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HOME >> Women Outlast Men - The Financial Concerns


Women Outlast Men - The Financial Concerns
By Patty Reiners FLMI, ACS



Discussing life insurance with your spouse is sometimes a difficult conversation. But it’s a conversation that should happen. The average American woman is widowed by age 56 and nearly 85% of the elderly poor in the nation are female. Many women aren’t prepared for this life event – emotionally or financially.

Replacement of income is one of the primary reasons to purchase insurance and with the average American male making more than the average female – this issue should drive the need for the conversation for women.

Wake up to the Facts

Seventy-five percent of American married women will become a widow someday.

To prepare for someday – you need to have a serious discussion with your spouse. Sit down and have each person list the things they want for their family in the future. Larger home, college education for the children, early retirement, etc. Then compare those lists and determine how much you’ll need to achieve those goals if your spouse’s salary is lost.

Over our lifetime, a person’s total income can add up to a sizeable sum. This amount would help protect the financial future of those left behind. For example:

  • A 40-year old who earns $50,000 a year will earn $1.25 million if they work to age 65. Adding just a 2.5% annual inflation factor, the future earnings are nearly $1.7 million.

How Much Life Insurance?

Once you’ve started the discussion, then you need to decide how much life insurance to purchase. How much will you need to replace your spouse’s future income?

The United States Department of Justice distributed a formula to the surviving family members of those lost on September 11. As an example:

  • The economic loss of a 30-year-old married individual with two children who was making $50,000 a year is nearly $2 million.

That calculation goes far beyond the two or three times income that many employers offer as group life insurance benefit.

Some Other Key Factors

Women have several other topics to factor into the equation.

  • What are your other outstanding debts – from mortgage to credit cards
  • The future costs of your children’s’ education
  • How much will you need to maintain your lifestyle into retirement

Other Income Sources

Once you have put together your profile, consider any additional income you currently have to help you determine if you need to increase or decrease the amount of insurance you’ll need. Some of these include:

  • Other life insurance policies
  • Taxes that reduce take-home pay
  • Savings and other assets
  • Earning power of survivors
  • Social security benefits for children
  • Duration of the income need

These suggestions come from the experts at Ameritas Direct. You can learn more online at

Patty Reiners FLMI, ACS
AVP - Ameritas Direct

Statistics used in the story from

About The Author

Patty Reiners FLMI, ACS
AVP - Ameritas Direct

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