Dear Dave: Life Insurance For A Single Mom?

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Posted: Jul 09, 2020 11:06 AM
Dear Dave: Life Insurance For A Single Mom?

Source: AP Photo/Charles Krupa

Dear Dave,

Last year I got a divorce. I’m 32, a teacher and a single mom. I’m on Baby Step 2 right now, and I was wondering about life insurance. My son is only two, and if something happened to me, he would go to his father. His dad is in good shape financially and responsible with money, so how much life insurance should I have?

Christian

Dear Christian,

Well, you probably don’t need the full 10 to 12 times your income like I recommend for most people. The only dependent you have is also dependent upon his dad. And from what you said, his father seems perfectly able to take care of him. 

I’d get a good term life policy equal to the amount that you’d like to supplement your son’s care. The good news is you can get a couple hundred thousand in life insurance at your age for practically nothing. 

If you get life insurance, make sure his dad—your ex—is not the beneficiary. The beneficiary should be a family trust, formed upon your death, and the money would go into that trust for the benefit of your child. You set the terms of the trust. It should not be controlled by your ex. In a divorce situation, I would never name someone I’m not willing to be married to the trustee of my money on behalf of my child.  

I’m so glad you’re thinking about these things, Christian. It shows you’re an intentional lady, a fine mom, and a good planner. Those traits will serve you and your son well!  

—Dave