I, like many Americans, have always been in pursuit of peace of mind. You know—that place where you know that even in the worst of times you will be ok. My peace of mind has always been attached to what I refer to as financial freedom.
To me, financial freedom means not having to worry about having enough to pay the bills, provide my family with their basic needs and to help their dreams come true. And, as many know, this can be a constant struggle.
Although I have lived through periods of time where Peter was robbed frequently to pay Paul, for the most part I have achieved the peace of mind that I desperately sought.
How did I achieve peace of mind?
First, before I paid Paul, I made sure our biggest risks were taken care of. I made sure that if something happened to my steady dependable income, we would have an alternative income source.
I knew that if I lost my job I could always find another one, as long as I was healthy. But what if I became seriously ill and couldn’t work? Fortunately my employer provided short and long-term disability benefits to replace my income, if that were to happen.
My biggest need for peace of mind then became making sure my husband and children would be financially ok if I should die. So to make sure my family would is taken care of my husband and I purchased life insurance. We purchased permanent life insurance that allowed us to accumulate cash value that we could access during our lifetime. It helped that the policy wasn’t just for when we died, but I intentionally overfunded it so that we could have access to cash value through policy loans or withdrawals* in the event of an emergency.
We also made sure that our policies had accelerated benefit riders, also known as living benefits, that would allow us to access the policies death benefit during lifetime if we became, chronically or terminally ill.**
How has our life insurance provided peace of mind over the years?
The first time was when my then five year old asked me who would take care of her and her sister if her father and I died. Since their grandmother lived with us and provided care for them while I was working, I told them that Grammy would take care of them. However, my five year old wasn’t having it. She said “Ya, but Grammy doesn’t work so who will take care of us?” What she was really was asking was “where was the money going to come from?” I was able to provide her peace of mind by telling her that mommy and daddy had life insurance and the life insurance would give Grammy all the money she would need to take care of them.
The second time was when my husband was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma. My first fear was losing him and then the financial fear hit—how was I supposed to be there to take care of him and continue to bring in a steady income? What were we going to do without his income? And then I remembered we had living benefits on our life insurance policies. If things got really bad we would have access to money to carry us through. Fortunately, we never had to draw on those benefits but I can’t tell you how much I appreciated those benefits and the peace of mind they provided.
Those are only a couple of times that our life insurance has provided us with peace of mind, and there have been many others. Every time we have lost a family member or friend we are reminded. Some have had life insurance and some have not. I have witnessed the financial struggles of the families of those who didn’t and the financial security for those who did.
As I’ve aged, and my health has lived up to the reputation of my family gene pool, I feel fortunate that we had the foresight to purchase life insurance when we were healthy. I know so many who are now struggling with health issues and purchasing life insurance is no longer financially feasible.
And as I look toward the next season of our lives, it gives me peace of mind that our living benefits are still there if our health declines and we should ever need to use them. If we don’t, then we’ll be able to leave my daughters a financial boost for their lives.
Some say life insurance costs too much. I rebut that life insurance is one of the only financial tools that, if you die, will pay your loved ones more than you ever pay in and you cannot put a price on the peace of mind it provides.
Ever wonder how much life insurance you need? Use this calculator to get a rough idea.
1. Policy loans and withdrawals reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit and may result in a taxable event. Surrender charges may reduce the policy’s cash value in early years.
2. Living benefits are provided by no-additional premium accelerated benefit riders.
Payment of Accelerated Benefits will reduce the Cash Value and Death Benefit otherwise payable under the policy. Receipt of Accelerated Benefits may be a taxable event, may affect your eligibility for public assistance programs, and may reduce or eliminate other policy and rider benefits. Please consult your personal tax advisor to determine the tax status of any benefits paid under this rider and with social service agencies concerning how receipt of such a payment will affect you.
Riders are supplemental benefits that can be added to a life insurance policy and are not suitable unless you also have a need for life insurance. Riders are optional, may require additional premium and may not be available in all states or on all products. This is not a solicitation of any specific insurance policy.