LTC Bullet: Tribute to Phyllis Shelton

Friday, June 22, 2018


LTC Comment: LTCI trainer, consultant and author Phyllis Shelton says goodbye and hello after the ***news.***

*** LTC CLIPPINGS, our special service for premium Center members, keeps you abreast of the latest LTC news, data, reports and articles. We drop brief messages into your email inbox a couple times per day with a title, author, source, representative quote, and our comment. Contact Damon at 206-283-7036 or for details and to subscribe. Examples from this week include:

6/20/2018, “New screening tool could help diagnose early cognitive decline in dementia from home,” Science Daily

Quote: “An international team of scientists have developed a new way to screen for age-related cognitive decline at home using a test which asks people to detect sounds and flashes on their laptop or phone.

LTC Comment: Early diagnosis is more critical than ever as behavioral modifications to reduce or reverse cognitive decline become more seriously considered.

6/20/2018, “Despite not using long-term care, millennials have strong opinions on how it should be paid for,” by Marty Stempniak, McKnight's LTC News

Quote: “That's one of the key takeaways from a AP/NORC survey of young individuals about LTC, highlighted by Forbes this week. As noted by AARP, about 1 in every 4 caregivers is between the ages of 18 and 34. They spend about 20 hours per week delivering care, which is only going to balloon as the population ages. … Some 62% are in favor of instituting tax breaks for purchasing long-term care insurance. And 60% said they would like to see a government-administered LTC insurance program in the same vein as Medicare. Another 81% said they would favor employers offering long-term care insurance plans as a benefit, the report notes.

LTC Comment: I’m not sure how you square 62% favoring LTCI tax breaks and 81% wanting employer LTCI plans with 60% preferring a Medicare LTC takeover. But, hey, at least the generation that will have to pay for our Social Security and Medicare is starting to think about long-term care. ***



LTC Comment: Anyone involved in the long-term care insurance business knows the name Phyllis Shelton. Her training company, LTC Consultants, prepared thousands of eager new producers to ascend the steep learning curve of LTCI sales. Her book, Long-Term Care: Your Financial Planning Guide, introduced consumers to the perils of long-term care and the protection private insurance provides. Phyllis’s omnipresence at key industry events; her penetrating questions; her informative comments are well known to her fellow professional travelers. That’s why it was with some surprise and disappointment this week that we received Phyllis Shelton’s “goodbye letter.” She’s closing LTC Consultants and moving on to other pursuits, including Christian speaking opportunities and helping families personally with retirement planning.

We asked Ms. Shelton if we could re-publish excerpts from her goodbye letter in this week’s LTC Bullet including a link to the whole story. She replied “When Steve and Damon asked if they could publish my goodbye letter for LTC Consultants, my agent training company, I said of course! The Center for LTC Reform has been an integral part of my success by making sure I was always up on the latest news and research in the LTCi industry.” Thanks, Phyllis, the feeling is mutual.

Now, here’s enough of Phyllis Shelton’s goodbye letter for LTC Consultants to give you the flavor and the gist. We’ve focused on the professional stories including the names of people and companies that helped her along the way. Read the full unedited version with photos and all of its personal content here:

June 16, 2018

Dear Long-Term Care Insurance World,

It has been my honor and pleasure to serve you from a training standpoint since August 7, 1991, the birth of this wonderful company known as LTC Consultants … .

The mission of LTC Consultants was to provide a way for me to teach as many who wanted to learn my simple sales presentation and how I was selling 40-year-olds back in 1988-1991. … I hate cold calls and after three failed phone calls with the last one telling me he already had someone to mow his lawn, I resolved to NEVER make another one! I resolved to work as hard as it took doing seminars, networking with other professionals and PR, like writing articles and giving radio/television interviews to never, ever face another cold call. …

When the $500 marketing system [she designed] didn’t fly off the shelves after paying $1200 for a booth at the 1991 NALU (now NAIFA) annual convention … and after calling all the major insurance companies with no result, God gave me a vision to do a national training tour which would be a grassroots marketing effort … [with financial help] from Long-Term Preferred Care, spearheaded by Gerald Witcher and Robert Forman. Robert is now president of LTC-Associates. …

Two big bonuses: I met Suze Orman at my San Francisco meeting in November, 1994, and secured my first big training contract (40 cities) with Banker’s Life at that same meeting. I told them I could train their 3000 agents for the cost of two 6 packs of Diet Coke per agent! Plus, they bought the rights to print my marketing materials, so each agent would have a flip chart and sales script, and each office would have a seminar system. I still have the letter – their LTCI production went up 34.6% in 1995. Home Run.

