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A Different Kind of Date Night

A Different Kind of Date Night

The other day, Alex and I had a different kind of date night…

A Different Kind of Date Night

When we were first dating, I had a Friday ritual of picking up cheese and fruit and bringing it over to Alex’s apartment. (I remember feeling so nervous heading to meet my new bespectacled boyfriend, with my little bag of cheese in tow!) We’d hang out on his sofa and chat about our weeks. Now and again, we like to revive the tradition.

On this particular night, while we snacked, we also talked about (wait for it) life insurance. Now that we have financial dependents, it’s important for us that our family has a financial safety net. We have term life insurance (and other plans in place) for that reason. We’ve also found it really helpful to have serious discussions at home, so we can feel safe and comfortable — instead of having the waiter interrupt you with the chicken special.

When it came to life insurance, Alex and I chatted about three things:

1. How much term life insurance to have (to, say, help pay the mortgage, childcare and day-to-day bills, or go toward a child’s education, etc.) While you may think buying life insurance is something you do once and never think about again (that’s what I thought at first!), it’s important to revisit your coverage needs regularly, since life changes.

2. What kind of decisions we’d want our partner to make with the payout of a policy. The proceeds of a life insurance policy can be used however your beneficiary chooses, but that can be overwhelming when they’re also coping with the loss of a loved one. Alex and I make financial decisions together, and discussing how this safety net would be used is no different.

3. What we’d want our legacies to be. You can indicate what portion of the proceeds you’d want to go to loved ones, as well as to a charity that means a lot to you. The latter would need to be done by having discussions with your beneficiary about wishes or through a trust.

A Different Kind of Date Night

Of course, our agency of choice is Haven Life, an innovative life insurance startup — backed and wholly owned by leading life insurer MassMutual. It was actually co-founded by a new dad. When he and his wife were expecting a baby, he found that he couldn’t get quotes, apply for, or purchase a life insurance policy online. Then the coverage took nearly two months to kick in. After that experience, he wanted to simplify the process for other people. Thus, Haven Life was born.

Haven Life has modernized the process of buying term life insurance. The online application process is super easy (truly!), and they offer affordable term life insurance rates. (A 20-year, $500,000 Haven Term policy for a healthy 35-year-old woman is $23.34 per month.)

If you’d like to see what other people have to say, Haven Life has received tons of positive customer reviews. And we’ve met with members of their team, and they’re warm and lovely people who want to help others.

A Different Kind of Date Night

Alex and I ended the evening feeling closer and more bonded. It felt good to talk about protecting our loved ones and our overall hopes for our family, should something happen to one of us. And we always pick a fun show to watch afterward: in this case, Goodfellas. (It really holds up.)

Thoughts? Do you have life insurance? What has your experience been? If you have any questions about term life insurance, Haven Life is standing by to answer them in the comments! And here are FAQs answered, too.

(Photos by Christine Han. This post is sponsored by Haven Life Insurance Agency, an online life insurance agency whose mission we believe in. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Cup of Jo.)

Haven Term is a Term Life Insurance Policy (DTC and ICC17DTC in certain states, including NC) issued by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), Springfield, MA 01111-0001 and offered exclusively through Haven Life Insurance Agency, LLC. Policy and rider form numbers and features may vary by state and may not be available in all states. In NY, Haven Term is DTC-NY. In CA, Haven Term is DTC-CA. Our Agency license number in California is OK71922 and in Arkansas, 100139527.

  1. Flo says...

    We just bought our first home and have a little guy – I’ve been wondering – is it possible to get term coverage that covers both my husband and I under one policy. For example a policy that only pays out once – if one or both of us passes unexpectedly – to cover the cost of our mortgage and some money to raise our son? Getting individual policies for both of us seems so expensive.

    • LK says...

      I want to know this as well!

  2. Mag says...

    Such an interesting post and the comments were very insightful!

    I’m also curious to know where you got the thin black frame from? The one between you two with the photo of a car in it. Been on the hunt for some classy thin picture frames!

  3. Sara says...

    Ok, could someone clarify when would you get a term insurance instead of a life insurance, or do you combine both? #theyshouldteachthisinschool

    • Kate says...

      Hi Sara, you hould get a term insurance when you have dependents on your income (kids, disabled spouses). Term insurance provides an additional blanket for financial security at a reasonable price. Life insurance, imo, should be stayed away due to its historic mediocre returns and the high expenses. If you are an US citizens, you would be better off to get a term life insurance and put the rest to invest in low-cost index funds (Vanguard, Fidelity or Blackstone sp500 takes only 3 cents for every $1,000 they manage.)

  4. Bonnie says...

    Good grief. As an over 40 person if I didn’t have excellent health this would be 60-90$/month. As it is, its 52. That’s expensive.

  5. P says...

    With dependents & a mortgage, I feel like my husband & I really need life insurance (like, yesterday), but I have questions! The first is: one thing we’ve always heard is “the insurance company will always find *some* way to avoid paying it out”– I’m sure that can’t be true, but where can we learn about the circumstances when it might not be (and any stats available)? The second: I’m currently prego with our second child (due soon- in March)- is it better to act immediately or wait until after I give birth?
    Thank you CoJ for the important post, and for being transparent about sponsorship- I appreciate that these posts support the other amazing content that you & your staff produce!!

    • Adrienne says...

      I got life insurance when I was pregnant with my second, but did not get the best rate. Your cholesterol gets high when pregnant. I had my medical exam again about six months after I had the baby and got a better rate.
      I’ve never heard of a payout problem. Reputable companies seem to cover most everything—including suicide.
      Lastly, when I first did it we got more for my husband because he was the primary breadwinner. But then I realized if I die, my husband will have to replace ME—and I am very expensive. We got enough that he could get a full-time housekeeper/nanny/chef/personal assistant for our four children, or for him to cut back significantly to a less financially lucrative job.

