When Crowd-Funding Isn’t Enough

When I was 22, I moved to New York City. I’d just graduated from college and my parents agreed to support my first few months as I dove headfirst into the theater scene. By Thanksgiving, I was starting to get a footing and had some exciting gigs lined up for the end of the year. Then I got a phone call I’ll never forget.

“Daddy’s gone,” my mom said. I could hear the pain, love, shock and uncertainty in her voice. I couldn’t believe it. How could my father, at 49, be gone? All of the sudden, I felt the profound permanence of death. I couldn’t call him anymore. I couldn’t ask for his advice. I couldn’t give him a hug when I flew home for Christmas. My family had a massive, dad-shaped hole.

As I packed that night to fly home, I couldn’t help but think my time in New York was up. Surely I’d have to move home to make sure my brother stayed in college and my mom didn’t lose her house. After all, my dad was the primary breadwinner. Without his income, I knew we’d have problems.

Casseroles weren’t going to put a check in the mailbox for the next mortgage payment.

When I landed in Denver, I experienced the incredible support of family and friends. We didn’t have to cook for weeks and relied heavily on their guidance in walking through the early days of shock and grief. Still, the issue of how my mom was going to make it weighed heavily on me. Casseroles weren’t going to put a check in the mailbox for the next mortgage payment.

My dad had a plan

Fortunately, my dad had a plan. His love for my mom, my brother and me became evident in new ways as we pulled his will and two life insurance policies out of the filing cabinet. He’d given us space to grieve and to process by putting an insurance company on the hook for college, the mortgage, and even my mom’s retirement. Losing my dad didn’t have to mean losing everything.

Unfortunately, millions of Americans are completely unprepared for loss, especially permanent loss. Because we’ve been taught to find the cheapest insurance possible and conditioned to only buy what the government mandates, we go through life betting that our friends and family will figure out how to “make it work.” Though I strongly believe in human resourcefulness, I have a hard time accepting the fact that Americans often insure their cars and houses for full replacement value, while leaving loved ones to figure it out when they die.

Will your family have to ‘make it work?’ Or, will you express your love for them by insuring your ability to provide a home, vacations, college and space with life insurance?

Over the last two months, I’ve read at least five stories of families walking through the tragedy I know all too well. In each situation, loving friends donated to and shared a crowd-funding site to help cover the cost of final expenses: $5,000 here, $10,000 there.

While that is a lot of money, it is far from enough. If a 35-year-old dies making just $30,000 a year, his family would experience a loss of over $1,400,000, accounting for inflation at 3% annually. College, vacations, weddings, gifts, groceries, cars, homes and space to grieve disappear when the “make it work” plan takes effect.

What’s your plan? An insurance professional can help you to navigate your protection strategy. Will your family have to “make it work?” Or, like my dad, will you express your love for them in yet another way by insuring your ability to provide a home, vacations, college and space with life insurance?

Austin Bransgrove

by Austin Bransgrove

Austin Bransgrove’s personal experience leads him to work with families and individuals to challenge the traditional advice that’s left millions of Americans without adequate savings and unprotected against the potential risks they face daily. By organizing client’s financial worlds, he helps to create balance, maximize efficiency, minimize risk and prepare for the unexpected. He is a Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS), 355 Lexington Avenue, 9 Fl., New York, NY 10017, 212-541-8800. Securities products/services and advisory services are offered through PAS, a registered broker/dealer and investment adviser. Financial Representative, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian. Wealth Advisory Group LLC is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. PAS is a member FINRA, SIPC.

  1. Very well said. Crowd funding requests make me sad because we know that insurance wasn’t in place to truly cover the needs that crowd funding cannot.

  2. I learned about Life Insurance from my dad when I was just a young teenager. I found a flyer from a Savings Bank (the good old days where there were savings banks vs commercial banks!). My dad explained to me about the value of Whole Life Insurance. He had purchased one. My dad died too early but the Whole Life Insurance came into play because it provided the financial security my mom needed, even though his 2 sons and daughter were ready to pitch in to support our mom. Today, life insurance doesn’t mean the insured has to die before the money can be tapped. It can be tapped if one suffers from Terminal Illness, Chronic Illness, Critical Illness or Critical Injury. Even better, there is one Independent Market Broker (Premiere Financial Alliance) now offers a proprietary Life Insurance product from National Life Group that allows a young individual to purchase a life insurance with a face value that he/she can afford but allows the insured to increase the face value by a prescribed (pre-selected at time issue) percentage (5%, 10% or 15%) without requalification or surrender charge. Everyone including all financial planners should know about this if he/she is truly out there to help his/her client. Getting the right protection at the right value should be our motto.

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