One of the best things we have in life is our ability to make a choice. The best part about a choice is that the majority of the time, it takes no physical power to decide to do something. Whether right or wrong, the choices we make begin with our ability to decide. Behind each of our decisions lies the power of reason, which enables us to weigh the pros and cons, justifying our choices before we settle upon one. It is through this process that we usually determine what the best decision ultimately is but, time and again, there are other factors that prevent us from choosing it.

To illustrate this in one of its simplest forms, picture two people sitting in a restaurant, perusing the menu in order to decide upon something to eat. Before getting to what they choose, let’s first look at what we know about food and its relationship to our well-being. Our two patrons are probably somewhat familiar with the variety of options on the menu and have at least a general idea of how what they eat will, or will not, benefit their bodies. So, menus in hand, both take some time to look over the options, processing their choices and, in the end, one goes for a spinach salad with a glass of water and lemon, while the other decides on a bacon cheeseburger with barbecue sauce and a coke soda.

Choosing what to eat at a restaurant is usually pretty straightforward, but even the simplest choices involve weighing out the pros and cons. In our scenario, one meal clearly ranks higher on the healthy scale, while the other rests comfortably in the unhealthy realm; the spinach salad is a very healthy choice with many long-term benefits that can still taste pretty good, while the bacon cheeseburger has few health benefits but immediately benefits your taste buds more so than the spinach salad.

Understanding the power of choice, we recognize that both individuals weighed the pros and cons of the meals and the eating experience before ultimately deciding. Although we could dive deeper and dissect the many reasons each chose what they did, let’s simply acknowledge that the main element of their thought processes involved a lot more than just deciding on what to eat. In our scenario, the burger represents immediate satisfaction – in the moment, the burger tastes really good, but it doesn’t have any real value to you or your well-being; it doesn’t result in a good ROI (Return On Investment), so to speak. On the other hand, the spinach salad represents the choice to sacrifice that immediate satisfaction for something that has long-term benefits and an amazing ROI instead.

Interestingly, on any given day, most people opt for the burger – either metaphorically or literally! Why is it that the better choices in life tend to be the roads less traveled? When we observe the people around us, we can see examples of this on a daily basis. Case in point, a life insurance study conducted some time ago determined that 96% percent of people would love to benefit in some way, shape, or form from the death of their parents or grandparents – whether from their financial assets, life insurance policies, or physical possessions, the reasons for this are obvious. However, when it comes to these same wannabe inheritance recipients leaving a legacy for their own family, less than half will go on to set up those long-term benefits, even though all it would take would be for them to make the decision to do so.

The unfortunate truth is that this is the bacon cheeseburger scenario all over again – just on a much larger scale. Oftentimes, we’ll see the purchase of material things that have no ROI but provide that immediate and temporary satisfaction overruling the better decision to purchase something like a life insurance policy, which has a far greater benefit in the long run. When it comes to making decisions like this, why is it that we put them off when now is, has always been, and will forever be, the right time to take control of life’s trajectory? Why is this so often the road less traveled?

Although we naturally weigh out the pros and the cons and develop our own rationale and justification for the decisions we make, oftentimes, we make excuses and decide against the better option in the end. Unfortunately, even though we know a certain choice will serve us better, for many reasons the alternative tends to be easier to justify in the moment – maybe the better choice is more complicated or doesn’t provide immediate satisfaction, or isn’t the most fun, or maybe we think it’s a good idea but that we’ll deal with it further down the road. Whatever it is, perhaps we should try to aim a little higher and make those better choices for ourselves and our families – right now, not tomorrow.

When you purchase a life insurance policy, you’re taking the opportunity to invest in your family by choosing something that has long-term benefits and an amazing ROI instead of wasting your purchasing power on something that will provide immediate but only short-term benefits. In short, you’re choosing the spinach salad over the bacon cheeseburger; although a life insurance policy may not provide immediate satisfaction, you can rest assured that it will serve you better than the alternative. And, hey, nobody said you can’t have both – just make sure you have that spinach salad firmly in place before you purchase the bacon cheeseburger!

Keishon Wilson is Senior Life and Pension Sales Advisor at Freisenbruch. To learn more, or if you have any other questions, please contact him at kmwilson@fmgroup.bm or call +1 441 535 6352, or +1 441 294 4614.