All posts by Largo Financial Services

CHART: Life Insurance vs. 529 Plan for College Savings


If you are like most parents who desire for your children to attend college, you’re probably worried about the rising costs. Per an article by Newsweek, since 1969, the average cost of college (tuition, fees, and room and board for full-time students) has almost doubled compared with the median family income. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average cost for college in 1969 was $9,502 (after adjusting for inflation), and it jumped to an average cost of $19,339 in 2012. If you take in account, that the median income for a typical American family is $51,000 on average, then you can see that the cost of college for just one child will eat up 40% of the family’s income. Without advance college savings, coupled with possible grants and scholarships a student may receive from financial aid and other sources, many parents’ dream of sending their child to college might not be fulfilled. When deciding on what vehicle is best for you to use as a college savings plan for your child, it’s best that you get all of the facts so that you can make an informed decision.

We’re providing a chart below so that you can compare the features and benefits of using a life insurance policy for college savings versus a state-sponsored 529 plan. Both options are excellent vehicles to help save for your child’s future college education and we hope that chart will serve as a valuable guide to determining if a permanent life policy is the best choice to you. There are various types of permanent life insurance: Whole Life, Universal Life, Index Universal Life, Variable Whole life, and Variable Universal Life. One of our financial advisors on the Largo Financial Services team will be able to help you with implementing a college savings plan that best fits your family’s needs to reach your goals, and help you to understand all of the types of permanent life insurance.

COMPARISON CHART: Life Insurance vs. 529 Plan for College Savings


529 Plan Permanent Life Insurance
Save for Anyone: You can save money in a 529 plan for anyone — your child,,grandchild, niece, nephew, friend, or even yourself. In permanent life insurance plans, you can also save for anyone – your child,,grandchild, niece, nephew, friend, or even yourself. In addition, a permanent life insurance policy offers the ability to save for any person, regardless of their relationship to you, as well as,any company, educational institution, or charity of your choice.
Tax Advantages: 529 plans are funded with after-federal-income-tax dollars. Your money in a 529 plan grows tax- deferred and and withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses are free from federal tax. *note: some states also allow you to take deduction on your state income tax filing for a contributions you’ve made to a 529 plan. Permanent life insurance plans are funded with after-federal-income tax dollars. Your money grows tax-deferred and withdrawals taken out as policy loans are tax-free as long as the policy remains in force. Permanent life plan cash value earnings also accumulate on a tax-deferred basis and, if managed properly (via withdrawals and/or loans), can be also be withdrawn on a 100 percent tax-free basis.
Contribution limits: For 2014, this maximum that one person can contribute to a 529 plan is $14,000. The restriction is per beneficiary, per person, so a married couple can contribute $28,000 to a 529 plan per beneficiary without incurring gift tax penalties.Another option for funding a 529 is to front-load the plan with a contribution that covers the next five years. This means that a person can contribute up to $70,000 at once to a single beneficiary ($140,000 for a married couple) without incurring gift taxes, as long as no further gifts are made to the same beneficiary until the sixth year. Similar to 529 plans, permanent life plans have certain contribution limits, particularly within the first seven years of the policy,. However, most permanent life plan contribution limits can be structured to exceed the limits of a 529 plans, and they are also not limited to the $350,000 lifetime limit of a 529 plan.
Investment Flexibility and Risks: 529 plans are investment-based, providing opportunities to invest in predetermined funds or portfolios. Permanent life plans do not offer investment-based options and the possible upside return; however, they offer NO downside investment risk. Permanent life insurance plans provide guaranteed cash value and non-guaranteed dividends. For many people,,the peace of mind associated with safety and guarantees are far more attractive, particularly when saving for a specific time frame and/or goal such college savings.
Control: You as the account owner, rather than the beneficiary of a 529 plan, maintain full control of all account assets and determine the timing and amount of distributions. You as the account owner, rather than the beneficiary, maintain full control of the permanent life plan cash value and determine the timing and amount of distributions.
Beneficiary options: You can can change beneficiaries, without penalty, provided the new beneficiary is a member of the previous beneficiary’s family. You can change permanent life plan beneficiaries without penalty, at any time, and for any reason. In contrast to the family beneficiary restrictions of a 529 plan, a permanent life insurance plan allows you to change the beneficiary to any person, institution and/or charity. You can also have as many beneficiaries to receive whatever percentage you choose as long as the total allocation across all beneficiaries equals 100%.
Financial Aid Impact: 529 plans are included in the calculation of a parent’s assets of expected family contributions as in related to a student applying for federal financial aid for college. Life insurance values are NOT included in the federal methodology for calculating financial aid, so you will not be penalized for saving for college.
Non-qualified Withdrawal Penalty: If not used for qualified tuition expenses, there is a 10% federal excise penalty over and above any income tax. There are no such restrictions. Cash value withdrawals can be used for any purpose whatsoever and there are no penalties.
Ability to be used for colleges outside of U.S. 529 plan funds can only be withdrawn without penalty for use at accredited colleges by the US Department of Education. Withdrawals from permanent life insurance plans can be used to help the student to attend a college in the the U.S. or an international college. There are no restrictions.


