The average financial recovery
time for a widow or widower is four to five years after the death of a spouse
according to a recent study. The
MetLife study, entitled “Financial Impact of Premature Death,” examines the
financial impact associated with the premature death of a spouse. Results of the survey indicate most
Americans remain underinsured and are often required to make significant life
changes when confronted with a spouse’s death.
During early August 2003,
approximately 1,000 widows and widowers were surveyed to compile the data for
the study. Each of the participants had
lost a spouse within a period of 6 months to 5 years prior to the survey. The
deceased spouse was between 30 to 55 years old at the time of death.
Here are some of the survey’s
-More than one-third of the
surviving spouses received no life insurance proceeds.
-Two-thirds of the spouses
reported the death of a spouse had a “major” or “devastating” financial impact
on their lives.
-Two-thirds of spouses that
received insurance proceeds, received less than 3 times the annual income of
the deceased spouse. (Typical
recommendations call for insurance replacement equal to 7 to 10 times the
deceased spouse’s annual income)
-One-fourth of beneficiaries
received benefits that replaced less than one year of the deceased’s annual
-Less than half of spouses who
received insurance proceeds felt the coverage was “adequate.”
-Almost half of surviving
spouses stated their financial situation was “somewhat worse” or “much worse”
after 3-5 years had passed since their spouse’s death.
-Nearly half of deceased spouses
lacked a will.
A summary of the study can be
found online at www.metlife.com at the
MetLife Research Center.