Extreme Makeover: Chance or Choice?

You’ve probably seen the show before—ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Host Ty Pennington and his crew pick a family whose housing has deteriorated, often in the aftermath of a job loss, medical problems or death. The chosen family’s future is bleak, and emotions run high with the description of lost dreams.

But Ty and his crew, with the help from local construction companies and volunteers, magically transform what once was a hovel into an architectural masterpiece, with the latest appliances and design techniques.

With great flourish the homeowners, who often have been on a trip to Disneyland or some other resort for the week that their home was being transformed, return to their homestead, which is hidden behind the “Extreme Makeover” bus.

With Ty’s command to “move that bus,” the bus lurches forward revealing the transformed home, and with tears and gasps the family races through their new hallways, discovering the treasures of their new residence.

Such was the scene on a recent show that featured the story of Tricia Urban, a young mom who lost her husband to heart problems on the very day their first child was born. They had an old farmhouse in Pennsylvania they were fixing up and their fairy tale included some miniature horses, sheep, pigs and a peacock.

But when her husband died, the money to pay for things stopped. The house went unfinished and fell into disrepair, and new baby Cora’s future fell into doubt.

Now I love emotion, drama and a good story as much as anyone, but Tricia’s story made me think: “I wonder how much life insurance her husband had?” I don’t want to judge because maybe his heart problems prevented him from qualifying, but I thought, “Gee, at his age, about $70 a month would have bought $1 million of life insurance to help his wife and daughter still have a chance at their fairy tale. I bet it cost that much just to feed the pets.”

And $1 million income tax free, delivered immediately with no probate costs, legal or accounting fees seemed like a whole lot better bet than hoping that Ty and his makeover crew would pull up in their bus and save the family when they’re in trouble.

During a typical season, maybe 13 families receive a once-in-a-lifetime gift from the show. During a typical year in the United States, 500,000 people die, leaving shattered lives, hospital bills, failed businesses, a lack of succession planning, illiquid investments, terminated college dreams, meager savings, incomplete retirement planning and a host of other financial problems for those they love.

Applying for the benefits of being on some TV show is just taking a chance someone will like your story. Applying for life insurance to protect your family is a choice—a choice to make sure that their fairy tale continues, no matter what happens.

It’s time to change your thought process from chance to choice. Start here.

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