You should have life insurance even when you're young.
Every life insurance policy is specific to a given family’s needs, but one rule of thumb fits all purchases: It’s never too soon. No matter what stage of life you’re in, a policy provides peace of mind. Here are some key times to consider talking to an insurance agent.
When you’re just starting out In your early 20s—right after college or when you’re beginning your first job—you’re at a time when good health may qualify you for an inexpensive policy that might not be accessible later. If you have tuition debts or car payments, a low-cost term policy is one option to protect your parents or cosigners from having to absorb your financial burden.
When you’re newly married If you’ve incurred consumer debt—say, buying household goods on credit, borrowing to buy a new car, or taking out a mortgage to purchase your first home—the last thing you want to do is leave your spouse with all the bills. The loss of an income stream is hard enough to overcome.
When you start a family Life insurance helps maintain your family’s standard of living in case one parent dies, even if that person wasn’t the primary wage earner. It’s easy to underestimate the cost of hiring others to handle daily household tasks such as child care, laundry, and driving kids to school and activities.
When you’re getting close to retirement This might be time to consider permanent life insurance, a type of policy that increases in value as you pay your annual premiums. You can use it as collateral for children’s or grandchildren’s tuition and other expenses without incurring the penalties that dipping into your retirement funds might involve.
When you retire At this stage, life insurance serves its traditional purpose. The proceeds of the policy provide income for survivors after your death, cover the costs of estate taxes, and allow you to leave an inheritance to family members, dear friends, or a charity that’s close to your heart.
Photography by Petinov Sergey Mihilovich/Shutterstock
This article was first published in September 2014. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.