Longevity, love and life insurance
“I hope the Lord gives us longevity,” said my father as we talked about family, his aches and aging. Dad was already in his early 80s at the time, so that comment struck me in a very profound way. I had two thoughts: First, my dad does not think he is old yet, and that no matter how much time we have on earth, it may not be enough. Thankfully, longevity is a gift to me from both dad and mom, who are in their late 80s now. I am grateful for that plus other revelations, not the least of which is to know that to enjoy this day includes planning for tomorrow. Pops delivered that lesson to me as a teenager. He made me buy a life insurance policy.
Now, as you can imagine, finding out that he had already arranged a life insurance policy for me – that I got to pay for – did not make me happy. Not one bit. “Wait a minute,” I recall whining. “I get to pay for a life insurance policy, and if I die, you get the money? This is good for me how?” Well, he explained it was good for me since it was a permanent policy with a savings feature. Dad had to tap into the savings portion of his universal life insurance policy a number of times in the course of raising us six kids, so he was setting me up with a cash value account as a kind of safety net.
There are many reasons to buy life insurance, and getting a teenager into a saving habit may be one of them. A more important reason is to replace income for your dependents if you are no longer around. This is not something only for parents of young children to consider. It is also for couples in which the death of a partner would leave the survivor in financial difficulties. Most people choose term insurance policies these days. A “level term policy” pays the same benefit amount if death occurs at any point during the term, which can be renewable from five to as many as 30 years. How to choose the type of policy depends on your needs and financial goals.
September is Life Insurance Month, and at www.LifeHappens.org you can learn more about protecting the people you love. In this economy, it is more challenging to do – and all the more important. An industry research study found that 41 percent of U.S. households have no life insurance protection at all, an all-time high for the level of uninsured. The study showed most adults rely on employer-sponsored group life insurance, which provides the lowest average amount of coverage. We’ve got some tips on saving money on life insurance. You want to be sure you read through them because paying a low premium for the wrong type of benefit is a waste of your money, so do your homework first.
Longevity is indeed a gift, and life insurance is a backup plan.