September is life insurance awareness month. Ivery Arie spoke with Independent Licensed Agent, Obi Esimai from Texas, about why you should include life insurance as part of life planning.
For people who are not well versed on life insurance, please expound on what life insurance is.
Esimai: Life insurance is protection for your income and finances. It used as compensation to your beneficiary when you die to make up for loss of the income you provided. Today, life insurance and its related products have evolved into indispensable financial planning tools that go far beyond just providing for your beneficiaries when you pass to providing for you even when you are living.
What are the greatest misconceptions about life insurance coverage?
Esimai: A general belief is that the only benefit of life insurance is one’s beneficiary receiving money when you pass. Nothing could be further from the truth. Living benefits are additions to very valuable death protection. These include chronic illness and critical illness protection and in permanent life insurance that also offers cash value growth potential, there is an opportunity to strengthen one’s financial plan.
Another misconception is that life insurance only applies to older persons. The best time to own life insurance is when you are younger and healthier. You can lock in better rates and it gives your cash values time to grow.
Another misconception is that employer life insurance is all one thinks they need. Often, coverage from an employer is not enough to meet your protection needs. In addition, most times, it is not portable, meaning if you leave your job, you may be without life insurance.
Some folks also believe that once they’ve purchased insurance, they’re all set. Life insurance is a long-term financial vehicle and like all such vehicles, you should periodically review your policy to make sure it still meets your goals. As life changes, so can your need for a different level of protection or even a different type of insurance all together.
Some customers feel that term is the least expensive insurance option. Though the initial cost of term life may be lower, over time however; it could be more expensive since the cost goes up as you get older or as your health changes.
Why is it that low income and minorities, namely Africans seem to be the most populations averse to life insurance?
Esimai: The biggest culprits are ignorance, poverty mindset, lack of financial education, skepticism and suspicious beliefs. Ignorance stems from a culture where the concept of life insurance simple does not exist. In Robert Kiyosaki’s book Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids That The Poor And Middle Class Do Not, he talks about financial literacy and how low income and middle class individuals view money. I have realized that it is easier for people to dismiss life insurance as an unnecessary luxury and only for the rich or people are just too intimidated and self-conscious to discuss their finances and would rather put it off. With lack of financial education, we can all agree that there is dire lack of financial education in schools and even though the information exists, most people still need to be taught how these financial products work.
What are the overall benefits of life insurance and financial planning?
Esimai: Countless individuals and families are just one emergency away from financial catastrophe. We see it play out all the time in the Go Fund Me’s and the like. Life insurance provides a lump sum in the event something bad happens. You can never predict when something will happen, but you want to be better prepared when it does happen. Adequate life insurance takes away the stress of the unknown regarding our finances and used as part of a retirement strategy, purchase a permanent life policy that offers cash values early enough and one could have a very healthy amount of cash accumulated over time. And you do not have to wait till retirement to use the accumulated cash. That is the power of life insurance.
Esimai is a licensed independent agent in Arlington, Texas with the agency PHP (People Helping People). PHP has over 6,500 licensed agents in 49 states and Puerto Rico and is headquartered in Plano, Texas. PHP products and services include retirement solutions, annuities, life insurance, long term care, debt solutions and entrepreneurship. Contact Obi Esimai at 682-777-0801 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– by Dr. Chisom Unegbu