There was a break in my schedule and the weather was nice, so my daughter and I headed to the hanger to go flying for an hour or so.
As we lifted off from the airfield we both noticed the visibility on this late summer day was less than clear even though the weather report and ATIS report both reported otherwise. The reason for the discrepancy in reported vs. actual visibility was the result of the multiple forest fires in the Pacific Northwest that were putting tremendous amounts of smoke into the atmosphere. Even at 3000 feet above ground the particulate matter in the air was still very noticeable. But looking down our view was terrific. So we just enjoyed witnessing the abundance the farmers were gathering…diligently harvesting what would be used by millions of people over the months and years to come.
The labor and planning involved in agriculture is tremendous. The type of soil, the amount of moisture, the days of sunshine, the southern exposure (here in the northern hemisphere,) the type of crop and the necessary equipment to gather in the harvest and continue the cycle are critical to not only the farmer but to the millions of others who will be affected by whether those plans are successful or not.
Near our home there is a vineyard which was recently planted…over 800 acres of grapes. The preparation, labor and equipment that have gone into this vineyard are incredible. And yet as of today…3 years after the grapes were first planted…there have been very few grapes harvested. This year will be the first significant harvest produced. And yet the years of harvest to come off this vineyard are more than worth the initial planning and diligence to establish it.
Planning and laboring to ensure your financial success should be more like farming instead of like speculation. Can you imagine a farmer going out one spring day, tossing a bunch of seeds into the air and expecting a huge harvest come fall? The idiocy of that is obvious to everybody. But typically this is not too different than what most people do with their finances. They toss a few dollars into their 401(k), IRA, some stock index, or investment account and fully expect great things to happen financially for their future. 76% of Americans don’t have enough capital saved to make it through 6 months of living without an income, and 27% of those don’t have any savings at all.[i]
One of the reasons why Americans financially labor and plan so haphazardly is because of all the smoke in the air coming from all the speculation surrounding most financial planning. The visibility is so clouded that it’s difficult to see and know what or how to plan for tomorrow let alone further into the future. But the smoke shouldn’t prevent you from laboring and planning for your future any more than the initial costs of labor and planting a vineyard should inhibit a winemaker from planning for their future. Millions of other people are depending on how your labor and plans, or lack of them, will succeed.
Guarantees are good to have in place prior to committing your labor to a specific plan. Here in the Pacific Northwest and throughout the agriculture community in the United States, crop insurance is something that wise farmers own and appreciate. If a sudden rain, hail, wind or forest fire destroys their crops it could completely wipe them out. But crop insurance guarantees them that such a calamity won’t put them out of business indefinitely.
Financially the guarantees which life insurance provide make it an essential tool to be owned and appreciated by you for some of the very same reasons. (See: Kinds of Life Insurance & What is Participating Whole Life Insurance?)
Consider the client whose office building was damaged by a sudden rain storm when he was having it re-roofed. Without the cash value equity in his life insurance policies, which was readily available for him to use, he could have lost his business. Thankfully, he was able to use that equity, manage it wisely and stay in business.
The smoke that has arisen from all the possibilities about qualified plans, stock holdings, and other speculative planning has clouded the skies limiting the visibility for those who have lost much of their life savings in such dealings. Unfortunately this same smoke has distorted the purpose and usefulness of participating whole life insurance. (See: The 7 Biggest Lies You’ll Hear About Life Insurance) But take a moment to look down through all the smoke and enjoy the serenity of being insured and having the guaranteed, available, manageable, equity of that participating whole life insurance working for you. Enjoy the view…the fruit of your labor! Millions of people are depending on whether your financial plans succeed or fail and participating whole life insurance is one of the best ways to guarantee that for you.
[i] Angela Johnson, 76% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck, CNN Money, June 24, 2013