For All the Stages in a Woman’s Life

A woman’s life can be defined by stages—from childhood to child-bearing years and beyond. And while each woman approaches these life stages differently, and makes choices that are right for her, all women should have adequate insurance to protect their needs and those who may be depending on them.

Life Insurance
Life insurance is a key element of financial planning, protecting those left behind by ensuring they are not burdened by outstanding debts or unable to meet ongoing financial expenses after the loss. But according LIMRA, one-third of wives have no life insurance coverage, while those who are insured only carry enough to replace their income for three to four years (based on their personal income) compared with expert recommendations of seven to 10 years.

Statistics from the 2011 Genworth Financial LifeJacket Study are equally disturbing: 6 million households (10% of families with children under 18) have no life insurance, and in single-parent households, more than half of single mothers are uninsured.

But numbers only tell part of the story. It’s the impact of those numbers on spouses and children that really underline the importance of having adequate life insurance. Whether a stay-at-home mother or a career woman—or a combination of both—a woman makes an important contribution to her family. However, all too often, the dollar value of the work women do in their homes—calculated at $34,256 a year and up to $44,913 for a mother of a minor child, according to Penn Mutual’s Worth for Women Survey, is rarely taken in into account when choosing the amount of life insurance coverage.

While no amount of money can replace the loss of a mother or wife, an adequate life insurance policy can help provide for childcare, a college education or replace the income she generated while alive.

Disability Insurance
We all want to believe that we will be able to live our life to the fullest, but accidents, injuries and disease can change the future in an instant. According to a LIFE Foundation survey, three in 10 women can expect to suffer a disability that keeps them out of work for 90 days or longer at some point during their working years. The result of a disability can be an overwhelming burden, both financially and emotionally.

• If the woman is a wage earner, her financial contribution may cease, temporarily or even permanently, depending on her condition.
• If she is no longer able to handle her myriad household and family responsibilities, there may be an additional expense of hiring someone to take her place.
• Out-of-pocket costs associated with the disability can become an additional burden on an already depleted income.

While disability insurance can’t turn back the clock and return whatever abilities were lost, it can provide the insured with the financial support to move forward into the new life situation and lessen the burden on the family budget.

Long-Term Care Insurance
Along with disability insurance, long-term care insurance tends to fall into the “I’ll think about it later” category when women are doing their financial planning. However, “later” can turn out to be sooner than they might think. It’s not just seniors who have to be concerned about the need to pay for long-term care. While 75 percent of people 65 and older will eventually need long-term care, according to industry estimates, 40 percent of patients receiving long-term care are younger than 65.

The best time for women to consider long-term care insurance is when they are in their 40s, when premiums will be lower. While it can be purchased when a woman is in her 50s and 60s, the cost will be higher (although less than the overall cost of care) and the risk greater that health issues can affect qualification.

Transitioning through life stages can be both exciting and challenging. But with guidance from an agent or advisor, the journey can be smoother and safer for women—and their loved ones. For help finding an advisor, if you don’t have one, click here.

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