Putting a priority on savings goals

Question: I recently bought a house for the first time. I am in my early 50s and have a son in high school. I don't have life insurance. I have been receiving lots of advertisements in the mail telling me I should have life insurance or mortgage insurance. Should I buy term life insurance to protect my son? It is very hard for me to save money, and I'd rather save what I can for future college bills and my retirement. Thank you, Erika, Salisbury, CT

Answer: There are different seasons for savings. At the moment, I would buy a term life insurance until your son is through college. He'll then be on his own as a young adult. The term life policy is his safety net in case something tragic happens to you. You can always let the policy lapse once he has graduated.

I admire your desire to save for his college education. As parents, we want our college-aged children to borrow as little as possible to go to college. However, it's more important for you to build up your emergency savings (I imagine it's drained after buying a house) and, of course, continuing to save for your retirement. He'll be able to pay off his student loans with his future earnings, and if your circumstances allow, you could always help him out at that time.

 

About the author

Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.

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