No one ever assumes the worst will happen. Neither did Sheila and her husband, Greg. Just the same, when open enrollment season rolled around, they looked at the checkbox for life insurance and thought, “why not?”
“We talked about it very briefly,” admitted Sheila. “Our employer automatically gave us coverage equal to one year’s salary and the option to increase it on our own. We thought: why wouldn’t we sign up? It was cost-effective and the right thing to do.”
Sheila remembers that, “Our brief conversation was if something bad happened to one of us, at least we wouldn’t have to uproot the kids and start a different life. At least that would be one less thing to worry about.”
Sheila and Greg had always supported one another. They both worked hard in their careers and shared household duties, including raising two young girls.
“When I went back to school to get my MBA, he took over more of the house duties while I was going to class,” Sheila remembers. “He was an active dad.”
Their roots grew deep into the neighborly community they lived in, where their daughters made many close friends. Life felt comfortable and safe.
It can happen so suddenly
But one day, Greg was gone. Sheila has a hard time recalling much about the first three months following his death, except for an initial state of panic.
“I immediately thought about the girls – the fact that they no longer had a father, the fear that I was going to have to uproot them and turn their worlds upside down,” said Sheila.
Life insurance brings stability
Thanks to the important decision she and Greg had made about life insurance years earlier, her fear passed quickly.
“The life insurance we had really allowed us to maintain our lifestyle. My girls were able to continue growing up in the home they loved and go to a good school,” Sheila explained. “They didn’t have to worry about all the other things that can sometimes happen when you lose a parent.”
For younger adults, the need is not always clear
In 2016, 30 percent of American households didn’t own life insurance.1 Among younger families, one in five households with children under age 18 didn’t have life insurance in 2016. Of those families, 62 percent said they would be in immediate financial trouble if a primary wage earner died.
Sheila has some perspective on why younger Americans don’t always see the need.
“Death is the furthest thing from your mind,” she explained. “At that age you’re thinking about having a family and buying your first home and getting your career started.”
No one can foresee the future, but as Sheila knows, having the foresight to protect your family with life insurance may become a great gift someday.