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2 Life Insurance Myths That Leaves Black Families Behind

April 4, 2022

Growing up in Jamaica I do not remember hearing anyone speak of life insurance. It was assumed that your family will take care of you in your old age. The topic of life insurance never came up and was not a term I heard about until I came to the States and you get a sense that it is a subject that not a lot of people want to talk about.

As a child I remember hearing several conversations where love ones would try to talk to an aging or sick family member about life insurance and the first response always seems to be, “are you trying to kill me off?” As a child hearing this confused me. On one hand the person is suggesting that if they acquire life insurance then their family members would not do a good job taking care of them to get the payout faster but I knew that was so far from the truth. On the other hand, after a love one past what I saw was a lot of pain and financial hardship that the family members left behind had to deal with.

Instead of grieving, family members are having to figure out ways to pool money to bury the person that had passed away, as well as cleaning up whatever financial mess that person left behind. All because they did not want to deal or face their own mortality.

I have heard several conversations where church members would try to convince other church members that life insurance was important to have. But I got the feeling it was more out of pride than anything else. No one wants the shame of not having enough money to bury oneself. No one wanted to be included in that sort of gossip.

Knowing the little I heard from grown folks’ conversation, I remember saying to myself as a little girl I am never going to do that to my family. I was going to make sure that everything was in place so they were no questions.

But as an adult, I realized that I too have had some misconceptions and a knowledge gap when it comes to Insurance. For example, I did not acquire life insurance until I had my first child. My thought has always been to get insurance once you have a child, that way if anything should happen to me before they were able to take of themselves, they would be money to take care of them.

Why didn’t I get life insurance before I had a child? I thought the life insurance through my job would be enough to cover my funeral expenses. But life insurance is more than about funeral expenses.

Here are Two myths that leaves black families behind:

Myth #1: It is only for final expenses

I use to think that life insurance was for final expenses because that is how it was presented to me though conversations but life insurance is so much more. It can be a powerful and affordable financial planning tool. Not only can it replace lost income when you die but it can help your loved ones on a path to financial freedom and stability. It allows them to pay off the mortgage, send the kids to college debt free and so much more. By thinking of life insurance as just a way to pay of final expenses we are putting ourself at a disadvantage because the coverage ends up being too small to provide a meaningful impact for our family.

Myth #2: I’m not trying to make anyone rich

I get it, we want our kids to know what it is to work hard and reap the rewards of that labor. We want them to build character and be contributing members of society and we fear that if we leave them this large sum of money, they will be lazy and skate on by in life.

But what if we look at this another way. What if we look at leaving money behind as a way to build a legacy for the next generation? A way to grow generational wealth. I truly believe every generation should come and build on what the previous generation has done. Every generation should not need to start from the beginning. We would never see progress. If we provide our children or loved ones with the tools of the importance of working hard, earning ones keep and how to be good steward of their money then we need not to fear.

With that said, you know your kids. If you want to set some rules around the money you are leaving a ‘Trust’ is always an option. It is a way to still keep control of your money even in the grave.

As parents we want the best for our kids our family and we work hard to provide for them. Life insurance is another way we can do that. Let’s not limit our view of this tool. Life insurance is way to make sure our loved one are financially secure when we are gone.

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