’s unwanted surprises.

Larry Keller, welcome to Beauty and the Biz.

Lawrence B. Keller, CFP: Oh, Catherine, thank you so much for having me. I am looking forward to it.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Sure. Now, life’s unwanted surprises is a tough topic that a lot of surgeons don’t want to talk about. And usually, they don’t until something happens. Personally, I know after being around for a long time, I know surgeons who like one guy fell off a horse and he was out for six weeks.

Another one had a ski accident. He was out for eight weeks. I actually know a couple who during the pandemic, they were in the I C U for months. So, things happen in life, they just do with life’s unwanted surprises. So, we’re going to try to simplify it here and give them some really good tips about covering yourself when the stuff hits the fan.

Yes. So, let’s start with one important question that I have about life’s unwanted surprises. Surgeons spend a lot on their medical malpractice insurance. Is that different? Disability and life insurance.

Lawrence B. Keller, CFP: Yeah, it’s completely different. And ironically, when you think about it, the surgeon goes out and they buy, you know, medical malpractice insurance and yes, it is to protect themselves and their assets, but it’s really more about protecting their patients.

Because in the events something happens, their patients are going to be the ones that benefit that from that and not themselves. So, what we’re talking about in its really basic context. Is at the end of the day, what happens if something happens to me? How do I take care of myself? How do I take care of my family?

And a lot of people, they just don’t think about it. They say, I’m, I’m in medicine. I want to get into my practice. I want to do good work. I want to take care of everybody else. And unfortunately, very often, they neglect to take care of the most important person, you know, the.

Catherine Maley, MBA: For sure. So, you, so the medical map, so you’re not involved in that part of it at all in dealing with life’s unwanted surprises.

You’re involved in more the disability and the life insurance part to help with life’s unwanted surprises, right?

Lawrence B. Keller, CFP: Yeah. I’m much more on the, the personal insurance side and the, we will talk about this. There are some business overlaps and situations where insurance is used in the business side, and I’m familiar with medical malpractice and property and casualty agents and things like that.

Different specialty. Just like you have a face, say a facial plastic surgeon, and then you have a reconstructive plastic surgeon.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Yeah. On this show we only talk about cash medicine. That’s my specialty. I only do cash, which helps in adverting life’s unwanted surprises.

Lawrence B. Keller, CFP: I like it. I like it. We, we’ll focus in on the aesthetic and cash medicine, but the planning is going to be very similar.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Okay. So, what types of insurance should plastic surgeons consider when they’re, when they want to cover life’s unwanted surprises. What, what are you asking them? What are you looking for?

Lawrence B. Keller, CFP: Okay, so the first thing that they should do, and this is whether they’re in a private practice, whether they’re in a hospital-based practice, whether they’re in their in a large group, is they really want to have their individual.

Ideally own occupation. Some people use the term own specialty, but that’s not technically correct. And this is a policy that very simply put is if our surgeon is disabled and they can no longer perform their job duties, do it to an accident or sickness. Money is going to be paid to them so they can meet their expenses and maintain their lifestyle.

Now, ideally, what we want this policy to be is own occupation. And what it’s going to say is, Catherine, if you’re a plastic surgeon, and God forbid you are disabled, and you can no longer do your job duties as a plastic surgeon. We’re going to pay you your full disability insurance benefit. You can do whatever you want.

You can make as much money as you want in another occupation or another medical specialty. Some policies, it’s actually one company specifically has something that’s called an enhanced medical specialty definition. And this could work potentially very well for your audience. And what this says is if more than 50% of your income is derived from invasive or surgical procedures, Even if you could still do some of your other job duties.

Maybe you had an array of jobs, you had your medical practice, but you also ran a men spa and you earned a significant amount of money from that. But more than 50% of your income was derived from performing your surgical duties. You’re still deemed totally disabled. Full benefits are paid. You can remain in the same practice.

You can do a hundred. Overseeing of your medical spa and still get your full disability insurance benefit. That’s the most liberal definition in the marketplace today.

