Life insurance awareness month: Life has value (part 2)

This blog is part 2 of our life insurance awareness month series. 

For more than 20 years, filling roles from analyst to researcher and all-around innovator, Samantha Chow describes herself as a life insurance evangelist. She’s passionate about extolling what life insurance can do for people: that “it isn’t just death insurance.”

Proof positive came for Chow as she started her career at Aflac in field automation and as a worksite market coordinator. “Sitting down with the agents and talking to them, they convinced me that I wanted to invest in a universal life policy — and so I did at the age of 21,” said Chow, today the life, annuity and health markets lead for EIS.

Fast forward less than a decade, and Chow’s young adult decision led to a literal homecoming. 

“That policy seven years later paid for my first home just in the cash value,” Chow said. That profound experience gives her the leverage to challenge the stereotypes so many people have surrounding what life insurance is all about.

“When I talk to my friends, they all think about it in terms of death and not necessarily investment, which is a way of thinking that we really need to change,” Chow said. That’s especially true “given the savings momentum of the millennial market.” That age group stands to inherit more than $68 trillion by 2030 in what’s been called the Great Transfer of Wealth. In that movement, Chow sees an opening for millennials to grow even more wealth through life insurance.

For her, it’s no mere matter of talk, opinion, or wishful thinking. Based on her own experience, she convinced her brother to get his own universal life insurance policy. Here’s how he fared: “He’s done several things with his cash values, including put a daughter through college,” Chow said. “And he still has plenty more cash value to roll back into that policy, maybe for retirement in the future or just to leave a legacy behind.”

In her mother’s case, Chow said the value of a policy purchased “eons ago” accumulated even as it sat largely forgotten. “She had no idea that there was cash value there,” she recalled. “But she would utilize that to have someone come in-home and care for her husband, my grandfather, just before he passed away, so that he could be at home. She could have the help and he could have the care that he needed in those last few weeks of his life.”

Here’s what family events have taught her: “It opens up opportunities, right? The opportunity for my loved ones isn’t just at the time that my life expires. It can be utilized through the course of your life if you have the right kind of policy, and you’re dealing with the right kind of agent.” 

That person will outline many options that make life insurance an attainable, worthwhile goal, even if whole life isn’t in the cards just yet. “If you’re in a situation where you can’t afford a lot, or you can’t afford much at one time, you know, look at the options of term insurance,” Chow advised. “Make sure you have enough to cover at the bare minimum a year of your mortgage, your cars and your finances.” 

And if you’re in the position to buy young, as Chow did, she suggests you do it now while it’s affordable. And for those with teenagers, it’s extremely affordable. “Get it for them now. It’ll always be there.” As it was, she added, for the generations that came before her. 

“Back in the day, my grandmother purchased it for my mother, my aunt, and my uncle,” she said. “That was the way it was done.”

EIS is a proud sponsor of a Life Lessons Scholarship organized by non-profit Life Happens.

For more information on to apply for or sponsor a scholarship, please visit www.lifehappens.org/scholarship

Life Happens is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers take personal financial responsibility through the ownership of life insurance and related products. The organization does not endorse any product, company or insurance advisor. Since its inception in 1994, Life Happens has provided the highest quality, independent and objective information for people seeking help with their insurance buying decisions. To learn more, visit www.lifehappens.org.

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