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Do you really need life insurance?

Posted August 07, 2013 in Advice Column

Michele Neff Hernandez and Carole Brody Fleet had one thing in common when they met: they were both young widows.

Soon they were fast friends, working on behalf of others. Michele had started a pen pal program for those who had been widowed. She then founded the Soaring Spirits Loss Foundation (SSLF). Carole had authored “Widows Wear Stilettos” and was helping widows through their experience. Together, they now team up for the SSLF Camp Widow program — weekend gatherings for widowed people that help them connect with others and reconnect with life.

Michele admits her family was not prepared with life insurance when her husband died: They thought they’d have “plenty of time” to take care of things. But as a 35-year-old widow, she found herself financially struggling. She doubled her workload, and though she was able to pay her bills, it meant significantly less time with her kids.

“That’s a residual effect that lasts a very long time,” she says. “I know for sure that even some life insurance would have made a dent.”

Carole and her husband, Mike, also thought they’d have time, but she soon found out that bad things do happen to younger people — and when you least expect it.

“We were not adequately prepared, either,” agrees Carole. “I was left in financial ruin after Mike passed away. You’re already dealing with the emotional ruin when you lose your spouse. You don’t need to compound it with financial ruin.”

Because of their experiences — and their mistakes — Carole and Michele are passionate about teaching others the importance of being prepared.

“You must know what’s going on in your financial life,” Carole says. “You must be financially prepared. And that means life insurance.”

Life insurance isn’t just for married couples with children. The need for life insurance is much broader.

“Anybody who would experience a financial loss or an emotional loss after a death will need some type of life insurance,” says Marvin Feldman, president and CEO of the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education.

Information provided by Mitch Lunn, State Farm Insurance, 616 N 15th St. Fort Dodge, 576-4171,

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