    • Natasha @ Haven Life says...

      Hi P, thanks for your questions and congratulations to you and your growing family! You’re correct — when you have children and a mortgage, it’s important for you and your partner to consider getting life insurance to help financially protect those that you love.

      In regards to insurers and their willingness to pay: It’s important to buy coverage from a reputable insurer that has a long history of financial strength and claims-paying ability. Most life insurance companies will proudly feature third-party ratings to help assist the consumer in this essential part of the life insurance shopping experience. For example, our parent company MassMutual (issuer of the Haven Term policy) is rated A++ by AM Best.

      When a policyholder passes away, a “claim” must be filed by the beneficiary to the life insurance company. Needing to go through a claims process might sound intimidating, but it is meant to ensure that the claim is valid. At Haven Life, when you buy a policy, we treat it like a promise to help financially protect your family. Assuming everything in the claim review checks out, Haven Life (and MassMutual) try to pay out the claim as quickly as possible. You can learn more about the claims-paying experience and situations that might extend it here: https://havenlife.com/blog/life-insurance-beneficiary-claim/

      As for applying for life insurance while you’re expecting: Pregnancy is considered in the underwriting process. Typically, if you are having a healthy pregnancy, it’s unlikely to affect your final rate. You can always go through the application process and check-in with the Haven Life customer success team to ensure health impacts of the pregnancy aren’t increasing your rate, and we can help figure out the best course of action from there.

      If you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our customer success team at 855-744-2836, we are opened Monday thru Friday, 9AM to 6PM ET.

    • P says...

      Thank you for the thoughtful replies!

  6. Jenna says...

    Making difficult/adult conversations into a “date night” is such a great idea! My husband and I want to be more on top of our finances and all the other things that come with it but it is hard to make a point to sit down to do it. I am going to try this method to get it done (and reward myself with cheese!!

  7. Megan says...

    A few things to add regarding life insurance. First, it was Joanna’s blog post a while ago that first triggered me to get my policy! I pay about what was quoted in this article (under $30/month for a $500,000 20-year term policy). I used a comparison website and went with TIAA– it was easy to do online.

    A few pieces of advice: 1. Even if you’re a stay-at-home parent, life insurance is a good idea! I was so surprised to find out that I’m the only one of my mom friends with a policy. Most of their husbands have one but they don’t. Think about how much it would cost to care for your kids and home if you weren’t around. We don’t have extended family to help out, so I think I was hyper-sensitive to this.
    2. Try to do get a life insurance policy before you’re 40. The older you start, the more expensive it is (naturally).
    3. There are often life insurance policies you can purchase through work if you have a large employer. They are often cheaper, which is great, but are contingent upon your employment there. This is what I opted for before I became a parent, but after I became a parent I decided I needed to be covered even if I lost my job or made a career transition to something less traditional.

    Hope this helps!

    • Shira says...

      My question for Haven is whether people can switch life insurance providers, or once you start paying towards a policy, are you stuck? My husband and I have had policies for about six years now, and we each pay about $1000/year. I’d be curious to shop around, but what would happen to the money we’ve already paid?

    • Natasha @ Haven Life says...

      Hi Shira – Unfortunately, if your main intention is to cancel existing coverage in order to replace with the Haven Term policy, we don’t support that yet. However, if you’re looking to buy additional coverage, you are always welcome to apply- ultimately, whatever you choose to do with your other policies later on is up to you.

  8. Maywyn says...

    Great post!

    Online insurance shopping is a nightmare, all about give your info for a quote estimate emailed to you. No medical questions?…just signing up, before you are sent the full hard copy, the fine print can state you give 100% permission for the company to have access to your medical records…they don’t need to ask questions! Also, full coverage, depends on the company, can take 2 years to activate.

    Buying life insurance as soon as you are old enough, a policy just for you, separate from any family plan policy, in my experiences, is a sound step to take.

    • Natasha @ Haven Life says...

      “Hi Maywyn – we can empathize that shopping for life insurance online can be confusing and frustrating. We created Haven Life to help solve this problem. For example, with our quote tool, we make it simple to access rate examples without detailed health information or contact details. It’s true for medically underwritten life insurance that medical records may be needed to determine eligibility and pricing — this is so the insurer isn’t making assumptions about your health and that pricing can be personalized to you. Usually this is a good thing because without these details, insurers will need to increase pricing for the risk they are taking on. By full coverage, I believe you are refering to the two-year contestibility period that is pretty standard across insurers. Coverage is fully in place, but it’s a clause that protects the insurance company from false application information during this period of time. In general, top rated life insurance companies have an excellent track record for claims-paying ability. You can read more about this subject here: https://havenlife.com/blog/am-best-insurance-ratings/

      We hope this helps ease your mind, but we’re always available to chat: (855) 744-2836 (M-F, 9AM-6PM ET) or email: help@havenlife.com.”

    • maywyn says...

      Thank you Natasha
      I will be looking at what Haven Life has to offer. As it happens, researching for an additional policy is on my 2020 list. With family living so far away from each other, I think it’s a good idea to have beneficiaries that may need help traveling to gatherings.

  9. F says...

    Does anyone have information about how long mental health history will impact your rates? I just got life insurance because I’m a new mom and was annoyed that my history of depression made my rates twice what my initial quote was. (I’m not so much looking for sympathy as for a solution, a different insurance provider or length of time I need to wait to open a different policy )

    • Lily says...

      I’m not sure about how long mental health impacts rates, but my friend (who is a family medicine doctor, and a parent) told me that *having kids* /pregnancy history makes rates go up for women. Even for an uneventful pregnancy. I was extra ticked when they called to ask my why I had taken Zoloft for six months, and I truthfully responded “to avoid having post partum depression.”

    • Aria says...

      I don’t know about mental health, but I had a high risk, super eventful pregnancy and I had to wait two years. I just bought insurance with AIG and was able to be in the “best” health class again (eg with very cheap rates).

