Marriage and Money

Life Insurance for Breadwinners and Stay-at-Home Parents

Read this article for common reasons to purchase life insurance, such as for income replacement, and see speculation on whether males or females need the insurance more.

Battle of the Sexes: Who Needs Quality Life Insurance Benefits 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. A Pew Research Center analysis of the 2017 Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement shows that 31 percent of women who are married or cohabiting are contributing at least half of the couple's total earnings. 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 the 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 the domestic duties and are proud to help out around the home. Studies show that dads are much more involved in child care than they were 50 years ago.  The Pew Research Center also found that in 2015, fathers spent an average of seven hours a week on child care. That's almost triple the amount they provided back in 1965.

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

Reason three: debt resolution

Who's more likely to carry big debts, millennial men or millennial women? In 2017  LendingTree gave that prize to millennia women. Last year, women held an average debt of $68,834, or about 30 percent more than the men's average, spurred in part by student loans, as women hold roughly twice as much debt as men.

This could be because women are less likely to refinance their loans than men are,  some studies show. But women, in general, earn less than men and have less to put toward their debt payments. In 2016, female full-time, year-round workers made only 80.5 cents for every dollar earned by men. That's a gender wage gap of 20 percent,  the Institute for Women's Policy Research  notes.

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 average cost of a basic adult casketed funeral in 2017 was $7,360.1.Life insurance can help cover this cost-that goes for both men and women!

All told, people's needs for  final expense 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 needs 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. For more information, visit our learning center.

1. http://www.nfda.org/news/statistics

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All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

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