According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Great Recession impacted 8.8 million Americans with a loss of jobs. Many of those people affected were married couples who have families, mortgages, dreams, and plans for the future. Rebounding from this crisis is going to take a long time, and married couples can either sink or swim when this kind of financial crisis impacts their lives.
Couples argue more about money than any other topic. They argue far less about sex, in-laws, chores, and their children than they do about money. However, what many happily married couples know is that marriage is more than just a romantic relationship. It is a lifelong partnership that equally embraces business and romance in a net that unites people in trust.
One of the things that young couples can do to be better prepared for financial crises before they arise is to have some kind of safety net in place. Life insurance is an affordable, easy, and practical safety net for married couples to consider when making contingency plans for the future.
However, the biggest hurdle that married couples might have in broaching the topic of life insurance and money matters in general is the difference in their personalities. It is something of a truism that spenders tend to be attracted to savers. It might be a case of opposites attract, but the result in many people’s relationship with their spouses is a kind of polarization when it comes to money. Especially if money matters are not regularly discussed, money issues tend to drive couples more into their corner.
Our financial personalities are shaped long before we become adults, and the onset of adulthood does not suddenly bring about a mature relationship to money. This polarization is one of the main reasons that married couples tend to argue about money so much. Over-spenders compensate for their anxiety by spending more, and savers take out their frustration on an over-spender as the source of all their own increased frustration and anxiety over money. Even worse, couples can adopt a cone of silence around money issues as a shield for their respective sense of shame and guilt for a perceived inadequacy around money matters. This cone only gets involuntarily broken when a financial crisis erupts.
Marriage is as much a partnership as it is a romance. Couples need to respect and trust one another in order to succeed in life financially. Planning is the key to this success. Scheduling regular meetings to discuss money matters like bills and long term goals can be a great way to begin talking about the return of premium life insurance pros and cons. Couples both have insurable interests with regard to their marriage, and it is never too early to consider life insurance.
Married couples make large purchases like mortgages on homes and cars, and a life insurance policy can provide a beneficiary with money to settle the mortgage or to invest it as they see fit. If only one spouse is working, life insurance gives the other spouse some financial security to pay for bills, costs of living, and funeral costs while they search for employment. Any attempt to bring up a discussion of life insurance with a spouse should focus on its practicality, but since money is an emotionally and symbolically loaded topic, it should be discussed with mutual respect and love.
Buying life insurance can have the added benefit of strengthening a relationship. There is a great deal of happiness and freedom that comes from having financial security. Not having a nest egg in the future to guard against accident or death can leave a pall on the relationship. Depression is common in people having financial difficulties, and depression in either spouse can have a negative effect on the abilities of spouses to communicate openly and honestly with one another.
Depression can also exacerbate problems people have when dealing with money, making them more likely to make impulse buys. Purchasing life insurance gives couples a milestone to celebrate in the context of their relationships. Besides wedding anniversaries, there are not many socially identifiable financial markers for long term marriage goals. Creating one’s own financial milestone through a life insurance policy can be empowering to a couple, and it provides a place where couples can agree on the value of money and financial security, thus mitigating the conflicts that couples can have with their money personalities. Savers, for instance, have the benefit of knowing that they are setting aside money for a future rainy day, and spenders know that should a crisis occur they will be able to take care of all their costs.
When handled through a financial expert, life insurance is easy to purchase, and with term life insurance policies, it is cheaper than universal or whole life. The important thing about life insurance is that it gives married couples a clear sense of their worth to each other, and it provides a great safety net that can be paid into over many years and used to meet the sometimes unpredictable realities that life throws at us. Marriage takes a lot of work and is built on mutual respect for the freedom that couples should have to be themselves. Life insurance can make that financial work a little easier and a little less burdensome.
Amie Gottschalk is an avid blogger. You can follow her on Twitter @amiegottschalk.