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How to talk about life insurance over the holidays

Our latest survey shows you'd rather talk about money than politics. (So would we.) Here's how to get the most out of it

The holidays are almost here, and for many of us, vaccination means we can see our families again for the first time in nearly two years. We’ll want to catch up, of course. But sooner or later, the conversation will turn to some familiar topics: Sports. The news. Politics. COVID-19, and all that comes with it these days.

Or… maybe there’s another way. According to a recent Haven Life survey of more than 1,000 individuals, most people (58%) have also started having financial conversations with their families within the past six months, and most people (59%) also think such “difficult” discussions are often better face-to-face. Along those same lines, 42% of people prefer having tough talks when they’re not rushed, and 27% enjoy having backup in the form of friends or family to provide support. Taken together, it seems like most people would rather talk about money, even if it’s stressful, over the turkey this year than perennial topics like politics (54%) or newfound ones like COVID-19 (45%).

It makes sense. Money is often passed from generation to generation, and having conversations with your relatives about financial planning makes sense to do when you’re all in the same room together. (Our apologies to Zoom.) That said, 35% of respondents said that money remains an uncomfortable conversation topic and 29% say they find the holidays stressful enough as it is. As a result, only a mere 35% say they’re “very likely” or “likely” to act on insurance or financial planning conversations over the holidays.

Comfortable or not, these conversations are important. For example, buying a term life insurance policy can help make sure that your loved ones are protected in case the worst should happen to you. Telling your loved ones they’ll be taken care of — or making sure your relatives have made plans for their own loved ones — is a true gift.

So what can you do to help turn conversations into action? Take these tips to help facilitate positive and fruitful conversations about money.

In this article:

Make time to talk

You know the feeling: You have something important on your mind, and you’ve practiced the conversation in your head a thousand times. You take a deep breath, you look over at your loved one, and … they’re yelling at the TV during a football game. Or taking a big bite of turkey. Or just distracted, or otherwise not present. “I’ll wait till later,” you tell yourself, and then later never comes.

The fact is, it’s easy to put off these conversations. We’ve all done it. But you know what else is (mostly) easy? Setting up a calendar invite. Or sending a quick email or text before the holidays saying you want to talk. Commit to a time and a place, communicate those plans ahead of time so no one feels ambushed, and come prepared with a list of talking points and questions. Yes, these conversations are stressful, but having a plan can make them feel more comfortable.

And hey, if your conversation is about life insurance, we have good news: Applying for a term life insurance policy from Haven Life can take less than an hour. (In some cases, much less than an hour.) Calendar accordingly.

Take stock of what you already have

In a way, these conversations are an inflection point in a story about your finances. But to talk about where you want to go, you first need to actually know where you are and have been.

For example, if you’re talking about life insurance, you might already have coverage from an employer. If so, that’s great — but is it portable? (Portable means you keep it if you change jobs — most life insurance offered by an employer is not portable.)

Moreover, do you know how much coverage you need? Try using an online life insurance calculator, to determine how much coverage is right for you and your family, and then compare that to the actual coverage you already have in place. This is helpful info to have before talking with your relatives about life insurance, but it can be useful in the moment, too.

Think about the future

If you’re thinking about getting financial coverage for your loved ones in case of your untimely demise, your head (and your heart) is already in the right place. But let’s take a brighter point of view, and imagine you have many, many years ahead of you. Sure, you get some tranquility from knowing you have a life insurance policy in place. But can your new policy do anything for you while you’re alive?

At Haven Life, there’s something called Haven Life Plus. This is a bonus rider available to eligible Haven Term policyholders, and it includes a suite of low- and no-cost services that benefit you while you’re still alive. There’s a no-cost fitness app subscription. There’s a no-cost jet lag app subscription. There’s no-cost secure online document storage. There’s discounted services at a nationwide chain of clinics inside many CVS and Target locations.

And then there’s no-cost services from Trust & Will and Lantern. The former offers, yes, trust and will services (valued at up to $699), conveniently online and simple to use. The latter offers end-of-life planning services, to make sure your wishes are articulated clearly and easily for your loved ones, a gesture that will make the grieving process less stressful. After all, you’re already thinking about what will happen to your loved ones after you’re gone; Haven Life Plus helps you take care of yourself while you’re still here.

It’s not just easier life insurance, it’s an easier life.

Learn about the perks that come with being a Haven Term policyholder.

Explore Haven Life Plus

Remember who this is really for

Chances are, you’ve already spent some time thinking about what to give your partner, parents, siblings, children, and/or eccentric (if reclusive) wealthy uncle. (Just us?) Well, if you’re having a difficult conversation about money or life insurance, what you’re really talking about is giving a gift to a loved one — often a partner or a child.

Those loved ones might not appreciate it in the here and now, especially if they’re young, but this gift is a way of saying you’ve taken the time and the care to consider what would happen if you weren’t around. There would be bills to pay, and without your income, there would be less money with which to pay them. That’s where life insurance comes in. Simply put, it’s a way  to help make sure your family’s financial needs are taken care of if and when something happens to you. If that’s not a gift, we don’t know what is.

(And it’s worth pointing out that, in our survey, respondents said receiving the gift of life insurance from a loved one would be “well-intentioned” (33%), “thoughtful” (33%) and, yes, “surprising” (33%) — and we suspect they mean the good kind of surprise.

That all said, and this is just a hunch: You should still probably get your kids something they can, you know, unwrap. (That’s a bonus tip. You’re welcome. And happy holidays!)

Life insurance is more affordable than you think

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About Louis Wilson

Louis Wilson is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in a wide array of publications, both online and in print. He often writes about travel, sports, popular culture, men’s fashion and grooming, and more. He lives in Austin, Texas, where he has developed an unbridled passion for breakfast tacos, with his wife and two children.

Read more by Louis Wilson

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer-centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our editorial policy

Haven Life is a customer centric life insurance agency that’s backed and wholly owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). We believe navigating decisions about life insurance, your personal finances and overall wellness can be refreshingly simple.

Our content is created for educational purposes only. Haven Life does not endorse the companies, products, services or strategies discussed here, but we hope they can make your life a little less hard if they are a fit for your situation.

Haven Life is not authorized to give tax, legal or investment advice. This material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or investment advice. Individuals are encouraged to seed advice from their own tax or legal counsel.

Our disclosures

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY 1017. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA 042017. Haven Term Simplified is a Simplified Issue Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC19PCM-SI 0819 in certain states, including NC) issued by the C.M. Life Insurance Company, Enfield, CT 06082. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas 100139527.

MassMutual is rated by A.M. Best Company as A++ (Superior; Top category of 15). The rating is as of Aril 1, 2020 and is subject to change. MassMutual has received different ratings from other rating agencies.

Haven Life Plus (Plus) is the marketing name for the Plus rider, which is included as part of the Haven Term policy and offers access to additional services and benefits at no cost or at a discount. The rider is not available in every state and is subject to change at any time. Neither Haven Life nor MassMutual are responsible for the provision of the benefits and services made accessible under the Plus Rider, which are provided by third party vendors (partners). For more information about Haven Life Plus, please visit: https://havenlife.com/plus.html

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