I used my father’s life insurance payout to build real estate wealth, but I have mixed feelings about getting a policy for myself.

Insider experts pick the best products and services to help you make smart decisions with your money (here’s how). In some cases, we receive a commission from our partners, however our opinions are our own. Terms apply to offers listed on this page.

  • When my father died and I received his life insurance, it took me a long time to accept that the money was mine.
  • I eventually used it to buy myself an apartment in New York, which I later sold at a profit.
  • Since then, I have accumulated wealth through real estate, but I am still hesitant to buy life insurance on my own.

When my father died about 30 years ago, my sister and I received a large life insurance payment. My sister was still a minor, so my mother oversaw that she invested the money with a financial advisor, but I was 19 when he died, which meant he was legally of age. I was alone with how to handle it.

It was so overwhelming that I kept it in cash for several years, along with money I had directly inherited. This was unfortunate, and it took me years to find a financial advisor.

I used the money to buy real estate all over the US.

The first thing I really did with money was buy an apartment in New York after I graduated from college. This made sense to me: I needed a place to live, and the funds were there. For $500,000 (which seemed very expensive at the time) I bought a nice two-bedroom apartment in the West Village, with a view of the Empire State Building.

The moment I signed the paperwork to buy it, my next call was to 1-800-Mattres (“Drop the last S to save!”) and I was given a bed in the apartment so I could sleep there that night. I was 23 years old and I lived in an apartment in New York and I appreciated my dad and the money he left me to make it happen.

Four years later, I moved to California and sold the New York apartment for almost double what I had paid for it. That was very satisfying, of course. I went on to buy and sell residential properties in Los Angeles; Vancouver, Canada; and Naples, Florida, before returning to New York and settling here.

My track record with real estate hasn’t been perfect: I got caught up in the 2008 Florida housing bubble and saw my property value drop dramatically on my primary residence. Oh! But overall, real estate has been a great way to invest the proceeds from my father’s life insurance policy and inheritance. Property was an investment he understood, and even when property values ​​went down, he still had a place to live, so he didn’t really feel like it mattered.

I have not been able to decide to buy my own life insurance.

Today, I myself am a father. I have two great children who surprise me and delight me with their brilliance on a day-to-day basis. Now that I’m a mom, I know I should probably get a life insurance policy of my own.

I have a friend whose mom put a lot of thought into buying life insurance, getting a policy big enough that if, God forbid, something happened to her while my friend was still in school, college would still be paid for. My friend recalls that her mother gratefully lowered the policy (and the premium costs that went with it) after my friend successfully completed her studies. This makes perfect sense.

And yet I haven’t made up my mind to do it yet. Although I see the benefits of that policy in my life, the experience is still wrapped up in the pain of my father’s death. I received a large amount of money because someone I love died. It just feels…off. It took a lot of emotional work and therapy (which I certainly paid for using part of the winnings) to help me accept that the money was mine, to do with it what I wanted.

I guess I could use some more therapy to help me do what’s right for my kids…

I’m probably afraid that planning my untimely death might cause it. My family has recently been through a tragedy and I just don’t want to think about the possibility of further trauma.

Sometimes people put off writing their will because it means facing their own mortality. I know I resisted until recently. But I learned something interesting from a trust and probate lawyer: Some cultures believe that when you write your will, it is a harbinger of a long life. I know I felt a rush of relief when I finally completed a new will in 2020 after putting it off for several years.

So maybe life insurance is the same. For now, my “insurance policy” is aimed at taking excellent care of my body, mind, and finances. I have structured things so that if something were to happen to me, my children’s education and lifestyle would be fine. But maybe just writing this will help me change my indecision about adding a policy to the mix.

Life insurance was a touching gift from my dad. I think I put it to good use. I’m not quite ready to make that kind of gift a possibility for my own children yet, but I’m open to that changing.

#fathers #life #insurance #payout #build #real #estate #wealth #mixed #feelings #policy

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *