Everything was going well for Ben and Kim. They had broken free from the groupthink of financial planning that seemed to yo-yo their friends from elation when markets are up, to horror at their savings disappearing when markets are down.
Everything was going exactly according to plan with their whole life insurance policy.
But this year had been the worst ever for Ben and Kim. Ben was driving home from work one day a little tired. There was a big deadline and everyone in the office was working overtime to meet it. He wasn’t going to sacrifice spending time with his family, and he was getting burnt at both ends of his wick. As he was driving home, he began to flip through the channels on the radio to find something to keep him alert, when BAM…he slams into another car.
The next thing Ben knew, he was in a hospital bed. He was groggy and couldn’t remember how he got there. Kim and the kids were there and after the kids gave him big hugs and kisses, she asked them to leave the room so mommy and daddy could talk. He had been unconscious for more than a day and she had to break the news that he had killed the man in the other car. He had accidentally crossed the line on the road and the two cars hit head on killing the other man The doctors didn’t think that Ben would ever be able to use his arms or legs again.
Kim burst into tears and Ben was too overwhelmed to know what to do. What would life be like? What would he do? How would he support his family? He was glad he was alive, and glad that he had his full HLV insured if he would have died (something that his 401k wouldn’t have helped with).
Needless to say that life was very hard for the Ben and Kim for awhile. And soon, certain financial realities started to intrude as well. Ben had disability insurance, but no disability insurance company will cover the full amount of your salary, so they were barely able to pay the mortgage and pay for food and clothing. What little they were still putting into their 401k’s had to stop. Ben’s obviously stopped because his company wasn’t going to keep putting that in for him when he wasn’t working there. Kim’s had to stop just to make ends meet.
Then they remembered that their whole life policy had a Waiver of Premium Rider that said that the life insurance company would pay their premiums until age 65 if he was severely disabled. They had actually planned on only paying in a few more months, but now they insurance company would keep putting more money in for them for another 23 years. They would have even more money in their policy for their retirement years than they would have if he would have stayed healthy! This benefit didn’t seem like something that would ever matter to them, but now it was the most important thing they had ever done.
Things were looking at least a bit brighter…until the letter came. The man that he had killed was a high powered litigation attorney. They had never noticed before, but his face was on the back of their telephone book. And his family was suing for the loss of his Human Life Value (HLV) that they had experienced. Ben and Kim felt horrible and they wanted to do all they could, but at the same time, they were not in a great position themselves.
Court went pretty quickly. It was an open and shut case. Ben had crossed the line and killed the man and his family deserved compensation. The judge calculated the HLV of the attorney and awarded that amount as what Ben owed them. $5,000,000! Fortunately they had $2,000,000 of liability insurance in place so that went straight to the family. But they didn’t have another $3,000,000 lying around. The judge looked at all their assets and there were some small investments that had to be sold and handed over. There were some personal property that also had to be sold and handed over.
But the one thing that the attorneys of the lost man really wanted was the value of the life insurance policy. It now had a cash value of $190,790 and a growing death benefit worth $1,566,710. The attorneys also knew that this was a stable policy that would keep growing and growing and they wanted that present and future value.
After at first realizing that this whole life policy could be their saving financial grace, they were now again terrified that they would lose it. But the law is clear, it turns out that other family and their attorney were absolutely not allowed to touch those funds now or in the future. They would still have something to live on and they knew that they could count on the policy growing and growing as long as they lived with a dividend check each year that was bigger than the last. It was good to know that at age 65 there would be a dividend of $45,572/year and that that would grow to $175,752 by the age of 85. Of course, they knew dividends would change each year so those projections weren’t hard numbers, but they had had this policy long enough to know that it’s very predictable and would most probably surprise on the upside with the inflation that had taken over in this country recently.
Of course, life was very different for Ben now, but rather than sit around and feel sorry for himself, he decided that he was going to make the most of it. Being knocked off his feet (literally) and all the subsequent hard times had caused some deep introspection and prayer. He had come to really know the Lord in a way that he never had before. He actually felt Christ with him in the hardest of times, and that actually made everything else worth it. He finally thought about the fact that God had given Ben so much and although he had said thanks many times (3 times a day at mealtimes), he really had been living life his own way this whole time.
Now that he had nothing but free time, he was going to live this life differently. He would make daily time alone with the Lord a priority. He would look to serve others in whatever way that he could. And he’d finally have time to become a better steward over his money and invest it wisely.
We’ll see how Ben did this in the coming days.
This is Part 5 in the story of Ben’s life using Whole Life Insurance in a variety of ways. You might want to read the introduction to this series which will link to each post in the series explaining how whole life works as well as linking to each post in this series on Ben’s story.
Photo credit: goingdaffy