This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of USAA Life Insurance Company and USAA Life Insurance Company of New York. All opinions are 100% mine.
I used to be a teacher.
When John and I were dating and engaged, I taught English to juniors and seniors in Baltimore City. I loved my job. I was good at it. I was proud of the work I did.
And to be very honest with you, I also was proud of the paycheck and benefits I earned as a teacher for five years. It made me feel self-sufficient and powerful.
And then I married a sailor. At the time, teacher licensure for military spouses wasn’t as ubiquitously known as a problem as it is now. And so, there was no reciprocity, fast-track, or preference for military spouses crossing state lines. I had to be certified by the state of Virginia, despite having high ratings, a master’s in my subject, and a proven track record of student success. At that time, there was a backlog and we weren’t sure where John would be stationed next. We made the decision that I would not pursue an expensive license with little hope of being able to garner a well-paying job before he was stationed elsewhere–possibly in another state where I would just have to repeat the fruitless process.
Instead, I became unemployed. Chances are, if you’re a military spouse, you’ve experienced unemployment and/or underemployment at some point. After all, nearly a quarter of all military spouses are currently underemployed or unemployed. We know it’s a big problem. We talk about it a lot. As a community, we talk about the need for remote work, for work that moves with military spouses, for easier license transfers.
But something we don’t talk about?
We don’t talk a whole lot about how being underemployed and unemployed can affect a military family’s retirement plan or transition plan. We don’t talk about the financial underpinning lost by a military spouse not having benefits. And we certainly don’t talk about military spouses who don’t have life insurance because they think they can’t afford it or because they think they don’t have a financial impact on their family.
But this– and listen up, because this is super important– isn’t true. If you’re a military spouse who isn’t bringing in a regular paycheck, replacing the value you bring to your family would cause financial hardship if you were to pass away unexpectedly.
Let’s start with life insurance basics
Military spouses are often under the impression that Servicemember’s Group Life Insurance covers them along with their serving spouse. The truth? It’s only for military members (unless you’re a military spouse who is also a service member. In that case, you would have an SGLI policy separate from your spouse’s.) And if you’re a veteran’s wife, you are also not covered under VGLI, which is only available to certain veterans under the VA.
There is a program called FSGLI for families, which offers coverage for spouses and dependent children. A spouse’s coverage is capped at $100,000 and cannot exceed your spouse’s current SGLI coverage . Children receive free coverage of $10,000. Beware: if you’ve married after 2013, you are not automatically enrolled in this program.
Don’t get stuck in this trap
Military spouses often assume that only people with steady jobs are eligible for life insurance. Or, they might think that it’s unaffordable or a waste of time otherwise. Let’s clear the air: none of that is true! If you are unemployed, underemployed, not traditionally employed, self-employed, or currently contributing to your household as a stay-at home parent or spouse, you must think seriously about life insurance as a way to protect your family.
Your work–including your domestic work–has worth and value… and it matters to your family! Life insurance can help you ensure that, in the event of your passing, your family could be taken care of… down to their socks and after-school snacks.
Life insurance options for military spouses
You may or may not have access to FSGLI. But you absolutely have access to life insurance through a private insurer. And, its likely that you already work with the largest insurer of the military community: USAA!
That’s right– in addition to car and home owner’s policies, USAA offers life insurance options for you and your family too. (And you know they get military life because their employees live and breathe it.) USAA Life Insurance Company offers a wide breadth of life insurance options that can be modified to fill the holes in your financial and future plans to give you peace of mind and coverage, no matter where you are in your military or life journey.
Let’s talk coverage for a minute
The life insurance conversation can be difficult, but USAA offers easy access to tons of research and articles (so that you can learn more on your own) and competent, knowledgeable representatives (so you can talk through your questions and plans).
In the beginning stages of your life insurance conversation, sit down with your spouse and jot down these expenses:
- Your liabilities
- The total amount of five years of your income
- Estimate the value of your labor and its cost if you were not able to do it (ie. child care, laundry and grocery services, etc.)
- An average for your final expenses
- Any extra funds that your family might need to cover your unique goals (education, etc.)
Keep this document in a safe place and use it when you speak to your USAA representative about your life insurance options.
Next steps for life insurance
Life insurance can make all the difference in the world to your family in the event of your death. It can mean a secure and paid-off home for your children to grow up in. It can mean taking the weight off your spouse during the toughest moments of their life. It can mean giving your family some financial breathing room in a crisis.
It’s not something to take lightly, but it’s also not something to put off. And the really great thing? You can get started right away. Visit USAA Life online for a personalized assessment of you and your family’s needs. You can also call 800-531-LIFE for a conversation with a USAA life insurance specialist who can answer your questions in real-time.
And one more thing…
Be the first to grab your free ticket to the only virtual deployment retreat for military spouses and significant others, PILLAR Deployment Retreat. Thanks to USAA Life Insurance Company and USAA Life Insurance Company of New York, we’re able to offer three full days of expert sessions, giveaways, and support all for you!