The names have been changed to protect the innocent....
A couple of weeks ago, my Wife Carrie and I went to visit our son in Charlottesville, VA (and also to meet his girlfriend for the first time). After having a lovely weekend with them both, we started the journey to D.C. on Sunday morning so that we would not miss our flight later that afternoon. We arrived at Regan International Airport early and only after we made it through security did we find out that our flight was delayed. Given that we had a few hours before it was time for "wheels up," we decided to search for the finest available airport dining establishment for a nice long meal before heading back to Cincinnati.
The restaurant was so packed that they had to consolidate smaller parties in order to make sure that as many seats as possible were occupied. While we were tired, we had no issues as we like to talk with people and were not in any hurry. We were placed at a four top with another couple who appeared to be about 10 years younger than us.
Not knowing how they felt about being sat next to strangers, we quickly introduced ourselves to break the ice and learned that their names were Glen and Amelia Este, a married couple from Chicago on their way back from visiting Amelia's parents in Arlington. Like us, they were tired but seemed very excited to get home to their two young kids and the new home they recently purchased in the Chicago suburbs. Not once did the thought of trying to "sell" them life insurance enter my mind. However, as small talk often goes, at one point Amelia asked me what I do for a living. I explained that after 25 Years on the Corporate side of the insurance industry, I decided to open my own independent practice focused on helping individuals, families and businesses with their financial risk transfer needs. Glen sarcastically quipped, "you aren't going to try and sell us insurance, are you?" I assured them both that was not my intention and I was more focused on engaging in friendly conversation, along with some surprisingly delicious chicken wings and an ice-cold beer.
A while later, as the meal was ending and our brief encounter was coming to a close, Amelia turned to me and said....."Jamie, our plane is leaving soon and we don't have a great deal of time but I'm curious as to how much insurance is enough?" I explained that while there are general guidelines that some people adhere to (7-10 times your current income, etc.), each situation is unique and any recommendation should be thoroughly evaluated for appropriateness before being suggested. I did add that sadly, many people try to "ballpark" the coverage that they may need or just assume that the coverage offered by their employer is sufficient. I then asked, "do you currently have life insurance?" They both nodded affirmatively and mentioned that they each have 2 times their salary at work.
Without going into a sales pitch about why they probably don't have enough or questioning them about personal financial details, I left them with some things to think about on their flight back home.
You mentioned that you both have careers
If one of your incomes were lost, how would that impact your family?
You mentioned that you bought a new home
If one of you were to pass away, could the surviving spouse continue to make the mortgage payment?
You mentioned that you have Children
Would the income of the surviving spouse be enough to meet their current needs without a significant lifestyle change?
As they were getting up from the table to head to their gate, Glen turns to me (with a smile) and says "I thought you said you weren't going to sell us insurance!?" He went on to say that they had never really considered that the coverage that they carry at work might not be enough nor had they ever attempted do a needs assessment calculation. As we said our goodbyes, they mentioned that when they returned home and got settled in, they would reach out to their financial advisor for an insurance review. Obviously, I gave them each one of my cards and encouraged them to feel free to reach out to me if they ever had questions.
Last week, I received a phone call from Glen letting me know that they did set up a review with their financial advisor and it appeared that they were indeed underinsured and have applied for additional coverage. While I did not set out to sell them life insurance, it felt great to know that Glen and Amelia were more comfortable, now feeling that their family would be protected in the event that one of them were to meet an untimely death. We are all going to die but none of us know when. While many of us don't like to think about our own mortality, it is important to at least ask yourself that one simple question, "If my income were gone tomorrow, what kind of effect would that have on my Family?"
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. Keep in mind that several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.
"I thought you said you weren't going to try to sell me insurance!?"
November 30, 2021