Running On Empty

I don’t know about you, but I’ve run out of gas more than once in my life.  Early on, when I was still in high school and drove a red Ford pickup that didn’t have a working gas gauge, I ran out of gas more than I care to admit.  But as I got older I realized that “running on empty” wasn’t the most productive way to travel through life if you really want to experience the exhilarating wealth and richness that it can provide.

Jackson Browne sang it well years ago;

“Running on, running on empty

Running on, running blind

Running on, running into the sun

But I’m running behind.”

A compelling, rushing urgency with no clue where it leads and void of any hope or expectation as to what is to be found is not a good way to travel or plan a journey.  Never confuse motion with constructiveness because it can be easy to get caught up in the motion of life without really experiencing its wealth and happiness.

“Running on empty” is second nature to a child who has no obligations or responsibilities. Yet the sooner that child realizes that “running on empty” isn’t the solution to accomplishing what he/she wants and needs in life, the sooner real fulfillment and happiness emerge in that child’s life.

This is because helping others is the surest, fullest and wealthiest form of happiness this world has to offer.

Before we became civilized enough to realize this fact, humans spent most of their time “running on empty” pillaging and plundering other people, nations and tribes in order to obtain what they needed and wanted.  But it was never enough!  Only when we realized that our purpose as humans is to serve others did we finally experience the exhilarating wealth and richness it bears…its fruits called fulfillment and happiness.

Helping and taking care of others!  What a remarkable concept this is.  Not only does it “fill you up” with that “feel so good” chemical of the brain called dopamine, making you feel fulfilled and happy, but helping and caring for others breeds wholesome relationships and establishes secure communities.  Both of which are the essential aspects of a safer, wealthier and happier society.

As early as the Roman Senate, people have been joining together to make sure that a death or accident wouldn’t prevent those who suffered a loss from being able to take care of their needs, desires and expectations in life.  This was the beginning of life insurance and today the mutual participating whole life insurance products that we use at Life Benefits are still accomplishing this same wealthy cause.

So how much life insurance do you need to make sure you are taking care of your own?  And if you don’t have anybody who you can call ‘your own’, how much life insurance do you need to keep others from taking care of your debt, liabilities and obligations when you die?

The answer varies according to your needs, wants and desires.  But for the purposes of this blog it is important to know that most people are “running on empty” when it comes to life insurance because they don’t think they can afford it.[i]

If fact, nearly 9 our to 10 people know that they need life insurance, yet less than 7 out of 10 own it.[ii] And maybe even more critical is the fact that 1 out of every 4 people who do own life insurance know they don’t have enough![iii] That means that 7 out of 10 American households would have trouble meeting everyday expenses shortly after the death of the primary wage earner and 4 out of 10 families would have immediate trouble meeting every day expenses.[iv]

$15.3 trillion of unmet life insurance needs are found right here in the good ol’ United States today.[v] The questions remains, are you one of the people “running on empty”?

A 45 healthy head of household married male with 3 children under the age of 18 earning $80,000 a year with $45,000 in his 401k or IRA will need an additional $2,966,000 on top of any Social Security Benefits the government might provide to make sure his wife and children wouldn’t be forced to “run on empty” should he die.  Woefully few people have even $1 million of coverage, nearly a 1/3 less to cover basic needs.

And what would it cost to have the coverage needed to keep this family from being forced to “run on empty” if the father dies?  An affordable $1.15 per day!  That’s right for $1.15 a day this dad could afford a convertible term insurance policy that could be converted to participating whole life as time advances without having to prove insurability!

So are you “running on empty?  How much money do you need in order to make sure you don’t force someone you care for to “run on empty” if something should happen to you?

Here’s a rough and basic guide to measure up to:

 Age                             Current Income 

18-40                           Multiply current income by 25

41-50                           Multiply current income by 20

51-60                           Multiply current income by 15

61-65                           Multiply current income by 10

66 and up                    Multiply current income by 5

“Running on empty” is no way to express your love and care for others.  It might be excusable for a child for a time, but for an adult, it is daring and flagrant to flirt around with.  And it becomes downright inexcusable because pillage and plunder are not acceptable methods of providing needs, desires and expectations in a civil society.  Besides pillage and plunder never provide the happiness, fulfillment, wealth or richness to anybody’s life that can be had for less.

[i] LifeHealthpro. The Shocking Statistics Behind the Life Insurance Coverage Gap,  Dahl et al, 8-30-2103

[ii] Limra Life Insurane Barometer Study 2013

[iii] Genworth LifeJacket Study 2011

[iv] Limra Household Trends in US Life Insurance Ownership, 2010

[v] Limra’s 2012 report “Closing the Insurance Gap: One household at a Time”