Many of the stresses we have in life we bring upon ourselves – not by what we do but often by what we fail to do. We fail to consider the possibility that life will take a turn we hadn’t anticipated. We fail to recognize that we’re more likely to have a disability before we turn 65, than to die before age 65.
I have a personal experience that’s an exception to that rule. When my dad was 47 years-old he was admitted to the hospital for minor tests. My dad was a school teacher full-time and a minister part-time. When he went to the hospital, they basically had to do what today would require putting a tube down your nose to look inside. But, back in that day, they would literally cut you open to look inside, and they did that.
They cut my dad open. They looked inside. They were trying to see if he had polyps in his colon. After the procedure, I went to the hospital to see him. He was in a private room and he was fine. The test went fine, and I went back to my house. I told him I’d stop by to see him the next morning on my way to the airport. I had to go to Chicago. The next morning, while I was getting dressed, my brother called me and said, “Daddy’s gone.” I thought he meant that he had been moved to a different room, but what my brother was informing me was that my dad had died.
In the process of doing this minor procedure, of course, they gave him anesthesia. The anesthesia was stronger than it should have been and, as a result, it induced a heart attack. At 47, my dad died. My mother was 44. We had a sister who was eight years old. My brother was four years younger than me. And it was just the shock of my life.
However, a week before my father died, he took me to the bank, opened his safe deposit box and he showed me all of his important papers. After 42 years of having lost my dad, I miss him every day. But, I also think about the fact that I’m grateful to have had a dad who had insurance so that my mother was not left destitute and homeless; a dad who had insurance on his bills – the mortgage on our house was literally paid because my dad had insurance on the mortgage. Although I miss him personally and emotionally, at least I have the comfort of knowing that my dad had prepared for the future in a way that many people don’t.
Insurance helps people get past grief. Insurance helps families get over bumps. Insurance protects people from being devastated completely when they lose a loved one. Also, the reality is that, insurance is one of the best strategies we can employ to close the wealth gap between our children and other children.
So many of us believe we can’t afford insurance. Life insurance is not optional; it should be mandatory. And the sooner you buy life insurance, the cheaper it is. Talk to a trusted and licensed life insurance professional to figure out what will work for you. Any insurance professional worth his or her salt will not charge you for this conversation.
It doesn’t make sense to go through all of the strategies and steps I’ve suggested to save money, to earn money, to invest in assets – only to come to the end of your life and have all of the money go to sources which you don’t approve! Or, to have all of your money eaten up by bills that you don’t have to pay, or to have all of your money go to a nursing home because you didn’t have long-term care insurance. So, protect yourself and eliminate stress before it comes. Nothing is more stressful to a family than to lose a loved one, or to have a loved one be incapacitated, without proper planning having been made.
Now that you’re focused, not only do you need life insurance, you need: health insurance, short- and long-term disability insurance, a health directive or a living will, auto and home insurance, power of attorney and a will. It sounds like a lot, but an insurance premium is always cheaper than a medical bill. Estate planners report that as many as 70 percent of Americans each year die without having a will in place. Let’s change those statistics.
We all know we’re going to die someday. Let’s protect our families and remove the extra stress. You not only want to leave your loved ones with a legacy of integrity, love and faith, but you want to leave them financially secure enough to pursue their own dreams and adjust to life without you. Plan appropriately and you’ll also live a richer, more worry-free life knowing that you did everything you possibly could do to build a safety net for your loved ones.