Saturday, July 08, 2006

Ups—and Downs

Besides having a cat who has decided he must sleep on top of me, I have had several ups in the past couple of weeks—along with the requisite downs needed to balance out life.

For example, I am now exceeding my personal goal of writing five new insurance policy applications a week. That’s an upper. The downer is that at the moment I have nine insurance policies I awaiting submission to the home office underwriters. What these applications are awaiting is the purchasers obtaining bank accounts.

Allow me to explain: the insurance company for whom I am contracted as an agent will only accept monthly payments via automatic bank drafts. Perhaps because of my background as a social worker, I seem to be the only agent of the four of us willing to venture into the least affluent residential areas of Louisville, including the housing projects. Here I find people who Marxists describe as the subproletariat—the marginally employed.

The folks who live in these areas really want insurance. For example, one young woman explained her desire for life insurance to me: recently her uncle died without insurance or an estate of any sort. The charge of the funeral home to bury him was about $13,000.00. His family, including this young woman who is employed at a nursing home for a little above minimum wage, came up with about $7,000.00. They still owe the funeral home $6,000.00—a sum it will take them years to pay off. Thus, while she is in her early twenties and the cost is relatively inexpensive, she wants to purchase whole life insurance to cover her final expenses. She also wants insurance for her two young daughters now when it is very inexpensive.

I have written her three $20,000.00 whole life polices, one each on her and her two daughters. The total cost for these policies will be less than $25.00 a month. The problem: she does not have a bank account from which the insurance company can make the automatic monthly withdrawals of the policy premiums. Until she obtains that bank account, the policies languish in a file cabinet—thus, she does not have the insurance and I do not earn the commission. I have six other policies sitting in my file cabinet in exactly the same situation: awaiting folks to obtain bank accounts.

The “up” for me is that I am willing to serve the needs of these folks; the “down” is I received no commission check this week and will receive none next week.

Now I’ll focus on the up side of this weekend. As I have previously written, my #2 son, Rob, has moved to Louisville from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and has moved into an apartment less than five minutes from my house. Tonight Rob is hosting an “apartment warming” party and I am looking forward to joining him in “warming” his apartment. (Rob just telephoned me and asked where he can purchase “about forty feet of speaker wire” so I know there will be numerous good—Rob shares my tastes in music—songs playing).

The other up is that I have been engaged to lead worship and preach tomorrow morning. It has been several months since I have had the opportunity to stand in a pulpit and I have deeply missed performing the functions of my true vocation.

I learned long ago that life is filled with ups and downs—good times and bad times. I accept this as normal. And I celebrate those days when the ups out number the downs!

I know what these folks who have no bank accounts and fear electronic funds transfers are dealing with. Friday I was feeling good. I have arranged to have my garage door fixed on Monday and had $700.00 to deposit on Friday. Unfortunately, I was delayed at a client’s house and didn’t get to the bank until 2:30 p.m.—a half hour too late for the deposit to be credited on Friday.
Thus, on Friday (I just learned from accessing my account online) my automatic funds transfer for my auto insurance was processed by the bank, along with a couple of small checks and fuel purchases. They ran the $170.00 insurance EFT through first; thus the other items became overdrafts because they will not credit the deposit until Monday. That resulted in the bank taking out $272.00 in over draft charges. So, instead of having a bank balance of almost $600.00, I have a balance of $365.00, $350.00 of which will go to pay for the garage door.

I hate living from hand to mouth—especially since my hand is usually empty.


  1. I am so glad you have had some "UP's" in your life. It's tough when the downs consume us, but they make us appreciate those up's so much more. Have enjoyed having you back posting again :o)
    Super weekend to you :o)

  2. MICHELLE: I suppose up and downs are just another way of describing life. Thus far, today has been all upper.

  3. That's good to hear- prayers for your continued success in all your areas of expertise:)

    Setbacks can be so frustrating- can you explain to someone at the bank in the a.m. your situation? Can't they give you a break?

    I bet you've been a good client for a long time- maybe they will!

  4. I'm glad for your ups, but my middle finger goes up to the banks who don't get that for some people, the business day does not end at TWO PM! sheesh. There recently was something about that on NPR (as I'm sure you know), and, of course, it only hurts people like you and me who can barely keep our bills paid and barely keep a positive balance in the checking account.

    You're a rare one, Nick - willing to venture out into the world of the marginal, doing all you can to give them a hand up. If there were more like you, well, your bank account would be where it should be.

    Glad to hear (and see from the pix) that it looked like a fun time at your son's new digs!