If you’re among the 76 million working women in the USA, knowing what term life insurance is—and understanding why it matters—is critical to your financial success.
Why Buy Term Life Insurance?
Having the right term life insurance policy is as important as the value of your retirement portfolio and your savings account.
Regardless of the shifts in the stock market and the value of your assets over time, when you die, term life insurance offers your family a secure financial future whose value you predetermine when you buy your policy.
You control the value because it’s locked in through a legal agreement between you and the life insurance company for the life (the term) of the policy for 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years.
» Calculate: Life insurance needs calculator
Working Women and Economic Empowerment
Working women are still making gains in empowering themselves economically in the USA. Unlike Iceland, a country that made it illegal to pay women less than men for equal work in 2017, there is a gender wage gap of 20 percent in America.
It won’t be possible for you as a working woman to turn around wage discrimination single-handedly in our nation, but one area where you are ahead by being a woman is the price you will pay when buying term life insurance.
You will pay less than a man when buying term life insurance because you are a woman.*
*Women of Montana, you will pay the same as men living in Montana.
Pricing for life insurance is based on your risk of dying while the policy is active. Women on average live longer than men, so our risk of dying is less and therefore we pay less.
So, that’s the upside for most women related to buying term life insurance.
Financial Planning for Working Women
The downside for women economically is that we are going to live longer while earning less (on average than men for the same work) over the long haul.
» Learn more: Financial Concerns of Women
As did many hardworking women who came before you—like the iconic Rosie the Riveter—you’ll need a solid financial plan to take care of yourself now and well into your 80s or 90s.
Ruth Hayden, a financial educator in Minneapolis, has made it her life’s mission to help women cut through the emotional training they receive about money (e.g.: you have to sacrifice your own well-being to take care of others) to make clear decisions about what works and doesn’t work financially.
Ruth advises women to remember to take care of their future 80-, 90-, or 100-year-old selves every day. Many women of my generation need this advice as some of our retired parents are living beyond their own retirement savings, leaving us with some hard choices to make.
If we sacrifice saving for our own retirement to take care of our retired parents, who will take care of us?
It’s clear our government is not going to be able to adapt to increased longevity quickly enough to take care of us on a governmental level, so we have to make a plan while we are working now.
But despite this need for individual planning, our collective increased longevity as women makes real wage reform in the USA a much bigger priority than most women realize.
If women have more economic power, they will also have more power to change the state of sexual politics in our country. This is something the #MeToo movement might want to talk about in their support groups and consider organizing politically around.
Because the ability of women to make their own choices has historically been tied to winning legal battles related to controlling their own right to work and own property.
This was true also for the former slaves in our nation which is why the Civil Rights Movement was crucial to all of the feminist movements that followed.
You will pay less than a man for the same life insurance policy because you are a woman.
Modern-day Rosie the Riveters
In 1943, a poster of Rosie the Riveter—a female factory worker flexing her muscles while wearing a red polka-dotted headscarf—was created that now portrays a time in American history when women were needed in traditionally male jobs during World War II.
The original poster of Rosie the Riveter was not a call-to-action for the American public but created by J. Howard Miller to deter strikes among Westinghouse employees during wartime. It looks like pin-up girl posters from that time period.
A new generation of young women during the 1980s began to see Rosie’s portrayal as a feminist statement, but the reality is that those wartime employment gains were not permanent. When the men returned from the war, the women were expected to give up those jobs (and their paycheck).
In Minneapolis, where we have a large population of African immigrants, women wearing headscarves are working to support their families in all types of businesses across our city. These women are continuing a longstanding tradition of American women who work to secure their family’s future.
And, like Rosie the Riveter, they are changing perceptions about the power of women in immigrant cultures to affect change. They are also earning paychecks that they spend to benefit themselves and their family. So, like Rosie the Riveter, these working women are an economic force to pay attention to.
Taking Control of Your Financial Future
Economic independence is a huge priority for most working women—no matter who they are.
But, the right to determine a financial plan is a relatively new freedom that women enjoy today. Here’s a timeline of gains that women have made in financial self-determination in the last 50 years (within my lifetime).
