September is right around the corner – Labor Day, back to school for the kids, and the beginning of another football season. For those of us in the insurance industry, it’s Life Insurance Awareness Month. Started in 2003 by the non-profit Life Happens (http://www.lifehappens.org), LIAM, as it’s known, helps to bring a greater focus on the benefits of life insurance, as well as educate Americans on what’s new, what’s changed, and why protecting against the risk of dying too soon is so important.
Most of you probably think that life insurance doesn’t really benefit you, since in order for it to pay, you have to die. Well, yes, that’s pretty much true. But think of who it’s for. There’s a saying that life insurance is bought by only two types of people: those who love someone and/or owe someone. Do you have a family? (I’ll assume you love them, and want the best for them.) Do you owe anyone? Mortgage? Car? Credit cards? Most of you probably fall into both categories. But, according to LIMRA, an industry research group (http://www.limra.com), 95 million Americans own NO life insurance! Why? Are there that many Americans who don’t love anyone or owe anyone? Nope. There are many reasons, but mostly it’s because no one ever asked them to buy it. It’s not the cost; term life insurance is cheaper today than at any time in our history. Education is the key.
If you’re like most of us, you look at your life insurance premiums as a debt to be paid each month, instead of looking at it for the benefits it provides. So, it’s already housed in the negativity-producing part of your brain. But look at the positives. If you die, it helps your family stay in the home, the kids in their schools, the college plans to continue, all by replacing your income. Future planning can continue unabated with the proper life insurance planning. What other financial vehicle can provide all of this protection completely free of income tax? For the record – nothing. And, you can have it for pennies on the dollar. For a few dollars a month, you can provide hundreds of thousands of dollars, payable to whomever you wish, at the exact moment that it’s needed the most.
If you are in that 95 million who don’t own life insurance, please make it a point to do something about it. If you have coverage, great. Now, it’s time to make sure you have the right amount. Ask yourself: how old were you when you took it out? Were you married? Did you have kids? Own a home? How many things have changed since you last looked at it? Have you divorced? Remarried? Who gets the money if you’d died yesterday? Is your debt load higher or lower than when you first applied for life insurance? These are only a few questions that should be reviewed and answered, and if appropriate, dealt with on an annual basis. Life Insurance Awareness Month is not just a suggestion to buy some (or more), but to re-evaluate your current situation, and then make any changes that are necessary.
Dan H. Tripp has 26 years’ of experience in helping families and small businesses with their personal protection strategies. He is a foundiing member of Pointe Professionals, a Grosse Pointe, MI-based non-profit formed to provide educational and planning services. He can be reached at 313-478-4337.