Life insurance can be a less than fun topic to think and read about. I get it; life insurance makes you think about things that you’d rather not think about–life without your favorite people. For me, it brings up all sorts of feelings about my children, my husband, and my parents–feelings that “feel better” when they are out of sight and out of mind. So why am I going there?
We just realized that my husband did not have enough life insurance to allow me and my children to keep going very long if he died. It was not fun thinking about my life without him. It was also not fun thinking that I could very well be single for the next 40+ years of my life and the sole supporter of my family. But, I certainly don’t want to crowd fund and ask friends and strangers to contribute money to our family so my kids can keep playing soccer and we can stay in our house.
Purchasing life insurance is actually pretty easy and really doesn’t cost as much as you think. Let’s just lay it on the line. Life insurance does cost money. But it probably doesn’t cost as much as you think it does. Nobody wants their family to be worried about money and expenses–funeral expenses, monthly bills, loans, college tuition, club soccer fees, etc. when they die. The whole death and funeral thing is horrible enough to get through.
So here is what we did. We bought some more life insurance. Yes, it is an additional expense on top of all our other bills but both my husband and I agreed it was important to us. Here are a few simple tweaks I made to fit it into our budget and make sure that where our money went matched our priorities.
- Find the “little” money.
I was painfully honest about all the “little” money I spend during the week. Little money is money that isn’t a big amount but certainly adds up over time – like buying lunch when I brought it from home, stopping for dinner out because I am not in the mood for what is in the house, the latte that I get when weekend grocery shopping and the gourmet dog treats I buy my beloved Shih Tzu. No judgment please. There are plenty more examples but you get the picture.
- “Little” money adds up to big money over time.
That “little” money added up to a pretty significant amount over the course of a month. I decided to cut back on buying lunch (I don’t really need the french fries) and have committed to always having pasta in the house (how hard is it to boil water?) and lattes are really just expensive coffee and hot milk–easy cancel. I will still buy the gourmet dog treats. Again, no judgment please.
- You’ve got to move it!
Every week, I take the equivalent of the “little” money that I would have spent and transfer it out of my checking account into a different account that I don’t have a debit card for. If I can’t see it or get to it–I don’t spend it.
- Remember the “why.”
I am not a strictly disciplined person. Some people are and good for them! I get caught up in the moment and can easily forget long term goals. I have to remember why I am working toward those goals and what it means to my family’s future. Here’s one thing that helps me. I keep pictures of my kids in my wallet. I love the reminder of how much they have grown and how fast it’s happened. It also reminds me how quickly life can change and what is at stake every time I make a choice that doesn’t match up with my values. It is still uncomfortable thinking about losing people I love, but knowing that my family will be okay financially is one less worry.
I know this plan might sound really good in writing and you might already be thinking of a million reasons why this won’t or can’t work for you. Life is busy and there are a lot of other things you have to take care of – getting dinner on the table, paying bills, and living life. I get it. It’s easy to get distracted from our goals and what we value. But it can be just as easy to get back on track. Just take a few minutes to think about what is really important to you, today and tomorrow, and if where you spend your money matches that. I bet you will find a lot of things that match and some things that can be tweaked, including paying for the life insurance you didn’t think you could afford.