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Rebar to Cement Your Financial Foundation: Easing the Burden on Survivors

Coping with the loss of a loved one is difficult enough in itself. When you compound the death without enough financial resources…whew!…That’s tough. I’ve witnessed the devastation of these situations both emotionally and financially on family, friends and classmates. It is painful and some families never recoup financially.

Having adequate life insurance can help ease the burden and provide your survivors with greater financial peace of mind. Your family can use life insurance proceeds to take care of many types of expenses for your family and loved ones, including:

Pay Off Immediate Expenses* Provide for Ongoing Expenses Fund Future Expenses
  • Funeral costs
  • Uncovered medical expenses
  • Mortgage
  • Car loans
  • Credit card debt
  • Other loans
  • Taxes
  • Estate settlement costs
  • Food
  • Housing
  • Utilities
  • Clothing
  • Transportation
  • Health care
  • Insurance
  • Special needs of disabled dependents
  • College
  • Retirement
  • Financial support of parents or siblings.
  • Charitable bequests


* Expenses that the majority of people cite as reasons they own life insurance.


Despite these benefits as well as the significant rise in dual income households, life insurance ownership is currently at a 50-year low. More than 40% of Americans have no life insurance coverage at all.1

This lack of coverage and limited coverage puts way too many families at risk of substantial financial hardship if a breadwinner dies. Forty-three (43) percent of families say that they would have trouble funding everyday living expenses within six (6) months or less if a breadwinner dies. Sadly, 29% say they would have trouble funding these expenses within one month.

Even with these realities, U.S. households rank owning adequate life insurance toward the bottom of the list of nine common financial goals.

Too many households view life insurance as a resource to support their family during the transitional period only, rather than as a means to replace a lost income. Dual income households mistakenly assume that the second breadwinner will be able to continue to provide for the family adequately. 

Regardless of who’s the primary breadwinner in a dual income household, you should have some level of coverage for both earners.

I remember vividly a conversation with a potential client early in my career. We talked about his goals and aspirations for his family. We talked about his career and research on health and nutrition. We talked about his wife’s career. We talked about his mortgage obligation and desire to send his kid to college. We talked about all kinds of things. 

However, when it came to insurance, he was open to discussing everything except life insurance. And, although he had none, he didn’t want to hear it. 

He said to me—I’m paraphrasing of course, “William, thanks for asking, but don’t ever bring up life insurance again. I am not going to buy any for any reason. I don’t believe in it and I’m not going to spend my money on. It may work for others, but I have no desire to make my family rich!”

At that very moment, I knew he was not a good fit for me. To this day, I cannot understand his mentality. Life insurance is nothing more than a tool. It is not about what the wage earner needs in his or her lifetime, but it’s about what your family needs if you aren’t here to provide an income for them.

I own life insurance because I love my family. Some would say I probably have too much from their perspective. From my perspective, I can never have enough. I want my child to have the best life possible and provide him with opportunities that I did not have. 

Of course, I don’t want to spoil him, but if anything happens to me or his mom, we both want to make sure he’s provided for, can attend the best schools and universities that he qualifies for, and never has to face the financial hardships we faced as children. It’s not about making him rich financially, but giving him a rich life experience.

I assume most parents feel this way about their families, so my last question is, when was the last time you calculated your life insurance needs and whether you currently have adequate coverage. If it’s been more than two or three years, what are you waiting for?



1. LIMRA and LIFE Foundation 2015 Insurance Barometer Study.


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