LIMRA surveys continue to show that most people (at least the grown up variety) agree that they need life insurance. The reason most often cited for not following through on that determination…..they’ve never been approached by anyone to talk about it. Not a life insurance agent or a financial adviser. Not a parent or their spouse.
As a life insurance professional this concerns me. According to some clients I have talked to who have inquired about life insurance on line, they are sure there are more life insurance agents than there are “real” people. Yet somehow no one has talked to this huge number of people?
Well, it’s not out of character for me to slightly embellish something to make a point, so it may be a slight exaggeration to say that there are more of us than there are them (you real people), but life insurance agents are certainly not on the endangered species list. Now, the number of them who are true professionals and give honest and prudent advice is a much smaller group and truly are endangered by the mega agencies that sacrifice professionalism for sales volume but that’s a subject for a different post one of these days.
My wife and I have facilitated a couple of Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University classes. After talking this whole thing over with my wife it was her take that the problem really didn’t come down to some lack of effort on the industry’s part, but rather a lack of desire for people in general to learn to intelligently deal with financial education.
We don’t teach kids how to balance a check book. We don’t teach them how to budget or save. It’s a rare married couple that will actually discuss the financial details of the very life they are partnering in.
Very often business partnerships are run with very little communication between the partners about the day to day finances, let alone long term planning about business succession. A business that actually has a plan in place for what happens if a partner or major stockholder dies, is the exception rather than the rule. So, we live in a society that wants to use financial tools, but not be educated about how to use them.
I guess what I am advocating, in a nutshell, is that we start talking with each other about life insurance. It doesn’t have to start with a talk with your local independent agent. In fact it should probably start with a talk between a husband and wife, or between business partners. Why should we have it? Why shouldn’t we have it? How much is enough? While we’re on the subject, do we already have it and have we discussed with the beneficiary what we have and why? If we have it and one of us dies, have we discussed what the surviving spouse needs to do?