Tag: life insurance

  • 4 Steps You Can Take to Feel More in Control Now

    June 26, 2020

    Tags: ,

    COVID-19 has upended life as we know it for millions of people around the world. Many of us—including the young and healthy—are seriously contemplating our mortality for the first time.

    As the parent of a toddler, with a baby on the way, I’m definitely in this camp. It’s deeply unsettling to ponder how this virus has cut short so many lives in the span of just a few months.

    I can’t escape the reality that I’m not invincible and never really have been. Whether it’s an accident, a terminal illness or an infectious disease, untimely deaths happen and none of us are assured a long, healthy life.

    That thought paralyzed me before I decided to take a proactive approach to things. The good news is that there are concrete actions you can take today to protect the ones you love and get some peace of mind during these challenging times. Here are four definitely worth doing.

     

    1. Prepare your will. Not even half of Americans have a will, which is a legal document that spells out your wishes for where your assets go and who cares for any minor children in the event you pass away. If you die without a will, your individual state’s laws will decide where your money and belongings go and who takes care of your kids. As if that isn’t bad enough, dying without a will generally delays the process of resolving your estate and can subject it to additional taxes.

    Spare your loved ones from this experience with a will. Many people use a lawyer to draw up a will, especially if they have large or complicated estates. These days, many lawyers can help you via email, phone and teleconference, so don’t let social distancing stop you from getting a will.

    Another option is to create a will online. This is a fast and inexpensive option for anyone on a budget or with uncomplicated needs. A few popular resources include LegalZoomQuicken WillMaker & Trust and Do Your Own Will. (The final option is free!)

     

    2. Create an advanced directive. An advanced directive is another legal document you’ll want to lock down. It explains what kind of medical care you’d want in the event you can’t speak for yourself.

    The most common types of advanced directives are the living will and the durable power of attorney. A living will spells out your health care wishes in the event you’re terminally ill and unable to express your wishes or permanently unconscious. Meanwhile, a durable power of attorney is a document in which you name a trusted person to make health care decisions for you in the event you’re unable to do so.

    An attorney can help you create an advanced directive or you can create one for free online using a form from your state. (Check your state’s website for its individual form.) If you go the latter route, make sure to check your state’s laws about advanced directives. Some require you to sign them in the presence of a witness, while others require them to be notarized. (And yes, you can now get documents notarized online through services like notarize.com.)

     

    3. Look into life insurance. If anyone depends on your earnings or unpaid labor (I’m looking at you, stay-at-home parents and caregivers), it’s absolutely essential to have at least some life insurance in place. From funeral costs to the mortgage to everyday living expenses, life insurance steps in to smooth things over financially if you aren’t in the picture.

    I know the last thing many of us want right now is an added expense. But this is one well worth having—and it’s probably a lot less than you think. A healthy 30-year-old can get a $250,000 20-year level term policy for just $13 a month.

    Any amount of life insurance is better than none at all, so contact an agent today to get a policy that works for your life and budget. (Like lawyers and notaries, many of them can work with you over phone, email and teleconferencing tools!)

     

    4. Consider disability insurance. Illnesses and injuries curtail many people’s careers and lifetime earnings unexpectedly every year. With respect to the current crisis, those hospitalized for COVID-19 often have long roads to recovery as well as lifelong complications. Whether the health challenge leads to short-term or permanent consequences, it’s hard to stay on top of bills when your paycheck stops.

    This is where disability insurance can be a lifesaver. This “insurance for your paycheck” protects your income until you’re able to return to work. Like life insurance, there are policies for every situation and budget. Learn about the three main ways to get disability coverage.

     

    I’m the first to admit that contemplating these realities isn’t a fun way to pass the time. But something far worse is knowing that the people I love the most would be in a bind if the unthinkable happened. Plus, tackling these to-do’s gave me a much-needed sense of control during these unpredictable times—I hope it does the same for you, too.

