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Talk to Your Partner about Purchasing Life Insurance (A Play in 4 Acts)

June 1, 2017

I would do anything for love...but I won't talk about life insurance.

No couple really wants to spend date night comparing insurance premiums and death benefits, but it’s an important discussion to have. Our Life Covered has a four-part plan to help kickstart the conversation.

Life insurance can be hard to think about, but it’s even harder to talk about. Because it’s a decision that ultimately affects the people you love more than it affects you, it’s pretty important to have a conversation with your partner about it. However, a staggering 39% of Americans say they wish their spouse or partner would buy more insurance, with 1 in 10 not even knowing how much (IF ANY) coverage their partner has.

It’s an understandably avoided topic…after all, when you and your main squeeze have a chance to spend time together, the last thing you want to talk about is preparing for your inevitable demise. But this lapse in communication is leaving too many families vulnerable, and it’s up to all of us to change that statistic. Here are a few tips for having “the talk” with your partner.

Act I: Prepare In Advance

If bae is an expert at changing the subject every time you try to steer the conversation toward something difficult, you’ll need to be armed with enough information to combat all the rainbows, unicorns, and binge-able Netflix series they can dish out.

Before bringing up life insurance, make sure you do your research, because having good answers to hard questions makes conversations last longer. Once you’ve gotten a feel for the different types of policies available, use a life insurance needs calculator to figure out how much coverage you might need. You might even go ahead and get a free quote from Our Life Covered so that you have some real numbers to put on the table.

Act II: Timing Is Everything

Of course you don’t want to push your partner into making any decisions that aren’t mutual, so the idea isn’t to be manipulative…but there’s nothing wrong with setting yourself up for success.

If someone is tired, stressed, or distracted, they’re not going to be at their most receptive. This is why a “conversation before the conversation” can be a good idea. If you’re the one initiating the discussion, you’ve already had a lot of time to think about why you want to buy life insurance. A simple heads up gives your partner a chance to catch up mentally and greatly improves the chance of a productive dialogue. So let them know what you want to talk about, and set aside some time to talk about it.

If you’re worried about a dismissive response, you might attach your life insurance pitch to a relevant life event, like buying a home, having a child, retirement planning, estate planning, etc. Chances are, your personal desire to buy life insurance was most likely influenced by something along these lines anyway. The shared desire to protect what you’re building together is often strong enough to bring the most resistant of us around.

While everyone’s comfort zone is different, this is typically a conversation you’ll want to have in person and at home. Shopping for life insurance may seem like a practical business transaction, and it is, but it’s also a lot more emotionally charged than, say, shopping for car insurance.

So make a pot of tea or pour a glass of wine. Find that place on the dimmer switch that says “cozy, but still wide awake.” Turn on some Mozart or ocean sounds or the penny whistle solo from that song in Titanic or whatever your go-to chillout playlist is. You might feel silly creating a spa-like environment to chat about end-of-life financial planning, but when things feel peaceful around the edges of your mind, they tend to feel more peaceful on the inside of your mind as well, so a little good lighting and soft music can go a long way.

Act III: Agree to Disagree…Agreeably

Chances are, there are things you and your spouse/partner won’t agree on (shocking, we know). Here’s the deal: no matter how wrong you know for a fact they are think they might be, it’s important to acknowledge and validate their concerns, because as we all know from both real life arguments and the comments sections on Facebook, it’s basically impossible to make anyone believe anything once you’ve attacked them for not believing it. Empathy and information are the best tools to bring to this project.

As you might guess, one of the most common hesitations people bring up when discussing life insurance is affordability. As you might NOT guess (but now you don’t have to because you’re reading this), 80% of people think life insurance costs a lot more than it actually does, so file that under the “Have I got a deal for you?!” segment in your line of defense.

It’s also good to know (and to casually bring up to your stubborn significant other) that term life insurance is typically the most simple, flexible, affordable option, so it lets you dip a toe in first…and if your budget increases, you can always switch to a permanent whole life policy later.

Act IV: Call for Reinforcement

Ok, so you’ve done the research and made the compelling yet compassionate case and sipped on herbal tea until your sweat smells like chamomile, but you’re still not getting through to your partner. At this point, you might want to consider handing things over to the pros. Life insurance agents have plenty of experience with reluctant clients, and sometimes bringing a new voice to the conversation can make all the difference.

Another option is to enlist the help of a family attorney or financial planner, especially if you’ve worked with one in the past whom you and your partner respect and trust. An unbiased, professional presentation of the benefits can complement your more personal pitch and help your other half see that life insurance is just one more way you two can take care of each other. We think you’ll agree that’s a decision you can both feel good about.

Whether you’re already on the same page or you’re still reading from different books, head to ourlifecovered.com together for free quotes, simple tips, and access to our insurance experts.

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