The Worst of Times

Charles Dickens penned these famous words:

  • “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

Too often we want to believe that the present is the worst of all times or the best of all times, whichever gives us the better excuse to do or not do something.  And then comes the day that really is the worst of times and we are faced with decisions and costs that could have been dealt with long ago for pennies, and now cost hundreds of dollars.

Recently, a client of ours passed.  The worst of times for her family, no doubt about it.  Fortunately, she wasn’t one to let moss grow under her feet.  In fact, she had been proactive enough to attain the maximum insurance on her life that was possible.   And she didn’t stop there.  She planned and made a major move to a state where income and estate taxes were nominal, set up passive income flow with real estate investments by leveraging the cash value in her life insurance policies, and just months before her death, she leveraged her policies again to purchase a new pickup for her husband.

Her death came un-expectedly, as death most often does.  A minor illness and a few months later, she was dead!  But the gift that she left proves she had prepared her family to afford the best of times, even after considering the circumstances.  No, money can never replace a loved one’s life, but it can take care of a lot of things that happen when the worst of times comes.  Now the family can do their grieving without agonizing over where their next meal is coming from, or if the next paycheck will actually cover all the expenditures and incidentals, or even what will happen in the future when her income is not there to provide for the needs of the family.

Heartbreakingly, too many people never plan for the worst of times.  In fact, they avoid even talking about this inevitable rendezvous.  Yet, ignoring the statistic that everyone who enters this life passes from it, won’t prepare you or your family for the best of times when the worst of times comes.

We’ve all heard the cliché, that “Today, is the first day of the rest of your life.”  But how many of you reading this have really planned for that final day?  No, not about the padding in your coffin but the padding you leave behind for your loved ones so that they can carry on and expand upon the legacy you have started.

Many have told me they don’t want to leave a dime to anyone once they die.  And that’s their prerogative.  Yet, “the wise leaves an inheritance to their children’s children.”[i]  And the truth be known, those who plan accordingly experience a much better life here on earth because of the forethought.

Without the high cash values in her policy our client would never have been able to invest and create the passive income her real estate is now providing her family.  Neither would her husband be driving anything but his old worn out pickup because they couldn’t afford to finance a new pickup without her high cash values.  And now that she is gone, all those investments are paid off, tax free! Plus, she has left her family with even more capital, enabling them to continue building the legacy she started… if they are as adept as she was, knowing that today will be the best of times when planning wisely for the future.

Anyone can find an excuse, and some look for a solution.  Today is the day you can procure for pennies what will cost hundreds of dollars in the future.  But know this, tomorrow it will cost you more than it will today to secure those future dollars.  Irrespective to the times being the worst or the best, there is no time like now to secure your future for the pennies it will take compared to the hundreds of dollars it will provide.  Life is short.  Take time today and insure your life and the life of your loved ones before it is too late or higher priced.

[i] Proverbs 13:22