In episode 222, we chat with Sarry Ibrahim, founder of Financial Asset Protection, how food bloggers can apply strategies he shares to their growing businesses.
We cover information about how you need to be in control of your debt, taxes and interest as well as why investing vs spending is important to grasp and utlize the Infinite Banking strategy to find abundant ways to retain your revenue.
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Connect with Financial Asset Protection
Bio Sarry Ibrahim is financial planner and member of the Bank On Yourself Organization. He helps real estate investors, business owners, and full time employees grow safe and predictable wealth regardless of market conditions using a financial strategy that has been around for over 160 years. Sarry started this journey when he was in grad school completing his MBA. He worked for companies like Allstate, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna Healthspring, and Humana before founding Financial Asset Protection, a financial services firm that focuses on one sole concept; the Bank On Yourself Concept, also known as the Infinite Banking Concept.
- Infinite banking involves you becoming your own source of financing or your own source of lending. Then you pay interest back to yourself instead of paying it to other banks or other lenders.
- It’s the use of dividend paying whole life insurance.
- The cash value growth of a policy, that’s where infinite banking comes in and growing the cash value and being able to use it in your business so you become your own source of financing.
- The average person spends about one third of their money on servicing debt.
- Infinite banking can help you create a tax-free retirement.
- You are blogging for a living, you’re a business owner. You need to think of ways to take the dollars you’re making and put them somewhere that’s going to work for you.
- In most states in the US, the cash value of a life insurance policy is protected from bankruptcy, creditors, and all types of outside risks.
- The policy is going to grow over time from compound interest and from dividends from the company that’s with. It’s growing tax deferred so you don’t have to pay taxes on the growth of the policy.
- You don’t have to ask, do I save my money now for the future, or do I reinvest in my business? You combine those together. By combining those together, it creates more leverage and leads to an abundance mindset.
Bank On Yourself Revolution by Pamela Yellen
Becoming Your Own Banker: Unlock The Infinite Banking Option by R. Nelson Nash
Always Keep Learning!
Keep working towards attaining those financial and freedom goals by listening in with Megan in episode 180.
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Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, where food bloggers come to get their fill of the latest tips, tricks, and insights into the world of food blogging. If you feel that hunger for information, we’ll provide you with the tools you need to add value to your blog. And we’ll also ensure you’re taking care of yourself, because food blogging is a demanding job. Now, please welcome your host, Megan Porta.
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Hey, food bloggers. Welcome to another episode of Eat Blog Talk. I am so happy that you are joining us today. I have Sarry Ibrahim with me today from Financial Asset Protection, and we are going to talk about financial strategies for bloggers in order to help you retain and grow the money you are making from blogging. Sarry is a financial planner and member of the Bank On Yourself organization. He helps real estate investors, business owners, and full-time employees grow safe and predictable wealth regardless of market conditions using a financial strategy that has been around for over 160 years. Sarry started this journey when he was in grad school, completing his MBA. He worked for companies like Allstate, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna Health Spring and Humana before founding Financial Asset Protection, which is a financial services firm that focuses on one sole concept. The bank on yourself concept, also known as the infinite banking concept. I am excited to talk about all of this today, Sarry, it sounds like you have a wealth of information, but before we dig into it, we would all love to hear your fun fact.
Megan, thank you so much for having me on. A fun fact. Let’s see. Not so much fun, but just the fact, before I got into financial planning, I was in the healthcare industry.
Oh, nice. I guess that kind of relates in your bio. We talked about the Blue Cross Blue Shield, so that’s probably how that marries altogether. Very cool. Well, the goal of many food bloggers, Sarry, I’m sure you probably know this, is to make money. Money that will either help them leave other jobs or maybe money that will allow them more freedom and time with their families or time with people they love. We all have a variety of options as far as how to bring the money in. That is the goal, ultimately. We want that, but once we start bringing the money in, we also need to keep it and preferably we grow it as well. So you have this term called infinite banking. I would love to hear what that is. Just kind of break that down for us.
Yeah. So, infinite banking, it’s a concept. It’s a term and a concept. It’s also known as the bank on yourself strategy. So to give a little bit of history behind the concept it was started by somebody named Nelson Nash about 20 years ago. Mr. Nash wrote a book called Becoming Your Own Banker. It explains what this infinite banking concept is. I guess the reason why he came up with the concept is because he had a lot of debt. He was paying a lot of interest to other banks. Then he realized that the amount of interest he was paying along with other people, how much they were paying to other banks, that was a huge problem in his business and he needed to reposition those dollars to get the interest back into his pocket.
