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Dignity planning

Shane Westhoelter, AEP, CLU

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Focus on providing quality of life, not selling products.

It was 1988. I was going door to door selling life insurance policies. A few months into the business, I had to deliver my first death claim check. The $10,000 check was to a mother who had just lost her 7-year-old son.

When I arrived at her home, we talked, we cried and we reminisced over her son’s life. Then she said something to me that changed my life forever. She said, “Thank you for delivering this life insurance check. It allows me to keep my dignity. I will not have to ask my friends, my family or my church to give my son the decency he deserves.”

It was from that point on that I understood the importance of what we do in the insurance profession. We don’t just sell life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability insurance, health insurance, auto insurance, home insurance or even financial services. What we do is provide people with dignity when it matters most.

I help my clients understand the difference between financial planning and quality-of-life planning. I focus on dignity, not insurance products. Quality-of-life planning focuses on four key components:

  • What if I live? This is about longevity planning and having the money you need to live the life you want with dignity until the day you die.
  • What if I linger? This is about providing proper coverage if you become sick, hurt or disabled. Can you get the quality of care you desire to keep your dignity?
  • What if I leave? This is about the two big D’s: death and divorce. Will your assets transfer as you desire to those you care about? Will you be able to keep your dignity, even after you pass?
  • What is my legacy? We all leave one, whether by default or design. How would you like to leave yours? Will you leave money to your children, grandchildren or charities, or will you create a foundation to be remembered?

Focus on quality-of-life planning and dignity as opposed to selling products. Quality-of-life planning is more than just financial planning; it brings in a comprehensive and holistic approach, needs-based conversations, storytelling and resources. It brings value-added services to the client.

Shane Westhoelter is a nine-year MDRT member from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Contact him at shane@gfainvestments.com.

 

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