• Stephen Gardner

A widows advice

I usually do all my banking online, but occasionally I have to go in person to have a banker help me with larger or more complicated financial transactions. As I waited for the teller to help me with some checks I needed created and while rifling through the basket of dum-dum suckers on the counter, I couldn't help but overhear a woman talking loudly to the teller next to me.



I don't usually eavesdrop, especially not at the bank where there is private information being shared, but this lady was talking really loud. She was having the bank teller help her set up new accounts in her name only. As they talked, she would choke up and say, I'm sorry I am crying, its just my late husband handled all the banking and now it's just me.


I got the impression she was recently left a widow and was trying to pick up the pieces. She was behind on a few bills and had forgotten her pin number. My own grandmother was left a widow at a younger than average age so my heart had compassion for what this woman was dealing with. Losing a spouse at any age is stressful and hard.


This woman and the bank teller finally finished up their banking transaction and the woman started to leave. After taking maybe 9 or 10 steps towards the door, she suddenly turned and marched back to this young female bank teller and started spouting off about life insurance.


This widow told this young woman who was probably a newly wed based on the ring on her finger and her youthful appearance, to never let a day go by without life insurance in place on your husband. She said I am 69 years old now and scared and alone. Gratefully, my husband bought a whole life policy for $250,000 and kept it in place over the last 10 years.


She then continued to give her advice such as live within your means and go live your bucket list before you get too old. With tears in her eyes, she finished by saying the money I got from his little military pension and the life insurance company was the best gift her husband had given her. She then teared up and held her mouth.


As someone that has been involved in the insurance industry since 2003, I was shocked and pleased to overhear this conversation. Not for the woman's loss, but to see how what I do positively effects people down the road. I've only had one of my client die since putting a policy in place luckily, but I know how grateful the wife was for the policy pay out.


I know many people that have passed within a few years of their term policy cancelling because it became too expensive and got nothing for all the money they put into the contract. Worse, it left the surviving spouse without money to comfortably live the rest of their lives. There is a place for term but make sure it is a convertible policy that you could switch to a permanent policy that will cover your whole life.


I've had many people tell me they will be rich enough in the future to not need life insurance or their children will be grown or they will probably outlive their wife, but I promise that the person you leave money to will never say, 'too bad they had this policy in place and left me money'. Life insurance money, especially to a surviving spouse is a gift and a blessing.


The truth is we will all die at some point. It's one of the only guarantees in this life and one of the few shared experiences of all humans. It's also something that can be planned for.


At age 69, I believe this woman was caught off guard with so many people living into their late 80's now. She probably expected to live with her husband for many more of their golden years, yet she had an incredible amount of respect for the gift of insurance money he left her.


I'll probably never see this woman again or know any more about her story but for a brief moment her life and loudly told story spilled over into mine and it was an incredible story to witness.

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