What You Need to Know
- Dave Buckwald could have been in the North Tower on Sept. 11, 2001.
- Six people he was scheduled to meet on Sept. 12 were there.
- Some of your own clients may be affected by events that are hard to think about.
This September marks 20 years since the 9/11 attacks — the most significant terrorist act on U.S. soil in modern history. For me, it’s a day that I think about often because of the profound and heart-rending impact it had on my life, my family, and my business.
At the time, I was building a family, a business, and truly living the American dream. I was driving that morning when the news broke. Even today, I can still feel my hands clenched to the steering wheel, not knowing what to make of the news; “Was this real? This can’t be happening!”
On the 104th and 105th floor in the North Tower of the World Trade Center was Cantor Fitzgerald, the company that would tragically suffer more casualties than any other tenant of The World Trade Center that day, including 51 of my friends and clients — six of whom I was scheduled to meet the morning of Sept. 12. A matter of 24 hours was the only difference between my wife not becoming a widow 18 days into our marriage. Like all of us, I felt that sense of helplessness and fear that day. My wife and I spent the afternoon contacting loved ones, fearing the worst, but praying for my friends, clients, and the city of New York.
There’s a saying in this business that we never really understand the work we do until we deliver our first death claim. In the months following, I spent more time than I could have ever imagined attending services and mourning the losses — unthinkable losses to their families. I stood face-to-face with 30 young widows, who among them had 52 children that would never see their dads again, and delivered over $30 million in life insurance benefits. $30 million was nowhere near enough to fill the void created by this tragedy, but it did mean the difference of continuing to live the life their dad would have wanted for them, even when he could no longer be there to make it happen.
In those months, I also faced the consequences of what lapsed coverage, a missed premium payment or simply never getting around to buying life insurance truly can mean and learned the true responsibility of being an advisor to help guide our clients’ families are protected when the worst happens. That’s why we’re in this business. Not just to help people retire comfortably and live happily ever after — but to protect them from life’s unexpected events.
Planning for The Unexpected
I truly believe that a financial plan without proper life insurance at the foundation is just a hope or wish but that is not a plan. It’s a type of risk that we don’t talk about often enough. It’s uncomfortable, but preparing for the unthinkable is necessary and our responsibility as a trusted advisor.