Money Talks, So Should You

Ask Jane: Does a stay-at-home mom need life insurance?

Jane Bryant Quinn
by Jane Bryant Quinn, Dimespring Contributor  (@janebryantquinn)

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Yes, you probably need it if your kids are small. If you died, your husband would have to provide the children with day care until they started school. That might cost $1,000 a month for each of them. Then they’d need after-school care until they’re 11 or 12 from local programs or a part-time nanny.

READ: Spent Mama: How to navigate the tricky world of kids birthday parties 

That would be tough to pay for if your husband earns a middle-ish income. You should definitely carry a term insurance policy large enough to cover the costs. A 10-year policy is probably enough.

When the term is up, don’t renew. Instead, steer the money you were spending into your retirement fund.

On the other hand, you don’t need life insurance if your children are teenagers. They can take care of themselves after school.

READ: Is it worth it: Hiring someone to rake your yard

At this point in your married life, it’s far more important to build up your savings than to spend money on a homemaker policy.

Even when your children are small, you don’t need life insurance if you’re married to a high-earner who could afford the childcare out of his income.

Things might change, if you leave your stay-at-home status and take a job.

You still don’t need insurance if your husband could support himself if you died. If your income becomes critical to your joint lifestyle, however, you’re a candidate for life insurance again.


Jane Bryant Quinn is a nationally known commentator on personal finance, with books and columns read and trusted by millions. In her long career, she has established herself as America’s most reliable voice for people trying to manage their money well. Read more of Jane's articles here