No Certainties In Insurance
BY: Anna Liza Madayag Gaspar • Jun 28, 2019
In one of the personal finance classes I have joined, our instructor asked us to contact our friends – through call, text, or private message – to ask for a list of names of people they think would be interested to learn more about insurance. I got a lot of lists, but I also received a very surprising answer.
A friend, who has an 8-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son, said she’d rather not give me names because the people she knows believe that “There are no certainties in insurance.” I was speechless, to be honest. From a personal history where insurance or the lack of it played significant roles in how various family members cope with the death of loved ones, insurance made one of the certainties in life more bearable.
Have you heard of the saying “The only things certain in life are death, taxes, and changes?” This article focuses on the first, and will briefly touch on the last two.
Everybody dies. So why not do something about it? I was eighteen when my father died leaving my mother to care for me and my three siblings. We are luckier than most in that our mother had a job teaching at our neighborhood public elementary school. Unfortunately, her salary wasn’t enough to send me, I was in the third year of a five-year course at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, and my brother, Leo, who is about to enroll at the University of the Philippines in Los Banos the following academic year. Our parents didn’t prepare for the untimely death of either one. Yes, there were insurance policies, but the proceeds were barely enough to cover funeral expenses. Nothing was left to provide for our education.
We had a hard time financially. Our mother had to ask Leo not to enroll in UPLB and can he just wait for Manang, me, to finish (a wait of two years)? My brother refused and insisted on enrolling. He told us that with his scholarship, his tuition and dormitory fees are taken cared of. All the family needs to provide for is money for his food. Leo famously said, “If I had to eat once a day just so I can study, I will.” And he did.
Of course, I won’t be telling you all about this if there is no happy ending. Leo managed to earn the highest score in the first-ever Agriculturist board exam. I always tell him that he may not have been able to do not if I didn’t give him money so he can check in at a hotel near his exam venue a few days before the exam. Me? Well, I’ve been writing children’s stories – fulfilling my dream of helping educate children about money. In my childhood, I’ve seen our family spend money like there is no tomorrow. For a lot of days, we were one-day millionaires. From the moment our father died, I’ve told myself that no child deserves to experience the financial difficulties my siblings and I went through. So I started writing stories for children.
Let’s go back to my friend who thinks there are no certainties in insurance. I wanted to tell her this story. That she’ll learn from my family’s story. By knowing how difficult it was for me and my siblings to be robbed of a father and then shoulder the uncertainty whether or not the family has enough money for us to continue our education just because our parents didn’t know enough about protecting us. Hopefully, by reading this, my friend will not repeat the mistake that my father and mother did especially that she is a single mother. Lastly, a person reading this story may say that my siblings and I are where we are now because our father wasn’t insured for millions of pesos. It’s easy to counter this: if my brother managed to top his board exam in spite of surviving university by eating once in some days, imagine what he could have done with three meals a day? As for me, perhaps I would have been able to get my first children’s book published by the time I was 24 years old rather than when I was already 34. We don’t know for sure, but I do know for sure that you and I will die eventually. So why don’t we leave this world with a financial legacy to our loved ones so they’ll have all the time in the world to mourn our death rather than scrambling for money to finance our burial?