For a lot of people reaching the big FIVE O, is a moment to ponder. “Ok. I’m halfway to 100. Most people I know who are a hundred are dead.” Maybe being over 50 life insurance should start flashing on the radar. Little blips saying “you aren’t going to live forever”.

I know for me the ah ha moment came when I got married to a lady with two children. Suddenly the idea that if I died no one was affected became a question to me. I mean she was raising two children before I got there and my death would have only interrupted her dating life and the boys might have been disappointed because I played soccer with them, but life insurance. But something rang true with me. When we got married it changed the dynamics of the family and I was responsible for that.

It was all foreign to me, but I went out and bought a $250,000 life insurance policy. I decided that it would be far better to leave my new family better off than I found them if for some reason I checked out. It was real. I had responsibilities then and 36 years later I still have responsibilities. My children (4) are grown and gone but I have a successful business and for that I carry sufficient insurance to replace income. We also have a mortgage that I wouldn’t want to leave unpaid should I pass away and I carry another policy for that and lastly my bride and I are raising one of our children’s children and because we have another ten years until she’s out on her own, I carry a policy to make sure she is taken care of for college and a new Maserati (that’s what she and I call VW bugs).

That moment is different for all of us. It used to be that a lot of people had good group benefits and life insurance was just there all of a sudden. It usually didn’t cost much, if anything, so there wasn’t a lot of thought process. Those days are rapidly becoming part of “back in the good old days” as companies sack benefits as a way to stay profitable or become more profitable. Or people left those jobs believing that there was going to be a good deal in portability. That didn’t happen in the good old days.

Sometimes the moment comes when someone we know, sometimes a close friend or family member is lost and we come to the realization that not all of us will even make it to retirement. How close does it need to be before it becomes real. My wife’s first husband died from cancer. My first wife died from cancer. Ages 40 and 33 respectively.

There isn’t a lot of graduate level brain work that goes into deciding if you need life insurance. If you have responsibilities that would belong to someone else if you died, you need life insurance. If you died prematurely and your family would be financially worse off, you need life insurance. If you have children that are dependent on you, you need life insurance. If you have a business partnership you should have business life insurance so your family will be assured of receiving your portion of the business if you die.

Bottom line. All too often the idea of life insurance becomes real when it’s needed and isn’t there. If each person we talked to about life insurance did something about it, we would never receive those painful calls from widows who found our business card in their husband’s stuff and called to see if he had purchased life insurance. So, when did it get real for you?