    • Natasha @ Haven Life says...

      Thanks for your question, F. As with other health concerns, a history with mental health should be disclosed in your term life insurance application. Eligibility and pricing will ultimately depend on a range of specifics about the diagnosis, history, and any medications, which would be reviewed by the underwriting team. Sorry this answer isn’t so straightforward. Of course, we welcome you to contact our customer support line at if you’d like to ask more questions about this. (855) 744-2836 (M-F, 9AM-6PM ET) or email: help@havenlife.com.

  10. Vava says...

    I have whole life insurance because it has a cash value and I can cash it in whenever I feel like it. I don’t have to die to reap it’s benefits.

  11. Michele says...

    I also found this post awkward. You definitely give good advice but then to find you were actually hawking a life insurance company was disturbing. For the sake of full disclosure, are you receiving a policy in exchange for posting? Or is this a company that you whole-heartedly endorse and want to share with readers?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I wholeheartedly endorse this company and we have met people who work there and they’re truly kind people who want to help others. Hope this helps!

    • Heather says...

      Hawking is….a fairly harsh word. Especially given I would expect Joanna gets inundated with requests for sponsored ads. I imagine she then has the freedom to only select companies she actually believes in.

      And she does disclose these posts at the very top – so if you see ‘sponsored’ then there shouldn’t be a surprise when a specific company or product is then mentioned as she’s called it out upfront.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, we turn down many sponsorship queries and only work with the companies we use and love ourselves (haven, primary kids, brooklinen, etc). thank you so much, heather!

    • K says...

      Michele, it says “Sponsored” right above the title of this post (as is the case on all sponsored posts on Cup of Jo – and it’s visible from the home page too, before you even click through to the article). Why not just avoid these posts, since you find them so “disturbing”?

      And while we’re on the subject of life insurance – lots of people find all discussions regarding death and what happens to one’s estates/financial affairs to be “disturbing”… Which is exactly what deters so many from getting their affairs in order before it’s too late. We never know how long (or short) our lives may be, and dealing with a bunch of financial issues is the very last thing grieving loved ones should be tasked with.

      Posts like these, framed as a “different kind of date night” help to normalize these kinds of discussions in a way that feels refreshing. If the primary input you have is to call the post “awkward” and refer to the means by which Joanna secures income for herself and her employees (to provide you and all of us with FREE daily content!!) as “hawking”… Well, I really think this falls perfectly under the category of “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

  12. I’m one of your many readers that appreciates how you can weave sponsor-related topics into day to day life. My husband and I have a quarterly financial review – this post makes me think I need to make it a little more ‘special and fun’. We spend the time updating our account balances and talking about planned expenses/goals/etc. We are in the process of acquiring life insurance for him. Our son is almost 2 and I told him recently that I really feel like we need life insurance for him because I could not continue at this pace of life if – God forbid – something was to happen to him.

  13. Cynthia says...

    A very necessary post.

  14. N says...

    I recognize that Karina replied to and remedied her original comment, but it’s not the first one of its kind. It continues to irk me that people are bothered by CoJ’s sponsored posts. I am really not sure how people expect Joanna to provide salaries for her employees, pay for freelance photographers and contributor posts, afford rent for their work space in Brooklyn, etc. without some form of compensation or sponsorship. We all read this blog for free in an age when journalism is dying and paywalls are going up on most major sites (NYT, The Atlantic, WSJ, and so on). It feels unproductive to leave these comments – if anything, a solution-oriented comment would be beneficial if there were ideas about other ways to generate revenue on such a website. I’ve always found that CoJ takes a creative and organic approach to sponsored posts, and if it’s a product that I am not interested in, then I keep on scrolling by.

    On a second, related note: I just found out that the father of one of my students died suddenly yesterday. It has devastated my small high school, as he was an active member of our community. One of my first thoughts (after initial shock, sadness, etc.) was that I hoped that he had good life insurance so that it helps to cushion such an unthinkable tragedy. This is an incredibly important conversation to have and a crucial plan to make. Thanks for featuring it.

    • K says...

      Yes!!! This. I hope everyone reads this and thinks twice about leaving a pointlessly negative comment that isn’t the slightest bit constructive. There is a time and place for constructive criticism, and CoJ has shown time and time again that they’re able to respond thoughtfully and gracefully to such comments. It’d be really nice for people to cool it with this kind of tedious, unproductive feedback.

    • Amanda says...

      If this is an “ad” I’ll happily take more. This is well-done, applicable to my life, and I’m so happy CoJ can find a way to get paid that helps her and us!! GO, JO!

    • Heather says...

      Completely agree! This is her job and she should get compensated for it – further, she is an employer who is responsible for other people. I’m happy she finds ways to take care of them!

    • Katie says...

      I’m consistently surprised that people who dislike sponsored posts don’t bother to get in the habit of reading the topic above the headline, which will tell them it’s a sponsored post before they bother to read it.

    • Sarz says...

      Well said, N! CoJ puts a lot of effort into the content they produce, and are one of few sites that don’t require a subscription to access full content. Do they deserve a living wage? Absolutely. If all ads on the net looked like theirs, the web would be a much nicer place.

    • Annie says...

      N, thank you so much for saying this so eloquently. I am constantly blown away by the graciousness and thoughtfulness that Joanna and her team bring to the site’s contents and comments. I think CoJ is a leader in well-produced, on-brand sponsored content and wish the readers who are freely enjoying 90% non-sponsored content would sometimes pause and reflect before launching criticisms. I know that we are all bombarded by targeted advertisements now, but that’s not how these sponsored posts feel to me on this space and I am very grateful that they keep my favorite blog/community running for my enjoyment, even if I infrequently purchase or consume the products.

    • MJ says...