Getting a plan is one thing, saving in the correct plan for you to reach your goals is another.

It is also important to project what the future costs of college will be for your child(ren). Schedule a FREE College Cost & Savings Plan Analysis. A Largo Financial Services advisor will meet with you and help you determine how much college will cost, review your college savings options with you, and develop a plan to help you reach your goals.





INFOGRAPHIC: 6 Reasons You Should Buy Long Term Care Insurance


According to the American Association for Long-term Care Insurance, the following are the top motivators that prompted current long-term care insurance policyholders to purchase their policies:

    • 52.1% – planning for retirement or entering retirement
    • 34.7% – influenced by an experience with a loved one who needed long-term care services
    • 23.6% – protecting their assets
    • 18.1% – security or peace of mind knowing future needs would be met
    • 17.4% – avoiding being a financial burden to family

(above data based on telephone survey of long-term care insurance policyholders by the MGR Group)

As shared in this great infographic from below, 75% of people over the age of 65 will require some type of life insurance, as people are living longer. The annual costs of care in nursing homes and at-home care provided by a skilled worker are rising every year at the rate of 5 to 8 %. Without long-term care insurance, 72% of Americans, unfortunately, find themselves impoverished after just one year in a nursing home, as Medicare does not cover all of the expenses that most people think it does.

Here Are 6 Reasons You Should Buy Long-term Care Insurance Today:

  1. To preserve your savings and assets;
  2. To help maintain your financial independence and possibly eliminate the need to borrow money for long-term care costs;
  3. To relieve family and friends of caretaking responsibilities so you do not feel like you are a burden to them;
  4. To allow you the freedom to choose where you would like to receive care (in a nursing home or at home);
  5. To ensure you are able to get a full range of the long-term care services that you may need from home health aides to adult day care to home delivered meals and much more; and
  6. To get the best price options for your policy; the longer you wait to get a long-term care policy, the more expensive it is.







What is a Living Benefits Rider for Life Insurance?


Imagine this: Out of nowhere, you receive a diagnosis from your doctor that informs you that you have a terminal disease and only have less than a year to live. You feel that a train moving like a speeding bullet head-on has hit you. You are devastated and start to reflect on your life and your family’s quality of life if you don’t beat the illness. Hundreds of questions start to go through your mind:

  • Will your health insurance cover the cost of the treatment for your terminal illness?
  • Outside of what your health insurance may cover, where will the extra money for treatment come from?
  • If you have to go into a nursing home facility, who will pay for the cost?
  • Since the terminal illness will impact your ability to work, where will you get the money to pay for your household expenses and other financial responsibilities?

For millions of people every year, the questions above are a reality as they receive news that they will be chronically ill with a life expectancy of less than one year and a high probability for long-term care.

How can you protect yourself, your family, your assets, and the quality of life that you have built for them if faced with the scenario above? The answer is to have a life insurance policy with a living benefits rider (also known as an accelerated benefits rider). You most likely know that life insurance is important; however, it’s important for many different reasons beyond the common thought of using it to pay for funeral expenses.

