6 EXAMPLES OF HOW ASSURED ASSETS HAVE FUELED ENTREPRENEURIAL ADVANCEMENT AND INSPIRED AN INDUSTRY
From the kitchen to a big acquisition
Inspired by the success of the Tupperware brand, home economist Doris Christopher developed her own line of quality kitchen tools in 1980. Doris funded the venture by borrowing $3,000 from her life insurance policy and building the business from her suburban Chicago home.
By 2002, the company had become a $700 million entity, and was acquired by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Corporation for $1.5 billion. Today, Pampered Chef is one of the most well recognized home economics organizations, reaching over 12 million customers. The organization has grown beyond cookware manufacturing, and has expanded to all corners of the industry, from hosting cooking classes to publishing bestselling recipe books.
Growing a global brand
Ray Kroc, American entrepreneur and philanthropist, began his career in a partnership with the McDonald brothers in San Bernardino, California. The two brothers owned a stand-alone drive-in restaurant, with the goal of achieving nationwide franchising.
Ray opened the first franchise in Des Plaines, Illinois in 1955 and despite McDonald ‘s now being one of the most recognizable restaurants in the world, it was not always profitable. When the economy was poor, Ray used the cash value of his life insurance policy to pay employee salaries, keeping day-to-day business operations running.
By utilizing his life insurance, Ray built one of the most powerful brands in the world, eventually buying out the McDonald brothers in 1961.
Surviving the stock market crash
James Cash Penney began working in 1898 for a small chain of retail goods. The owners, who recognized his potential and work ethic, offered him a one third partnership in a new store opening. By 1907 the other two owners had dissolved their partnership and Penney had bought full interest in the stores.
Under Penney’s ownership, the company exploded and the stores grew to a substantial size under the new incorporation, the J.C. Penney Company. Until the stock market crash of 1929, there were 1,400 stores across the United States. At this time, J.C. Penney lost nearly all of his personal wealth, and used the cash value of his life insurance policy to keep his business afloat. From there, he was able to grow the business to become one of the most successful department store chains in the United States.
A ‘balance sheet view’
Many see life insurance as an expense to be minimized. Canadian business mogul, Jim Pattison recognized early on in his career that life insurance played a key role on his balance sheet as an asset as well. He wrote the following in a letter to his insurance advisor.
Through personal experience I discovered that life insurance has other assets inadditiontoprotection....
When I decided to open my first ...General Motors automobile dealership franchise at the corner of 18th
& Cambie, I discovered a “Living Benefit” of life insurance, that of borrowing collateral. When I approached the Royal Bank of Canada for additional capital, the cash values in my life insurance policies were a valuable asset that the Bank manager used in determining whether or not a loan would be granted.
If it wasn’t for the cash values in my life insurance policies the bank may have decided against granting me the necessary capital to begin my first business endeavor. I am certainly an advocate of life insurance as a vehicle to help a young person take advantage of business opportunities that may present themselves in the future...
Stability for long-term growth
Ted Rogers, the fifth richest person in Canada by net worth, was an extremely successful business man. Rogers’ success and lifelong passion for telecommunications was inspired by his father, Edward Rogers Sr., who founded the Toronto radio station, CFRB Newstalk Radio before passing away at a young age.
In building Rogers Communications, Ted refused to borrow money from his mother and stepfather; he was offered $400,000 from his father’s estate, and turned it down. He instead borrowed money against the estate. Ted took out a life insurance policy to protect his bank loans, offering its cash value as collateral. These loans allowed him to make strategic investments in both cable television and later, the cellphone market. Today, with its expanding portfolio of services including digital TV, publishing, internet and wireless, Rogers Communications is worth $18 Billion.
The man behind the magic kingdom
After the release of Mickey Mouse and Disney ‘s breakthrough film, “Steamboat Willie,” Walt Disney was determined to bring his cartoons to life by launching a new business: an amusement park. Despite the huge success of his animated features including Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Pinocchio, Walt had difficulty getting financing for the new project.
In the early 1950’s, he borrowed against his life insurance, sold his vacation home, and mortgaged his stock holdings in order to purchase a plot of land and finance the construction of a 185-acre amusement park. Within the following ten years, Disney opened a second magic kingdom spanning across 27,000 acres near Orlando, Florida.
The productivity of Walt’s life insurance policy was not determined by a ledger of projected numbers, but rather by what Walt Disney did with his accumulated capital.
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