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The You Beyond Yourself

What makes you…you?

This question is the focus of much ancient wisdom.

Clearly, humans have been asking it from time immemorial.

Philosopher and writer Toni Bernard has compiled a collection of wise sayings from the Greeks and Romans of old.

Believe it or not, they apply to the purchase of life insurance today!

Here are some examples…

You make yourself a procrastinator

“Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you do is who you become.” — Heraclitus

My take:

People talk about things like procrastination as if it just happens.

It’s like yesterday it rained, and yesterday I procrastinated.

I think the truth is quite to the contrary.

People develop the habit of procrastinating and so it becomes a way of life for them.

They shape themselves into being a procrastinator.

And so they postpone the purchase of a needed life insurance policy — just because that’s the way they do things.

When Uncle Sam got involved

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.” — Pericles

My take:

Why do so many people buy life insurance to pay estate taxes?

Because their net worth is high enough that Uncle Sam will tax their estates heavily when their estates are settled — and they would rather let the insurance company fund the tax, as opposed to liquidating assets that should be passed on to the family.

But why is there an estate tax in the first place?

Because way back when, our government decided they had a right to redistribute wealth in our country.

Politics brought the federal government right into the middle of family financial planning.

Your legacy in the lives of others

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” — Pericles

My take:

This saying summarizes the value of life insurance in a nutshell.

Of course a policy is all about money and the financial security of the beneficiary.

But it is more than that.

It is about a legacy of caring and sharing that is passed on by the purchase of a benefit for others.

If you have ever received a life insurance claim check yourself, or have seen the face of someone who has, you know that the money is important, but it is a small part of the story.

The main headline is that somebody took out the time and money to provide for somebody else.

Everyone’s an expert

“The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” — Socrates

My take:

Everybody’s an expert these days.

The Internet is full of such extensive resources that within a short amount of time, people can digest an immense amount of information about any topic.

This includes finance, and in particular life insurance.

But does a visit to ten websites give somebody an authoritative understanding of what this purchase is all about?

Do they really understand the product?

The marketplace?

The industry?

In our current information age, a good dose of humility is called for. People can know a lot but not really know it. That is why they need the services of an expert on the product.

Our own worst enemy

“I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over the self.” — Aristotle

My take:

As they say, people can be their own worst enemy.

We run around like crazy, driven by different impulses and desires.

It’s like we thrust our body forward, hoping the head will follow.

As a consequence, life seems hectic. We feel stretched in all directions. Whatever whim or fancy that attracts us at the moment takes hold of us until the next one comes along.

Is it any wonder that all too often, important decisions don’t get made?

That key financial moves, such as the purchase of life insurance, get stalled in their tracks?

We say we will buy a policy when we “have the time.”

But we lose time in our stampede to get to the next moment.

Isn’t that crazy?

Does any of this wisdom hit home with you?