Tara Crooks
Limitless Contributor

My husband is deployed. The mere mention of the word life insurance makes my stomach turn. I get a ball of stress right in my gut. So you can imagine when USAA told me "its life insurance month" how thrilled I was to get to tackle that topic. Life insurance is a necessary but very evil topic in my brain. I have to go downstairs and dig out my rose colored glasses and attack the topic with all of the strength I can muster. And even then, I think I can only do so because I'm a planner and plan A - everyone lives happily ever after - just won't cut it. I know PVT Murphy. Do you?


Even my email to USAA Certified Financial Planner, JJ Montanaro was cold, dry, and ewww life insurance related. He recognized with a quick response of "oh I get it; you just don't want to talk to me." Trust me, JJ, it's not you. It's the topic.


I know I'm not alone in this thinking. Many military spouses feel the same way when it comes to tackling the subject and unfortunately it is a common question when it comes to deployment time for us thus, making it even more emotional.


I'm a bottom line up front (BLUF) kind of girl so I asked JJ to tell me what the top three things that I need to know about life insurance are so we can get this off my to-do list. Because the BLUF is that this has to be done, it's important, and it's Plan B.


#1 - How much does you need? Usually one spouse or another tends to run the financial affairs for the family. But whether or not you're the CFO this is an area where you, as a spouse, need to be fully involved and engaged in determining if your plan is in place and adequate. The hard truth is that you, and not your spouse, have to live with the results of that plan. And the last thing you want is to compound a difficult situation by being in financial trouble. Take 15 minutes with your spouse use a calculator like the one on the VA website or usaa.com and determine what you need to be covered.


#2 - Even if you don't work, you need some too. Many spouses that don't work outside of the home don't have enough life insurance. How much would your family's life change if you weren't around? Pretty dramatically, and a lot of those changes would have financial implications. Whether it's transportation, daycare, cooking, cleaning or a surviving spouse having to change their career or commitment to that career in order to care for the family. Spouses need to take a close look at their own insurance.


#3 - Life insurance may not be as expensive as you think. You or your spouse could need hundreds of thousands of dollars of coverage and those big numbers can be intimidating. Don't let them intimidate you. The reality is that insurance comes in two basic flavors: permanent (whole life, universal, variable) and term. Term insurance is ideal to cover temporary requirements. Most everyone is familiar with SGLI-- that's $400,000 of group term life insurance for $26 per month. Obviously rates vary depending on your age and health situation, but those types of numbers are not unusual even in the realm of commercially available term insurance.