About The Banking Truths Team - Banking Truths
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About The Banking Truths Team

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John “Hutch” Hutchinson - ChFC®, CLU®, EA, CExP® , AEP®

(Click on the designation acronyms after my name above for links to their full descriptions.)

John, or “Hutch” as he’s often known as, is the founder of BankingTruths.com. He is not only a proponent of the strategy discussed throughout this site, but also a customer himself. Hutch specializes in taking a visual educational approach with clients, boiling down complex financial strategies to simple sketches and stories that they can easily understand. He is also a perpetual student in the continually evolving subject of wealth creation/preservation. Although he has earned some of the most respected classifications in the financial industry, Hutch learned some of the hardest lessons first as a consumer.

You see, Hutch watched his father’s life’s work as a successful entrepreneur come unraveled due to a premature death coupled with a lack of proper planning. After in-fighting among heirs of a blended family ensued, Hutch eventually was granted a sum of money to be “professionally-managed” in trust during what turned out to be “the lost decade.” Having no control and little say as to how the account was managed, Hutch saw his account churned more than once as the broker switched parent companies. He also saw the balance fluctuate violently after the tech-bubble of the early 2000’s and then again through the housing crash of 2008-2009.

After the first free-fall, Hutch used this as motivation to learn more about the mechanics of money as a consumer, and eventually joined the financial services industry before the second crash hit. Hutch was convinced he could build a more client-friendly model, and was determined to learn the business from the ground up. After working for two prominent parent companies, he eventually left a major financial company’s advanced business-planning team to create his own independent boutique practice, not to be “in bed” with any particular financial institution.

Because of his own entrepreneurial nature and what happened with his dad, Hutch especially enjoys working with business owners and self-employed real estate investors. He fully understands that an entrepreneur’s best rate of return will almost always come from within their own businesses where they have more access, knowledge, and control than they do with volatile financial markets.

Hutch lives in San Clemente, California with his wife of over 13 years, whom he met in elementary school. They have three daughters and enjoy going on travel adventures together as well as playing tennis, golf, going to the beach, and being of service through their church and other local causes.

Ben Vondrak – Financial Strategist

Ben was initially drawn to the financial industry from his college years when he first began to invest his own money. He first subscribed to the Wall Street Journal at age 18. While taking coursework on economics and the financial planning process his intrigue and interest grew. Ben began his first job in the financial services industry in 2006 when he graduated from Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego.

In 2012, after having worked for two large financial companies, Ben saw that there was an inherent conflict of interest by working for financial companies who had their own proprietary products. Ben eventually chose leave the safety of his employment to venture into the independent realm with partner John “Hutch” Hutchinson. Together they started an independent boutique practice allowing them to pursue the strategies and/or products that will best fit their clients’ financial needs.

Ben’s affinity to entrepreneurship and working with business owners was instilled in him early on. His father owns a successful construction business and has enjoyed a loyal and fruitful relationship with the same financial professional for over 30 years. Because of the freedom and financial stability provided through that relationship, Ben’s family has been able to create many wonderful memories together over the years, which he is grateful for.

Ben helps his clients create that same sense of confidence and freedom freedom so they can focus on their business, family, and values knowing that their financial world is well cared for. Being in his 30’s Ben seeks to create lasting relationships by forging strategies that will safely grow and protect his clients’ wealth over the decades to come.

Today Ben lives in coastal San Diego with his wife Megan. They enjoy traveling together and an outdoor lifestyle where they like to bike, hike and golf as well as being involved with their local church.

Rodney Smith

Rodney first cut his teeth as an entrepreneur by starting a regular lawn service operation during elementary school. He later formed a profitable construction company in high school, and later managed his family’s commercial and residential real estate operations while earning his Bachelor’s degree from Louisiana Tech University at age 22. The informal lessons learned from these early business ventures proved to be of equal or greater value than what he learned from formal schooling.

Upon graduation from college, Rodney’s desire to help other entrepreneurs make intelligent financial decisions led to a consulting position with an international leader in the employee benefits industry. Rodney advised more than 200 business owners with implementation of employee benefit programs designed to hedge against short-term cash flow crunches.

