Everybody gather around; it’s time to talk life insurance. Okay, don’t everybody come running up at once. Today we are going to discuss whole life insurance. For those that don’t know me, I grew up in an era in which salesman came to your home to sale you everything. There was the vacuum cleaner salesman, the linen service salesman, the milk man, the encyclopedia salesman and the ever-dependable insurance salesman.
What was so cool about the insurance salesman was the fact that after he sold you the policy he would save you the $0.02 postage by stopping by and picking up the premiums every month. So, as a youth, I heard all kinds of discussions about life insurance. You guys know that I am extremely analytical; which is a simple way of saying I am a master at transforming a mole hill into a mountain. With that being said, I took the term “whole life” to an entirely different level.
Before I get too carried away with my story, let me just explain that whole life insurance is simply a policy that has fixed premiums with a set payout. What makes whole life insurance different is its investment component. As you pay your premiums, you policy builds a cash value that you can cash out of borrow against. Sounds pretty simple right? Not for a 10 year old kid with a conspiracy complex.
When the insurance salesman leaves, with my mother’s money, I might add (I swear this woman bought an insurance policy every month. We had a lot of relatives in California, I wonder could this all be tied to the annual brush fires there? Na! [Inside joke with the publisher, read my other posts to catch up]). I asked my mother if what she just bought was a whole life insurance policy, what she was going to do with the partial one’s she had. I also wanted to know how many partial policies did it take to equal a whole. You should have seen the puzzled look on my mother’s face. For the average mother, the puzzled look would have simply been in response to the question. My mother knew that at least a two hour discussion was about to ensue.
I don’t know why she was so shocked that I had those questions. You can’t expect a child that is being taught fractions and decimals to hear the word “whole” and not have questions.
What is she getting all flustered for? It’s a simple question, and if you can’t answer it, you probably should not have given that man your money. I am sure dad is going to want to know why you have been buying partial life insurance policies anyway. Can you partially die? Can you partially be buried? I am going to need something concrete to work with here, mother.
In case you are wondering, I was not the child that you could tell, “Let’s talk about it later.” No, I needed answers to bring some type of symmetry to my thought processes. I needed to reconcile this entire “whole life insurance” concept. Once she explained it to me, I just said, what in the world does “whole” have to do with it?