When I was 36 years old, the only life insurance I had was the one you got free through work. I didn’t know much about it, and I certainly didn’t think I needed it. Then my mom died, and I learned first-hand why life insurance is so important.
The importance of life insurance
My mom first got sick when I was only 12 years old. I didn’t understand why she was staying at the hospital or why my dad was taking me school shopping. I was mad that I had to go to the neighbor’s house after school and that I had to eat dad’s cooking (we had a lot of grilled cheese and cereal).
Mom eventually recovered from that round, but the cancer never fully left. She came out of remission several times and was sick off and on for the next 24 years until she passed away much too young at age 65.
She owned a gift store and tearoom that I started working in when I was 15. Towards the end, when she was really sick, I ran the store. When she passed away dad and I were left staring into the abyss. What would we do with the store? Should I leave my job to run it?
Mom was great at her job; I don’t really have the talent she had. Would it still make money if I took it over? Would we be able to pay her employees? Could my dad still pay all the bills without that income if we closed it? Our minds swirled. The store and household bills did not take a holiday just because our life was in turmoil.
I can’t imagine facing a death sentence for 24 years. But my mom was a trooper and fought cancer like the dickens. She also planned ahead and thought about how dad and I would cope afterward. She didn’t want us to worry about her store; she didn’t want us to cover final expenses; she didn't want dad to struggle to pay the bills on a suddenly single income.
To ensure these things happened, she had life insurance.
How life insurance can help with the grieving process
While you are grieving, the last thing you want to worry about is money. Funerals are expensive; medical bills are expensive. My parents put a lot of money back into mom’s store, so there wasn’t a stockpile of cash just laying around. But because my mom had the prescience to prepare for her death, dad and I did not have to worry about how to pay for the funeral or the hospital bills. We could focus on grieving.
Not only did her life insurance cover the funeral expenses and the hospital bills, but it also covered her store’s bills and payroll. We were able to keep the store going until we decided what we wanted to do with it. I was able to finish graduate school without taking out more loans, and dad was able to pay off a good chunk of his home.
No one wants to think about losing a family member, but, sadly, it does happen. If something were to happen to you, wouldn’t you want to know your family would be protected? Wouldn’t you like them to be able to focus on each other and their grief rather than having to worry about money?
Nowadays, you can get life insurance policies that have a living benefit. If you are diagnosed as terminally ill, this allows you to receive some of the payout early to help with medical expenses or other things. I wish my mom would have had that. With that cushion, maybe she could have worked less and spent more time with her friends and family. Or maybe she would have had the time to take one last great vacation.
Life insurance is so flexible now. There are different policies that you can choose from including those that let you be your own beneficiary. There is no reason not to have the protection life insurance provides you.
I learned the very hard way how beneficial life insurance is. Believe me, it is a lesson I would have preferred never to know. But let my hard lesson work for you; trust my story, life insurance made a huge difference in my life and my dad’s life. I am so grateful my mom had the foresight to protect her family until the end, and afterwards.