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THE GOLD DEBENTURES. The action which has just been taken by Congress in directing the refunding of certain United States bonds on the basis of 2 per cent., and the avidity with which the banks have seized upon these reiunded bonds, even at this rate of interest, is another and most significant illustration of the fact that investors will have to content themselves in the future with very much lower interest rates than they have enjoyed in the past.
In this same connection it is to be noted that the Canadian Parliament at its last session passed a law requiring life assurance companies doing business in that country to value their reserves on a 31/2 per cent. basis. And the action of these two governments, representing, as they do practically, all the great moneyed interests of the western hemisphere, which are probably the largest in the world, is the more remarkable because it follows so promptly the opinions recently expressed by a large number of the most prominent financiers in this country, to the effect that lower returns upon investments must certainly be counted upon hereafter. These opinions the Society collated at the time of their expression and printed for general circulation.
With the conditions thus pointed out to face in the making of future investments, what investor would not jump at an opportunity to obtain at par a 5 per cent investment as secure as a Government Bond and at the same time possessing advantages which no Government Bond ever possessed? Yet an investment of precisely this kind is to-day within reach not only of the wealthy capitalist with large sums of money to place, but of the smaller investor who is seeking the best means of preserying to himself the results of his labors.
Startling as this statement may seem, it is, nevertheless, most emphatically true, and, moreover, is within the reach of everyone who reads this article.
This investment is the Equitable's Gold Debenture Endowment. Here is a security of the most approved and substantial character, bearing interest at the rate of 5 per cent for twenty years; principal and interest both payable in gold coin; as safe as a Government Bond, and with this exceed
ingly important advantage, that where the purchaser of Government Bonds must pay for them in one lump sum, these debentures are purchased by fifteen or twenty equal annual payments.
Think of the advantages possessed by a man who has in his safe an investment of this kind for $50,000, $100,000 or $200,000, backed by such an organization as the Equitable, and guaranteeing a twenty-year income at a rate now becoming more and more difficult to realize on safe securities. Even in the time of a panic he could afford to smile at the vagaries of the stock market, or snap his fingers at depreciations in real estate. And, besides all this, as has already been intimated, he will find when he has made the number of payments necessary to complete his purchase that instead of having had to pay a premium above par for his investment, the cost will be reduced by a dividend then to be declared by the Society, which will be paid to him in cash in gold coin, thus materially lessening the price paid for his securities.
In addition to this, these debentures possess another advantage which no other forms of securities present; an advantage which is one of the strongest points in their favor; if the investor dies before all his payments are made, the future payments are immediately canceled and the debentures become at once the property of his estate without further expense.
But it would take too long to tell all the benefits to be derived from an investment in these debentures, although one or two of them may be briefly hinted at.
Government Bonds, even if they have to be bought at a premium, can also be sold • at a premium. So can debentures. Gov
ernment Bonds can be used as collateral for loans. So can these debentures; and more than that, if while paying for his debentures in instalments, the investor should need assistance in making further payments, he can borrow from the Society for that purpose after five annual payments have been made.
Ought not this to be an easy security to sell?
S. S. McC.
age and want, save while we may,
FRANKLIN. Moral—Take an endowment policy in the Equitable.
money had been saved, or if it had been used in some other way. In short, whether it has cost more than it has come to or not.
You may print this letter if you see fit, but, as I do not wish you to print my name, I subscribe myself simply,
An Equitable Agent. [Good! Now let us carry out this suggestion.-Ed.]
THE BACHELOR'S TOAST. I drink to the man who ne'er woos-aye, nor
wedsThe man who sews buttons and mendsThe man who can live without women around; Here's joy to my bachelor friends!
He has none to keep but himself-happy man!
And always enough to pay bills!
And squanders no shekels on frills.
THE BEST ADVERTISEMENT.
SUGGESTIONS FROM AN AGENT. To the Editor of the News:
Advertising is an art and also a science. Can you not give your readers good advice about advertising, and can you not obtain from many of the bright agents of the Equitable good points for publication?
To frame a good life assurance advertisement requires a very high order of talent. It is as easy as rolling off a log to write good advertisements for patent medicines and baking powders and ginger snaps and pianos and sewing machines, because these are things which people buy voluntarily. All you have to do is to steer the purchaser in the right direction. With life assurance it is altogether different. Few men buy it voluntarily; hence the majority of the life assurance advertisements are worthless. The advertising that pays, therefore, is that which fixes the name of a particular company firmly in the memory of the people so that when the agent of that company solicits business, a sympathetic chord will be struck.
Why don't you offer a prize to the Equitable agent who will submit the best Equitable advertisement? I should like to enter such a competition myself, although I have not as yet tried to solve the problem.
