Interview with John Barnes | Founder of My Family Life Insurance

Written by True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

Reviewed by Subject Matter Experts

Updated on March 21, 2023

John Barnes | Founder of My Family Life Insurance


Success leaves clues.

Finance Strategists sat down with John Barnes of My Family Life Insurance. He shared his thoughts on the past, present, and future of the company, as well as insight gained from running the business.

Who is John Barnes?

Q: Who are you and what’s your background?

I am a licensed insurance agent and owner. I am also a CFP® Professional, although I no longer create financial plans or manage money. However, I still have best interests and fiduciary duty when working with clients.

I have a bachelor’s degree in engineering and an MBA from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.

I entered the financial planning and insurance industry as a career-changer. I was an engineer for a construction company. I then went back to school because I knew engineering just wasn’t for me. The MBA was a right fit; it gave me the generalist business background and allowed me to specialize my studies in finance.

After graduation, I worked in corporate finance positions, then joined an insurance and financial advisor company. I then started my own insurance business in 2017.

Q: Who has been your biggest influence, and why did they have such a significant effect on you?

I’ll answer this from the perspective of my career. This might sound strange, but it was a colleague whom I disagreed with often and the general direction of the company I worked for. Without getting into the details, I just wasn’t the right fit for them.

I realized what I wanted. I wanted no more late-night meetings at the kitchen table or “no shows” at my office or prospect’s homes. I also wanted more control of my career. I wanted to provide financial planning and insurance how I see fit; not under the management of someone else. I certainly did not want to meet sales quotas anymore. Moreover, I wanted to have more control on whom I work with.

Q: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your younger self?

Follow your heart from a career perspective; it will never lead you astray. I took jobs because of money only. I think many do. Working in those jobs did not fulfill my heart. They certainly did not motivate me to get up in the morning. I became angry and burned-out because I hated what I was doing (before insurance).

To follow your heart, sometimes you have to work backwards to go forward. I had to. That’s OK! I am way better off now than I was when I worked in those corporate finance positions.


Q: What is My Family Life Insurance?

We are an independent insurance broker specializing in:

Life insurance

Disability insurance

Health insurance

Long-term care insurance

Supplemental types of insurance like dental, hospital plans, etc.

We help clients all over the country and have helped people “virtually” since 2017. There is no need to meet with us physically face-to-face.

Q: What makes My Family Life Insurance different from its competitors?

Anyone can get insurance anywhere. There’s a lot of sameness with agents and agencies. Shoot. Even many of my competitor websites look the same!

There are many differences with us. Here are the top ones. Being a CFP® Professional, I see insurance from a different perspective. I have my “planner’s” hat on. I know the prospective client whom I am speaking with still has to save for retirement, college, etc. All of those factor into decisions and recommendations.

I also take an educational point of view with insurance. I believe many consumers don’t understand it properly. It’s why many overpay for insurances they really don’t need, are under-insured, or generally don’t see value in working with an insurance agent. The right insurance agent can be the most important professional in your life.

From a professional perspective, we are not the arm-twisting type of people. I’ve been trained on all of the smokescreens and rebuttals! Simply, if you want to work with us, great. If not, we will part as friends. I think many of our prospective clients like that. I think they can see that in the first couple of our meetings.

We also succeed very well in niche and uncommon client situations. For example, many of our clients have been declined before. However, with our knowledge and education, we’ve been able to provide them solutions or steer them in the right direction as best we can.

Insurance is a great problem solver. However, I see many “square-peg-round-hole” solutions or “one-size fits all”. We don’t offer those kinds of solutions.

Q: What led you to start My Family Life Insurance?

I knew the value I could provide without the management of another person or company. Working in financial planning, I knew misinformation abound with all types of insurance. I felt there was a need for someone like me.

Simultaneously, I was trying to get an independent RIA off the ground. However, my insurance business just took off. So, that is what I dedicate 100% now. It’s better anyway. Come to find out, I never enjoyed creating financial plans or managing money! I would have been miserable!

Insurance always intrigued me because of the foundational need in financial planning. Yet, many (including financial planners) overlook it or do not give it proper due diligence. Moreover, I could communicate the need in a way that clients understand.

Insurance can be very transactional. Think about purchasing car insurance. You can go online and purchase car insurance in 10 minutes. Did you enjoy that experience? More importantly, was what you bought the correct car insurance?

So, being more relationship-oriented was another goal. The right insurance agents are worth their weight in gold.

Finally, I wanted to provide a different perspective and voice in the insurance field. As I said before, there is a lot of sameness in the insurance industry. I really try to offer a unique perspective with all of my content and educational materials.

Q: What has the experience of building the business taught you?

I tell people my days are a blank sheet of paper. Sure, I have goals; however, they constantly change. It’s tough. The insurance industry is constantly changing in part to technology. I have to be able to move, call an audible, adapt, and learn.

Q: Where do you see things headed for you and the company in the next 5 years?

It’s all growth, for sure. We’ve just touched the tip of what we are capable of doing. I would like to expand our agent base, but only with the right people on board. I can’t stress that enough. Agents can make or break an agency.

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About the Author

True Tamplin, BSc, CEPF®

True Tamplin is a published author, public speaker, CEO of UpDigital, and founder of Finance Strategists.

True is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®), author of The Handy Financial Ratios Guide, a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, contributes to his financial education site, Finance Strategists, and has spoken to various financial communities such as the CFA Institute, as well as university students like his Alma mater, Biola University, where he received a bachelor of science in business and data analytics.

To learn more about True, visit his personal website or view his author profiles on Amazon, Nasdaq and Forbes.