    By Amanda Austin

    Originally posted on lifehappens.org

  • Life Insurance is experiencing a death in understanding, comprehension and utilization | Jordan Shields, Partner

    May 19, 2020

    Tags:

    According to AIG, seven in ten Americans say life insurance will protect their ability to live a long, financially secure life, but 51% of the respondents either do not have life insurance or are unsure if they do   Particular findings

    • 28% don’t know the value of their own workplace policy and 25% don’t know the value of their own individual policy – and 42% of spouses don’t know the value of an employee workplace policy and a similar 25% don’t know the value of their partner’s policy
    • A majority don’t understand how term life insurance works
    • Life insurance is not thought of to address illness concern, with 88% of respondents not knowing the cost implications of a private nursing home room, with 75% not knowing that permanent life insurance may be used to cover such costs

  • A Financial Lifeline You May Have Forgotten About

    April 22, 2020

    Tags: ,

    So much has happened in the last few days and weeks that I feel like months have passed. Social distancing is now on everyone’s lips. And the goal is noble: flatten “the curve” and prevent more people from getting sick from the Coronavirus.

    The impact, though, is being felt in so many ways by so many people: Schools are closed and parents need to stay home to take care of their children and can’t work. Restaurants, bars and local retail shops are shuttered, and all the people who own those businesses or work there or supply them are in financial peril as well. Many, many people are not only worried about getting sick, but worried about whether they will have a job to return to and if they can pay their bills in the meantime.

    But I want to shine a light on a financial lifeline—a solution—you may have forgotten about. Permanent life insurance. Many people buy it for its lifetime protection. It’s often a “set it and forget it” solution. But the beauty of this financial tool is what it does while you aren’t paying attention to it: It accumulates cash value. Money—money that you can tap now to help tide you through this financial uncertainty.*

    Mike Jaap owns a successful recycling business. When the last major financial crisis hit, he thought his business was doomed. Fortunately, his financial advisor had helped him put a permanent life insurance policy in place, which he was able to tap to see him through that tough financial time and keep his staff employed. In essence, his life insurance saved his business. You can watch his story here.

    If you currently have a permanent life insurance policy (not a term policy—click here to understand the difference), contact your insurance agent or financial advisor and talk through how you can tap into that money. You can often access it in days. Or you can contact your insurance company directly as well.

    You may not remember the conversation you had with your insurance agent or advisor when they talked you through the benefits purchasing permanent life insurance. But I can tell you with 100% certainty that one of the reasons they wanted you to have this coverage is so that right now, in a time like this, you could access that money—that cash value—to be OK financially. They did their job well then, and you can enjoy the benefit of your good financial decision now.

    [*Keep in mind that if you withdraw or borrowing funds from your policy, it will reduce its cash value and death benefit if not repaid.]

    By Faisa Stafford

    Originally posted on lifehappens.org

  • No Gym Required for These (Financial) Fitness Tips

    February 20, 2020

    Tags: ,

    If you’re like me, your social-media feeds are jammed with headlines about getting “healthy and fit” in the new year. Of course, they’re referring to diet and exercise and common resolutions to drop pounds and work out more often.

    But it’s just as important to be concerned about your financial fitness—where you can also drop some baggage and get some strength training without going near a gym. (In fact, if you have a subscription to a gym membership but aren’t going, that’s one financial fix you can make right now.)

    Here are some tips to consider for any age:

    IN YOUR 20s:

    Workout: Have a portion of each paycheck deposited into your savings account, or take advantage of bank programs that “round up” or have other automated savings features. Trust me, you won’t feel this burn.

    Diet: Start making coffee at home or at the office instead of going for expensive lattes. Fewer calories, and more money in your pocket. This is a good time to consider getting life insurance (whether you are single or attached) as it is less expensive the younger and healthier you are.

    You also need to consider disability insurance, which pays you a portion of your salary if you are sick or injured and unable to work—because who would pay your bills if you couldn’t? Your work may offer this as an employee benefit, so check with your HR department to find out if you have it and what it covers (short-term, long-term disability, etc.)

    IN YOUR 30s:

    Workout: You probably have a retirement program at work or some other preliminary retirement planning in place. If you don’t, start.

    If you do, why not increase the amount you divert into retirement by a percentage point each year—equaling your company match percentage, if they have it, is a good target.

    Diet: You may not have gotten life insurance beyond what you have through your workplace, but now is the time to consider an individual policy that you own. Remember, when you leave a job, you typically lose that life insurance offered through your workplace. And, given that life insurance through the workplace usually equals one or two times you salary (or a set amount like $50,000), it’s no longer going to cut it if you have a growing family.

    If money’s tight, as it often is with a growing family, lingering student loans, and perhaps a mortgage, a term life insurance policy can protect you through the lean years. But don’t overlook the long-term benefits of a permanent life insurance policy. The cash value can be tapped later for needs that may arise. Plus, there’s nothing that says you can’t have a combination of both.

