Most Americans understand that owning life insurance is key to not only replacing the income of a deceased breadwinner, but also protecting a family’s wealth.

Lincoln Financial Group unveils this encouraging finding in its 2015 annual M.O.O.D. (Measuring Optimism, Outlook, and Direction) of America study. The report is based on a national survey conducted by Whitman Insight Strategies among 2,273 adults 18 and older across the U.S.

The study finds that nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of Americans believe that life insurance coverage is an important step toward protecting wealth. The report also indicates life insurance owners are significantly more likely than non-owners (75 percent vs. 64 percent) to feel “in control,” a mindset that combines how comfortable respondents feel about their overall life, personal or family life, health and financial future.

Despite these sentiments of confidence and empowerment, the survey reveals that only 49 percent of Americans actually own life insurance. Of those that do own it, 51 percent purchased it through an agent or advisor, 32 percent through their work, and 17 percent got it through both.

A separate study recently conducted by Lincoln, “The American Consumer study,” indicates that ownership levels may be due to the way consumers prioritize their spending, and their perceptions around the benefits of life insurance.

The American Consumer study found consumers spend only one percent of their monthly household budget on life insurance while spending nearly 3.5 times as much on entertainment and restaurants. Also, only 35 percent of consumers believe life insurance provides immediate benefits.

The M.O.O.D. of America survey additionally contains these findings:

  • Nearly one-third of Americans believe they should be putting more money into life insurance.

  • This sentiment is notably evident among younger generations: 41 percent of millennials (ages 18-35) and 37 percent of Gen Xers (36-48) think they should be putting more money towards life insurance.

  • More than 6 in 10 Americans (63 percent) believe life insurance delivers peace of mind and provides long-term or future benefits.

“Clearly Americans see the importance of life insurance, yet it’s often viewed as a longer term safety net, and therefore not always considered on the list of day-to-day financial priorities,” said Mark Konen, president, Insurance and Retirement Solutions, Lincoln Financial Group. “But the reality is, life insurance is an important component of a sound financial plan as it can help people achieve specific financial goals for today or tomorrow.”

See the next page for an infographic highlighting findings from the M.O.O.D. of America study.