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life insurance

Do You Have Enough Life Insurance?

If something happened to you, would your loved ones be able to manage without your income? While it may be difficult to consider this scenario, life insurance is a way to help ensure your family can stay financially afloat after you’re gone.

Everyone’s needs are different, so here are a few questions to consider when thinking about purchasing life insurance:

1. Has Your Income Changed?
When you bought life insurance originally, you may have been 10 years younger and making less money. Now that you’re older and probably earning more, the general rule of thumb of buying 5 to 8 times your income in life insurance may be a higher number now.1

2. What Do You Still Owe?
List the expenses in your life that are ongoing — mortgage, car payments, and any big credit card balances or private student loans. Debt doesn’t disappear when you die, and your spouse will have less income with which to make payments. Some debt, such as credit card debt, may be forgiven if the estate doesn’t have enough assets to pay the balance, but if your spouse was a joint account holder, he/she will be liable. You may want to make sure you have enough life insurance to pay off the major debts, or at least to make it possible for your spouse to make payments for many years, if necessary.

3. How Old Are Your Kids?
If you have toddlers, your life insurance needs will look very different than those of someone with older teenagers.

If you die and leave your spouse with a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old, he or she has nearly two decades to get through without your income—not to mention college costs. The younger your children, the more coverage you’ll need.

If you’re a stay-at-home parent, you may not earn a paycheck, but if your children are small, it would cost money to cover the care you provide. Even when your children are in school, they would likely need after-school care or sitters, so this would be an ongoing expense until your children are older and self-sufficient. Think about what that would cost per year and how many years you might need it.

4. Do You Plan to Cover College?
The cost for college is substantial and continues to rise. No matter how old your children are, you need to be prepared. In addition to buying life insurance at a multiple of your income, you may want to add extra for anticipated college costs. Consider bumping up your life insurance by $100,000 for each child’s college fund. If you have two kids, that’s $200,000.

5. What About Funeral Expenses?
The typical funeral now costs $7,000 to $10,000, which is a big bill to cover if an income earner has just died. If you factored this into your original benefit amount, that’s fine. If you didn’t, you may want to increase your coverage.2

Bottom Line
While it can be difficult to think about your family being left without you, having a solid life insurance plan will make it easier for them to cope financially if the worst does happen. Knowing you've done everything you can to help assure your family's financial security should help both you and them sleep better at night.

Take Action
Make sure your family can go on living the life you want for them, even after you’re gone.

Visit to learn more about affordable member-exclusive life insurance for you and your family.


1. Forbes, 7 Myths About Life Insurance. June 2014
2., Funeral Costs: How Much Does an Average Funeral Cost? Sept. 2016.

Group Insurance coverages are issued by The Prudential Insurance Company of America, a Prudential Financial company, Newark, NJ. CA COA# 1179. NAIC# 68241.


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