Whether or not we want to admit it, most of us have financial concerns. But what’s of particular interest: Almost a third of people (31%) say they are “very or extremely concerned” about a range of financial issues.
The new 2023 Insurance Barometer Study by Life Happens and LIMRA shows those concerns range from saving enough for a comfortable retirement, which tops the list at 44%, to feeling stressed about paying off student debt (18%).
Financial Concerns for Single Moms
Diving deeper, the data on single moms shows their financial concerns are more elevated across the board, often by double digits. Here are just three concerns of single moms versus the general population:
- Having money for a comfortable retirement: 58% vs. 44%
- Leaving dependents in a difficult financial situation should I die prematurely: 51% vs. 29%
- Ability to afford college for children: 40% vs. 22%
There is something that helps provide financial peace of mind, though: having life insurance. In fact, 69% of life insurance owners say they feel financially secure vs. 49% who don’t own it. For single moms, 52% of those with life insurance feel secure vs. just 30% of those who don’t have it.
However, only two in five single mothers (41%) own life insurance compared to over half (52%) of all adults. And in addition, six in 10 single mothers report having a life insurance need-gap, meaning they either need it or know they need more coverage than they currently have, representing about 5 million single moms.
More Than One Reason to Own It
The primary reason single moms own life insurance (63%) is the same as the general population: covering burial costs. However, only a quarter say they have it to replace lost income. While everyone’s situation is unique, for those single moms who are the sole income-earner, this stat is troubling.
In addition, many don’t know that life insurance can address a range of financial concerns besides covering burial costs and income replacement, including college costs and retirement income (listed as top concerns) via a permanent life insurance policy.
The good news is that the barriers that often keep people, including single moms, from getting life insurance are easy to overcome.
Tips for Single Moms
Insurance professional Barb Pietrangelo, the chair of Life Happens with her own financial planning practice in Ada, Mich., has these tips for getting your life insurance in order. Having been a single mom as well, she shares these insights:
Get some coverage—and don’t let cost stop you. There is an important reason: Half of people overestimate the true cost of life insurance by three times or more, according to the study. Barb says that starting small is OK. “Twenty dollars a month can typically get you a term life insurance policy that can take care of final expenses and make sure there is some money for your children, too.”
Having no coverage at all can have serious consequences. The stories from the recipients of Life Happens’ Life Lessons Scholarship Program show the stark reality of what happens when children like Alston Handy, for example, lose a parent—or a single mom—who had little or no life insurance. “These stories are heartbreaking,” says Barb, “and it doesn’t have to be that way with a little planning.”
Get permanent life insurance as soon as you can afford it. “It protects your kids if something happens to you, which is most important,” says Barb, “but it also builds cash value over the life of the policy, which you can tap for any purpose later on, like money for your children’s college education or your retirement.” She emphasizes that if you can’t get a permanent policy right away, buy a term policy that allows you to convert it to permanent coverage later.
Let life insurance take care of you down the road. Permanent life insurance can come with features like long-term care for when you’re older, Barb says. “I think of it this way for those who are single: The only person that is going to take care of you when you are older is the younger woman you are today,” she says. Life insurance can have living benefits to help you along your financial journey.
While you can certainly buy coverage online, don’t overlook working with an insurance professional who can tailor coverage to your needs and budget. Keep in mind that consulting with an agent about your life insurance needs won’t cost you and doesn’t obligate you to buy anything. If you don’t have an agent and want to find one in your area, you can use the Life Happens Agent Locator.