      Agreed with N and Amanda! This “ad” feels genuine and, frankly, very much in line with CoJ content. I wouldn’t actually be surprised to see an UNSPONSORED life insurance article on this site. I come to CoJ for many reasons – a big one being family and life content, and I feel like this falls right in line with that.

    • Rachel says...

      Ok sure, sponsored ads are fine. But do we really believe J and A had a date night (with photographer present) to talk about their life insurance? That’s what makes it feel awkward, the suspend-disbelief commercial aspect of it on a blog that is marketed as personal and genuine, not the idea that Cup of Jo is helping advertise a product.

  15. tina crisas says...

    My comment doesn’t have anything to do with this post (I live in Europe), but I have always wanted to say the following. I have been reading here for over a decade and besides the fabulous information I receive that opens my eyes up to so many interesting and helpful topics, another one of the main reasons I have stayed loyal is your utmost politeness Joanna when it comes to responding to comments. I am seriously blown away by your humble, courteous and respectful replies. Also, you make readers feel so seen and heard. I’m also amazed that your site, which garners up to hundreds and hundreds of comments that you and your team actually reply to so many comments and do not leave people hanging! This is pretty unheard of and I am always in awe and gratitude. I feel very respected here and that is why this is the only blog/community I feel compelled to be a part of.

    • Rosie says...

      I would like to echo this and also thank you for not sanitizing the comments and letting people disagree from time to time as long as they’re respectful. I don’t always love sponsored content, but yours is on brand about 99% of the time and that is so refreshing.

    • Katey says...

      Yes to this! Joanna and her team are so gracious with replying to comments, including those that differ in opinion. This is a genuinely inclusive community and it’s all because of them. I follow another lifestyle blog who will remain unnamed and have “quit” the blog more than once (but then found my way back) because the blogger is so defensive in her responses to commenters . She even somehow
      twists around relatively benign comments. It’s really shocking and my only conclusion is this other blogger is highly insecure where Joanna (and team) is comfortable in her own skin.

  16. Norah says...

    Our friends do a financial date night once a month. My resolution is for my husband and I to do that at least once per quarter. I think it’s a great idea to set aside time to talk money, and by calling it a date night it actually makes it more enjoyable and keeps it a bit more lighthearted.

  17. Charlotte says...

    I’ve been wanting to get life insurance for both my husband and I, but we’re both overweight and never pass the physical. Any other options to be aware of?

    • Rosie says...

      Some jobs provide a very small policy that isn’t contingent on health, but it’s usually only about $100,000.

    • Karen says...

      Look into group policies that are offered through a membership that you are a part of. I have health issues that prevent me from getting private coverage but I was able to get a small policy through AAA as a member that does not have health questions. Some alumni associations also have this,

    • Natasha @ Haven Life says...

      Hi Charlotte, there are many different types of life insurance — some of which are designed for those who may have issues with eligibility based on medical exam results. Guaranteed issue life insurance, for example, generally will not have strict health requirements but premiums are higher as a result. The following article will help summarize your options: https://havenlife.com/blog/types-of-life-insurance-policies/

  18. jane says...

    My question is, do you cancel once your children are self-sustaining?

    If you do cancel, what happens to your investment? Is any of it returned? How does life insurance work?

    • Rosie says...

      I just talked to my dad about this and they aren’t canceling because one of them could die much earlier and neither have jobs with pensions. They also don’t want to stick me with the funeral costs.

    • alexis says...

      I think that’s the difference between whole and term life insurance – term life insurance is (I believe) a policy you buy for a set number of years – twenty or thirty or something like that – and then once that period ends, you’re no longer covered (unless you buy another policy), but if you figure by the end of that period your children are likely to be grown and independent, then you may not need the same quantity of coverage.

    • Nancy says...

      Jane, as Joanna suggests, you could visit the sponsor’s site to seek answers to your questions. However, here is some context so this makes more sense to you. Term life insurance is for a period of time – 15 years, 20 years, 30 years. A person might get such a policy to pay off a mortgage should they die unexpectedly; keeps the roof over the head of the partner and any children. Or people get a term policy when their children are born, hoping that by the time the term is up, the child is self-sustaining. Once the term expires, if nothing has happened, no more payments are due but the insurance company keeps all the money you paid. Whole life insurance, as I understand it, lasts your whole life and you pay for it your whole life. But, as one commenter stated, you can get cash from it. Hope that helps!

    • DR says...

      My cousin died in his early 20’s unexpectedly and insurance would’ve helped. My mom has one on me. I am unmarried/no kids and, so far, leaving whatever I have for them to sort out just in case. You never know.

    • Natasha @ Haven Life says...

      Hi Jane, you could cancel your coverage once you no longer have financial dependents. It’s a personal choice, but often people choose to keep the financial safety net in place since term life insurance premiums are usually affordable. With term life insurance, the intention is to select a term length that covers your family when they need it most — until your mortgage is paid off or your children are financially independent. Once the term is up, coverage ends and you don’t get the premiums paid back. Think of it like car insurance: you’re paying to have protection in place in case something happpens. We cover this topic more here: https://havenlife.com/blog/is-term-life-insurance-worth-it/

  19. jade says...

    I must say – the photos of your wall look absolutely charming!

  20. C says...

    This is so important. The other really important piece of designating how it can be spent prevents misuse of funds, which can happen to a lot of families with the best of intentions. Someone close to me lost nearly a million dollars left by his father because of a family member’s perverse justifications to spend it as interim administrator of the estate, and the litigation has no end in sight. Truly devastating, and somewhat preventable. Plus, thinking about how it can be spent is like a final act of love, exemplifying core values, which is pretty beautiful.

  21. Nadine says...

    So many people, even those who are older, don’t discuss what they want to happen after they’re gone & it’s really helpful to their families! My husband & I will be visiting a lawyer soon to have POAs/living wills in place. We had to get those & other documents prepared for my mom who has dementia. It was incredibly easy & worth every penny for the peace of mind.

