How Much Life Insurance Do You Need?

Each Generation Has a Different Answer

How much life insurance do you need? Each generation has a different answer

Did you know your age may affect your perception of how much life insurance you need? The annual Insurance Barometer Study conducted by LIMRA and Life Happens reveals insights about how life milestones impact people’s attitudes about life insurance. This year’s study included members of Generation Z for the first time, offering an interesting window into how four different generations approach life insurance.

  • These are the ages each generation featured in the study represent:
    Gen Z: Born 1997-2012
  • Millennials: Born 1981-1996
  • Generation X: Born 1965-1980
  • Baby Boomers: Born 1946-1964

At each life stage, people have different priorities and concerns — plus assets they want to protect. However, at times all four generations shared the same results, regardless of age.

While 58% of Baby Boomers and 54% of Gen X own life insurance, less than half of millennials and Gen Z do (48% and 40%, respectively). Interestingly, there were common responses for the top 3 reasons all ages reported for not having coverage:

  • think it is too expensive
  • saying they have other financial priorities
  • being unsure how much they need/what type to buy

Therefore, the study found that across generations, from Gen Z to Baby Boomers, consumers greatly overestimate the cost of life insurance and cited perceived expense as the biggest barrier to making the purchase.

Gen Z: Growing up and starting out

For the youngest generation in the study, life insurance might be far from their minds. However, experiences during the pandemic may have increased awareness about the need for life insurance. While policy ownership remains lower than other generations, nearly half (49%) reported needing life insurance.

The study also found many in this generation didn’t think they could afford life insurance, and nearly one-fourth (24%) said they wouldn’t qualify for coverage. Combined with millennials and Gen X, over one in four of these younger generations stated they weren’t sure how much or what type of coverage to get.

Millennials: Taking on responsibilities

As millennials develop careers and form families, it makes sense that they show the highest level of financial concern (39%) compared to others. This is an age when many feel the most financial pressure.

For this reason, it’s not surprising that of the 80 million millennials in the U.S. today, nearly half (45%) own life insurance, and more than one-third said they’re likely or very likely to buy some in the next year, according to the LIMRA study. Millennials purchased more than half of the individual life insurance policies sold in the prior 24 months (52%).

Gen X: The “sandwich” generation

The age of Gen X is a challenging time of life when they may be raising children while simultaneously caring for aging parents. Just over one-third expressed high financial concern. But for all three of the younger generations combined, one-fourth of them cite “lack of knowledge about life insurance products” as a main barrier to owning a policy.

Especially for the older segment of Gen X, retirement and health considerations loom large. They have concerns over issues like disability-related expenses, long-term care and emergency savings.

Baby Boomers: Working and retiring

Baby Boomers have the lowest level of financial concern by a significant margin (17%), and lead the other generations in terms of overall life insurance ownership rates. Many Boomers have already retired, with most approaching that milestone soon, making them less likely to perceive a need for additional or new coverage.

Barriers to coverage remain

While younger Americans stated a need for life insurance, the purchase process can seem intimidating. With assistance and education, however, people of all ages should be able to find coverage to suit their stage in life and financial needs. Understanding how your needs and budget changes as you move from one life milestone to another is a vital step toward ensuring you have the best life insurance coverage for your current situation — and your family.

To learn about protecting your loved ones’ financial future, contact your company’s benefits coordinator or HR department.

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