Dave: ‘I’m in a quandary. My brother is suggesting that I buy 30 year term insurance, to lock in lower premiums. I’m in my early 30’s now and not yet married. He rationalizes rates are lower now and I won’t have to worry about medically requalifying in the future. My instinct, initially, was that I don’t have anyone to provide for, yet. However, the appeal of lower premiums and no medical requalification when I’m older is compelling. Any thoughts?’

☞ Your initial instinct was a good one. If you have no dependents, you don’t need life insurance.

True, it’s conceivable that you will develop a chronic condition and then fall in love, marry and have kids (or decide that you want to provide for your aging parents in the event you should predecease them). But this doesn’t often happen. And even then your heirs would likely have benefit of Social Security survivors’ benefits and of the group life insurance coverage you may already have at work.

If you do buy term insurance now, the other issue is whether to shop for a cheap annual renewable policy or pay a lot more now for a ‘level premium’ policy of the type your brother suggests. The latter is a form of forced saving that is not completely terrible – unless you are one of the large number of folks who let their policies lapse in the first few years. In that case, you’d have been paying more than you needed to in the early years . . . but never getting the ‘pay-off’ of relatively low premiums in the later years.

If I were you, I’d start by fully funding a Roth IRA each year, if you qualify.


Tim Bonham: ‘Hugh Hunkeler’s comment: << Think about Neville Chamberlain and appeasement >> does a disservice to Chamberlain. Think about what alternatives Chamberlain had – almost none. At that time, Britain (and France) were woefully under-prepared to meet the German military, so if he had stood up to Hitler they likely would have gone to war a couple years earlier, and most likely Britain would have lost the war within 12-18 months. As it happened, Chamberlain gained Britain two years in which they were able to build up their military enough to withstand Germany until the US came into the war. Note that Chamberlain came back and publicly said ‘Peace in our time,’ but privately started a huge military buildup. The government, the military, and probably Neville Chamberlain himself saw that Hitler was bent on conquest and that it was only a matter of time until they would have to fight him. But Chamberlain bought Britain a couple of years, which probably made all the difference in their eventual survival.’


Brian Annis: ‘Bob Ridenour wrote: ‘I think maybe the Libertarians would prefer to play football without referees.’ No, you’d have referees, but most of the rulebook would be missing.’


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