I have listened to many people talk about their personal finances over the last 15 years. From that I learned a lot about the emotions involved in financial management.
Emotions can often stand in the way of getting things accomplished. They can also be a major reason a person takes responsiblity and action. I have seen how emotions can be useful or hurtful.
The emotions attached to discussions about life insurance and end-of-life documents (such as wills, durable power of attorneys, living wills, etc.) are, for some people, very strong and paralyzing. I always tell anyone who will listen that these are things we do for those we leave behind. If we are gone and haven’t taken care of these things, we can’t reach from the grave and fix them.
If we don’t plan well for retirement, if we don’t manage our debt appropriately, if we don’t budget successfully, we personally suffer. That is our choice or decision and we will have to deal with it. Putting our survivors in a financially difficult or legally unclear position is unfair to them. They may suffer and be forced into dealing with legal or financial matters over which they had no say or control. Difficult things to deal with during a time of loss.
Life insurance is a product which is sold, not bought. That is what I was taught when I first started selling life insurance. I didn’t really “get it” until I started meeting with potential clients. It became quite clear that hardly anyone calls up and asks to buy life insurance. Once again, all those emotions tied to death, insurance and money. Add to that, the confusion about how life insurance works and fears of some unsavory past practices of some in the industry. Now, not everyone needs life insurance, but I believe everyone needs to go through the analytical process of determining if she or he needs it.
In my book, Financial Freedom Party for Women, A Little Book about Money for Women, I talk about life insurance and have included a quote which seems to give a valuable perspective on the value of life insurance. This may be more meaningful to you than a long lecture about insurance.
A life insurance policy is just a time-yellowed piece of paper with columns of figures and legal phrases, until it is baptized with a loved one’s tears. Then it becomes a modern miracle – Aladdin’s Lamp. It is food, clothing, shelter, and undying affection. It is the sincerest love-letter ever written.
It quiets the crying of a hungry baby in the night. It eases the aching heart of the one who remains behind – a comforting whisper, in the dark and silent hours. It is a new hope, fresh courage and strength to pick up broken threads and carry on. It is a college education for the son or daughter – a chance for a career instead of a need of a job. It is a parent’s blessing to a daughter on her wedding day.
Until next time
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