Here’s a question. As a young adult, which one of these insurance policies is the last thing you would pay for?
I’d happily say for the majority that option D, Life insurance, is the one you will contemplate the most! I don’t’ know the exact facts but I’d hazard a guess to say, young people, particularly in their 20’s and 30’s are underinsured when it comes to life.
So, let me break it down.
Legally we have to insure our car to drive it, that’s not up for debate. In reality, we will also look to insure our holidays when we go away. Just in case anything happens to us when we travel abroad.
We might even need to insure our latest, overly priced smartphone. Why not, it’s a valuable piece of kit that captures and records the good times and all the happiness. Plus, in real time it also keeps us in touch with our loved ones too.
Of course, our home is indeed very important. What would happen if it was burnt down whilst being away on that insured holiday? Our home is the place where we spend most of our lives. Happy memories are made there, and we wouldn’t want to be without it, so we insure it.
So, we have the option to protect a lot of things in our lives, but not always the single most important thing– our actual lives! It’s also rather amusing to point out that option D, Life insurance, is the only thing that will pay for all the others if anything happened to us.
When I look back at my life, I find it fascinating how I used to think about life insurance as a young adult. When Katherine was alive I would view the whole meaning of life insurance as redundant. Being in the frame of mind that we were both young, fit and healthy, we had no doubt we would live for another 50+ years. We simply weren’t going to die. We would both naturally suppress any thoughts of our own mortality and we didn’t even want to think or talk about it. As far as it went, Katherine and I were invincible.
Of course, that is not always the case for young adults, sometimes there just isn’t a future – I’m living proof of that. We went out for a walk one day as a family of 3 and returned a family of 2.
Back in mid-2016, Katherine was heavily pregnant with our daughter and we had just bought our first house. Katherine was also due to take maternity leave from work, so as you can imagine money was going to be tight for the next 12 months. We had little choice but to manage on my salary alone. We also had very little in the sense of savings due to our mortgage. So, the thought of even talking about or even purchasing a life insurance policy just wasn’t on the agenda.
Fast forward less than 12 months and Katherine had now been taken away from us. I was left widowed and a single parent to my 8-month-old baby girl. We had no life insurance and the mortgage still needed to be paid for the next 25 years. All of a sudden everything I had never thought about, came straight into view. The entire reality of Katherine’s death and the future consequences had finally hit home, harder than ever.
Throughout this period, the institution I work for couldn’t have been more understanding and accommodating. I was lucky enough to take 6 months leave from work with full pay. I also had the ability to extend my leave further on half my salary. The two big downsides to this were, A) Financially, I couldn’t afford to be off more than this length of time. B) It was only at the 6-month mark that I had only just started to grieve properly.
So here I am, with little choice but to go back to work at a very difficult and dark time in my life. All at the same time as giving my daughter the emotional support she needed and searching for the support I needed. I had to ensure the mortgage and bills got paid and I wasn’t quite ready – but I knew had to secure the future for me and my daughter. I still had to earn money, with everything else going on at the same time too.
The flood of financial worry was the last thing I needed whilst experiencing an explosive tidal wave of grief. It was so tough to balance.
For me it wouldn’t have been about the money, it would have been the greater options open to me whilst grieving. I guess if we had a life insurance policy then everything would have been a lot different. Different in the way that I could have taken more time to grieve with my daughter and to bond to her needs.
This made me realise that we, as partners or parents, don’t buy life insurance because we’re going to die, but because those we love who are left alive are going to live. It’s not for us – it’s for those we love most. So, after Katherine passed there was no procrastinating about purchasing life insurance for myself. It was the first thing I did to protect my daughter’s future.
Like most things in widowhood, I’ve learned the hard way. If every partner or parent knew what I had to learn, there wouldn’t be a single family without life insurance. It gives so much peace of mind to us, the living. It allows us, as spouses, partners or parents to show our love and care posthumously. No matter your age, protecting your family shouldn’t be an option – it should be a priority.