ARLINGTON, Va. – Americans wrongly believe that life insurance is better suited for someone who leads an independent, risky and adventurous life, than for a working father who earns the primary source of income for his family, according to a recent survey from Life Happens.
In fact, when asked which fictional character has the greatest need for life insurance, more than a third of respondents (34%) indicated that James Bond needs life insurance more than any other fictional character in the survey. Agent 007 was selected by nearly twice as many Americans as Homer Simpson (18%) and by five times as many Americans as Modern Family's Phil Dunphy (6%) – two heads of households whose families would be hit hard financially without life insurance.
"While James Bond dances with death just about every day, the truth is he has no one relying on him financially. Parents and breadwinners like Homer Simpson and Phil Dunphy are the ones most in need of life insurance, which would allow their families to be OK financially if they were to die," said Marvin Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, President and CEO of Life Happens. "The data supports the fact that Americans need to better understand the important role that life insurance plays for people just like them."
Despite the misconception that life insurance is for the fast and the furious, the purpose of life insurance is actually to provide a source of income and financial stability for families who are suffering from the loss of a loved one who provided financially.
"Whether you are married, single, retired, or a stay-at-home parent, life insurance can provide essential assistance to your loved ones when you are no longer able to provide for them," added Feldman. "If you love someone, someone loves you, or you owe someone money, you need life insurance."
Life Happens offers the following tips agents can share with individuals considering life insurance in various phases of their lives:
• Married: Many people mistakenly believe that they don't need to think about life insurance until they have children. Not true. You'll want to ensure that your spouse could manage the mortgage or rent, ongoing bills and debt if something were to happen to you. Plus, if you're planning to have children, you'll want to buy life insurance now instead of waiting until pregnancy—some companies won't issue policies to pregnant women.
• Married with Children: Most families depend on two incomes to make ends meet. If you died suddenly, could your family continue to meet all their financial obligations—from paying rent or the mortgage to daily living expenses? Could your family continue their standard of living on your spouse's income alone? Would their plans for the future—like college stay intact? Life insurance makes sure that your plans for the future don't die when you do.
• Single Parent: As a single parent, you're the caregiver, breadwinner, cook, chauffeur and so much more. Yet, according to industry research organization LIMRA, nearly four in 10 single parents have no life insurance, and many with coverage say they need more than they have. With so much responsibility resting on your shoulders, you need to make doubly sure that you have enough life insurance to safeguard your children's financial future.
• Retired: Many people think their need for life insurance ends once they retire. But you'll want to rethink this if you have people who depend on you, such as a child with special needs or other children still living at home. Plus, you'll want to make sure your spouse or partner would be OK financially, especially if you have a pension with no survivorship option, you have installment debt, or if they couldn't easily pay for end-of-life bills and funeral costs. Leaving a legacy is also important for many people, which life insurance can help with.
• Stay-at-Home Parent: Just because you don't earn a salary doesn't mean you don't make a financial contribution to your family. Childcare, transportation and managing a household are all important tasks, the replacement value of which is often severely underestimated. With life insurance, your family could afford to make the choice that best preserves their quality of life.
Survey Methodology: This research was conducted by KRC Research from Sept. 7-9, 2015 via an online survey of 1,022 adults in the United States.
About Life Happens: Life Happens is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers take personal financial responsibility through the ownership of life insurance and related products. The organization does not endorse any product, company or insurance advisor. Since its inception in 1994, Life Happens has provided the highest quality, independent and objective information for people seeking help with their insurance buying decisions. The organization supports the insurance industry by providing marketing tools and resources and convening the industry each September for Life Insurance Awareness Month. Life Happens is supported by more than 140 of the nation's leading insurance company and financial services organizations. To learn more, visit www.lifehappens.org.
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