Today, women have more financial responsibilities than ever before. But, according to the LIMRA report entitled U.S. Individual Life Insurance Sales Trends (2007), women are still underinsured. To be sure, life insurance planning is now just as important for women as it is for men.
Life insurance can be a useful tool for replacing income lost due to the death of a family's wage earner. Increasingly, families depend on the income of two working parents. If you're a working mother, your income can have a significant impact on the quality of your family's lifestyle. Your income helps cover the cost of ordinary living expenses such as food, clothing, and utilities. It provides savings for your children's college education, and for your retirement. Life insurance protects your family by providing proceeds that can be used to replace your lost income if you die prematurely. If you're a single mother, you most likely are primarily responsible for your children's support. If you die prematurely, life insurance can provide ongoing income to cover childcare costs, medical expenses, and debts. While term insurance would suffice for simple income replacement, you may want to consider a permanent policy that builds cash value. The policy can replace your lost income if you die prematurely; otherwise, the cash value can be used to supplement your retirement.
Maintaining a household is a full-time job, and you have many important roles and duties. If you die, your surviving spouse may have to pay for services such as child care, transportation for your children, and housekeeping. Assuming any added responsibilities could cause your spouse to shorten work hours, resulting in a reduction in income. Proceeds from your life insurance can help your spouse pay for necessary services and replace lost income.
Caregiver replacement costs
Many women find themselves providing care for both children and elderly family members. It's hard enough finding sufficient income to pay for household expenses, child care, and college tuition. Add the costs of caring for an elderly parent or other family member, such as adult day care, uninsured medical expenses, and extra travel and transportation costs, and the financial burden can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, these financial responsibilities may continue after your death. Life insurance provides a source of funds that can be used to help pay for these expenses.
The Center for Women's Business Research reports that over 10 million businesses are owned by women. If you die while owning your business, life insurance can be used to provide cash for company expenses such as payroll or operating costs while your estate is being settled. Life insurance can also be a useful tool for women business owners who are structuring buy-sell arrangements or providing benefits to key employees.
The costs of funeral and burial expenses, estate administration expenses, outstanding debts, estate taxes, and the uninsured expenses of a final illness can place a financial burden on your survivors. Life insurance can ease this strain by providing a benefit that can be used to help pay for these expenses. The need for life insurance protection for women is equally as important as it is for men. However, women's life insurance coverage is often inadequate. It may be time to consult with an insurance professional who can help you assess your life insurance needs, and offer information about the different types of policies available.
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