Is it ever too late for life insurance?

senior couple on bench

Many people think life insurance is only for the young. They believe that life insurance is a tool best used by newlyweds with mortgages, parents of young children, and spouses who are both employed. 

But what does that mean for seniors? Does that mean retirees do not need life insurance? The answer to that question depends on your family’s needs and your financial picture upon retirement.

Your family’s needs

One of the biggest concerns among retirees is whether or not they have enough money set aside to last their entire lives. 

Since life expectancies are predictable, but an actual lifespan is not, retirees are left with an uncertain bet that the amount of money they saved for retirement is enough. 

Sometimes, this bet is funded with a straight life annuity or pension that pays out like a straight life annuity. These instruments could affect the surviving spouse’s income if the annuitant or pensioner dies and there is no death benefit. 

When a surviving spouse stands to lose a portion of their income after the death of their spouse, then a life insurance policy can provide a much-needed source of continuing income to replace the lost amount.

Another consideration is whether or not you would like to use death benefit proceeds to create a trust for your grandchildren. Leaving a trust account for their college or adult years can help take some of the financial burdens from your children and your grandchildren as it may allow them to avoid student loans and other debt. 

Funding the trust with life insurance proceeds takes the funding burden off of your spouse and creates a fixed amount for the trust.

Financial Planning

Life insurance policies are great tools for making charitable donations after you pass on. 

If your spouse does not require the death benefit proceeds, you can set them up either in a charitable trust or by simply naming a charity as your beneficiary. These actions allow your surviving spouse to see all the good your donation will do without impacting their financial picture. Depending on how well-planned your retirement has been, you may accumulate some debt in your later years that can be paid off with your policy death benefit.


Of courses, rates increase with age, but life insurance is still available. A permanent whole life policy is best when older because you have then locked in the rate for your rest of your life. It is also more difficult to get approved if your health history is not ideal. After age 80, these circumstances make getting life insurance difficult, but not impossible.