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Business and Estate
A Publication of Business & Estate Advisers, Inc.

VOL. 14, NO. 2 WAYZATA, MINNESOTA Winter 2000

Left Photo: Jodene and John Anderson. Top Photo: Jim Shepis, E. Dennis Zahrbock, Rachael Zahrbock, Ben Focht. Bottom Photo: Jim Louwagie, Bruce Downey.


"I was going to come, but somebody hired me to sue some yahoo neighbor of theirs for putting an old John Deere tractor in their front yard" - Anonymous

A. Demutualization ate my invitation.
B. The new contracts don't permit me to skip a day.
C. A virus ate part of my address book starting with Z.
D. If I drink another bottle of SKIP?A?DAY wine, I won't get any work done." - BW


3. "1 regret that I can't attend ? I'm busy working on your cases! We love you anyway" - TF

4. "I'm preaching a sermon. REALLY!" - WD

5. "Was unable to cancel a meeting with Jessie Ventura to counsel the governor about cultural sensitivities" - JM


Both client "A" and client "B" have been people we've known and advised for over twenty years. Client "A" is now 70-80% efficient and are millions of dollars ahead. Client "B" is 20-30% efficient and is a few hundred thousand ahead. Both were 20-30% efficient when we met. So why the difference? Client "A" had financial aptitude but recognized they didn't have all the answers. They have sought our advice on Accountants, Attorneys, Life Insurance, Estate Planning, Business Succession Planning, Retirement Planning, etc. If you asked client "A" they could not name one idea or suggestion that made them millions, they could, however, say that twenty years of little ideas has made a mega difference. They have recognized that our firm has generally been compensated by product sales versus fees. They know that the products we've recommended are the best solutions to their problems.

If you asked client "A" they could not name one idea or suggestion that made them millions, they could, however, say that twenty years of little ideas has made a mega difference.

On the other hand, client "B" has never comprehended the true use of professionals. We have observed their changing Advisors several times for better "deals," would they be product or services.

We have advised this client on pension questions that saved the company six figures, and yet we were never allowed to handle their pension plan. We were hired by the client to analyze a lifetime of insurance policies. We were paid our agreed upon fee. We observed that we could "save premium" dollars by making insurance company changes. A "commodity" decision was made and we placed some product, but just as the last agent was replaced due to price, we fully expect that we also will be! We saved the client six figures in interest expense by helping them find a new bank. We pointed out that the 401(k) could likely be improved ... you guessed it, the client again treated it as a "commodity" and chose "cheaper" versus the total relationship process.

Client "A" has achieved 70-80% efficiency and client "B" has remained the same. We as Advisors are always looking for new ideas and new ways to help client "A." On the other hand, we are not forgetting client "B," but he is by no means going to be the first client on our list to receive new and innovative ideas.

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E. Dennis Zahrbock, CFP


By E. Dennis Zahrbock, CFP

Since my last column much has indeed been "happening," here are some highlights: Way last June I had the professional honor of a lifetime. I was honored to speak from the main platform to over 7,000 attendees at the 72 d Annual Meeting of the Million?Dollar Round Table. My long time friend Steve Rothchild, CLU WGS was my assistant in demonstrating a very simple, but very effective, Estate Planning concept.

This was followed in July by one of the greatest honors parents can be bestowed. Our oldest daughter Stephanie and our new son?in?law Greg Loxtercamp were married in Portland, Oregon.

Just so we don't forget to mention my Tractor Hobby. My 1948 R Moline took "Best of Show" for the fourth year in a row at the Hungry Hollow Steam Show ... of course, yours truly is the only judge and I'm the only one (until now) that even knows I've done it four years in a row! Well, Roger Groves, my Ferrari friend, can you top this? Some sadness occurred in October when I sold three of my 40-50 year old green machines but Joy arrived quickly with a new 20 year old (fully restored ... looks like new) replacement. It took three tractors with six cylinders to get to one tractor with three cylinders.

On the sportsman side, I learned how to catch Trout in a local stream and enjoyed some great Northern, Walleye, and Lake Trout, fishing in early Fall with my two son in?laws, Steve Bowman and Greg Loxtercamp, and of course, we also included my future potential, possible, maybe son-in-law to be, Ben Focht. Thanks to long time friend, Jim Eidsvold, I'm now a member of the Decoy Inn, a hunting lodge about 50 miles west of Winnipeg. The duck season was great. Lately I've been mastering the art of "tip up" fishing on the frozen lakes of Northern Wisconsin.

