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Insuring Your Life

I am a grandma! Yes! I never knew how much of a blessing it would be to become a grandma because initially, I was more concerned about being so young (I was 36 when I found out my first grand-baby was coming). However, as the year's progress and grand-baby number 2 and 3 arrived (as of today I have four), I began to realize that this 'grandma thing' is pretty cool. Every year millions of babies are born to young families confused and unprepared for the challenges of raising a family. Of course, with the support of family and friends, it becomes more natural, more manageable, and ultimately more enjoyable. But, the one thing that is often overlooked in many conversations is discussions concerning "Life Insurance."

Research shows that African American families DO buy life insurance and that many decisions regarding life insurance are connected to the idea that black families don't want to burden their loved ones with financial hurdles upon their death. This burden has been known to cause such a divide in families; arguing over expenses, where to bury a loved one, who will plan the repasts, who will eulogize the services, can the family afford the tombstone/marker, etc. In fact, a "2013 study conducted by LIMRA, an insurance marketing, and research consortium, stated that while 85 percent of Americans realize the need to purchase life insurance, only 62 percent of all Americans actually have it. The study also said that 44 percent of U.S. households had individual life insurance as of 2010 — a 50-year low. In 1960, 72 percent of Americans owned individual life insurance” (as cited in Nelson, 2015). Additionally, the same research revealed that African American families tend to own more life insurance policies than the general population (76% African American, 62% White American, 52% Hispanic) as reported by the Life Insurance Marketing Research Association and the Non-Profit Life Foundation (Dilworth, 2012).

However, many Americans are still without insurance, and as a content creator, I have witnessed several families over the past year reach out to their friends via GoFundMe in a desperate plea to receive donations to help bury their loved ones. Family members scampering to uncover the mystery of "where is mom's policies" because, despite knowing that the life insurance exists, they simply do not know where the policies are, what insurance company the plans were drawn under, or who is the beneficiary (which is another set of drama). When my father passed, he didn't have his own individual policy, but he worked and had the plan through his employer. So, it made it easier for us to identify where the policy was, but because we didn't know who the beneficiary was, it was a nightmare trying to get information about his insurance. Once we finally identified who the beneficiary was, it was a relief, and we felt confident that burying my dad would be an expense that we could manage.

So, just recently, a few months after the birth of my grandsons, I purchased life insurance for all of my grandchildren. I spoke with their parents about the insurance, where I will have the polices stored, the face value of the policies, and the beneficiary. I also have two individual policies for myself, a policy with my employer, and individual policies for my children. Although no one wants to believe or even talk about death or life insurance (when a child is born) or when a loved one begins to age or become ill, It is critical. Failing to invest in life insurance can cost your surviving family members emotionally and financially and can ultimately damage the family unit.

If you are a member of that 28% of Americans without life insurance or have not already prepaid funeral expenses (as my mom did), this is the time to consider investing. Insuring Your Life is the best thing that you can do for your family. Don't leave your family devastated and unable to mourn properly. There is nothing worse than trying to figure out how you will bury someone you love because of their failure to plan.


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