In 1981, Kirchberg v. Feenstra overturned the head and master laws in Louisiana that allowed a husband solely to control marital property without his wife’s consent.
In 1978, The Pregnancy Discrimination Act expanded the rights of working women (via an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964) by prohibiting the discrimination of employees (in companies larger than 15 employees) based on pregnancy or its related medical conditions.
Before 1974, single, divorced, or widowed women could not apply for a loan or credit card without a male cosigner. The United States Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 made it illegal for creditors to discriminate based on gender.
In 1971, with Phillips v. Martin Marietta Corporation, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that an employer may not refuse to hire a woman with preschool-age children.
Many women take these advancements for granted, but just like wartime gains vanished, these rights could change. If you (and the businesses that employ you) understand your value and your power, these rights will be harder to roll back.
So, let’s take a look at working women statistically.
Women at Work
- 74.6 million women (59% of all women) are in the labor force.
- Almost 47% of workers in the USA are women; 28% of employees in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields.
- Women own 10 million businesses that account for $1.4 trillion in earnings.
- 70% of all mothers work; with 72% of employed mothers working full-time.
- Women are more likely than men to have a bachelor’s degree by age 29.
- Women earn more masters and doctorate degrees than men—and they have for seven years straight. Here’s why. (Hint: Women need a second degree to get paid the same as their male counterparts with one degree.)
You’re Financially Savvy
Statistically, women tend to choose higher performing stocks and earn better returns over time on their investments than men do.
How Term Life Insurance Policies Can Protect Your Wealth
As a woman in the labor force, you’ve probably dedicated your working life to creating a future that isn’t fraught with monetary insecurity.
There’s no denying that your rights and the fruits of your labors should be protected. The government (or anyone else) might not do this for you, so you need to take action yourself.
So, what is term life insurance, you ask?
A term life insurance policy protects the assets that you’ve given so much of your time to build.
It’s the most secure financial instrument available to provide protection for your loved ones, shielding them from unpaid debts and end-of-life costs. Most policies provide coverage for terms of 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 years ensuring that your loved ones will have the funds to live comfortably if you can no longer care for them.
But having term life insurance offers more than peace of mind. It also represents your ability to decide your own financial future as an independent woman, leaving nothing to chance.
About one in three women believe that they don’t have enough life insurance coverage. As financially savvy as many working women are, there are a few persistent myths that often prevent them from looking for a term life policy.
Here are three of the most common:
Myth: You Can’t Get Term Life Insurance if You Are Pregnant
If it’s possible to plan before you become pregnant, you should buy term life insurance as soon as possible. (Everyone should. The younger and more healthy you are, the sooner you lock in your term rates.)
If you are already pregnant, you can still find a term life policy, but it is best to apply as early in your pregnancy as you can.
One of the most mom-friendly insurers that Quotacy works with is Legal & General, but there are others that are good as well.
Myth: Seniors Can’t Find an Affordable Term Life Insurance Policy
Older women can still find a term life policy that meets the unique needs of seniors, with or without dependents. Your premiums may be more affordable than you may think. Learn about your options here.
Myth: Your Medical History Will Cause Your Application to be Rejected
The short answer? Not necessarily.
We work with plenty of insurance companies that can accommodate applicants with complicated medical histories and our insurance advisors can help you understand your options, advising you on your next steps.
We understand the financial challenges that working women face and we’re ready to help. Whether this is the first time you’ve ever seriously considered buying life insurance, or if you already have a policy (and want to see if you’re paying a fair price for it), it’s time to get a life insurance quote to protect the legacy you are working hard to build.
» Compare: Term life insurance quotes
About the writer
Director of Inbound Marketing
Kate is Director of Inbound Marketing at Quotacy, where she is happy helping one million people protect their loved ones with the gift of life insurance. Her writing has had audiences in the art, academic, and advertising worlds. She lives in Minneapolis, where she enjoys meditating, making snow angels, and supporting the vibrant arts community. Connect with her on LinkedIn.