Devotees of the popular PBS series Downton Abbey felt the pangs of separation anxiety as they approached the final episode. This generation’s version of Upstairs, Downstairs has done much in the process of its narrative to enlighten viewers with an inside look at the workings of a great English manor home and the hierarchy among the 40-50 servants required to keep the show on the road.
Quickly evident is the fact that if all goes as it should in the house it’s because the butler did it.
He was the highest ranking among the help. From his command center located in his pantry and “. . . in his gentleman’s black suit he radiated calm and confidence upwards and absolute authority downwards.”
Most were unmarried so they could devote full and full-time attention to the management of all the people and the maintenance of all the property that lay within. So serious were some regarding the security of their employer’s valuables that they slept in beds that blocked the doorway to the locked cabinet holding the family silver, glass and plate. So complete and comprehensive was the coordination of affairs by a competent butler that the master concerned himself with little except where to find and sit at the table come dinnertime.
In 1890 the average annual salary for a butler, in addition to room, board, clothing and gratuities he often received from vendors grateful for the household’s business, was around $8000 in today’s dollars.
The butler has a couple things in common with the contemporary homemaker/stay-at-home parent.
The importance of both is usually unrecognized and neither is paid very much. Consequently there is a viable market among those who make a full-time profession of creating and maintaining an environment in which to raise children.
Because ‘homemaker’ is not a paid position little thought is given to replacement value and the cost of “hiring out” all the responsibilities should a “non-working” spouse pass away.
It’s usually an easy sale because economical term insurance provides the needed protection with guaranteed premiums until the children reach maturity.
Determining an amount is a two-step process.
The bread-winner in the home should have adequate coverage (see the easy and reasonable criteria used by carriers in the short article here). Then let us find the best carrier who will allow an equal amount on the homemaker.
Carrier choice can also save bumps in the road if the facts in the case are outside the norm
Example: In a recent case the bad daughter dropped off the grid leaving her two children with her retired Mom who took responsibility for her grandchildren. The household was supported by the working good daughter, who was single and adequately insured. Rather than allow insurance on Mom equal to the good daughter’s coverage the carrier proposed only a multiple of Mom’s Social Security income.
Their offer was for less than $50,000, proving again that there is more to a term sale than a spreadsheet!
Suggesting to a household that it members should consider coverage on its domestic key person addresses a vital need and can also be a springboard to many other sales and marketing opportunities.
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