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Younger workers, women more likely to be worried about life insurance

Brian Anderson

Nearly half (45%) of 25-34-year-olds reported feeling stressed or worried when thinking about life insurance, compared to just 29% of those 35-49, according to new data released by Unum Group.

Women were significantly more anxiety-ridden about life insurance, with 37% reporting feeling stressed or worried compared to just 23% of men. These results and other key findings were part of an online poll among 1,226 working U.S. adults conducted by Unum in July. This consumer insight coincides with Life Insurance Awareness Month, promoted annually by the nonprofit organization, Life Happens.

In the same study, respondents ages 25-34 consistently indicated riskier financial planning decisions than workers ages 35-49:

  • Nearly a fifth (19%) of the younger workers weren’t sure if they had a life insurance policy compared to just 2% of those ages 35-49.
  • When asked how they would pay their bills if the primary wage earner were to die, responses among the younger workers included credit cards (37%), loans from family or friends (13%) and bank or payday loans (10%). A third of younger workers (33%) said they were unsure of how they would pay their bills. Respondents ages 35-49 said they would pay bills with credit cards (21%), loans from family or friends (8%) and bank or payday loans (4%).
  • 40% of those ages 25-34 didn’t have a life insurance policy because they felt they didn’t need one, it was too expensive, or for other reasons, compared to 34% of those ages 35-49.

“It’s concerning that such a sizable percentage of the younger demographic who tend to be starting families of their own are leaving their loved ones in such a potentially risky financial situation,” said personal finance expert, Laura Adams. “For most people, their ability to earn a salary throughout their life is the biggest asset they have, and term life insurance is a relatively inexpensive way to protect that asset until they retire, or their family financial obligations decrease.”

The same study also outlined some key gender differences on important questions about life insurance across all generations.

  • When asked who would assume their financial debt upon their passing, 40% of men and 28% of women said their spouse. A larger percentage of women (16%) than men (8%) said their parents. More women (12%) than men (6%) said they were unsure.
  • A significantly higher number of women (29%) than men (20%) were unsure of how they would pay bills if the primary wage earner were to die.
  • More women (48%) than men (31%) believed they needed lower levels of life insurance ($100,000 to $250,000).

According to LIMRA, nearly half of U.S. households are underinsured, with an average coverage gap of $200,000. Additionally, the group says most households need about five years of income replacement from life insurance and/or savings1.

  1. LIMRA, “Life Insurance Ownership in Focus: U.S. Household Trends” (2016)


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About Unum: Unum Group (www.unum.com) is a leading provider of financial protection benefits in the United States and the United Kingdom. Its primary businesses are Unum US, Colonial Life, and Unum UK. Unum’s portfolio includes disability, life, accident and critical illness, dental and vision coverage, which help protect millions of working people and their families in the event of an illness or injury. Unum also provides stop-loss coverage to help self-insured employers protect against unanticipated medical costs. The company reported revenues of $11.3 billion in 2017 and provided nearly $7 billion in benefits.



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