Veteran Wealth Manager Tunde Ogunlana Talks Generational Wealth-Building Through Life Insurance

Veteran Wealth Manager Tunde Ogunlana Talks Generational Wealth-Building Through Life Insurance


Tunde Ogunlana (Photo: Tunde Ogunlana)

Meet Tunde Ogunlana. Ogunlana is a veteran wealth manager and financial advisor who also co-hosts a podcast that does deep dives on socially relevant issues.

He and his longtime friend James Keys III, founder The Keys Law Firm, PLLC, co-host the podcast “Call It Like I See It.”

“We had a group text of four friends, and we chatted about various issues happening in the country,” Ogunlana recalled to The Moguldom Nation. “One of the guys–one of my friends–had started a YouTube show, and we started having our discussions on the channel. But we found that with the four of us trying to have a dialog, we sounded like cable news shows with 30-second sound bytes. James and I decided to break off and start a podcast to get into the weeds of some of the stuff that is going on.”

The pair did their first episode in late 2019, and since then, they have tackled such topics as “The Resemblance Between Florida’s New History Teaching Standards the Lost Cause of the Confederacy is Telling,” “U.S. v Trump is Quite Literally the Rule of Law v the Rule of Man,” and “In a Liberal System, Where Do the Bounds of Individual Liberty Come From?” among other issues.

Ogunlana also brings his insight into the financial world to the podcast as well.

Delving into Ogunlana’s background and the founding of his firm, Axial Family Advisors, in 2015 reveals his opinions on not only life insurance but growing wealth in the Black community.

When a client comes to him, he likes to address all aspects of their financial lives to ensure the client’s financial vision. His team may consist of financial planners, accountants, attorneys, business consultants, investment portfolio managers, insurance agents, and other specialized professionals.

Over the course of his career, which began in 2001, Ogunlana has acquired an impressive array of credentials, including the Series 7 and Series 66 (Investment Advisor Representative) securities registrations, as well as the Series 24 General Securities Principal registration. He also pursued and earned the Certified Fund Specialist (CFS) designation and successfully passed the certified financial planner practitioner exam in 2009.

Throughout the years, Ogunlana has taken note of the complex relationship Black people have with life insurance.

One thing of note is that while Black people do readily purchase life insurance, they tend not to purchase ones with high benefits.

“I found that in dealing with Black folks, and I have been doing this now for 22 years and only in South Florida, is that for a lot of the older Black Americans, life insurance is the basic need,” he said. “I think because of the culture of being excluded from mainstream society for so long, a lot of us lack the insight to see a bigger picture and the investment potential of life insurance or that it is a wealth-growth tool. We tend to look at this as merely a means to cover burial costs.”

Then there is a distrust of the insurance industry, which Ogunlana found to be partly cultural.

“Caribbean Blacks in America have a much different culture, more aligned with the Latin Americans; they don’t seem to trust insurance,” notes Ogunlana. “Or they look at it as someone is profiting off their death. There is a lot of cultural superstition and legacy around death.”

But Ogunlana says he has seen a change in attitudes about life insurance, especially among young, Black, upwardly mobile clients.

“Just in the last five to six years, I’m seeing more and more clients considering life insurance not only as an investment tool but also as a tool to leave wealth for your heirs,” Ogunlana shares. “You have people like Jay-Z mentioning wills and buying art for his kids in their lyrics, and that is a good thing.”

Ogunlana says it’s a matter of people becoming more educated about life insurance, and he points out there was a time when Blacks were limited by law to only obtain a certain amount of life insurance.

“There’s a certain mentality where Black people didn’t believe that they could literally buy higher premiums. It comes from the sad legacy of a time when Black people were only allowed to buy basic life insurance with a limit of $10,000,” he explained.” That was one way to stop Blacks from transferring wealth. This, in part, led to Black people mistrusting our financial system.”

Part of educating people about the various estate-building tools is to help define them, such as the difference between a will and a trust.

“This is not an easy question to answer briefly, but a Will is a document telling the state probate court how to distribute your assets after death. It just says who gets what, no strings attached,” says Ogunlana.

“On the other hand, a trust is an entity similar to how a corporation is a separate entity from an individual. An individual can gift their asset to a trust (they are the trust’s grantor in this case) for the benefit of current or future beneficiaries. After the grantor’s death, the trust continues, and the trustee continues to operate and follows the instructions initially established by the grantor. Trusts can withhold distributions to beneficiaries for specific reasons if necessary (such as drug abuse or mental health concerns). Beliefs can also serve as asset protection vehicles.”

It is also important to know the difference between the various types of insurance, such as Indexed universal life (IUL) insurance and term or whole life. Some experts suggest IU.

But Ogunlana said the choice depends on a person’s goal and circumstances.

“Life insurance decisions are very individual, and all three types of coverage you cited are legit and can be appropriate or inappropriate given individual or family circumstances,” he offers. “However, the main difference between an IUL vs. term or whole life is that the IUL can expose the policy owner to a market index such as the S&P 500 without the risk of losing the invested policy’s cash value. However, a ‘cap rate’ is on the upside to guarantee no principal loss.”

He further explained, “For example, a company might offer a cap rate on the S&P 500 of 8 percent. That means if the S&P 500 index were to go up 22 percent over the 12 months of the contract anniversary, the policy owner would earn the maximum cap of 8 percent. Still, in a year like 2022, when the S&P 500 was down -20 percent, that same policy owner would not experience a loss; they would just have a 0 percent return for the year.

Besides understanding the different policies, it is also important to look at how life insurance can be used as a generational wealth-building strategy.

“One can take a small amount of money and leverage it into a much larger pool of money at death. Thanks to the basic concept of life insurance,” Ogunlana said.

He continued, “For example, I am currently paying around $300 per month for $4 million of coverage on me personally. So, for $3,600 a year, I can ensure my family will receive $4 million guaranteed and tax-free if I die prematurely. That’s a personal example of how I can leverage generational wealth via an insurance contract. Hearing myself say this, in the backdrop of the recent inflationary environment, I should probably double my coverage in the coming years.”

When asked what is the biggest difference between how the rich and poor look at life insurance?

Ogunlana responded, “The wealthy look at life insurance as an asset, while I have found that many on the lower end of the economic scale see it as an expense or only needed to cover funeral expenses, and that’s it. The wealthy see it more as a tool for creating new wealth, while the poor don’t consider wealth a concept for themselves. The psychology behind the various social classes in society is interesting.”

Tunde Ogunlana (Photo: Tunde Ogunlana)