  22. Emily says...

    We do these kinds of conversations on roadtrips!! I find that after-work-trying-to-cook-dinner-and-get-in-bed-on-time is stressful and just doesn’t give us the time to get into the conversations, but locked together in a car (we don’t have kids) means we have nothing else to do but talk. And I think sort of like taking a walk, sometimes these loaded conversations are easier to probe when not done 100% face to face.

    • Emily says...

      P.S. we also ended up looking into whole life insurance in addition to term insurance. It has some investment characteristics in addition to the insurance portion, but mostly because I am 31, we figured we would still want some coverage post age 61.

  23. Deborah says...

    Before deciding how much life insurance you need, check out what Social Security benefits your surviving spouse and children would received. It can be over $5000 per month.

    • Rosie says...

      $5000 isn’t much at all if you have a mortgage.

    • AN says...

      Ha! Depending on how old you are, of course. I suspect Social Security will go the way of the rotary phone before many of us reach the age to reap its benefits. It’ll be a nice surprise, but I’m 1000% making other preparations.

  24. Sarah says...

    Don’t usually comment, but if this post is triggering an anxious feeling and nagging at you because this is something you have put off…it is SO easy! Seriously, the stress of it is way worth than the actual process. My husband and I each got term-life policies while I was pregnant with our first child last year. We used Policy Genius which is like an Expedia for life insurance, and it found both of us super low prices, which happened to be from two different providers (both big name brands). But if we had both applied directly to one provider, we wouldn’t have each gotten the best rate.

    It took us about 15 minutes to apply on Policy Genius, and an agent called us on the phone immediately after we submitted to touch base about the process. Within a few days, we each had a formal quote, and then we schedule the “health exam” which was totally FINE. A nurse came to our apartment, at a time we requested, and did blood pressure, weight, and took a blood sample. It took less than 30 minutes for both of us. Within another four weeks or so, we had official policies! It is SUCH peace of mind.

    As a follow up, my husband and I, along with my parents and siblings, use a password manager called LastPass. You remember one “master” password and store your info for all one million of your online logins :). The best part is that you can designate someone to have “emergency access.” If my husband grants me “emergency access”, then if something happens I can request access, and he gets an email and has 48 hours to deny the request (you can choose the amount of time). If he doesn’t deny it, then I get access to his account and get necessary login info for banks, insurance policies, credit cards, etc. Also nice peace of mind to know I wouldn’t have to scramble in an emergency to track anything down.

    • S Kay says...

      @sarah, wow that LastPass thing is really helpful to know about. Thank you so much for sharing!

      I definitely feel like sharing/discussing finances and all aspects of your life is super important with your partner, but in the event that one person knows certain aspects more than the other (e.g. investments/etc.), knowing you can at least log in to everything is so so helpful.

    • Nancy says...

      LastPass is great to know about!! Thank you for sharing that, Sarah! A friend’s husband died unexpectedly and she told me, “Make sure you know all your husband’s passwords. That sure would have helped me”. Gulp!!!

    • Aria says...

      I also used Policygenius and found it great. I tried Haven life initially but they were impossible to deal with—emails would go unanswered, and I couldn’t schedule a health visit after an hour on the phone. And through Policygenius I ended up with a cheaper plan. But thanks CoJ—it’s such a service to your readers to talk about life insurance!

    • Natasha @ Haven Life says...

      Hi Aria, we’re glad you got the life insurance you need and regret that we caused you frustration in the process. We pride ourselves on providing excellent customer support and missing the mark here is something we will look into and surely improve on.

  25. Lisa Lambrecht says...

    Term life is a great, cheaper alternative to a whole life policy. I had a $250K policy for under $30 a month and it was like a 20 year policy. Just remember that when those 20/30 years are up, you’ll obviously be older and the premium may be significantly more expensive to get a term policy extension. Additionally, you may be retired at that point and be living on a fixed income. I converted part of my term policy to a whole life policy and while the premium is expensive ($211 per month), it will be paid off in 20 years and not be cancelled after it’s paid off. Additionally, it can be used as another investment vehicle, where you can borrow against it should you need to. I left the other half of my term policy as a term policy so I still have the same amount of life insurance. I realize not everyone can afford the premiums of a whole life policy, but if you’re in a position to do it, it’s something to consider and you won’t have to worry about affording a term life premium when you’re retired.

    • Jane says...

      Thank you, Lisa. This was very helpful, detailed information.

  26. Naseem says...

    Thanks for this important reminder, Cup of Jo team! Will check out Haven Life!

  27. AE says...

    Life insurance is always a good idea and really key in generational wealth. Haven Life is underwritten by MassMutual- who actually declined to insure me because of a well- controller but chronic illness. I’ve been worried sick about it and really sad. People with disabilities already have to deal with under- employment, medical debt, higher educational debt, and now, come to find out, can’t even get insurance for the inevitable. I know it’s “just business” but it feels hopeless sometimes.

    • Natasha @ Haven Life says...

      Hi AE – Thank you for sharing your experience. Sometimes medical issues can make getting life insurance challenging. However, underwriting guidelines vary across insurers, and the amount of medical information required can vary across different types of life insurance. Consider getting into contact with a broker like Quotacy and sharing your medical and decline history proactively. They may be able to guide you to an insurer and/or product that will best fit your needs.

  28. Kim says...

    Does it make a difference to wait until before or after you have a kid or career job? I am currently finishing grad school and am pregnant, so two big changes in the year ahead. Will the rate be more optimal if I do it now or wait? My husband already has his career job; we both have lots of grad school debt.
    Thank you!

    • Natasha @ Haven Life says...

      Hi Kim – Life insurance is more affordable the younger and healthier you are. So generally, it’s best to not put off getting coverage in place if you need it. Pregnancy is considered in the underwriting process. However, if you are having a healthy pregnancy, it likely wouldn’t impact your rate. All that said — it’s hard to know for sure without going through the application process. Consider submitting an application for coverage, and you can inquire into if your rate class (i.e. rate) is being effected by the pregnancy. Customer success is happy to answer any other questions you may have. (855) 744-2836 (M-F, 9AM-6PM ET) or email: help@havenlife.com.

