Sunday, January 19, 2014

It's Never Too Late! Or Is it?

How many times have we heard the phrase, "It's never too late." We hear it used when people say things like, "I wish I had...", "I'd like to do...", "If only I'd...". Then we say "It's never too late". In areas like this that very well may be the case. Life is to be lived and in many cases you can do those things you've always wanted to do any time in your life. However, there may be areas where we miss the mark and the opportunity comes and then it's gone and it can be too late. I find this to be the case when we talk about decisions made about insurance and benefits people have access to. We see this to be especially true when it comes to disability and life insurance. I'll explain.

With life insurance, this concept is obvious. We only have so many days on this earth. Many of us have the desire to live life to the fullest. That's great until something happens and life ends up being much shorter than we had planned. In our lives, most of us have OTHERS to think about if something happens to us. Sure, you can approach it like, "Hey, I'm dead...what do I care." but if we stop and think for two seconds we realize that the people in our lives matter more to us than that and we need to make some provisions if our "carpe diem" mentality backfires. Death is inevitable no matter the age, health, or life situations. Being prepared with some basic life insurance will help those around you sleep a little better.
Another area is how life can throw us an illness or something that might keep us from being able to get life insurance. I have never seen people more upset and dejected when I get into an application for life insurance and I see that they have some health conditions which will either raise their premiums or cause them to be unable to gain life insurance by normal means. Younger people fall into the trap of feeling that disease and health issues will happen later so they decide to wait. Then one day they wake up with Type 2 Diabetes or they have a heart attack. Suddenly they feel like they have a chink in their invincibility armor and the "what if" question comes up. So, they run out and try to feel better by getting a life policy only to find that their recent situation makes the insurance company say, "Um...I don't think so."
In either of these cases there are always secondary options. With my main advisor capacity using voluntary life insurance through an employer I can usually make someone's day who has had trouble in the past with acquiring life insurance. I've even been able to get someone in cancer treatments get life coverage through work so I know it's possible. If I can't through those means, I have access to other carriers and professionals who offer higher risk policies. Sure, the premiums are higher but that's one of the prices of waiting.

Disability is another tough one but easier to understand. Many times someone is offered disability insurance to cover their paycheck and they pass because they've worked for years and never been out more than a day or two for anything. It's also true that people are more likely to die than suffer a long disability. This is where I will address the ladies. In pregnancy, you're out AT LEAST 6 weeks. Your FMLA keeps your job but doesn't pay you a dime and you have to have been at that job for at least a year before you are eligible to get FMLA. Disability coverage lets you enjoy your time with your little one and have the knowledge of knowing that you will at least get a paycheck or two while you are out. Unfortunately, I get too many calls in a year from clients asking to get on disability insurance who just got back to work from a disabling event or some young lady who found out 3 weeks ago she was pregnant and needs coverage. At that point my hands are tied and it is too late. I have to explain that they can still get the coverage, but that the policy will not help them in the pregnancy or for that condition they just dealt with on this go around.

Waiting is tough for the person, but it's tough on me too. I don't like telling people I can't help them. It's like I'm Superman and I'm trying to save someone from falling to the ground but they lined their pockets with kryptonite. I can try but in the end there is little I can do and that pains me.

So, how do handle these dilemmas? It's simple. When you get offers through work or personal means to help you plan for the future, think twice. Think about others who are counting on you. Think about how it will feel to have to ask to borrow money to get by or have to take out a loan. With benefits, you pay a small price today that could save you and/or your family a lot of heartache and pocket ache.

Do you have people you know who need to hear this? Do you want to help those who aren't helping themselves because they don't know where to go. With us being at the beginning of a new year, it may be time to start adopting the approach of helping others not miss an opportunity to help themselves. Contact me and let's see about setting up an advisory session where I can help you remind people of these valuable things. At least then we can say we tried. I find that imparting education and knowledge in these areas is key and even if they still say "No", they have done so in full light of the facts and possibilities.

Spend the next 16 minutes smiling with Steve Mazan as he reminds us that in some areas it's never too late: