One of the best ways to end a conversation is to mention that I sell life insurance. It’s amazing how quickly previously chatty seatmates on an airplane put on headphones or fellow dinner party guests head for the cheese table. No one wants to talk about insurance.

So – why write this blog? It is my goal to give my clients, friends and associates a better feel for who we are as a firm and who we are as advisors at MG Schlegel & Associates and why I believe what we do matters. Instead of receiving a newsletter about product concepts or ideas, this will cover some aspect of our business that has affected us and continued to drive us forward in the service of others. That is why my first post will be about my “why” and what drives me to do what I do, which is provide life, disability and long term care coverage to our clients.

Last month, a longtime friend of mine passed away in his sleep. He was 41. He has two children. He has a wife. He was on vacation without his family, so they were not there when he didn’t wake up, it was a friend that found him. I, personally, have grown up in this business and I have heard countless tragic stories related to my parents’ clients, other advisors’ clients and even friends and family. However, I could not even imagine the sadness and shock that his family must have experienced when they got the call that he had passed. It affected my thoughts for days after I found out. He was a friend that I had known since high school and he probably had no idea that he shared some of my most pivotal experiences with me as a young woman. I remembered him for being always so kind, always smiling and always helping a friend in need. He was an incredibly genuine guy to me. I never told him that.

The last time I saw him, it was our typical run in with each other somewhere in our local town. I had said to him, “I need to get you some life insurance” and he brushed off the comment and left me with, “Ya, someday, not right now.” Since we were just in passing, and typically, I usually don’t even say things like that to my friends, I quickly forgot about it also. His response is typical. He is 41, active in work, loves fishing, I always saw his posts on Facebook with his kids and his wife and seemed like he was loving life! Many folks at our age are not thinking about health changes, premature death, or disability that would keep us from making an income, our greatest asset, or taking care of our families.

When I heard the news of his passing, I was shocked, saddened and disappointed. Shocked to hear he passed the way he did, on vacation hours after his last Facebook post at a Forty Niners’ game. Saddened that his family would experience this tragic and sudden loss right before the holidays, which seemed even more cruel. And lastly, disappointed because maybe I should have followed up with him. I maybe should have pushed him to buy some term insurance, pushed him to have just something. Maybe his family did not need it? I am not sure about how his family is doing without his income and if it even affects them. I can tell you though, that had I sold him a $250,000 policy, that may have allowed his wife to stay home from work for a while to help the children cope with the loss, paid for counseling for the family to get through the tragedy, provided a college fund, paid off a portion of the mortgage. I don’t know how the money would have affected their situation, but I know it wouldn’t have hurt it.

So, this is where I explain my why. I am a person that loves challenge, and selling insurance definitely is one. No one wants to buy it, talk about it or understand it. I find joy in the challenge of completing even a simple term insurance sale. I know that even if the person believes they will never use it, (which I hope they don’t!), I have provided not only security for their family, but peace of mind for client that they know their family is left with something, protected from the loss, and assisted with the emotional toll that a premature death can have on one’s family.

Another part of my why, is my own sense of responsibility. I feel obligated to take care of myself and the others I am responsible for or that care about me. An example of this is, although I am single, I have life insurance. If something happens to me prematurely, my family would be left with no debt, a paid off home and additional cash to either throw a great party or take a big trip, which is what I would want them to do. There is even additional cash to provide for contributions to the charities I value. If I become disabled, I have insurance to make sure I can stay in my own home and live there without losing it to foreclosure. I also have long term care insurance, to make sure that if my disability requires me to have additional care, I don’t want my family to have to deal with that burden. I have a sense of responsibility to taking care of my own obligations and situation. This sense of responsibility drives me to help others take care of things that they don’t want to think about, talk about or understand. I know what I do makes a difference in others’ lives and that propels me to continue.

Here is to the New Year and the new promise of new adventures, new families, new plans being made and new challenges. Life is just that: a series of new challenges. So, this year, if your financial house isn’t in order, if you have been thinking about “what you should do” and just haven’t done it, I encourage you to do it. Not all of life’s challenges are rewarding, they can sometimes be devastating. But we all know, anything can happen –good or bad. Planning ahead can help ease the burden of the bad possibilities.

I am passionate about what I do, how it serves others and I believe that it serves a purpose beyond myself. I truly care about my clients, both the ones I have today and the ones I have yet to meet. Please contact MG Schlegel & Associates today to discuss how we can help you celebrate a New Year by protecting what’s most important to you.