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I wasn’t super familiar with the life insurance world until I became an insurance broker myself. Once I’d passed my insurance exams, though, my then-fiancé and I decided to get life insurance right away.

A few years before meeting my now-husband, my dad had developed terminal liver cancer. By writing a letter to his insurance company that was signed by his doctors, he was able to access his policy in order to take my brothers for a trip through Europe before he died. 

Although there wasn’t any life insurance money left when my dad die several years later, this experience made me realize the importance of life insurance and the options it provides, and my partner and I didn’t want to wait to purchase policies of our own. 

My fiance and I bought our first home the year before we got married and knew that if one of us died unexpectedly, we wanted the other one to be able to live there without concern about how to pay the bills. In that case, life insurance would be a huge help.

Another reason we decided to purchase life insurance before we got married or had children is that we were both in good health, and knew the future could be unpredictable.

Even though neither of us has experienced a major illness or injury since buying insurance, it’s obviously not possible to foresee the future and we didn’t want to take any chances since the cost of life insurance depends on your health and age. 

So then it came down to what type of insurance we wanted to buy. There are loads of different types of life insurance, but the main two are term life and whole life insurance. You can purchase life insurance policies that are based on fixed interest rates, and others that are tied to the performance of the stock market.

When it came down to which policy was right for us, we considered three factors: coverage amount, affordability, and predictability. 

Coverage amount

First and foremost, we wanted to make sure that we had life insurance policies that covered everything we needed them for.

Even though we purchased the policies pre-kids, we wanted to factor in a growing family as we knew we wanted children. We also wanted to be able to pay off the home for the other and cover a certain level of living expenses for 20 to 30 years in the event of an unexpected death. 

Affordability

We knew our life insurance policy had to fit into our budget. There was no use in getting a policy that stretched us financially as we would have had to cancel it down the line if that was the case and didn’t want to go into debt trying to afford a life insurance policy. 

Predictability

We weren’t comfortable with our life insurance policy being tied to interest rates or the stock market in the event that one of those environments went south and our policy wasn’t performing the way we needed it to. So we decided to go with a $1 million, 30-year term life insurance policy for each of us. 

At the time, we figured 30 years would bring us close to our retirement age and thus help cover any years where there was only one income to live on in the event one of us had died.

The term policy was much cheaper than a whole life policy, the death benefit amount ($1 million) was set, and we knew exactly how much we would be paying each month (or year) for the next 30 years. 

All that being said, I recommend individuals shop around for term life insurance policies that fit the needs of their family. I know a lot of people want to wait until they have children, but if you and your partner are in it for the long run there’s no better time to purchase than when you are young and healthy. 

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