Carlos Lara and Robert P. Murphy
At the February 2013 IBC Think Tank, the Infinite Banking Institute was launched. It was not a brand new entity, but instead it marked a more formalized structure through which Nelson Nash’s Infinite Banking Concept (IBC) could be communicated to the general public and the financial services industry. David Stearns marked the transformation with a revamped website at www.InfiniteBanking.org. Under the umbrella of the newly created Infinite Banking Institute, the IBC Practitioner Program was also launched in February 2013. Two years later, at the February 2015 Think Tank, the institute was formally renamed the Nelson Nash Institute, or NNI.
In this short article, we will explain the motivation for these decisions, as we were actively involved in regular discussions with Nelson Nash and David Stearns when they made them. It is important for the general public and financial professionals to understand why the NNI exists, and to understand the relationship of the NNI to the IBC Practitioner Program.
A Beacon of Clarity for the Public
The primary purpose of the Nelson Nash Institute is to provide a source of information on the Infinite Banking Concept, as Nelson Nash himself conceived and developed the approach.
As with any revolutionary idea, Nash encountered resistance and confusion when he first tried to explain IBC to others in a 10-hour seminar (split over two days). This was to be expected. After all, he was turning everything they had been taught about banking and finance upside down! Nash eventually wrote Becoming Your Own Banker to codify his perspective in a slim volume intended for the general public.
As with any new paradigm, there were “early adopters” who recognized Nash’s genius and wanted to do their part to help spread the message. Sometimes they would tweak the terminology and/or invent different rhetorical techniques to get people to put their busy life to the side and listen.
We understand why this happened. You’ve got soccer moms driving kids to practice and office workers who’ve been taught since childhood that the responsible way to “save for retirement” is to put as much into a 401(k) as the politicians will graciously allow. In this environment, working against these headwinds, it’s understandable that some financial professionals resorted to provocative thought experiments and marketing techniques in order to be heard over the din of our busy world.
Without criticizing anyone’s intentions, we must remark that this situation eventually made it quite difficult to communicate the original essence of Nash’s vision. With various imitators running their own operations—some of whom were quite faithful to Nash’s own views, but others who only paid lip service—the average person could no longer easily find out what “IBC” was all about. There were all sorts of books and videos, and heaven forbid someone tried to do an Internet search—it was like playing Russian roulette.
In this context, what was originally called the Infinite Banking Institute (IBI) was formed, formally launched at the IBC Think Tank in February 2013. Its purpose was to provide an authoritative source of education on what IBC really was, in the vision of its creator. Neither Nash nor those of us involved with this decision ever wanted to “put a fence” around IBC, or to tell others they were barred from adapting it for their own applications and clientele. To the contrary, what we set out to do was reaffirm IBC’s credibility in order to promote its growth.
However, we did want to ensure that the public had a trustworthy source of solid education that was faithful to Nash’s original conception. The public was free to peruse other sources of information—the more the merrier. But we wanted to pitch in and create a website, a YouTube channel, and a Workshop for the public that provided a consistent message that we could vet for accuracy and fidelity to Nash’s vision. These were to be trusted outgrowths of the original, and revolutionary, message contained in Becoming Your Own Banker.
As mentioned above, two years after the launch of the Infinite Banking Institute, we decided that it was wise to rechristen it the Nelson Nash Institute (NNI). (We appreciate the suggestions made by some IBC Practitioners that encouraged us to take this route.) This name-change did not indicate a change of mission or content, but instead was intended to solidify Nash’s legacy. Because there were so many variants of the IBC term, we thought it would resonate more with the public to name the Institute in honor of the patriarch. We (Carlos and Bob) want to stress that the name change has nothing to do with personal vanity; Nelson really does want whatever is most likely to help future generations discover the virtues of IBC. Indeed the original name of the institute was a reflection of Nelson’s modesty and desire to point the spotlight on an idea rather than a man, but in retrospect we all agree that the Nelson Nash Institute is the right label.
The IBC Practitioner Program
Finally, we come to the IBC Practitioner Program. This is a stand-alone entity created under the umbrella of the Nelson Nash Institute. The NNI seeks to educate the public, yes, but it also seeks to educate financial professionals. After all, IBC involves the use of dividend-paying whole life insurance policies. Therefore, in order to correctly apply IBC to their own circumstances, members of the public will need to consult with qualified financial professionals who really understand how IBC works.
To put it succinctly, a financial professional who wants to incorporate IBC into his or her practice cannot simply read Becoming Your Own Banker, or even attend Nash’s seminar, and consider that adequate training. Nash’s books and seminar are designed for the general public. There are many nuances that a financial professional must know, in order to help a client tailor a particular policy to achieve desired objectives.
Nelson Nash, David Stearns, and we (Lara and Murphy) worked together to create the IBC Practitioner Program. It involved intense study of insurance textbooks and visits to home offices, as well as consultations with actuaries and other experts. The IBC Practitioner Program includes an initial interview before acceptance into the program, an in-depth training curriculum involving written and video instruction, a proctored exam, and (for those who are new to the industry) a mentorship period. After these hurdles have been passed, the candidate graduates from the Program and is now an authorized IBC Practitioner. The public can locate these professionals on the Practitioner Finder at: www.InfiniteBanking.org/Finder.
To be sure, there is much more we could say about the circumstances leading up to the formation of the NNI and the IBC Practitioner Program, and the decisions we have all made along the way. But we know the reader’s time is valuable, so we shall stop here. For those new to IBC, we encourage you to visit www.InfiniteBanking.org to sample some of the material, or the YouTube channel for those who prefer that medium.
It’s always a good time to take control of the banking function in your life, but there is particular urgency in our current environment. The Federal Reserve has begun raising interest rates, and we fear that many people who trusted “the experts” are going to experience significant financial pain in the coming years. We can’t prevent such fallout, but individual households and business owners can take stops to minimize the damage in their own lives. We urge you to investigate the revolutionary Infinite Banking Concept that Nelson Nash has presented to the world.