The Friedman Blog

Posted on 01/14/2014, by Jeremy Edsall

Expect the Best, Prepare for the Worst

As we look to fulfill some of the dreams we have for this New Year, it’s also a time to look ahead to do the best possible to make sure our future years are as bright as we hope the new year will be.

Motivational speaker and sales trainer Zig Ziglar is credited with the quote "Expect the best, prepare for the worst.” which is sound advice for managing life or business. Sometimes it seems like life moves at such a rapid pace, with all the activities and responsibilities we have to tend to on a daily basis, that we often leave little room for thoughts of the future.  After all the future is so far off that immediate consideration seems pointless. We have plenty of time, or do we?  We take for granted that each day, each month and each year will continue to tick away with plenty of time ahead. If we've managed thus far so, we believe there is nothing to change things.  But none of us knows how much time we have.

Tobias Wolff in the book This Boy’s Life, said this “Knowing that everything comes to an end is a gift of experience, a consolation gift for knowing that we ourselves are coming to an end. Before we get it we live in a continuous present, and imagine the future as more of that present. Happiness is endless happiness, innocent of its own sure passing. Pain is endless pain.” It’s difficult to imagine bad for ourselves, or of difficult situations, we may have to face in the future, so we tend not to think about the future at all.

Preparing for the worst is what the philosophy of insurance is rooted on.  Some people take the view of insurance as placing a bet on something bad happening, but they are missing the point and the value of insurance.  Insurance is designed to spread risk so that when someone in the insured group experiences a loss, they don't lose everything. Insurance can get a home damaged by fire rebuilt; a car repaired, stolen items replaced, and ensures that children can still go to college after a parent has died.

Storms come, accidents happen, people get hurt, and people die.  Grim, but true, unless you’re in denial of the facts of life.  Insurance gives you the ability to take care of the ones you love if you are no longer able to do so. As we grow in age, we see firsthand unfortunate things happen in the lives of those around us.

George Bernard Shaw said “Youth is wasted on the young.” an observation made my many of us who are not as young as we once were.  Young people often find it hardest to think about the future and their mortality.  When we're young, our belief is that we are invincible and that we have a long life ahead of us, yet about one in three hundred children are diagnosed with cancer by the age of twenty. In fact, cancer is the number one cause of disease-related death in children.

Young adults in their twenties have a twenty-five percent chance of becoming disabled sometime in their life before they reach retirement age. Although some of the causes of disability are accidents, the majority come from a back injury, cancer, heart disease, or other illnesses.  The average time a person is disabled is close to three years, an amount of time that the majority of Americans do not have the financial resources to handle.

So what can you do? Well, the first step is to take some time to educate yourself.  Some great resources are Council for Disability Awareness and the Life Foundation,these websites have stories about individuals who experienced a disability or lost a loved one and the effect, positive or negative, it had on their life.  There are also calculators that you can use to determine what types of coverage and amounts you may need to protect yourself.  Then sit down with an insurance advisor who can discuss the options available and help you fit a plan of financial security into your budget.

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