“Should I have life insurance?” The determining question for me is the presence of a need that can’t be met in another way.

In a world that is defined a little more each day by I, me, mine, there is a tendency to dismiss the impact that our premature death could have on those we leave behind. If a person can honestly say that their death would not affect anyone financially and that all of their responsibilities would be taken care of without life insurance, there may not be a need.

So, just for a few minutes, let’s entertain the idea that those without needs are in the minority. There are plenty who would argue that the young and unmarried don’t really have a need for life insurance, but do they really meet the litmus test of not affecting anyone financially and their responsibilities being taken care of? Do they have student loans, car loans or credit card debt? If they were hospitalized before their death do they have adequate health insurance such that no one is left holding the bag (of bills), including the hospital and doctors? Do their parents have disposable income for final expenses? I think young single people are hard pressed to make a case for not having life insurance.

What about married people with no children? In my mind marriage and responsibility go hand in hand. Responsibility equals need and I can’t think, in the absence of a large liquid estate, how any married person can argue there isn’t a need for life insurance. In my mind it is simply unconscionable to consider leaving a spouse in anything but a better financial position than when you were alive. That, at the very least, means the bills, including the mortgage are paid off. The very least!

Add children to that marriage and your responsibility goes through something akin to compound interest. You are not only leaving a responsibility behind, but a responsibility that has a responsibility to take care of other responsibilities. This, I would argue, is a need that trumps even the presence of a large liquid estate and should be addressed with life insurance.

Bottom line. There is a real problem in our country (probably around the world too, but we’ll keep it close to home) with people not stepping up to the plate and taking care of those things that they should take care of. There isn’t any rocket science involved in determining if you need life insurance, but there seems to be a real propensity for that need to be ignored when the focus is on I, me, mine. Term insurance is inexpensive. Should you have life insurance? You tell me!