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The following was published as a guest column post in The Daily News on September 16, 2015.

Written by: Jack Dewald | President of Agency Services, Inc.

Each September, Life Happens, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping educate Americans about the need for financial security, helps more than 100 insurance carriers and hundreds of thousands of agents and advisors spread the word about why Americans need to make life insurance a key part of any sound financial plan.

The sad fact is that over 40% of Americans own NO life insurance. That is simply not acceptable, and it’s so easy to remedy.

Think about it this way: Do you have someone who counts on you for financial help? If so, what would happen to your family or loved ones if you were no longer here to help provide? Do you really want your family to count on the charity of others or to count on underfunded and over-stretched governmental safety net as a way to get by in the event you die prematurely?

Why don’t people own enough insurance? Some think it’s just too confusing. Some think it costs too much. Others don’t know where to get started or who to call or ask. Others naively believe they can put the decision off to a more convenient time.

May I boldly suggest: What’s more important than being sure your family is taken care of?   Here are a few quick ways to get started:

  • Visit lifehappens.org to use the free needs calculator to help determine how much insurance your family might need. A good rule of thumb to start with is 10 times your annual income.
  • Lifehappens.org also has a well done “Insurance 101” section that provides basic information on the various types of coverage and how they work.
  • If you know a good agent or advisor, ask them to help you. There’s even an agent locator tab on the lifehappens.org  website if you need help finding an advisor.

I’m at the age (55) where I could attend a funeral almost every week. Many of my friends’ parents are passing away. I’ve lost too many of my peers, and I’ve even attended a few funerals of the children of my friends. One thing I’ve always noticed about us Southerners…..we are pretty good at bringing casseroles, flowers and other food items to people in their times of need. But food and flowers only last a few days.

Instead of bringing a covered dish or a bunch of daisies, I’d much rather be the advisor bringing a check to a family in their time of need. I’ve never met a widow who said “You brought me too much.” I’ve never seen a family panic when I told them “It’s going to be OK….your father loved you and bought life insurance to take care of you if he couldn’t be here to do it himself.”

Life Insurance Awareness month is all about asking those hard questions.

Don’t you want your legacy to your family to be one of financial security and peace of mind?

Jack Dewald, CLU is President of Agency Services, Inc. and a native Memphian. Dewald has more than 35 years’ experience as an insurance advisor. He served as the volunteer National Board Chairman of LifeHappens.org in 2010/11 and is a member of the prestigious Top of the Table of the Million Dollar Round Table.