I’ll never forget it, I guess I was about 27 and was at a Happy Hour with some friends. I started talking to a life insurance agent over some drinks who told me we should get together to talk. My response was, I don’t need insurance. I did not say that I had already bought life insurance from my cousin.
Not knowing this, he said the words I’ll never forget. He held his hand up like a stop sign and said, “You’re right, You’re the one who’s going to beat it.” I winced when I realized what he said and I froze at the thought of my own mortality. Unfortunately within a year I realized the importance of having coverage I bought.
Insurance is the one service that can immediately deliver life altering benefits if a tragedy like an premature death occurs, or a breadwinner becomes ill, disabled and unable to work. Having tax-free proceeds from a life insurance policy can meet many financial needs, but often means the difference between a family keeping their home, needing to spend down their 401K nest-egg to pay for it, or being forced to sell it. Two of these three options are bad.
My personal experiences and perspective have shown me a way to help people not only when terrible or frightening things happen to them, but also to help prepare them for the unforeseen.
Anecdotally, about the time I bought the policies from my cousin, I was recently the proud father of a beautiful baby girl and a new home within 6 months of each other. Of course, with all the baby stuff our car was instantly too small so we went out to by a new one, a 1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera.
When we went to pick it up and the salesman handed me the keys he said, “You have a new house, a beautiful family and now you have a new car. You’ve got it all.” And I beamed as a proud husband and father should. After all, I was living the dream.
I wish the story stayed happy but life deals us many unexpected twists. Some of them are speed bumps and some are devastating. My daughter passed away a year later during heart surgery that supposedly had a 98.9% success rate. In 1986 insurance was the farthest thing from my mind until it happened. My income was very good, but our medical bills were beyond our ability to keep up and we struggled. The policy I bought for her at birth helped pay for funeral costs and a portion of the enormous hospital and medical bills. But I wish I could say I made it into the clear.
In December of 2001, I was rushed to the hospital having trouble breathing and my wife was told to gather the family because I was not expected to live. I was always healthy, exercised, and felt strong, but I learned in that emergency room that I had a genetic blood clotting disorder that was recently discovered and known to have a high risk to men in their 40’s. I lost 60% of my lung function during that illness and the damage it caused was severe. How I lived is even considered amazing by the doctors and staff. I was fortunate to recover more completely than my doctors thought possible. While I was fortunate enough to have the financial ability to get me through my illness and recovery, I became alarmed to learn that at age 40, I had become uninsurable. Luckily I still had the policy I bought from my cousin but was told by everyone – “don’t lose that policy.” I wish I had gotten a much larger policy at the time.
Before I started the Buckley Agency, I thought about what I might say to people that they would consider valuable enough to want to invite me to their home or business. Today I can tell you without question it is my experiences, perspective, empathy and the unflinching commitment to do what is right by everyone I meet.
Now, more than at anytime, I have realized that people are looking for someone to provide them with the right information, not saddle them with payments they cannot afford, and give them the best solution for their needs.
For that young person or couple, who like me, might feel like they don’t need life insurance, I hope they get it. Its ok if they don't get it from me. Everyone knows that insurance costs more the older you become. What they don’t realize is that health begins to decline after 40.
With each passing year the chance of developing some health issue, whether it is obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, smoking, or you suffer a medical emergency, your chances to get good, affordable coverage are reduced proportionately to the severity of your situation.
I tell people please do not wait too long. It doesn’t matter how healthy you have been in the past, or good you feel today, no one knows what’s coming tomorrow. Every 10 years the leading causes of death that might befall you change in the United States change. Up to about 40 the leading cause of death is by accident, then reach decade after that illness begin to creep in until they take over in older age. From personal experience I can tell you it's true.
When I talk to a potential customer and I sense some hesitation I will not push them. I will tell them my story if it hasn’t already come out and they will decide what is best for them.
I explain, “We don’t buy life insurance because we’re going to die, rather we buy it because people we love have to live.” All I offer is my experience and a chance to help you help the people you love who will still be here after you leave, that is, unless you’re the one who beats it.