Although he achieved regional and national recognition in this role, Rodney was troubled by the void of sound wealth building advice for the entrepreneurs he served, including his parents. He decided to take his calling towards entrepreneurs to the next level. Determined to crack the code, Rodney started intensively researching different offerings in the financial advice industry. This prompted him to seek a partnership with a top financial firm to deliver uncommon value to entrepreneurs when advising how to effectively build liquid and protected personal wealth from the fruits of their biggest and most illiquid asset – their businesses.

Banking Truths stood out above the rest because of its focus on tax efficiency, steady growth, protection, and liquidity which ultimately supports business owners, real estate investors, and high income earners as they focus on where they make their highest rate of return in life.

After a “dating period” with Banking Truths developing several joint client relationships while maintaining his independence, Rodney concluded that he belonged with this group. With a history of delivering “straight shooter” recommendations, white-glove service, and a collaborative team approach, Rodney could now offer an unparalleled value to his clients. Following an intense two-way vetting process, Rodney joined the Banking Truths advisor team.

Now Rodney services clients coast to coast remotely from Shreveport, Louisiana. Here he and his wife are raising their two young daughters with a mini-dachshund. Rodney and his family are highly involved with their church, including hosting a Community Group at their home as well as participating in a local businessmen’s disciple-makers group.

Values

Straight-Talk:  A regular complement we hear from clients is how our straightforward approach and simple explanations help them quickly get to that aha-moment. We cut through the financial gibberish and give it to you straight. We excel at boiling down complex concepts and into simple stories and sketches, so you can quickly comprehend the strategy and arrive on a customized plan for your family bank.

Quality: The solvency of your own private bank is only as good as the quality of the underlying insurance product and company that backs that long-term financial promise. We pride ourselves on always leading with the best-of-breed products from the top-tier companies. These happen to be some of the biggest, the oldest, and most solvent mutual companies around. They also happen to be the stingiest companies when it comes to agent commissions, but that’s how they consistently deliver the strongest long-term policyholder value. We make it up the difference in volume from repeat business and referrals from happy clients.

Education: Hype and evangelistic salesmanship seems to be the norm amongst the “banking community.” We prefer to educate you about your options and their implications. We then let you sell yourself on what’s best for your family. Collectively our team has numerous prestigious designations in the various disciplines of planning. By educating you about banking in the context of the rest of your financial life, you can feel confident about moving forward, rather than just blindly hope you did the right thing based on a hyped-up sales pitch.

Coordination: Given our team’s balanced financial background, we understand that creating your own private family bank with life insurance is just one piece of your financial puzzle. Whereas other providers blatantly speak against traditional retirement planning, we believe that it doesn’t have to be an “either/or conversation.” In fact, we know that a properly-structured life insurance policy can often complement and enhance traditional retirement planning. We believe that optimizing the sum of the parts often produces the most powerful results for clients.

Independence: Having worked for different captive financial companies in the past, we believe that true independence is the only way to objectively serve our clients. That way, we can stay nimble as the industry evolves, we can always gravitate to the best-of-breed, and never have to be attached to any company in particular.

Our competition is often married to one or two product providers that butter their bread (not yours). By maintaining only broker contracts with the various insurance companies, we have no minimums to meet nor do we have allegiance to anyone other than our clients. We pride ourselves at staying cutting-edge with the best available products by shopping your unique fact-pattern to multiple providers to find the best possible fit for you.

Validation: We believe that every recommendation should come from testing and measuring multiple alternatives. We don’t expect you to simply just take our word for it. We are always happy to walk you through the internal due-diligence, shopping, and stress-testing that we have done on your behalf. That way you can fully understands and feel confident with our recommendations.

Service: Acquiring life insurance is traditionally a very complicated and time-consuming process. We pride ourselves on simplifying the steps for you and creating a turnkey experience, where we do as much of the heavy lifting for you as we can. We prep you for what’s to come, we alert you with updates throughout the process, and we will help you pivot and reroute when necessary to help you acquire the optimal policy for your bank.

Although you can always deal directly with the insurance company once your policy is in-force, we urge you to have us be your one-stop-shop when reviewing your policy values, adjusting your premium payments, or requesting loans. That way we can share our context and advice on the best course of action.

Who We Help

Our clients are responsible savers who care deeply about their family. They are intelligent people who take a proactive approach to their own financial success. They are financially conservative people who loathe violent swings to their wealth caused by outside factors they don’t fully understand.

