Getting Married

The Hidden Costs of Losing Your Spouse

At a time of grief, stress and loneliness, a newly widowed person shouldn’t also have to face financial hardship.

Although nearly half of U.S. families say they would feel the financial impact of losing a spouse or partner within six months,1 30 percent of households have no life insurance coverage.2 While the last thing happily married couples want to discuss are the financial repercussions following the untimely passing of a spouse, it’s an important conversation. Follow this checklist to help make sure you or your partner will be covered in the event of a loss.

1. Confront the unthinkable

It’s not surprising that almost one in five married couples has life insurance for only one spouse.3 After all, “What would I do if I lost you?” isn’t something most couples want to talk about. But this question does need to be answered from a practical perspective (if not an emotional one). Set aside a time to have this conversation.

2. Calculate your current needs

List what expenses would need to be covered in the event of each spouse’s passing. Items to consider include:

  • Mortgage payments
    • Tip: A term policy that’s greater than or equal to your mortgage term and amount is a good way to make sure this expense will be covered.
  • Child care costs or tuition
  • Medical bills
  • Financial support for aging family members
  • Funeral costs
  • General cost-of-living expenses

Additionally, if you and/or your partner are still working, you would also need to replace some of the income your household currently depends on.

3. Consider the long-term math

The latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that 12.1 percent of men and 33.6 percent of women 65 years and older are widowed.4 Overall, the average life expectancy in the U.S. is 76.3 years for men and 81.2 years for women.5 In other words, many widows may live alone for 10 years or longer. Use your current budget as a guide to ensure you will not be at risk of outliving your funds.

Getting married is one of life’s great joys, but with the joy comes the need for difficult discussions. Having these conversations early can bring peace of mind so that you can focus on enjoying your life together. For additional insights, take a look at “Your Helpful Life Insurance Guide: Getting Married.”

1 2016 Amica Life Financial Peace of Mind Survey, 2016.
2 Trends in Life Insurance Ownership, LIMRA, 2016.
3 2015 Amica Life Financial Peace of Mind Survey, 2015.
4 America’s Families and Living Arrangements, United States Census Bureau, 2016.
5 Life Expectancy In U.S. Drops For First Time In Decades, Report Finds, NPR Morning Edition, 2016.

ALIC35418 (exp. 12/19)

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