Leading Causes of Death
I know this is a rather grim topic. But the fact is there are numerous risks we all face living in our society, and many people are reluctant to think about, let alone take action on, what’s needed to protect oneself.
Here are the top ten causes of death in the U.S. in 2013, as reported by Marketwatch:
- Heart disease (611,105 cases).
- Cancer (584,881 cases).
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, emphysema and asthma (149,205 cases).
- Accidents (unintentional injuries such as falls, accidental poisonings, and transport accidents (130,557 cases).
- Cerebrovascular diseases such as stroke (128,978 cases). This is also a major cause of adult disability.
- Alzheimer’s disease (84,767 cases). Although one does not die of Alzheimer’s disease, the body’s defense mechanisms ultimately weaken, increasing susceptibility to catastrophic infection and other causes of death related to frailty.
- Diabetes (75,578 cases). It can cause serious health complications, including heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower-extremity amputations.
- Influenza and pneumonia (56,979 cases).
- Kidney disease (47,112 cases).
- Suicide (41,149 cases). Those committed using a firearm numbered 21,175.
Knowing all this, what can you do?
First, focus on your health. Eat foods that are good for you, drink plenty of water, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Utilize preventative medical advice rather than seeing a doctor only after you get sick. Your strategy should be to postpone your death as long as possible!
Next, protect your family from the risk of losing your income should you die. Purchase life insurance to cover their current and future living expenses. Term life is the cheapest, while whole life and its many variants provide protection as well as some degree of asset growth.
Disability insurance, which covers 60-70% of your salary in case you become unable to work, is also very important to have. In fact, disability is generally more costly to your family than death, since you remain alive but typically incur medical costs. Unfortunately, if you are self-employed, premiums can be expensive. Business insurance specialists may be able to help you find lower-cost solutions.
There’s also long term care (LTC) insurance available to cover the cost of personal care in cases of mental or physical degradation, typically occurring in your later years. 50% of seniors over age 90 statistically develop some form of mental impairment. Support for these kinds of problems is not covered by Medicare, and is also expensive. Doing the planning to determine whether or not LTC insurance is needed, and how much to purchase if so, is essential.
Lastly, make sure you’ve given someone else the ability to manage your financial affairs as well as your health decisions should you become incapacitated. A durable power of attorney and an advanced healthcare directive are the documents needed for these purposes. A will and possibly various types of trusts may additionally be needed to ensure that your assets are transferred to the right people in the most tax-efficient manner after your death.
Taking all these actions will not necessarily prolong your life nor eliminate the possibility of a premature death. But they can provide tremendous comfort to those you love should you unexpectedly pass away. If nothing else that should help to improve their and your peace of mind.