Thursday, October 14, 2004

The Present Job

My present job is very hard, but very interesting. I get a glimpse into how people structure their financial lives, and their priorities become apparent. A couple of examples.

Last week I met with an 80-something couple. They are terrified of the nursing home, and want to remain home as long as possible. Could I sell them some more long term care insurance? The answer, sadly, was no. Not now that you have cancer and she had a stroke. Should have bought more coverage two years ago. Now they're going to move the house into a trust, and with a little luck, they think they can save their assets from the state and mooch off of Medicaid. Why should they pay for their own nursing home care if they can screw the state by hiding their assets? Everyone else does it, right?

Or the cop who thinks that $100,000 of life insurance is enough to take care of his stay-at-home wife and three kids. No matter what the numbers say (he would need about $1 million in coverage to replace his income at a 5% return) he's sure his family will be ok if he dies. At his age its affordable, but I guess having ESPN on cable TV is more important.

Not everyone needs a ton of insurance, and there are plenty of experts who warn about being over insured. I've been on the other side of these life insurance policies: no one has ever accused me of bringing them too much money in death claim settlement.

I'm not here to sell you any insurance. But I tell you what -- if you have kids, you owe it to them to provide for them after you're gone. The people I hate working with are those who don't care enough about their families to insure their futures. I go to bed easier each night knowing that if I don't wake up, my kids will still go to college, the house will be paid off, and my wife can take some time off to spend with the family.

I think this job is getting to me...

1 comment:

leesun said...


i'm enjoying reading your blog from most recent to least recent. will add it to my links.

feel compelled to comment on this as i generally don't get insurance on anything unless it's required by law. i think insurance is definitely a personal choice and certainly has more to do with one's convictions on what it means to be responsible than with being responsible in any absolute sense.

let me put it this way: did jesus have life insurance?

not being a parent, i cannot say how i would feel about this if i had any children. however i *think* i would feel the same way that i do now:

that lots of terrible things happen but God is still God and cares. if i (and my other half) were to suddenly die and leave behind dependants, God would still be around and still be with them. furthermore, he would have allowed that situation to happen and would still see it through. i don't personally feel it would be irresponsible for me not to have provided for them in that situation.

i personally believe that jesus taught us about being responsible day-to-day with what we had. the Bible also speaks of a collective responsibility for "widows and orphans" -- i.e., dependants who have lost their provider.

i don't think the answer to an uncertain future is to try to cover all the bases ourselves. i think God is a bit more powerful than we sometimes give him credit for (in terms of being able and willing to provide for us in the future as well as the present).

but if it gives you any consolation, i'm sure many more people will agree with you than with me on this issue.