Coming to terms with life

I am nearing my 50th birthday which naturally causes me to reflect on my choices over the years. While not every year has been filled with the best decisions on job choices, personal finances and past love interests, I can honestly say that I am blessed and looking forward to the next 50 years ahead.

This past fall, I had the dubious task of moving my parents from their home of 48 years into a homey retirement community. Assuming they had their affairs in order, I was shocked to learn they had no official will, no long-term care policies, and no life insurance in place to assist in managing their golden years and beyond.

Having been consumed with their situation, I have taken inventory of my own life and made some important changes. My partner of 7 years and I have a lovely home and have built a life together that we are committed to share. However, when we started talking about the “what if’s” potentially ahead, we realized that neither of us would be able to maintain the life we share should one of us die. Of course, we quickly assured each other that “old age” is still too far off to worry about it now.

Then, an interesting thing happened to me one Sunday morning while reading The Tennessean.  I found the obituaries and counted 77 people who recently died.  What really caught my attention was of realizing that almost 40% of them were my age or younger. That was a very sobering reality.

As a licensed health and life insurance agent, I have decided to take on some of these topics as it relates specifically to our community. I will focus each month on addressing insurance options to help make smarter choices for ourselves and the partners we love.

Today, I will start with a simple and powerful option – term life insurance, which offers the greatest coverage for the lowest cost.

To help determine the coverage needed, here is a checklist of expenses to consider before you decide:

  • What is your outstanding debt?  Mortgage? Automobiles? Credit cards? Student loans?
  • What would your loved ones need financially to continue living their current lifestyle without you?  Daycare? Tuition? Room and board?
  • Funeral Expenses – According to the National Association of Funeral Directors, the average cost of a funeral with burial is $13,000.  Cremation is significantly less.

Once you have considered all these factors and added the costs, you will know how much coverage is right for you and your partner. Premiums are determined by age, health condition and term of policy.

I’ll close by making one final suggestion. While talking about losing each other is no fun, it can be a very powerful experience to explore how you will honor your relationship with a plan for each other. 

I hope you will find food for thought through this column in the months ahead. Until next month, stay healthy!

Jolene McKenzie works for Insphere Insurance Solutions in Brentwood. She can be reached at (615) 594-1564 or

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