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In 2012, Guardian Life Insurance, with the assistance of Learnvest, conducted a survey of 797 males and females, 21-40 years of age with annual household incomes over $30,000 to look at the attitudes and behaviors of those in this age group toward life and disability insurance, two products which Guardian has been an industry leader for years. We addressed the findings about disability insurance on our disability insurance site and will address the findings about life insurance here on

They Understand the Need

Most of the respondents understand, in theory, how important life insurance is, and they are also aware of their own financial responsibilities, such as student loans and credit card debt. Those who have others that depend on them understand the responsibility they have to provide for them in the event of their death. The primary person they feel responsible for is their spouse or domestic partner – 60 percent of respondents named their partner as the beneficiary of their life insurance policy; almost a third named their children.

The Coverage Gap

While a majority of those surveyed wanted to do the right thing for their dependents, the majority of them miscalculated how much life insurance they actually needed to “make all their dependents’ troubles go away. When asked what that figure would be, the average answer was one million dollars. When asked how much their life insurance policies would cover, the average answer was about \$390,000.

As you can see, that leaves a huge gap ($610,000) between what is assumed to be needed and what will actually be available to the family in the case of death. This discrepancy may be due in part to the belief by many that life insurance obtained through work is sufficient to take care of the family if the breadwinner is no longer around. Sixty-five of those surveyed get their life insurance through their employers. While we agree that this is a good starting point, it’s quite obvious that this leaves most people under-insured.

The Information Gap

Part of this coverage gap can be due to the fact that people in this group (like many others) don’t really know where to turn for information. The majority of respondents turn to their friends and family for information about life insurance, and, unfortunately, this isn’t always the best source about the subject.

The good news for Millennials is that the Internet, which this group has embraced more than any other, has become a great learning ground for life insurance, as well as other financial matters. My suggestion to this group is to embrace the technology available to them to learn about and even apply for life insurance policies. Some websites (like will let you get all the life insurance quotes you need to make a good decision without you having to speak to an agent.

So then, go learn, figure out how much you really need, get quotes, and fill that gap with a new policy.

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Richard Reich
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