Brotherhood, Life Insurance & Marilyn Manson
It was early September in 1987 when I first met the man who would teach me so many important life lessons. As a freshly minted freshman at Gettysburg College, I was enjoying my newfound freedom and meeting lots of new people. I was introduced to Craig Frost at the Phi Gamma Delta house where he was the chapter president. I am not sure my first impression was the one I was looking to make, as I think Craig’s takeaway was that I was a bit of a cocky ass! Something to do with hockey and my asking him if the college club team was any good, because I was coming from a great high school program at St. Anthony’s on Long Island. To be perfectly honest, I suspect my bravado was highly correlated to the number of beers that I had consumed that evening. Regardless of the complete details, Craig and I still laugh about that one to this day.
Despite the suboptimal first impression I made, Craig and I went on to be great teammates, fraternity brothers and lifelong friends. He was a leader on the ice, within the chapter house and ultimately in life. Two years my senior, I was privileged to have a smart, hardworking role model who was also a physics major and ad hoc math tutor! Little did I know that my interest in finance would one day lead me to financial planning and my future career. A path that would one day directly and positively impact my dear friend.
Life gets complicated
Following graduation, Craig quickly found a great job with GTE in Texas. Before long he was married and I was in his wedding. He would later be a groomsman when Kathy and I married. I am also honored to be the godfather to his first born, Tyler. Suffice it to say, our relationship has evolved and endured.
Through the years, Craig and his family relocated around the country a number of times advancing his career. While we have not always communicated consistently, our deep friendship has never strayed far from the heart. In April of 2018, Craig called me with some shocking news. Line in the sand kind of news. In his science-first, measured way Craig went on to reveal to me that he had Glioblastoma, an aggressive cancer of the brain. He quickly added that he was going to beat it. Despite my immediate shock, I understood Craig’s diagnosis, and I knew that my dear friend, my big brother, was just the man to do so.
Time creates more memories than money
In August of 2018, I flew to California to visit with him. Many of my personal fears were set aside the moment I saw him. He was the same tough minded, focused ass-kicker that I had met so many years before. Dare I say he was more focused? Our week together was extraordinary, two old friends doing what old friends do. We walked all over Marin County, and saw a Giants baseball game with Tyler. Somehow, we ended up seeing a Marilyn Manson/Rob Zombie concert and followed it up the next day with an amazing wine tasting at Duckhorn Vineyards.
On the final day of our visit we hiked in Muir Woods. We hiked for as long as the daylight would allow. There is something very special and majestic about that spot and our conversations took on a distinctly different depth and tone. As we made our way up the trail that day, I had the opportunity to walk a few strides behind my friend, in his wake, for a moment on his path. It is a moment I often revisit and will never forget.
“Living your life” Insurance
I have seen Craig twice in the past year. He continues his life on his path. Craig’s life changed unexpectedly in a single day. The good news is that his life has continued on his terms. He has a unique will, the likes I have rarely seen this up close and personal.
Craig has something else that he can rely on, too. At his kitchen table many years before he ever needed it, Craig committed to protecting his future insurability and financial flexibility for whatever comes down his path. He purchased what I like to call “living your life” insurance. This protection Craig set up ---- a cash value whole life insurance policy --- is a very useful tool that has served him well during this unexpected chapter of his life. He’s been able to supplement his lifestyle with a tax free income stream while maintaining a meaningful tax free death benefit. Even though he did not know the ramifications of his financial decision at the time, Craig took advice from this old friend to protect his family before it mattered.
Two weeks ago, Craig came to my home. He, my oldest son and I shared a memorable night of stories, sushi, first rate IPAs and lots of music. 32 years of love and laughs later, I can’t wait for our next visit.