In the book “Creating Generational Wealth”, written by Douglas Eze (CEO of Largo Financial Services), the following is shared to help people gain a better understanding of what a living benefits rider for life insurance is and how it works:


Living benefits, also known as “accelerated benefits”, are life insurance policy proceeds paid to the policyholder before they die. This benefit provides that all, or a portion of, the policy’s proceeds will be paid to the policy owner when certain events occur, including:

  • Terminal illness, with death expected within a specified period;
  • The occurrence of a specified catastrophic illness or the need for extraordinary medical intervention, such as an organ transplant or continued life support;
  • The need for long-term care due to an inability to perform a number of “activities of daily living,” such as bathing, dressing, eating etc.; and
  • Permanent nursing home confinement.

In these instances, the life insurance company will deduct the living benefits payment from the death benefit it ultimately pays to the beneficiary (usually at a discount). A growing number of companies offer living benefits at no additional premium, but as the policyholder, you will be charged if and when it is used. In most cases, the company will reduce the benefits advanced to the policyholder before death to compensate for the interest it will lose on its early payout. Currently, more than 150 companies offer some type of living benefits while other companies have indicated they are developing similar plans or are considering them. It is believed that more than three million Americans are now protected by accelerated benefits.

Insurance companies usually offer anywhere between 25 to 100 percent of the death benefit as early payment, though the amount can vary among policies. Sometimes, payments are made in monthly installments; at other times, they are made in a lump sum. Some policies even allow the policyholder to choose the method of payment. You will need to consult with your insurance provider to find out the specifics of your policy.

View the video below of Jessica’s personal story on how having a living benefits (accelerated benefits) rider helped her and her family more than she could have imagined.

Douglas Eze with Jessica (benefactor of Living Benefits Rider on her policy)

Douglas Eze with Jessica (benefactor of Living Benefits Rider on her policy)

The majority of people don’t expect to become chronically ill or to receive a diagnosis of a terminal disease; therefore, it’s not something a person thinks about when he or she is preparing for the future. However, when you prepare for the future and purchase your life insurance policy, it is critical to have a living benefits rider so that you and your family can be prepared for the unexpected bumps in the road.

To learn more about protecting you and your family with a living benefits rider and for a free review of your current insurance policy, please click below to schedule a free Insurance Policy Review.

10 Ways To Get Your Financial House In Order


In today’s economic climate, getting your financial house in order is more important than ever. What you do now will dictate the stability of your financial future.

Here are 10 Ways to Get Your Financial House In Order:

#1 Set Financial Goals:

It is important to know what you want for the future. Setting goals now and taking steps to achieve them will help you secure a stable financial foundation. As shared by Kiplinger:

  • Choose goals you can get excited about because that will make you more determined to reach them. “Financial security” sounds good, for instance, but we’ve already admitted that it’s hard to quantify. It needs some skin and bones. Define what it means to you.

For example, your goals may be “I want to have $250,000 in my retirement plan by age 50” or “ We want to retire to Florida in fifteen years with enough money to buy a house in Jacksonville and enough income to take a month-long, international vacation every year”. Once you have financial goals that you can put a future price on, the price of your goals can then be translated into a savings action plan that you can start today.

#2 Open Your Mail Every Day:

How often do you open your mail? While most people don’t like to open the mail because they know that bill statements are in the mail pile, it’s actually better that you do so sooner than later. Don’t put off opening your bills; open your bills the day they arrive! Knowing what you owe will help you budget your money better as you take steps to achieving the financial goals you set in Step #1. When it’s time to pay a bill, you will be better prepared and feel good that you were able to pay it on time.

#3 Pay Your Bills on Time:

Doing so is a critical component of getting your financial house in order. Every payment that you make is date stamped and, in today’s digital world, it is also automatically reported. In the majority of cases, even if you pay your credit card bill just one day late, it will be reflected on your credit report as a late payment and will impact your credit score. Keeping your credit report in good standing is important for building a solid financial future. If you have a busy schedule and lots of demands between work and family, then you can set up automatic payments for your bills to ensure they are paid on time.

#4 Review Your Monthly Statements:

In today’s technology-based world, identity theft is on the rise. It is important to review all of your creditor statements for unauthorized charges and dispute them right away. Additionally, you should inspect your bank account statements to ensure that you don’t have unauthorized transactions or fees deducted from your account. Be vigilant about managing your money and protecting your identity!

