Should You Keep Your Life Insurance After The Kids Grow Up?

You may feel that you don't need your life insurance policies any longer now that you're an empty nester. That may be true if you are able to meet your financial obligations every month. But if you're living paycheck-to-paycheck, or are in serious debt, you may want to consider keeping any life insurance policies that you may have. 

Because Independence Has Its Costs

Your kids may be financially independent, but you may still be paying off parent loans that you took out for your kids for college. Maybe you simply want to spoil the grandkids in ways you couldn't spoil your children. Or perhaps independence has been suddenly thrust upon you if your spouse has passed away unexpectedly, leaving you with medical bills, funeral costs, and a mortgage.

Keeping your life insurance policies active may help you offset those costs. Consider other reasons why you may want to keep your life insurance intact.

Reason 1: Social Security Blackouts

What if your spouse dies before being eligible to collect social security benefits? What if you aren't old enough to collect, either? This period of ineligibility before a surviving spouse can collect social security benefits is called the social security blackout period. This can last several months to several years. Keeping both of you on life insurance can alleviate some of the financial burdens during the blackout period.

Reason 2: A Special Needs Trust

Special needs mean different things to different people. You may have a family member who will need lifelong financial help if that family member is unable to provide self-care. You may have an adult child who requires financial help long-term due to an addiction or an accident. You can add a trust fund to your life insurance policy to provide for loved ones as part of your estate planning.

Reason 3: Create a Cushion

If you haven't had enough disposable income over the years to set aside as a cushion or "safety net" for an emergency, your life insurance policy may be able to be cashed in to provide for that unexpected rainy day. Financial planning advisors recommend at least a 6-month cushion to tap into if needed for emergencies.

Life has a way of throwing curveballs at you. Letting your life insurance lapse after your kids grow up and leave home may not be the best policy. Hiring a financial advisor can help you look at your later-in-life finances with an unbiased eye. After all, hindsight may be 20/20, but foresight can keep you solvent.