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Dancing With Your Life Jacket On

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The inadvertent sinking of the Italian cruise ship by running aground on jagged rocks off the coast of Italy reminds us again how fragile and unpredictable life is. Apparently, the captain of the mega-liner was doing a bit of “show boating,” by cruising the behemoth unnaturally near the coastline and blowing its horns to amuse the passengers and attract attention to the ship. Sort of like the Tom Cruise “fly by” over the flight tower in “Top Gun.”

But, hey, that was a movie, for goodness sake; this is real life with precious cargo onboard. Just a few meters away were safe deep waters versus the treacherous rocky shallows the captain decided to navigate unsuccessfully. The cruise-line owners are apparently not sparring the captain either; instead, they’re perplexed at how little caution their captain exercised and claim human error as the cause of the disaster.

Unlike the Titanic, when the crew had hours to get off the doomed shipped after it hit the iceberg, the passengers of Costa Concordia had less than an hour to make way to safety. Still, the similarities between the two tragedies are stunning. Both were in extremely cold water and hit an avoidable large object, each tearing long gashes in the hull below the waterline. Both ships were thought very safe, “unsinkable” and “too large to fail” ocean liners. How unlikely did the tourists on those ships think such a catastrophe could occur?

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Such is life. Two Americans from the cruise ship are still missing after several days and more deaths are confirmed. It is events such as these that remind us to have current and valid wills and sufficient life insurance. Insurance isn’t solely for the rich or wealthy. It is extremely affordable. A semi-permanent, automatic renewable, 20-year Term Life insurance policy with a face amount $1 million costs less than a $1,000 per year for a healthy 44-year-old male.

And converting the term to permanent coverage when financial conditions improve or when a windfall, such as an inheritance or settlement or winning the lottery, occurs can protect future income from rising income taxes, predators and creditors. Why wouldn’t anyone simply check into the cost and availability of life insurance, regardless of one’s perceived financial assessment? A few dollars a day could mean the difference long term in tens of thousands or even millions of dollars tomorrow.

Do yourself and your family a huge favor and look into getting yourself or your spouse more life insurance. It’s never been more affordable and there’s never been a time when it’s needed more than today.