About a year ago, I was traveling in Nashville and I got a call from by brother. Our father was in the hospital and was not doing well. For me it was an awkward call because I had been estranged from my dad for years and I didn’t quite know how to feel. I heard he had been having some health issues and was not completely surprised by this development, but it’s still something you don’t want to hear. I knew his time was short and that I wouldn’t be able to say goodbye.
This is perhaps more complicated for me than most. I’m one of 10 children and had very little contact with my dad over the years. My older siblings were closer to him, but it was probably my half-sister, Abby, whom he was closest to. She was his youngest child, who he had later in life with another wife, and she shared a bond with him that I never experienced. She had been a big part of his life, helping along with some others to care for him near the end. He passed the day after that call, ironically almost ten years to the day of my mother’s passing. Abby took care of the arrangements and decided that there would be no funeral, but a memorial service instead. The memorial was well attended and Abby did a great job of putting the event together. Abby and her husband have a special needs child and didn’t need an additional financial burden like funeral and burial costs. Unfortunately, my father had no life insurance and had not planned for final expenses. The costs were in the thousands of dollars, and it put a strain on Abby and her family who didn’t have savings or other means to cover it. Being estranged from him, I was unaware of this and found out a few weeks later, at which time many of us pitched in to help. It still was a challenge to defray all of the expenses. Being the youngest and closest to my dad, Abby was determined to take care of it. That was her way of showing how much she loved him.
After the memorial, I thought about how many ways there are to show you love someone. It might be through words, physical affection, caregiving, or sometimes just being present to listen and support. As I went over my dad’s passing in my mind, one thought really hit home. Showing your love for someone is not always direct; there are more indirect but very impactful ways to do the same, such as purchasing life insurance. In my dad’s case, it truly would have been love assurance. It would have helped Abby and others from being financially burdened by his passing, which I’m sure he wouldn’t have wanted. If my father had even $25,000 of permanent life insurance, it would have taken away the financial stress his children experienced. It was tough enough to lose him, but the added financial burden made it all harder. Having a bigger life insurance policy would also have allowed him to leave a nice legacy for his children and his 20 grandchildren—a love legacy with a lasting impact. I think especially of how this would have helped my half-sister. And it wouldn’t have cost him much to do this.
As a financial advisor, I know it’s important to have life insurance. But this experience made it more personal for me. I work with clients daily who have family and loved ones they want to protect and help support financially. Primarily, my mission as a financial planner is to assist clients in protecting and growing their assets, minimizing risk, and achieving their goals. It’s also to help my clients plan for the legacies they wish to leave. Insurance planning is often central to this part of my role. Life insurance can not only provide a lump sum of cash for final expenses, it can provide financial stability to family members after you’re gone. Not only can it cover final expenses so that obligation doesn’t become a worry for others it replace income for a spouse, pay for college for children and leave a lasting legacy for future generations.
Life Insurance is truly Love Assurance. I know this from personal and professional experience. I’ve seen how love assurance can make a distressing time just a little easier. My dad had a lifetime to plan, but in the end was gone very quickly. We often think we have more time, and yet in his case and so many others, the consequences can have a lasting impact when our time is up. Think of life insurance as love assurance for those you care about, and make that part of your lasting legacy.