I bought life insurance after a friend my age died on my birthday, even though my family advised against it
- After a friend died from cancer on my 42nd birthday, I started thinking about life and death - and protecting my loved ones.
- I asked my family for their advice on life insurance, and they told me it was smarter to invest in the market since I don't own a home or have kids.
- But it's important to me protect my boyfriend in the event of my death, so I bought a life insurance policy anyway. I don't regret it.
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I spent the day I turned 42 in or near New York's Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center as my boyfriend's best friend, who I'd become friends with too, succumbed to the disease after a 12-year battle. It was an awful time, watching someone so beloved, with such a big personality, only a year younger than me, go so soon.That he passed away on my birthday made ponder the big issues, namely life and death. I felt so helpless sitting in that waiting room, because I was. It was heartbreaking, and still is.
I also decided to get life insurance, because clearly age is no protection against fate. If I died early, I wanted my boyfriend to be protected. After all, he has life insurance on me, through his employer. I'm self-employed, but that doesn't mean I should deprive him of the same courtesy.A life insurance policy can protect your family if the unthinkable happens. Get a quote today from Policygenius »
However, it took me almost two years to actually move forward with the decision. What had seemed so pressing in the moment started to fade from my memory, but with each looming birthday, I was reminded of it again.
My family advised against it, but I still bought a policyA few months ago, I asked my family members I consider financial advisers what they recommended, and their answers surprised me. They were insistent that at my age, without owning property, and since I still don't have kids, I didn't need life insurance - more specifically, that my boyfriend wouldn't need it should I die unexpectedly at a young age, because he wouldn't have a mortgage payment or other big expense to pay."You'd be better off putting your money in a Roth IRA or anywhere else it can earn 10%, ideally, in the stock market," they told me. The idea is that my money would be earning enough that if I passed away, I could simply leave that lump sum to my boyfriend.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the purpose of life insurance for me is twofold. In part it's to give my boyfriend financial well-being, but it's also so I can stop worrying about how he'd keep up our somewhat cushy lifestyle if I weren't around.
Sure, he doesn't have a mortgage, but I want him to be able to splurge on occasional treats at Whole Foods with impunity, to take vacations, to not have to scrimp and save.If I live another 20 or 30 years, I'm fully confident I'll be leaving my boyfriend several hundred thousand dollars in savings and investments, enough to cover any costs my death might incur. But what if I get hit by a bus or my next airplane flight crashes? It's the short-term financial implications that I'm most worried about.
I chose a 30-year term, lasting until I'm 73, with the option to renew until age 95. The policy costs me $92 a month ($1,065 annually), which is totally worth the peace of mind I'm purchasing.There have been times in my life when that extra expense would have been prohibitive. I feel like it's a sign of maturity that I can afford that monthly payment, and that I've taken this step out of helplessness. It feels like the ultimate adult expenditure.
Why my life insurance policy is worth every pennyWhat I learned in that hospital is that none of us are guaranteed today or tomorrow, let alone the next week or year or decade. Anything can happen, and we all hope we're the lucky ones who are blessed with good health and long lives.
I get the argument that my life insurance payments could be invested in the stock market for a higher yield, making this technically an irrational decision on my part. But we make financial decisions for both rational and emotional reasons all the time. I'll never be someone who can ignore my emotions; that's why I got the word "heart" tattooed on my arm.There are countless ways I've wasted money over the years, far more than what I'll probably pay into my life insurance over the course of its term.
For instance, I bought a fancy planner for 2017 because so many people were raving about them. I've never used it, but I have embraced the slogan that came on a sticker they sent me: "Action cures fear." In this case, it certainly did.Buying life insurance made me less afraid of my own mortality. I don't want to die in my forties, or fifties, or even sixties or seventies. I have too much I want to do on this Earth. But I'm not in control of how long I live. If the worst should happen, I'm sure my boyfriend will be sad - but at least he won't be broke.If I outlive my life insurance policy, I'll be more than happy to have "wasted" my money.
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