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About 11 million Americans are stay-at-home parents, meaning that about one out of every five parents does this difficult, unpaid work every day.
If stay-at-home parents were paid, they'd earn more than a $178,000 salary, which means the work they do is extremely valuable — even if the traditional labor market doesn't pay them for it.
All these factors provide a compelling case for why life insurance for stay-at-home parents can be essential. If your family hasn't yet considered this, here are some more of the reasons you might want to.
1. It Can Help Cover Household Expenses
Stay-at-home parents do a lot of valuable work every day that would likely cost a family hundreds or thousands of dollars a month — from laundry and grocery shopping, to cooking and even homeschooling or facilitating remote learning.
Without a stay-at-home parent to handle all these tasks, a surviving spouse would either have to handle these things on his or her own or outsource these responsibilities, which would come with additional costs. A surviving spouse would also have to worry about other household expenses, such as food, utilities, and mortgage or rent payments. However, the death benefit from a life insurance policy could help a family offset these costs in the event that the stay-at-home parent passes away.
2. It Can Help Cover Childcare Costs
Among all the work stay-at-home parents do, providing childcare may be the most important. More than half of families report that they spend at least $10,000 per year on child care.
If your family can't afford the annual cost of childcare, the death benefit you'd receive from a life insurance policy could help your family cover this significant expense after the death of a stay-at-home parent.
3. It Can Give a Surviving Spouse the Option to Stay at Home
Some families often make the choice for one parent to stay at home because the other parent's salary is enough to cover all the family's financial needs. However, if a stay-at-home parent dies, the surviving spouse would likely have more responsibilities at home and will have to navigate balancing family and work obligations during what is likely one of the most stressful times anyone could experience.
But life insurance can offer more options. Depending on how much life insurance a stay-at-home parent qualifies for and purchases, a surviving spouse may be able to choose to stay at home for a longer period or indefinitely if there's enough money available to cover the family's financial needs.
4. It Can Help Provide an Inheritance for Your Children or Dependents
Life insurance can be a key part of maintaining a family's long-term financial security. For example, your children may go to college or graduate school. They may want to buy their first home or save for their own children's education. Life insurance can help with these financial goals by providing a death benefit that could serve as an inheritance for your children.
If you have dependents, such as an aging parent or a sibling with special needs that relies on your family, a life insurance policy could also help to provide additional financial assistance for these family members.
Helping to Protect Your Family Financially
There's a common misconception that life insurance for stay-at-home parents is unnecessary, but this idea can leave families exposed to more financial risks should something happen to the parent that has dedicated his or her life to being a caregiver. If you're wondering how much life insurance your family may need, factor in what it would cost to cover all the unpaid work the stay-at-home parent does today along with future expenses, such as childcare and college tuition. From there, you can search for a life insurance policy that meets your family's needs.
The work stay-at-home parents do can't be replaced, but getting life insurance for the person who has assumed this role can help provide a financial cushion for your family when you need it most.