Are You Feeling Peer Pressure To Buy Whole Life Insurance?

by Hank Coleman

When To Buy InsuranceA friend of mine recently complained about an old college roommate who was trying to pressure him to buy whole life insurance. He was having trouble figuring out how to tell him no, because they’d been so close back then.

This is an all-too-common occurrence for young professionals in their late 20s and 30s. This is the time when friends and family are test-driving new professions — like sales gigs, for example.

Many insurance brokers push whole-life policies because they provide them with the juiciest of commissions.

Several governmental surveys suggest that the average American will change jobs more than 11 times in his life. For many of us, it’s only a matter of time before we take a sales job that pays on commission.

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Why They Peer Pressure You to Buy Whole Life Insurance?

For many people starting off in the financial services industry, the mantra is “you eat what you kill.” They have to sell their product, insurance policies, investments, brokerage services, etc., because the lion’s share of their paycheck comes from commissions on the sales they bring in.

But when people take that first sales job, they’re not likely to have a big, established client base to sell to. So they turn to the contacts they do have — friends, family, and coworkers — whom they bombard with pitches to buy products that might not always be the best fit for them.

Why Whole Life Insurance Gets a Bad Rap

Most Americans are just fine with a term life insurance policy — a relatively low-cost safety net to protect the people who depend on your income and other contributions should you die prematurely.

How much you need depends on the expenses you expect it to cover — if you’re responsible for mortgage payments, or expect your income to fund your children’s college tuition, you’ll need more. But when those needs are in the past, you often don’t need much life insurance.

A whole life policy is with you for your entire life as long as you make the insurance premiums. But what do you need that money for if your kids are grown and your mortgage is paid?

A 20- or 30-year term life insurance may be a better option for many families. And it’s a whole lot cheaper. A $100,000 whole life policy for a healthy 20- or 30-something may cost about $150 per month. But the same person can often get a 30-year term life insurance policy that pays out $500,000 upon death for as little as $20 a month.

Many insurance brokers push whole life policies because they provide them with the juiciest of commissions. And of course, every family’s situation is different. For example, there are a few interesting uses for whole life insurance that make it a good deal for wealthy individuals. But the vast majority of Americans would benefit more from term life policies.

We Don’t Want to Disappoint Our Friends

Our friends mean well. And it’s hard to tell them that we don’t want to buy the whole life insurance they’re selling. That’s the problem my friend recently ran into. How do you tell someone you’ve known all your life — someone who was a groomsman in your wedding — that you’re not interested?

Most of our friends are just trying hard to make a living. They want to succeed. And we want them to succeed in their new professions, but not at the expense of our own financial security.

So, no, I don’t want to buy whole life insurance, nor a life insurance policy for my new baby, who, though adorable, has no income to replace. Far too often, it feels like a multilevel marketing pyramid scheme where the brokers and those at the top are making money feeding off those of us at the bottom.

My brother-in-law recently joined the ranks of investment managers at a large national brokerage house, where he’ll have to sell the brokerage services in order to earn a commission and a paycheck. It’s only a matter of time before he approaches his sister and me for a sale.

So How Do You Tell an Old Friend No?

We’ve known these people for years — even decades. How do you tell an old friend you don’t want to buy the product he’s selling? The longer you indulge your friend, the more trouble you’ll have. Like a Band-Aid, it’s best to simply rip it off fast and say no.

My friend made the mistake of stringing his buddy along. He kept telling him that he wasn’t sure or that he needed to talk to his wife. Deep down he knew that whole life insurance wasn’t a good deal for him.

I recommend being open and honest. If your would-be financial product salesperson is truly your friend, he’ll understand that you’re not interested. It’s not personal; it’s just business.

Have you had to face a friend selling you a financial product that wasn’t right for you and your family? How did you tell them no? What tactic did you use?

Note: This article originally appeared on AOL Daily Finance and is reprinted with permission. See the full article on AOL Daily Finance.

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About Hank Coleman

Hank Coleman is the founder of Money Q&A, an Iraq combat veteran, a Dr. Pepper addict, and a self-proclaimed investing junkie. He has written extensively for many nationally known financial websites and publications. Hank holds a Master’s Degree in Finance and a graduate certificate in personal financial planning. Email him directly at Hank[at]MoneyQandA.com.


Hank Coleman has written 586 articles on Money Q&A. Learn more about Money Q&A on Twitter @MoneyQandA and @HankColeman.


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