You Can Lead the Way probably have 1,000 things you would rather think about than life insurance.

You probably have 10,000 things you would rather talk about with your spouse.

Good news! This topic does not have to be that yucky.

We just have to get rid of some of the muck that sticks to it –  like boredom and anxiety.

And the feeling that the whole thing is really just a racket.

Peel away the muck

Financial writer Ester Bloom does a great job of cleaning up financial topics to make them easier to handle.

She did a nifty job with her article “Life Insurance Ugh Why“: 

Do you do the mature thing and pay for life insurance, for the sake of your kids and/or your spouse? Or are you throwing caution to the winds and encouraging others to do so too?

There you have it.

She has peeled away the ambiguity and reluctance we all feel, and set us straight.

Whew! It’s nice to be rid of the messy myths and get to the bottom line.

The root of the matter

Now that we have stripped away the ugly, we can focus on the good and bad of life insurance.

Here are a few things you need to know:

No job, no benefit. Ester makes this point in her story. Many times young couples will depend exclusively on employer-sponsored life insurance.  As was the case in her tale, once the employee loses the job, they lose the coverage.

No assets, no protection.  Many young families starting out do not have the liquid assets on hand to self-insure, should they suffer the tragedy of losing a breadwinner.  So where will the money come from to pay the bills, if there is no life insurance in force?

Term – yes and no.   Many financial advisors recommend the purchase of term life insurance.  The thinking is that as you get older, you just won’t need a policy.   Could be true for some people.  Nonetheless, there are a whole bunch of reasons as to why people need life insurance in their 50s, 60s, and even 70s and beyond.   Here’s one: maximize your pension.  (If you would like to hear more on this, give me a shout).

Lead the way!

Ester hits the nail on the head.

There is no need to throw caution to the wind, and influence others to do the same.

You (yes, you!) can lead the way and do the right thing for your spouse and kids.

Have you done this already? Please, tell me in the comments below what it was like getting to the root of the matter.

  • Gil Amminadav

    I always wonder why people see life insurance as a superfluous expense. People spend a lot more on junk and forgettable entertainment per year than they would on their life insurance premiums all told, I think.

    • Keen observation. I think that people consider life insurance to be superfluous because they really don’t like facing their own mortality. Death is pretty much a taboo topic: it happens (hopefully not to us too soon), we deal with it as best we can, and we move on. Who wants to plan or prepare for it?

      The irony is that I think one reason why people fill their lives with superfluous stuff is because they don’t face death in the eye. They don’t want to think deeply about the meaning of their lives. If they did, they could find a lot to live for. They would get a lot more out of life, fill their lives with more meaningful people and projects, and almost naturally be inclined to protect it all with life insurance!

      • Gil Amminadav

        So I guess it amounts to the same thing in the end – people see life insurance as a “superfluous expense,” and instead spend money on truly superfluous junk, for the exact same reason.

        But is it because people don’t want to face their own mortality? TV, movies, internet (heck even comic books and video games) fill our lives with plenty of reminders of death. Do you think it’s still a taboo topic the way it once was?

        • There is no doubt that when I grew up, TV shows and movies were a lot less violent. Comic books were G-rated, and there was no Internet.

          Death was a serious thing. I remember hearing the evening news during the Vietnam War. Instead of saying how many soldiers were killed in battle, they gave the daily “body count.” Thinking back about it, that was kind of a morbid, bureaucratic way of saying things, but I think there was a reluctance to say the words “death” and “killed.”

          Today, death is so common you can see people killed on YouTube videos. But this is all entertainment and sensationalism. It always happens to nameless people out in the mix. The whole phenomenon is depersonalized.

          For people to really understands the impact of death on their own lives, a cultural ritual is necessary. A certain philosophy and worldview must be imparted. People must get an idea of the role they play in the scheme of things. Values – what is important in life – must be passed on.

          Preparing to die becomes part and parcel of preparing to live your life; you are mindful of the endgame.

          • Gil Amminadav

            “For people to really understands the impact of death on their own lives, a cultural ritual is necessary.”

            Very true – any ideas what a 21st century cultural ritual that includes estate planning/life insurance might look like?

          • That is a really good question. It deserves a lot of thought, but here are a few things that come to mind that for me relate to humanity in this century:

            Space exploration. We are all star-trekkers. We can longer say “the sky is the limit,” because we can travel past the sky! Watching the Moon Walk in 1969 was for me literally mind-blowing. I saw that we can accomplish fantastic things. So the ritual should help us realize our huge potential both as individuals as well as a species.

            Ecology. All things are connected. I studied environmental arts and science in college. I learned how one molecule of water could pass from me, then into the air, then into you, then into the watershed, then into the ocean, then into a swimmer in France, and on and on. I became aware that everything we do impacts the world outside of us. Quite a responsibility. The ritual should help us take that on.

            One Nation Under God. Media brings the craziness of the world right into your home. But it also brings the good stuff. We see that people are making choices all the time – for better or for worse. We all need constant reminders and encouragement to do the right thing – that we are all accountable to the Creator. The ritual should help us develop that mindset.

            Clearly, the ritual idea needs some work. But if it had these components, estate and life insurance planning would be a breeze.

          • Gil Amminadav

            Good elements to include – any suggestions as to what rituals people could do that might include them?

          • Gotta think about this. But I think it should take place at the seashore, or on a mountain. All three elements could be addressed in these places.

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