    Also, consider an individual disability insurance policy that you personally own and follows you throughout your career. If you’re relying on work coverage, know that it goes away when you leave that job, and often these policies have bare-bones coverage.

    IN YOUR 40s:

    Workout: Do you have a financial professional helping you out? Navigating the ins and outs of a growing investment portfolio can be tricky as you move through your career and want to use traditional or Roth IRAs, and the tax benefits of various planning strategies. This may also be the time that you can add a permanent life insurance policy, if you haven’t before, which allows you to accrue cash value and obtain benefits that extend later into your life.

    Diet: If you’re still carrying extra debt at this point, it’s time to get that paid down. Tackle higher-interest debts first, and celebrate each paid-off card or loan with … a bigger payment to the next one on the list.

    IN YOUR 50s:

    Workout: Max out your retirement contributions, especially once your kids are through college. This is also a good time to start researching things like long-term care insurance, and to make sure that your investment portfolio is built in such a way that you can reach your goals.

    Diet: It may be very tempting to take on a new debt now: some folks want a vacation home, or the time may be right to start a business. But beware of any super-risky moves that can spell catastrophe with limited time to recoup losses, or that leave you with unexpected bills.

    IN YOUR 60s and beyond:

    Workout: Evaluate your Social Security situation against your retirement portfolio to determine the best time to retire. Understand the “living benefits” of your life insurance policies and how annuities may help you create a retirement income stream that you can’t outlive.

    Diet: Is it time to downsize? It can be hard letting go of “stuff” so that you can go from that four-bedroom house to a two-bedroom condo. But the financial benefit of doing so may surprise you—plus there is less to clean and take care of (not to mention the ease of jetting off at a moment’s notice with no need for someone to look after your home.)

    A lot depends on factors like your relationship status, your career path, whether you have kids or not, and what your long-term goals are, and these can change at any time in our lives.

    The long and short of it is that just as when it comes to “health and fitness” goals, you’d get an annual physical. Need to know if you’re financially fit? Talk to an insurance professional or financial advisor today.

    By Helen Mosher

    Originally posted on lifehappens.org

  • 4 Steps You Can Take to Feel More in Control Now

    June 26, 2020

    Tags: ,

    COVID-19 has upended life as we know it for millions of people around the world. Many of us—including the young and healthy—are seriously contemplating our mortality for the first time.

    As the parent of a toddler, with a baby on the way, I’m definitely in this camp. It’s deeply unsettling to ponder how this virus has cut short so many lives in the span of just a few months.

    I can’t escape the reality that I’m not invincible and never really have been. Whether it’s an accident, a terminal illness or an infectious disease, untimely deaths happen and none of us are assured a long, healthy life.

    That thought paralyzed me before I decided to take a proactive approach to things. The good news is that there are concrete actions you can take today to protect the ones you love and get some peace of mind during these challenging times. Here are four definitely worth doing.

     

    1. Prepare your will. Not even half of Americans have a will, which is a legal document that spells out your wishes for where your assets go and who cares for any minor children in the event you pass away. If you die without a will, your individual state’s laws will decide where your money and belongings go and who takes care of your kids. As if that isn’t bad enough, dying without a will generally delays the process of resolving your estate and can subject it to additional taxes.

    Spare your loved ones from this experience with a will. Many people use a lawyer to draw up a will, especially if they have large or complicated estates. These days, many lawyers can help you via email, phone and teleconference, so don’t let social distancing stop you from getting a will.

    Another option is to create a will online. This is a fast and inexpensive option for anyone on a budget or with uncomplicated needs. A few popular resources include LegalZoomQuicken WillMaker & Trust and Do Your Own Will. (The final option is free!)

     

    2. Create an advanced directive. An advanced directive is another legal document you’ll want to lock down. It explains what kind of medical care you’d want in the event you can’t speak for yourself.

    The most common types of advanced directives are the living will and the durable power of attorney. A living will spells out your health care wishes in the event you’re terminally ill and unable to express your wishes or permanently unconscious. Meanwhile, a durable power of attorney is a document in which you name a trusted person to make health care decisions for you in the event you’re unable to do so.

    An attorney can help you create an advanced directive or you can create one for free online using a form from your state. (Check your state’s website for its individual form.) If you go the latter route, make sure to check your state’s laws about advanced directives. Some require you to sign them in the presence of a witness, while others require them to be notarized. (And yes, you can now get documents notarized online through services like notarize.com.)

