Every person is on their own financial journey, some start early with a clear direction, while others need help finding an appropriate path. Together, with our clients, we have had the honor of taking part in those journeys and have enjoyed helping many write their own retirement story.
A FIREFIGHTER WHO WAS PREPARED
Jim Winand was not yet married when he met Michael Tokushige, a financial professional, but he was already thinking ahead, asking about life insurance for himself and his fiancée, Remle. At 28, Jim was fit and muscular and spent as much time as he could in the ocean, where he was a parasailing and scuba diving instructor, as well as a boat captain.
Many young people barely give life insurance a thought, but Jim “was already on the right path,” Tokushige recalls. “He was really concerned about taking care of his wife-to-be.” Jim knew that if he bought life insurance while he was young and healthy he could lock in low premiums on a policy that would grow over time.
In the years that followed, Jim took a position as a firefighter at the Honolulu Fire Department. It was then we decided to add life insurance coverage for himself and Remle as their family grew to include two children. Then in late 2006, Jim called to share some crushing news. He had been diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
As Jim fought cancer in the months that followed, he never stopped preparing for his family’s future. At Tokushige’s suggestion, he invoked a provision in his original policy that allowed him to apply some of its dividends toward increasing the death benefit. He passed away in July 2007, just 15 days shy of his 39th birthday.
Today, proceeds from Jim’s individual policies, as well as additional coverage through the fire department, allow Remle the time and financial security to homeschool their two children, Mia, 6, and Levi, 4. “He was an amazing man who always thought about things and prepared,” says Remle. “He made it possible for us to continue living the way we always wanted to.”
We almost always get this kind of response from men! So we ended up setting up a long-term care policy for the wife, and nothing for the husband.
Fast forward a few years later. We’re sitting at the same dining room table, but this time we’re talking with just the wife to figure out whether they have enough funds in reserve to pull an additional four hundred dollars a month to cover the increasing cost of nursing care for the husband. Yes, the same husband whose long-term care plan was “just shoot me.” While we were going over finances with the wife, the husband was off to the side, sitting in his recliner, no longer capable of comprehending or addressing his own healthcare needs. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot him fussing with his undergarment. The wife sees this and excuses herself to attend to him. For whatever it’s worth, she has a good sense of humor about all this, and we’ve become good friends in this trying time.
She returns and apologizes for the interruption. At this point, I lean over to her and ask: “is this the day we’re supposed to take him out back and ‘just shoot him’?” To which she quips, “sure is, but the problem is, he can’t remember where he hid the bullets.”
Long-term care needs aren’t something you can just brush off with a witty remark. You don’t need to buy a long-term care policy, but you need a better plan than “just shoot me.”
JUST SHOOT ME
Some time ago, we were meeting with one of our husband-and-wife clients to talk about their future retirement goals and dreams. As always, I asked the question: “are you concerned about a possible custodial care event or long-term care illness?” The wife answered “yes”; the husband answered, “no, I don’t need a long-term care policy; get my gun, take me out back, and just shoot me.”