I bought my first life insurance policy when I was 33. I woke up one day with a wife and two stepchildren and realized that they were dependent on the fact that I made a pretty good income. Because we had become a family their standard of living had changed for the better and it was my fault and I accepted that day that it was also my responsibility.
It wasn’t that anyone my age really died. I didn’t have any concept of mortality. Heck, I was still in my immortal 30’s, immune from sickness and disaster and completely in denial about the deaths I heard about. Occasionally there were people my age who died driving while blind (drunk) or cliff diving into shallow lakes. Stupid stuff. Don’t get me wrong. I did my fair share of stupid things even when I was a family man but remember, I was immortal.
My only sense of the mortality to come was hearing about older people who died from heart attacks or cancer (or driving while blind). I cruised along like that for years until one day in my mid 40’s I got a call from my Mom that my first wife, a very brief marriage from my 20’s, had died of cancer. That rocked my world like nothing ever had. She was 2 years younger than me. She was always healthy. She was immortal and now she was gone. And in the succeeding years that kind of news seemed to come a little more often and each time it just seemed, while admittedly real, just somehow completely out of context.
By then I was in my third marriage (finally got it right) and my wife was a widow. Her husband had died at 41 of cancer. By the time we reached our late 40’s I can remember having an occasional discussion about what a blessing it was that none of our family or friends had died in a while. It was very apparent that our days of immortality, which had never really, really been there, were over. We live in small town and it seemed that several times a year we would get news of someone we knew dying of a heart attack or cancer, or in a car accident, or by suicide. Even though we both owned life insurance, when we got ready to step over the line to age 50 life insurance finally made sense. There is no order or sense to when and how people die.
This week I had a client of mine contact me. He has insurance in force with me but was coming up on his 50th birthday and wanted to talk about the amount and the term length. I had a couple here in town contact me. The wife is 50 and her husband was about to turn 50. They had carried a token amount of life insurance but with both of them about to be 50, they wanted to look into increasing it. I also got a call from the widow of a client of mine this week wanting to know what to do to file a claim. My client had died of a heart attack at age 52.
Bottom line. Clearly there is no magic or evil that happens at age 50 that makes life insurance so much more important. It’s just life and as we learn growing older, life, and death happen. It’s a good thing life insurance is so reasonably priced these days because it seems that at age 50 life insurance finally reaches a relevant position in our lives. Has it in yours? It’s affordable.