Be honest: how much thought have you put into financial planning? Depending on where you are in life, you might think that you’re not making enough money for that to be a concern; or that you’re too young to be thinking about retirement or life insurance. But the truth is it’s never too early to take the necessary steps to set yourself and your family up for the future. 

And the idea that financial planning is one of the best ways for people of color to start leveling the playing field when it comes to generational wealth really is a thing. Especially if those plans include a life insurance policy. 

Now before we go any further, let’s dispel some of the shame and judgment that exists around this sensitive topic. Yes, communities of color remain severely under protected when it comes to life insurance. Yes, Grandma’s house could have stayed in the family longer if only she’d had life insurance. But if you’ve ever made a slick comment about someone’s family having to turn to crowdfunding to cover funeral costs or medical expenses, you’ve got to realize that something bigger is at play. 

Systemic barriers and a historical lack of information have made it difficult for underrepresented communities to gain access to financial planning advice. While many of these companies are now working to deepen their connection with the Black community and ensure that messaging, products and services are inclusive and culturally relevant, we as a community need to be more proactive about finding this information, too.

“It’s time for carriers to take a new approach to understanding and serving marginalized communities and for underserved consumers to start making life insurance a priority,” says Stafford Thompson, SVP of Life & Executive Benefits Business Management, at Lincoln Financial Group.”

You may be trying to avoid the conversations about life insurance because you simply don’t want to think about your mortality. But what so many of us have probably never heard is that there’s way more to life insurance than leaving some level of financial protection for your loved ones once you’re gone. If done right, it can serve as a retirement cushion for you as well: the cash value from a life insurance policy can be used to help supplement your retirement income, for example. 

The first step to finding the appropriate life insurance policy for your family is to be clear about your goals. Are there specific bills or expenses you want to help your loved ones avoid when you’re gone? How long do you want or need those expenses covered? Have you thought about taxes, or even making sure your retirement income isn’t reduced by tax payments? What happens to your business if something happens to you? 

All of these are questions you should be discussing with a financial professional. But it will be your responsibility to ensure your investment strategy is aligned with your financial goals. 

“I think, a lot of times, carriers assume every consumer they encounter is ready to buy life insurance, but there’s more to serving our customers than that,” Thompson states. “Effectively reaching these groups will require insurance carriers to research, retool and execute thoughtful strategies that benefit underserved consumers.” 

Luckily, companies like Lincoln Financial have made helpful information about life insurance available at your fingertips. And while you may not necessarily want to take a DIY approach to this very important matter, Lincoln has the tools and resources to help give you a strong knowledge base from which to start this conversation. And hopefully our better informed questions will lead to a permanent shift in this space. 

“The life insurance need gap shouldn’t be seen as an obstacle but rather an exciting opportunity to introduce the very real benefits of life insurance to new audiences,” Thompson offers. “I am hopeful that carriers and consumers will work together to close the gap across underserved and marginalized communities, ensuring these people and their families get the financial protection they deserve.” 

There’s no better time to start the conversation around life insurance and your financial wellness than now. Click here to learn how Lincoln can help you along your journey.