As school is in full swing and fall around the corner, I’m reminded of my first homecoming as a high school freshman. The week leading up to the dance was chock-full of festivities, a parade, and football game, capped off with a dance that Saturday night. Considering the gangly awkward manner in which I roamed the halls, I was fortunate enough to have a date for the dance that evening – we shall call her Sharon.
In anticipation of the big night, I had purchased a fresh pair of khakis, button-down shirt, and some snappy, burgundy-colored Oxfords. As the evening arrived, I donned a fresh haircut and shave to go with my new duds. Needless to say, I was feeling particularly mantastic. Finally, my date’s parents arrived and Sharon emerged from the mini-van in the traditional floral print dress of the 90’s. I pinned her corsage with the deft touch of a surgeon. My half-Windsor knot had never appeared so symmetrical; and the Drakkar Noir cologne only added to my aura of sophistication. This night was going to be awesome! Our mothers took pictures to capture the moment, while fathers looked on with – what I imagine – were conflicting thoughts. The photo shoot wrapped up and I escorted Sharon to the car.
My mom was designated chauffeur for the evening. Always the gentleman, I opened the car door and helped Sharon in before walking to my side. As I walked behind the car to the left side, my mom shifted into reverse – in milliseconds my right knee was buckling under the pressure of the bumper! During a moment of pure instinctual survival, I hurled myself atop the trunk using a fetal position barrel-roll. Whereupon, hearing the “THUD,” my mom slammed the car into park, causing me to roll back the opposite way! Fortunately my feet were the first thing to hit terra firma. Firmly planted, I quickly surveyed damages, noticing only wrinkled khakis and a broken car antenna lying betwixt two burgundy Oxfords. We arrived to the Caribbean-themed dance without further incident…grateful to salsa on two good legs.
As September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, I use this story more as a lighthearted way to impress upon everyone the importance of a serious matter. Dollar for dollar, purchasing any insurance coverage, whether it is to protect from loss of life, a disability, or damage to personal property, is the most cost-effective means to protect those we love. Family or friends will hopefully never have to file a claim on that policy you took out. And yes, if that were the case, the all the premium spent for that protection will not necessarily be returned. We also hope to never suffer a disabling fall off a ladder while scooping helicopter seeds out of a gutter. However, these things do happen, and contrary to popular belief, we are not always in control.
As I see it, the reason for insurance is to protect ourselves from certain variables and probabilities that we cannot possibly anticipate. The loss from NOT having suitable, appropriate insurance coverage when it’s most needed is much greater than the costs of the premium lost were the policy never to be used. I can recount numerous times, how the failure to plan has created a financial hardship, just as the proper planning perpetuated success and peace of mind for the insured and respective beneficiaries.
Insurance forces us to face our own mortality, which can be uncomfortable for some people. However, don’t let that and what seems to be an abyss of insurance providers and marketing ploys deter you from the basic fundamental needs of protection. It is very important to talk to an agent, consultant, or planner you trust to best determine the path in which you take. Be upfront and honest about your concerns and reason for coverage.
In summary, I quote Forrest Gump, “Life is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re gonna get.” Life is what we make it and as we live it, good or bad. Enjoy the fall weather, cheering your football team, family bonfires…those good things in life.
By Michael Poppen
Financial Consultant, Dupaco Financial Services
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