The truth is there are times when there is a legitimate question about whether life insurance is necessary, whether it is the tool for the job. Here are five times that I would submit to you that the answer is clearly buy life insurance. I am leaving the whole issue of term insurance versus permanent insurance out of this post. I’ll beat that drum another day.
1. The most often cited and I think without any question the most obvious time that you should have life insurance in force is when you have dependent children. A person might be able to fuss about carrying life insurance just for the sake of a spouse, but with children, not carrying life insurance, is holding out there the possibility of something akin to abandonment. There really is no good argument for not making sure that you spouse and children have the means to carry on, and there is no conscionable way to justify, as a single parent, leaving your children behind for someone else to raise on their dime.
2. The next time when I can’t find any justification for not having life insurance and good sound trust in place is when you have a dependent child or spouse who is permanently disabled. They are completely and wholly dependent on your income and care and to ignore that responsibility is wrong.
3. Another time when life insurance is just a matter of good common sense is when you are a partner in a business. Your business partner (and obviously this goes both ways) deserves to know that if you die prematurely, there is money to buy your families interest in the business. This ensures they will get a fair price for all the years and work their loved one put in and it also ensures the other partner that the business won’t be squeezed to death trying to get enough cash together to take care of this fairly.
4. There are times when banks just don’t come through and friends loan money for personal or business purposes. A bank will survive if you pass away and a loan doesn’t get paid, but not accepting that responsibility when it will leave a friend or relative who went out on a limb for you in a lurch isn’t OK. In my opinion, if you’re loaning money, life insurance should be a requirement.
5. When estate taxes will gobble up all you’ve worked for it just makes good sense to have insurance in place to pay those taxes. More than one family business or fortune has been left to the federal and state governments because life insurance wasn’t in place. You worked too hard to not leave that legacy to your family.
Bottom line. It could have just as easily been ten times, but the idea carries through all of them that if responsibility for someone else exists, it needs to be addressed and not just left to chance.