I did something stupid, when I was younger (just one of many stupid things I have done), but this was common practice at the time. Life was simpler and the future held promise, unknown since greedy financial geniuses screwed up the world economy.
What did I do? I bought whole life insurance and have lived to regret this. At some point, I learned that it is cheaper to pay one annual premium than to make monthly payments. Insurance companies charge for the extra work. Because I live outside the country and was forced to find a dollar check (only check or money order is accepted), once a year was enough of a hassle.
For some reason, I fell upon the idea of paying by credit card. The bank would do the currency conversion and charge my account in euros. Easy. Or so I thought…until I learned that insurance companies are also stupid. They refuse to accept payment by credit card and stick by the demand for old-fashioned, cumbersome checks. Checks must be handled more than once by human hands—costly human hands, whereas credit card payments can be handled digitally. Insurance companies are not smart enough to figure out how much money they would save.
I called the insurance company (which has changed names a number of times since my initial stupidity). A name of an “agent”, who I have never met, but surely earns money off me, is printed on my premium notice. I learned that this “agent” no longer works at the company, which did not bother me. The lady on the phone agreed with me, but said that she could do nothing to relieve the need for a check.
So, I will fill out a check, drive to the post office, and send an envelope by registered mail. I do not trust the kind of hands, which an insurance company hires…much less his or her intelligence.
I have not missed the money wasted or the little accrued value. With the state of the economy and rate of inflation, any beneficiary should be able to enjoy a few trips to Starbucks at my expense.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.