When I turned 37 a few years ago, I purchased a 20-year term life insurance policy for $750,000. This policy was in addition to the 30-year, $250,000 policy I bought in my late 20s, meaning I now have $1 million in term life insurance coverage that will last until I’m 57.
That may seem like a lot of life insurance for a healthy gal in her late 30s, and it’s definitely a lot for my little family of four. After all, we are entirely debt-free since we paid off our home mortgage several years ago. We also have above-average retirement savings and some real estate investments to boot.
But I still feel that $1 million in life insurance coverage is more than justified for us right now. And really, I don’t regret buying $1 million in coverage for myself at all.
The world keeps spinning â€” whether you’re here or not
If you’re wondering how much life insurance you should buy, it’s smart to play around with a life insurance calculator that considers your income, your age, and other factors. Once you run the numbers, you may be shocked â€” and even horrified â€” at what you find.
This life insurance calculator from Simply Insurance is the one I like the most since it breaks out all your potential costs for the future, including college tuition, funeral expenses, income replacement, inflation, and other factors you may not even consider.
When you start entering information into a life insurance calculator, you’ll find out quickly that your future expenses can add up fast â€” whether you’re here or not.
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If you want to help your kids with college, you’ll need to plan for that. If your spouse doesn’t work, you’ll need to buy more coverage. And if your income is high, you’ll need a higher level of life insurance coverage to replace your paycheck and allow your family to enjoy the same standard of living once you’re gone.
Once you start compiling all the things you’ll need to pay for with life insurance, you may find the amount of coverage you need is a lot more than you’d imagined.
Self-employment plays a role
Another reason to buy more life insurance coverage: On a personal level, my life has a lot of unknowns. While my husband and I are debt-free, we’re also self-employed. This means we’re 100% on our own when it comes to saving for retirement and the future, but it also means my husband would lose his business partner if I died.
For us, this was a good reason to purchase more life insurance than we probably needed. If I were to pass away, it would be nice for my husband to be able to learn how to run our business by himself slowly without a lot of financial stress. He might also have to find someone to replace me and spend time and resources training them â€” a chore that would be more easily handled with more money on hand.
Term life insurance is cheap
Another factor to consider is cost. To be honest, purchasing $1 million in term life insurance coverage didn’t bother me because it’s so incredibly affordable. My first policy, which I purchased in my 20s, costs less than $25 per month and lasts until I’m 57 years old. My second policy, which lasts 20 years and is for $750,000, is only $27.88 per month. I bought this policy from Haven Life entirely online and without a medical exam since I’m in excellent health.
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Where whole life insurance that is meant to last until you pass away can be pricey â€” I once received a quote for over $700 per month for just $500,000 in whole life coverage â€” term life insurance is often downright cheap if you’re in good health. And there’s really no reason I’ll even need life insurance after the age of 57 regardless, since we’re already debt-free and on the fast path to financial independence in our 40s. Also, 20 years from now my children will be grown and out of the house and I’ll (hopefully) have college paid for and squared away.
I sleep better at night
The reality is, having $1 million in life insurance coverage has allowed me to stop worrying about what would happen to my family finances if I died. I never lose any sleep wondering how they would pay for my funeral or whether my kids will be able to go to college, and I never stress over how my husband might pay bills or care for our two children if he were to suddenly lose my income. With $1 million in coverage, he could easily care for them and all their needs â€” even after taking some time off.
Term life insurance can be very inexpensive when you consider what you get in return. I’m currently paying a little over $50 per month, but my family would receive $1 million in death benefits if I were to pass away without warning. You can’t put a price tag on that kind of peace of mind, but paying so little feels like a steal.
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