I’m 32, single and gay. By all stereotypical notions of why people buy life insurance, I have no business writing this. People usually hear “Now that you’re married, you should consider life insurance” or “Well now that you have children, don’t you want to make sure they’re protected?” In fact, if you look at how life insurance is typically marketed, a happy and carefree single person (who may be gay) rarely shows up. But despite all this, I have three life insurance policies.
My first life insurance policy was through work. It’s a standard group policy, the kind most large employers offer in the U.S. In my case, my employer is a life insurance company, so it’s only natural! When I signed up, the most important question they asked me was who my beneficiaries should be. And I didn’t know what to put. I could put my parents, but they are doing just fine on their own. I could put my estate, but at the time, that consisted exclusively of a Ford mommy wagon (hey, I was just starting out!). I needed living and breathing humans, and finally it hit me: my nieces and nephews. Do they rely on me? No. Are they already covered? Yes, by my sister and her husband. But I couldn’t think of a better way to leave a legacy for my family than to help ensure that all my nieces and nephews would be able to attend college, travel the world, or just be generally cool and flashy thanks to Uncle Mark.
So that was how it began. And that’s how it begins for many single people in the LGBTQ community – deciding who to name as a beneficiary through their work-sponsored life insurance policy.
Over time, one policy grew into three policies, including another group life policy and one individual life policy. (As a proud policyholder, I must note that my individual policy was bought through Haven Life.)
By definition, I don’t need life insurance because I don’t have any financial dependents. I decided to get an individual policy because it’s cheaper the younger and healthier you are, and for me, leaving behind a legacy is important – whether it’s a legacy to my future husband or to my nieces and nephews.
Each time I got another policy, I asked myself again, who should the beneficiary be? At a certain point, I discovered that my beneficiaries don’t even have to be people – they can be organizations through my estate – and decided I wanted to leave behind a legacy to my favorite non-profit organizations. It’s a long list, and it’s filled with super gay things like the opera, the ballet, and LGBTQ scholarship funds.
And maybe someday I won’t be single. Maybe I’ll even have a family. The good news is that I won’t have to start all over with buying life insurance. At any time, I can change my beneficiaries to include my husband or my children, all with a few simple clicks online. The best part is my rate won’t change, so I’ll continue to pay my super low monthly rate from when I was healthy and 30, even as the daddy fat piles up around my midsection and my hair starts to turn gray.
So yeah – I’m worth more dead than alive right now, especially if your name is the Metropolitan Opera. And sure, the likelihood of me dying is extremely low, and I don’t have any real financial dependents. But that doesn’t mean life insurance isn’t for me. And that doesn’t mean it’s not for other single people in the LGBTQ community who may think life insurance doesn’t make sense for them.
At the end of the day, owning life insurance is about the legacy I want to leave behind for the people and the organizations who matter most to me – and doesn’t that just make you feel good?