In this post we help youReduce the risk of your family getting an incomplete in homeschooling
What if you're the homeschool instructor in your family and you die unexpectedly in the next 10 to 15 years?
The reason I ask such a gloomy question is because of one simple fact, which is that even the most frugal homeschool strategy depends on an asset that can be expensive to replace: you.
If you're like my sister, who homeschools her two sons on a single-income budget that leaves little room for worst case scenarios, you might have a contingency plan like paying for online classes. Or you might live in a state where someone other than a parent or legal guardian can take over the instructor duties, in which case you might be able to take advantage of a homeschool co-op, or look to your community of friends and family for support.
For many, though, family finances dictate the default fallback plan will be public school. And that's where even a cheap bare-bones life insurance policy can come in handy.
The other half of the homeschooling budget
When it comes to managing homeschooling expenses, you can find a lot of smart tips on how to save on curriculum supplies, miscellaneous costs, and extracurricular activities (like, oh, snowboarding lessons). And you can plan ahead for testing or certification fees.
But if your family has to hire an outside tutor, expenses can quickly grow unmanageable.
Surveys from indeed.com and salarylist.com suggest a private tutor's annual salary can range from $23,000 to $57,000. That breaks down to an average of about $20/hour—although professional tutors argue that the base hourly rate in 2014 is easily twice that.
Another option is private school, which the U.S. Department of Education says costs an average of $7,000-$13,000 a year.
Whatever route you take, it's easy to see that your family might need to spend thousands of dollars per year to maintain homeschooling in your absence.
Buying life insurance cheaply
Stay-at-home parents should always be covered with a life insurance policy regardless of whether they homeschool, because they tend to absorb a lot of the annual cost of running a household (just imagine how much your spouse would need to spend in childcare, home maintenance, and household accounting if you didn't do it). However, it's especially valuable if you think your family might have to deal with any of the costs mentioned above.
Fortunately, you can buy a decent term policy cheaply. If you're under 35 you can probably find a modest policy for less than $30 a month, especially if you're only looking to cover yourself until your children reach college age. Use our free Life Insurance Quote tool to find out exactly how much insurance you need to cover everything in your absence, and to compare premiums from multiple insurers.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you're a stay-at-home parent trying to buy life insurance on your own, you'll have a hard time finding a policy for more than $50,000. (If your spouse has a life insurance policy through an employer, things are a little easier, because you can buy a policy with a benefit equal to his or hers.) It's still worth buying, because even if you don't insure yourself against all the other household expenses, a small policy that pays $50,000 can maintain several years of homeschooling.
Our advice is to stick with the basics: buy a term policy (which lasts a certain number of years and then expires) instead of a whole or permanent policy. Don't pay extra for things like accidental death, child coverage, or a "waiver of premium" rider. Keep the policy as basic as possible, because the cheaper the premium, the more actual coverage you can buy.
It may not seem so at first glance, but as you can see, life insurance can be a strategic tool to protect the plans you've made for your family. Taking care of it now will free you to focus on what really matters—your children's education—without worrying about what the future will bring.
Oh, and as a bonus, you can use this as a teachable moment for personal financial planning!
Photo credit: Jimmie