Being a single parent can be tough work, but also rewarding. In many cases, a single parent is the child’s first point of contact, whether that be for love, support, understanding, or any number of needs.
Obviously, they depend on you for financial support as well.
If you’re a single parent, you have to ask yourself a very important question: What would happen to your children financially if something happened to you? No one likes to think about death or not being there for their loved ones, but not thinking about it could have dire consequences for your children.
It costs approximately $13,000 a year to raise a child in a middle-class family, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.1 If you weren’t there, that money would have to come from somewhere.
Take Brittney LaCombe2. She and her two younger sisters spent Mother’s Day camping on the beach with their single mom, Roseann. Unfortunately, the next day her mom died unexpectedly of a pulmonary embolism. The three girls were suddenly alone, with no financial support, as their mother had no life insurance and little savings.
Within a month, the girls had lost everything, including their home. They moved into a small apartment, thanks to the support of a religious charity. Brittney, who was just 20, went to work full-time, in addition to her college classes, to support her sisters who were still minors. You can watch their moving story here.
And Brittney’s story isn’t unique. Half of U.S. households would feel the financial impact from the loss of their primary wage earner in six months or less, according to research by LIMRA.3
Most Americans would agree that life insurance coverage – particularly those with families – is an essential safeguard for the unknown.
If you are a single mom or dad, here’s what you may need to think about.
If you don’t have life insurance:
Get coverage, even if it’s a modest amount to start with. Keep in mind that something is always better than nothing. Getting started is the key. You can add to it as you’re able.
Don’t automatically discount it because of cost. Did you know that 80% of people overestimate the true cost of life insurance?3
Have a life insurance agent help you. They will sit down with you at no cost to go over your needs and help find you a policy that can fit your budget.
If you already have life insurance:
Make sure it’s enough. Half of single moms with life insurance realize they don’t have sufficient coverage.3 You can do a quick calculation with this online Life Insurance Needs Calculator.
Supplement your work policy, if you have one. Having life insurance through work is a nice benefit to have, but you generally lose that coverage when you change jobs, which could leave you without any. Instead, get an individual policy that you purchase independently of work.
Make sure your life insurance beneficiary is correct. Sometimes, the person you originally selected as your beneficiary is no longer the person you’d like to receive the benefit. Ensure this information in your policy remains current. Also, it may be best to avoid naming minor children as the beneficiary for a number of reasons. You can read more here.
Whatever your circumstances, it makes sense to sit down with a life insurance professional, who can guide you to getting the right coverage to make sure your children are taken care of.
1 “Expenditures on Children by Families,” U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Aug. 8, 2014
2 “Brittney LaCombe: A Mother’s Death Brings on Struggle,” RealLIFE Story from LifeHappens.org
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