Preset number 2 on my car radio, 90.1, NPR.
Six-thirty PM. Time for Marketplace.
Button number 2 - hit it.
As I drive home, I hear this guy from Boston with an accent like JFK – a Mr. Kenneth Feinburg – an earnest man who quickly earned respect. The man talked about his work as administrator of compensation funds for victims of 9-11 and other catastrophic events. His experience informs a personal outlook as to how one should order a life, to make preparation for catastrophe as a demonstration of love for those whom would survive if outrageous fortune would, one day, cast its dark shadow on us.
In a JFK-esque Bostonian tone, Mr. Feinburg speaks on the effects of chaos,
“Nine-Eleven taught me that no one escapes life’s misfortune. And, that sooner or later, life can break your heart. And, you had better plan today for the unanticipated tomorrow. Over half the people who died on 9-11, the Word Trade Center – the airplanes, the Pentagon – had no wills. Over half the people who died on 9-11 had no life insurance.
“I immediately, after 9-11 updated my will.
“I immediately bought additional life insurance.
“ I immediately brought my family together, my wife, my children, and told them exactly what I want to be done with my estate.”
“In other words, the fatalism that followed in the wake of 9-11 taught me to move and to move fast.”
I was led to write this today. You were meant to read it. Pick up your phone. Call that guy you trust, that woman you went to school with, whom you know will have as their priority your best interest, and have a chat. Get the boulder moving. Use Mr. Feinburg’s words as leverage. And, do what is right for those whom you love.
For greater motivation you can listen to the authoritative Mr. Feinburg (and, by the way, hear how a Bostonian pronounces the word “half”), and/or you can read his essay at, http://www.marketplace.org/topics/your-money/my-biggest-financial-lesson/kenneth-feinberg-placing-value-life .
By the way, he ends the audio presentation by evoking the slogan of a “sneaker manufacturer” – the advice applies to you – today. Right now. Just …