“A lot of people tell me what they’re going to do or how quickly they’ll get back on their feet after the death of a spouse or child. Most of them have never attended the funeral of a spouse or one of their children…”.
Twenty-one years ago this month, 9/11/2001, we can all clearly remember where we were and who we were with as we watched in disbelief as planes flew into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. I often wonder about the family members of people who were flying out that morning or working in one of the towers or the Pentagon. “Is this the plane my wife is in?” » “About what floor of the North Tower did this plane crash?” “I hope my son is out of the building before it collapses!”
In the hours, days and weeks that followed, we discovered that nearly 3,000 people had died and that more than $7 billion had been donated, collected and allocated by our federal government to help compensate the families of those who had lost their lives.
In late November 2001, Kenneth Feinberg was appointed by Congress to decide, based on earned income and dependent family members, how much each life was worth. A daunting task to say the least. He and his team spent years tracking down and listening to grieving family members, before determining the “appropriate reward” for those who stay. The family of a kitchen worker at a restaurant near the top of the South Tower, originally from Peru, who earned less than $9,000 a year and sent more than half of that home to support his parents and his siblings, would receive the minimum amount of $250,000. More than 25 times his annual salary. Because of the death of their son, they will become the richest family in their small village. They still wished their son was alive instead. The wife and 5 children of a successful bond trader at a top firm upstairs just above this restaurant, who were earning $2.5 million a year, would make “only” receive the “maximum reward” $7.1 million… barely 3 years of replacement income. His second wife would also be entitled to some of that. He may have been an unfaithful husband and an absent father, but at least he was a good provider.
What is life worth? Probably more than we realize, until this life is over. I encourage you to read this book, “What is life worth” or watch the new Netflix movie starring Michael Keaton about Mr. Fienberg’s labor of love to figure out what every life was like “The pain.”
No amount of money will ease the grief of loved ones, but it can pay off mortgages, provide college degrees without 6-figure student loans, and buy things like suspenders, prom dresses, and birthday gifts afterward. the death of a breadwinner.
Coincidentally, September is also Life Insurance Awareness Month. Will your family be okay if tomorrow is the last morning they see you drive off to work or leave on a plane trip that ends badly?
I have life insurance so that when I die, my wife Paula, whom I met in college in 1978, can continue doing the things she loves to do and take care of our children for as long as they will live, even if it is 30 or 40 years later, a parent may have to take a second job and is now responsible for doing all the tasks that two parents shared. If the surviving parent cannot stay in the same home due to financial constraints, they may have to move and often a move requires changing schools and making new friends.
I have enough life insurance to make sure Paula and our four youngest children can stay in the house where they feel very comfortable and safe and don’t have to worry about anything. a mortgage loan. They could still have a weekly pizza night. I often joke that when I die I want Paula to be able to say “Well, Kevin wasn’t such a great husband or father, but he sure could buy life insurance!” Every life matters and no one should die for free. What is life worth? More than you would guess and as a client and close friend reminded me after her terminal diagnosis, “Kevin, make sure you tell people it’s later than they think!”
Kevin Burckhard is a Minot native and life member of the Million Dollar Round Table (MDRT) and the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) as well as husband of one, father of 3, dad of 6 and grand- father of 2 beautiful daughters.