Changing a career can be an exciting and significant milestone. Leading up to that moment, several factors may influence a career change, such as finances, family needs and personal fulfillment.
Depending on your priorities and interests, you may hop between corporate jobs, freelance, become a stay-at-home parent, re-enter the workforce or go back to school to prepare for an entirely new career. As you navigate these career changes – and their impact on your income and dependents – make sure your life insurance coverage keeps pace with them.
Staying at home
If you decide to become a stay-at-home parent, you’ll create strong bonds with your children and provide invaluable caregiving to your growing family. If you already have employer-provided life insurance you may have the option to keep it. However, it might be more affordable to purchase life insurance on your own, so do your research before making a decision. If your policy expires when you leave the company, or if you don’t have employer-provided life insurance, this is the perfect time to purchase coverage for yourself.
A matter of timing
For some, a career switch is a matter of timing – very specific timing. “Birthday milestones – turning 35, 40 or 50 – are a big motivation for a career change,” says Donna Sweidan, a certified career coach and founder of CareerFolk.com. “There’s a lot of anxiety and reflection around those milestones. People might feel like they haven’t accomplished what they wanted to by that point in their life, or that they’ve stayed too long in an unsatisfying job.”
Before bidding adieu to your job, take the time to check your insurance benefits. “Most corporate jobs offer a benefit of group life insurance,” says Ed Johnson, assistant sales manager at Amica Life. “Some policies are portable, meaning if you leave the company, you can continue the policy by paying out of pocket.” If the policy ends on your last day and your new job doesn’t include a life insurance benefit (or if you aren’t starting somewhere else right away), then you’ll want to replace that lost coverage by purchasing your own policy.
Keeping it on the level
Life insurance, at its core, is there to help provide income replacement for your loved ones. If you are earning more in your new job, make sure your life insurance coverage aligns with your higher salary and its future growth curve. “If you are making more money, then you’re probably spending more money, too,” Johnson notes. Perhaps you move into a bigger house or buy a vacation home. “You get accustomed to that lifestyle. If you pass away, you want to be able to provide your spouse with that same level of income so they can maintain that same standard of living.”
Counting the costs
Many families think of life insurance in terms of covering such core expenses as a mortgage or a child’s schooling. But a career change may bring with it new expenses that need to be factored into coverage. For example, if you’re returning to work after staying home with children, then child care expenses can become a bigger consideration. Or perhaps you’re going back to school to advance or change your career. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, students over age 35 will comprise 19 percent of all college and graduate students by 2020.1
Of course, college often comes with a hefty price tag. According to a report from the New America Foundation, the average graduate student accumulates $57,600 in loans, with 25 percent borrowing nearly $100,000.2 Spouses may have to co-sign those loans. “Should the spouse in school pass away, then the other spouse may have to assume that student debt,” Johnson says. “You’ll want life insurance in place to help cover that loan.”
“Identify the goals that you have for your loved ones, and keep those goals in mind as you assess the right amount of coverage.”– Ed Johnson, assistant sales manager at Amica Life
If you already own a life insurance policy, then you’re off to a great start. But as your career evolves, so do your life insurance coverage needs. You may need to supplement or replace your old policy to maintain the safety net you want for your family. “Identify the goals that you have for your loved ones,” Johnson says, “and keep those goals in mind as you assess the right amount of coverage.”
1 National Center for Education Statistics, 2017.
2 The Graduate Student Debt Review: The State of Graduate Student Borrowing, New American Education, 2014.
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ALIC37318 (exp. 12/19)