And who can forget that our Primary Vendor General American was wounded and near dead last August. But a miracle drug injected by our dear friend Snoopy at MetLife breathed new life. Today our Vendor is bigger and better than ever ... Is that a miracle of modem medicine? A miracle of modem finance? A miracle that only God could do?

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February 2000

Dennis, Sarah and Lisa attended a four day educational event at General American. Dennis had industry speaking engagements in Anoka, Minnesota, and Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

March 2000

Sue and Dennis head for Mission Jamaica for the third year in a row.

Sarah and her husband, Darvin, head for a weekend in Deadwood for a little high stakes poker.

Dennis and Sue travel to New York to help a friend install some new cabinets custom made by K. Paul Stotts at Dura Supreme.

April 2000

Sue and Dennis take a "true weeks" vacation and head to Palm Springs to link up with friends Jim and Anne Eidsvold.

May 2000

Dennis is a featured speaker at MDRT day for the Minnesota Association of Financial Planning Associates.

Skip-A-Day XVI is May 22, 2000, be sure to reserve this as your day to skip work.

June 2000

Our summer hours begin. Office closes at Noon every Friday.

July 2000

The 3 rd annual MasterPlan Study Group will take place in Cumberland, Wisconsin.

August 2000

Sue and Dennis travel on a trip to Ireland and Scotland in a business/pleasure combo trip.

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Newest Advisory Board Members
Sharon Nelson
R & S Litho, Inc.

Q: How did you first become acquainted with Business & Estate Advisers?
A: Through Copeland Buhl & Company - Dennis Buhl.

Q: During your association, what has Business & Estate Advisers done for you?
A: They have really enhanced our benefits package and keep us with new products. They have also seen to our personal needs without just selling us something. They look for the need and then offer a filling of the need to fit each company or person's situation.

Q: What has your service on the Advisory Board meant to you?
A: It has broadened my scope of other issues, which are specifically different but still create the "universal stress" syndrome.

Q: What, in your opinion, makes Business & Estate Advisers different from other financial services firms?
A: They're above and beyond service. It is not just a motto. You can also see there is a genuine caring.

General American

Q: How did you first become acquainted with Business & Estate Advisers?
A: Through my A association with General American Life Insurance Company as an executive in the Pension and Annuity Division of the Company' In my current role as Vice President of Individual Operations, I now work with Business & Estate Advisers on issues related to servicing Life Insurance policyholders.

Q: During your association, what has Business & Estate Advisers done for you?
A: Denny Zahrbock has provided valuable insight and suggestions related to company issues such as product underwriting, customer communications and services.

Q: What has your service on the Advisory Board meant to you?
A: I am looking forward to my term on the Advisory Board as it will expand my knowledge about the small business market and business issues confronting small business owners. My company has made a significant commitment to the small business market. My participation on the board will enable me to hear first hand the issues facing business owners as they plan for their future.

Q: What, in your opinion, makes Business & Estate Advisers different from other financial services firms?
A: This organization has a genuine interest in serving their customers and helping each individual or company find solutions which will be meet their short and long-term.

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Business & Estate Adviser's
Stephanie Zahrbock and Greg Loxtercamp (with their Dalmatian - Dublin) were married this past July in Portland, Oregon.

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Business & Estate Adviser's
"Tips for Teens"

Volume 3 Issue 2

Edited and Revised by Business & Estate Advisers, Inc. as an insert to our newsletter

By: E. Dennis Zahrbock, CFP

Business & Es "Tips fo Edited and Revised by Business & Estate By: E. Dennis Zahrbock In our last issue we discussed the "rulebook", the 61 referees", and the "interference team". In this issue we're going to discuss a concept I'm going to call FINANCIAL EFFICIENCY.

Financial efficiency is making the best use of your financial resources at all times. Financial efficiency is like the baseball player who hits single after single after single. Financial efficiency is not hitting home runs and strikeouts!

Most people have common sense that allows them to be 20% -30% efficient with their financial resources. Some, unfortunately, are less efficient and some, fortunately, are more efficient. Very few, if any, can achieve 50% efficiency without professional assistance. Even with professional advice, no one can obtain 100% efficiency. In my opinion I'd award an A+ to anyone achieving 75% or more efficiency.

