The Elephant In The Room


The Elephant in the RoomSometimes conversations are difficult to have, yet they must be had. What we are about to have will be one of those awkward conversations, but hear me out. So, here goes nothing. Let’s just rip off the band-aid. If the unthinkable happened tomorrow, and you or your child(ren) met your demise, do you have your affairs in order? I know, I know. I am giving major Debbie Downer vibes for even thinking such a thing, let alone writing it. However, as uncomfortable as the thought may be, it needs to be discussed, and I want to be the voice of reason to get your wheels turning.  

Life insurance is an interesting topic. Did you know only a little over 50 percent of the American population has it, and the numbers are even lower regarding children? In 2021, Bankrate found that as little as 47% of Americans believe life insurance for children is necessary.

No matter which side of this topic you have found yourself on, here are a few areas to ponder as you decide what is best for your family:

When considering buying life insurance for your child, think how much easier it is to be approved. Children typically bypass the extensive health screenings required of adults, expediting the approval process. Plus, you never know what medical conditions your child(ren) may acquire over time, making it more challenging to secure adequate life insurance down the line. In addition to this, life insurance for children is much cheaper than adults. A whole life policy for a baby remains the same throughout the child’s life, so this option is much more cost-effective than adding it later. Most importantly, by getting life insurance for your little one, you are being proactive and ensuring that your ducks are in a row. That way, if the inconceivable did happen, you would be allowed space to grieve properly instead of worrying about finances during such a tough time.

The decision to ensure your child’s life is not something to be taken lightly and ultimately is up to you, but it is a subject that should indeed be addressed. This notion is the same for life insurance for yourself, too.

Research shows that some essential reasons to get life insurance for yourself are:  

  • Securing a means to cover funeral expenses 
  • Alleviating any remaining student loan debt 
  • Paying estate taxes 

Plus, it leaves your loved ones, particularly your children, financial security as they begin to pick up the pieces and navigate life in your absence. Here is where the importance of a will comes into play, too. Primarily a will ensures that your assets are managed and distributed correctly, but it plays a vital role in another way, too: guardianship.

Beyond pecuniary matters like insurance payouts, the will allows you to contemplate who would act as guardian to raise your babies if you and your spouse or partner are no longer physically here to do so. My eyes well with tears at the thought of not being around to usher my boys into their adulthood journeys, but sometimes life is just not fair, and reality might reflect our greatest fears instead of our biggest dreams.  

While it is essential to discuss your wishes with trusted family and friends, you might first consider specific qualities regarding your person(s) of interest. Why would they be an adequate guardian of your children? Are they responsible? What is their parenting philosophy? Can they take all of your children? Are they in good enough health to keep up with the demands of raising kids? Are they stable financially and emotionally? What are their core values? What is their outlook on religion? Education? Family? Discipline and more?  

You must not assume someone would stand in the gap in your absence, but actually discuss the matter so you could rest in peace knowing your children are well taken care of and loved. Give yourself the privilege of making this decision instead of possibly letting someone else make it for you down the line. I encourage you to have your requests documented in your will, but a notarized letter is a more immediate option if you do not have one yet. Be sure to include a couple of solid alternates, too, if possible. Remember, proper planning is key.  

I know no one wants to have this talk because, in a sense, it almost feels like just uttering the words is summoning this scary thought into fruition, but the reality of it is, life is finite, and death is unavoidable. I cannot think of anything worse than losing a loved one, except trying to deal with these sorts of matters in the midst of it. Give your children, loved ones, and even yourself peace of mind. Having your affairs in order allows the time and mental capacity to properly grieve because everyone can concentrate on the memory of the loved one instead of unfinished business.  

Have you yet addressed the elephant in the room?