Who will care if you die? Your family who loves you and needs your income.

Who will care if you die? Your family who loves you and needs your income.

The doctor says your high blood pressure and cholesterol are likely to result in heart disease, diabetes or cancer and you could die sooner than later unless you adopt a healthy diet.

Who’s going to care if you die? More people than you might imagine; your loved ones, countless friends, your employer, customers, vendors and creditors. If you are a business owner, your employees and business partners will feel the loss of a friend as well as a source of their security. Your relationships are both personal and economic.

Let’s start with your spouse. If you’re dead, what provisions will you have made to replace the income your spouse requires to pay the mortgage, buy the groceries and repair the roof? What about college for the kids or the car payments? Put another way, how much money would it take to replace your household income if you or your spouse died? With three college-bound kids, our financial planner suggested we each have at least $500,000 in life insurance to carry the surviving spouse for at least five years.

Then there’s the issue of income replacement if you’re out of work due to a disability. How long would your savings carry the family if your paycheck suddenly stopped? That’s what disability insurance is designed to do – pay the bills while you recover.

On the business side, do you have assets adequate enough to pay your business debts if you die? If you have business partners, do you want them to be able to buy-out your family’s interests if the kids or your spouse want nothing to do with the business? Do you have a key employee whose death would jeopardize the business? “Key person” insurance allows the business to buy out a family member or hire a qualified replacement to avoid business interruption.

Buying insurance is a transfer of risk. In the case of life and disability insurance, the price varies based on factors such as age, occupation and health status. But it’s hard to get insurance if you’re a high risk applicant.

So, let’s talk about risk control.

When it comes to health, changing behavior is the key. If you were a smoker at one time, think about what it took to quit. In my case, I read an article that described the chemistry of nicotine deposits in the brain that created addiction. That made sense. Until those deposits were flushed out over a three or four week period, I’d have to exhibit uncharacteristic will power. I’d also have to change behavior – find something else as a substitute. Like most ex-smokers, I ate. So now, I have great lungs surrounded by extra pounds.

Fast forward nearly thirty years. I’m still overweight and my personal metrics leave a bit to be desired. Once again, I did some reading. In this case, my doctor recommended “The China Study”. By the time I finished the introduction, I was sold. It made sense. This book is based on years of research and reams of data. The author, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, advocates a whole food diet rather than food from anything with a face. I’ve just started to change how I eat but I can tell the difference already. If the data is right, I should have a much better chance to see our kids graduate and meet the people they will marry. If you want to see a movie version of the book, try Forks Over Knives. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film three out of four stars and states: “Here is a film that could save your life.”

In Maine and New Hampshire, we have an older average age. Caring for ourselves is the best way to improve our quality of life, lower our health costs and make ourselves more attractive as insurance customers. Pick up a book, do some research or chat with your family physician to get your personal risk control plan started. Also, talk to us here at Clark Insurance about life and disability coverage – just in case.

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