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I had been asked to write a series of articles for a website called Opposing Views, a site that creates the opportunity for debate by citing an expert on a question and allowing the public at large to take on the opposing view.

Because of my passion for what I do and my deep belief in the value and good of life insurance I wrote several articles last year. There has been some give and take on all of my stances, but yesterday a guy came out of the blue and launched a full blown attack on me, life insurance, anyone stupid enough to own life insurance, widows who can’t suck it up and find another husband, and families that would buy life insurance when welfare will do just fine raising those kids. I allowed as how his right to free speech is one of those things that makes our country great, but I did take exception to some of his remarks. I asked him if I could share some of his thoughts on this blog and not having heard from Don Earl (the name he used on opposing views), I would like to share with you Don’s thoughts shared with a person who just lost their brother in a car accident and had shared what a help life insurance had been for his brother’s family. Here’s Don:

“I don’t mean to be unkind, but if your brother had learned how to drive prior to operating a motor vehicle, he’d still be alive. I’ve been driving for going on 40 years and I can assure you that simply by obeying certain natural laws of physics, it is not at all difficult to avoid auto accidents virtually 100% of the time, even in circumstances where an accident is technically caused by another driver.

On the “few hundred dollars” and “four young children “. First of all, if you weren’t being stung on insurance, you’d have more money in the bank, second, welfare will see the kids won’t go hungry or homeless, and third, assuming you’re married, your spouse will have you replaced in no time at all. In a few years, the kids will be calling someone else daddy, will be using his last name, your clothes will have gone to the Salvation Army, and your picture will be collecting dust at the bottom of a junk drawer. In ten years, no one will even feel maudlin on your birthday.

On the other hand, if you put everything you would otherwise be paying on insurance premiums in the bank at compound interest, and don’t die, you’ll have cash to put the kids through college , you won’t have to borrow money at usuary rates just to get by, you can pay off the loan on your home, and finally, when you do eventually die of old age, a lifetime of accumulated wealth may be passed on to the next generation to make their financial lives a little easier. And of course, there’s always that nest egg if something unexpected does come up.

Not to put too find a point on it, insurance is for stupid people. It’s for the person who is too stupid to safely operated a motor vehicle. It’s for the person who is too stupid to avoid setting the house on fire. It’s for the person who is too stupid to manage their finances in such a way as to be prepared for emergencies. It’s for the doctor who is too stupid to avoid malpractice. I’m sure you can think of plenty of other examples where insurance provides a way to place a bet on one’s own stupidity.

On the one hand, maybe there’s something to be said for a person aware enough of their own stupidity that they’d put down cold, hard cash to bet on it. The problem is the gambling houses eventually find they can’t afford to pay off on these kind of bets, and eventually insist that those who aren’t stupid chip in to cover their losses.”

– Don Earl US January 1, 2010 1:26PM

I replied: “Your absurd argument would be laughable. Nope, changed my mind. Your argument is patently absurd, ignorant and irresponsible.

In spite of the fact that you have apparently figured out life to the point that you are, well, accident proof, disease proof and I guess in all ways bombproof, for the mortals in this world life happens. Responsibility also happens for the rest of us who would probably try to shoot a little higher in life than “welfare will see the kids won’t go hungry or homeless”. That’s just pathetic.

Consider for a moment that 1 in 6 men in this country who make it to age 25 don’t make it to age 65 . Somewhere during those years is the time when we have the most responsibility and yes, I consider marriage , children , debt and retirement to be responsibilties.

You don’t mean to be unkind? There is no other way to characterize your opening comment. That was about as thoughtless and unkind as it gets. The rest of your ramblings were just thoughtless.”

And he retorted: “f your expertise extends to working out compound interest problems, it would be your characterization of “a ‘little’ interest” that would be laughable.

If one began investing $2,500 per year (a modest $208 per month)starting at age 18, until retirement at age 65, at 7% compounded annually, your nest egg at retirement would be $880,000, with $117,550 invested, or nearly an 800% ROI. That is NOT chump change !!! Insurance DOES NOT pay off in the long run. It’s a net loss vs. an eight fold return on investment. In most cases, you would get the same results as insurance by piling your money in the backyard and setting it on fire.

RE: “Consider for a moment that 1 in 6 men in this country who make it to age 25 don’t make it to age 65.”

Another joke? Looks like. Wouldn’t it be less misleading to say that out of that group, 95% of them make it to age 60? Or that the vast majority of those who die below age 60, die in work related or other accidents for which their families are taken care of just fine without life insurance? The older you get, the greater the nest egg in the compound interest problem above. At age 70, it’s over $1.2 million. And, of course, the older you get, the more insurance companies sting you on premiums, until you reach a point where they refuse to insure you at all.

As far as unkindness is concerned, the world is a real place, with real truths. The cold truth is that the younger the woman, the more quickly she will replace a dead mate with a new one. No doubt an insurance peddler would like men to believe they might leave behind a widow grieving in abstinence for 20 years, but anyone with eyes knows that is a bald faced lie. If anything, a fat insurance policy ensures she will be jumping someone’s bones ASAP. If there are “emotional” arguments on insurance, making the guy rich who is warming my side of the bed would have go into the minus column.

Of course, if one’s livelihood depends on lying to people, it’s certainly understandable why such a person would resent inconvenient truths and call them unkind. Personally, I consider ripping people off, on the rationalization they are being provided a false sense of security, to be unkind.”

– Don EarlUS January 4, 2010 3:05PM

Bottom line. I showed this exchange to several of my colleagues and we all came to the consensus that he is likely an insurance agent that failed after about three months in the business.