There are few places as comfortable, intimate and eventful as a seat around the kitchen table. Think of all the things that have happened over the years around your table – birthday parties, Thanksgiving dinners, special celebrations, entertaining friends and enjoying pleasant conversations with your family about everyday life.
I’ve had a unique opportunity to sit at more kitchen tables than most people over the past 25 years. As an insurance agent and financial planner, my role has been helping people plan for the future and also address how to prepare financially if events don’t go according to plan.
We all want to retire with enough money, and enjoy life’s simple pleasures while pursuing our hobbies and passions along the way. But sometimes life doesn’t turn out like you plan it. Then what? Hopefully some of the planning done around the kitchen table made provisions for the “what ifs”.
Such was the case recently when I met with a client who told me his doctor said he had less than 6 months to live – inoperable brain cancer. He’s only 54 years old. I’ve known Don and his wife for 25 years. They are two of the nicest people I know. They live simply, have no debt always saved for retirement and enjoy rich friendships. I’ve watched their son grow up to be one of the finest young men I know. He has a successful career, is married to a very nice woman and they are expecting their first child in the fall.
A few weeks ago, I sat down with Don, his wife, mother, brother and son around the kitchen table talking about the past and how quickly life had changed when symptoms of his cancer landed him in the hospital. Don’s biggest concern was to make sure his wife would be taken care of financially when he passed away. Fortunately, Don and I did some planning years back which included buying life insurance and meeting periodically to make sure his coverage needs were up-to-date.
Sitting around that kitchen table talking about the very things all of us will face sooner or later is something I never get used to when it actually happens. It’s emotional. It’s hard. It’s real. Having experienced several personal losses in recent years has given me a deeper appreciation of this gift of life and a deeper sensitivity to others who have experienced a similar loss.
What struck me that day was how Don talked about making the most of his remaining days. He plans on fishing with his son and close friends as much as he can and maybe deer hunting one last time. His biggest goal is to be here when his first grandson arrives in the fall. I feel privileged to be in a profession that allows me to be a part of the life experiences of so many wonderful people like Don and his family over the years. People who started out as clients and have become friends. Many of those friendships started around the kitchen table talking about life and planning for the future.
This story happened 10 years ago. Fortunately Don lived long enough to see and hold his first grandchild before he died. He was also able to leave his wife well taken care of after he was gone. But it always doesn’t work out that way. September 11th is a reminder that life can end abruptly and tragically. So the point of Life Insurance Awareness Month is to nudge those who want to make sure their families will be taken care financially in case of an unexpected death to act sooner than later. Whether it’s at your kitchen table, your office or ours, we can help make sure you’re covered.
Will Adamczyk is a Certified Financial Planner professional with Ramsburg Insurance & Financial Services. He focuses on Retirement and Income Planning for the Baby Boomer generation. You can contact Will at: firstname.lastname@example.org