(This post is part of the “Life Insurance Movement,” created by Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents. Just as with his “Roth IRA Movement,” more than 100 PF bloggers committed to write about a single issue on the same day to raise awareness.)
About six years ago I was a midlife college student and in debt after a divorce that had dragged on for two years. During that time I’d been helping my daughter as much as I could as she waited for her disability claim to be approved. (That took two years as well.)
After the divorce I figured to finish my degree on $12,084 per year – a mix of short-term alimony and leftovers from scholarships and grants. I was also determined to keep helping my daughter, since her disability payment covered rent and utilities but not much else.
One evening I had the radio on while I studied. An insurance commercial came on, one that I’d heard before. This time, it clicked: What would happen to Abby if I got hit by a bus tomorrow? I have no savings to leave her.
I called an insurance broker. Within a week I’d chosen a plan and made my first payment.
And I was finally able to let my breath out. Until then, I hadn’t been aware I was holding it.
Keeping it current
Things have improved considerably for us both since then. Chief among those improvements: Abby is no longer on disability because she found a job she can do from home. Tied for first place is the fact that she met Tim, the man she would marry.
I finished my degree and have continued to make a living writing for MSN Money and Get Rich Slowly, among others. The divorce debt is gone, and I have a decent amount of savings.
It’s my daughter’s long-term outlook that concerns me. Until recently neither she nor her husband were able to contribute much to retirement. They need to play major catch-up just as other issues surface:
- Tim’s health problems put him on disability.
- They are trying to have a baby. (Abby just turned 34, so they can’t put it off much longer.)
- His bankrupt parents have moved in.
My savings plus the 401(k) and small pension from my newspapering days won’t make much of a dent against that situation, especially if I live as long as the people in my family generally do. By the time I shuffle off this mortal coil I might have spent every dime I’d set aside.
On the other hand, that bus could take me off the game board tomorrow. To prepare for both situations, I’m keeping my life insurance current.
I urge you to talk with a financial planner about the people in your life who need protection. Life insurance is likely a part of the equation. Think about those who rely on you and make the loving gesture of insuring against future loss.
Here’s hoping you get to share cake with me at my 100th birthday party, and that you’re blowing out candles at your own century mark. But please, please prepare as though your own bus were just around the corner.