  29. Angie says...

    Yes! We specifically bought mortgage insurance in addition to our life insurance. That way we leave a significant asset to our kiddo and no one has to worry about covering mortgage payments while our estate is probated.

    • Lee says...

      If you have your deed in both names with “joint tenant with right of survivorship” following your names your home want get tied up in probate! Just a little too!

  30. Michaela says...

    My husband and I are trying to get our all our financials/will/deed/life insurance together before our second child arrives in March. Does anyone have a checklist of important things like this? A simple to-do list is surprisingly hard to find.

    I am also wondering how everyone stores these important docs. Online? Fireproof box?

    • Jessica says...

      I have the same questions!

    • lulu says...

      Hi Michaela,
      I, too would really love a to do list for financials.

      Perhaps a future post could be dedicated to it.

      What do you think?

    • Elizabeth says...

      I haven’t found a simple to-do list, but I have the book
      What Matters Most: The Get Your Shit Together Guide to Wills, Money, Insurance, and Life’s “What-ifs” on hold at the library, which I’m hoping will guide me on these important to-dos!

    • Hilary says...

      Hi there!

      We used PolicyGenius to find life insurance (you can compare quotes with multiple companies easily). We are also using Fabric Vault to store important information. We used it to do our will and they also emailed our will to important people (like the guardians of our baby in the event something happens to both of us). This ensures we all have a copy. Depending on your state, it may be legally binding without a notary (or you can use it and still get it notarized). There are also options for storing important information (bank account #s, passwords, etc). I’m eager to hear what others use as I’m sure we haven’t thought of everything.

    • Lisa says...

      I used to work at an estate planning law firm. Many firms will retain your original estate planning documents (will, advance medical directive, power of attorney, trusts, whatever they prepare for you) in their office in a fireproof filing cabinet/safe and you go home with copies of the docs. You would just need to make sure your executor (or a family member/whoever) knows where these original docs are when you pass. In terms of other important docs, a fireproof box works or a safe deposit box at your bank. You could always make electronic versions as well. As mentioned above, just make sure someone knows where to find your valuable paperwork. I personally think it’s also a good idea of have a list (whether it’s written on paper, a Word doc, something) outlining where you have bank accounts, your estate planning paperwork, car title, life insurance, investment accounts, certificate of deposits, credit card information, etc., so that if something happens to you, your family knows what financial institutions/creditors/debtors they need to contact for your estate. It’s also helpful if you have contact info and phone numbers for any financial advisers that helped you, your attorney’s info, etc. It’s not uncommon for people dealing with someone’s estate to almost have the estate settled and then all of a sudden they get an annuity or dividend check or something for the deceased from a source they knew nothing about. It makes the estate administration longer when these surprises pop up. Many people don’t want to think about these things because it can be depressing, especially when you’re young and starting a family, but if you can put emotions aside, it’s the right thing to do for you and your family. Making things easier for your loved ones who are dealing with the loss is one of the kindest things you can do. Good luck and congrats on your second child! How exciting!

    • Samantha says...

      I can’t help on the checklist front, but I can with storage! I have important documents (like home insurance, mortgage, car title, ect) saved to Dropbox, so I could log in anywhere and access them, and on an external hard drive that is stored in a fireproof safe. The hard drive also has scanned files of things like my passport and birth certificate- then the hard copies are also in the safe. I think it’s important to have back ups of your back ups of important documents like these!
      My household also uses 1Password, which is a secure online password storage service. That way, if something were to happen to me, my partner would be able to gain access to important accounts easily. (They have a “master key” that you can print and also store in the safe with instructions on getting in to your account)

    • Nicki says...

      Just to echo, and to include the link that Elizabeth references: https://getyourshittogether.org/ There’s a checklist.

      And to add my voice to praise Jo and the team for the incredibly thoughtful approach to sponsored content. I am very easily turned off by this on other sites, and definitely look out for the “sponsored” heading on posts. It annoys me when other sites do not include flags like this. But on cupofjo, I notice the heading, start reading anyway – and then nine times out ten, will still genuinely enjoy both the content and the comments. I don’t live in the US, so I’m definitely not a potential client for Haven Life Insurance, but as so often, the post and the comments really speak to me and provide tons of useful information. Brava Jo, and thanks for what you do.

    • Natasha @ Haven Life says...

      Hi Michaela, congratulations on welcoming another child to your family. We understand being a parent, especially of two, can be overwhelming. We try to make life as simple as possible at Haven Life and a checklist is a great starting point. To help parents navigate through these life changing events to minimize stress, Haven Life provides you a checklist when expecting a new child: https://havenlife.com/blog/new-baby-financial-checklist/

      Having a new child also means receiving a stack of new documentations to keep safe: birth certificate, social security card, and passport. We hope the following blog post can help you make a better informed decision on how to keep these documentations safe and secure: https://havenlife.com/blog/storing-important-documents/

  31. Laura says...

    We (husband and I) are actually (shockingly) at the age when concerns go beyond ‘post-death’ finances to ‘during decline’ money matters. To that end, we have acquired a long-term care policy, first for him (bigger income), with mine to come next year. Should care expenses not be necessary, the payout happens after death. Wouldn’t cover every penny in the case of something like Alzheimer’s intense, assisted health care (home or facility), but it would make a dent. These policies are best acquired before serious health problems might disqualify a person.
    Something else to consider over gouda…

    • Christina says...