Oftentimes our clients are entrepreneurs or real estate investors who have found a way to consistently outperform financial markets through their own wealth-building endeavors. They therefore need to keep a large portion of their asset base in liquid accounts (even if that normally means sacrificing growth and other benefits). Our clients believe that retaining control of their assets will reap greater rewards in activities they understand, rather than in markets they have no control over.

We help these types of clients create their own private family bank, where they can maintain liquidity, safety, and control without sacrificing controlled-growth and a host of other benefits. Our clients often have complex situations that require the coordination of their newly formed banking policies to work in tandem with their other wealth-building efforts as well as other planning such as business succession and estate planning.

Who’s Not a Good Fit for Us

If exploring this strategy is not a major priority right now…

No problem, we’re not going anywhere. However, there’s a benefit to always starting a program sooner than later. Think about it. The earlier you start putting non-performing assets to work, the better your compound interest will look. Plus, insurance products are age-based, and no one is getting any younger.

However, if there’s a good chance you’ll be no-showing or rescheduling on us after booking a meeting, we’d prefer that you just wait until you have the time to seriously explore what’s possible with your own private bank. Once you’re ready, we’re big on service. We do most of the heavy-lifting for you and make the whole process as turnkey as possible.


If you’re looking to endlessly shop amongst multiple providers…

We’d just rather not get involved. We get how it’s totally normal to get multiple bids. However, we find that this activity usually causes more confusion than clarity and wastes a lot of everyone’s time (including your own).

We’re always happy to have a conversation to earn your business, but it’s not the best use of your time for you to do all the shopping, sorting, and interpreting yourself. That’s what a good provider does for you.

In case you missed it, the crux our value proposition listed above is:

  • Quality
  • Service
  • and Coordination.

We are committed to using the leanest designs using the highest quality products from the oldest and most financially solvent insurance companies. We always shop our client’s health situation amongst multiple top-tier companies, so you have the best-of-breed to choose from.

We spend the time to educate you about how we arrived at the recommendations. We also discuss the implications of each choice and how that ties into your overall financial picture so you can make a balanced decision.

Although you can always contact your insurance company directly for policy values, premium adjustments, or loans, our team is committed to offering you ongoing white-glove service along with our advice so you can make the best choices with your policy.

So save yourself the time and energy. Decide who you feel most comfortable with, and let us do the leg-work and heavy-lifting for you.


If you’re looking for short-cuts or magic-bullets to make up for irresponsible financial behavior…

That’s just not what the banking strategy is about. It’s true that you leverage the miracle of compounding by paying simple interest on a decreasing balance while earning compound interest on an increasing balance. However, you can’t “spend your way” to financial independence. The strategy is not a short-cut or magic-bullet to replace solid long-term financial responsibility.

This strategy works best when diligent savers reroute their consistent cash-flows by funneling it through a properly-structured life insurance policy similar to what big banks themselves do with their prudent reserves and incoming deposits and before deploying the funds out to their other endeavors.


If you’re drowning in consumer debt (not including mortgage or business loans)…

You’re simply not ready for the banking strategy yet. Although other “bottom-feeder” banking groups advocate setting up a banking policy concurrently with long-term debt elimination, we just couldn’t sleep at night making these kinds of recommendations.

If you can fully “refinance” all your bad-debt through your first year’s policy premium, there may be a case for starting a banking program now. Otherwise, you really should throw everything you have at your consumer debt. The only insurance recommendation that would be appropriate would be possibly taking out a convertible term policy that you can easily expand into a banking policy someday once you can see the light at the end of the debt-tunnel.


If you’re looking to completely get off the financial grid…

The banking strategy is probably not for you. It’s true that you will have more privacy, confidentiality, growth, and other benefits by keeping the bulk of your reserves on deposit with an insurance company rather than a traditional bank. However, due to anti-money-laundering concerns, you can’t pay your premium with a bundle of cash or bitcoin.

You still need the conduit of a traditional bank to pay your premiums. You also will need a traditional bank account to accept a wire or cash a check from the insurance company when you choose to borrow against your life insurance policy. In fact, there are even banking institutions that have turnkey policy lending programs, where they accept your policy cash value as collateral and offer you better loan terms than the insurance company.

We believe in utilizing traditional bank accounts for what they’re good for: utility, convenience, and at times loan optimization. Otherwise, we help you to replicate what big banks themselves are doing by parking their cash reserves inside investment-grade life insurance policies to maximize growth and other benefits.