Catherine Maley, MBA: And do a lot of surgeons have that kind of coverage to help deal with life’s unwanted surprises, or do you find that they’re lacking in that?

Lawrence B. Keller, CFP: I’d say if they’re going to blow it somewhere, it’s probably going to be in that area.

I mean, ideally, we’re looking for own occupation, you know, plus or minus the enhanced medical specialty definition, because only one company offers that. It’s relatively new, it’s been around for about five years. But of the companies that have own occupation coverage, it’s really going to be Berkshire, which is a guardian company, mass Mutual, standard Insurance Company emeritus.

Principal, Ohio National. Then you’ve got New York Life. They’re not in every state. We’ve got Northwestern Mutual. They have now reentered the own occupation marketplace. So, if someone has their coverage for one of those companies, I would say they’re probably okay. If they don’t, the red flag should be going off and say, let me investigate.

That is what I think I have, what I actually do.

Catherine Maley, MBA: So, when a, like, let’s say a surgeon right now is saying to himself, I, I don’t know, I don’t know what my coverage is to help me with life’s unwanted surprises. What would, if they’re calling their insurance agent, what are they asking them? What is the question? Because I’m not sure what owned means.

Do you mean if the solo practitioner who, who has his name on the practice, is that an owned occupancy? Occupancy?

Lawrence B. Keller, CFP: No. So own occupation is really just specific to the job duties that you are perform. And if you can’t do those, your benefit is going to be paid even if you’re working in another capacity. So, what I would say to my agent is, Hey, I know we’ve done disability insurance together.

I just want to confirm that my policy has an own occupation definition. Let me just clarify. This means if I’m a plastic and a reconstructive surgeon and an accident or sickness prevents me from doing that. I can work in another occupation or even medical specialty. I see. And still get my full benefit.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Gotcha. So that’s a new trailer because oftentimes they just get it if they can’t and it no longer re like generate revenues. Is that the point, in terms of life’s unwanted surprises?

Lawrence B. Keller, CFP: Correct. So, you will find, we call this an own occupation and not engaged definition. Mm-hmm. So, it would read, don’t want to bore you with the legalese, but it would say something.

Catherine, we will deem you totally disabled if you’re unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your occupation, and you are not gainfully employed, right? So ideally, we don’t want to see anything after unable to perform the material and substantial duties of your occupation, period.

Meaning if you are engaged in another occupation or specialty, there’s no impact to you. Gotcha.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Okay. Very interesting. That’s a really good pearl for dealing with life’s unwanted surprises, I think. So how do you talk to a surgeon who’s like young? He’s like, you know, he’s single. He doesn’t know yet exactly where he is going to be forever. He’s, he’s going to, he is going to set up shop in Austin, Texas and hope for the best.

Like, how would you prepare him to cover himself versus all the other scenarios with life’s unwanted surprises?

Lawrence B. Keller, CFP: So, figure all the other scenarios, if it’s a larger practice or a multi-specialty clinic, they’re probably going to have some kind of long-term disability coverage provided to them. Here we have an individual where not only are they the business, They’re also relying a hundred percent on themselves for their income.

So, if an accident or sickness prevents them from doing their job, like where is the money going to come from? Like at the very end of the day, I would say everybody we’re just well-educated money machines, and if the machine breaks down, no more money is getting spit out. So, the first thing that they should do is exactly what we said.

They should have an individual. Ideally own occupation, disability insurance policy that pays them their full benefit if they can’t do what they were doing, regardless of what else they can do or actually choose to do. Now, the second one is because they’re in their own practice. If they’re new, they’re probably going to try to run their practice on the cheap.

I would imagine you would tell them that’s what you should be doing. You know, maybe you’ll get someone that answers the phone, but if you’re going to spend money, you could be a great surgeon. But if no one knows that you. It doesn’t matter. Let’s do a feasibility study. Let’s look what we’re going to do to bring patients in the door to keep you busy.

But if they have staff, they have malpractice insurance, they have rent, they have fixed overhead. And this is stuff that patients are not going to reimburse for, like breast implants or Botox or Ru Juvéderm or Restylane. They’re on the hook for those expenses. So, there’s another policy that we buy that’s called a disability overhead expense policy.