      Laura, I am so with you on this! I have seen all of my grandparents require long-term care. In general it seems like people are living much longer with complicated health issues. My grandpa insisted on setting them up with long-term care insurance a few decades ago, and they both have needed it. It has saved our family upwards of $6000/month for YEARS now. (Do you have an extra $72k a year? I don’t!) I’m 31 years old and have added long-term care insurance to my life insurance plan. It’s pretty cheap when you start young. :)

  32. Penny says...

    Great advice! I agree with Tess regarding how you handled a very important discussion. I think you’ve probably helped many couples by example having a date night in your own home then discussing an otherwise very uncomfortable & often avoided topic by so many couples!

  33. Meredith says...

    I love seeing these posts so much. Life insurance is SO important, but it is definitely not something people jump at the chance to talk about. My 2 cents for the ladies without a spouse or children to provide for: you may still want to consider a term life insurance policy! If you don’t have enough assets to cover your final expenses (funeral/any debt that is not forgiven if you die), your next of kin could get stuck with the bill! I had non-traditional student loans that would still need to be paid back if I passed away, so I got a term life insurance policy to cover that debt just in case. It was well worth the money (less than $100 a year) to me to protect my parents’ retirement.

    • Natasha @ Haven Life says...

      Hi Meredith, we cannot agree more that life insurance is a valuable facet of financial planning regardless of if you have a partner or children yet. We applaud your thoughtful consideration of your parents and their financial future if anything were to happen to you. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

  34. Katie says...

    My husband and I don’t have kids (yet!), but we did the same thing recently for our own peace of mind. I am glad everything will be set-up and in place once we do decide to expand our family. We both have life insurance policies through work, but getting a larger term life insurance policy seemed like a responsible and loving thing to do for each other.

  35. Ashley says...

    You are the most brilliant at mixing your “spon con” within a post that is still interesting and on brand. I love the idea of an at home date night with wine and cheese, and the note on having serious discussions at home, where you are comfortable and not at risk of interruption, makes a lot of sense! Thanks for continuously being the best space on the internet :)

  36. Carly says...

    Excellent post! This is an important conversation to have with both spouses AND parents (if you will be the beneficiary of their plan, of course). My boyfriend recently lost his mother and he is the primary beneficiary of her assets. They didn’t have any conversations about how she wanted things to be allocated and he has a lot of regret about that. It’s been heartbreaking to watch him navigate his grief while also having to make such important decisions.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for sharing this, carly. such a good thing to keep in mind.

    • Gi says...

      Yes! A post about caring for parents and older relatives would be so good. It’s a worry of mine and I would love to see how other people bring up the conversation.

    • samantha says...

      i’d love a post on discussions with aging parents. i am an only child and one of the biggest things that keeps me up at night is thinking about dealing with my parents assets when they are no longer here.
      does anyone have suggestions on how to bring this up when your parents are still relatively healthy? i don’t want it to seem like i am just waiting for them to die!

    • Natasha @ Haven Life says...

      Hi Samantha, we know financial discussions with anyone can be uncomfortable — even our parents! We recently wrote a post on the topic to help others who are struggling to navigate these important discussions with their aging parents. https://havenlife.com/blog/how-talk-to-aging-parents-about-finances/

  37. ez1019 says...

    Thanks to CoJ’s last post re: Haven Life, I am now a Haven Life customer, and I just think they’re the coolest company! Not only was the application process quick and easy, my husband and I found the rates to be really, really reasonable! Also, they’re just full of fun, surprising perks! Like… I got a package from them in the mail that was a branded playing card deck, but the go-along was a little, “how are you going to make magic moments in 2020?” thingie, in which they gave instructions for doing a magic trick with the new deck of cards. I mean… I might never do the magic trick, but… it was a really cute idea. THEN… this week, I got their Annual Report via email. Instead of a stodgy, chart-filled pdf with lots of dollar signs everywhere, I got a beautiful, brightly-colored, graphic piece, filled with all the fun, “magic moments” that Haven Life members saw in 2019!!! How cool is that? They used the results of a survey they sent around a few weeks ago, and to my delight, they included a quippy little quote from my own survey results! Plus, plus, also, aaaaand… I completely forgot about the fact that they have this Haven Life PLUS rider (translation: “free stuff”!!!) that offers me (and all members, I assume) discounts and freebies for stuff that I actually use! Free Aaptiv for a year? Yes, please, and thank you!!! I mean… clearly I love Haven Life. I promise: I don’t work there.

    • Natasha @ Haven Life says...

      Hi there! Thank you for the kind words — we’re so happy you enjoyed the annual report. The accomplishments of our community (you included!) is a source of pride and inspiration for us every year. We’re glad you are taking advantage of the Haven Life Plus services. Making people feel good about their life insurance is exactly what we are here to do.

      Here is a link to the annual report for any other readers who are interested in seeing it: https://havenlife.com/blog/2019-annual-report/

    • Tara says...

      Agreed!! My husband also became Haven Life member and it was SO easy which made it a lot less stressful as young people signing up for something so adulty. The rates are so low, but honestly I didn’t even look anywhere else after seeing the rates, how simple it was and all of the great reviews.

    • Natasha @ Haven Life says...

      Hi Tara – Happy to hear you and your husband had a great experience buying life insurance! Thank you for the kind feedback :)

  38. Lindsay says...

    This is a great reminder! I got married on the younger side (23) and my husbands was 28. We signed up for Life Insurance soon after we were married to lock in our low rates while we were young and healthy (that has changed since!), so don’t put it off and don’t rely on your employer’s life insurance alone.

  39. Chandra says...

    Can you share where the black/cream/brown pillow is from?

  40. Shayna says...

    I get how this could appear as a bit of an unusual set up/lead, but this conversation is a very real part of a very real relationship. This kind of deep love, ensuring your family is encircled with safeness beyond and outside of you, is romantic to me :)

    • Shayna says...

      Whoops! Lead in/lede…

  41. claire says...

    Also off-topic, but where were your kids? With two little ones, we never find time to talk about these important issues.

    • Elizabeth R says...

