This is a tough market. These are challenging times in which to sell, build, run or promote anything–no matter who you are. But those of us who are lucky enough to be in the life insurance business get to run our business exactly as we have always done by asking the same question over and over again: “Got Life?”

Got Life? is even more relevant today and moving forward into the future. Yes…the future. Remember that concept?

The future is that orientation of the spirit that exists just beyond the horizon and is closer to us than we ever can know in any given moment of time. And our business is about that future. These are precisely the times we should be asking “Got Life?

It is not the market conditions that will negatively affect our way of life in the future–a future that begs to present itself on our doorstep in its own time, not ours. Rather, it may be the very silence that accompanies not asking the crucial question, Got Life?, that will place our families in harm’s way.

Life insurance is so basic and so fundamental that we must never stop asking everyone we meet, “Got Life”? It is so fundamental to our economic health that the U.S. tax code encourages its purchase.

No matter where we turn, there is a reason to ask, Got Life? Every lawyer designing a client’s last will and testament, a family trust, a business owner’s transfer plan or a charitable giving strategy should be asking the question, Got Life?

Every CPA working on a client’s tax plan should be asking the question, Got Life? It is our job to make sure these advisors are asking this critical question. It is our job to explain why this is such a fundamental question to ask to begin with. We have the training and tools to do so. We’ve Got Life.

Life insurance is every family’s generator. It breathes life back into families when the future suddenly arrives. It restores financial security in the form of cash exactly when it is needed. We can’t control much that happens to us in life but what we can control is how many times we ask the question, Got Life? There are many families who are happy that we did not stop asking this fundamental question.

Life insurance is the ‘just-in-case’ coverage we need no matter what stage of life we are in. The proceeds pay a family income for a surviving spouse to keep the family hearth afire. Life insurance provides the resources to fund an education or the care of a disabled child when the caregiver is no longer here. It replaces for the benefit of family members the gifts made to support a favorite charity.

It helps landowners to preserve their land for future generations while helping the environment in the process. It helps to fund retirement plans. It keeps a business going when an owner or key person is no longer here to run it. It works with different sections of the tax code to provide timely cash efficiently. Life insurance is versatile in its applications. Life insurance delivers.

Life insurance keeps dreams alive. It changes the course of life by refueling families. Life insurance is the ultimate charitable gift. There is no other gift that gives so much more back than what was put into it. It is there when we need it most. It does not need to rely on market conditions to deliver its promises. It is flexible and efficient. It can be designed to accommodate a family’s lifestyle and its changing dynamics over the lifespan.

Yes. This is the question we must not stop asking, Got Life? Got life to pay that mortgage, family debts, or outstanding tax bills? Got Life? to keep the household income going even when you’re not around?” Got Life? to pay transfer taxes or to divide up family wealth equally among children? Got Life? to exercise stock options or the gain that may accompany them? Got Life? to move the business over to the next generation without having to sell assets to do so? Got Life? to keep your family and your legacy going?

There are no guarantees in life, unless you Got Life. Yes, life insurance contracts guarantee the death proceeds under certain conditions, for pennies on the dollar–that’s discounted dollars. Life insurance can be so efficient that policies may come with an appealing rate of return on the investment of your dollars, but most importantly on the investment in your family.

In some cases, life insurance is a non-reportable asset for financial aid purposes. The policy may be protected from creditors in some states. The payment of life insurance proceeds are not a matter of public record. Got Life?

The death proceeds are tax-free and cash value policies may be tax-favored. In some cases you can get your premiums back and then some–guaranteed. Got Life? And in some cases you can receive the proceeds during lifetime to pay for long term care expenses. Got Life?

Life insurance is the security blanket that does not get tattered. It keeps promises from being broken and carries on legacies quietly. Have you asked the question of your lifetime–Got Life?–lately?

Lina R. Storm, CLU, ChFC is a Marketing Director in the Advanced Markets Unit of Boston-based John Hancock Life Insurance. You may e-mail her at lstorm@jhancock.com