I took a couple days and did some research on how ag publications and organizations are talking about life insurance.
My initial thought was that I was going to run into a lot of suggestions to buy term and/or some sort of universal life product. Can you imagine my surprise when I found nothing of value?! I mean, nothing. I am reading things that pertain to farm business and nothing. I am reading articles that pertain to estate planning and there is a mere mention of life insurance like it’s not a real big deal.
Then I go on to visit with a farm mediator who works with a lot of estate planning cases. It’s one of the most frequent topics as you can imagine. I mention my discontent to this lack of information. He says, “You know it’s rarely talked about now in estate planning that I see,” he paused as to reminisce. “In the 80’s we talked about it all the time.”
What has happened since 1980 to make us completely forget about the benefits and necessity of life insurance? My only guess was that people could not afford the premiums during the horrible 80s, dropped it, and just never bothered to pick it up again causing the loss of information for the following generations.
Has the farm industry forgotten the farms that were saved during the 80s because they had life insurance as a part of the plan and those farms that were lost because they didn’t?
I have so many questions as to why life insurance as a part of farm business is not addressed. Of course, I am a life insurance agent and I work very hard to teach people the value of life insurance but let’s be honest, it’s pretty hard not to see the value. I do hear it from time to time, “Life insurance is a rip off and I’m not buying it.” Yet when I get done explaining how it works best for farm families and the life-changing, farm-saving benefits that it provides people - not only see the value - but say "I wish I would have been doing this for 20 years already."
Let me repeat that last line. In fact, say this out loud:
Life insurance can literally be the difference between losing a farm or saving the farm from the bank or to other debtors.
It is the difference between a family feud and a family friendship upon the death of parents.
So, what should Ag Industry Publications and Associations be talking about?
- What would cause you ignore the value when you can buy discounted dollars? Typically you are buying a dollar of death benefit for $0.20 - $0.50. Where else can you buy a dollar for .50 cents income tax free? This is very powerful and I wrote about it in my Generational Wealth blog post.
- What value can Life Insurance provide for farm families? It may be that they simply don’t know about it or haven’t seen the value. That is totally understandable and it may be up to you as the follower of my blogs to take it to your local ag network and share it. I can’t do it all alone and need your help.
- How can Life Insurance make or break the future of family farms?
- Is there a strategy other than Life Insurance that can keep family farms in business after loss of a life?
- Is Life Insurance a thing of the past? Life insurance is a lost industry because we have forgotten the value of it and because the average life insurance agent age is near retirement. Most people I talk to have never been asked if they have a policy and therefore don’t know anything about it let alone its life changing benefits.
- Are farm operators putting themselves and their families in a position to take care of themselves financially even after they’ve passed?
- What are the crippling debts that farm operators face upon death?
- Are farm families able to cover the debt without the farm operator?
These questions need to be explored,
both by the Ag Industry and you.
- Are you covered?
- Are you secure?
- Are you ensuring the future of what you worked so hard to build?
If the answer is No to any of the above questions, that is scary to me. Please know that you have the ability to take care of your family and instead you choose not to. Instead we are setting up GoFundMe campaign accounts and asking others for help. Even if you can’t afford a whole life policy why not term? If you were alive today and needed money, would you setup your own GoFundMe account? If not, ask why it’s ok to have that last chance, non permanent, wished and hoped for monetary support after you are gone.
I challenge the Ag Industry to stop ignoring a major principal of business - long term planning. Better yet, I challenge them to answer "What would cause an entire industry devoted to helping the ag sector to be wiped from the chapters of education?"
Life Insurance, from the perspective of family farms, brings a value that can change the way so many things are done and handled. Don’t underestimate life insurance just because my blog or my Facebook page is the first time you've heard about it. I hope that thousands of family farmers start asking Ag networks why they are not sharing it.
Again, I appreciate you taking the time to read this and invite you to share any comments or questions with me. If you believe saving family farms is as important as I do, I'd be happy to have your help in sharing this information. Or a suggestions of who I can reach out to that may share this information in your local area.