Life Insurance: You Need It

November 1, 2016

Life Insurance: You Need It

It’s always interesting when a topic—that doesn’t usually come up in your everyday conversation—randomly (or not so randomly) surfaces. And then it comes up again in another context. And yet again in another.

This was the case for me and the subject of life insurance recently. Over the past several weeks, the topic has popped up many timesbetween a talk I did, a class I’m leading, personal conversations, and some reading I’ve been doing. I take this to mean I need to continue talking about it.

My post today is not long. It is not technical. This post will not walk you through the different types of insurance (although, term insurance is usually the way to go) or the steps of determining how much insurance you need. There are tons of articles out there about that. A few to check out can be found here, here, and here.

Today’s post comes from a personal place.

Learning the Hard Way

From a very young age, I knew that I would grow up to have life insurance. I knew this the same way some girls “know” they will marry or have a large family.

Money was not talked about in my family, but the need for life insurance was. Talking about it was as natural as talking about what was for dinner or the events of the day. Of course, there’s a reason it was talked about.

My mother and father did not see eye-to-eye regarding their finances and disagreed heavily on the topic of life insurance. My mother knew it was a necessity, and my father joked that he would need to sleep with one eye open if they did get policies. He felt it was a waste of money and completely unnecessary.

As stories like this go, my father died suddenly at the age of 42. A seemingly healthy man went to bed one night and didn’t wake up. My mother—on the other hand—woke up a widow, also 42, with three children under the age of 11.

I was three-years-old at the time. I don’t remember the details of my father’s death or the aftermath that followed, but the stories told about it over the years have provided imagery almost as if I do recall those events.

Unexpected Consequences

Even without understanding at the time, retrospectively I saw the financial impact my father’s death had on our family. We immediately moved from our home in New York down to Florida where it was assumed a simpler life could be had. My mother soon married a man whom she would later divorce.

We ended up moving back and forth between Florida and New York every couple of years so my mother could complete a Ph.D.—which was also assumed would result in being able to provide better for the family. Every move meant a new school, new friends, essentially a new life.

Our entire lives were affected by the choice not to have life insurance.

Because of my family’s experience with being without life insurance, when I grew up and married, getting life insurance was a no-brainer. For several years, my husband and I were actually over-insured. It’s interesting how a bad experience can cause you to make extreme choices. (Like running out of gas at night on I-95 on a road trip from NY to FL, and then vowing never to let your gas tank dip below half ever again.)

We Are Not Promised Tomorrow

Unfortunately, there are so many people who choose not to take steps to protect themselves. Sometimes it takes a bad experience to wake us up to the things we know we need to do. Don’t let that be the case for you.

We think we are promised tomorrow. We are not. We think “those things” won’t happen to us. They do. We think we’ll get around to it later. We won’t.

While I hope you (and I) have many, many tomorrows, we need to equip ourselves in case we don’t. If you are procrastinating on this one thing, don’t. If anyone—anyone at all is dependent on your income or your presence, you need life insurance.

If you have an insurance agent, it’s time to give them a ring. Or you can get quotes from companies like MetLife, Nationwide, or Prudential.

Protect yourself and your loved ones today.

My hope for you is that this post inspires you to take action. And if it did, please let me know in the comments below!

Life insurance is one of those things we promise we'll get around to, but we're not always promised tomorrow.