Have you ever as a single person had an event happen to you where you realized just how on your own you really are? What I mean is, have you had that moment when you realized, what happens if _______ happens to me?
It can be simple things. I remember one weekend when I was leading a singles conference we were talking about advantages and disadvantages of being married vs. being unmarried. One lady gave a practical example of a disadvantage. She said, “if for example my car breaks down. Who do I call? If you’re married, your spouse might be able to say to their boss, ‘My spouse’s car is broken down, would it be alright if I took an hour and went and got them?’. But that probably isn’t going to work for any other relationship.”
Let me give you one that sort of got my attention. I was in my early thirties. Single, no relationship. This particular day I started feeling pain in my abdominal area. I thought, no big deal. A little indigestion. But it got worse. I went to the gas station to get some gas and thought I’d grab a Sprite. I could barely get out of the car as I was so doubled over.
When I got home I went to bed. I was living alone at the time. I was in so much pain. I thought, “I wonder if I have appendicitis?” But I laid there. All night, I thought, how will I know? What if it is my appendix? I tried to google on my phone because we all self diagnose.
As it turns out, I survived the night, felt a little better the next day and two days later was fine. But this event made me realize that as a single person living alone, I was sort of on my own in some pretty important areas. If it would have been my appendix, I would have been in big trouble.
In our current culture where 80% of people 19-29 are unmarried and a growing number of people over 30 aren’t, we need to be intentional with some things. Around 50% of singles live alone. How long would it take for someone to know you were missing? If you were in a car wreck who would know and who would you want to know? How would they find out? Who would make medical decisions for you if you were incapacitated? Your parents? Is that who you want making decisions?
I’m not trying to be scary – but I am trying to get your attention.
Here are some things to consider:
- Find a couple of coworkers that you can trust at a basic level and let them know a couple of friends of yours they can reach out to if something were to happen.
- Give a couple of people the key to your house and permission to stop by any time. This doubles as accountability in a couple of other areas as well.
- If you are going out of town, let some people know the details of that travel plan. And, ideally check in somewhere along the way.
- Think about giving someone power of attorney over your medical decisions. This of course could be a family member, but it doesn’t have to be. You may want to choose someone closer to you—either in proximity or just closer in relationship. If you are incapacitated, who do you want making decisions and being your advocate at the hospital?
- Have a will or will and trust. Just because you are single doesn’t mean that you don’t have stuff. Especially as you get older. Who get’s your stuff? Where do you want it to go? Who gets your 401K money? Don’t leave your stuff to the state by default. Who wants that?!
Let’s talk insurance:
You do not need life insurance as a single person unless you have kids. At least not much. If you wanted to get a small term life insurance amount to cover your funeral that might be ok. But you don’t need much because no one is counting on it.**
You do however need the following and only the following:
- Health insurance. Yes it’s expensive, and unfairly so if you are a healthy twenty something. But you are one health problem from being financially wiped out. Get the insurance.
- Disability insurance. Seriously. Go get this right now. I don’t think I could overstate the importance of this. It’s not expensive at all and it could save your future if you were disabled for any length of time. GO GET THIS NOW.
- If you own a home, you have home insurance, but if you rent, as many singles do, you need to get renters insurance. The landlord’s insurance does not in any way cover your stuff.
These are a few practical ideas. I’m sure I’m missing some things. Feel free to leave other ideas in the comments.
** In my opinion, life insurance is not an investment. Some people will tell you that it is. Do your own research here. I made this mistake briefly before I realized how ridiculous it was.