Here’s some not-so-breaking news: I love black women! I love our humanity, our complexities, and our ability to stand up straight in the proverbial crooked room. And for the last four years, I’ve used my platform, The Frugal Feminista, to get us financially and emotionally free by not only sharing my journey of moving from $65K of debt to zero debt, but also explicitly teaching basic wealth-building principles. In particular, I’ve focused on all of the sexy financial topics like improving credit, saving and investing like a boss, home ownership, debt elimination, online entrepreneurship, and abundance thinking.
But I’ve stayed away from talking about life insurance.
Life Insurance, the Stepchild of Personal Finance?
The jargon associated with purchasing life insurance has seemed overly confusing to me (and probably is for you.) And, no one really looks forward to having a conversation about their mortality, let alone attaching a dollar amount to it. In fact, for a while, life insurance was anything but sexy to me; it was scary and I avoided it.
But once I had Chocolate Drop last year, I realized that I had to pull up my big girl panties and educate myself on the ins and outs of life insurance; as a mom, I literally had someone’s life in my own hands and I couldn’t afford not to.
I had too much to lose.
After I read up on life insurance and interviewed two insurance agents (funny how necessity motivates), I realized three things.
Number One. The world of life insurance was not that intimidating once you took the time to study it and were willing to open your mouth to ask questions.
Number Two. Many women, because of their hectic lives, were not willing to do Number One.
Number Three. I wanted to be the bridge between Number One and Number Two by helping black women, in particular, see that life insurance is bae and an essential part of any solid personal finance foundation.
Why We Need to Get Our Life… Insurance
Purchasing life insurance is a must-do for black women. But many of us don’t see the link between the need to buy life insurance and the various ways that race, gender, and economics intersect on a daily basis and impact our ability to purposefully plan our futures.
Let me help you connect the dots with four reasons why black women, in particular, need to think about life insurance.
We often lead on one income. A Financial Experience and Behaviors Among Women study reported that black women, when compared to their white and Hispanic female counterparts, often lead their households alone. On top of that, many of our single-parent headed households are multigenerational. That means we’re just not taking care of our nuclear family under one roof. No. We’re taking care of grandparents, uncles, play cousins, and other extended family on one income.
With the right amount of coverage to replace your income, you’ll be able to help ensure your family is protected financially if you were no longer around.
We need to create generational wealth, not generational poverty. The average cost of a funeral usually ranges from $8,000 to $10,000, but as we see a rise in GoFundMe pages for funerals, it’s safe to assume that many deceased were uninsured or underinsured, and several members of the family may have to go into debt to cover funeral costs if they can’t raise the money.
We could see a sharp decline in the number of funeral GoFundMe pages if more families have the right life insurance policy.
We have a dysfunctional relationship with giving. Societal norms dictate that women – no matter age, financial status, or education level – are expected to manage most, if not all, of the caregiving responsibilities in our families. But what makes caregiving uniquely precarious for black women is the unspoken cultural expectation that we carry these burdens in silence and with a sense of pride. “Giving your last,” or “giving until it hurts,” are manifestations of the tired and debilitating trope, The Strong Black Woman. This insists that we define ourselves by how well we take care of others at the expense of our immediate and long-term emotional or financial well-being.
But if you think about it, purchasing life insurance is a way to redefine our relationship with emotional and financial martyrdom. Life insurance allows you to thoughtfully plan for others in the event of your death, while allowing you to pursue individual peace and happiness while you’re still living.
We have businesses to protect. Black women are the fastest-growing demographic of entrepreneurs. A study from the National Women’s Business Council found the number of businesses owned by black women soared by 66.9 percent between 2007 and 2012.
In the event of your untimely death, the proper life insurance policy can help ensure that your business continues and the livelihood of employees, which may include friends and family members, is protected.
Where You Can Start to Get Your Life…Insurance
Purchasing life insurance is not as painful and drawn-out as it used to be. Back in the day, it took 4-6 weeks to get life insurance, and you had to speak to advisors, fill out a ton of paperwork, and visit the doctor in person to complete a medical exam. But it’s the 21st century and startups like Haven Life, which is backed by MassMutual, have disrupted the life insurance buying process (in a great way), offering tech-savvy, on-the-go consumers like you and me a simple and quick process.
You can now purchase affordable life insurance entirely online. And in some cases, qualified applicants don’t need to leave their home for a medical exam (depending on the info provided in the application process). The best part? As long as you live in one of the 50 United States, you can apply online and find out immediately if you’re approved for a policy. If approved, coverage can start today.
Where to Start
The difference between setting a goal and meeting a goal is action. If you know that life insurance should be at the top of your to-do list, make sure you take action within the next 48 hours:
- Calculate your needs. Many experts recommend purchasing a policy that’s at least 5-10 times your annual income. Haven Life’s online life insurance calculator can help you figure out the right amount of coverage and provide you with an estimate of how much it’ll cost.
- Select a policy. Different insurance agencies offer different policies. Haven Life, for example, offers term life insurance policies up to $1 million. Term life insurance is usually the simplest and most affordable types of coverage. As an example, a 37-year-old married woman in excellent health making $75,000 annually with a child, a mortgage and some consumer debt can purchase a 30-year, $950,000 term life insurance policy for $65.38 a month. If you don’t need that much coverage, a healthy 35-year-old married woman can purchase a 20-year, $500,000 policy starting at about $18 per month. Pricing fluctuates based on age, coverage amount, and term length. Speak to your family about your “why.” They should understand why you’re buying life insurance and how to access the benefits if anything happens to you.
- Readjust your budget.
- Pull the trigger and buy a life insurance policy.
You’ll be happy that you took the steps to safeguard the people you love and cherish most.
This post was sponsored by Haven Life, but all opinions are my own. In fact, I’ve partnered with Haven Life on a Get Your Life…Insurance series to educate as many black women as I can about the importance of getting the right life insurance policy. Tell me about your experiences buying life insurance, if an online option appeals to you, and share your questions so I can answer them in my next post.
Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (ICC15DTC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC.