"We want enough to cover the mortgage and death expenses," we said to the agent who sold us our life insurance policy over a decade ago. At the time, that seemed like a reasonable, responsible, and secure plan. A plan that would secure my future if something tragic and unexpected happened to my husband.

We both signed on the dotted line and purchased a policy worth $300,000. Almost a decade later, we realize that what we planned for wasn't nearly enough to meet my needs if my husband were to die. Indeed, our lives have changed fairly dramatically since we bought the policy my husband has become my caretaker due to a chronic illness, and he earns the only regular paycheck.

The $300,000 payout wouldn't last me very long

If my husband died and the policy paid out in full, over half of that money would go to paying off the mortgage on our condo. Another big chunk would go for cremation, burial, and a funeral. (Let's not even begin to talk about the possibility of hospital bills from a lengthy illness.)

Also, if there were no other outstanding bills, I would be responsible for homeowner's insurance , HOA fees, health insurance, and with just those three bills, the money leftover from the other expenses wouldn't last me 10 years. If we throw in groceries, internet, transportation, medications, etc., the money would be gone in less than five.

Getting a new policy isn't easy

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, we have been thinking way more about our mortality. My husband has an autoimmune disease and is at risk for complications due to the virus. Living during a global pandemic is a particularly scary time, and finances and the future seem to be on everyone's mind. I know they are on ours.

The problem of not having enough life insurance seems easy enough to fix just buy more. But we live on a budget, and we're both over 50, so buying a new policy is cost prohibitive.

Unfortunately, my husband and I waited to get life insurance until we were in our 40s when it was already more expensive than if we had purchased it a decade earlier. We believed that covering the mortgage and the death expenses would be enough to make sure that I was secure in life without his paycheck.

We wish we'd bought more insurance when we were younger

At this point, we wish we had gone with a much bigger policy payout. Even $500,000 would put me in a much better position if something happened to my husband. Of course, a $1 million policy , although it sounds so high, would leave me in a place to not have to worry about money or finances at all.

I know it seems counterintuitive to say that young people should buy larger life insurance policies, but if it is possible to lock in a low rate for the life of the policy, it is a good deal. Of course, it is harder to think about something tragic or unpredictable happening when you are young. Still, you don't want the unexpected to happen and to have your loved ones choosing between groceries and electricity bills.

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