Dear Insurance Adviser,
What should an almost 55-year-old man do about life insurance if he has none, other than through his employer? (In other words, if he is not employed there — no insurance.) He has a wife, a teenage child and some concerns about this situation. (Or at least his wife does.) Is he “too old” to begin? And where would we begin to look into this? What kind of costs are we looking at? Let me add, we would primarily look for cost of death/funeral money and perhaps a bit more to supplement.
— Worried Wife

Dear Worried,
People should buy life insurance when those they care about are dependent upon them financially. If your husband is 55 years old with a family dependent on his income and he carries no life insurance outside of work, you should be worried! (If he is dependent on your income and you don’t carry life insurance either, he should be worried, too!)

You asked the question: “Is it too late?” No, it’s never too late, as long as his health is good enough to qualify medically for life insurance. Assuming he is still in good health and that you cannot afford a lot for life insurance, buy a 10-year level term life insurance policy. It’s the least expensive life insurance you can buy today. Plus, it’s a long enough time frame to cover your teenager through the college years.

Make sure the policy includes a conversion right — the right to exchange the term policy for a permanent policy when the 10-year period expires, in case at that time he can’t qualify medically for a new life insurance policy.

Oh, and please buy a bit more than the “cost of death/funeral money and perhaps a bit more to supplement.” If he is a healthy nonsmoker, you can buy $500,000 of coverage for less than $100 a month. The only thing worse for a family than losing a parent or spouse is losing that person without enough money to get by comfortably.

Put all your worries behind you!

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