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Why families need life insurance: Michigan man dies at 39

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Capital Region families, like families worldwide, recently learned of the death, at age 39, of a father of sextuplets.

Ben Van Houten died Wednesday night from a sudden heart attack, confirmed the Dykstra Life Story Funeral Homes in Holland, MI.

Van Houten lived in the Holland area in western Michigan. In 2004, his wife, Amy, gave birth to six children over three days at a Grand Rapids hospital. They're now 10 years old. The kids were joined by a sister, now 7.

At this time, it's necessary to ask, was the family properly covered with life insurance? Their grief must be astounding. But that anguish cannot be compounded with sudden poverty.

Life insurance is critical at moments like this. Ask these questions:

  1. What’s its purpose? Life insurance should really be called “death protection” because its purpose is to protect the family against the premature death of a breadwinner or a caregiver. It acts as a substitute for income. The potential risk of losing that earning power is what makes life insurance a necessity.
  2. Who should buy it? Mainly people who have others depending on them for income support. If you have a non-earning spouse and/or children, or some other significant financial obligation, you need life insurance. Your spouse may also need coverage, even if he or she doesn’t work, if child care or other expenses would result from the spouse’s death. If you’re single, or have significant cash resources, you probably don’t need it.
  3. What should you buy? Inexpensive term life insurance. A common misconception about life insurance is that it is a permanent need that each family has. This is totally untrue. Most financial experts see it as a way to simply “buy time” until you accumulate savings, not as a permanent fixture in your financial program.

Protect your family. Life insurance is the foundation of any family's financial house. Act today, because it's the one element you can't go back and fix.

Dave Balog teaches financial literacy to Capital Region families. dbalog99@gmail.com. 355-0967.

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