This post is in partnership with SelectQuote, and is provided for a general audience. It is not intended to act as financial or professional advice. All views expressed are my own, and were not influenced by SelectQuote.
The first time I ever thought about life insurance was when my mother insisted that I add some to the health insurance package I was purchasing as a new freelancer. I’d just moved back to Ohio after a stint in California, and I carried a large load of debt. We were sitting in a coffee shop with the insurance agent, and my mother said, “I don’t want stuck with that debt if something happens to you.” I didn’t want her stuck with it, either. I didn’t like being stuck with it myself. I bought whatever option the agent suggested and left it at that. I was 30 years old. I didn’t want to think about something happening to me. I didn’t want to think of my family’s grief overshadowed by the task of paying off my debt.
The conversation planted a seed, though. Every time I made a new acquisition in my life, I thought about how it would affect my loved ones should “something happen to me.” When I adopted my dogs, I thought about their welfare. If something happened to me, I didn’t want them to end up in the pound. And, if I did select a caretaker for them, then it wasn’t fair to the kind soul who would take them in to be burdened with the financial aspect of their care. How would I provide for my dogs if something happened to me? I had a lot of debt. I didn’t have much in savings.
I did have the life insurance policy that my mother urged me to buy through the agent. It was a “return of premium” policy, which meant that I would pay $15.69 a month for twenty years, and then have the option to get it all back in one lump sum. It’s the world’s slowest savings account, or at least that’s how I looked at it. Beyond the promise of one day getting back what I paid into it, though, I knew nothing about it. Well, except that my mother is the beneficiary.
We don’t like to think about these things. Buying life insurance and making a will are not at the top of my bucket list. (Are they on your list?) But, along with all the trails to hike and rivers to kayak, one thing does keep popping up: make sure my loved ones are provided for.
One way to make sure my loved ones don’t carry the burden of my debt, any funeral costs, and the care of my precious dogs, is this: buy adequate insurance. I’m no longer 30 years old. I’m much older now, and I’m much more able to face hard truths. I realize the need to have my affairs in order. My “affairs” include life insurance and a will. Those two items alone send a very strong message to my loved ones. That message is this: I considered you.
In considering your loved ones, start educating yourself. Don’t buy the first policy that’s put in front of you – even if your mother is standing over your shoulder. Do your research. Learn whether term or whole life insurance is better for you. Need help? Go to SelectQuote now to compare policies. They’ve got an impressive list of companies in their cache, and they have experts that you can speak with over the phone.
If you’re confused about term life insurance, know this: It covers a specific number of years. That policy I bought when I moved back from California? It will last for twenty years. That’s term. It made sense at the time. I didn’t have an employer’s plan, and I didn’t have any assets. (Plus, it was less than $16 a month! Even in the leanest times, it was an easy expense to cover.) But, over twenty years, your assets could grow to cover any debt or care obligations you’d have, or you could switch to whole life insurance at the end of the term.
Whole life insurance lasts until you die. It’s a long haul policy.
Which is right for you? Well, only you can be sure. Talk to a Select Quote expert about your age, as well as your family’s size and various ages. Because that’s what insurance is all about. It’s about family. It’s about protecting your own. It’s about sending them the message that you considered them. Whether it’s your children or your spouse or your aging parents or your rescued hounds, let them know that you wouldn’t leave them hanging. Use life insurance as a message to your loved ones. Let it say, “I considered you.”
Do you have life insurance? Did you choose term or whole? Do you have a will? Why or why not?