Stay-at-Home Moms & Money

Make Sure You're Insured

Financial planners say one of the most common mistakes SAHMs make is blowing off life insurance, or if they do get it, not buying enough. "A lot of women think it isn't necessary because they don't have a salary that would need to be replaced if they died," says Andrew Keeler, a certified financial planner in Dublin, Ohio. But remember: If you weren't around, your husband would have to hire someone to cook, clean, shop, and care for the children so he could work. So life insurance is essential for both of you. Ideally, you should buy around $500,000 in a term insurance policy to maintain a middle-class lifestyle until your children are grown. (Premiums would depend on your age, your overall health, and the length of your term coverage.)

Disability insurance is also important since there's a much greater chance of being injured or becoming seriously sick. Your husband may be covered through his workplace, but if he isn't, insist that he buy a disability policy. Since you don't have a job, you aren't eligible for coverage. But Stifler advises building a reserve fund that your family could rely on for six months or so if you become too sick or disabled to take care of the house and the kids.

You should also make sure that your family has good health insurance. If you and your children aren't covered under your spouse's policy at work, or if your spouse's employer does not offer insurance, it's key that you buy coverage on your own. One of the most affordable options is a plan with high co-payments and a big deductible. If you go this route, see whether your husband's employer offers a Health Savings Account, which would let him put aside pre-taxed earnings that can be used for healthcare costs. If you simply can't afford to buy health insurance for your family, check to see whether you're eligible for the free or low-cost health plans that many states offer for kids so at least your children will be covered. (For information, go to www.insurekidsnow.gov.)

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