From the Expert: Women need life insurance too!

February 6, 2008

If you're trying to balance a medical career with a home life, you've undoubtedly got your hands full. Yet there's one important thing that many women neglect in the course of the everyday grind-life insurance.

If you're trying to balance a medical career with a home life, you've undoubtedly got your hands full. Yet there's one important thing that many women neglect in the course of the everyday grind—life insurance.

Regardless of whether they're stay-at-home moms or business executives, only 59 percent of women have some form of life insurance compared to 64 percent of men, according to the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE). Worse, the gap between coverage amounts for men and women is nearly two to one. According to LIMRA International, men carry an average death benefit of $143,100 compared to just $76,000 for women.

Too often, women underestimate the value of what they do. If you're a female physician with kids, think about what might happen if you died unexpectedly. Your family would likely suffer if your income couldn't be replaced, not to mention if you weren't there to manage the home, help care for the children, run errands, and prepare meals. The value of the things moms do amounts to nearly $86,000 a year for working mothers (plus the loss of income) and a little over $134,000 for stay-at-home moms, according to a 2006 study by Salary.com.

When looking to buy life insurance, or increase your existing coverage, you need to consider many factors, including the ages of your children; what needs to be covered beyond funeral and burial expenses, such as mortgage and other debt; the cost of maintaining your family's current lifestyle; and the anticipated cost of college tuitions.

Life insurance is equally important if you're married and don't have kids. If anything happens to you, your spouse may need the insurance proceeds in order to keep the home you're living in or to pay off other loans. The New Year is a great time to review your life insurance policies and your finances in general. Make it your goal in 2008 to get adequate coverage. It'll ensure you're taking care of your family—even if you're here, healthy and ready to tackle life's next challenge.

Lesley E. Weiner, CFP, CLU, ChFC, of Heritage Financial Advisors, can be contacted at Lesley.Weiner@margfinancial.com or 800-357-0400.

Copyright Securian Financial Group, 2008

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