Protection for every stage of life

Young expectant parents using headphones on the mother's belly

For many, life insurance is a one-time purchase. But as your life changes, so do your responsibilities — and your coverage should, too.

Article highlights

  • Lock in low rates
  • Protect the family
  • Supplemental retirement income

The following tips may help you determine life insurance needs based on your stage of life.

For young newlyweds

Marriage adds a new layer of financial responsibility. If you and your spouse are both working, you can rely on two salaries to maintain your lifestyle. But could one of you continue living in that same manner on just one income?  


Getting life insurance at this stage — even if there are no children in the picture — also helps you lock in lower rates. Premium rates are based on your age and health status, so the earlier you buy, the lower the potential cost.

Term life insurance is typically the most affordable option. It provides coverage for a set number of years, usually 10, 20 or 30. After you identify all financial obligations (mortgage, student loans, automobile loans, and so on), you’ll purchase a policy big enough to cover them. As financial commitments increase, you can add more coverage, as needed.

For a growing family

When you consider items such as diapers, child care, dance lessons, braces and education, raising a child in the United States can cost nearly $250,000 for a middle-income family.1 At this stage, life insurance is crucial for protecting your family’s future.

The primary breadwinner in a household needs a policy big enough to replace the income it would require to raise children through adulthood. But a nonworking spouse might need coverage too. If that spouse was gone, there might be added household expenses to consider, including child care.

Revisit life insurance after the birth of every child to make sure you have enough coverage. If your coverage is lacking, you could purchase a small policy alongside the existing one. You’ll generally pay less to tack on a small amount of insurance than you would by buying one larger policy.

For those ready for retirement

The kids are grown, the house is paid off, and retirement is approaching. Do you still need life insurance? If there are no financial dependents, then it may be safe to scale down and maintain a smaller policy to cover final expenses.

At this point, focusing on long-term care expenses may be more important, and you may want to redirect any savings from lowering life insurance to funding long-term care solutions.

But you may also have good reasons to keep carrying the same level of life insurance coverage. For example, how big of a financial hardship would it be to lose your spouse’s pension and Social Security benefits? Life insurance can help offset some of those losses and help your beneficiaries pay taxes on a large estate. Or if you have a cash value policy, you may have to leverage it as a source of supplemental retirement income.

No matter your age or stage of life, it’s important to plan ahead for the legacy of you and your loved ones. And life insurance shouldn’t be static. It can be adjusted to fit your changing needs throughout the years, and hopefully give some peace of mind.

For additional information on the solutions available for meeting specific needs, talk to an advisor or research which type may be right for you.

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