The age old debates about what type of life insurance to buy and at what age a person should definitely have life insurance will go on long beyond me. But this morning I just want to weigh in on with a little different perspective.

There are two things that I think we can all agree on. If we’re old enough to have responsibilities, life insurance is a good idea and second, we don’t want to derail the family budget to have it.

So, in a nutshell, buy it as soon as you have any reason to believe you need it or buy it as soon as you can see that you might be needing it in the not too distant future. Parents and grandparents should weigh in on this as young adults may not recognize the need, never having been there before. I think parents and grandparents should be willing to pay for the insurance to get things going otherwise it may not happen and if it does happen it may not stay in force.

Why buy it when the need first becomes apparent? Two reason really. First, life insurance is all about the fact that unexpected deaths happen. If there is a need, why would you wait? Second, young and healthy is the best time to lock in long term rates. Unexpected health changes happen also. The fact that they are only paying $200 a year for $250,000 of 30 year term insurance now may not mean a thing if you are in their 20’s. I guarantee though that they will not be replacing that gem when they are in their 40’s and married with children.

Bottom line. The best time to buy life insurance is when you first start thinking that it would be a good idea to have life insurance. Get term insurance. Don’t complicate your life with overpriced and complicated cash value policies. If you want to get complicated, be patient. Wait until you have fully grasped why you have that term policy and what it really means in your life. Whole life and universal life are not an appropriate life insurance vehicle for someone too young to know their long term goals and in my opinion, once they do understand the long term picture, it’s probably still not the right choice.