The yet to be titled Star Wars movie featuring the early life of Han Solo and Chewbacca comes out next year (2018). The new movie is a Star Wars Anthology film about Solo and Chewy prior to joining the Rebellion. Based on the known cast, it’ll probably have some serious interaction with Lando Calrissian as well.
But what does all this have to do with Whole Life?
Let me explain.
Star Wars, and the universe that Lucas created, was a game changer when it was released. Lucas envisioned a high tech world with space travel and aliens, which was typical of this genre, but he combined it with dirty and grimey everyday problems.
This was in sharp contrast to many other science fiction films of the era in that most others viewed their worlds as pristine and shiny.
As an example, when James T. Kirk of Star Trek fame wanted some food, he asked the replicator to make it, and it did. In Star Wars, we see dinner being made much like we make our dinners, in a kitchen, by hand, by Luke’s Aunt Beru, after a long hard day working on the farm.
Common everyday problems in our real world, seemed to find their counterparts in the Star Wars universe. So when we look at the life of a Star Wars character, we can ask questions of the character and their choices that we might ask ourselves in our everyday world today.
Today we’re going to be looking at the life of Han Solo with a critical eye. I’m going to suggest that his life would have been much more impactful to his universe, had he been an owner of properly designed whole ife insurance vs term life insurance. (I do understand that we’ll have to forego some of the common underwriting objections for space smugglers and their ilk, but go with me on this one).
Three reasons why Han Solo was likely the owner of a term life policy
First and foremost we must ask who would be the beneficiary on any such policy. Han Solo is unmarried, he isn’t much of a family man early on, so who would be the beneficiary?
This is an easy one. Chewy would have died for Han, and vice-versa – so it’s likely that Han would have named Chewy as the beneficiary, perhaps under the auspices of key man insurance or some type of buy sell agreement with the Millennium Falcon as the principle asset.
I agree that his role would have been reduced once Han and Leia got together, but early on, it would definitely have been Chewy.
And the reason for the insurance would have been all the debt that Han had. If Han died without repaying Jabba, Chewy would still have been hunted down until the Falcon was given in payment – if not more. Han knew this, and wouldn’t have wanted that for his best friend.
Reason One – Han Solo was not good with money
Han was most obviously a Term Life policy owner because it’s clear that he was not good with money. Han wanted the cheapest, and most simple product out there. Maybe he went so far as to choose convertible term life insurance. But he would not have sat for long listening to the features of Whole Life, when he could have got the cheap and dirty “pure” death benefit version without much hassle.
It’s possible that some financial guru had told him that he should buy term and invest the rest. Knowing Solo, he didn’t even bother to talk to an expert or do any research on alternatives. Han Solo was impulsive, he went with his gut, and unfortunately his gut was telling him that term was the better option because it was cheaper.
What Han didn’t think about was the fact that term is called “term” because it expires after a…you guessed it, a TERM. In other words, his insurance was likely a 20 or 30 year policy that would only pay out if he died during that time frame. Han was renting insurance.
So at the end of the policy, he gets nothing. This would have been a typical rental agreement – one that rarely favors the renter, who in this case was Solo.
Reason Two – Han Solo was a Gambler
The second reason that I believe Han Solo was a term life insurance policy owner is that he was a gambler. Han doesn’t want the guarantees associated with whole life, because he’d rather take his extra cash each month and go down to the cantina and gamble with the other smugglers.
Han had been told that if he bought term he could take the other money he would normally spend on a more expensive whole life policy, and make more money gambling.
It’s actually not unlike what we hear today when people are told they can make more money by “investing” in the stock market. Han isn’t the type of guy that is interested in guarantees, especially when it costs him more money up front.
To be fair to Han here, we should also add that he probably didn’t know if he would live long enough to enjoy the guarantees of whole life, particularly the cash value life insurance aspect. So in that particular instance, it’s not surprising that a guy like Han Solo would choose to see things from a short term perspective.
Reason Three – Han Solo was Impatient
The third reason I think Han Solo was a term life policy owner is because he was impatient. It takes patience and discipline to invest in alternatives to term life such as whole life, particularly when using the policy as a home base personal finance bank. And Han Solo was not the type of guy that liked waiting around for anyone, or anything.
Think about it for a minute – Han Solo sitting down across the table from someone sharing the benefits of a whole life policy. The whole life advanced markets guru mentions that you have to be patient and wait for the cash value to build up – and as he mentions this he realizes that Han isn’t even listening to him.
Han was brave, he took risks, he was a gambler, but he was not patient. All these things meant that the guy suggesting whole life was probably in a no-win situation.
What Han missed was the fact that it doesn’t take long for a properly structured banking policy to yield some significant benefits. And these benefits may have meant that Solo would have been less likely to be in trouble with his debtors in the future.