So infinite banking involves you becoming your own source of financing or your own source of lending. So that way you pay interest back to yourself instead of paying it to other banks or other lenders. That’s kind of why it was established. Now, what it is exactly, it’s kind of a counterintuitive approach. It’s the use of dividend paying whole life insurance. So to kind of take a step back, there’s different types of life insurance, and one of them is whole life insurance that has cash value. It also has life insurance. The cash value growth of the policy, that’s where infinite banking comes in and growing the cash value and being able to use it in your business over and over again. That’s what infinite banking is and it’s for you to become your own source of financing. There’s a lot more other financial benefits that we could definitely get into as we go along this podcast.
So how does one learn more about this? Because I’m not a financial person. I don’t know a lot of the terminology. What if somebody wants to learn more about it? Is there a way to easily do that? Do you have resources for that?
Yeah, absolutely. There’s a lot of free content out there. So there’s a bunch of podcasts and we actually just started our podcast. It’s called Thinking Like A Bank. We talk about how infinite banking works, how somebody could implement it. There’s, there’s the book, Becoming Your Own Banker. If listeners wait until the end, I’ll send them a free copy of the book Becoming Your Own Banker for free. I’ll include the website address at the end of the podcast, but they have to stick around until the end and then I will send them their copy. Then there’s also another book, The Bank On Yourself Revolution by Pamela Yellen. I’ll also send that book for free too. So there’s a ton of free content and we always recommend clients get kind of familiar with infinite banking, become somewhat familiar with it, and how it works.
I think before you think of how it works, rather why it’s there. We already talked about interest. That’s a common problem for people. The average person spends about one third of their money on servicing debt. So on average, somebody who makes a hundred thousand dollars a year, probably $33,000 of that is going to go towards mortgage, student loans, auto loans, credit card payments, personal debt, and other types of financing. That’s a huge problem, obviously, alongside another problem too, is taxes. So a lot of people right now are deferring taxes for the future. Then when you do that, not to give tax advice or anything, I’m not a tax professional, but when you defer taxes for the future, you expose yourself to the potential for future tax rate increases, as we’re seeing right now. So now is the future. Tax rates are slowly climbing right now. This is some of the kinds of things that, some of the problems that people need to look out for in their financial portfolios.
So it can help bloggers because we can retain a lot more of our money. How else can this be helpful to bloggers?
Yeah, definitely. You mentioned to retain your money that you’re making. Number two, it could help you create a tax-free retirement. So if you are blogging for a living, in other words, you’re self-employed, you’re a business owner. You need to think of ways as how to take the dollars you’re making and put them somewhere that’s going to work for you. Entrepreneurship typically for most entrepreneurs, their business is not set up. that way. It’s not set up to get passive income in the future. But you still need some sort of way that you can earn income in the future and not only earn income in the future, but earn it with tax advantages. This could help with that on the third way it could help if you could use it as an asset protection tool.
This is something that people don’t like to really talk about, but as you are making a lot more money and hopefully, we want to have these good problems. Megan, we want to be able to make a lot of money to the point where we are wondering, how do we protect this money now? Typically a lot of people who make a lot of money end up getting sued and things like that. I’m not saying that’s going to happen to you. I’m just saying that if that does happen to you, you want to be in a situation where your money is protected. In most states and most states in the United States, the cash value of a life insurance policy is protected from bankruptcy, creditors, and all types of outside risks.
So that’s another huge advantage that you protect your money that you’re earning, that you’re working so hard for. So just from the top, we talked about retaining money, tax advantage, retirement, asset protection. Then you can also use it to grow your food blogging business. I’m assuming this is how it works, Megan. As you are building your business, there’s ways to scale up. You can buy more ads, market different ways, and use SEO. You could invest back into your business to scale the business. Then that’s obviously going to cost you money, but it’s an investment and you’re investing back into your business to get more traffic, to get more audience. You could use your policy for that. You could use your infinite banking policy to borrow against the policy, use that to invest in your business and help grow. The same way, how you would have a line of credit with the bank. You would have your own line of credit, but the advantage of doing so is, you keep the interest in your pocket, rather than spending that interest out to other lenders.