In my estimation the two great difficulties are, first, the form of advertisement, and second, the question of expense. The best form in the world will accomplish nothing unless it is printed; and many a good form may do more harm than good because it will cost more than it is worth to give it sufficient publicity to make it serve its end. Take the Rock of Gibraltar, for example, I doubt if any better life assurance advertisement has ever been devised; but it would never have done much good if that symbol had not been employed in every advertisement published by the company using it, and if that company had not spent thousands of dollars in impressing it upon the minds of the people, and keeping it before their eyes day in and day out, year in and year out, all over the country. I should like very much to know, therefore, whether the enormous amount of money which must have been spent in this advertising has paid better than if the
So here's to the bachelor-blessed is he,
Who has none to keep but himselfThe man who smiles grimly while Cupid puts back His worn and frayed goods on their shelf.
-Ohio State Journal. [Does such a man need life assurance? Of course! He doesn't need a straight life or a continuous instalment, but he does need a Gold Bond or a deferred dividend Endowment.—ED.)
BILL NYE ON LIFE ASSURANCE. In these days of dynamite and swiftchanging presidential administrations, and dark tunnels through which an engineer goes groping his way at twenty-five miles per hour; these days of tumbling signs of the times, and tipsy telegraph poles, live wires and dead repairers, these days when the politician and the deadly bridge policeman with his pull, lie down together (under the influence of the same stimulant), these days when death lurks in the air we breathe, the earth we tread, the food we eat, the water-the water we bathe inI say it behooves us to look well to our assurance and our future state, and I take pleasure in certifying and saying to whom these presents may come, that since I became fully assured, my health has improved so much that it is a subject for profound congratulation on my own part, and the deepest disgust, on the part of those who would naturally inherit my vast wealth.
HOW TO SELL ASSURANCE.
II. Surplus. What is the surplus of a life company? Is it a strange, weird, mysterious, abstruse mathematical quantity about which there must be all sorts of doubts and uncertainties, and the true significance of which can only be gathered after profound research, and only by those who have rare technical scientific knowledge? It would seem so from the talk with which some people connected with certain life companies favor the public.
But, as a matter of fact, the surplus of a life company is precisely what the surplus of any individual is. It is nothing more nor less than the money, or property, which the company holds after making provision for all its obligations. It is, therefore, the most important part of its holdings. It measures its wealth, its strength, the quality of its management, and its success.
Recently a trust company and a large banking firm in New York closed their doors. Both the company and the firm owned property worth millions, but their obligations ran into the millions also, and exceeded their assets. In other words, they had ceased to be wealthy because they lacked surplus.
The man who puts all his savings into a house valued at $20,000 is not worth that sum if there is a mortgage on the house of $15,000. His wealth is represented by his surplus—the difference between the value of the house and the amount of the mortgage; namely, $5,000.
Do not let interested people throw dust in your eyes. It is the old fable of the fox who sneered at tails. The people who have sought to create confusion in the minds of the public regarding the surplus of the Equitable are those who are interested in companies having less strength and less wealth-that is to say, less surplus.
"But," some one says, "doesn't the surplus of a life company differ from the surplus of a business firm or an individual? Is it not, in fact, a liability ?"
Let us discuss that proposition: The surplus of a company, whose business like that of the Equitable is conducted on the mutual plan, is in a certain sense a liability.
It is, so to speak, an item of liability which the company is responsible for to those inside the organization. This is essentially true of such a company as the Equitable, for the members of the Societythe policyholders-constitute the company. The surplus, therefore, measures their wealth-the surplus fund from which their dividends are drawn. And this fund is invested and reinvested from day to day and from year to year for their further enrichment. Moreover, it measures the value of the guarantees they collectively make to one another, under the policy-contract held by each momber.
The surplus of the Equitable is in this sense a liability if you please, and no agent of the Society need hesitate to acknowledge the fact, because that acknowledgement will not give the enemies of the Society a crumb of consolation, for it is a liability of an altogether different character from all the other liabilities of the company. Take any other item of indebtedness; the only way to get rid of it is by paying it. But if the whole of this surplus should be annihilated, that would not impair the solvency of the company. Why? Because all the other liabilities of the company are backed by assets sufficient to discharge them to the uttermost farthing. And if the entire surplus should be annihilated, it is even conceivable that the company could still continue to prosper; might build up new strength; might gradually accumulate a new surplus, and again begin to pay dividends to policyholders from that new accumulation. But the only reason that surplus could thus be annihilated without disaster would be that it is surplus and not that portion of the assets necessary to provide for the actual obligations of the company.
A tree is known by its fruits, and it makes mighty little difference what surplus is called if it exists. It is to a life company the most valuable thing in the world. It is its wealth, its strength, its means of doing the greatest good to the greatest number. Surplus is surplus. Call it "surplus liabilities" or "security-dividend fund," or "dividend reserve," or what you will. What it is called matters not; what it is is all important.
Some companies divide their surplus up
into different items and give these items new names-in some respects an excellent plan, except in cases where the effort appears to be to conceal the truth and avoid comparison on this important point with the Equitable. But it is natural when the Equitable comes to the front for some of the other companies to seek to divert public attention from the fact that the Equitable's surplus is the largest. In this connection read the fable on page 10.
In conclusion, let me impress upon you the fact that the item in the Society's fortieth annual statement upon which you should dwell chiefly and all the time in canvassing is the item of $61,177,477-77.
