Planning for a Lifetime of Financial Security
Having a financial plan is critical if you want to meet certain financial goals. As I told my son once, “The future is like a boat floating down a river. You can either go with the flow and end up wherever it takes you, or you can steer it toward a destination.”
Personally, I prefer to steer.
We all have different financial objectives. Mine have always been 1). Ensure that I accumulate enough money for a comfortable retirement, while 2). Simultaneously ensuring financial security for my family.
The first step of this process is easy enough, but it requires time and patience. There are many different ways to reach that goal, but steadily investing over time is a reliable path to building wealth.
I knew that I would never inherit any money, so it was all on my shoulders to build wealth. I knew what I had to do. I formulated a plan. I executed it. The core of this plan was simply investing money into the stock market month after month for many years.
There are numerous financial sites — including this one — that are dedicated to helping people save and invest for retirement. But what about the second part of my plan? Ensuring financial security for my family?
This can be a formidable challenge for a young family. If you are a 28-year old breadwinner with a couple of young children at home, you probably haven’t yet had time to accumulate enough wealth to provide financial security if you unexpectedly died.
There is a way to bridge that gap.
Life insurance became an important part of my financial plan in my 20s and 30s. By the time I reached my 40s it was no longer necessary, because I had built enough wealth to ensure financial security for my family.
Of course, life insurance is a major industry, and there are many different varieties. There are policies that combine various financial instruments with life insurance. This is the basis of whole life insurance, which refers to life insurance policies with an investment aspect.
I recommend keeping your life insurance separate from your investments. A young, healthy person can get a term life insurance policy — insuring just the policy-holder’s life — for a price that should be affordable for most families. Save the extra money you would have spent on whole life and invest it in the market.
To proceed, make an estimate of what your family might need if you were no longer around. Consider living expenses, and even college expenses. Let’s assume for argument’s sake that you come up with a figure of $500,000.
There are numerous variations of term life insurance, but you should be able to find a policy that would pay out $500,000 in the event of your death for just a few hundred dollars a month. In fact, I had just such a policy early in my career, and it cost me about $25 a month.
The challenging part can be convincing someone in their 20s that they need life insurance. But if you have a family that depends on you financially, then you have to think about their long-term financial security. A life insurance policy to bridge that gap until you achieve a higher level of financial comfort can ensure that your family is always protected.
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