And this just like the personal money goes to the doctors so they can maintain their lifestyle and meet their expense. This one actually, the money goes to the practice. They use that to pay the expenses in the practice, and now they know they either have a practice to go back to, or if they’re not going back, they’re going to be able to sell it as a plastic surgery office, rather than, Hey, you know what, I’ll take 10 cents on the dollar.

I’m just hemorrhaging money here and things are not going to end.

Catherine Maley, MBA: I would say no, the majority of the surgeons I work with are solo practitioners. They have to find their own insurance to help them deal with life’s unwanted surprises. There’s no, you know, HR benefit waiting for them. But that, that just reminded me, where does workers comp fit into all of this?

Lawrence B. Keller, CFP: So, work as comp, if it’s just you. Yeah, you don’t have to have it on yourself because you are an owner, but it’s mandatory. You have to have it for your employees. So, depending upon the state that you’re in, you know the state might have a website that you could sign up for that. Or if you’re talking to your property and casualty or p and c agent, this is going to be the person that’s going to do your business interruption.

Like what happens if there’s a flood and you’re in an office building and now you can’t use your practice? For months. What happens if there’s an earthquake? You know, any type of thing. So that’s the agent that you would go to and you’d say, can you set me up with my worker’s compensation, my office pack?

That’s going to ensure, you know, their equipment, that’s going to ensure something happens where I can’t go into my practice. But that’s really going to be more like acts of God. This is going to be, you cannot work, you cannot perform your job duties as a surgeon because of an accident or sickness. It’s not the office that’s broken, it’s you that’s broken.

Catherine Maley, MBA: That’s interesting, in terms of life’s unwanted surprises. The surgeon that the surgeon I know really well, he had a 6,000 square foot home burned down in 45 minutes. And he wasn’t there, but, and it didn’t preclude him from still doing surgery, however, he needed to spend some time, you know, it was a huge loss and it, it, it interrupted him, but not, it wasn’t catastrophic because he was, he’s really set up, he’s got a great team who was like covering for him to help with life’s unwanted surprises and he had other surgeons in there.

Mm-hmm. But is that kind of thing covered, or what do you call that, that, you know, the bumper sticker that says, “Shit happens”, as in, “life’s unwanted surprises happens”, like, yes, where does that fit into this?

Lawrence B. Keller, CFP: This would really be because it wasn’t a business thing and it was his home. That’s really going to be his homeowner’s insurance, and unfortunately, he probably lost a lot of time from his practice.

I’ll, I’ll go one step further. This is probably not him. But let’s say, because his home went up in flames, it was so devastating. Mm-hmm. that, you know, he now has mental and nervous issues like anxiety, depression, stress, and because of that, he can’t work. Some policies are going to cover those types of claims for a limited period of time, like anxiety, depression, stress, chemical dependency, drug addiction.

Other policies are going to give you a choice. Like Catherine, our base policy has a limitation. If you don’t want that, you can buy a policy that has unlimited coverage for those types of things. And there was a study that was done, believe it or not, it’s in the Journal of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and they said at some point, 40% of US trained aesthetic surgeons are going to deal with burnout in their career.

And if it gets to the point where the burnout is so bad and you are seeing a psychiatrist, or you’re seeing a therapist and maybe you’re on medication and you legitimately cannot work, a disability insurance policy can actually pay for that. Mm-hmm. So, a lot of people, when we think about mental and nervous conditions, they’re thinking like doctors, right?

Dementia as a result of a stroke, a trauma, head injury, viral infection. Parkinson’s, I’ve got this physical condition. I can no longer perform my job duties as a surgeon, even with a limitation. That stuff’s going to be covered. I’m thinking more like the insurance guy stuff. Anxiety, depression, stress, chemical dependency, drug addiction.

Now, certain states like California, every policy in California has to have a limitation for those types of claims. But what if you’re in a state like New York? And your plan is to move to California and start your practice. I would say you better buy your policy when you’re in New York, so you could take it with you when you make it to California.

