You Need Less Life Insurance at 35! Really?

Knowing when you need life insurance and how much of it is personal, because everyone’s situation is unique. That’s why the advice in the USA Today article “Knowing When You Need Life Insurance” is shocking.

In the article, Cary Guffey, CFP and financial adviser at PNC, says that from ages 35 to 55 your “need for life insurance wanes,” because … “Mortgage balances are starting to fall as the loans have been paid on for years. Meanwhile, college savings plans and retirement plans are probably well on the way at this point.”

“Say, what?!”

How many 35-year-olds have their mortgage just about paid off—or even close? Their kids college savings plans topped off—or even close? Their retirement plan fully funded—or even close? I’d venture to guess that if you took trust fund babies out of the equation, you could count the number on one hand. And it’s probably not too much higher for 45-year-olds.

Statistics might give us a clearer picture: 80% of those ages 30-54 believe they will not have enough money put away for retirement, according to

The USA Today article then continues: “That’s not to say there’s no need for life insurance in this age bracket. There are cases when consumers might add a second home, have a child or adopt children later in their careers … Guffey says. These unique cases require protection.”

Unique? Nearly 14% of mothers of newborns were 35 or older, according to Pew Research. What if you had let your life insurance “wane,” and now you’re 40, with a newborn, and because of a health condition, can no longer get life insurance coverage?

What about this case: You’re a stay-at-home parent, age 35, and your spouse dies. Even if all these factors—mortgage, college savings and retirement plans—were “well on the way,” where would that death leave you financially?

Which of those funds—home equity, college or retirement savings—would you have to tap to meet the rest of your living expense over the long term if you wanted to continue to stay home with your children? With your working spouse deceased, how does that retirement plan get completed?

That’s why the best advice is to seek your own advice. Start by getting an estimate of your life insurance needs with the easy online Life Insurance Needs Calculator. Then, talk to an agent, who can walk you through your specific needs and recommend something that fits in your budget.

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