My sister is almost twenty years older than I am and her kids are all in their early twenties, while mine are all between the ages of ten and four. Obviously we don’t have the same exact needs when it comes to life insurance. My sister and her husband are starting to scale back their life insurance coverage now that their kids are young adults and starting to support themselves financially.
On the other hand my kids are still very young and it will be many years before they’re ready to venture out on their own, so obviously I need more coverage to ensure that they will be taken care of if anything were to happen to myself or my wife.
Despite the differences in our current need for life insurance, my sister and I both understand the importance of adequate coverage.
Fortunately, we’re not alone. According to a new survey from State Farm, most Americans (84 percent) agree that life insurance is a smart way to care for their family’s future. But not everyone agrees on just how important it is.
As part of the State Farm survey, respondents were asked to compare life insurance to the parts of a family meal, one-third (34 percent) of Americans say life insurance is like the main course of a meal – it is essential to their financial plan and they couldn’t do without it. One in five (18 percent) Americans think life insurance is like dessert – they might be able to squeeze it in later on, but it’s a luxury they can’t afford.
Sixteen percent of Americans view life insurance like an appetizer – it is important when they’re getting started and it’s one of the first things they should have. Just eight percent say life insurance is like a vegetable side dish – they know they should have it but say they’ll pass.
I think the varying attitudes toward life insurance has a lot to do with where you are in life. Both my sister and I consider life insurance to be part of the main course. To us, life insurance is essential and we’re willing to pay for the peace of mind it provides us.
On the other hand, my nephews are all young, healthy, and single. To them life insurance is more like dessert. They know it is a smart thing to have, but they see it as something they don’t have to worry about until later. My oldest nephew mentioned that he’ll worry about life insurance once he settles down and gets married, but for now he prefers to skip it and put everything he can towards paying down his student loans.
As far as my own kids are concerned, they’re a bit young to understand how life insurance works and why it is so important. But they did get the idea that it will help take care of them if something happened to one of us (though they didn’t want to imagine a world without mommy or daddy). I think it is important to include the kids in conversations like these so they will be able to make smart choices when they get older.
What are your feelings on life insurance? Is it a vital part of your finances or are you willing to take your chances and go without?
Disclosure: This blog post was written as part of a sponsored program for State Farm to raise awareness about the importance of life insurance. All views expressed are entirely my own, and were not influenced or directed by State Farm. You can learn more about this blogger program and life insurance at GoodNeighbors.com, PlantingMoneySeeds.com, and by following #StartLiving on Twitter.
Image via tim_norris