And you lie dreaming on;
And forth to the fight have gone: A place in the ranks awaits you,
Each man has some part to play; The Past and the Future are nothing,
In the face of the stern To-day. Rise from your dreams of the Future
Of gaining some hard-fought field; Of storming some airy fortress,
Or bidding some giant yield; Your future has deeds of glory,
Of honor (God grant it may!) But your arm will never be stronger,
Or the need so great as To-day. Rise! if the Past detains you,
Her sunshine and storms forget;
As those of a vain regret:
Cast her phantom arms away,
Of a nobler strife To-day! Rise! for the day is passing:
The sound that you scarcely hear
Arise! for the foe is here!
Or the hour will strike at last, When, from dieams of a coming battle, You make wake to find it past!
Adelaide Ann Proctor.
REFORM. Of all the reforms introduced into life assurance by the Equitable, the one that stands first and foremost, in my judgment, is promptness in the payment of death claims.
If the Society was not the best every other way, if it did not do better by its policy holders, if it was not the strongest, if it had not introduced every other reform in the business that the public are to-day so much benefitted by, this one reform would be glory enough for a century for its management.
When I am talking with a customer and have not quite convinced him, sometimes I tell him this story: “Many years ago there were rival lines of steamers on Lake Champlain. The new line favored the public a little. An old man wanted to go from Burlington to Whitehall, and on getting to the wharf, inquired for the 'New Steamer. It was not in, but the Captain of the other line said, 'Come on, we will do right by you.' The old man replied, 'It is for my interest to trade with the man who makes you do right.'”.
W. H. S. Whitcomb.
ARE YOU AN AGENT?
“There's Money In It." Our business in life is not to get ahead of other people, but to get ahead of ourselves. To break our own record, to outstrip our yesterdays by to-days, to do our work with more force and a finer finish than ever—this is the true idea-to get ahead of ourselves.
Exchange. To beat some one else in a game, or to be beaten, may mean much or little. To beat our own game means a great deal. Whether we win or not, we are playing better than we ever did before, and that's the point, after all—to play a better game of life.
M. D. B.
Ethel-Why did you marry him? He may live for years.
May—Well, he's been rejected by three life insurance companies.
THE EQUITABLE NEWS
An Agents' Journal.
. FRANK F. EDWARDS, Editor.
Have you read the announcement on the last page of our March issue? If not, do so. We want all the Equitable agents to be interested in this little sheet and help us get it out. There are a great many counties yet to be heard from.
If you are doing any newspaper advertising, don't fail to note the announcement on page 14. An electro of any cut desired will be forwarded immediately on request.
In the first number of the Equitable News I addressed a few words to my co-workers, and I again take advantage of its columns to express my constantly increasing pleasure and satisfaction at the continuous evidences of fidelity to our great Society, and steadfastness to the great work of life assurance.
This fidelity and steadfastness is being evidenced on every hand. A recent example occurred to me during a business visit to Providence, R. I.
While there I was entertained at iuncheon by Mr. J. D. E. Jones, who surrounded himself with his colleagues from throughout the State, and a few prominent citizens of Providence.
After luncheon a number of speeches were made, and it would have done your hearts good, as it did mine, to have heard
the enthusiastic words that were spoken · for the Equitable. They, like all the Equit
able men it has been my good fortune to meet, had nothing but expressions of loyalty for their manager and for the good cause they represent.
Although I have already had the pleasure of meeting many Equitable men on their own ground, I feel that I have not met enough, and constantly wish, gentlemen, that it might be possible for me to meet those I have not, and to see you often in your own field.
J. H. HYDE.
On the first page you will see that the Society has a larger renewal premium income than any other company in the world, having a million dollars more than its next nearest competitor. This is something for the agents to be proud of, as it is largely their work.
In connection with the question of advertising, look at the letter from an agent on page 5, headed "The Best Advertisement." His opinions are excellent throughout, and his idea of giving a prize will be considered. In any case, his suggestion in regard to the giving of advertising points by the agents is good, so commencing with the May number we shall give a page to correspondence on this subject. Let us hear from you in time for the next issue.
Thanks to the managers and agents who have given us points for “How to sell assurance” and “How to be an agent." As for the rest-well—"While the lamp holds out to burn, the vilest sinner may return."
DOESN'T NEED WATCHING. The other day the vice-president of a trust company, and a $100,000 policyholder of the Society, sugested this thought on life assurance: “Any other investment one may make is liable to change with shifting conditions. Many investments are good today-they were not good in '93 and '94. Many investments were good in '93. They are not good now.
"On the other hand, you don't have to watch changing conditions if you have an investment in life assurance. In that case the watching and adjusting is done by the company, thereby making assurance a permanent investment, free from worry, a sheet anchor during life.”
Edward A. Il'oods.
Joseph Bowes is still concerned about the name of this paper, and suggests a new one. His letter will be found on page 3. If the majority agree with him, we are going to follow his suggestion. Every agent is entitled to one vote. No repeating or ballot box stuffing.