If you ask any married couple even ones who are struggling what the most important quality is in a successful marriage, many will say communication. Being open with your spouse about finances, goals, dreams, etc., is absolutely essential to making a marriage last. Why, then, do three-quarters of married couples not discuss life insurance?

In a recent State Farm study which explored couples resistance to life insurance, 62 percent of respondents said that life insurance was more important to them now than ever. Yet 74 percent say they never or rarely discuss life insurance. Their reasons for avoiding the topic include economic pressure and reluctance to want to discuss the possibility of their spouse dying.

Ive definitely witnessed this lack of communication about insurance needs and coverage first-hand. Earlier this year, I wrote a story about Gen Ys perceptions of the insurance industry. One of my interviewees talked all about his coverage, and seemed to know everything they had in their plan until I talked to his wife. I asked his wife why they didnt have a better retirement plan or, really, any retirement plan especially since I knew they were going to have kids one day. She laughed, said her husband didnt know what he was talking about, and of course they had a retirement plan why wouldnt they?

Its true that talking about money to friends and strangers, and even your parents, can be uncomfortable. But of two spouses cant discuss money together, or with their trusted financial advisor, who can they discuss it with?

Here are some tips to help your clients open up about discussing their financial needs with each other:

  • Suggest that they each make a separate list of their financial goals, then share the list together. Writing it down in advance will help keep them from backing down if they see their wants dont match, and it will keep them from putting it off if they dont have time to discuss if they put the list somewhere they can see it, its hard to ignore what they see every day.
  • Share stories of real life couples both those who were saved by life insurance and those who didnt have it. This will show them that, even though its difficult to talk about, an untimely death is a very real possibility.
  • Tell your clients to put their fears about financial pressures aside its OK to talk to you (and each other) about the policies theyd like to purchase in the future, even if they dont think they can afford them right now. And, who knows? You might be able to get them a great deal on the policy theyre looking for right now.