Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Special Needs Parents Need to Consider Life Insurance

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Special Needs Parents Need to Consider Life Insurance

Article excerpt

Raising Children is Expensive

Kids are expensive. (You don't say ...) As a parent of two young children, I know this first-hand.

For those of you who have your first child on the way, or are considering having kids in the near future, it's important to understand just how much raising little ones can cost so you can properly prepare. Well, prepare as much as you can with kids.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates it can cost up to $233,610 to raise one child until they reach age 18. This estimate accounts for essentials like housing, food, education (excluding college) and daycare. But, expenses can vary by age of child, where you live and your lifestyle.

What many expecting parents don't think about is how that figure changes when raising a with a child with special needs. Autism advocacy group Autism Speaks estimates that the average cost of lifetime care for a person with autism is $1.4-million, while a person with autism and an intellectual disability can require up to $2.3-million in lifetime care.

In any case, it's impossible to know exactly how much money it will cost to raise your children. However, there is one way to protect your family and make sure they financially taken care of.

Ask yourself this: if you were no longer around to financially contribute to your household, would your family be okay? For many, the answer is "no" and that can mean a lot of uncertainty for families if their loved ones were to die. But, it doesn't have to.

Protecting Your Family Financially

It's pretty simple to protect your family financially, and provide a little peace of mind for yourself.

With life insurance coverage, in the event of the policyholder's death, the insurance company gives your beneficiary a payout (called a death benefit) equal to the value of your policy. For example, a very healthy 35-year-old man with a spouse and young children can protect his family with a 30-year, $500,000 term life insurance policy for as little as $38 per month. In exchange for an affordable monthly premium, if he were to pass away during the 30-year time frame, his family would receive a $500,000 payout.

Your family can then use this payout to help meet ongoing expenses like the mortgage, child care and even final expenses like a funeral.

But each family has a very unique set of needs, and not everyone needs a $500,000 life insurance policy. How much life insurance you need depends on your age, income, residence, gender, family size and debt. You may not even need it ... yet.

Coverage For Stay-at-Home Parents

If your child has special needs, one of those needs may be more attentive care, possibly in the form of a stay-at-home parent. You may wonder, "Should I still consider a life insurance policy if I don't technically earn a salary?"

Life insurance is especially practical for stay-at-home parents. Consider the responsibilities: 24-hour care of children, assisting with homework and overall education, housekeeping, taking kids to appointments and extracurricular activities. and the list goes on. In fact, estimates that all of the work a stay-at-home parent does is worth a salary of $143,102. If you're at home caring for a child with special needs, that number increases dramatically. …

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