When You Buy Life Insurance, It’s Not Always about You

By Lawrence E. McCullough
Insurance Producer / Farmers Insurance


WHENEVER I BROACH the subject of life insurance with a middle-aged client, their response is typically one of the following:

      “I’m not in the best of health, I likely won’t qualify”
      “At my age, the premium will be too high”

Semi-valid points, possibly, depending on the individual. 

But — I gently remind them — "this conversation isn’t really about you."

Let me share a personal story.

Thirty years ago this month, wishing to provide his peripatetic son with a basic first step toward a financially secure future, my 67-year-old father bought a large life insurance policy.

Not for him. For me.

With my young age (35) and excellent (at the time) health, the annual premium was reasonable and affordable. Now that I have attained my mid-60s, the premium is exactly the same, and the policy has accrued significant cash value (tax-deferred) with a guaranteed interest rate.

Most importantly, I possess a substantial death benefit payout available to my current family — the family I didn’t know back then I would need to provide for today.

Americans are averaging longer, more active elder lives, and the cash income available with a long-building life policy can be handy during your senior years. Having amassed value from when you were young and healthy, it's income that will be a welcome benefit to your heirs.

In addition, Americans are waiting longer to marry and start families. Yet, when children and spouses do materialize, you'll want to include life insurance in your financial protection inventory.

Three suggestions:

·      Talk to a licensed insurance professional and get more information on what type of life insurance might be best for you and your family, especially that family you might meet in the years ahead. There are several types of life insurance,  and you’ll want to find the one that best serves your interests now and in the future.

·      If you’re young (single or married), buy a policy on yourself while the premium is low and your health is good. Depending on what type of insurance you buy, you can lock in a stable annual premium that stays in place as you age, while laying groundwork for future family needs.

·      If you’re a parent, consider purchasing a policy on your child/children, no matter what their age. Their health rating will likely be best the younger they are, and you can protect their future insurability by giving them minimum coverage with option of buying more as an adult, regardless of health. Once they reach adulthood, you can switch policy ownership to them.

Buying life insurance for a child isn’t a good idea only because the child might die. It’s a good idea because they might not … and will grow old wishing they’d laid groundwork for additional income for themselves and their loved ones.

One thing I know from my experience, is that as I’ve aged, I’ve become acutely aware that my father had a lot of very smart ideas … some of which I even listened to on occasion.

In fact, that life insurance purchase turned out to be one of the best ideas I wish I’d had.