Swipe right. Meet someone amazing. Date. Get married (or choose not to). Buy a home. Have children. Buy life insurance.
Yep, just ruined the fairy tale progression. One of these things is not like the others, yet it’s a necessary piece of this fairly typical life progression. While the details change slightly from couple to couple, the pattern of increasingly intertwined lives and growing interdependence is one millions of people go through. Whether you’re married or not, once you’ve purchased a home together or had children, it’s time to buy life insurance to protect that home or the life you’re building for those children. But what if your spouse or partner refuses?
It’s common for couples to avoid the topic. Who wants to think about their own demise? Even more, who wants to think about it in direct connection to how it would impact your newborn (or maybe even unborn) child? It forces someone to step back from what should be a joyful moment and think about literally the worst thing that could happen. Framing it around envisioning death may lead to a heated discussion. So how else can you help them understand its importance?
Make it part of a larger conversation about money
Many young couples make the mistake of falling into sharing money without a broader conversation about what is comfortable for each party. How will you share bills and expenses? Do you want separate bank accounts? How much money is okay to spend without talking to the other person?
As life gets more complicated, these questions multiply. How much are we saving for retirement? How do we balance retirement with paying off debts now, and eventually, with college funding for kids? If we move into a home one person bought, are we going to update the title to include both partners as owners? How do we protect this life we’re working so hard to build together?
Life insurance discussions should be one piece of a more significant and continually ongoing conversation couples are having around their money. When framed as a piece of the larger puzzle, it gives the reluctant partner an opportunity to see why it matters, and all the pieces of life that would be impacted if either of you unexpectedly passed away.
It also allows the partner who wants to prioritize life insurance to “compromise” on something else that is less important and allows each person to feel heard. Badgering someone to do it likely won’t work, but asking them to do it and agreeing to do something you’re reluctant to do creates a win-win.
It’s an act of love
Your partner buying adequate life insurance is something that if needed, ends up helping you and your loved ones. Since you’d be the one left to deal with the ramifications of their death, you should both be involved in the conversation.
Helping your partner understand that what they’re doing is an act of love to help buy you peace of mind may help take the focus off their mortality, and onto doing something loving for their partner. Similarly, buying insurance on yourself is something you’re doing for your partner, to help ensure they’re not burdened financially if you are gone.
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Show them how affordable term life insurance can be
Many people assume life insurance is too expensive. Term life insurance is affordable for most budgets. For example, a 35-year-old man in excellent health will pay less than $24 a month for a 20-year, $500,000 Haven Term life insurance policy issued by MassMutual – probably a lot less than what most people spend monthly on streaming TV apps.
The cost of life insurance can pale in comparison to the impact of not having it. Helping your partner understand how affordable it is may lessen their resistance to it. Who wants to keep a discussion going over an amount that may be so small?
Overcoming the emotions involved will be much harder than framing it around how it getting insurance will help someone they love sleep better tonight.
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Ryan Frailich, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®, runs Deliberate Finances, a fee-only financial planning firm which specializes in helping young couples and educators plan for their financial lives. When not working, Ryan is exploring New Orleans, running with his dog Dodger, or building block towers with his young son. Opinions are his own.