The Smoke and Mirrors Rewards Program


“You need insurance” they say. You need to pay money every month in case something happens and you lose all your stuff. If you do, then they might replace some of it. In the case of life insurance they’ll give your beneficiaries some money, or settle your debts. It’s called a necessary evil much like taxes and politics. I think most people can agree that taxes and politics, and by association, politicians, are amongst the most reviled things on planet earth. Insurance is a close third. Every month we plough money into a bottomless pit enriching a few clever people who are very good at selling nothing for something.

But fine, we need insurance or so we keep telling ourselves. I guess if we didn’t have so much unnecessary stuff we wouldn’t need it at all. I didn’t need it when I was younger and poor and had a car worth nothing because it was made of rust. Now that I’m older and a bit more wise (debatable) and have a lovely wife, house, three cars, pets, pool and furniture I do, just in case someone or something takes away any of the above.
These monthly cash outflows can be justified.

Monthly outflows that, for the life of me, I cannot logically justify, are paid “rewards” programs. Most medical aids have them. You pay an extra few hundred rand every month and you get to belong to their great wellness and lifestyle benefit program. But what do most people get out of this great wellness and lifestyle benefit program?

Well, they say you get discounts on certain things, including a gym membership at a big fancy completely horrendous commercial gym. They say you get discounts on your life insurance, but only if you accumulate enough points. They say you get discounts on other things too, but only if you accumulate enough points again.

So basically you’re paying them for the opportunity to score valueless points that you can’t use for anything unless you dedicate all of your time to their accumulation! People don’t have time for all that nonsense. I tried accumulating points last year after my gorgeous wife convinced me to sign up for the gym benefit, and by the end of it we’d gotten to bronze level, which meant absolutely nothing to me. I didn’t get anything for getting to bronze level, except an email congratulating me on getting there.

Rxxxx a month for a congratulatory email? I could have invested that money in unit trusts or shares or something (which is what I’m doing now).

They have once again very cleverly sold you nothing for something. I suppose you have to congratulate them. I wish I’d come up with that business plan.

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