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Widow, 91, Sells Everything to Bury Husband

(ABC News)  A 91-year-old Arlington, Wash., widow is selling all of her belongings so she can afford to bury her late husband.

elsie_smithSmith who reportedly has only $9 to her name needs about $3000 for the funeral and to bury her husband of 46 plus years in the same cemetery as their family.  Joe Smith who was suffering for the last 2 years from Alzheimer’s passed away at the age of 88.  “I loved that man more than anything in this whole wide world,” said Elsie Smith.

This story just breaks my heart, Mrs. Smith is having an estate sale with everything in her apartment, with the exception of her and her late husband’s clothing, up for sale.  “I’d like to keep everything,” she said. “But I have to sell it.”

If this story is not proof that you must take control of your finances now, I don’t don’t know what is.  I know with the current economy everyone is cutting back on spending and you are probably one of those people who looked at your budget and tried to find ways to make cuts that would not affect your life too terribly.  Life insurance unfortunately is one place that many of us go to first to make cuts, usually dropping it all together.

As with anything else, a bit of extra care can really trim the dollars from our spending, same for life insurance but without reducing the quality or amount of our insurance. Here are some ways to really tighten the screws on our life insurance.

Do you need it at all?  Do you have dependents that will require your financial support after you have left this mortal toil? Do you have adequate resources  to cover funeral and burial expenses? The answers to these questions should help you determine whether or not you need any life insurance at all.

How much do you need?  Don’t rely on a guess or what someone else has, use a thorough life insurance calculator to estimate just how much life insurance you really need.  Don’t rely on an insurance salesman, empower yourself and do your homework.

No Whole.  Most companies and individual salesman will try to sell you a life insurance policy with some type of subpar investment product packed in there, look for words like “whole” or “universal”.  These policies usually earn well — for the salesman that sells it to you that is.  If you want an investment product or like the idea of earning from your insurance, buy a term policy and take the savings and put it into a Roth IRA.

Go Shopping.  Shop around for quotes.  Just like anything else, you don’t have to buy the first one you see.  And just cause cousin Johnny is selling insurance now doesn’t mean he is getting you the best deal.  Get lots of quotes.  Stay away from places like “Joe’s Insurance and Chicken Shack”, stick with reliable, large firms with a long history.

AARP / AAA  Don’t forget to check with organizations you are a member with or of course your workplace, usually these outlets offer great rates on term life insurance.  Add these to your “quote list”.

Beware the Salesman.  The insurance salesman will not doubt come at you with a great pitch about some insurance related product, something other than the basic policy that you want.  Remember, these salesmen make money by commission.  There are some products that pay them more than others.  I was a commissioned salesman, and I would always show the product that made me the most money first.  That’s how they make a living, just don’t let them sell you something you don’t need.

As you can see, with a little work you can save your life insurance from the “cut back hatchet”.  Be as prepared as possible and be financially responsible now, for yourself and for you loved ones for the inevitable future.

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