Is there a “right” age to buy Life Insurance?

We get this question all the time: When is the right time to buy life insurance? Is it when you have kids? When you get married? When you own a home?

The truth of the matter is purchasing life insurance is a sensible step that everyone should take to ensure their loved ones will be provided for.

So the question isn’t, “should I get life insurance?” but rather, “how much life insurance?”

Here is a quick guide to how life insurance can help you from your 20s through your retirement years.

  • 20s – In your twenties life insurance is inexpensive and easy to get.
    • At this stage of life, most are entering the workforce and starting to think about building savings.
    • If you have significant student loans, be sure to at least have a term policy for that amount. In the case that anything were to happen to you, your family won’t be left with the burden of your student debt.
    • Even if you don’t have a family or large assets to protect, a good rule of thumb is to get a policy that is at least four times your annual income.


  • 30s – In your thirties you are now likely to have a family and assets to protect.
    • Be sure to supplement any life insurance policy your employer gives you.
    • Your income is likely to have increased and therefore your insurance needs should too.
    • Be sure to factor in your home and other large debts, on top of your family’s needs. A good rule of thumb for your thirties is ten times your annual income to help account for kids and assets.
    • However, be sure to factor in both working and stay-at-home parents in to your life insurance policy. If something were to happen to the stay-at-home parent, life insurance could cover childcare and other services that the stay-at-home parent provides.


  • 40s – In your forties you now are thinking about your retirement, planning for kids going to college and the possibility of disabled parents.
    • By this time you should already have a significant policy in place, but at this stage it is a good time to sit down with your financial advisor and reevaluate your policy to ensure you have proper coverage.
    • Be sure to you don’t have a term policy that will run out while your kids are still dependent on you or before you have paid off your mortgage.
    • If you haven’t already, look in to a permanent insurance policy which not only has important financial protection, but also has cash accumulation which you can use to help fund your children’s future college expenses.


  • 50s – By the time you are in your fifties, you likely have kids in college and parents that need care.
    • At this stage, you will want to tap in to your permanent life insurance policy’s cash accumulation to help pay for some of your larger expenses like your children’s tuition.
    • If your kids are now independent, reassess your policy to make sure you aren’t paying for coverage you don’t need anymore.
    • Life insurance will be much harder to get at this age because of existing health problems. Getting coverage in your fifties, although important if you don’t have any, won’t have the same long-term cash accumulation as a policy that you could get in your younger years. If you’re reading this and still unsure about getting life insurance when you are young, let this be your reason to not wait any longer so you don’t miss all the previously mentioned benefits!


  • 60s – Building your legacy, protecting your assets and your retirement nest egg.
    • In your sixties take a look at the size of your retirement nest egg and determine whether additional life insurance is necessary in case you or your spouse pass.
    • Now is a good time to sit down with an estate attorney to look in to a family trust and/or inheritance that could use your existing insurance policies.

Now that you know life insurance is important at every age, check out our Life Insurance Needs Estimator to help you determine how much life insurance is recommended for you.

One Comment

  1. mark gorman on May 16, 2013

    Life is Short Protect the ones that you love!!


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