And if you don’t want a limitation, you don’t have to have one. Now, another fun fact, and you might be testament to this, is the state of California as far as disability insurance claims go is the highest of every. People in theory would rather be on the beach than in the operating room or clinic, and claims experience actually demonstrates this.

So, California happens to also be the most expensive state for disability insurance compared to all others. So, I don’t know, maybe I practiced for a little bit. I decided I wanted to go back and do a facial plastic surgery fellowship, and I’m not in California doing my fellowship. Maybe I’m in. If I buy my policy in Illinois and I know I’m going to move back to California, I can get a better policy for less money.

So really, really important in terms of that. Now, ironically, And this kind of ties into surgery, you know, we know the difference. You and I and your listeners know the difference between a cosmetic surgeon and a board certified, let’s say, plastic and reconstructive surgeon or a board-certified facial plastic surgeon.

Does the consumer know that? Absolutely not. They say if you’re out, you’re practicing, you’ve got a white coat on or a nice. You’re a surgeon. You know, you might have done family medicine and now you’re talking to people about breast implants, but very different. It’s kind of the difference between getting a result and getting closer to the ideal result.

Insurance is no different, so I always say it’s like that movie taxi driver, you’re talking to me. You better know who you’re talking to. Like how many surgeons do they work with? How long have they been in the industry? What companies do they recommend most often? And why? How familiar are they with what it is that you do?

And you are not spending any more money to work with, let’s say, an experienced agent or financial advisor than you are with what I’ll call a newly minted agent. Like, it’s like Apple. The rates are the rates, and the only way one person can beat out another is to know of or have access to a discount, then another person doesn’t.

Otherwise, if we set things up the same way with the same. It’s going to be exactly the same. So, I always find that to be interesting.

Catherine Maley, MBA: So, you know, I was always taught like, get insurance when you’re healthy to help with life’s unwanted surprises. You know? Is that still like that? Like are you better off getting really great coverage? When you’re young, and then hopefully it, it can’t keep increasing on you as the years go on, or does that work still?

Or how, how does that work? Yeah, that’s still, and as you add more kids to the mix and you just more liability to the mix to deal with life’s unwanted surprises?

Lawrence B. Keller, CFP: Yeah. That, that still works. Great. The premise behind it is this, You almost have to buy it before you know you need it, because once you know you need it, it’s too late. So ideally, a lot of times I’ll meet someone as early as residency or fellowship, and they’ll tell me what their specialty is.

I’ll ask them some medical questions. Ideally, they’re in good shape. And I’ll say, Hey Catherine, look, I can get you policy with any number of companies. It’s ideally going to be own occupation like we discussed. It’s going to have some other features to it, like a partial benefit. If you can work on a limited basis, it’s going to increase in the event of your disability after a year.

We just call that the cost-of-living adjustment rider, but you hit it on the head. We want to have the ability to buy more coverage in the future regardless of your health, as long as your income is. And ideally you want to be able to do this every year or at least every few years without ever answering medical questions or doing an exam, blood test, urine test.

You literally want to just say to your agent or the insurance company, this is how much I’m earning, this is the other coverage I have, whether it’s individual or let’s say someone happened to be hospital based and they have a group insurance plan. And then we’ll come back and we’ll say, Katherine, you’re eligible for an additional monthly benefit of.

Tell me how much of that you want. Do you want all of it, some of it, or none of it? And there’s different rules depending upon the increase option on there. But you really want to set up your foundation before anything happens. Because once it happens, you might not be dead, you might not be disabled. But suddenly things that are very concerning to you are also to the insurance company.

So, a great example with surgeons would be, Bilateral carpal tunnel and you’re like, Larry, I heard I got to get insurance. Maybe I’m a little late to the game. Can you get me something? I heard you’re good. And I’m like, yeah, I tend to think that I’m pretty good also, let me ask you a couple questions. Oh, yeah.

