It has been well documented that I read some pretty strange books. A lot of the times, those strange books reference another book and I read that one too. This is the story of one of those obscure books that turned out to be one of the most fascinating reads I've had in a while.
The Invisible Hook is a book by Peter Leeson, a bow-tie wearing, 38-year-old economics professor who loves bizarre history. He argues that, although they were all criminals, pirates were among the first "communities" to have a self-governing nature about them. They had laws, a seniority system for rank, equality for all men (and women) when it came to treatment and share of the booty (I've always wanted to write that) and, for the sake of this blog, they had workers compensation and disability insurance.
According to historical documents, it was not uncommon for a band of pirates to have an actual charter or "articles". For instance, Captain Bartholomew Roberts, better known as Black Bart, had articles that read - if any man should become a cripple in their service, he was to have eight hundred dollars, out of the public stock, and for lesser hurts, proportionately. Put another, more modern way, if you get hurt during a plunder, you'll receive a payout of $800 dollars...equal to about 10 years of piracy (if you lived that long).
Another article reads - he that shall have the misfortune to lose a limb in time of engagement shall have the sum of 150 pounds sterling and remain with the company as long he shall think fit. That right there is income stability. Knowing that if you were to become hurt, you would receive payment for as long as you needed to recover, if you did at all, and then get back to work helped to make piracy a legitimate career choice to many European seamen in the 1700's.
So the question is, is your career choice as dastardly and dangerous as that of a pirate? Do you have enough booty saved up to cover your expenses the rest of your life if you can't work anymore? If you said NO and NO, you may want to think like a pirate and look into insuring your income for the rest of your days.
Let's face it, if it was good enough for a bunch of no-good, scallywag criminals, I'm absolutely sure it's a good idea for you. You may not have to dodge cannonballs on the way to the office every day, but there are untold dangers that we don't think about until it is too late.
Call our office and let's look at making sure your ability to earn money is protected, you scurvy dog!
Kenneth Coombs CFP CHS RRC
Ken has 13 years experience in the financial services industry, is a Registered Retirement Consultant and a Certified Financial Planner. Ken has written financial planning columns and has been a guest on financial radio and podcast programs.