Okay. I liked that description. That made me understand it a little bit more. I love that concept of investing back into your business versus just spending money. Because I think we all struggle with that. Why would I buy this course? Or why would I get this coach because it’s just more spending. I love just reframing it. It’s not spending if you’re investing in your business. Do you have recommendations for how to shift that? It’s almost like a mindset shift or something, spending versus investing?
Yeah, definitely. It is a mindset shift. I think one way to put it is that, if for every dollar you spend, let’s just say, not specifically in your specific business, but let’s just say in general, every dollar you spend, you would get 10 cents back on top of that. So you put $1 somewhere and then you get $1.1 back. How much money would you put into that vehicle or that option? I think when you answer, there is no limit to that. That’s when you understand the concept of investing back into your business and using it with infinite banking. So I guess that’s where people don’t get it, is that, why am I spending that dollar? Well, potentially to get back 1.1 on every dollar spent. If that’s true, then there’s really no limit to how much you would spend, because the more you would put in the more you would get back and it would keep compounding over and over again.
Hopefully more. Hopefully more than $1.1. That’s a great way to frame that. So with this infinite banking strategy, what are the tax advantages?
The growth of the policy as it’s growing, so your policy is going to grow over time. From compound interest and from dividends from the company that’s with. As that’s growing, it’s growing tax deferred, meaning that as it’s growing, you don’t have to pay taxes on the growth of the policy. That’s one advantage. The second is that since this is an after tax vehicle, meaning we’re paying taxes first on our income and then depositing it into the policy. When we take that money out in the later years, even with gains, it’s tax-free withdrawals, tax-free loans, tax-free gains. We’re not paying on the growth of the policy. So over time, let’s say, for example, you multiply your money by five times in your future. You don’t pay taxes on that.
So tax-free growth. Then also, since it is life insurance, one interesting thing is that the death benefit, I know that’s not the main topic of this conversation, it’s the life insurance part, but just for the audience to know, that the life insurance part, let’s say it’s a million dollars, if you pass away, it goes to your family income tax free. So that’s a third tax benefit too. Then maybe, some situations you can add a fourth one in, and this is a little bit tricky. This depends on a lot of other factors. I would check with your CPA about this, but if you’re borrowing from the policy and you’re using the money that you borrowed from the policy for business expenses, you could write off the interest that you paid when you borrow that money. So that’s the fourth layer. It can get very technical and very intricate. There’s a lot of creative things you can do with infinite banking. It’s really not just a one size fits all kind of solution. It’s very agile and different. It can adapt to different businesses and different business models.
This is alluring Sarry, because I feel like I pay so much money in taxes. I feel like that’s all I do. When I look at my budgeting sheet, it’s so hard some months. We’re just coming out of a season where we put a lot of money toward taxes and I just feel like it never ends. So to have a way to creatively think through how to go about the whole tax situation without feeling like we’re hemorrhaging money constantly, I think, sign me up. That sounds so awesome. I liked that you used the word creative. It’s not dishonest. You are following the rules, you’re just using creative strategies, right?
Yeah, absolutely. I think with taxes, a lot of people, it’s like a sensitive topic for a lot of people. People have different political and social views on taxes. Some people think that when you cut back on taxes and save, that you’re cheating the government or cheating society. It’s actually the opposite of that because Congress and the IRS every year get together and they come up with tax laws or they modify tax laws. When they write these laws that help people, help business owners save more in taxes, they’re actually doing so to stimulate the economy. Because let’s say for example, you make a hundred thousand dollars in a year and let’s just use even numbers. Your tax liability is 20,000. The government, rather than you paying the government $20,000, they would rather, you take that 20,000 and then go and buy leads and hire employees and use software and then stimulate other businesses and other people and employ other people.
Then the government will get their money back from you. Just they want it back in the later years with more money from various sources of revenue. I think the government collects about $2 trillion a year in taxes. About 95% of that comes from W2 employees. From people who work jobs and not from the companies. Not from McDonald’s and BP and all these other companies. They pay the least in taxes because they’re hiring so many people and all these people are paying social security, Medicare taxes, the income tax, all these taxes. So in other words, every strategy out there, number one was written by the government. It was approved by the government and it takes this sophisticated business owner and an accountant and tax attorney sometimes, to understand these laws and the guidance of these laws for you to take advantage of them. They’re written for the people, they’re not written as a secret and only certain people could utilize them.
