My Story (and I’m sticking to it!)

My name is David Lewis, and I'm a licensed independent life insurance agent and advisor. I started in financial services in 2004 and haven't looked back.

Today, I live and work in a small town in North Carolina, called Kenly. It's just...

Me and my son...


My lovely wife, and...


My (mostly) faithful dog.

I started in the business in 2004 as a life insurance agent and registered representative... worked in the Elmira, New York branch of the world-famous Metropolitan Life Insurance Company...


Elmira, New York

Today, MetLife is no longer in the life insurance biz. So, I guess, at least in my case, it really is true: I can't go home again.

What's All This "Rogue Agent" Stuff About?

My wife and I often joke about who's more of a rebel, me or her. My opinion about this is... she was a born rebel. Missed her "due date". Refused to act like other children. Refused to "fit in". Barely out of toddlerhood, she approached her mom and told her, "I want to be part of the boss", which her mom took to mean she wanted more control over her stuff and her own life and didn't want to be bossed around by adults.

In the second grade, refused to put her hand over her heart and say the pledge of allegiance because (according to her mom), she knew a pledge was a promise, and knew the flag was a patriotic symbol, but didn't understand exactly what she was promising and so didn't feel comfortable making promises she didn't understand or didn't know if she could keep. 

This, of course, caused endless troubles with the school... which finally ended when she dropped out as a teenager before graduating. Was told because she dropped out that she'd never amount to anything (by her guidance counselor), and so... she decided to get her G.E.D., go to college to become a scientist, has managed and run scientific labs for billion-dollar start-ups and is currently a project manager for one of the largest companies in the world.

See what I mean?

A born rebel. 

Anyway, one day we were "arguing" over who was more of a rebel... and she insisted that it was me. And, here's why:

I was a very shy and introverted child until about the 8th or 9th grade. Being shy caused me a lot of trouble. Was constantly bullied and teased. Didn't play sports. Didn't have a lot of friends.

That all changed in junior high, and about 2 years into high school, one of my teachers told me that I'd really "come out of my shell". I think that gave me a lot of confidence. 

Maybe too much confidence.

Mom and dad noticed the changes, too. Would always tell me I was "very opinionated" and "so honest", which I eventually figured out meant I was "too opinionated" and "too candid" about those opinions.

I don't recall exactly how it came about, but at some point, my friends and I got fed up with all the B.S. and politics in high school, and decided we should start our own underground school newspaper. Not exactly legal, but also not technically illegal either. Just... not in line with the administrative rules. But, the way we figured it, our school newspaper sucked and we wanted to print the truth (as we saw it, naturally). The paper was essentially satire, often mocking the school administration and the superintendent (mercilessly) and some of the teachers we didn't like. But also reporting on the stories behind the official stories being published in the official, administration-approved, school newspaper. 

They were the Ministry of Truth. We were the uncircumcised truth.

Back then, the way it worked was you had to get permission to publish a newsletter and distribute it to the student body. We quickly realized we were never going to get permission, so we never asked. Figured it was better to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. Plus, the way we saw it, we were just goofing around and having fun.

Anyway, because we weren't authorized to publish our newsletter, we became a legitimate (or rather, illegitimate?) underground school newsletter. We did buy our own paper, but we also used the school's computer lab, printers, and other resources without asking. Made up our own t-shirts to covertly advertise the newsletter, and distributed it by simply handing it out to students in the hallway before class. 

Everything eventually came crashing down on us when one of the newsletter's contributors had the bright idea of creating a fake hall pass that any student could use. He scanned an intentionally blurred (and obviously phony) copy of the superintendent's signature onto the pass to make it look "authentic". Then, he made many copies of the fake hall pass and we attached it to what would become the last issue of the newsletter. 

Someone used the hall pass, got caught, and then turned state's on us.

We all believed we were protected by the 1st Amendment, freedom of speech. Turns out, you have no 1st Amendment rights in a public school, and besides... "forging" the superintendent's signature on a bogus hall pass doesn't constitute "freedom of speech". The charges against us were pretty serious. They threatened us with suspension, expulsion, holding us back from graduating... pretty much anything they could think of to "break" us. 

But they never did break us.

From that point forward, it was all downhill for me. Or maybe it was uphill? An uphill battle against the external authorities of the world, against tradition, against mainstream... everything.

Fast forward 7 years of soul searching, learning, and experimenting with life.

The last place I expected to end up was in the stodgy world of finance——a breeding ground for top-down, mediocre, mainstream thinkers and "follow the leader" types. I first started working for MetLife because I was initially fascinated by the idea of life insurance and protecting people from harm, and inspired by an event that had happened a few years prior where some of my co-workers lost a buttload of money in the stock market (almost their entire retirement), and I was both horrified and fascinated by how this could possibly happen to such hardworking people. But I was also repelled by the suits, ties, and stuffy atmosphere of the office. Endless arbitrary rules. The theatre of it all, just to impress and intimidate clients. A lot of my peers seemed excited about the idea of being the responsible authority figure in their client's life.

At one point, my boss saw I was struggling with a lot of these ideas. And so, he invited me to come with him on a client meeting. 

We took his fancy new Jaguar out to a large house in the country. Very fancy home, like something you'd see in a magazine. The couple were nice enough to us. His clients slid a $3,000 check across the kitchen table, and he handed them a spiral-bound manuscript full of pie charts and numbers.

On the way back to the office, I asked him about what just happened. And he proceeded to explain to me the idea of "financial planning" and that the way to make money in this business is to charge money for making written financial plans, then sell the clients the financial products they needed to implement the plan you just made for them. 


But, back in the office, I kept pushing him for more information. Asking him if he followed his own advice. If he did the same thing with his money as he advised his clients to do with theirs. It was then that he confessed to me that while he put a little bit of money into the company's 401(k) plan, most of his money went into dividend-paying whole life insurance.


"It's safe, I know exactly where my money is, and I sleep well at night."

It suddenly dawned on me that his reasoning to me was the essence of a good financial plan. It wasn't about the pie charts, the numbers, the fancy investments, or any of that other nonsense I had learned. A good financial plan allows you to sleep well at night, and makes you feel... at peace.

Unfortunately, this was not the way the company wanted me to do business. They expected me to be "comprehensive" in my approach and a "well rounded" financial planner. They didn't want me "just selling life insurance". They wanted me to sell investments, life insurance, annuities, more investments, and start making those fancy $3,000 financial plans for people... telling them what to do with their money, provide authoritative and good-sounding financial advice. To become a trusted advisor and responsible anchor in my client's lives. That was the mainstream way of doing things. That was the way everyone else did things at the firm.

Thing is, I didn't want to do any of that. 

And thus... The Rogue Agent was born. Partially born out of a joke my wife made at the time about me "going rogue", and partially born out of the fires of my youth.

Anyway, enough about me. If you want to know more about the business side of things, go here.