Vail Valley: It’s time to think about life insurance |

Vail Valley: It’s time to think about life insurance

Patricia French
Vail, CO, Colorado

If you died tomorrow, how would your loved ones fare financially? It’s not a pleasant scenario to think about, but not doing so can have serious consequences.

The fact is, most Americans need life insurance. If someone depends on you financially, you need life insurance. It’s that simple. Roughly 70 million adult Americans have no coverage at all, and most of those who do have far less coverage than financial professionals recommend.

Life insurance provides cash to your family after your death. It can help your family pay for funeral and other final expenses, eliminate credit-card balances and car loans, and provide loved ones with income to live on for a period of time.

Whether a person needs life insurance depends on his or her particular situation and financial objectives. For help determining if you need life insurance, consider the following scenarios:

• You’re married. Married people share a life with one another, but also share financial obligations. If you died suddenly, would your surviving spouse have enough money to pay for your final expenses and buy time to adjust to a new way of life? Life insurance can help ensure that these financial goals will be met.

• You’re married with kids. If you and your income were suddenly gone, would your spouse and kids be OK financially? Life insurance replaces lost income to help make sure those who depend on you will be provided for, no matter what life throws your way.

• You’re a single parent. As a single parent, you’re the caregiver, breadwinner, cook, chauffeur, and so much more. You need to make doubly sure that you have safeguarded your children’s future in case you are no longer there to care for them. Make sure you have enough life insurance and designate who will take care of your children in case the unthinkable happens.

• You’re a stay-at-home parent. Just because you don’t bring home a paycheck doesn’t mean you don’t make contributions to your family that would be expensive to replace. If you were no longer there, could your spouse afford to pay someone to provide the childcare, transportation, cleaning, cooking and other household responsibilities that you handle every day?

• You’re approaching retirement. The kids may be gone and the mortgage paid off, but that doesn’t mean Social Security or your savings will necessarily take care of everything that lies ahead. If you died tomorrow, would your financial strategy, without insurance, enable your spouse to maintain the lifestyle that the two of you worked so hard to achieve?

• You’re a small business owner. Life insurance can help protect your business in a number of ways in the event you, your partner, or a key employee dies prematurely. A buy-sell agreement funded with life insurance allows surviving business owners to buy the company interests of a deceased business owner at a previously agreed-on price. Key-person insurance can provide business owners with the flexibility to hire a replacement when the key employee dies.

Life Insurance Awareness Month is the ideal time for a life insurance review. Everyone should take a few minutes out of their busy schedules this month to make sure they have adequate life insurance protection. Consumers can get a general sense of their life insurance needs by visiting calculator offered by Thrivent Financial

The next step should be to contact a local insurance professional, who can conduct a more thorough needs analysis and help you find the right products to fit your specific needs and budget.

Patricia French is with Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a not-for-profit, Fortune 500 financial services company. She can be reached at 970-926-0251.

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