On July 30, Life Happens, a nonprofit organization that encourages Americans to take personal financial responsibility by purchasing life insurance and related products, hosted a webinar for their pro members entitled “Improving Life Insurance Coverage for Black Americans – 5 Myths and Misconceptions.” Speakers Delvin Joyce and Kristen Hall Eskew discussed solutions to several misconceptions and common perspectives the black community holds towards life insurance that translate to the basis of financial wellness for all.
Below are five common myths and misconceptions regarding life insurance discussed in the webinar.
1. “Life insurance is for final expenses/burials.”
According to Joyce and Eskew, this perspective is common among those with little education on the many benefits of life insurance. Historically, burial costs were collected via donations in an offering plate. Now, many still leave final expenses to donations but utilize technological advancements through services like GoFundMe. Life policies, however, allow Americans to take control of their family’s future well-being in case something happens to them and some policies even provide living benefits.
2. “I’m not going to make anyone rich. My parents taught me hard work and that’s what I’m going to do for my kids.”
This principle spawns from a focus on survival rather than on legacy, explained Eskew. Joyce stated that life insurance often provides the benefit of estate planning, which allows the insured to control their assets even after they have passed away. Joyce advised, “utilize life insurance and put some guardrails up around that life insurance to make sure that your kids are still growing up with that same hard work, determination, and grit.”
3. “I have insurance through my job. That is enough for me.”
“The general feeling is that ‘I worked hard for these benefits; I’m going to use them,’” claimed Eskew. Realistically, the amounts of life insurance provided by a workplace are rarely enough to safeguard a family’s income. Joyce posed the question, even if a company pays three times a year’s salary in life insurance, what happens after those three years? Private life insurance allows individuals to provide for their families long after they have passed.
4. “Life insurance is only for my beneficiaries. I’m dead so why do I care?”
“The idea is that there’re only benefits for the people that you leave behind, but the reality is… there’s so much more that life insurance can do,” explained Joyce. Various life insurance policies offer living benefits or additional riders that allow the insured to utilize some benefits while they are still living. Term policies may have optional riders that cover living benefits like chronic illness or long-term care, while whole life policies may accrue a cash value that can be borrowed upon to take out a mortgage or pay back student loans.“$1 million of life insurance is too much.”
5. “$1 million of life insurance is too much.”
$1 million seems like an immeasurable amount to most Americans, yet Joyce explained that this is not as uncommon an amount of coverage as it may seem. When meeting with new clients, Joyce likes to first measure a couple’s needs. Need is based on what they want to use the money for, be it income replacement, putting a child through college, or any number of other possibilities. After determining how much life insurance a couple needs, Joyce asks how much they think that amount may cost them. The customers usually throughout some astronomical numbers before Joyce provides an inexpensive premium that will provide his clients with enough coverage to accomplish their goals.
About the Speakers
Delvin Joyce is a National Football League veteran turned financial advisor with Prosperity Wealth Group in Charlotte, NC. Originally from Martinsville, VA, Joyce completed a B.A. in Business Marketing through James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA, before joining the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2002. In 2006, Joyce joined Prudential Financial Group where he stayed until starting his own business, Prosperity Wealth Group, in 2017.
Kristen Hall Eskew serves as the Recruiting Director at Consolidated Planning, Inc. in Charlotte, NC. Alongside her recruiting responsibilities, Eskew also spearheads Consolidated Planning’s diversity and inclusion efforts. She attended the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where she earned a B.A. in Communication and Media Studies. Eskew served in various customer service roles before accepting a position with Consolidated Planning in 2015.
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