Sunday 1st May, 2005


Legacy Neil left behind

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Money Matters
with Raziah Ahmed

My friend Neil Jones would often refer to world-renowned UK financial adviser, and past president of the Million Dollar Round Table, Tony Gordon's book, "It Only Gets Better."

Neil would often quote that "Commitment is like virginity, either you have it or you don't!"

Commitment is somewhat like intention, and follow-through, all wrapped up into one. It's a long-term, in for the long haul, for better or worse, long-view of our destiny.

From a wealth accumulation perspective, you are wealthy when you have enough money through savings/investments, to generate your own adequate pay cheque each month for the rest of your life, without having to do a stroke of work: white-collar, blue-collar stuff.

On a more philosophical note, the questions we must answer, in the desire for wealth, are: Who will benefit? What value will it bring to me, to my family, to my employer? What value will it bring to my community, and what value will it bring to my country?

You see, nothing in life is just about us! It's always a bigger picture!

So what's the legacy that we leave when we die? And on an even more profound philosophical note, do we really die, or does our spirit or soul simply move on to another sphere of work or rest?

But, philosophy aside, who pays for our last expenses?

The last expenses bill will consist of: funeral expenses, doctor’s bills from the last attending physician, bills for surgery or hospitalisation if relevant, bills for nursing care or extended convalescence, if relevant. And if they are all relevant, we are looking at an extremely conservative minimum of TT$50,000.

World renowned heart transplant surgeon, Marius Bernard, of South Africa, has said that "80 per cent of us, 80 per cent of all our family, 80 per cent of all our friends, will one day be diagnosed with arteriosclerosis or heart disease."

More recently, medical specialists have been making blanket statements that most of us, even from young adulthood, already have some kind of circulatory system blockage.

The onus is then upon us to ensure that we have enough health insurance coverage, so as not to seriously interfere with the wealth we hope to transfer to our families.

You can only get critical illness or dread disease insurance when you are young and healthy. Adverse-Selection is a term of art in life insurance, which arises out of the greater desire of people to seek insurance after they discover that they have a medical problem.

The Pareto principle seems to be at work again: 80 per cent of us had better get the Critical Illness insurance cover to ensure we maintain a lifestyle of dignity despite dread disease or illness, to the very end!

And guess what? There is no banker in the world, no investor, no mutual fund specialist, no stock market broker in the world, who will bring you a cheque when you are diagnosed with kidney failure, or heart attack, or any number of approximately 18 other "covered" illness, unless they get it from an insurance company.

We will remember Neil Jones...a stalwart in the insurance industry. He left us a wonderful legacy, built upon hard work, and commitment to the end.

When the angels took him, many parts of our verdant landscape was sprinkled with carpets of pink poui flowers. And that I think, is symbolic of the legacy that he has left!

—Raziah Ahmed is a registered financial consultant

©2004-2005 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

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