In the interest of full disclosure, many of you who know me remember that I sell insurance, mostly life, disability and long term care insurance. In the 22 years I’ve been selling insurance, I, of course, have had a number of claims for death and disability. You might have thought these claims were only for “old people” who lived full lives and completed or slightly exceeded their life expectancy. In reality, my youngest death claim was a 38-year-old mom who died of breast cancer, leaving a 7-year-old son to be raised on $68,000. It was all she could afford at the time! The oldest was a 50-year-old mother of two who was taking a walk in her Santa Fe community when she was hit by a car – gone too soon! The life insurance proceeds, while not in the hundreds of thousands, did at least allow the dad to work part time and be there for his two young sons. I remember him writing me the most beautiful letter.
Then there was the physician in his late thirties with two young sons and a wife who came down with Parkinson’s disease! After battling this disease for a few years, his wife lost her job! Without his disability income policy, the family would have been in financial ruin. In June of this year, a 43-year-old physician client died unexpectedly, leaving behind a young wife and two small boys. His life insurance wasn’t even enough to pay off half the mortgage or put the boys through school! Tragically, his wife had no idea what he did or did not have! His friends were shocked to find out he didn’t have more coverage. But as I told his grieving wife, this is the rule, not the exception. I see it all the time. In fairness, who plans to die young, die too soon, die without providing for the financial well-being of his/her loved ones? Again, gone to soon!
While the details of these tragedies may not seem important, the results speak volumes to the uncertainty and fragility of life. Insurance is all about risk aversion, taking your chances. The one certainty we all know is that none of us escapes death; the question is not if but when. Maybe, just maybe, that #1 thing on your bucket list should be to sure up the family’s financial future in the event that you or your spouse leaves this world too soon! What will your legacy be?