Do Women Over 50 Need Life Insurance?

Some are keeping their traditional policies for surprising reasons, but financial pros are keen on a combo plan with long-term care benefits

Kerry Hannon • Next Avenue
life insurance image

My question of the day is this: Do women over 50 need life insurance?

The topic was recently batted around on Consuelo Mack WealthTrack, the personal finance and investing program that airs on public television stations around the country.

Mack’s discussion
 with InvestmentNews contributing editor Mary Beth Franklin and certified financial planner Erin Botsford, chief executive of the Botsford Group, began by covering familiar territory.

The show noted, for example, that 50 percent of women fear becoming a bag lady and that 18 percent of divorced women over 65 are living below the poverty level.

(MORE: Why Have Life Insurance After Retirement?)

2 Intriguing Points From Money Pros
But Franklin grabbed my attention when she said there's been an uptick in life insurance purchases by women over 50. “The old idea of life insurance was you had it when your kids were little, so if anything happened, your survivors could pay off the mortgage and send the kids to college,” she said. “So, traditionally, once you got into your mid-50s, a lot of people gave up their life insurance.”

But, Franklin added, “I’m starting to see more 50-plus people either keeping their life insurance or buying it because they look at their kids who have lived through this recession and say, ‘They will never have what we had and I want to be able to provide for my adult children.’”

Some planners call this the “leaving a legacy” rationale for owning life insurance in midlife. “It’s the next stage of helicopter parenting,” Lisa A.K. Kirchenbauer, a certified financial planner with Omega Wealth Management in Arlington, Va., told me.

I was also struck by Botsford's comments on why older women might want their husbands to keep holding onto their life insurance policies where the wives are beneficiaries – to compensate for the possibility that the men’s health woes might sap the couples’ savings.

Click here to read the rest of the story on Next Avenue

Photo courtesy of zimmytws/

Next: How Not to Talk to Your Adult Child About Money

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