How to manufacture a Harry Potter situation for your kids

by Adam Cecil
How to manufacture a Harry Potter situation for your kids

We all remember that scene in the first Harry Potter movie (or book [or audiobook {or video game}]) where Harry sees his Gringotts vault for the first time. It’s a great little twist: we all think he’s some regular orphan who wears baggy flannels and doesn’t have a dime to his name, but in fact he’s a rich orphan who wears baggy flannels and is also a magician or something. Here’s the scene:

They don’t really get into it in the movies, but we later find out that the Potter family is a very old wizarding family, and therefore are super rich. It’s like that scene in _Titanic_ where Jack goes to the first class dinner and Rose is pointing out all of these old money families. There was probably a Potter on the Titanic, is what I’m saying, and the patriarch probably used the Imperius Curse to "convince" a steward to let them on a lifeboat. But we’re not all super rich, which is annoying and also means that when we die young in a war against Wizard Hitler, our kids don’t get a huge inheritance. They open that Gringotts vault and see your old take-out containers and the Beanie Babies you swore would pay for your retirement. There is, however, a way to guarantee that your kids find a bank account full of money when you die, no matter how much capital you have right now. It’s called "life insurance," and while that sounds about as appealing as a newt (or whatever else is disgusting in the Harry Potter canon), it’s actually a pretty great tool. So here, in three easy steps, is a surefire way to manufacture a Harry Potter situation for your kids:

1. Buy life insurance

This is the most important step in manufacturing a Harry Potter situation. Without a life insurance policy, your vault will only be full of the capital you’ve built up so far. That might be enough to live comfortably for a year, but will it be enough to send your kid through seven years of wizarding school?
You’re going to want to look at term life insurance. Term life insurance is cheaper than whole life insurance, and it lasts for the specific amount of time you need it — in this case, until the wizarding civil war is over. Typically, people buy life insurance to last until their last financial obligation is paid for, whether it be a mortgage, student debt, or sending their kid to Hogwarts.

Term life insurance is [relatively inexpensive]( A healthy person in his thirties can get term life insurance starting at around $20 per month. If you have a more complicated health history, an independent agent can help find the life insurance company with the best (and cheapest) policy for you.

2. Die while protecting your children from an evil wizard

Step number two is probably the most difficult step on the list for a few reasons. First, you have to die, which you probably don’t want to do. Second, you have to be named in a secret prophecy that marks one of your children as the one who will vanquish the big evil wizard. And trust me — it’s a lot harder to be named in a secret prophecy than it looks!
But once you somehow accomplish that prophecy, the dying part will come naturally (or, unnaturally, I guess). If you do end up surviving the wizard war (and whatever else may come your way, like cars and diseases and natural disaster), your kid will not become Harry Potter. That’s a good thing, depending on how you look at it. Someone needs to be Ron Weasley.

3. Profit

When you die, your survivors will have to mail your life insurance company a claim that allows them to collect on the death benefit. Your life insurance company will kick into action, usually sending out a check (or sometimes, even a person who will hand deliver your check) within forty-eight hours.
It’s unlikely that your kids will just be given a key to a bank vault by a literal half-giant. But if that’s the way you want it, you can set up something called a trust. In this case, a trust is a legal agreement that allows you to set in stone exactly what you want done with your life insurance benefit. Want half of it to be set aside exclusively for college tuition payments? Done. Want to fill a bank vault with gold and force the world’s largest man to shepherd your children to it? More difficult to arrange, but not impossible.

At the end of the day, none of us wants to make orphans of our children. If James and Lily Potter had any say, they’d rather be alive and poor than have a super rich orphaned child. But sometimes, life gets the better of us, and it’s better to be prepared than to allow our survivors to get knocked off their feet. Life insurance is the best way to build a safety net for your family, wizard or muggle.