Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Death and taxes: April 15 is coming up so I've been working on my taxes. I've been thinking about death, too (are we having fun yet?) The topic of life insurance came up today when I was doing some research for one of my clients on catastrophic healthcare costs (another light topic). I came across this quote from a recent issue Health Affairs: "Social Security survivors' benefits provide monthly income to 7.5 million Americans, roughly equivalent to a $400,000 life insurance policy for each worker. FYI, survivors' benefits go to the children of the deceased worker." This is an important aspect of Social Security and a key reason in my view not to privatized the system. My dad died without life insurance. Why this occurred is a source of some dispute in my family. In any event, I was only 11 years old and his death was financial catastrophe for my family. My mother sold our home in Scarsdale and we moved to a lower-middle-class suburb. She did receive a monthly check from Social Security for my welfare until I turned 18. It made a big difference. So dads, is your life insurance policy up to date? I've got $750,000 in coverage. I've been buying term insurance for 25 years and now I regret not getting a whole life policy so I'd have some inside value. Live and learn (pun intended). Let's close on a positive note. Remember what Woody Allen said: "On the plus side, death is one of the few things that can be done as easily as lying down."


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