Sunday Post 177: Do You Have Enough?

I was fortunate. I had life insurance on Lisa. It wasn’t a ton, but it is enough.  If invested correctly, it can make a dent in college and perhaps there will be some left for my retirement. I’m banking on the stock market!

Four years before Lisa died, our insurance agent came to our house to review our policies. At the time, I had four times more insurance on me than on Lisa. He ran numbers for us. We had our blood tests.

I decided to increase my insurance four fold and was considering doing the same for my wife. But when it came down to it, I simply doubled hers. You know why? ‘Cause it was going to cost $350 more per year.

Yep. I could have double the money I have now if I’d have spent $1,400 over a four-year period of time. That’s less than $1 per day.

This seems sort of crass for me to share about my finances. Maybe sounds like I am thinking about the wrong things. Let me assure you, THERE IS NO AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT I WOULD NOT TRADE TO HAVE MY WIFE BACK. I’d give the shirt off my back and the shirts off my kids’ backs to have her sitting by me right now. But I can’t.  And there is one thing that my insurance agent said to me that I can’t seem to shake.

When I went to complete the paperwork to get the insurance check, I mentioned my lack of vision for the future in deciding not to increase the amount of insurance I had on Lisa more than I had. My agent responded, “Danny, you gotta understand, you have more insurance on your wife than 90% of guys your age. You likely have more on her than most guys have on themselves. You actually made really good decisions.”

So if he is right, 90% of you are grossly underinsured. If something happened to your spouse, you’d be up the creek. If something happened to you, your family would likely struggle financially.

I have friends with two or three kids and a $50 or $100K insurance policy. I’m telling you, that ain’t gonna educate your kids, and it certainly isn’t going to support your family for the long haul.

It sounds like I work for the insurance industry. I don’t. I’m not getting a kickback! But I want folks to think about the future. I want folks to think about their family if something happens to them or to their spouse.

It’s hard enough to lose a loved one. Imagine doing it while wondering if you can keep your house or educate your kids. Don’t put yourself, don’t put your family, in that position.

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  1. mel ham

     /  July 20, 2014

    I don’t like dealing with wills or insurance issues but it has to be done. My mind set is to just pull it all out, be up front and realistic and then file it away. It does feel like a morbid process but there just isn’t any way around it. Your advice is correct. You have to think about things that are left when you are gone. Quality of life, college, mortgage etc. We came to the realization a year or two ago that while we work we have really good coverage but hopefully our kids will get the benefit of being out on their own when we retire. Insurance vs investments when we get older. None of us are worth more dead than alive; (I think of George Bailey with Potter on that terrible Christmas eve when the deposit was lost). The human side of survivorship is hard enough without the hardship of finishing what we started obligation wise.
    Good post much Mel

  2. Hard to force yourself to think about, but you’re right.

  3. Thank you for writing this post. So many times I *think* that I should get on to organising this and never do. This has given me a push in the right direction.

  4. I just posted a simple message myself on Facebook about upping the amount. yeah for spreading the message.

  5. Jen

     /  July 27, 2014

    In 2001 we decided to draft our wills and fund life insurance for both of us — in reality, as a response to the events on 9-11. In 2011 we visited a financial planner, who informed us that we didn’t really need that much life insurance because “what could happen at your ages??” (at this point we were in our mid 40’s with three kids — and we left his office about 30 seconds after that remark!). One month later, “J” was diagnosed with Stage 4 Colon Cancer. When I needed the wills and insurance less than a year later, everything was already in place. While it may seem morbid and something no one wants to talk about — it is SO important to plan when it’s not an issue — so what you need is there when it’s really needed. Thanks for spreading the message!

    • Danny Tanner

       /  July 27, 2014

      absolutley – I hate you found out how important that planning can be. But glad you had done it!


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