Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about life insurance, and about how it’s really a rather amazing way to love the people around you even after you are dead. I didn’t always think about it like that. I remember my father explaining the whole concept to me when I was little, and it seemed very silly to me. You were putting all this money, year after year, into something that you yourself would never benefit from. I just didn’t see the point. Of course, I was maybe nine, which just maybe had something to do with it. Still that was about as much as I thought about it for years. When I finally landed a benefits-eligible job, life insurance was one of the benefits available, so I signed up for it as an afterthought. I was much more excited about things like health insurance, and PTO.
At my work, we’ve been having a lot of employees affected by the death of loved ones in the last few weeks. Death is expensive. Cemeteries and funeral homes expect to be paid for their services. There are medical bills, travel expenses, and reduced income from missing work. Everything piles up and quickly starts to feel overwhelming. Most of the employees I’ve been dealing with didn’t have life insurance on their loved ones who are now gone. This has left them in significant financial hardship, on top of their natural grief and distress. One woman is reduced to having fundraisers to try to cover funeral expenses for her son. Another employee had the sudden expense of an unplanned trip back to Eastern Europe in order to bury his mother. Another family is trying to figure out how they will pay the burial costs after their baby grandson’s tragic accidental death.
And then there was the woman who wept in relief when I was able to tell her that yes, her sister had life insurance. Yes, all these expenses would be covered. Yes, they would have something to help them get back on their feet again. That little piece, at least, was going to be alright.
I remember too, how much of a blessing it was after my brother Jacob died four years ago tomorrow, to find out that he had a life insurance policy. It wasn’t much, but it was something. With some help from friends, it was enough that my family didn’t have to go into debt. At a time when nothing in the world seemed to be right, that little piece was a comfort. My brother loved us even after his death in a deeply concrete way by having life insurance.
If you do not have life insurance, I strongly encourage you to get some. A lot of employers offer it at low or no cost to their employees. Even if you can’t get it through work, you can purchase your own policy (particularly if you are young) for sometimes pennies a month. There is really no excuse not to have it.
Love your family. Buy life insurance.