#5 Prevent Overdraft Fees:

In order to avoid overdraft fees, it is important to record every transaction related to your bank account. You can do this via a paper journal in your physical checkbook or an online money management tool. There are some very good tools available on the Internet that can synchronize with your bank account. It’s important that you record all of your ATM withdrawals, checks and debited purchases (big and small) when managing your bank account. Remember, if you incur an overdraft fee for a check you have written or a check made by phone electronic payment, you will actually get charged twice — once by your financial institution and once by the business you are paying. Overdraft charges can have a snowball effect and can get out of control quickly so you want to do all you can to avoid them.

#6 Manage Your Credit Cards Well:

Credit cards are the leading cause of debt today. At Largo Financial Services, our financial advisors strongly recommend that our clients not spend and use credit cards at a level where they are maxed out or over the credit limit. A very good strategy to manage your credit cards is for you to not charge more than half of your credit line, and for you to pay your monthly payment on time. If you spend more than half, you risk not being able to pay the balance which could lead to financial ruin. While you may not be in a position to do so now, as you are working to get your financial house in order, keep in mind that you will ultimately want to be able to pay more than the minimum monthly payment, and then get to the point where you can pay the entire balance due on the card each month.

#7 Create a Budget That Works:

While many people take the time to set financial goals, many don’t feel like they will ever reach them. Why? Because they have not established a budget that works for them and that they are committed to. In today’s busy world, it is very easy to overspend. When you break a $20 bill, do you actually remember what happened to the change? Many people can’t recall how they spent the change. It is really important to keep track of where you are spending your money by establishing a budget, tracking your expenses, and doing a comparison between the two (planned budget vs. actual spending). When you see it on paper, you’ll realize how much you are spending and when you need to cut back.

#8 Expect The Unexpected:

Accidents and emergencies can happen in the blink of an eye, and that’s why it’s critical for you to establish an emergency fund. Putting a small amount of money away each month can make your life easier should the unexpected happen. Having an emergency fund also prevents you from having to dip into your savings account. Remember, your savings account at the bank is tied to a short term goal you have (i.e. a vacation). Your savings account and your emergency fund are two separate things. It’s recommended that you build up to six to nine months of living expenses in your emergency fund. It may take you some time to do so, but it’s better to start in order to be prepared for the unexpected expense (i.e. hot water heater breaks, car needs major repairs, etc.).

#9 Protect Your Family & Your Assets:

Everyone needs life insurance, health insurance, homeowner’s (or renter’s) insurance, and car insurance if you drive a vehicle. The challenge is that there are millions of people who are either uninsured or grossly underinsured. Insurance can be a complicated issue for a lot of people but it doesn’t have to be. At Largo Financial Services, we explain financial matters in plain language to our clients as we educate them. If you are uncertain as to whether you have the right type of protection for your family or your assets, then give us a call to schedule a free financial assessment.

#10 Be Accountable to Someone:

Research has shown that people are more successful in achieving their financial goals if they are accountable to someone. Identify an accountability partner – someone who also has financial goals and is committed to changing his or her habits to accomplish them. This person may be your spouse, a relative, or close friend. The key is that you both must be willing to lay everything out on the table, commit to your goals, and be willing to call the other out when financial decision-making and spending behaviors do not align with the goals. Your financial advisor is someone who can hold you accountable on a monthly basis or other frequency based on how often you speak with him/her; however, having an accountability partner to talk with week-to-week can be very beneficial.

Get Started with A Free, No Obligation Financial Needs Analysis!


[PODCAST] The Importance of Teaching Your Kids About Money


As a parent, do you feel that it’s important to teach your children about money? An overwhelming number of parents feel that it’s very important; however, there is another side to the story.  During Douglas Eze’s radio interview with Frank Ski of WHUR 96.3 FM, they discuss how 74% of parents are reluctant to talk to their kids about money and 28% of parents even lie to them about money according to the 2014 T. Rowe Price Parents, Kids & Money Survey.  Douglas Eze is CEO of Largo Financial Services and author of the book Creating Generational Wealth®: What the Super Wealthy Know that Need to Know.

Listen to this audio clip of Douglas’ radio interview and discover:

  • When you should you start talking to your kids about money;
  • Why you don’t have to have wealth to create wealth;
  • Secrets to creating generational wealth;
  • Douglas’ personal story of building wealth; and
  • Why you should treat your family like a business as it relates to managing money.




