In observance of Life Insurance Awareness Month, a recent survey conducted by Anthem, Inc. reveals that while two-thirds (67 percent) of American employees believe that life insurance is important to achieve financial wellbeing, only half (53 percent) of them claim to be covered. The survey’s findings underscore a gap between financial priorities and the use of life insurance as a financial planning tool.
“With nearly half of American households receiving life insurance through the workplace, employers can play an important role in educating employees on this benefit as an essential step in planning for financial wellness,” said Greg Poulakos, President of Anthem Life and Disability. “Financial priorities may change over time, but life insurance offers consistent peace of mind and security.”
The survey revealed that the definition of financial wellness varies across ages, as does the perceived importance and election of life insurance benefits. Millennials (ages 25-34) consider eliminating credit card debt and paying off student loans as important steps to achieve financial wellness. However, only 24 percent of Millennials are covered by life insurance, which can help protect their loved ones from these payments after an unexpected death.
For Generation X (35-54 years old), many are busy juggling family and work responsibilities, and have little time to focus on other priorities. The unexpected death of a loved one could mean the loss of an income for many families; yet, only 58 percent have life insurance. In the event of tragedy, life insurance can help families to pay for funeral costs, pay bills and pay off outstanding debt, including a mortgage.
Over time and at various stages in life, the definition of financial wellbeing shifts to preparedness. For those 55 and older, preparedness means having an emergency savings fund (93 percent) and protecting their income in the face of catastrophic challenges (42 percent). The survey found that more than 66 percent of those aged 55 and older are enrolled in a life insurance benefit.
One common misconception is the cost of life insurance, which is often overestimated by younger adults by as much as five times the actual amount. In fact, the cost is often less than a gallon of gas per week. Tailored education focusing on the affordability of life insurance can combat this perceived barrier and encourage greater protection.