So they’re there for us to use. You just have to know how and how to go about it. Right. So it’s not like we’re being sneaky. They’re there. They’re written there for us. So why not? So we talked about retaining money. We talked about tax advantages. I loved how you talked through all of that. Do you have any tips for growing a blogging business?
Yeah, absolutely. So I guess if you had pretty much two options. Option one is I’m going to grow cash somewhere outside of my business. I’m just going to let it grow outside of my business, not touch it, not use it. Option B was I’m going to reinvest all my money back into my business, like how we have mentioned earlier. How that could be beneficial for you, how you could kind of multiply and compound your money over and over again with the same dollars. Well, let’s combine option A and option B together. So this way we’re saving money. Then as we’re saving money, we’re able to borrow against our savings and then use that to invest in our business. Then if you want to get super nerdy, we could talk about using your policy for tax deductions, growing it tax deferred, paying interest in, and then writing that off as a tax deduction and then having this infinite growth of money over time, that’s compounding and never being interrupted.
So let’s say for example, somebody is 30 years old and they’re saving into one of these policies for 40 years until age 70. By age 70, let’s just use even numbers. They have a million dollars in retirement. They never interrupted that growth. So they were able to use that money throughout the years, in their business and their food blogging business, and pay that back and retire, still have their business and still have all that tax-free growth over those years. So in other words, you don’t have to choose between option A and option B either. Do I save my money now for the future, or do I reinvest in my business? You combine those together. Then by combining those together, it creates more leverage and more options. It also leads to an abundance mindset. Because I think most people have a limited mindset where they have to choose one over the other. There’s only one solution they can choose at a time and with an abundance mindset, you’re kind of choosing numerous things and integrating them together. Then having them kind of roll with each other and helping each other. So in other words, the food blogging business helps grow the infinite banking policy and the infinite baking policy then helps grow the food blogging business and then back and forth. They’re supplemented, they’re complimenting each other and helping to grow each other. This is exactly what banks do and private equity firms and investment firms. They’re using other people’s money and they’re coming up with new strategies. They don’t really own anything, actually, even when you go to a bank and you borrow $20,000 from a bank. They’re going to go and borrow that from somebody else at a lower interest rate, and then sell it to you at a higher interest rate and then earn a difference between it.
They’re pretty much wholesaling. That’s brilliant because people don’t know that. Actually people think that it’s entirely the bank’s money, but it’s not. They’re just using leverage. They’re using other people’s money, other people’s time and all these creative things. Again, this is why we need to show up, thinking like a bank. We talk about these strategies and these principles. We bring on bankers and accountants and lawyers, and they talk about these strategies. So I just think it’s fascinating for all business owners to use these tools that were created by the government for the people,
Abundance and creativity. Those are two of my favorite words. I love that you use them because when I hear the word finances, I kind of shut down. It’s always been a thing for me. I’m getting better, Sarry, but I think a lot of food bloggers might be in the same boat, or they hear the words money or taxes or finances or anything related to that. They’re like, oh gosh, I don’t want to talk about it. But when you put the words abundance and creativity in there and talk about it the way you’re talking about it, it’s so much more appealing. So I love that you’re saying that. What if people are listening and they’re like, I still just don’t want to deal with it. Does your business help round out where to start and how to move through the process of doing something creative like this?
Yeah, absolutely. So what we do is when listeners reach out, we have an intro call just to get to know each other and to see if we’re going to be a good fit working with each other. Then after that, we would set up a financial analysis call. This takes about 60 minutes to do. It’s more of not necessarily the financial parts of the business, but also where the business owner, where they want to go, why they want to uncover certain things, what is it that they want to reach in their life? Then we help them create a solution that’s going to achieve that goal or achieve numerous goals. Then obviously those goals can change over time, over five years, 10 years, 20 years, could be completely different.
So we help identify and understand where the client wants to go financially. Then we build out a solution that will help connect them there, that’ll help bridge them to there. This is where creativity comes in because we don’t know the person’s financial situation yet, and we don’t know their business situation. Somebody who could be a food blogger with 20 employees and makes $5 million a year is going to be in a completely different situation than someone who just started. So we want to know where they’re going, what’s currently happening. So that way we can start recommending these solutions. It’s saying for example, you go to the doctor’s office and as soon as you walk into the doctor’s, they say here’s your prescription. You say, I didn’t even tell you what was wrong. That’s how financial planning has been for a lot of people is that you sit with a financial advisor and the financial advisor says put all your money in the stock market. But you say, I didn’t even tell you what was wrong yet. I didn’t even tell you. We have to do the diagnosis part. We have to really understand the client, understand their mindset, before making any recommendations.
