We Protect the Promises You Make
We Protect the Promises You Make
Helping People Keep Their Promises
Promises are commitments children often take seriously yet adults do not. As we grow older we often make excuses about time, money, and other priorities that distract us from keeping promises made to loved ones.
Sometimes these promises are overt; other times, implied. Providing financially for families is an implied promise men make when they marry. Because my dad did not keep such a promise, I have made it my business – literally – to help others do so.
I remember well the singular event that so clearly defines who I am as a person and that which drives the core values of the business I started.
On June 30, 1970, I, newly graduated from high school, was home with my 14-year-old brother Ty and my mom, who was recuperating from cancer surgery. I answered a knock at the door to discover a grim-looking police officer standing before me. His large body stood as a silhouette against the daylight in the doorframe, and his firm voice requested that I immediately get my mother.
“What is he doing here?” I wondered to myself. “Have we broken the law?” I helped my mom into our living room and eased her onto the couch, as she was still recuperating from major surgery. I held her hand as the police officer announced the shocking news: “Mrs. Hoefer, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but your husband died this morning of a massive heart attack while driving to work.” My mom stared into space, and my brother sobbed uncontrollably.
Even then at that moment I knew my life had profoundly changed.
Where There’s No Will, There’s No Way
We soon discovered there was no will, no savings and no life insurance, except for a mere $10,000 policy naming my dad’s business partner as the beneficiary. Dad, more earnest than entrepreneurial, had owned a printing shop. Yet, despite his long hours of work, the business never made much money, and he was oblivious to business and personal financial planning. Despite his lack of awareness, he was still responsible for his family, his partner and his employees. All were harmed. Some never recovered.
Now, I had to be responsible, supporting both my mom and brother. Rather than attend the state university as planned, I enrolled in a more affordable junior college. I then worked in the evening and even helped with household chores, because my mom underwent four more cancer surgeries.
The one thing I did not do was grieve my dad’s death. Not once did I shed a tear, as I was too busy fulfilling a myriad of promises.
However, there was one important promise that was never fulfilled. I was busy caring for my mother, working and studying and never noticed that my younger brother was lost in all the confusion. He was too young to assume control of his life, and no one around him provided guidance. His life simply stopped in time.
Instead of exhausting me, these obligations fueled me with purpose. As I entered the insurance profession, I vowed I would make a positive difference for the clients I served. I would help business owners keep the promises they made to their families: to take good care of them financially no matter what the circumstances. I vowed that I would do all in my power so others would not end up nearly destitute as our family had.