I can’t help it. As a life insurance guy I read the obituaries at least once a week. It reminds me why I do what I do. In just the smallest of ways life insurance brokers help families and business owners get over the financial obstacles when a member of the family or a business partner passes away. By helping our clients, often decades in advance, we strive to bring order out of what can often be chaos.
Back to my reading habits. Have you ever noticed that the typical obituary is comprised of three paragraphs? Sort of a metaphor for our lives. A beginning, a middle, and an end. The obituary usually starts by telling us the deceased’s age, where and when they were born, and possibly their educational or military history.
The third paragraph usually tells us who the survivors are, funeral arrangements, preferences for flowers and donations, and other similar information.
How will your second paragraph read?
One thing that a career in the insurance industry has taught me is that, in many ways, families are far more alike than different. I have met thousands of them and it doesn’t matter what ethnicity, religion, economic status, education level, or sexual orientation you are, families by and large want the same things. They want to make their way in the world, raise happy and productive children, achieve economic security for all, and share with others to the best of their ability. They want work that gives them more than just a paycheck and they need a bit of spare time to enjoy their favorite activities whether those activities are baking or backpacking, sports or sculpting.
The majority of us are driven by our desire to be recognized and remembered. We would like to be remembered for how we left the world a better place than it was than when we entered it. That’s what we want others to see in our second paragraph. For many of us that desire is exceptionally motivational. Fortunately, as life expectancy has increased over the last hundred years, many of us will have the time for our post working lives to be the best and most influential chapters of our lives. A time to turbo charge our second paragraph and do more good than we had time to do when we were working full-time or raising children.
It will now be commonplace to have twenty or thirty years of retirement. In fact, it’s probably time to invent a new word or phrase for the period after we stop working full-time in our primary career. The word “retirement” just doesn’t work (no pun intended) anymore. We need something that’s more “rocking on” than “rocking chair”. Your thoughts?
During this season our thoughts turn to family whether it’s actual family or your work family. I’m sure that, like me, each of you has an “interesting” family member or two and can tell some “interesting” stories about when the family gathers. It’s also a time to remember those of us who aren’t around anymore and how they impacted our lives. From the show “Wicked”, it’s how they “left a handprint on our heart.”
The stuff that goes into your second paragraph will be the most remembered aspect of your life. How will your second paragraph read? How will you make the world a better place?
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy New Year. And as always, thanks for reading.
Alan Leafman, President
847-559-9699 x 222
480-654-1200 x 222