Why It Pays to Get Life Insurance Even if You Don't Have Kids

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  • Anyone you help financially can benefit from your life insurance.
  • If you get the right kind and amount of insurance, it can be more affordable.

Children shouldn't be the only deciding factor in applying for life insurance.

Though my husband and I were married for several years before bringing kids into the mix, we really didn't think about life insurance until I found out I was pregnant with our first child. In retrospect, that was a mistake.

Fortunately, it was a mistake we could rectify. Because we applied for life insurance when we were relatively young, we qualified for a competitive rate on our premiums, making our policy reasonably affordable. But in hindsight, we should've gotten insurance earlier.

If you don't have kids now and don't intend to have any, you might assume you don't need life insurance. But it could pay to have a policy even if children aren't part of your plans.

The upside of having life insurance

Life insurance is meant to serve as protection for anyone who might get hurt financially in the event of your passing. And that's not limited to children.

If you're married, having life insurance could protect your spouse if you share expenses jointly. That's why it was a mistake for my husband and me to not have life insurance for so many years.

Although we waited a bit after getting married to have children, we bought a house together fairly early in our marriage. But that house came with an expensive mortgage -- one neither of us could handle easily on one salary alone.

That's why it's important to consider all the people in your life who may rely on you financially. If you're married, having life insurance could protect your spouse, even if they have an income of their own. And if you're not married but provide some financial support to your parents or siblings, that's also reason enough to get life insurance.

It doesn't have to cost a fortune

A big reason people shy away from life insurance is the cost. And even though my husband and I know we need insurance, it's not super fun writing out a check for premiums every year.

But life insurance doesn't have to be extraordinarily expensive. First, if you apply at a relatively young age, you may be eligible for lower premiums, especially if your health is good. And if you limit yourself to a term life policy, which only covers you for a preset time, you'll spend less than what it would cost for insurance that lasts the rest of your life.

Furthermore, if you limit your death benefit to a reasonable number, your policy doesn't have to cost a fortune. Say you don't have kids, but want insurance in place for your spouse. If you have $150,000 left on your mortgage, you may get a policy with a $200,000 death benefit -- enough to pay off your home, cover funeral expenses, and give your spouse a little financial cushion. A $200,000 death benefit is apt to cost a lot less than a $500,000 death benefit that you may not need.

Focus on the big picture

It's important to have life insurance if you have children, but that's not the only factor that should go into your decision. Instead, think about all of your loved ones and circumstances to figure out if life insurance makes sense for you.

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