Back in 1983, a young father took a detour that costs him his life. If it wasn't for his financial planning, his family would have quite possibly lost everything.
staged car crash for illustrative purposes

Is it a great way to fund a buy-sell agreement for a business? Yes.

Is it a way to prefund, at a discount, future estate tax liability for families with significant wealth? Yes, again.

Is it one of the few ways to pass inheritance to your kids, spouse, or other family without owing any income tax?


But life insurance is so much more…

On a March day in 1983, a 45-year-old father of three took a different route to work on Farm to Market Road in East Texas. He was the chief radar technician for the FAA at a small regional airport and had recently been promoted to be the chief of the FAA at DFW Airport. He was traveling the 120 miles each week to DFW to learn the new facility and systems. That Thursday morning, he took the detour because he wanted to drop his 10-year-old daughter off at school, since he had gotten to see her so little the past several weeks. He kissed her, told her he loved her, and went on his way to work. He was a healthy 45-year-old, with a homemaker wife, a 10-year-old fourth grade daughter, a son in college, and a 25-year-old daughter that had just delivered his first grandchild. He loved his wife, kids, and new granddaughter and was excited about his promotion to one of the busiest airports in the country.

Things were going great.

As he headed to Greg County airport, he turned onto FM 349, likely thinking about all of the things that he would need to deal with in the coming months with the pending move. He was traveling east going up a hill at the posted speed limit, minding his own business. When he topped the hill, he met an oncoming car that was passing other cars on a double yellow line, traveling in excess of 90 mph. His reaction actually should have saved him: he swerved onto the shoulder completely out of the lane the oncoming car was traveling in. Only the oncoming car also swerved to the shoulder,  and the resulting impact killed him instantly. The driver and passenger in the other car were uninjured.

In the following weeks, the family would discover that he, in the year prior to his death, had purchased life insurance totalling about 12 times his annual income. It didn’t make the family wealthy, but it allowed his wife and young daughter to stay in their home and allowed her to continue being the full-time mom their 10-year-old daughter was accustomed to. It also allowed her to help her daughter and son-in-law with the expenses of that newborn, along with the other two granddaughters they gave her over the next few years. And it allowed their son to stay at university to complete his studies and graduate with a degree in Finance. He was the first child in his family’s history to graduate with a college degree.

Life insurance to this family was the dad saying, “I love you, I am here for you, I will always be here for you.”

How do I know all of this? Because that morning, March 10, 1983, they came to get me from my marketing class at the University of Arkansas to tell me I needed to call home.

My mother, at 83, is happy and comfortable today because my dad bought life insurance, likely with money that he would have rather spent playing golf, or fishing, or vacationing with my mom, the love of his life. But he knew that unexpected things happen, and he wanted his family to know that no matter what, he loved them and would always provide for them.

That’s what life insurance is.

Life insurance to this family was the dad saying, “I love you, I am here for you, I will always be here for you.”

Ken Smith

Ken Smith leads a team with 40+ combined years of experience in the insurance industry. Ken coordinates all aspects of insurance products and determines if his clients’ coverage is adequate and assists them with placing coverage. Ken is committed to delivering a high standard of excellence.

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