As soon as I started a family, a whole new world of advice opened up to me. Some tips ranged from useful (the booty jiggle that makes babies stop crying) to literal lifesavers (the tutorial that helped me latch the car seat correctly). Other advice is well-meaning, but not nearly as helpful, like the time a stranger was shocked my baby wasn’t wearing socks and a hat — on a warm day in June.
I find it helpful to do an occasional gut check to see if the advice I’m following still feels right.
My financial advisor recommended that my husband and I each get life insurance as a form of financial protection for our new family. Eight years later, here I am checking in. Does it still feel worth the expense?
Life insurance is a contract between you and an insurance provider. You agree to pay premiums, and the insurer promises to pay a death benefit to the beneficiary you choose if you die while you’re covered.
Life insurance comes in two main categories — term life insurance and permanent life insurance. Term life is cheaper and simpler, but it only covers a specific period of time (that’s the term, typically 10-30 years). Permanent life insurance covers your whole life and often includes additional components such as a cash value amount you can borrow from. Permanent life insurance is usually significantly more expensive than term life.
Many families, mine included, find that term life is their best option to get affordable coverage. Other families may find that whole life is better for them, for instance if they are interested in a cash value component or need coverage to help protect a lifelong dependent, such as a child with certain disabilities.
When it came time for my life insurance gut-check review, I went down the list of what I hoped my coverage would provide if something happened to me. Other families will have their own set of priorities and needs, but here’s what came up for me.
My family welcomed a third baby last year, and we realized we’d outgrown the home we purchased when I was expecting our first. After months of searching, we found a house we love and moved in over the summer. It’s happy news — and it means we’re back at the beginning of a 30-year mortgage.
It would be tough, if not impossible, for either me or my husband to handle the house payments alone. We each have life insurance coverage, so if one of us were to pass away, life insurance could help the other parent stay in the home we chose together.
My 7-year-old wants to be a ballerina and a scientist when she grows up. My 3-year-old wants to be a doctor. I want them to have every chance to explore their interests and pursue their dreams to the fullest.
My husband and I both come from families that value higher education. If science or medicine are in my kids’ future, they’ll need a college degree to reach toward their full potential. If they change their mind about what they’d like to be when they grow up, there’s still a good chance college may come in handy. Being able to help pay for my children’s tuition is an important way for me to support them.
When I calculated how much life insurance I needed back when I got this policy eight years ago, college costs were part of the equation. Even if my kids decide to pursue another path, having a financial back-up plan through life insurance coverage is a way for me to say I’m there to support their dreams, no matter what.
I have family overseas, so travel is important to stay connected to loved ones, as well as for fun. My part-time working hours help pay for travel and give me time to do the valuable work of a stay-at-home parent. Even something relatively small, like the dance classes that sparked my daughter’s ballerina dream, are a cost in our budget.
If I were to pass away, my husband would be faced with a pile of logistical and financial challenges to figure out. He’d probably need to find a daycare for our baby. He may choose to pay tuition at a specialized school program, like a Montessori school, that reflects educational values we care about.
Having a life insurance policy in place means my husband and I would have some financial flexibility to cover meaningful activities and experiences even if the other wasn’t there anymore. Life insurance can help ensure that my family can take classes that bring them joy, or fly to see relatives. I’m grateful to have a way to protect this part of my contribution to our family.
Some people prefer to have a life insurance policy throughout their life, especially if they have lifelong dependents or a lot of debt to consider. In some cases, a whole life insurance policy can also be part of a well-rounded estate plan.
For other families, life insurance is meant to offer peace of mind and a financial back-up plan in a particular season of life. When I got life insurance, I chose a 20-year term. In 20 years, my youngest child will likely be almost finished with college, or out making a life of her own. I hope that I’ll naturally move past my need for life insurance as my life changes and loved ones no longer rely on the income I earn.
As it turns out, I chose pretty well when I first bought my policy all those years ago. While I wouldn’t mind a slightly longer term now that I’ve had a third child, my policy still feels like it fits my life.
Term life insurance is the kind of expense you pay for while hoping there was no need for it after all. I want my husband and I both to outlive our life insurance term, which means we wouldn’t get anything from our policy, at least in monetary terms.
The real value that makes a life insurance policy worth it for me is the sense of security and peace of mind it brings. It feels good to have a safety net, to build a life together and feel prepared to follow through on plans we’ve made. I’m grateful that my husband and I have both taken the step to protect our family’s financial stability.
Now that we’re raising our third child, my husband and I definitely take some parenting advice with a grain of salt (does “sleep when the baby sleeps” mean you should also do laundry when the baby does laundry?). Our choice to buy life insurance is one piece of advice we’re glad we took to heart.
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Term Life Insurance Policy Series ICC22 2205-4004 WSA and Accelerated Death Benefit Rider policy series ICC22 2205-2623 WSA (and state variations where applicable) issued by Western-Southern Life Assurance Company, Cincinnati, OH which operates in DC and all states except NY, and distributed by Gerber Life Agency, LLC using Fabric Technologies. Gerber Life Agency, LLC is an affiliate of Gerber Life Insurance Company (est. 1967). All are members of Western & Southern Financial Group (Western & Southern). Issuance of coverage for Term Life Insurance is subject to underwriting review and approval. Please see a copy of the policy for the full terms, conditions and exclusions. Product provisions, availability, definitions and benefits may vary by state. Payment of benefits under the life insurance policy is the obligation of, and is guaranteed by, the issuing company. Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuer. Products are backed by the full financial strength of the issuing company.
All sample pricing is based on a 30-year old F in Excellent health for the coverage amount shown and a 10-year term policy, unless otherwise stated. Gerber Life Agency, LLC (GLA) is an insurance agency licensed to sell life insurance products. GLA will receive compensation from Western-Southern Life Assurance Company for such sales. The NAIC Company Code for Western-Southern Life Assurance Company is 92622.
Western-Southern Life Assurance Company's A+ Superior A.M. Best Rating: Superior ability to meet ongoing insurance obligations (second highest of 13 ratings; rating held since June 2009). Ratings are subject to change from time to time. The ratings shown here are correct as of 09/03/2022. For more information about a particular rating or rating agency, please visit the website of the relevant agency.
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In the State of California, Gerber Life Agency, LLC is known as and does business as Gerber Life Insurance Agency, LLC.