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Buying term life insurance in your 40s

Your 40s are an ideal time to revisit critical financial decisions, like do you have the right amount of life insurance coverage for you?

shopping for term life insurance in your 40s

For many people, your 40s are a time where you re-confirm many financial decisions made to date in your life. Are you on pace for a comfortable retirement? Is it time to refinance your mortgage for a better interest rate? Have you saved enough to take some of those dream vacations?

Another financial item to revisit? Your life insurance needs.

For some, your 40s could be the first time you’ve ever needed life insurance. Maybe you had your first child later in life, or you’ve even taken out a loan to start a new business.

For many others, you may find that the life insurance coverage purchased in your 20s or 30s isn’t enough to financially protect a family that has grown significantly, changing your plan to a million dollar life insurance policy can cost less than you may think.

Purchasing a life insurance policy for either scenario is necessary and can still be very affordable and simple-to-accomplish in your 40s.

Why your 40s can be an ideal time to buy life insurance

Anytime you have people in your life who rely on your income, it’s worthwhile to have life insurance coverage. However, sometimes it can take paying day-to-day bills, raising children, upgrading homes, and even the loss of a loved one to truly understand the need and value of sound financial protection.

Particularly in your 40s, your financial situation may have dramatically changed (hopefully for the better), which can make adding or adjusting your life insurance coverage valuable.

Financially protecting your family

Life insurance helps protect your family financially if you were no longer around. While it’s typical to buy life insurance once you are married or before you have children, many people reach these milestones later in life or wait until after the fact to get coverage. Let’s face it, buying life insurance used to be something that was easy to procrastinate doing. (It shouldn’t be anymore.)

By purchasing a term life insurance policy in your 40s, you can help protect your partner so that if anything were to happen to you, they would have the policy’s death benefit to help them  pay day-to-day bills, care for the children and help meet  financial needs overall.

An untimely death is hard enough on a family. The last thing anyone wants their loved ones to worry about is being able to afford a funeral or mortgage payments.

Revisiting your life insurance coverage needs

Many people reach their peak earning potential in their 40s, meaning the coverage they bought in their 20s or 30s may no longer sufficiently cover the recommended five to 10 times your annual salary.

Let’s say you bought a $250,000 term life insurance policy when you were a newlywed with little debt and no children. Now, you may be making significantly more and have since had children (or more children), upgraded your home and increased many of your day-to-day expenses.

If that’s the case, now is the time to determine if you have enough life insurance coverage to protect your family financially.

Life insurance in your 40s can still be pretty affordable – especially if you’re purchasing a smaller term length that will outlast your projected mortgage payoff date and until the kids are out of college. For example, a 15-year, $500,000 Haven Term policy could cost a 45-year-old woman in excellent health $33.25 per month as of July 9, 2019.

Finding affordable life insurance coverage

Term life insurance overall is one of the most affordable types of life insurance coverage.

While it’s true that life insurance prices tend to rise with age, your 40s are still a good time to buy and lock in a reasonable rate for some welcome peace of mind. Most people are still relatively healthy throughout their 40s, which is one of the most important factors in determining life insurance rates.

If you want to find out how much you’ll likely pay for term life insurance coverage based on your age and health, you can get free life insurance quotes online.

Additionally, when applying for the Haven Term policy, it might be possible to qualify for life insurance without a medical exam. The InstantTerm process allows some qualified, healthy applicants up to the age of 45 to finalize their coverage without a medical exam needed. Keep in mind that: Issuing the policy or paying its benefits depends on the applicant’s insurability, based on their answers to the health questions in the application, and their truthfulness. Some applicants will need to take a medical exam.

What to consider when buying your policy

Shopping for life insurance can seem complicated. But, it doesn’t need to be. When purchasing life insurance in your 40s, there are a few key considerations to help ensure adequate coverage at the best price.

Why the policy term length matters

When it comes to term life insurance, too many people focus on the amount of coverage to buy without putting much thought into how long their coverage should last. Especially when you’re buying life insurance in your 40s, this decision shouldn’t be taken lightly.

While a 10-year term life insurance policy may be less expensive, if purchased in your 40s, it will only last into your 50s. Depending on the age of financially dependent family members and your financial obligations, you may need coverage that lasts longer. For example, will that 10-year term length cover your family until your mortgage is paid off or your youngest child has graduated college?

Make sure to assess your unique situation and determine how long you need your life insurance policy to last before you buy. Since prices tend to surge as you age, so this is the ideal time to lock in an affordable term life insurance policy for a sufficient duration.

Determining how much life insurance coverage you need

While nearly everyone needs life insurance at some point in their life, the amount of coverage can vary significantly depending on your financial situation. Many experts recommend coverage that’s at least 5 to 10 times your annual salary.

While that rule of thumb is a good place to start, family size, amount of debt, and income are a few of the most important factors that impact your real coverage needs.

The proceeds of a life insurance policy are known as a death benefit. The beneficiary (or beneficiaries) can use the policy’s death benefit for a number of financial needs – to help cover funeral expenses, meet day-to-day living expenses or plan for the future, to name a few.

An online life insurance calculator can provide some guidance that’s personalized to your financial situation.

Life insurance is more affordable than you think

Get your free quote

Selecting beneficiaries

Once you have applied for life insurance, you’ll need to select beneficiaries for your policy. Typically, policyholders elect their surviving spouse as the sole beneficiary. However, you may also want to use this time to name an alternate/contingent beneficiary thoughtfully. A contingent beneficiary is often a family member who would care for your children if you and your spouse were to die.

While naming a beneficiary is pretty straightforward, it’s still important to make sure it’s done correctly, so the proceeds from your life insurance policy are properly allocated.

Don’t forget the value of a stay-at-home parent

There’s a misconception that the only person who needs life insurance is the primary breadwinner of the household. When shopping for life insurance, you shouldn’t forget the value and work of a stay-at-home parent. Consider everything a stay-at-home mom or dad does to care for his or her family. While he or she may not be earning an income, they are providing plenty of value (and numerous working hours) to the family. A value that would be very costly to make up for if the stay-at-home parent were no longer around.

Your family would likely need assistance through services like day care, tutoring and household chores, to name a few. With life insurance coverage for a stay-at-home parent, you can help ensure your family is financially protected if that person were no longer around. It’s a selfless service (on top of all the other selfless services they already provide) that offers not only protection for their loved ones, but peace of mind.

Much needed peace of mind

Buying life insurance offers priceless peace of mind in knowing you have taken an important step in financially protecting your loved ones.

Coverage in your 40s can still be very affordable, and the process of buying a policy relatively painless. But understand: the longer you wait, the more expensive coverage will become.

You can apply for quality term life insurance entirely online and get an immediate decision on coverage eligibility. And in many cases, if approved, coverage can start that same day.

If you know that you and your family could benefit from life insurance protection, there’s no better or more convenient time to buy a policy than now.

Life insurance needs aren't one-size-fits-all.

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Tom Anderson

About Tom Anderson

Tom Anderson is an award-winning financial journalist whose work has appeared in CNBC.comKiplinger’s Personal FinanceMoneyMonocle and Wired. He was a 2008-09 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economics and Business Journalism at Columbia University.

Read more by Tom Anderson

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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