I suppose I am like most people out in the world...I had a good job which had a great life insurance policy (as long as I worked). I never gave retirement a thought-it was always too far away. I figured I would always be healthy-and when I wasn't, life insurance wouldn't be important anyway.
However, my health could not keep up during the thirty years of teaching as well as fifty plus years of life's events. The prolonged stress of teaching was probably the worst for me. Doctors had told me at twenty-eight years of age to leave teaching and go for a far less stressful job. They saw the handwriting on the wall. However, I have never been one to follow quietly along...and I have paid the price many times over.
The same holds true about life insurance. I had financial advisors who suggested I get long term care insurance and increased life insurance years ago. I always thought it was too costly.. As a single mother much of my adult life, I had far too many other things to pay for before I could find any "extra" money for extra life insurance. The thought of paying for something for years on end was foreign to me. And all the policies were confusing to me...Now I am paying the price for my neglect.
You must take care of yourself first, but you must also be ready to leave enough behind to help your loved ones bury you. Life insurance is a MUST. It will allow the loved one(s) you leave behind to continue to live as similar a life to what they had before your death. Or, at the very least, it will allow those left behind to get by until they have been able to figure out what to do next.
Life insurance is not brain surgery... The younger you are, the better the rate. The healthier you are, the better the rate. Once diabetes or heart disease sets in, getting life insurance is more difficult and costly. Once strokes occur or dementia, the chance of getting life insurance is null and void.
I have waited too long. I didn't realize that the life insurance I had through the county in which I taught would lower to practically nothing within five years of retirement. I have tried getting life insurance from any number of sources. With my health issues, I am turned down repeatedly. The only policies I can get are those that require no exams, no questions...and these are small, usually for $10,000 or less. I also have tried getting long-term care insurance, but to no avail. Same problem: poor health.
I can't blame the companies. They are in the business to make money. They play a wonderful odds game by insuring the young and healthy. I do wonder what will happen in the future, though, when the multitude of young ‘uns have reached middle age and begun to experience ill health... I suppose the companies will just increase the premiums all around to make up the difference in profit.
In the meantime, I worry about what will happen if I need to be institutionalized (nursing homes, etc.). I have been hesitant to research that area for fear of bad news...
And so, the insurance blues are here to stay. The only bright spot is that I may have helped someone to decide to get their insurance NOW before it's too late. No one knows what is around the next corner, or what will happen tomorrow, which can change your life and health forever...
See Jacqueline Marcell's post Insurance for Long-Term Care: An Essential Primer.
Published On: April 02, 2008