Von Tobel has noticed that a lot of childless women say, "I don't need life insurance because I have no dependents." If they died and didn't have insurance, though, their family would be responsible for paying off their car and education loans, mortgage, estate taxes and other debts. If you're a single mom and don't have it—and research from the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business and Genworth Financial shows that almost 70 percent of single parents with children living at home are in this situation—you risk your children not having their basic needs met, especially if there's no dad in the picture. Most experts say you should carry life insurance that's equal to six to 10 times your salary. If you have children, add more.
Saving for Retirement Is More Important Than You Think
It's easy to procrastinate when retirement seems so far off and other demands—like student loans for 20-somethings and mortgage payments for 30-somethings—seem more pressing. And while you definitely should not neglect those obligations, retirement should be just as high a priority. In a panel on women and retirement sponsored by Merrill Lynch earlier this year, moderator Charles Gibson noted that in 2007 the average amount a woman had in her 401k was about $56,000, while a man had $95,000. Another fact from the seminar: Finance expert David Bach, who's written 11 books on money, said the general rule for anyone (men, women, married or single) is to save at least 10 percent of your gross income for your twilight years. But because of women's longer life spans (and think about how expensive those additional seven to nine years can be with nursing homes or extra medical care), he recommends that they save 15 percent.
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