Having a baby inspired me and my husband to make a few important financial moves. We boosted our savings, opened up a 529 plan as a college fund, and put a term life insurance policy in place.
A few years later, we welcomed twin girls into our family. And once again, we went through the motions of trying to boost our savings (it was a little harder this time around since we were also paying for child care for our son) and opening 529 plans to save for college.
But one thing we didn’t do after the birth of our daughters was increase our life insurance coverage. Here’s why.
When you already have the coverage you need
You’ll generally hear that it’s a good idea to secure enough life insurance to replace your salary 10 times over at a minimum. We made a point to do that for my husband. But we bought less life insurance for me for one big reason.
My husband and I worked out our finances so that we’re able to cover our essential expenses on his income alone. We use my income for things like savings, activities and programs for our kids, family activities and trips, and extras like streaming services and takeout meals when we’re too tired or busy to cook.
We limited ourselves to being able to get by on my husband’s salary for essential bills for a few reasons. First, because I’m self-employed, my income is variable to begin with. So it’s hard to count on it for actual bills.
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And while my workload has become more steady in recent years, at the time when I had my son and then my daughters, it wasn’t as stable and consistent. So we figured we’d better make sure we could cover our basic expenses on my husband’s pay alone.
Also, while I’ve worked since having kids, we didn’t know how I’d feel about being a stay-at-home mom or not. And we wanted that to be an option in the event that we decided it was the right choice for our family.
In the end, it was an option I never exercised, and I’ve worked full-time since having all of my children. But knowing it was there gave me peace of mind.
Because of this, we opted not to increase my life insurance even once our expenses grew in the form of having more kids. We decided that the coverage we had was adequate for our needs and that there was no sense in going through the process of applying for more.
Should you boost your life insurance coverage after kids?
Sometimes, having more kids means taking on more expenses. If you’re doing something like moving to a larger home and taking on a mortgage loan that’s $300,000 higher, then yes, you may want to up your life insurance coverage after having more children.
But in our case, we didn’t take on a new mortgage — we stayed put. And while we took on some extra bills in the course of having two more children (think diapers galore), we were comfortable with the amount of coverage we had based on those expenses.
If you’re not sure what to do about life insurance after expanding your family, think about how that change is impacting your household’s finances. Also, see how much coverage you already have.
You may decide that you’re happy with your existing life insurance. But if you’re suddenly spending thousands more each year on expenses by virtue of growing your family, and you’re also adding to your household debt in a very big way, then it may not be a bad idea to shop around for life insurance quotes and see what it’ll cost you to boost your coverage.
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