Family Financial Meetings – A Key to Wealth Building


Do you desire for your family to build wealth and leave a legacy for younger and future generations? If you answered yes, then you are not alone. Many people sincerely want to transition from their current financial status to a stronger, healthier financial state for themselves and their families; however, they don’t know where to start. Even when an individual is improving and growing their personal financial wealth, he or she can be totally lost on how to get their family (immediate and extended) on the same page. What’s the missing link? – Family financial meetings are the catalyst to bring your family together to discuss financial goals and money management challenges, educate family members, and make collaborative decision on the best financial strategies to implement.

The majority of American families have family meetings only once a situation arises that requires immediate attention (e.g. a death in the family, the need for home care assistance for a parent with health challenges, a change that has grossly impacted the family business in a negative way, etc.). At Largo Financial Services, we strongly believe that holding family meetings before situations arise that cause your family to make decisions in crisis-mode is critical in regards to building and maintaining wealth. As an important key factor in creating generational wealth, family financial meetings can include covering such topics as family values, wealth building strategies, personal matters, asset allocation, asset protection, inheritance planning, philanthropy and future goals. Wealthy families make it a habit to hold family meetings yearly or every six months. We encourage you to implement this wealth building strategy within your own family.

7 Tips for Running Your First Successful Family Financial Meeting

1. Don’t Procrastinate:

If establishing and maintaining your family wealth is really important to you, then don’t delay. Decide on a couple of possible dates hold your first family financial meeting within the next 45 days and invite your family members to attend. Also, it’s beneficial for everyone if the family starts having these meetings before serious health issues start to develop for members of your family.

2. Pick A Comfortable Place:

Choose a comfortable place to host your family financial meeting that is on neutral ground and that will not have a lot of external distractions. Retreat centers, resorts, conference centers, or hotels in metropolitan areas are often great places to hold your family meeting. In addition to having a comfortable environment for your family to meet, the location should ideally offer access to outdoor space where family members have plenty of space to relax and engage in physical activities once the meeting has concluded. With this in mind, family reunions may be a great time for you to hold your family financial meetings.

3. Be Inclusive:

For your first family finance meeting, you will want to invite all of the adult family members, and their spouses where applicable, across as many generations as possible. Some families also invite long-term partners of relatives as well. Remember that family financial meetings are focused around the long-term vision for the family. We strongly encourage that you invite older children (i.e. 16 yrs old to 21 yrs old) to subsequent family finance meetings after the holding your first meeting so that they can be sit in on the meeting and learn about how the family plans to build wealth. If possible, we recommend that you have separate, fun, financial literacy activities for children of the family to participate in while the adults are meeting together.

4. Set An Agenda & Determine a Facilitator for the Meeting:

Having a structured meeting will help ensure that the meeting runs smoothly and makes everyone aware of what will be covered at the meeting. There will normally be 1 or 2 main people in the family who feel that they should lead/facilitate the family finance meeting. Make a decision on who the facilitator will be and move forward.

5. Talk About Your History:

Initiating a conversation about legacy is very important. Let a senior family member share about the family’s financial successes, struggles, choices and lessons learned. The objective here is for family members to listen and gain an appreciation of what has been done in the past to help the family to achieve a better quality of life, and to understand where they have come from, and to what they are an heir.

6. Have Open, Respectful Conversation:

Create an environment where people feel respected. Advise family members to speak for themselves, not others. Let them know to use the word “I,” not “we” when expressing what they feel or want others to know. You should start your family finance meeting by going around the room and asking all family members to say what is on their minds. The facilitator should be vigilant in making sure that no one or two people dominate the conversation and the others are not interrupting people when it’s their turn to speak.

7. Hire A Professional Financial Advisor / Referee:

When 2 or 3 generations share decision-making authority, a family’s dynamics are very complicated or delicate, or there is just a need to have a financial planning expert in the room to help guide your family as the meeting touches on different topics, then it’s best to have a professional financial advisor sit in on your meeting. An advisor’s presence can reassure all those present that they will be treated fairly and that, despite their differences, they can come to some sort of agreement.


Do you have more questions about holding a family financial meeting? Would you feel better if a financial advisor was present at your meeting to help you and your family map out strategies to achieve your goals? Our team of licensed financial advisors at Largo Financial Services is here to help you. We help families in MD, DC, VA, and FL  host successful family financial meetings. Send us a message or give us a call at 1-888-956-7526 to discuss how we can help you with your family financial meeting.

