Parents reluctant to talk about life insurance with kids
Talking to your kids about drugs, alcohol, politics, religion is easier than discussing life insurance.
That's a key finding of an online survey of more than 2,000 adults conducted by Harris Interactive for State Farm.
More than half the parents surveyed said they felt comfortable talking to their children about drugs and alcohol (55 percent) and religion (53 percent) while 44 percent said they could easily discuss politics with their offspring. But only 38 percent said they were comfortable discussing life insurance and only 36 percent said they were comfortable talking about family finances. The only topic that ranked lower for comfort than life insurance and finances was sex and puberty at 30 percent.
The survey also found that the discussion needs to start with the parents. Nearly half (45 percent) of those surveyed said they first learned about life insurance from a family member. Most daughters said they learned from their moms and sons from their dads.
Not a budget priority for families
Becoming a parent was the most likely reason for buying life insurance, the survey found. Yet only about half -- 51 percent -- of parents said they have individual life insurance policies outside of their work.
The survey also found that most families budget for vacations and cell phones before they do life insurance. The survey found that more than seven in 10 parents consider life insurance to be important (71 percent) and more than three-quarters said life insurance plays a role in their overall financial plan (78 percent).
A large number of parents said they would be more likely to adjust their budget to buy cable TV (76 percent), a family vacation (69 percent), or mobile phone service for each family member (62 percent). However, only 59 percent of parents said they would likely adjust their budgets to be able to buy life insurance.
In a press release about the survey, Joe Monk, senior vice president and chief administrator officer for State Farm Life, said parents know life insurance is important for protecting their families. "Yet there seems to be a disconnect between that importance and the importance of commodities such as cable TV or cell phones."
The challenging financial times that many families have experienced recently, Monk added, "only [serve to] underscore the importance of planning for the long term and talking with those we love about family finances including life insurance."
Parents consider themselves knowledgeable
The survey found that 78 percent of Americans consider themselves at least somewhat knowledgeable about life insurance. However, one in five (22 percent) said they know nothing about life insurance.
The survey was conducted online in June among 2,019 adults in the U.S. A little more than half of the respondents (1,056) were parents of children of any age.