You know, I got a little numbness and tingling in my hands and wrists and forearms. Okay. Have you seen anybody? Oh, well I had an MR and it’s the beginning of bilateral carpal tunnel, or I had an EMG doc. Great news. I can get you a. It’s not going to cover either or both of your hands, wrists, or forearms.

You deal with physicians all the time. What do you think the response to that is? Not good. Not good. Larry, are you kidding me? Do you know what I do for a living? I’m a plastic and reconstructive surgeon. I use my hands, wrists, or forearms all day. And let me get this straight. You are telling me you can get me a policy that’s not going to cover my hands, wrists, or forearm.

So, if this gets to be so bad that I can’t do surgery, you are not going to pay me. And the answer is, that’s correct. I’m not going to pay you. You should have purchased it before you had this issue. If you had an increase option, we could have bought more and I wouldn’t even be asking you about your medical history.

So yes, you hit that right on the head.

Catherine Maley, MBA: So, the pearl is plan ahead for life’s unwanted surprises. And it’s just regarding partnerships because a lot of surgeons start out, let’s say they start out solo or they finally leave the hospital, they go solo. Now they’re going to bring on some more people. Is everyone just getting their own individualized insurance or when does it make more sense to try to combine things?

Although that gets so complicated with surgeons. But are you better off doing a group policy if you can get along to deal with life’s unwanted surprises?

Lawrence B. Keller, CFP: No, usually you want to do an individual policy first, because that’s going to give you the better definitions. There’s not going to be offsets to it. Once you maximize that and currently, no matter how much money you may have for them, the maximum that you can have for individual disability insurance is $30,000 a month.

To get that, you’d normally have to have an income about. 1,000,200 50,000. Now some companies will do a little less because we do something that’s called a business owner upgrade. And we know you have some personal expenses. You might be pushing through your business and that’s okay once you have the $30,000 maximum or you’ve reached your potential and you’re like, it’s just never going to get any better.

But you want. At that point, I would introduce a group insurance plan, and you could cover the other physicians. You can cover your office staff. No, plus or minus a short-term disability plan, maybe a group life insurance plan, but let’s say you don’t even have that. It’s just you in your practice, you have staff, but you are the only surgeon.

You are killing it. You’re earning, you know, $3 million. You’ve got your $30,000 a month, and you’re figuring the percentage of my income that’s being replaced is so small, it’s really not going to do much for me. Then we go to Lloyd’s of London. And when I say Lloyd of London, everyone starts to think like J Lo and I’m going to ensure my butt, or things like that.

No. Lloyds of London is great for certain occupations that the traditional carriers don’t want, like singers or professional athletes or creative writers, but they’re also very good for high income professionals where they’re way beyond what the traditional carriers want. So, Lloyds of London would say something like, Catherine.

We’ll do 65% of your income. We’ll subtract out the other coverage that you already have. You can buy that difference. We only pay for a limited period of time. Let’s say it’s five years, but you can electively purchase a lump sum when you apply for the policy that says, Hey, if I’m a plastic surgeon and I’m still disabled at the end of five, And I’m not expected to ever be able to go back to plastic surgery.

Now, it’ll pay a lump sum of a couple hundred thousand to a couple of million dollars to replicate as if the policy was going to pay benefits to the age of 65 or longer. Some other types of policies, which are interesting, so someone wouldn’t do it on you, but let’s say that you’re in a plastic surgery office.

You know, it’s you, you’ve got your injector, you’ve got your maybe pa. But you have a really good in-house marketing team that’s doing your social media, and you are one of the few plastic surgeons that have really figured this out, and your patients are really coming in as a result of this person’s efforts.

You can actually buy a disability insurance policy on that individual. We’ll call this a key person insurance policy that if they’re disabled, Money comes to your practice because you got to find somebody else. Same thing is true. If you and I were in practice, well, what happens if I become disabled? Now?

You have to run the whole practice. Maybe you have to hire someone else if I can’t come back. So, there should be something in our agreement that’s called a disability buyout agreement. And we have an agreement. We go to an attorney, we set the value in our practice. Usually there’s a formula and if I become disabled, this triggering event is going to be funded because that’s all it is with the insurance.

