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“I would tell current and prospective agents to practice what you preach” With Mark Charnet

I would tell current and prospective agents to practice what you preach. If you market and sell life insurance, you better own an adequate amount on your own life as well. If you sell and market over-funded life insurance as a retirement plan supplement, you better practice what you preach. A colleague of mine, in […]


I would tell current and prospective agents to practice what you preach. If you market and sell life insurance, you better own an adequate amount on your own life as well. If you sell and market over-funded life insurance as a retirement plan supplement, you better practice what you preach. A colleague of mine, in perfect health I might add, purchased a good size policy when he entered the business. His income and standard of living increased nicely and he always put off adding to that amount knowing he could always sell himself another policy at any time. That was not to be the case, as he later found out when diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor that within four years ended his life. Along the way, he and his wife spent everything they had on medical bills and while trying to figure out a way to stay financially afloat. His policy had a terminal illness rider that they took advantage of, but after my colleague passed, his wife was destitute. This was the legacy a life insurance professional left for his widow, it’s embarrassing and should never have occurred.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Charnet, founder and CEO of American Prosperity Group in Pompton Plains, New Jersey. Mark Charnet has been in the retirement and financial estate planning field for over 35 years. Mark has numerous certifications and credentials, including Life and Health Insurance, Certified Annuity Specialist and FINRA Series 6, 63, and 65 Securities Licenses. APG’s unique approach to retirement and legacy planning allows clients to retire with confidence.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

My parents knew very little about the subject of money other than spending it, and I desired the knowledge of accumulating it to so I could become financially independent one day. The subject of money fascinated me, so I traveled the path of least resistance to receive a financial education starting in the life insurance industry, later to add a Broker Dealer and securities into my practice. The life industry is a place I have learned from, embraced and enjoyed by helping people for over 37 years now.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting in the industry? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

When I got started so many years ago, there were no emails, internet, cell phones nor desk top computers, but there were telephones, and I made cold calls for many years. There was one situation where a particular woman was very excited, I had called her for an appointment to discuss her life insurance needs, or so I initially thought. She immediately gave me an appointment to stop by to discuss what I thought was going to be the purchase of a life insurance policy.

When I arrived, she opened up the door in a negligée and invited me in for a cup of tea and biscuits. (She was at least twice my age of 18 at the time.) Being the motivated salesperson I was, I never anticipated that there may be another motive on her part, just that she was comfortable in her own skin in her own home, dressed very comfortably. A short time later however, she made it clear that she wanted more from me than a life insurance quote or policy. She was very sweet, lovely and lonely making it difficult to exit the scenario as a gentleman, which I was and did. If you’re wondering, I left her house with a signed application and a check! The policy stayed on the books too, for the entire 15 year term duration.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

In fact I am. I just finished my first book called, “The Trinity Method of Investing,” a concept I invented and have been teaching since 2005. It will be in print and available on Amazon December 15th 2018 by the end of the year! The book discusses, what is in my opinion, the finest Wealth Management and Legacy Plan available for most Americans with explanations, diagrams and pictures explaining how to: Maximize your Income Today While Protecting, Preserving and Perpetuating Your Wealth for Tomorrow!® I am very excited about this but not for me, rather for the people who read, digest and implement the program for their own portfolio’s protection and legacy plan.

Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lessons that others can learn from that?

Yes, in January of 1991, my wife and I started our own financial planning firm and by October of 1992, created an educational workshop program covering 7 different financial planning topics free to the public that was enthusiastically received by the community. 26 years later, we continue to offer these no cost educational workshop programs quarterly, inviting everyone to attend regardless of age or and net-worth, through the current day, 26 years later..

Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lessons that others can learn from that?

