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What if my spouse is financially dependent on me?

By the time you retire, if you've been a diligent saver, you will have built up sizable balances in your 401(k), IRAs and other investments. Add that to Social Security payouts and any old-fashioned pension you may have - and once you say sayonara to your employer, your spouse will probably be just fine without insurance. Your other income streams should be enough to support him or her.

Now, if you're getting a late start in saving, or you've remarried or had children later in life, you may need life insurance for longer.