I’ve written about some awkward things. I’ve intentionally made the decision at different points to share with the general public things that most people keep under wraps. I’ve done this because I think it is valuable, because I think there’s a lack of important information out there that could free many people if only they had access to it. So because of this you’re familiar with how I catheterize, I’ve shared about sex, about the deterioration of my body, about the effects of steroids, and even some strangely not often shared info about MRI scans.
Well today I’d love to share some stuff with you that makes me feel even more awkward than any of those topics ever did. I want to share some private stuff with you about life insurance. The reason it makes me feel awkward is because I don’t want it to come off as me patting Jess and I on the back, because the reality is that we were just blessed to be given good advice at a young age and we were just foolish enough to take it. My hope is that I can share a bit of this part of our story and it will invite you into, what I believe, is a really exciting way to live (and die).
Let me also say quickly that I’m not a money guy. I couldn’t tell you much about interest rates, investment opportunities, or anything like that. It’s not my world and I won’t even attempt to fake it. If you want to message me about better life insurance options or something of that nature…please don’t. What I can say is that at a very early age (I think I was 22 and Jess was 21) when we found out we were having a child we chose to get term life insurance for both of us. Because we were young and both very healthy it was an incredibly cheap route to get half a million bucks for each of us if we died. The amazing thing is not that we got life insurance at a young age, but that we kept it all these years. To be completely upfront, we’ve always been poor. We’ve grown very comfortable not having much money and it’s turned into a way of life that we are ok with. It has allowed us to engage in the work that we want to do (church planting) because we’ve been able to work for virtually nothing (or at times, literally nothing). It’s freed our imaginations to create what has now developed into Grassroots Conspiracy because money was not much of a factor/inhibitor in its creation. So the amazing thing isn’t that we got it but that we continued to pay it all these years! (thank God that we did right?!)
Some credit needs to be shared with Dave Ramsey and his Financial Peace University class. If you’re not familiar yet with Dave and what they’re all about…get familiar. FPU was huge in challenging us to live in a way that allowed this reality to exist, it gave us the tools to live off little, it provided the inspiration to buckle down, and…well…it’s just good stuff!
But this blog IS NOT about you getting insurance (though if you don’t have it, you need to…especially if you have kids. It’s too cheap not to). What I really want to share with you is to ask what you’re going to do with your life insurance money. I never really though I’d have to answer that question, but in reality we all will at some point. Most people view that money as their own, they view it as their way to care for their own. And it is. And it should be. But if you buy into the idea that money, stuff, and all that jazz are temporary. If you buy into that crazy idea that stuff (even the good stuff) will eventually rot, that you can’t take any of it with you, and that stuff is here to serve you and not the other way around–then I’d suggest you really question how your life insurance is not only practically used but realistically viewed.
View it as a gift. View it as an opportunity. View it as a chance to make a difference, to leave a legacy, and to partner with those you love in seeing the world be transformed into its original purpose and intended beauty. Money is not evil (as some people mistakenly believe), money is an opportunity–one that shouldn’t be missed out on! One of the ancient practices of the Christian faith that I love is one of generosity. Jesus invites his followers to give up everything, but as a framework, as something to hold onto Christians use the term “tithe”. Tithing is a concept continued from Judaism (of which Christianity is a part) and it essentially means that you give away ten percent of what comes in to God. What would happen if people started giving away ten percent of their life insurance monies to just causes, to care for orphans and widows, to build wells, or to support non-profits among other things? Yes that money is intended to care for your loved ones when you’re gone, but there’s more than just financial support that needs to be thought about! When you invite your children to prioritize giving away a piece of what you have to care for others you are teaching them something that cannot be caught from you in any other way. Outside of practicing it they will never learn generosity from you unless you are generous! It just doesn’t work any other way. In inviting your family to be a part of tithing off your life insurance you are inviting them to a holistic worldview that is larger than themselves and will shape them in incredible ways (not to mention shaping yourself). Talk about caring for your family right?
For a poor kid* it makes me giddy to think about being able to intentionally give away $50,000. I mean, seriously, what poor kid gets to do that? What a gift!? What an experience?! How much fun would it be for you and your spouse or you and your whole family to sit down and dream about how, who, and where you could give money like that? What services are you passionate about? What families do you know that could be blessed by that? What causes need championing? You’ve now got resources to dream with? Your imagination can run wild all because you ponied up $25 a month for life insurance!
So this post isn’t really about life insurance as much as it is about learning to give, to leave a legacy, and seeing beauty emerge in our world in more and more ways. It’s an opportunity that I hope none of us miss out on!
* OK, poverty is so incredibly relative. Geez, I use the term very loosely here and am mostly using it for affect than anything else. I do not feel poor and have never really embraced that term because relative to the rest of the world I’m in the top couple percent I believe.