If you’d like to become a parent in the near future, there is one financial move you can’t afford not to make.
According to Ryan Cole, certified financial planner and private wealth advisor in San Francisco, that move is buying life insurance.
Generally, you need life insurance if someone else is depending on your income, whether that’s a child, partner, or aging parent. Retirees, children, and stay-at-home parents usually don’t need coverage.
In the event of your death, life insurance can protect your family financially and ensure all their needs are met.
“While you can buy life insurance when you get pregnant or after you have a baby, I recommend buying it before both of those things. You’ll be more likely to secure a more affordable premium when you’re young and healthy and have not yet started a family,” Cole told Business Insider.
Wondering how much life insurance you need to buy? According to Cole, the rule of thumb is eight to 10 times your salary. While you may be able to get some life insurance through your employer, you’ll likely need to purchase it privately as well.
Business Insider’s Tanza Loudenback calculated coverage needs for Americans at different income levels in US cities with low, average, and high costs of living, and found the least coverage needed for an individual with a working spouse, two kids, and a home is about $471,000. That number varies from person to person, depending on your cost of living, family, and expenses.
That sounds like a lot of money, but insurance-comparison site Policygenius estimates a 30-year-old man or woman in good health can get a $250,000 policy with a 30-year term for $23 a month, or $19 a month, respectively. Life insurance companies take a variety of factors into account when deciding on your rate, including your health, age, and credit history.
If you’re in the market for a private life insurance policy, Cole recommends checking out TIAA, a 100-year-old insurance provider with a variety of policy options as well as high financial strength ratings, which estimate the likelihood that an insurance company will be able to meet various financial obligations like paying claims.
You can also compare policies from different insurance providers for free through an insurance comparison site.
“When evaluating life insurance companies, it’s imperative to pay attention to financial strength ratings,” Cole said. “You can find out whether an insurance company has a high financial strength rating by visiting AM Best,” which rates carriers based on their financial strength and can help you make an informed decision on a life insurance policy for you and your family.