None of your business, right? Life insurance is a personal choice and is generally between spouses, but let me just lay some thoughts out there so you can better understand why you understanding their life insurance status can be a big help to them.
On average I would say that I get a call a day from someone who would like to buy life insurance, “just enough for final expenses”, for their 80 something year old parent with terminal cancer. They’ve decided it might finally be their business to ensure that things are covered, but if timing is everything, well, they don’t have anything. We’ve all heard that hindsight is 20/20, so let’s pull on our grown up shorts and talk about how to avoid that too late scramble to get someone else to foot the bill.
So, why don’t people have at least some life insurance? Anyone who follows this forum knows I am a big advocate of someone in the family stepping up and talking about responsibility and then backing it up with action. Parents should talk to their adult children about life insurance and why they should have it to take care of the things in their life that they have started that need closure if they die. Whether that is debt from schooling, a business that will tank or children and a spouse who will be forced into a radical life style change, life insurance and responsibility go together. If the child just doesn’t get it (most don’t), parents need to step in and buy it for them. It might not be your responsibility, but it’s darn sure prudent. You will be picking up the pieces and life insurance is the tool that keeps that from causing a train wreck in your life.
Children, all of you 20 and 30 something young people, should be talking to your over 40, over 50 and over 60 year old parents about life insurance. Not your business, you say? When one parent dies without life insurance the other parent will hopefully have enough saved to cover those expenses. If not, it will become a family issue and everyone will be doing what they can to make up for the lack of life insurance. When the second parent dies, well, by default the kids get to clean up the mess left behind and in the absence of life insurance it’s no exaggeration to say that in can whack your budget out pretty bad. Not your business? Children, if your parents don’t get the fact that dying isn’t free, step in and buy a policy for them at least big enough to take the burden off of you and your siblings. It may only take $25,000 or $50,000 or $100,000 of life insurance to make the inevitable event, at least financially, easier to get through. The cost is small compared to how big the impact is when a death claim check is delivered.
Ponder this for a minute. How awesome would it be if your spouse died and someone came up to you, a complete stranger, and handed you $100,000 no strings attached just because they knew it was going to be a tough time? That happens but it’s exceptionally rare. But the same feeling of relief comes when you file a life insurance claim and they let you know that they’ll be send you $100,000 as soon as you send the death certificate. No strings attached.
Bottom line. So what I’ve laid out is a plan where one group that generally doesn’t have life insurance on their mind (young adults) and another group in the same boat (adults in their 50’s and 60’s) help each other out. While life insurance may not be the exciting hot family topic of the day when you stack it up against vacations and such, the one in the family who gets the conversation rolling and helps get the life insurance in place will be hailed as brilliant when it all works out. A word of encouragement for both groups. Life insurance is very affordable and unless you have exceptional needs, doesn’t have to be a large policy to make a large difference. If you have questions or want some ideas on how one group broaches the subject with the other, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.