Why Do You Need Life Insurance?
I was reminded again this weekend why we need life insurance.
A family friend dropped dead of a presumed heart attack. He had been healthy as a horse. In fact, he was found in his work clothes; he'd been ready to start his day.
He was 57.
We don't know when we are going to die. In fact, healthy people who aren't expected to die prove their doctors wrong all the time. My own father dropped dead of an aneurysm when he was only 48 years old. Who would have guessed? He "looked good".
That's why you buy life insurance. You buy it when you are "healthy" so that you'll be covered, healthy or not, if something happens to you. That's why I have life insurance -- I don't have it because I expect to die. I have it because I don't expect to die, but might just do that regardless.
I have life insurance for my loved ones -- my husband and my children -- so that, when they are stressed over my death, they won't also have to worry about finances. I have life insurance so that my children can be cared for, my husband can live on his salary, and my family will be well. That's why I have life insurance.
If you don't have any idea of how much life insurance you should have, here's a great way to estimate:
1. Pay off all your outstanding debts. That includes your mortgage.
2. Leave enough money to pay for child care for any young children for at least the first year.
3. Replace your own salary for at least a year.
4. Make sure your funeral costs will be covered.
In general, that should be enough insurance. If you have other concerns -- a spouse or child who needs special care, or tuition costs for your children for either private school or college -- then you may need more insurance. But always carry at least the basic amount that will leave your family in a position to be able to continue without you -- even if they are emotionally devastated by your loss.