Tuesday, August 21, 2012
The key phrase is "Life Myth Busted" because I am indeed going to break down something I am VERY passionate about and that's life insurance. For those of you who are suddenly looking for the X in the upper corner, hear me out and let me get this information out to you so at least I know you can go from today on being informed and letting me do what I love...help people.
In the last few months, I have had at least 4 death claims pass across my desk. I am always saddened when I see them. A life has been lost and that's a harsh reality. Do you want to know what's even harsher? Not having any life insurance for the family or not having ENOUGH life insurance to leave behind for little more than a dug hole and pine box. I have heard the phrase, "I had not idea that they..." You can finish the sentence with "I had no idea that they...didn't have any life insurance" OR "I had not idea that they...let their life insurance expire" OR "I had no idea that they...only had a $5,000 burial policy".
No offense here, but the deceased could care less how you pay for their funeral or their final expenses. It's no longer their issue. They left it with you. If you are reading this and this has happened, you've probably looked at a photo of the deceased and said out loud, "Thanks for that." Passing away is a costly proposition and it does not just end with a funeral. Bills, taxes, mortgages, investments...they all add up to a dollar amount and without enough the project of getting it all worked out when the loved one has passed away just became a BIG bill.
The reason why I specifically mentioned "women" in the title is to not only get your attention, but to remind all the "invincible" men out there that those spouses and loved ones you leave behind need you to be responsible men and be sure that you leave them with more than enough to keep going.
TRUE STORY: I was speaking with a client years ago. He was a man in his late 40's with a wife and 3 little girls. He came to me for a benefits counseling session at his work. As we talked about life insurance I noted how his demeanor changed and he got kind of surly when he said, "I'm not getting any life insurance because I don't want some other guy sitting in my easy chair." My response to him was just about as blunt when I said, "Without some sort of financial protection for your wife and girls, you don't give them any other choice." He considered my statement carefully before declining the life insurance. He died 6 months later in a motor cycle accident.
My final encouragement to men...and women...is to be sure you have "done the math" as to what amount of life insurance will help get your family through financially after you are gone. No one wants to lose a loved one, but to lose a loved one...and a house...and the ability to feed and clothe children...and a way of life is MUCH more devastating because it's a constant reminder.
With life insure, I encourage everyone reading this to consider the following:
1 - AMOUNT. The fact that your employer pays for a $15,000 policy for you is a nice benefit, but in today's world it barely gets the funeral set. This is where "size does matter" so be sure it fits the needs of everyone you would leave behind. No one wants to be paying for your burial for 5 years on a payment plan.
2 - TYPE: Each person is different in terms of need, but it's not that difficult to figure out what you need for NOW. As life moves on you can adjust as needed. There are about 3 basic life policies out there to concern yourself with on a starting basis. Consult with a life insurance adviser to find the type of policy that is right for you.
3 - WHO/WHAT: All life insurance needs a beneficiary. This is the person who gets the funds so that things can be handled properly and in order when you are gone. Whoever or whatever you choose to leave this money to is the one you select to shut down the final pages of your life here on Earth. Choose wisely and adjust as needed.
4 - BUDGET: This sort of goes with the type you pick because what you can spend might be limited. The good news is there are decent policies out there for as little as $10.00 a month for $50,000 of death benefit (depending on how long you wait to get it). Financial advisers will advise one way and some even put you on the right path. However, insurance agents get licensed for a reason and we take our state exam for a reason. WE are the ones who deal in life insurance. Try not to get your banker and us confused.
My next blog will be to discuss the different types of life insurance and basically how they work and who might benefit from considering the different options.
In the meantime, do your homework. Figure out what you have now and what you need. Again, if you are reading this, this applies to you. No one is exempt (unless of course you have a bursting bank account with enough to be buried in your own pyramid in Egypt...then you're good).
What some advice? I'm available via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), this blog (comments section or email), facebook (Gene Ramsay - The Insurance Man), Twitter (Gene_Ramsay), and text (205-370-8453). I get texts from my trumpet students, friends and family...so why not you? I'd be more than happy to field your questions in whatever way is comfortable for you. People always seem to have "a guy" for everything. I can be your "Bugling Benefits Guy"...if you'll let me.
If you want to hear about it from comedienne Molly Shannon, here she is talking about what you just read:
If you prefer to hear from the Cake Boss himself on the subject, here you go: