I’ve been reading a lot of material in the past few weeks about posting content on Linked In. The last few articles that I have written, have been received with moderate success from the financial planning community. I absolutely love getting onto a topic that I’m passionate about, and helping people connect with what might be a new way of looking at things! Ottawa local and Linked In guru Michaela Alexis preaches vulnerability in her article 5 Must Read Tips for Writing a Killer Linked In Article If you haven’t had a chance to read this article – and are interested in writing content – it’s a really great start.
So let me be vulnerable.
In May 2011 on a day long ATV ride ride with some friends, colleagues and clients in the Calabogie area – I had a terrible accident. It was probably our fourth or fifth annual ride with about ten riders. I had just spotted a beautiful long hill in a sandy field, and I was determined to drive my ATV up to the top to have a look. Half way up this rolling hill the ground just ended – it was a cliff. With absolutely no time to react – I went over the side of the tall cliff first (large unforgiving 800lb ATV came second), and the ATV fell with me landing hard right on top of my back. Immediately, I knew I was badly injured. At the end of the day – I had broken 5 vertebrae, 3 ribs, and split my liver.
So I’ve gotten the accident out of the way, and this helps with the setup of this article. I’m really trying to let you in on what was happening for me the moments after that accident. I was absolutely terrified. Not only was I worried that I may not survive this incredible accident, I was worried as I had a family that I wanted to get back to. I had three kids to raise, and when my beautiful girlfriend (now my amazing wife) walked in the hospital room – it gave me all the energy I needed to get charged up to start my mending!
Once the dust settled, and I had days and days of lying and healing – there were a few things that I really had on my mind;
- If I end up not being able to walk again – will I have enough income from my group and disability plans?
- Was my will set up the way that I wanted it? Does it contain my last set of instructions in the way that I really intended?
- What would I change about my life insurance and risk plan if I could?
- Would I be able to climb Mt Kilimanjaro with my girlfriend? (we had just made plans and booked our trip)
Months later – I had healed and made a recovery.
So I’ll be honest with you – I didn’t have enough set up for my disability plan (and would have probably had to live a life I wouldn’t have enjoyed), and my will and life insurance program needed some tweaking. Sometimes, we get a good bounce in life – and this was my second chance.
I’m going to share with you the reasons why I reviewed these questions, and set up a robust insurance program after my accident;
- I have a family that I absolutely love. My wife and my kids are what gets me up in the morning, and what keeps me inspired every single day. Sometimes we’re busy, sometimes we’re laughing and goofy, and sometimes we’re all doing separate activities (especially as the kids get older). At the end of the day – what we have in our home is my entire life.
- It’s the best way to have a couple Million dollars sitting on the sidelines when you need it. I once had a client ask me to build him a financial plan – “but please don’t use life insurance – I don’t like it. So I did. I built a beautiful financial plan – and it showed a need to save $17,000 / month for five years (and assumed that he didn’t get sick or die for that period). It wasn’t a hit. He ended up liking the insurance in the plan – and it ended up saving him a lot of money. I enjoy having knowledge that when I need it – regardless of how much I’ve saved, or where I am at in my life cycle – the money will be there.
- I don’t like spending money when I don’t have to. Structuring my plan right made it cash flow neutral. It may be a monthly expense – but having return of premiums or some cash value features allowed me to have a plan that returns this to me later on. A typical 35 yr old could easily spend $20,000 – $30,000 on premiums between now and retirement age (as an net negative expense) or they can re-arrange what they are doing and make this neutral, or an treat it like an investment, and come out with thousands in savings, and a nest egg.
- I’m a business owner. I like risk, and growing my business. Some elements of my world I can’t afford risk. My business, and my income is one of them. Walt Disney wouldn’t have been able to keep trucking on his Disneyland idea without it – a good read here What? Walt Disney used Life Insurance?
- I enjoy travelling, having goals, and just simply not worrying about uncertainty. It’s incredibly re-assuring to be able to book that scuba dive trip, or take a hike on a beautiful Caribbean island without worrying about mortality.
6. It’s immediate. Sometimes you just don’t get that second chance. It’s the ATV day with your pals, or it’s that golf game with your friends. It may just feel like another day, and give you no second thoughts. Sometimes and somewhere – your day doesn’t end the way you wanted. On an average, we are supposed to be here until 85 yrs of age, but sometimes we get sick, a medical result comes back we didn’t expect, or someone runs into our car. It can be totally unplanned, unexpected, and change of world forever. It might mean your income ends, or it could mean you don’t go home (ever). Having an insurance plans allows me to know that (a) the money is all there (b) every person that I love has something I wanted them to have (c) if I live through whatever terrible day I’ve had – I’m going to have an income (and then I can start with my game plan on recovery and overcoming whatever has just happened)
By the time I was done healing I had renewed my insurance strategy. I talk about this day with my clients – because sometimes people have a hard time imagining something terrible happening to themselves. I don’t mind sharing my story – it has a good ending. I made some great changes – and I also was also able to climb that mountain with Michele!
I’m excited about my life and the future adventures coming, and excited about knowing that I have a strong plan to support me. Think about your plan, and make those changes you’ve been thinking about. It’s one of the best steps you could take (and then consider travelling to Africa and hiking Mt Kilimanjaro – it’s incredible! “Go Climb a Mountain: – my buddy said. Click here to get this on your bucketlist.
Just my thoughts for the day,