Have you ever said, “I wish I knew then what I know now”? What would you have done differently, and why? The answer to that question is a moot point because we live in real time. We cannot undo the past, but we can learn from it. Likewise, we cannot predict the future, but we can plan for it.
Planning for the financial security of your family—talking about life insurance—can be a difficult topic to discuss. It centers on the fact that someday you will no longer be here to enjoy and care for those you love, and no amount of life insurance can replace the emotional support we give to the special people in our lives.
Life expectancy is just a statistical measure of an average and in no way a guarantee. People in their late 50s can have children in college, children who are getting married or any of several other financial responsibilities. It is an easy decision to protect your family through those years, but even when your children are on their own and your home is paid for, you still need adequate life insurance.
If you died today, your spouse may outlive you by 10, 20 or even 30 years, and would need to be able to take care of daily living expenses. Would he or she be able to maintain the lifestyle for which you worked so hard? Would you be able to pass on a legacy to your children or grandchildren?
According to a 2004 study by LIMRA, 81 percent of Americans say they need life insurance, but only 41 percent own an individually purchased policy. The insurance you receive as a benefit of your employment will be greatly reduced, if it doesn’t disappear altogether, upon your retirement. Although life insurance can be purchased up until age 80, your health is a big factor in qualifying for a policy, so there has to be some sense of urgency. You can also qualify for premium discounts based on lifestyle and family history.
Besides making sure your family has what they need, there are many other reasons that call for life insurance protection. Does an elderly parent or handicapped sibling rely on you for care and/or income assistance? If you own a business, do you have a plan in place for its succession? Would estate taxes put an undue burden on your survivors?
Insurance agents have many questions which they hope will make their clients uncomfortable because they also have the answers for each particular circumstance. If you have life insurance and haven’t reviewed it with your agent in the last three years, please do that immediately. It is what you know now that is most important for your family’s present and future. What you knew then is really only a distant memory… iBi