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Marriage and Money

Battle of the sexes: Who needs quality life insurance benefits more?

Read this article for common reasons to purchase life insurance and see speculation on who needs the insurance more.

Although it can be a smart idea to buy life insurance, some put it off or don't buy it at all, despite the fact that it can financially protect their loved ones in the event of an unexpected tragedy. Below are four common reasons for purchasing quality life insurance, paired with some friendly speculation on who, in the battle of the sexes, may need it more.

Reason one: income replacement

One of the most common reasons to buy quality life insurance is to financially protect those who depend on your income. If you're the primary breadwinner of your family, you want to know that your spouse and dependents could live comfortably without your paycheck.

Historically, men have financially provided for their households, but income dynamics are shifting, and it's no longer rare for women to earn the primary income. According the 2023 UBS Own Your Worth Report, 30% of women are the primary breadwinners for their families.1 So while men still represent the majority of primary breadwinners in the U.S., the gap between the sexes is assuredly closing.

Reason two: domestic logistics

Keeping house might feel like a thankless job. Yet stay-at-home spouses are indispensable, providing childcare, meal prep, transportation, housework and domestic decision-making that keep a home running. When you quantify what it would cost to hire others to perform those tasks, the financial importance of a stay-at-home spouse becomes more evident.

Historically, it's fallen to women to keep house, but as the above stats reveal, times have changed. In many families today, men are shouldering domestic duties and are proud to help out around the home. Studies show that in marriages when men and women each earn between 40 and 60% of couple’s combined income, that men are spending 5 hours a week on caring for individuals in the family and 2 hours on household chores.2 That's compared with 2.5 hours a week on average of childcare provided by dads back in 1965.3  

The verdict on this one is clear: Regardless of gender, the stay-at-home parent should consider life insurance.

Reason three: debt resolution

According to recent data, women carry higher levels of debt than men. Female associate’s degree holders borrow 24.9% more student loans than their male counterparts.4

Women, in general, earn less than men and have less to put toward their debt payments. In 2021, female workers made only 82 cents for every dollar earned by men. That's a gender wage gap of 18 percent.5

Here's the bottom line: If a man or a woman carries debt and also has life insurance, the death benefit may be used to help pay off debt so survivors don't have to bear that burden alone.

Reason four: funeral expenses

On average, women live longer than men. In this area, quality life insurance may be more important for men, as they're statistically more likely to be survived by a spouse.

Though it's not uplifting, the truth is: Everyone will age and the costs of a funeral are typically steep. The national median cost of a funeral with viewing and burial in 2021 was $7,848.6 Life insurance can help cover this cost-that goes for both men and women!

All told, people's needs for life insurance are varied and complex, and no matter which gender you happen to be, your needs probably can't be pigeon-holed into a “male" or “female" box. So be sure to choose an insurance provider who will take your goals seriously and offer a policy specific to your situation.

No matter your role, your family could likely benefit from quality life insurance.

Roles for both men and women have changed over the past several decades, with both parties taking on different roles in supporting and running households. When it comes to finding quality life insurance coverage that meets your family's individual needs, look for an insurer who considers your situation. Getting quality life insurance means protecting those who depend on you the most. Be sure you and your insurance company are on the same page.


  1. USB Own Your Worth Report 2023. 
  2. Pew Research Center, "In a Growing Share of U.S. Marriages, Husbands and Wives Earn About the Same," April 13, 2023. 
  3.  Pew Research Center, "How Mothers and Fathers Spend Their Time."
  4. 2023 Education Initiative
  5. Pew Research Center, “Gender Pay Gap Has not Changed Much in Two Decades,” March 1, 2023
  6. National Funeral Directors Association




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