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Your Family

October 4, 2023

As a mom, here’s why I’m grateful for life insurance

by: Kathleen O’Hagan

I don’t know about you, but every time I read another devastating news story about a parent who died unexpectedly – and a kindhearted friend or family member has created a GoFundMe account to help cover the expenses of raising a child solo – my heart breaks for what that family is going through.

Because not only has the remaining parent lost the love of their life, their best friend, and the father or mother of their children, they have also lost an income earner – which means they are now having to navigate the financial implications of losing this second income during one of the most difficult times of their life.

As one of my more veteran colleagues once told me, “Dying is expensive.”

When people think of the costs associated with death, they usually think of the funeral and nothing else. And while a funeral can be expensive – up to $20,000 in Canada (source) – there are other less talked about considerations that certainly aren’t cheap. Things like:

  • Lost income due to time off (in the event of a serious illness or accident)
  • The cost of any medical care or treatments that are not covered by Canadian health care
  • The financial burden of what was once a two-income household or, even worse, of losing the sole breadwinner in your home

In my case, I had never considered the need for life insurance prior to working in this industry. When it came to the discussion of planning for my funeral, I used to tell my loved ones not to waste their money on an expensive burial, to go the thriftiest route.

But I wasn’t seeing the full picture.

About the time I started working in my current role, my husband and I also bought our “forever home” – a term we kept using when speaking about it to our 5-year-old son. By this point in his short life, he had already lived in five homes, three cities, and two countries. First we went from renting a townhouse to a detached home in Toronto after he was born. Then we moved to Ireland so he could bond with my husband’s side of the family before he started school. Then we headed back to Canada where we rented a home outside of Toronto to be close to my family after Covid.

Family of 3 posing in front of scenic view

When we finally bought our own place, it came with a gigantic mortgage that will follow us for the rest of our working lives (and beyond).

It quickly became quite obvious that neither my husband nor I would be able to afford the mortgage payments on our own if one of us were to pass away. We talked about it, and realized that this was exactly the reason why life insurance – term 20 life insurance, in our case – made perfect sense to buy at this stage of our lives.

Our son was settling into his new school, making friends in our neighbourhood, creating memories in our home – and we absolutely did not want to have to uproot him again, especially if he had just lived through the trauma of losing one of his parents.

Mother and son standing in front of SOLD sign in front of new house

To be clear, neither of us expects to die anytime soon – but we both feel better knowing that the other is taken care of if something were to happen. And the good news is that term life insurance is the more affordable option, so its impact on our monthly expenses hasn’t been too painful.

If you had asked me, three years ago, if I was planning to buy life insurance anytime soon, my answer would have been an emphatic no. And now, I’m so grateful that this type of safety net exists for my family. I sleep a little better at night knowing my husband and I will never have to worry about hitting a GoFundMe goal in order to remain in our home if the unthinkable were to happen. Because if one of us were to go too soon, the last thing I want the other to be worrying about is money.

Mom and child hugging

Kathleen O’Hagan is the Digital Content Strategist & Writer at Serenia Life. She is married with one kid and two cats, and enjoys travel, discovering new restaurants, and idealizing life in the 80s and 90s. (Yes, she bought life insurance for her son – it’s an investment in his future! And yes, her pets are in her will.)

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