What to Talk About When Discussing Life Insurance with Your Spouse

November 1, 2019

Getting married and combining households is an exciting, joyous time, but it’s also a time that requires quite a bit of communication and planning. From finances and living arrangements to family relationships and future goals, it’s crucial to ensure that you and your spouse are on the same page with how you’ll be moving forward.

While it may not be the most romantic topic, life insurance is nevertheless a great thing to discuss with your spouse, or spouse-to-be the earlier the better. In a 2018 study, 76 percent of married retirees stated that they were not financially prepared for the death of their spouse. Preparing for these types of occurrences, no matter how unpleasant they may be to think about, is a key part of planning your family’s future, especially if you have or are planning to have children.

A recent NerdWallet survey also had some interesting insights about life insurance in partnerships. 49 percent of married women surveyed stated that they were worried about how they would pay their bills, mortgages, and other costs in the event of their spouse’s death, while only 37 percent of married men felt the same. Life insurance agents have also stated that women are typically the first to make contact regarding life insurance concerns.

Regardless of who you are or who your spouse is, this is a very important conversation to have for long-term security. Here are some ways to ensure that the conversation goes smoothly and addresses everything you need it to.

Setting the Scene

This is not a light conversation to be had while watching TV or running errands. This is an important conversation that will be best held with your undivided attention and will likely end in an action plan.

Find a time when both of you are available. Don’t try to squeeze this conversation in right before someone has to leave, or in between events. Don’t have this conversation late at night after a long day when one or both of you is exhausted, stressed, and ready to relax with ice cream and sitcoms. Figure out when both of you have a free day or evening, and schedule it out like you would a meeting.

Another good time to bring this up is within the context of a major life event. Are you buying a house or planning to buy one? Have you had a child or discussed having one? Did someone celebrate a milestone birthday? Are you contemplating a career change? Any “life change” is generally an important time for a life insurance change and can be a great way to naturally broach the topic with your partner.

Important Talking Points

This is a big discussion, and it can easily become too broad or vague, or you may get caught up on certain details and fail to cover all of the important topics. Along with scheduling the conversation for a time when both of you are alert and ready, set an agenda for everything you want to address.

The exact details will vary depending on your situation, but these are the most important points to cover:

  1. Your current coverage status. Do both of you have your own life insurance? Does one or both of you have life insurance through work? Do you have individual life insurance in case of loss of employment? What are the details of your coverage? Who are your beneficiaries?
  2. Records of important information. Failure to keep organized records is how you end up with a lost life insurance policy, a very stressful situation down the road. Establish where you’re going to keep all of the important information: insurance paperwork, financial information, real estate deeds and titles, death certificates, and contact information for important parties (children and other relatives, insurance agents, doctors and other medical personnel, attorneys, and service providers, to name a few).
  3. Costs, now and in the future. Break down all of the costs you have now, and costs you’re going to have in the future. You may have rent payments now, and those could be mortgage payments in a few years. Think about bills as well as outstanding debts, raising your children or future children, and the cost of education. Talk about how you plan to pay for them together, and what would happen if one of you were to pass away. This will give you an idea of how much coverage you need.
  4. Plans for the future. Don’t just think about your coverage needs now. Think about whether you’re planning on getting married, having children (or more children), buying a new home, or making significant career changes. You’ll feel less overwhelmed if you already have an idea of what your costs will be in the future and how you plan to adjust for them.
  5. After-death plans. Most people don’t plan to pass away. This is a morbid thought but consider how you and your spouse would plan to proceed in the event of a death. What arrangements would need to be made for the burial and memorial? Do you want to leave final messages for any loved ones? Are your wills up to date?

This can be a difficult conversation to have, and it can be made easier with the help of an experienced professional. Don’t hesitate to call a life insurance agent with any questions you have about the process. You could even have this discussion along with your life insurance agent, either acting as a mediator or actively offering advice. This is a big conversation, but it’s one of the most important ones for your future.

About National Catholic Society of Foresters

At National Catholic Society of Foresters, we pride ourselves on giving back to the communities that we serve by providing quality and comprehensive insurance solutions. Sales from our financial services products help fund member benefits along with social, educational, and volunteer programs designed to respond to community needs. Our portfolio is extensive, ranging from various life insurance policies to IRA’s to support your financial needs no matter what stage of life you’re in. For more information, contact our friendly experts today at (855) 804-7424.