That’s so true. I think we’ve all had that experience where we go to a doctor and they just assume something about us. So I think that’s a really good analogy to use. It’s very individualized. How long does the process usually take from the time people get started until there’s a plan?
I guess the fastest way to put it would probably be like, if somebody reached out, we can do that analysis probably depending on our schedule, probably a few days after that, and then a week for the solution. Then since it goes through a life insurance company, there’s about four weeks of underwriting involved. So I would say the whole process, quickly done, would probably take about six weeks to fully be implemented.
Okay. So what are the next steps? Where do people go and just talk us through that?
Since they made it this far, if they go to our website, finassetprotection.com. F I N asset protection.com you could ask for a free copy of the book, Becoming Your Own Banker or The Bank On Yourself Revolution, or I can send you both if you’d like for free. If you’re not ready to schedule the intro call yet, you can just download those free books. Then once you’re ready to do the free 15 minute call, you can do so. If you wanna just do all of them at the same time, you wanna schedule the 15 minute call and download the books, you could do all that too. So it’s up to you. Whatever you guys want to do. It’s finassetprotection.com.
That is great. Everyone go there if you’re interested. Is there anything we missed today, Sarry, that you want to touch on regarding this whole topic?
Yeah, so it’s back to the whole mindset thing. I love how you asked me about the mindset. It definitely takes a different mindset using this concept. I think that in all businesses, you start off with your subject matter. If you’re in food blogging, if you’re an accountant, if you sell courses, whatever it is, you have your subject matter that you know. Then I guess the next step for everybody is the entrepreneur level or the business level. I guess that everybody’s subject matter is going to be different. So somebody who does food blogging is going to be different than somebody who does accounting. But when they go to that next level of thinking like an entrepreneur or thinking like a large corporation, then people start to have similarities in the way they’re thinking.
Now you’re not thinking I’m just a lawyer running a law firm, or I’m just an accountant running an accounting firm, or I’m just a writer just blogging. You’re thinking like a business person. That’s where I’m pushing people to go to that next level where you’re thinking like a business person and not necessarily just stuck in your subject matter expertise. Obviously the subject matter expertise is super important, but it differs from the entrepreneurship route, in that you’re thinking like an entrepreneur now, you’re thinking now, how do I grow well? How do I protect it? How do I save on taxes? How do I have tax-free retirement? How do I pass on wealth to the next generation? These are the different things that large corporations and business owners think about.
This can be a hangup for food bloggers, because a lot of us started food blogging as a hobby. So after a number of years, we get to a point where we realize that it’s not just a hobby. It can be an actual lucrative thriving business. So there’s this weird moment, or a period of time where we go through this process of like, oh my gosh, this is not a hobby. This is an actual business. Then eventually we get there and I feel like that is when the money starts coming in. We take things more seriously. But there’s this weird stretch where we’re kind of figuring that out and we’re changing our mindset. So it was fun to hear you talk through that. This is an actual business. If you are here to make money and get those freedoms that you want, treat it like a business.
You make business decisions. Definitely.
Make business decisions. Love it. Thank you so much for your time today. It was an honor, just a pleasure to talk to you.
Yeah. Megan, thank you so much. Likewise. I appreciated being on and I appreciated the questions and having our conversation.
Before you go, I like to ask my guests if they either have a favorite quote or words of inspiration to share with food bloggers beyond what we’ve already shared.
This is by Mark Twain and Mark Twain said that, “a banker is a fellow who will loan you his umbrella when the sun is shining but wants it back, the second it starts raining.”
Okay. That’s funny. I like that. Mark Twain said that, huh?
Yeah. So never rely on banks.
That’s hilarious. Well, what a fun way to end. Thank you. Sarry for all of this. We will put together a show notes page for you. If anyone wants to go find those, you can find them at eatblogtalk.com/financial asset. Sarry, we’ve kind of talked about this where people can find you online, but are you on Instagram or anywhere else where people can locate you?
I’m just on LinkedIn. Sarry Ibrahim, you can find me on LinkedIn. I’m going to get my socials back up. I know I’m boring, but I’m just on LinkedIn for now.
Sounds good. Well, thank you again for being here and thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you next time.
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