One of the common misperceptions surrounding life insurance is that the working spouse is the only person who should be insured. If you or your spouse stays at home with the children it is essential to calculate the equivalent cost of replacing that support in order to maintain your standard of living in the event of a major loss.
Make a list of what it would cost to provide care and support if your spouse was not at home. Common examples include day care and babysitting fees, meal preparation or the cost of purchasing meals outside the home, transportation, tutoring, housecleaning, and errands. Remember, it is rare or even impossible for one spouse to do it all alone.
Once you have created the entire list, be sure to add in the rate of anticipated inflation. Based upon the age of your children, determine what the total cost of care will be until they are grown. Healthcare and education tend to rise faster than the general inflation rate, so leave wiggle room.
Don’t forget yourself. While it’s important to preserve the quality of life for your children, it is equally important to add in the loss of companionship and care that will impact the surviving spouse. Couples benefit from the help and assistance afforded by the relationship: everything from travel to and from medical appointments to a second income that would provide an additional layer or protection for couples as they age. Include the long-term impact and cost to your own quality of life when considering the total amount of life insurance to purchase.