I would tell current and prospective agents to practice what you preach. If you market and sell life insurance, you better own an adequate amount on your own life as well. If you sell and market over-funded life insurance as a retirement plan supplement, you better practice what you preach. A colleague of mine, in perfect health I might add, purchased a good size policy when he entered the business. His income and standard of living increased nicely and he always put off adding to that amount knowing he could always sell himself another policy at any time. That was not to be the case, as he later found out when diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor that within four years ended his life. Along the way, he and his wife spent everything they had on medical bills and while trying to figure out a way to stay financially afloat. His policy had a terminal illness rider that they took advantage of, but after my colleague passed, his wife was destitute. This was the legacy a life insurance professional left for his widow, it’s embarrassing and should never have occurred.

What advice would you give to other people in the insurance field to thrive and avoid burnout?

Seize every opportunity and work it until your sale is closed or you run into a brick wall! Always be “on the clock even when on vacation.”. Receiving five 5 no’s is a no, but four no’s is a maybe. We are not in the 9 to 5. But, when budgeting time with your spouse and or your kids, be 100% focused on them and not at work or working. Take some personal time to de-stress or relax every evening before bedtime.

As an “insurance insider”, you know much more about insurance than most consumers. If your loved one wanted to buy a policy from another person, which 5 things would you advise them to find out about before committing to a policy? Can you give an example or story for each?

1. Superior ratings of the insurance carrier. “A-Excellent” from A.M. Best or better.

2. A life policy that can be kept until death offering access to the death benefit for a diagnosis of either a chronic, critical or terminal illness.

3. A policy that offers a myriad of indexed earning strategies that when overfunded would have the ability to provide an annual tax-free income stream from the time the scheduled premiums cease, usually at retirement age, and lasting until death of the insured.

4. A knowledgeable agent/representative that has a clean record with the regulatory authorities and is always available for questions and advice.

5. Lastly, a realistically produced illustration of the contract that will under promise to hopefully over deliver. In other words, run at an interest assumption below current levels just in case markets go down or mortality rates go up in the future.

Insurance agencies or companies are often known to be very creative and innovative marketers. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?

Yes I do and no I don’t! By this I mean I have produced and refined my workshop marketing program over the last 26 years, but, it is still my personal and unique approach where if mass marketed, would lose its effectiveness and fail. The only adaptation that may be duplicable is to move one’s prospect marketing campaign to a social media platform, yet not abandon what you may currently be doing.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I was looking to represent a carrier that referred me to a managing general agent in Florida. When he asked me about my organization, I was forced to say that we were a force of 3:, Me, Myself and I. He dismissed me as being too small a concern for him and referred me to an individual in NJ New Jersey about 40 minutes south of me. This man, Norman, offered me a contract from the same company, but, from a different division with superior products and concepts, while becoming my mentor at the same time. A short time later, he helped me design and place the then largest sale of my career at the time. and we worked together for the next 25 years.

As a result of his tutelage and willingness to share his knowledge, I became a multi-millionaire and took Norman’s lead to tutor and teach other agents what he taught me, in turn helping many others to become millionaires as well. Think of all the hundreds of clients and families we all helped to achieve financial independence while protecting, preserving and perpetuating their wealth to their children and charities of preference. This is the most rewarding end of our business and industry, at least it is for me.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

This is an excellent question, one I feel very strongly about and as a result, condensed my wealth management and legacy planning ideas into a book that is currently being published and available on Amazon before the first of the year called, “The Trinity Method of Investing.”. This book, when presented to a prospect by their agent or financial advisor, will educate and motivate the reader to understand the dynamic of the 7P’s: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance — Period!® Further, it will direct the prospect back to the advisor who gave them the book, to implement a properly designed retirement and portfolio protection program from the blueprint outlined. Using this book will be my way of helping my colleagues advance their careers and the clients they serve at the same time.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

The best way to reach me would be through my website: www.1APG.com or by email: [email protected]

Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

About the Author:

Matt Schmidt is the founder of DiabetesLifeSolutions.com which specializes in helping people with diabetes find affordable life insurance. Matt founded the company after his father was diagnosed with diabetes in 2010. He is also founded Diabetes365.org to provide helpful information for those living with diabetes. Matt is also pre-diabetic.

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