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Life-Insurance: Do You Know the Value…of YOU?

How many of you, when it comes to talking about life-insurance with your spouse, have said one of the following statements?

It’ll never happen to us. 

We’re too young!

We take care of ourselves…heck we run every day!

We’ll sign up for it later.  There’s no rush.

I’m suspecting that it’s a lot.  And you’re not alone.  According to JD, “40 percent of adult Americans have no life insurance whatsoever, and over 50 million people in this country lack adequate life insurance.”

Now, this is a subject very near and dear to my heart.  Because I was half of a couple who was too young, too healthy, and too confident that nothing bad would ever happen to us.  And you know what?

It did.

If my husband and I had not had the right amount of life-insurance when he died suddenly on his way to work in 2007, I’ll tell you what would have happened:

I would have had to sell my house.

I would have been dependent on my extended family.

I wouldn’t have been able to pay for health insurance, a dependable car, or a lot of other necessities that we all take for granted on a daily basis.  Extra activities would have been a thing of the past and our lifestyle would have changed drastically…all while we were trying to cope with his death.

And when people said, “You’re so lucky you don’t have to move” after he died, my response was, “We weren’t ‘lucky.’  We planned.”

However, my husband and I were guilty of something that I’m sure most families are.  And that is not having life-insurance on the caretaker of the household (me) should something unthinkable happen.  It is assumed that since stay-at-home moms aren’t technically bringing in an income…that income doesn’t need to be replaced.  In reality, what we provide is something that, when you put a monetary value on it…will probably surprise a lot of you.

According to, the average stay-at-home mom performs at least 10 different jobs:  housekeeper, teacher, cook, driver, event planner…to name a few.  And would you like to know what those jobs added up to in “earnings” in 2011?

$115,432.  And I still think I need a raise.

Working outside the home and think that you just need life-insurance to cover your salary?  Guess again.  Add another $64,000 a year onto what you make now and you’ll be a little closer.

Now, traveling in the widow(er) circles like I do, I can tell you right now that there are a lot of widowers out there who are kicking themselves for not having adequate life-insurance on their wives.  In the wake of their loss, they’ve had to scramble to find child-care, counseling, cleaning services, cooking services…all while they’re trying to keep their homes going on their own.  And without the funds they need to do it, they may not have gotten the services that were best for them and their children.  They’ve had to just work with what they have.

I’ll tell you right now…I’m no life-insurance expert.  When my husband and I talked about it years ago, before we had kids, the rule of thumb seemed to be four times your annual salary or at least enough to pay off your house if you needed to.

What I am an expert on is dealing with what happens when you actually need it.  I can’t tell you how many of my friends were not insured 5 years ago…and then immediately signed up the week after my husband’s funeral.

You wouldn’t let your child ride in a car without a seatbelt or ride a bike without a helmet.  Chances are nothing will happen…but being a good parent means protecting your children.

Just in case.

Think about it.


Catherine Tidd is a writer, widow and mother of three. She is the founder of, a free peer support website dedicated to anyone who has lost a significant other and has a Facebook peer support page under the name Widow Chick. Along with being published in several books on grief and renewal, Catherine is also a humorous motivational speaker who focuses on ” finding joy in a life you weren’t expecting.” She is also a volunteer speaker with the Donor Alliance of Colorado.

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Author: Catherine

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  1. I’m a believer but here’s the deal. What do you do if your husband has already had a number of medical issues? Believe me, I’d love to get life insurance but I can’t help but think who on earth would insure him (let alone if we can even afford the premium because we’re already paying exorbitant amounts for his health insurance.)

    • Amber,

      I know that is a HUGE problem and I feel for you more than you know. I have a friend (a widow friend) who I met a few years ago who works for Gill Capital Partners here in Denver. Her name is Leslie Rojas and I can’t say enough about her. You may just want to give her a call and talk to her about your issues. She may have some answers for you. Here is the website:


  2. I don’t think the true value of a SAHM will ever be recognized for what it is. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and experience on this subject!

  3. Go to they are an insurance broker and will give you an idea what you will pay. We pay about 750/yr for 750,000 on each of us. The rule we followed was 6-10times your income. We did a 20yr term hoping the kids would be gone and house paid for when the term is up. Glad you planned for the unthinkable. It’s hard to imagine going though a loss and having to deal with finances on top of it.

  4. So true. The “value” of what SAHMs do means what someone is willing to pay us. But the “cost” to replace us should we, uh, need to have our tasks be performed by someone else, is something to be insured on.

    Great reminder!

    My dad used to say that insurance is the one product you buy on which you don’t want to get your money’s worth.

  5. Great post and reminder! Yep, we already have this covered. We also have our Wills and Powers of Attorney and Guardianships (etc.) all figured out. It was a heart-wrenching discussion to have, but once it was done, we didn’t have to think about it again. The peace of mind was worth the struggle.

    • ABSOLUTELY. When my husband died, he DIDN’T have a will (I did, but he had never found the time to finish his) and I went through some pretty stressful weeks not knowing what would happen. And after he died, I had to go through it all over again so that it could be changed. You’re right…it is so hard to sit there and think about something bad happening. But once it’s done, it’s done and there is a lot of peace of mind that comes along with it.

  6. Wonderful post, and very true! My hubbs and I got insurance policies in place for very large amounts on each of us. We are both so healthy, they didn’t have a rate for us, so we got it for very low. Our biggest fear was if something unexpected happened to either or both of us, we wanted the children cared for first and foremost. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  7. Thank you for this post! The hubby and I are likely overinsured knowing that finances would be the last thing we would want to think about in that situation. As unpleasant as it was we also finally caved in and had wills done. It can be a little dramatic when discussing the issues of who you want to list as guardians for your kiddos, but definitely worth it for the peace of mine.

  8. *mind* that is.

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