Spiderman, Batman, Fred Flintstone, Harry Potter, Marge Simpson. Five fictional characters, five different circumstances and five different life insurance needs.
The main purpose of a recent poll conducted by the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) was to gauge American’s perceptions of the need for life insurance. While the fictional subjects may have been somewhat fun and lighthearted, the topic of adequate life insurance is a bit more serious.
What LIFE found, using popular cartoon and literary figures that people could easily recognize and identify with, was that most Americans are mistaken or misinformed when it comes to the need for life insurance.
Each cartoon character has a unique set of needs and circumstances surrounding their lives ranging from a single, wealthy male to a young student. By using these situations in comparison to real-life circumstances, they wereable to measure people’s perceptions.
Unfortunately, a middle-class stay at home mom like Marge Simpson scored the lowest on the poll of “Who has the greatest need for insurance.”
Only 11% said Marge needed it the most. In fact, most stay-at-home moms provide valuable services like childcare that would be extremely difficult and expensive to replace. She scored lower than a single, young male student, Harry Potter, who most experts agree has no real need for life insurance.
Generally, the rule of thumb is that if anyone is financially dependent on you, it’s essential that you get some sort of life insurance coverage. Many experts point to becoming a parent as the first sign that you should look into coverage.
That’s why pollsters were rather alarmed that Fred Flintstone finished in the middle of the pack. Only 16% of those surveyed believed that he needed life insurance the most. As the single source of income in a married household and the father of a young child, he stands as a prime candidate for life insurance.
Single parents with dependent children are no exception to the rule either. Nearly 40% of single parents have no insurance coverage at all, which can be a risky choice. Among those who do have insurance coverage, two-thirds feel it’s inadequate.1 Experts generally recommend that you have, at minimum, a policy that will replace at least seven times your annual income.2
A somewhat silly experiment that may make you smile reveals that most Americans should be more concerned with life insurance and who needs it most. If they have coverage, they should re-examine whether it’s adequate. You should consider who depends on you financially and for other support and make sure they are taken care of in the event of a tragedy. Even everyday superheroes need to make sure their loved ones are protected after they’re gone.
1- Singletary, M. Be your family’s superhero—get life insurance. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. 2005, Oct. 1.Mogel, G. Americans are unprepared yet optimistic. Investment News. 2005, Sept. 26.