Case study: How life insurance saved a teenager’s life.

William Eve, a writer for finder.com.au sat down and spoke to Neal Frankle, the owner of WealthPilgrim.com – a real beneficiary of a life insurance policy. When Neal Frankle’s parents died, he was only 17. Frankle’s life fell apart. He found himself homeless and out of money until he became the beneficiary of a life insurance policy his parents had taken out.

Today, Neal Frankle is the owner of Wealth Resources Group and the blog WealthPilgrim.com. He’s also an inspiration to those people who know how tragedy can strike without warning. It’s not difficult to see how he became a vocal proponent of promoting peace of mind through the proper application of life insurance.

How did Neal Frankle find the motivation to go from homelessness to success?

According to Frankle, he “really didn’t have much choice”. He had to work hard because there was so little to fall back on, even at a young age. His parents passed away even before he could finish high school.

At the time, Frankle says he didn’t know that credit cards existed. This ended up being a stroke of fortune as Frankle ended up avoiding debt that could have saddled him throughout his life.

How did he react to the sudden death of his father?

After his father’s accident, Frankle didn’t think about money. Instead, he says, he was in a state of shock.

“Within a few weeks of the accident, I learned about the life insurance policy,” he says.

And while there were complications that may have allowed the life insurance company to not pay out the full amount, Frankle says that they came to a settlement that he found “unbelievably fair”. It was his father’s life insurance policy that ended up pushing Frankle in the right direction. He and his siblings received a term life payment of $100,000 split four ways.

“I didn’t understand what $25,000 meant. It didn’t impact me emotionally because I had no reference point.”

How did Frankle use the money?

Frankle took the money to his father’s stockbroker, who “churned” the account. Frankle was cautious enough to fire the broker after six months. After that, he bought into high yield bonds and held them.

Between that investment income, social security and US Veteran’s Affairs benefits, he was able to passively see $300 per month coming in.

Note that this was the 1970s, when that type of money had a larger impact on his day-to-day life than it would now. In retrospect, Frankle states that without that money, he “wouldn’t even want to think where [he'd] be”.

How did he turn it around?

Eventually, Frankle gave his entire payment (around $25,000) to his sister. The combined inheritance from their father helped her to buy a home to house her and two other siblings. This ensured that they had a roof over their heads while Frankle attended college.

This stability helped Frankle look for a career that would help him build upon his financial security. Having been so close to the precipice of financial ruin, Frankle says he was even motivated by fear to work very hard.

How does Frankle balance both financial and emotional skills?

Frankle references his faith in a higher power as “the only real security there is”. While he now works for financial security and strives to be of service to others, he finds that emotional security includes daily work and isn’t a function of money alone.

What advice would Neal give to those looking at taking out life insurance?

Frankle says that “if you’re responsible for others, you have an obligation to buy coverage”. He recommends term life insurance to cover your loved ones in case anything happens to you.

Neal Frankle’s advice for those living in perpetual financial fear

Frankle recommends the process of sitting down and writing down your fears. Then, write down what you can do about them. If there’s a fear about family continuity, Frankle says, then it’s important to buy life insurance. Income fears are just as actionable. Frankle’s chief recommendation is to define the anxiety and take specific steps to alleviate it by fixing the underlying issue.

For more information on Australia life insurance, check out our guide.

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