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Don’t be silly about insuring yourself

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You shouldn’t wait until later in life to consider life insurance.

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You shouldn’t wait until later in life to consider life insurance. Photo Store

Insurance is one of those things many people hate talking about.

It comes with an unearned stigma that was portrayed in the movie Hot Tub Time Machine, when John Cusack was compared to "practically being the Devil" for selling insurance.

Perhaps you’re someone who imagined you would leave your kids really well off if something happened to you. Or maybe you’re someone who doesn’t want to be "worth more dead than alive."

It’s ironic. We don’t think twice about insuring our cars, which are highly depreciating assets, but we second-guess insuring ourselves. Most people can’t fathom owning a house without insuring it and yet they may think twice about insuring those who live inside these hard-earned palaces.

Our biggest asset as young people is our ability to earn an income. During our "accumulating years," if something happens to our ability to earn money and we aren’t properly prepared, the joke is on us.

Many millennials automatically assume their work covers all their medical needs but many are unaware of the details of their group benefits. Young people care about getting dental bills covered (hello, wisdom teeth!), some massages and new eyewear every two years.

Often, young people don’t know the structure of the more expensive parts of their group benefits,  such as whether their disability insurance is short term or long term, or if they even have it. A lot of us haven’t heard of critical illness insurance. As for life insurance, well, many young people don’t think they’re going to die.

It sounds ridiculous, because it is.

Group benefits through work are great — when you work there. However, once you leave, they are gone. When we leave an employer, our personal circumstances may have changed as well.
If we wait until we are older, the same amount of insurance may cost significantly more. There is also a good chance that we may not qualify medically for the insurance anymore.

As a cancer survivor, I can tell you that once you lose your health, things get harder.

According to Peter Andreana’s article "Sudden Impact" in the October 2013 issue of Forum magazine, we are 47% more likely to experience a critical illness or disability before we retire.
One stain on your medical history can significantly affect your future insurability.

The best time to buy insurance is when you don’t need it. Once you need it, there is a good chance you can’t buy it anymore. If you lose your health, as I have, your ability to insure and protect your future is gone.

Do yourself a favour and be proactive, not reactive. Your future self will thank you and you may end up wishing you bought much more insurance than you did.

I know I wish I had. Thanks to losing my health as a teenager, I’ll never be able to buy that type of financial security planning solution again.

Vanessa Kunderman is a financial security advisor in Winnipeg. She writes every second week on money issues facing Millennials. Email her at: hello@vanessakunderman.com

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