In fact, he may have found himself in the position of being a lender if he had played his cards right. It’s hard to imagine Han Solo as the loan shark and Chewy as the enforcer, but perhaps Han as lender and Chewy as bank rep would have been a comfortable fit.
Three reasons why Han Solo could have benefited from a Whole Life policy
Now that I’ve made my case for why I think Han Solo was a term life policy owner, let me suggest what might have happened if he had chosen the better option to invest in life insurance as an asset.
I’m not going to just state why I believe whole life is often a better choice over term. I’m also going to try to suggest what may have happened in the Star Wars universe had Han Solo chosen differently.
Reason One – Han Solo could have experienced Financial Security and Stability
The first benefit that Solo would have seen if he had chosen the whole life policy, is that he would have had a far more secure and stable financial situation. It would have taken a few years for Han to build up some serious cash value in his policy, but the rewards would have been well worth it.
With a properly designed and funded whole life insurance policy Han may have had the reserves in his cash value to pay off the debt to Jabba. Han didn’t plan on the Imperials boarding his ship when he was smuggling for Jabba, so the debt was an unexpected expense.
These things happen, especially in a universe in which a Sith Lord is ruling as Emperor. But Han would have had a much better chance of paying off the debt if he had a policy with cash value reserves waiting for a rainy day.
In addition, it’s also true that all the battles that were waged between the Rebellion and the Empire probably made for a rather tumultuous economy. With the guaranteed returns of whole life, Han would have been much better suited to weather the storms that the war brought about.
Just look at our own world to see examples of Whole Life companies and policies weathering multiple world wars, economic depressions, political strife, and more. If the whole life policies fared well in our world during the past two centuries, I’m sure it would have done likewise for Han Solo in his economy.
Reason Two – Family Banking and Education
The second area in which I think Han Solo would have seen a huge benefit with a Whole Life policy is with family banking and the education of his son, Ben. A whole life policy that is properly structured would have given Han and Leia the option of banking as a family.
During the years of the Rebellion, Han would have been building up his cash value. But by the time the Rebellion won, and Han and Leia were married, he would have had a decent cash value bank.
The cash value in a whole life insurance policy can be used as a quasi personal bank. It’s likely that Han wouldn’t have been very good at it until him and Leia were married. I assume her background and education would have made her an ideal banker. She could have started out small, lending money to former rebels and family members that needed a head start in the new scheme of things. But ultimately her bank would have grown and the family would have been even more secure.
Now it’s true that Ben Solo, the son of Han and Leia, was trained by his uncle Luke. So I’m sure he was given a family discount for his education. But that is not the only training that he was given. We know that he was seduced by the Dark Side along the way, but all that education has to cost some money. In the 2015 movie, The Force Awakens, we see Han Solo without his favorite ship, separated from Leia, and taking on risky jobs again. Why? Perhaps it’s because he needed the money to pay off his son’s education!
If Han had been wise with his money and purchased a whole life policy, he may never had found the need to leave Leia. His relationship with his son may have been better as a result. We can only speculate at this point.
Reason Three – Permanent Death Benefit
I assume that you have all seen The Force Awakens, but if you haven’t, you may want to skip this section.
The third benefit that Han Solo would have enjoyed with a whole life policy is that he would have had a permanent death benefit. In other words, no matter when he died, he would have been insured.
Now the fact that one of his beneficiaries was responsible for his death may have created a conflict of interest during the payout. But for the moment, let’s assume that Han removed Ben from his policy once he saw his son following the wrong path.
No matter how you look at it, Han Solo was old when he died. If you compare the movie release dates (1977 and 2015) we have a span of almost 40 years. Term policies don’t cover people for that long, and Han would have been unwilling to pay the outrageous premium to renew once his term expired. So it’s clear that Leia would have been left with nothing, and the same goes for Chewy.
But if Han had been the owner of a whole life policy, his death would have been covered. Leia and Chewy would have both received a healthy payout from the death benefit.
It’s obvious that Han Solo was cremated in the explosion that ended the lives of many others on his last day. But even so, Leia and Chewy may have wanted some headstone or burial marker to remind them of their loved one. With the whole life policy intact, the payout could have helped pay for the costs of that expense, and perhaps the service would have reunited Leia and her son.
Han Solo was a brave and loyal hero for a just and righteous cause. But while his bold and rash decisions on the battlefield helped the Rebellion win multiple battles, these same traits cost him in his personal finances.
Han Solo would have been much better off had he chose to buy a properly structured whole life policy. Had he been given access to insuranceandestates.com he may have even found it useful to talk to one of our experts. While I love his character and his loyalty, I mourn the fact that we were unable to help him in his life.
But Han Solo lived a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. Those of you that are reading this article are here, reading this now. If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We may not be Jedi, but we’re definitely experts in our field.