This is an exciting topic to discuss because, more often than not, people either buy life insurance if it's urged upon them or if they begin to experience a decline in health. While the mentioned events can provide significant motivation for an individual to purchase life insurance, we recommend a simple approach that will give you the best probability to get insurance when it is the least expensive and most needed.
When I first learned about life insurance in my early 20's, I was approached by a friend of mine while playing golf, and he asked me if I owned a life insurance plan. I said I did not, and he curiously asked me why? My response was, "I don't think I need it." We exchanged dialogue for another 5 mins or so, ultimately resulting in him changing my mind, and I ended up purchasing a life insurance policy the following day. When he explained it to me in a way that made a simple logical sense, I could see the value in buying life insurance.
Here are the main points that he used to influence my decision. He asked me, "do you ever plan on having kids someday?" I answered, "yes, of course!" He then asked me if I had any family members that would benefit from receiving money if something were to happen to me. I also responded with a yes. Here is where he GOT me. He asked me, "if you were going to buy a new set of golf clubs and you knew that same set was going to cost less if you bought it today than it would in 5 years, would you buy it now or in 5 years? I thought it was a dumb question because, of course, I'm going to want to pay less for something if I know the price is going to increase, right? Who doesn't love a good deal!? I wanted to say "duh yes," but I showed restraint and responded with my third Yes! And that's when my motivation was sufficient to buy.
I use this illustration to point out some simple truths that can help you evaluate when the right time for you to buy life insurance is. See for me, knowing that:
- At some point, I was going to have children.
- My parents would suffer financially if I passed away.
- I could lose the opportunity to own life insurance if my health status changed in the future.
These three elements gave me the clarity to proceed with purchasing a policy. The price he quoted me was $16 per month for a $150,000 - 30-year term policy that I could increase or decrease later, and to me, that was a justifiable expense. It was affordable, my family and I would benefit from it, and I knew if I waited to purchase, the price would go up. It all lined up.
In conclusion, for the readers that are digesting the story of my first life insurance policy. I feel you will find it more practical than using the traditional approach of doing a comprehensive needs analysis to replace income for 30 years, adding up assets and liabilities, getting technical with using big words, etc.
The best motivator for you to evaluate when you should buy life insurance is the three questions I was asked when I bought my first policy;
Do you have or want kids? They will be reliant on your income, so if your answer to that question is Yes, you should buy life insurance.
Will providing financial resources to your family in the event of you passing away help and release financial pressure on them? If you nod your head, Yes, you should buy life insurance.
Would you instead choose to get something at the lowest price and lock in your lowest rates than to wait and pay more for the same benefits? If you answer Yes to this question, you should buy life insurance as soon as possible. Even if you can only afford $5 per month, getting started with something small rather than nothing is what is essential. You establish a positive financial habit and can always increase your plan later if needed.