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■ In Your Corner

While there’s no perfect age to get coverage, experts agree earlier is better


How old should I be to start thinking about life insurance — and how much will it cost me?

Shopping for a life insurance policy is probably the last thing on your to-do list, but experts agree that if you have children or plan to one day, it’s time to get coverage.

Jason Evans, a certified financial planner at Winnipeg-based Evans Retirement Planning, knows from experience the importance of life insurance: His father died when he was eight, and his mother when he was 18. Had it not been for his parents’ life insurance policies, Evans and his sister would’ve had to sell their home.

“I would have had a much different life,” says Evans “and a much more difficult life if my parents didn’t have life insurance.”

When looking into types of life insurance, there are two options: whole life insurance and term life insurance.

Term life insurance covers you for a fixed period of time, like 10, 20, 30 or 40 years. For instance, if you buy 20-year term insurance and die during those 20 years, your estate will receive the stated amount of insurance. Term insurance is generally cheaper than whole-life insurance because it offers temporary rather than lifetime coverage.

Indeed, according to a 2023 survey by PolicyMe, whole life insurance can cost up to 10 times more than term life insurance. In Canada, the average cost of term life insurance per month is $34, while the average life insurance payout ranges from $240,000 to $550,000, according to industry-wide data collected by PolicyMe.

As for the best time to get insurance, experts agree that earlier is better. “The younger and healthier you are, any type of insurance will be less expensive,” says Johanne Plamondon, certified financial planner at Delphi Private Wealth of Raymond James Ltd.

While there’s no perfect age for life insurance, most people begin looking into it when they are ready to start a family or have outstanding debt, like a mortgage, explains Plamondon.

Also, look into an insurance policy when your child is still an infant, Plamondon recommends, as insurance tends to be cheaper. “That policy can be converted to a permanent policy when that child reaches a legal age.”

For Canadians worried about the cost, start by looking into a term policy of 10 or 20 years, says Plamondon.

“Say you’re 28 years old now, that insurance will renew at age 48, but it’ll be a lot more expensive,” says Plamondon “But then, at that time, you can decide whether you want to carry it on or reduce the amount to reduce the premium at that time.”

In other words, start with a policy that fits your budget — and adjust it as you go along.

“Working with a lot of people over the years in setting up insurance, I think the biggest regret is people not getting it sooner or getting enough coverage,” says Plamondon. “At 40, it’s super expensive, age 50, it is even more expensive and age 60, it becomes almost prohibitive.”

‘‘ The younger and healthier you are, any type of insurance will be less expensive. JOHANNE PLAMONDON CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER





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