Last night I had the pleasure of attending the annual Triangle Women of Distinction Celebration organized by the Raleigh Chapter of Soroptimist International.  Soroptimist is a wonderful philanthropic group aimed at improving the lives of women and girls.  From running local projects such as a professional clothing programs similar to “Dress for Success” and public forums on human trafficking and its impact both locally and globally, to being one of the few non-governmental organizations that consults with and sends delegates to United Nations meetings, the members of Soroptimist are committed to making a difference in the world.

The keynote speaker for the evening was award winning author and speaker, Sharon Hill.  Sharon gave an excellent presentation entitled “Nothing to Lose – Everything to Gain” that shared her life story of climbing the ladder of success.  Her presentation was lively and engaging.  Early into the presentation one story jumped out to me as being relevant to this blog and the current economy; the following is my paraphrase of Sharon’s story:

I was born in “the hood” of Chicago.  My mother was a native to Chicago, my father a country boy from Alabama that constantly fell victim to the “last hired, first fired” precept.  I am the oldest of three daughters.  While we had the bare necessities of life, we were, by most peoples standards, poor.  But my parents were determined and hardworking and eventually my father built us a home in the suburbs.  Without even a high school diploma, he drafted the house plans, hand dug the foundation and did the majority of the woodwork and carpentry himself.  Nonetheless, times were always tight in our household and when I was only thirteen, my father passed away unexpectedly.  It was not until after his death that my mother learned that only one month prior my father had canceled his life insurance to save a few extra dollars every month.

While this is the sort of thing that attorneys regularly caution against, I think there may be a public tendency  to envision attorneys, especially estate planning attorneys, as modern day Chicken Little’s running around declaring that tragedy could strike at any time.  But Sharon’s story is a first-hand account that death can happen unexpectedly.  While it may be tempting to consider trimming insurance-related expenses in these uncertain economic times, please resist the temptation.  Your family’s security is worth more than a few dollars per month.

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