Does thinking about buying life insurance make your weary? Just don’t have the time to consider buying the life insurance you know you need…at least right now? Not sure if you should even consider buying life insurance – even though you know you need it – with all your other expenses?
If you're like most people, it’s not that you don't like life insurance. In fact, three in four middle-market households (households with incomes between $35,000 and $124,999) have some life insurance, but 3 in 10 admit they do not have enough coverage. 1 You probably wouldn't mind owning additional life insurance. But it's likely that you don't like buying life insurance.
That's true for many people. Life insurance isn’t so much a financial decision as an emotional one. Thinking about buying life insurance, talking about buying life insurance, discussing the reasons for buying life insurance – all of this makes many people feel uncomfortable. Here are just some of the issues involved in why many of us put off buying the life insurance we know we need.
"I'll get to it…but not today." In a world with a whole lot of "gotta dos," buying life insurance may come off as a low-priority "ought to do."
Plus, the whole idea of buying life insurance isn't a whole lot of fun. Who wouldn't rather take the dogs for a walk on the beach, go to a son or daughter's soccer game, or spend those precious few hours of free time in an evening watching a favorite program on television rather than discussing their life insurance needs?
Nonetheless, life insurance is really one of those "gotta do" tasks that should be addressed. That's why the best strategy is just to do it -- call your New York Life Insurance Company agent, take care of it today.
"The subject is so boring, not to mention morbid. I really don't like to think about death!" No one does. It is an unpleasant subject, and let's face it, life insurance raises issue of our own mortality. Some people say the very thought of starting the life insurance buying process makes them feel stressed or weary, or just bored.
There is a strong psychological barrier to contemplating our own mortality, explained Dr. Ernest Becker, author of the Pulitzer Prize winning book, Denial of Death" (1973). “Denial of death pervades human culture," he wrote. It is a subject we’d rather ignore than address. The result can be inertia.
This is one reason people who act on their life insurance needs tend to focus on the positive aspects: The idea of meeting their responsibilities to provide for and care for their loved ones. They think of it as contingency planning, protecting their families no matter what happens. They also recognize that life insurance is really about life and love, about helping assure a positive quality of life for a surviving spouse and children if the insured dies prematurely.
"I wouldn't know where to start. I don’t have a clue which type of policy is right for me, or even how much life insurance I need.” You’re not alone. Eighty-four percent of people queried in an industry survey said that this was one reason for not purchasing the life insurance they needed. More than that, many people say they find the subject "complex and overwhelming."2
People may hate to admit it, but few of us truly understand our life insurance options. Which type of policy is better for you: term insurance or permanent? If you’re not sure, you’re not alone. That's okay because it's not your job to know. You don't have to. That's your agent's job.
Thinking you need to have all the answers about which life insurance is best for you is sort of like needing surgery and thinking you need to know which type of scalpel to use. That’s the surgeon’s job. Pick the right doctor, and all should go well. In the same respect, pick the right insurance agent, and he or she will guide you through the process of selecting the policy that best suits your needs, budget, and objectives.
"Still, I have a lot of questions." Ask them. That's what your life insurance agent is for. Your New York Life insurance agent is a licensed professional, trained to understand the many policy differences and how to design a policy that is right for each individual.
Many people do not understand the fundamentals of life insurance: why they need it; what type of policy is best for them; how much they need; when and how benefits are paid; how benefits are taxed, if at all; and more. Once again, it’s not your job to know these things. Ask your agent. Say: “Take ten minutes right now, before we go any further, and give me a mini-course in life insurance – everything from what it is to what it does to why I need it." Then sit back and listen.
"Truth be told, life insurance is not a high priority. I have many other expenses. Life insurance is last on my list compared with everything else." Once again, you are not alone. For many underinsured people, it's not so much that they don't want the life insurance they need; it's that it is difficult to find the extra dollars. They're not sure how they will afford it.
These are valid concerns. Buying life insurance you cannot afford benefits no one. If it causes your family hardship or requires you to make choices that seem incongruous ("Gee, Kids, I'd love to take you on a vacation, but our life insurance premium is due."), you'll probably discontinue the policy. Then you lose, your family loses, and even the life insurance company loses, because they're out all the expenses of issuing the policy.
That's where your life insurance agent comes in again. Your agent may be able to help you find a way to afford the life insurance you need. It’s called a win-win situation because life insurance is important and your need should not be ignored.
"No one has contacted me about my life insurance needs." Take the bull by the horns. There is no rule saying you have to wait to be called. Take the time to consult with your agent. Don't have an agent? Let New York Life help you find one in your area. It doesn't get any easier than that.
"I'm concerned about being sold by a high-pressure agent." We'd love to say it never happens, but it can. At New York Life, we try to avoid that. A quality agent is trained to be a problem solver. He or she will take the time to understand your needs, explain your options, make recommendations, and then let you make your own decision.
Agents are licensed professionals, taught to adhere to the highest standards of conduct. Your agent's role is to educate and inform, to serve as a guide to help you sort through your needs and the best way to address them.
Not ready to buy the life insurance you need? We understand the many reasons people put off their decision. Still, for your family's sake, we encourage you to contact your agent today. There is no cost or obligation.
1 Magic in the Middle Market: Financial Goals and Priorities, LIMRA, 2009
2 Trends in Life Insurance Ownership Among U.S. Households, LIMRA, 2005
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