Why is efficiency so very difficult to obtain? In my opinion there are three reasons: 1) lack aptitude in financial matters, 2) believe they have more aptitude in financial matters than they do, and 3) follow advice of friends, relatives, commentators, or some guru that only they know!

How do those that obtain 60-80% efficiency do it? They: 1) acknowledge the need for Advisors, 2) stick with advising team through good and bad, and 3) recognize how Advisors are compensated.


Lack Aptitude: Some people hate numbers and financial data. It is not uncommon for these people to elect the "default" option for most financial decisions. For example if they deposit their paycheck in their checking account they just leave it there forever; eventually their checking account balance grows well beyond monthly needs and yet their balance earns very little, if any interest income. A simple move to a savings account or a money market account might improve the efficiency on this one source by 100%-500%!

Believe They Have Aptitude: Some people really believe they know more than professionals. They don't want to pay for advice and are convinced they know more anyway. Their financial efficiency is almost always greater then those that lack aptitude but almost always less than what advice would create. A good example of this would be a person that knows Term Life Insurance is better than Cash Value Life Insurance. Each year they are correct but after fifteen to twenty years (and often after only ten) they are wrong collectively. They are so convinced they are right in their thinking they'll never allow a true analysis of their situation.

Follow Advice of Friends, Relatives, Commentators or Some Guru that Only They Know: Some people have great intent, but even when given good advice, choose against it because of advice from non-Financial Advisors. A good example of this is the individual that attends a 401(k) enrollment meeting. The presenter carefully explains each investment option. The individual listens but refuses to ask questions. Later the person makes their decision based on advice from someone they trust even though the person they trust knows little or nothing about the question they were asked.


Recognize the Need for Advisors: People select and rely on Financials Advisors that have been professionally trained. These may be Insurance Agents, Stock Brokers, Bankers, Accountants, Trust Officers, Attorneys, Financial Planners, etc.

To find competent Advisors they inquire among friends, relatives, peers or professional associations. It is important ot note that all Financial Advisors are not equal. Just as in Professional Athletics, many a second grader dreams, fewer seventh graders are still dreaming, only a few seniors still dream, few go to college, and still fewer make it to the Pro's. In Financial advising, most are like high school athletes, some are like college athletes and only a few reach the pros. There are many ways to search for the Pros but not enough time in this article.maybe next issue will address this search.

Stick with Advising Team through Good and Bad: Sometimes Financial Advisors, knowing all they know about your situation, still advise wrong as something they know happens! On the other hand, sometimes Financial Advisors, knowing all they know about your situation, advise right and it turns out even better! Again, something they didn't know happens. In nearly all cases that I've observed, if you stay with Financial Advisors in the "collegiate" or "professional" ranks (as compared to athletes) you'll be getting quality advice. Stick with your Advisor through "good and bad" and you'll likely win.

Recognize How Advisors are Compensated: Some Advisors charge fees, others get paid on the products they provide for you. If the Advisor is a "collegiate or pro level" there is little or no difference in the advice you receive due to how they are compensated. Do not abuse your relationship or your Advisor will lose interest. If you constantly try to get "free time" from your fee advisor or use your product advisor's advice but purchase the products elsewhere, you eventually will lose efficiency.

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Today's Quiz:
True False

  1. Financial efficiency is easy to obtain T F
  2. Financial efficiency is a theory not a fact T F
  3. Most people can obtain 60% -70% efficiency on their own T F
  4. An example of "lacking aptitude" is failing to earn higher returns on checking accounts. T F
  5. If investment A has expenses of 1 %, Investment B has expenses of 1. 5 % and investment C has expenses of 2% which one is the best choice? _______________________ because __________________________________________________


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Business and Estate
Business & Estate Adviser, published periodically, is composed on a personal computer utilizing Microsoft Word 97 and Times New Roman typeface. Camera-ready copy is generated on a Hewlett-Packard LaserJet III printer. Gray-shades and printing by Wallace Carlson Company, St. Louis Park, Minnesota. For additional copies or information, please contact Michele Mattson at (952) 475-0440. Copyright © 1990-1999 Business & Estate Advisers, Inc. All rights reserved.

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