On average, Canadians have over $400,000 worth of life insurance protection per household. However, it's one thing to buy life insurance and an entirely different thing to have a conversation about purchasing life insurance with your family.
Life insurance is different from most other types of insurance in that it's tied to a tragic but inevitable life event. No one lives forever, and life insurance helps protect your family if you pass away before you can fully provide for them.
This is the reason life insurance is so important -- and it's also the reason it's so hard to talk about.
Wondering how to talk to your family about life insurance? This guide will help -- keep reading to learn how to broach this difficult subject!
1. Start with a Plan
When you need to talk about life insurance with your family, the best way to approach it is with a plan in place.
This means you should take the time to research different life insurance providers, and decide what kind of coverage you need -- and what you can afford. You'll need to predict some of the common objections, such as "We can't afford it." Bring some realistic plans to the table so your family can see how life insurance will fit in your lives.
You can also show how life insurance will benefit them, and why it's important. Focus on the positives, not the negatives that people often associated with life insurance.
2. Predict Questions
Your family will probably have some life insurance questions for you when you start this conversation. The better you can predict those questions and have answers ready, the better the conversation will go.
For example, your family members might ask "How does life insurance work, anyway?" If you know the basics (or at least can explain the type of life insurance plan you're looking at), it will show that you're well-prepared, and help put them at ease with the idea.
3. Make Sure You're Comfortable
To make your family feel comfortable with the idea of buying life insurance, it's important to start by making sure you're comfortable with it yourself.
Buying life insurance means coming to terms with your own mortality, in a way. This can bring up a lot of strange or disconcerting feelings. It's crucial to address those feelings with yourself, so they won't get in the way of the conversation you'll have with your family.
If you're nervous or uncertain, that's sure to come through in the conversation, and might even become a reason for your family to try to talk you out of it. But if you can approach the subject with confidence, you can help them feel confident, too.
4. Consider Timing
There are good times and bad times to have the life insurance conversation. Your timing can make all the difference in how the idea goes over.
For example, if you're just getting over a big family fight or another issue, you'll probably want to wait to talk about life insurance. This is a conversation best tackled with moods are good and no one's recovering from recent drama.
You'll want to make sure you start the conversation when there's enough time, too. Right before you leave for a party or a movie isn't the best time for this talk.
Choose a neutral, relaxing time, such as when you're hanging out in the living room after dinner. Bring up the subject in a natural way, so it doesn't feel like such a big, intimidating talk.
5. Invite Discussion
The other members of your family will have their own thoughts and feelings about life insurance. Try to invite their input, so everyone has the chance to state their piece and feel heard.
Your family won't like the idea as much if they feel like they're getting a lecture. But if you invite a real discussion to address concerns, questions, and more, this can actually become a valuable opportunity for family bonding.
6. Offer Real Numbers
To show the value of life insurance, it helps to be able to offer numbers to work with.
This will take some research but will help you make the case for life insurance convincing. For example, you could mention the costs of your children's college education, and show how much of that life insurance will cover. You can also look at how much lost wages due to death can add up over the years, creating an incredibly difficult financial situation.
Again, this is a time to focus on the positives, not the negatives. Don't use "scare tactics" to get the response you want. Instead, use numbers to show just how helpful life insurance can be.
7. Work with an Agent
Sometimes, having a conversation with a life insurance agent present becomes much easier.
Agents are used to talking to people about life insurance, especially people who aren't sure about it. They can offer more information than you can. Your family will also see them as a professional and might be more open to hearing the subject from them.
With an agent, you take away some of the emotions from the conversation. This can help your family see that this is a practical decision, instead of getting blinded by their emotions when they think about losing you.
8. Make It About Someone Else
Another way to make the subject seem less emotional is to focus on someone else, not yourself.
You could tell a story about someone you know, such as a friend or coworker, who left their family without life insurance. Showing how this created a hardship can help your family see the benefits, without getting so many feelings involved from the start. Starting by talking about another family can help you smoothly transition into talking about your own.
Ready to Try Purchasing Life Insurance?
Purchasing life insurance doesn't necessarily require family approval. But this is a big decision for all of you, so it's worth taking the time to have this hard but necessary discussion.
With these tips, the conversation can be more productive than stressful. Once the conversation is complete, check out our insurance products guide so you can choose the right life insurance for you!