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When your partner hesitates to buy life insurance

It’s common for couples to avoid the topic. Here’s what you need to have a healthy discussion about protecting your family.

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.

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About Ryan Frailich

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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:

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