Ray Kroc borrowed against his life insurance policy to cover payroll and finance the first Ronald MacDonald advertising campaign
Stanford University owes its founding to the life insurance Leland Stanford collected when his 15 year-old son died in 1884
JC Penney might need some help again these days, but it made it through the Great Depression thanks to James Cash Penney's ability to borrow against his life insurance policy to meet payroll and keep operations flowing
I'm betting most of us, even the children of economists, weren't raised to ponder life insurance as an instrument of business entrepreneurship. And yet, when you think about it more broadly, is there a more compelling bet both for and against oneself, than life insurance?Surely the idea of buying life insurance now to one day leverage in one's business to cover payroll or finance debt is odd. But in some ways, "Two things of opposite natures seem to depend / On one another....," as the most famous life insurance salesman of all time, and the only one to win a Pulitzer Prize, Wallace Stevens, once wrote. I'd imagine Kroc, Stanford, Penney and many 21st century entrepreneurs might recognize themselves in these lines from Stevens' Notes Toward A Supreme Fiction:
We reason of these things with later reason
And we make of what we see, what we see clearly
And have seen, a place dependent on ourselves.