Life Insurance for Working Women

I’m not sure why, but my wife and I have never really talked about needing life insurance for her. Of course she reminded me year after year that I needed to get life insurance in case I died, something I finally did last year.

But what about her? She’s a working wife and her income, though nearly half what I make, is an important part of our household economy and our current path to financial freedom. My salary alone is enough to pay the bills and put food on the table, but we wouldn’t be able to save as aggressively for retirement without my wife’s contribution.

Shouldn’t we have a plan in case she dies?

Thanks to my brother, who recently became certified to sell life insurance, we have a sizable policy on my wife. She has more coverage than I do.

I’m not sure, but I suspect that a lot of people only think about insuring the spouse who makes the most money. In many households it is the woman (or women). Culturally, it has been the prevailing trend that men are the breadwinners. We have even seen evidence that men are paid more for the same work as women, though equal pay legislation has turned this trend around.

Recently, Jeff Rose led a “Life Insurance Movement” to call attention to the need for most families with children to have life insurance. He shared some startling statistics about the percentage of people who lack coverage. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised, because up until last year I was one of them (not counting the 1x salary I get free through work).

In my post as part of the Life Insurance Movement, I confessed that I’d had two kids for 2 years before I got insured. I also confessed that I have a fear of hypodermic needles, which has caused me to have to buy a no-exam policy that costs more than I should be paying.

There is almost no excuse not to have life insurance, because it’s dirt cheap (unless you are a smoker, than it’s a bit more than dirt cheap, but hey, you are poisoning yourself slowly so what’s a few extra bucks a month?) For $25 a year (give or take), a healthy adult can get around $250,000 in coverage. That’s a small price to pay for something that can mean the difference between two vastly different lives post-tragedy.

The truth is, getting life insurance is about becoming a real adult and thinking about our own mortality, pondering the reality that life will go on after we die if we die prematurely.

The question is, what kind of life do you want that to be for your family?

 

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15 Comments
  1. We got life insurance on both of us. Even if the spouse doesn’t work, it’s still probably a good idea to get life insurance on them, especially if you have kids. The cost to provide daycare and care for the children will still be there once the stay-at-home mom (or dad) passes. Getting a $100k policy will definitely help cover some college costs and even provide for a daycare for a few years.

  2. I think it’s a case that no one wants to actually think about needing it. I have an article I am currently writing that will give you a good example of why we need it. It’s a small investment for security.

  3. Luckily we have no dependents and low expenses so it isn’t a priority fir us right now. Once we have a kid we will be purchasing insurance.

  4. For sure, with kids involved, you don’t want to be all of a sudden struggling financially. Sure you might be able to cover all the bills, but that doesn’t mean you would be able to provide for your kids the way you’d really want.

  5. I do think it’s strange that you didn’t both get life insurance at the same time! Losing even a non-working spouse would throw a family into financial turmoil and even more so losing the lesser income contribution. My husband and I don’t have life insurance as we make the same amount of money and have no dependents, but we’ll buy some before we have kids.

  6. Actually closed out some small whole life policies today and started a two 20 yr terms at $500,000 each. My policy only costs $30 per month / $80 per month for my husband who has more health issues.
    We are following Dave Ramsey’s plan and he recommends 10 times your income.
    After 20 yrs our kids will be grown and done with college, we will be debt free and have a sizable savings (self-insured).

    • The problem that I see is Dave Ramsey is still talking about rates of return of 10%.

      With interest rates low insurance (permanent) is going up the renewals for term is going up as well.

      The 10x income may apply for some but really is like saying you should have a half a tank of gas when going for a long drive.

      Insurance should cover the following:
      Debt
      Education (kids)
      Income replacement
      One could even include missed retirement contributions

  7. You would have to take more time off work if you were a single parent and you might just want to take a leave to deal with everything after losing a spouse. Seems smart to insure both parents, even if one doesn’t work.

  8. Definitely a good idea to get life insurance once you have a kid or two. I think it even makes sense to get a policy out for a stay at home parent b/c a lot of their contributions may not be defined by how much they make.

  9. I have a large plan on myself which will make it pretty easy on my family if I leave this earth early. (financially speaking) I also have a small amount on each of my kids and a little more on my wife. This is more to cover expenses than anything (God forbid).

    Since life insurance is so cheap, it is basically a must have – especially when you have kids.

  10. Insurance should cover a number of things
    Kids Education
    Debt/mortgage/LOC
    Income replacement

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