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When It Comes to Life Insurance, Women Are Still Woefully Underserved

Thirty years of experience in the insurance industry has taught me that women face an uphill financial battle. So, here is what women can do to improve their life insurance policies.

It’s time for a reality check. Women still manage the majority of household chores as well as the lion’s share of childcare. It has also been my observation that despite this, many women still allow their male spouses or partners to make most of the financial decisions.

I have worked in the insurance industry for over 30 years, and I’ve found that the following stats are some of the biggest reasons this dynamic is a big problem for women.

  • Ninety-eight percent of women will be 100 percent responsible for their finances in their lifetime.
  • The divorce rate is still around 50 percent.
  • More than 60 percent of divorced women over the age of 65 live at or below the poverty level.
  • Seventy percent of women will need long term care at some point in their lives.
  • Women spend almost twice as much time in long-term care facilities as men.
  • Most Americans are woefully underinsured when it comes to life insurance.

It’s going to take more than luck to beat those odds.

Planning for your financial future can be overwhelming, but the peace of mind that comes from having a plan is worth all of the angst, I promise.

First steps

Find a financial planner you like and trust. Ask friends and colleagues to recommend someone. Interview several folks and choose the one who is right for you, then meet with that planner at least twice a year.

Secure permanent life insurance while you are young and healthy for yourself and on your spouse or partner. Just do it, and get more than you think you will need.

Secure Disability Income Protection, because if you are unable to work and earn an income, your plan is useless.

Find a local property casualty agent you like and trust. Find someone with experience, who will guide you to secure the right coverage for your home, vehicles, and the like. Trust me, you will want more than an 800 number or an email address when you have a claim.

Be aggressive when investing for your retirement while you are young. Women tend to be much more conservative than their male counterparts, resulting in lower returns and less money for retirement.

Secure a Hybrid Long Term Care policy that will pay if you live and need care, or if you die or decide you don’t want the policy any longer.

Find an attorney that you like and trust. Again, ask friends and colleagues for referrals. Same goes for a CPA. Then, have your attorney assist you in writing your will, which should include a living will and financial and medical power of attorney. Keep your will updated as your life changes.

Keep all your important papers together in a safe place and make sure family members and friends know where to find them. Write down your last wishes and place them in an envelope with your important papers as well.

Finally, make sure someone knows your passwords to open your devices and accounts.

You will want to thank me someday.

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