The Conversation: Single Moms of Atlanta

Welcome to the award winning show “the Conversation” in its 4th year airing on Blog Talk Radio. This show features the brightest and most unique guests we can find. We offer a dose of positive energy to inspire, motivate and educate you our listeners. Welcome sit back and enjoy the show!

Hosts: Klarque Garrison and Michele Gilliam-Morrissey

This week on “the Conversation” we’re featuring 3 very special stars!

Mr. Terrance Patterson is the founder of “Ritz Chamber Players” A Nationally renowned chamber ensemble. Where Culture & Community Converge…

Mr. Douglas Anthony Eze- Mr. Eze is the CEO at Largo Financial Services and the author of the book “Creating Generational Wealth”


Reality TV is coming to SRN…

Rhonda Crockett- From the new reality show “Single Moms of Atlanta” Rhonda is a face and story you’ve got to hear! TUNE IN!!!

Finding a True Calling

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Tina Vasquez for Profile Magazine.
The following is a reprint from their website:

– by Tina Vasquez

On Sunday mornings, Douglas Eze can often be found standing at a church pulpit spreading the gospel of financial freedom and dispelling money myths. Admittedly, it’s an unusual way for the interim CEO/president of the 11-year-old Largo Financial Services, Inc. to be spending his time, but in many ways, Eze is running an unusual company.

Largo Financial Services takes community outreach very seriously and it’s made its presence known in a very unique way. A pastor wanted to share the life-changing financial information he received, so he invited Eze to speak to his congregation and the response was so overwhelming that Eze began to offer free financial seminars to local churches. Now, Eze can be found speaking at Sunday services across the country about the many ways that hardworking citizens can prepare themselves for important life events. Though Eze’s name may now be synonymous with unheard of customer service and a commitment to financial education, this wasn’t always the case. “When I first started out 15 years ago, I did whatever the company I was working for required of me and my interactions with clients were very impersonal,” Eze explains. “I was an immigrant from Africa, working hard, doing everything I was told to do, but something didn’t feel right.”

What Eze was encountering was that his hardworking American clients reminded him of what first inspired him to enter the industry. Growing up, Eze witnessed the financial hardships faced by those who abruptly lost a family member in his native Nigeria. He still remembers being a teenager and making the connection that when the head of household of a Nigerian family passes, the wealth ends. In America, however, when a wealthy person dies, their wealth triples and that money gets transferred to the family’s younger generations. At the age of 24, Eze began researching the Rockefellers, the Kennedys, and other American dynasties for clues and he used what he learned as the basis for the products he offers today. “After doing presentations, clients would ask me who to make their check out to and I realized it wasn’t the company they were entrusting, it was me. Around that time I started thinking about becoming independent and starting my own company.” Just four years later, he did just that, making personalized service and community outreach top priorities.

Eze aligned himself with CPAs and tax attorneys; he took advanced training on estate planning; and he partnered up with an insurance company that allowed him to design products he believes to be crucially needed, with an emphasis on life-insurance policies that provide benefits without the occurrence of death. Eze works solely on commission and only hires people who sincerely care about the financial wellbeing of the communities they serve. He has become known for hand-delivering policies to his clients, no matter where in the country they’re located, no matter how long a plane ride it requires, and he never sells a customer a product they don’t need. “I’m a virtuous guy and my reputation is all I have. I would never put that on the line to sell something to someone they didn’t need,” Eze said. “I’m in this business for life and I don’t want to have to hide at the mall if I run into a client I sold a bad product to. People trust me, they invite me into their home, and I’m not going to take advantage of that.”

The reason why churchgoers and clients across the country respond so positively to Eze is because he’s not afraid to get personal, shattering the myth that financial professionals always have all the answers. Eze shares mistakes he’s made in the past, hoping potential clients will learn from them and be inspired to make the difficult decisions that will benefit their families in the long run. “Some people may think the things I do aren’t typical, but I’m not just some guy my clients are going to meet once. I want them to know I’m going to be there for them and their kids whenever they need me,” Eze says.


Achieve your immediate and future financial goals for you and your children.


Protect the most important assets in your organization.


Preserve your retirement assets and leave a legacy.