I find a lot of these buy sell agreements funded for. But not disability. And disability is much more likely than death among a young surgeon.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Yeah, that’s a really good point related to life’s unwanted surprises. By the way, what is you’ve been around a long time. Everyone used to retire at 65, and I just feel like that’s so archaic at this point.

And that must be just causing chaos in the insurance business because a lot of surgeons, they’re doing just fine at 72. They’re not even thinking about retiring yet. Is that affecting your, like the decisions that you are or, or the suggestions you’re giving to the surgeons to cover life’s unwanted surprises.

Lawrence B. Keller, CFP: Believe it or not, not really.

When you think about it for disability insurance, I really only want to get my surgeons from point A to point B, so point A, let’s go all the way to the beginning. They’re a PGY one. They’re a newly minted resident. They have no money. They have no assets. They have a lot of debt, but they have a lot of academic and intellectual skills.

And then they’ve got the physical skills right here. Well, that’s what their disability insurance is going to cover as their career progresses. They’re going to pay down their debt, they’re going to accumulate wealth. They’re going to save for their retirement. They’re going to pay for their kids’ college education if that’s what they’re looking for.

And they’re going to create a lot of assets. And at that point they’re really working because they love what they do. They’ve honed their craft, they’re good at it, but they can self-insure at that point. They don’t need the insurance. Same thing is potentially true with life insurance. Now, if I’m in practice with you, and let’s say you are a young physician, young plastic surgeon, and I’m the older guy, but my plan is to sell the practice to.

And I tell you, Catherine, I’ll stick around for, I don’t know, six months, a year, two years, three years. I’ll make sure that the introductions are there and the patients know who you are. You’ll buy the practice. For me, that’s all well and good. If you have money, I’m okay. But what happens if you become disabled?

What happens if you die? I might never get that money. So that all ties into that buy sell agreement. And if I’m the older doctor looking to exit, I would want to make sure I had insurance on the younger guy that’s funding my retirement. But at the end of the day, I would say the disability insurance and life insurance for an older surgeon, it’s really just not there unless they want to leave money to charity.

unless they have, God forbid a disabled child because they’re going to outlive you and financially, they’re not going to be able to survive. And this could be some of your audience, but the limits are really high. So, let’s say the two of us are married. There is something that’s called estate taxes, whereas success tax and currently husband and wife together can leave in excess of 20 million with no taxes.

But what if those limits go? Or what if we’re way above that? Let’s say together we’re 10 million over the limit, between insurance policies, between my practice, you know, maybe your practice, maybe you are working in my practice and of the 10 million overage, 6 million is going to go to the kids and 4 million is going to go to the government.

And you say, I, I don’t want that to go to the go. Well now we could buy a policy that’s called a survivorship life policy or a second to die policy. It ensures the two of us, if something happens to me, the guy always goes first. Nothing happens, but upon your death, that’s when the estate taxes are due.

This policy pays out and we use that money to pay the estate taxes, and ideally, if we’re doing it right, it’s owned by what’s called an irrevocable life insurance. And not only is the death benefit tax free, it’s also estate tax free, but that’s kind, so I would say advanced estate planning, but a lot of things that surgeons just don’t think about.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Right. I know enough to know that that’s super important to know about it. So, I would look into that to help with life’s unwanted surprises. And just my last question out of more of a curiosity I, I, once I watched one of those 48 hour shows and there was literally a plastic surgeon on there that had, who had faked his death. Ha, Do you have any of those bizarre stories for real life that you.

Lawrence B. Keller, CFP: Yes, I, I’ve got one, not a client of mine. For those of you that like entertaining stories, you can just Google it. It’s been on 48 hours. It’s kind of well-known because it was local to me. So, you can Google Jeffrey Locker, l o c k e r, murder. Now, when I first came into the industry 32 years ago, I met Jeff Locker.

He was a motivational speaker. He was about five nine. He was into martial arts. He was a good-looking guy and his job was to take people like me. And try to bring it to the next level. So essentially, he was a Catherine Maley to surgeons. He was that to the insurance agent, and he knew the rules. He had a lot of clients that were insurance agent.