Nine additional companies followed in the ensuing years, including a large bank and a large LTC provider, and two online training programs. … The second one was for the mandated training with Phil Sullivan of Selling LTC.

Prior to the mandated training, we had to bring on additional trainers so we could do five cities on the same day for big accounts like State Farm, Allstate and Prudential. [Husband] Bill orchestrated that entire effort with John Ferroni, Dave Miller, Catherine Dove and Randy Smith. … The best thing that came out of the grueling training they went through was “The Medicaid Blues,” compliments of John and Dave playing hooky one night and escaping to the Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar in downtown Nashville. We incorporated it into the Medicaid section of every training class we ever did after that! If you’ve never heard it, it’s a crack-up. You can listen to it here.

Then we implemented the first live training in 2001 for Harley Gordon with the CLTC designation and brought in Bill Comfort, Betty Doll and Shelly Kapfhammer, along with Catherine Dove. That was a true Hall of Fame effort as we taught the course in 33 cities using a 2 ¾ day format. Each city had a guest elder law attorney, and we used two videos that Harley did on the estate planning and Medicaid planning segments. I found the elder law attorney for each city to make sure he or she believed in long-term care insurance. I remember telling a well-known elder law attorney in Long Island that he didn’t qualify, and he was flabbergasted that I “fired” him for not being what we were looking for, as he was an avid Medicaid planner. If you want to see how a great elder law attorney behaves, click here.

Then in 2002 came the Federal LTC Insurance Program (FLTCIP). I was referring MetLife to a firm in Nashville that specialized in employee meetings, but they came back and asked if I would consider doing 1,000 meetings for them. I’m sure that request came from my wonderful friend Joyce Ruddock, who was head of MetLife’s LTCi effort at that time. …

2003 saw LTC Consultants helping with the launch of the State of Tennessee group LTCi program with MedAmerica. …

In 2005-2006, we helped MetLife build a field sales force for the AARP program. …

2007-2010 was crazy with the mandatory LTCi training, which Phil [Sullivan] and I put together based on the chapters in my big book with added audio/video effects. I’m a huge believer in the LTC Partnership, so somehow I got involved with helping several states implement it…Washington, Louisiana, Tennessee and Alabama…as well as forming relationships with insurance departments and Medicaid managers throughout the country to gather credible information for the course, LTCi

I continued to do live training tours every year and a big meeting in Nashville with a BAND (my favorite part!), and now all of my materials were in digital form and editable…One-on-One, Seminar Selling, Worksite Selling with new books for a turnkey training and presentation system. Unfortunately, the compliance police killed that business, even though everything I put out was the most well-researched material in the industry.

2011 saw the publication of Suze Orman’s The Money Class. I had been serving as a resource for Suze for a number of years prior, but she decided to bring me out of the closet by putting my name in her book as a resource for those who don’t have a knowledgeable LTCi professional. …

So today I’m back where I started in 1988, on the front lines, serving families. Yet now I can do it in all 50 states from the comfort of my beautiful office in Tennessee. …

So what do I tell people today who ask what I do for a living?

I say “I help people retire with dignity.” How, they ask?

Simple – I help people avoid the two biggest mistakes people make in retirement. They fail to plan for a long chronic condition and they fail to keep a paycheck. I can solve both of those with some form of LTC insurance, whether it be traditional or hybrid, and I can provide a lifetime paycheck that they can’t outlive with a fixed index annuity for only 1% a year. I can also provide a way for their money to grow with zero market risk for no fee. …

All this leads me to why I’m closing LTC Consultants. …The percentage of agents who became my students over the years and wanted the annual updates became fewer and fewer as the compliance police made my materials black market.

My last tour was in 2010 on worksite and combo LTCi and I used that to go to Washington, D.C., and try to convince regulators that I had a plan to fix Medicaid. How? By educating financial professionals and state governments on how to sell worksite LTCi with limited underwriting and take the burden off Medicaid. I even provided a budget on how to do it with funding from the additional premium tax that would go to the state as a result of more LTCi being sold. Part of the materials at the live meetings and on my website gave agents a press kit so they could do the same thing in their states. That failed miserably as you can imagine, but I know I gave it my best shot, so no regrets.

So I’m signing off on the training and coaching business, and directing my effort into helping families first-hand. Believe me, there’s NO SHORTAGE of people who want my help in this arena…and your help too. We need knowledgeable professionals in LTC planning more now than ever!! …

[Special thanks] to Martin Bayne and Kevin Johnson of New York LTC Brokers (now Advisors Insurance Brokers), who hired me for my first training gig on September 29, 1994 in Albany NY.

How do you say good-bye after 28 years?


Phyllis Shelton