Northwestern Mutual Poll reveals that Americans like life insurance

Now don't get too excited, I didn't say that Americans like life insurance “agents.”

If you’ve ever been in the life insurance industry or are currently in the industry there’s no doubt you’ve taken jabs about being a life insurance agent.

Some polling data I saw years ago placed life insurance agents among the least “respected” professions in the country—only being edged out by used car sales people and personal injury attorneys if I remember correctly.

So, needless to say, I was a bit shocked when I stumbled across an article this week that discussed a recent poll commissioned by none other than Northwestern Mutual which revealed that Americans openly admit to feeling more secure by owning life insurance.

Who’d a thunk?

Generally speaking, life insurance is not a topic that people enjoy discussing.  Something to do with the whole death thing I guess.

But let's take a look at the data gathered in the poll:

  • 32% of people buy life insurance because of a marriage
  • 25% as a result of some retirement planning
  • 22% at the birth of a child

Now, I’m not surprised by any of those statistics in particular but there is one that I found a bit disturbing for sure.

The poll asked the question…

“What expenses would you consider covering when determining the amount life insurance needed?”

Reading between the lines a bit of the poll data that was reported, I’m concluding the people in this portion of the survey don’t have life insurance at all.

So, 15% said that education for their children would be included in the need calculation, 11% said they would plan for childcare related expenses.  Those are certainly two things that come up often when planning with clients for financial needs.

However, the number that really blew me away…

33% of people surveyed in the “uninsured” category said they weren’t sure what expenses would need to be covered if they were to die.


Begin Rant: If you were in doubt regarding the lack of financial literacy in our country, look no further.  This one data point should make us all raise our eyebrows and wonder where it all went wrong?

I’m inferring that means at least 25% of the 95 million people in the United States who have no life insurance, don’t even know what they would use insurance to cover.

Now, we all have our opinions on what methodology is the best one to determine the right amount of life insurance someone should have. But for heaven’s sake, a five minute “back of the napkin” calculation will give a person a ballpark estimate of how much life insurance they need to have.

It may not be the most exact, scientific, or include “human life value” calculations, but it’s a whole lot better than nothing. Even a rough number will leave your family with something.End Rant.



Another interesting tidbit that emerged from the Northwestern Mutual poll was that people were very much uneducated as to the benefits of owning cash value life insurance in particular.  Most people simply view life insurance as a death benefit plan, with little thinking in regards to the benefits it can provide as a savings vehicle.

We really like Cash Value Life Insurance

Now, if you’ve read anything else we’ve published you’ll know that we have a deep fondness of cash value life insurance.  I’m not going to go on and on espousing the benefits of whole life insurance or universal life insurance, you can read through at least 50 of our other posts to get that.

But I will add that we love to talk about the living benefits of cash value life insurance, and if you’re interested in learning more about those from two professionals who will take the time to help you feel comfortable with the subject, we’re more than willing to help.

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