September 1, 2016

Last Sunday, I went to the animal fair — the 135th Maryland State Fair, that is — and, just as the song …

‘The Greeks: Agamemnon to Alexander’ at National Geographic

August 31, 2016

If somehow we were allowed to redraw the party lines between ancient and modern history in this increasingly secular world …

The Watergate, After Peacock Room and the Avery

March 28, 2016

Two hotels and a restaurant are slated to either open or reopen in the neighborhood.

The Avery Georgetown Hotel will open on P Street this spring, while the Watergate Hotel and After Peacock Room restaurant are expected to reopen soon. Though, when contacted, neither the Watergate nor After Peacock Room provided dates for their openings. This is the third time the After Peacock Room restaurant has opened. The Avery will be accept reservations on their website, with reduced rates, by late April for May travelers.

Rosewood Hotels to Buy Capella in Georgetown

March 24, 2016

The Capella Hotel in Georgetown, a 49-room hotel that opened in 2013, will be purchased by Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, a Dallas-based luxury chain, reported the Washington Business Journal. The price was undisclosed. The property, at 1050 31st St. NW, was once the headquarters of the Trial Lawyers Association and is assessed at just over $30 million. The current owners are Castleton Hotel Partners I LLC.

Rosewood owns the Carlyle in Manhattan and the Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas and other properties in Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, where the company plans to open several hotels over the next few years.

A Bunker for Scary Times

February 24, 2016

Suppose there was a financial instrument — with a track record stretching back 1,400 years — that was so solid that it: survived the Great Depression intact; earned untaxed interest at a competitive rate; could provide cash at will, regardless of one’s current financial situation; and could be used by individuals, as well as by major corporations and banks, as a safe harbor during economic turmoil?

The instrument I’m talking about is participating whole life insurance, the kind of insurance our parents and grandparents owned before the stock market began to boom in the 1980s and 1990s. After mutual whole life saw our elders through thick and thin, it went through several decades of being muscled aside by the allure of the stock market. It’s making a big comeback.
I’m astonished at how few people and investment professionals I meet understand how these policies work, or don’t offer them to clients because they aren’t sexy or new.

Today, these contracts are the favored investment vehicle of the wealthy. But too often, when sold by the financial industry, they are sold in the wrong form. Term insurance is still the most economical life insurance option for most people. For clients looking for a better place to accumulate cash than a bank account or the Wall Street casino, however, mutual whole life insurance, done correctly, is the closest thing to owning your own bank.

The concept is rather simple.

You own the bank. Unlike most products, which are created and sold to benefit stockholders, these contracts are owned by the policyholders, the sole constituency they serve.

Ironclad guarantees. The cash value and death benefit are tightly regulated and insured by the states. And many policies today provide benefits for chronic long-term care.

Even banks and corporations buy them. Major corporations and banks buy these policies and utilize them as a safe place to accumulate their cash. They invest with other people’s money but protect their own money. Instead of doing what banks say, do what banks do.

In the end, mutual insurance is only one part of a financial plan, the bunker you can retreat to when the rest of the world is falling apart and you can’t sleep.

These policies got our grandparents through the Great Depression, and if structured correctly they can get you through those scary times in your life.

John E. Girouard, author of “Take Back Your Money” and “The Ten Truths of Wealth Creation,” is a registered principal of Cambridge Investment Research and an Investment Advisor Representative of Capital Investment Advisors in Bethesda, Maryland.