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What It Means to Be a Beneficiary

From the day we are born, a future full of exciting adventures and milestones unfolds before us like a road map. We all know that this road map is bound to change; sometimes we end up in detours and have to turn around and start over, sometimes the car stalls out and we need some maintenance, and sometimes the people that come along for the ride—the ones who help guide us and help give directions—are suddenly gone. We are left with an empty space and often aren’t sure how we are going to navigate the twists and turns in the road up ahead.

In February of 2015, this happened to me. My closest uncle died unexpectedly, leaving my family in complete shock. This uncle was beyond inspiring—he was generous with his love and his money, providing financial support for his siblings, nieces and nephews, as well as multiple charitable organizations. While I could certainly live comfortably without it, he thoroughly enjoyed being able to help people in any way he could, and of course, his gifts did not go unappreciated.

My uncle was passionate about giving back to the community, both through his church donations and other charitable foundations.  He loved giving support to organizations such as the Salvation Army, the Alzheimer’s Foundation, and the American Red Cross, to name a few.  One of his most loved contributions was to his favorite place in the world, Yosemite National Park, to help assist with the preservation and education of our beautiful land.

After his passing, I learned that I was a beneficiary on his life insurance policy. My uncle had no children, but he named all of his nieces and nephews as beneficiaries on his life insurance policy, ensuring that he would still be able to give to us beyond the grave. As beneficiaries, my cousin was able to put a down payment on the home of her dreams, and my sister recently put much of the benefit towards her wedding. For myself personally, I was able to purchase the new car that I needed, and I am continuing to use that money for bigger things that arise. All of these are events that I know my uncle would have wanted to contribute to. Because of his life insurance policy, his legacy lives on. He is still part of the fabric of our lives. Not only has this had a positive impact on myself and my family, but the money he chose to leave to charity was invaluable.

So having life insurance sounds like a no-brainer, right? Unfortunately, millions of Americans live without life insurance and they have no idea they’re missing out on one of the easiest ways to protect their loved ones. One of the most common things I hear from other people is that they “don’t need” life insurance because they live alone or have adult children or simply just think it’s not worth their time. I can tell you firsthand that all three of those reasons don’t matter. But your legacy does.

Take a look at your roadmap. How have you prepared for the inevitable detours? If you have a family or loved ones, do you have a plan set in place should you pass away unexpectedly? If neither of these scenarios concern you, are there some charities that you would like to leave a gift to? If you’re not sure where to begin, you can learn more by going to

Try these financial calculators to help you get started.

At the end of the day, there is no GPS to get us to our destination. We must be proactive and think about how we want to navigate the winding road we call life. It’s never too soon to start planning, so make life insurance a part of your journey.

Watch this video to learn more about the power of life insurance.