Term Life Insurance and the Single Woman

Scott McEachern |

In practice, the question often arises as to why a single woman should own life insurance. Before answering it, it might be instructive to consider some demographics, especially as they have been trending in recent years:

  • Since 2007, single women now outnumber married women
  • The average age of matrimony for women is now 26 with an increasing number waiting until their thirties and forties
  • The divorce rate continues to increase each year
  • Women are waiting an average of 6 years after marriage to start their families

What does this tell us about single women and their need for life insurance? For one, women are remaining single for a longer period of time and are taking on more responsibility in their careers and their financial lives. As their incomes increase, so do their obligations.  More single women are buying homes on their own. Women who have graduated university, carry loans with them.  And more women are taking control of their financial lives by setting up their own retirement and savings accounts.

The Need for Life Insurance

Single Women with no Children

 Interestingly, single women are also the most underinsured when it comes to life insurance. So, why should a single woman buy life insurance?  The most basic reason is that buying life insurance is part of taking control of your financial life.  A woman, or any adult, who strives for true independence, needs to consider the financial consequences of what is left behind if they should die unexpectedly.  They also, should have the foresight to anticipate future needs.

There are three compelling reasons for young single women to buy life insurance:

It pays debts and final expenses: Single women accumulate debts just as any other adult does. Women have car loans, mortgages, credit card debt, and student loans, that, if not paid, can create a hardship for surviving family members. Final expenses, including funeral expenses, can also be a financial burden. Responsible people account for these expenses and provide for insurance to cover them if they die.

It may never be cheaper: The best time to buy life insurance is when it is cheapest.  Women in their twenties and early thirties are offered very attractive premiums rates for being young, female, and in good health. These rates can be locked in for a long period of time.

It’s inevitable: Most single women don’t stay single. After they marry and join incomes, they become a vital part of the financial life of their spouse.  They may also have children who will be dependent on the income of their mom as well as her services in providing care.  By buying life insurance early on, it is already in place when the increased need for it emerges.  Instead of paying much higher premium rates, the family budget will hardly be impacted by the low rates of a policy purchased years ago.

Single Moms

Single moms have an obvious obligation to provide for the financial security of their children. Even if a single mom receives support from the children’s father, her loss could cause unnecessary financial and lifestyle hardships for the children without the benefit of life insurance.  Life insurance on a single mom provides the added assurance that her aspirations for her children can be realized.

The Term Solution for Single Women

For a young single woman, with her whole life ahead of her, a term life policy may be the best solution.  It is certainly the least expensive, so it shouldn’t put any real dent in her budget, and it can be purchased on a level basis for as many as 30 years.  If purchased at age 25, this would provide her with coverage until she turns 55 at which point she is not likely to have a continuing need for life insurance.  This assumes that in the course of these 30 years she had raised her family and her kids are no longer dependent.

As an example, if a 25 year old woman, in good health, were to purchase a  $500,000- 30 year level term policy, her premium payments would be around $30 a month for the life of the policy.  She could shorten that to 25 years, however, the premium difference would be less than $5 per month.

If she waited until age 35, to purchase a 20 year level term, her premium rate would be around $40 a month.  This assumes she is still in excellent health which is not a guarantee.  If any kind of medical condition were to develop that resulted in a raising of the policy, her costs could increase to over $60 a month. 

Summary

For most people, buying life insurance is an inevitable occurrence. Single women, especially, are likely to take on increasing responsibilities as they experience life’s events.  The need for life insurance begins when you realize that your unexpected death will have financial consequences for loved ones and that is usually when you begin to accumulate debts; from there the need only increases.