Do You Need Life Insurance During Retirement?

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As the date of your retirement nears, it’s likely that your term life insurance policy is also coming close to the end of its term. Now what? Do you renew your life insurance, even though you will soon be living off your retirement investments, or do you let the insurance lapse altogether? Though this question…

As the date of your retirement nears, it’s likely that your term life insurance policy is also coming close to the end of its term.

Now what? Do you renew your life insurance, even though you will soon be living off your retirement investments, or do you let the insurance lapse altogether?

Though this question should have a relatively rational and cut-and-dried answer, many people base their decision on emotions rather than dollars and cents.

While it may feel like you’re losing out on all that money you paid into your term life insurance if you let it lapse, there are only a few instances when it makes sense to renew life insurance during retirement. Here’s why:

Life Insurance During Retirement: Yay or Nay?

Do you need life insurance during retirement?

1. Term life insurance keeps getting more expensive as you age. Eventually, the amount of money it takes to renew your coverage for another 10 to 20-year term becomes prohibitive. While it is possible to convert your term life insurance into a whole life policy, that will be more expensive than renewing a term policy.

The benefits for permanent policies tend to be much larger, however and can provide peace of mind if you are one of few individuals who might need it.

2. Most families are not in the position to need your life insurance after you retire. Unless they had late-in-life children, most retirees can count on their spouses and children being financially stable even after they are gone. Term life insurance is geared toward young families who could not take the financial hit of losing one parent’s income.

If you have not saved enough for retirement so that your spouse will be taken care of without you, or you have minor children still at home, then it’s probably a good idea to maintain your life insurance. Otherwise, you could probably find something other than premiums to spend your money on.

3. Even if you do need further insurance after retirement, you probably don’t need nearly as much as you once did. Someone who is at the mid-career stage of life needs to buy enough life insurance to take care of a family’s current financial needs as well as their future needs. But life insurance after retirement does not need quite the same level of payout.

In many cases, you would only need to make sure that your final expenses are taken care of.

The Elephant in the Room

Life insurance is a difficult topic to think about, let alone discuss.

No one wants to think about what will happen to his family after he is gone, and it can be easier to throw money at the problem in the form of insurance premiums. But rather than waste your money on something you don’t need, do yourself the favor of thinking about what is necessary. That will leave you and your family more money to enjoy while you’re here.

Life insurance is one of the best investments that you can ever make for your loved ones. It’s one of the only ways that you can ensure that your family has the money that they need. Depending on your stage of life, you might not need to purchase a life insurance plan.

Many people assume that once they retire, they can get rid of their life insurance plan, that could end up being a costly mistake for your loved ones.

Before you decide to skip the policy, make sure that your family will have the funds that they need if something tragic were to happen to you.

Make sure that you don’t have any significant debts or final expenses that your family would be responsible for if something were to happen to you. Because you no longer have a steady stream of income, they won’t need to replace your paycheck. Unfortunately, they could still struggle to pay for all of the expenses that you leave behind. If you need any help deciding if you need life insurance after retirement, feel free to contact me and I would be happy to answer those questions.


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About Emily Guy Birken

Emily Guy Birken is a freelance writer and mother who loves to share tips on managing the family budget and other personal finance tips. You can find her musings on parenting and life at The SAHMnambulist.

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  1. Dave Bernard says

    I have a ten year term life insurance policy that has another 5 years on it. Both kids have recently graduated, the balance on the house is down to a minimum amount, and our savings should be sufficient. With no major financial responsibilities, I plan on letting the policy expire and using the monthly premiums to enjoy retirement. Although my folks have a few prepaid insurance policies to leave something to the kids, I figure in 5 more years my kids will be pretty well on their way making their own livings (fingers crossed) and what is left when I die is what they will get. Happy Retirement!

  2. krantcents says

    I view life insurance as income protection during your working years. Do I need it in retirement, not as much. Hopefully, I accumulated enough assert to replace income in retirement.

  3. K.C. says

    We retired early at age 56. Once my wife began to receive her pension, we cancelled her insurance policy. I’ll keep mine in force until I begin to draw my pension at age 65.

  4. Bernard says

    I’m on the other side: I put my money towards whole life insurance. Now, I’m not an agent, but I’ve learned how to use my policies as a personal bank just like big banks, big corporations, and the wealthy.

    I will be able to use my policies to create wealth today and well beyond my golden years. It beats the pants off of what my 401k would have been doing (I cashed mine out).

    Sure, I get a death benefit. But that’s just icing on the cake. I’m just glad I can access all of my cash value tax free. Sorry Uncle Sam!

    • robert says

      You have to take a loan out on your cash value.
      Why get a ROR around 2-3% (not keeping up with inflation) and when you need YOUR MONEY loan it 6-8%?

      You could put the difference of a term and the whole ina sock drawer. Then you can use it when needed.

      Bernard, You better actually read and interpret your won policy

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