The amount of life insurance you need is related to how many dependents you have, your overall debt (including mortgages and loans), how much money your loved ones would need after you’re gone and the length of time they would need financial support. Multiplying your annual salary by the number of years your family would need to replace your lost income — and accounting for additional annual expenses — could be a good starting place. Your stage of life and current and future financial needs (like college tuition) will influence the amount of coverage as well. For example, a married couple in their 30s with three young children may need substantially more life insurance than empty nesters with adult children.