He helped a lot of them become very successful at marketing their practice and their services. Well, believe it or not, he invested in a Ponzi scheme and he lost a tremendous amount of. And as a result of that, he was in financial straits and he had a lot of insurance. He had 8 million of insurance. He was married, he had three kids, and he knew that if he bought more insurance and he committed suicide, his family could not collect If it was in the first two years of the policy ownership, this is what’s known as the contestable period.

But if he was murder, His family could collect. So, he went out and he bought another 8 million of life insurance. He completely lied about his financial situation. In fact, he said he was going to replace the first 8 million, which he did not. He was approved for the policy. Now he’s insured, so now he’s struggling.

How am I going to leave my family in good straits if my plan is to commit suicide, because that’s not going to be covered under the insurance. So, he drives to Harlem. For those of you that don’t know, it’s a relatively dangerous area in New York state. He finds a guy that’s about six four, that’s an ex-con, and he says, I’m going to give you my bank card.

I need you to kill me. And he’s in his car. He gives the guy his bank card, the guy takes some money out of the, the, the bank account with the cash card and he murders Jeff Locker. And he will say, oh, well, Mr. Locker thrust himself on the knife when he was sitting in the car. And that maybe that’s true, maybe that’s not, but he also stamped him multiple times in the heart, chest aorta, and he got caught and it went to the courts.

And the whole thing was, what is this a. And we pay, or was this a homicide or a suicide and we don’t pay. It was deemed to be a homicide and his family collected and they found all sorts of text messages and emails to his family. This is what you need to do to manage the money after I pass away. Tell your sister I love her very much.

I’m doing this for you guys. So sometimes the truth is crazier than anything we could ever make.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Who would kill themselves by stabbing. Why? I want something a lot faster. That’s crazy.

Lawrence B. Keller, CFP: Yeah. Well, remember you couldn’t take pills because that would be suicide. So, it had to be something that was deemed a homicide.

Well, would be better than stabbing would definitely, any of that stuff would work. In fact, that probably would’ve been cleaner. Yeah. Is he going to shoot himself? I, I don’t know. So, this was really, the whole case was deemed like, Dr. Kavian of the insurance World, and this happened 2009, but it really was in every newspaper where I was in New York on Long Island every day for years.

And then after it ended, it was still in the paper for a significant amount of time. So, there you.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Okay. That’s crazy. And with that, we are going to end it there to deal with life’s unwanted surprises. Larry, how can doctors get ahold of you if they now realize they might have some insurance questions on life’s unwanted surprises?

Lawrence B. Keller, CFP: Yeah. So very easy. You can email me.

It’s l keller, You could certainly call me at (516) 677-6211. I’m happy to review coverage that you have now. I’m happy to discuss with the insurance you might be considering or should be considering. But view me as a resource. Thankfully in the beginning, everyone’s a hand surgeon, right?

Anything you can get your hands on, and then after you’ve been around for a while, you realize, this is what I’m good at. This is what I’m not so good at. This is what I like to do. This is what I don’t like to do. So, use me as a resource, have no fear. I am happy to help any way that I can.

Catherine Maley, MBA: Everybody that’s going to wrap it up for us today, a Beauty and the Biz and this episode on Life’s unwanted surprises with special guest, Lawrence B. Keller, CFP.

If you’ve got any questions or feedback for Larry Keller, you can reach out to his website at,

A big thanks to Larry for sharing his expertise on life’s unwanted surprises.

And if you have any questions or feedback for me, you can go ahead and leave them at my website at, or you can certainly DM me on Instagram @CatherineMaleyMBA.

If you’ve enjoyed this episode on Beauty and the Biz, please head over to Apple Podcasts and give me a review and subscribe to Beauty and the Biz so you don’t miss any episodes. And of course, please share this with your staff and colleagues.

And we will talk to you again soon. Take care.

-End transcript for the “Life’s Unwanted Surprises — with Lawrence B. Keller, CFP”.

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