      They could be sleeping, right?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      they were in bed — although i have to say, they’ve been going to bed late these days, around 9!

  42. Denise says...

    Please, please, please get life insurance! Don’t put it off, don’t think you’re too young, too healthy, too poor, too anything. It made the difference between me and my children having a comfortable life or not when their dad died suddenly eight years ago. It’s already a horrific time, without having to figure out how you’re going to get by.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i’m so glad to hear you all had a safety net, denise, and i’m sorry for your loss xoxo

  43. Owl says...

    Very important topic to think about! Especially once you have kids. I just have to say: You and Alex are such a sweet couple. This sounds like an odd thing I am about to say, but I can really see the two of you growing old together. I mean that in the best possible way. Xo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      aw, thank you so much :)

  44. Karina says...

    Disappointed by this post. While I usually don’t mind sponsored posts I felt this was a really awkward setup. I expected a lighthearted post about date nights at home which in itself is enough for a post but then got railroaded into life insurance.
    It just felt awkward and unnecessary.
    Why not do a financial post about life insurance in general, openly and without a contrived setup.
    I hope you see this as constructive and honest criticism. I have been reading CoJ for over a decade but lately there have been a lot of sponsored posts.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for your note! i appreciate your feedback. xo

    • Tess says...

      I have to respectfully disagree with you, Karina- I appreciated that this post was geared towards normalizing these discussions and making them a part of what a couple discusses when planning for their future. I think there is a lot of stigma about planning for something nobody wants to think about (death of a loved one) and I appreciate the effort that went into making this conversation seem less scary.

    • Anna says...

      Totally agree with this. So many blogposts about buying this, having that. Please, consider the environment!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      anna, thank you for your points! i really appreciate your feedback. we have actually launched our climate change series and are cutting way down on posting about buying things/products/fashion. if you look at our posts from 2020, i hope you’ll see that shift. i’m happy to say that think we’re on the same page. thank you again, joanna xoxo

    • Lizzie says...

      I loved the set up. Made the post interesting.

    • Karina says...

      Ok, replying to myself here. I stand by what I said initially but I can also see your point, Tess.
      I should have just skipped this post and not commented. I forgot the old saying ‘if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything.’

    • Emma says...

      I actually agree with this comment a bit! I’m generally a fan of the sponsored posts, but it’s usually pretty obvious from the get-go that they’re sponsored posts. It was a little bit of a let down to get one paragraph in before realizing it was an advertisement. I’m not knocking sponsored content, its both entertaining and necessary. I guess this one just felt…sneaky, maybe? Anyway, still love this blog, still love you, and this post was still well done.

    • Taylor says...

      I totally agree. Well said.

    • Jade says...

      I felt a bit weird about it. I have no issue with sponsored posts but I prefer posts to be called what they are- about life insurance which I actually find interesting

    • Karina, I don’t think that the old saying applies to the point that you made. I am sure that the folks here appreciate your constructive criticism. It was an interesting and useful post, but not what I expected by the title. Maybe a slightly different title, such as “A Different Kind of Date Night, Wine and a Chat about Life Insurance” (something on that idea).
      However, it does say “Sponsored” at the top, which I think is fair. Bloggers need to make a living and there are a lot of contributors to this wonderful blog

    • Gemma says...

      I know everyone is complaining about this comment, but in some ways…. I have to agree. I totally understand that blogs need to get funded by sponsors, but lately I’ve also felt like sponsored posts are getting more cringy, on this blog and others I frequent. Instead of being sneaky about it, I think it’s better to have a more upfront way of warning the user with a witty title that includes something related to whatever sponsored topic is about to be discussed, or mention it very early on in the post, like within the first few sentences so the reader isn’t in for a surprise. I honestly don’t mind sponsored posts – I’ve found a lot of cool brands from this blog (like Nisolo 🙌🏼). I just don’t like feeling tricked into reading about a brand 😬. Besides this critique, I love this blog and the work you all do. I just wanted to offer some constructive criticism.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Thank you so much! We have a sponsored tag at the top of each post so you know it’s sponsored right away — but maybe the tag isn’t big enough. Going to experiment with it with our developer! Definitely want it to be very clear which posts are sponsored. Thank you so much xo

  45. amy says...

    off topic….but where did you get your shirt?? i’ve been looking for a basic white one.

  46. Mallory says...

    I love that you included the need to discuss how you would hope the proceeds would be used. I’m an estate planning lawyer that specializes in helping young families. This is always part of our conversation and I think the most overlooked portion of the conversation. There are the obvious debts and financial obligations to cover. But, so much of life is talking about ones hopes and dreams for ourselves and our families/friends. Whether it is a trip to Europe, running for office, giving back to a nonprofit, etc! Based on previous Cup of Jo posts, I purchased a Haven Life Policy myself! I have even recommended it to several of my clients.

    • Natasha @ Haven Life says...

      Mallory, thank you for being a customer and spreading the word!

  47. CC says...

    This is very good advice to people who have assets and children.
    I’d also add that many parents don’t have their estate planning in order, or even a declaration of guardian for minor children document executed.
    It’s important for spouses to have the discussion about who they would trust to handle their financial and medical matters if they are unable to do so because of an emergency, incapacity, etc. Don’t put it off!

    • M says...

      Ugh yes thanks for the reminder! We absolutely to take care of this on my end. I’m getting tripped up on the guardian aspect. This would make a good post on CoJ. This isn’t a financial blog, but something we all (unfortunately) need to think about.

    • Heidi says...

      I would LOVE a post on the complications of naming a guardian for minor kids. Right now, we have one set of grandparents named, but they are obviously getting older and we also do not agree on many important issues (they are conservative evangelical Republicans and we are…not any of those things), and I am not close with my siblings. I wonder about choosing a close friend and how best to have that conversation without it getting awkward. Of course we all hope this is never an issue, but also want to make sure we have done due diligence on this critical eventuality.