     

    3. Look into life insurance. If anyone depends on your earnings or unpaid labor (I’m looking at you, stay-at-home parents and caregivers), it’s absolutely essential to have at least some life insurance in place. From funeral costs to the mortgage to everyday living expenses, life insurance steps in to smooth things over financially if you aren’t in the picture.

    I know the last thing many of us want right now is an added expense. But this is one well worth having—and it’s probably a lot less than you think. A healthy 30-year-old can get a $250,000 20-year level term policy for just $13 a month.

    Any amount of life insurance is better than none at all, so contact an agent today to get a policy that works for your life and budget. (Like lawyers and notaries, many of them can work with you over phone, email and teleconferencing tools!)

     

    4. Consider disability insurance. Illnesses and injuries curtail many people’s careers and lifetime earnings unexpectedly every year. With respect to the current crisis, those hospitalized for COVID-19 often have long roads to recovery as well as lifelong complications. Whether the health challenge leads to short-term or permanent consequences, it’s hard to stay on top of bills when your paycheck stops.

    This is where disability insurance can be a lifesaver. This “insurance for your paycheck” protects your income until you’re able to return to work. Like life insurance, there are policies for every situation and budget. Learn about the three main ways to get disability coverage.

     

    I’m the first to admit that contemplating these realities isn’t a fun way to pass the time. But something far worse is knowing that the people I love the most would be in a bind if the unthinkable happened. Plus, tackling these to-do’s gave me a much-needed sense of control during these unpredictable times—I hope it does the same for you, too.

    By Amanda Austin

    Originally posted on lifehappens.org

  • Life Insurance is experiencing a death in understanding, comprehension and utilization | Jordan Shields, Partner

    May 19, 2020

    Tags:

    According to AIG, seven in ten Americans say life insurance will protect their ability to live a long, financially secure life, but 51% of the respondents either do not have life insurance or are unsure if they do   Particular findings

    • 28% don’t know the value of their own workplace policy and 25% don’t know the value of their own individual policy – and 42% of spouses don’t know the value of an employee workplace policy and a similar 25% don’t know the value of their partner’s policy
    • A majority don’t understand how term life insurance works
    • Life insurance is not thought of to address illness concern, with 88% of respondents not knowing the cost implications of a private nursing home room, with 75% not knowing that permanent life insurance may be used to cover such costs

  • A Financial Lifeline You May Have Forgotten About

    April 22, 2020

    Tags: ,

    So much has happened in the last few days and weeks that I feel like months have passed. Social distancing is now on everyone’s lips. And the goal is noble: flatten “the curve” and prevent more people from getting sick from the Coronavirus.

    The impact, though, is being felt in so many ways by so many people: Schools are closed and parents need to stay home to take care of their children and can’t work. Restaurants, bars and local retail shops are shuttered, and all the people who own those businesses or work there or supply them are in financial peril as well. Many, many people are not only worried about getting sick, but worried about whether they will have a job to return to and if they can pay their bills in the meantime.

    But I want to shine a light on a financial lifeline—a solution—you may have forgotten about. Permanent life insurance. Many people buy it for its lifetime protection. It’s often a “set it and forget it” solution. But the beauty of this financial tool is what it does while you aren’t paying attention to it: It accumulates cash value. Money—money that you can tap now to help tide you through this financial uncertainty.*

    Mike Jaap owns a successful recycling business. When the last major financial crisis hit, he thought his business was doomed. Fortunately, his financial advisor had helped him put a permanent life insurance policy in place, which he was able to tap to see him through that tough financial time and keep his staff employed. In essence, his life insurance saved his business. You can watch his story here.

    If you currently have a permanent life insurance policy (not a term policy—click here to understand the difference), contact your insurance agent or financial advisor and talk through how you can tap into that money. You can often access it in days. Or you can contact your insurance company directly as well.

    You may not remember the conversation you had with your insurance agent or advisor when they talked you through the benefits purchasing permanent life insurance. But I can tell you with 100% certainty that one of the reasons they wanted you to have this coverage is so that right now, in a time like this, you could access that money—that cash value—to be OK financially. They did their job well then, and you can enjoy the benefit of your good financial decision now.

    [*Keep in mind that if you withdraw or borrowing funds from your policy, it will reduce its cash value and death benefit if not repaid.]

    By Faisa Stafford

    Originally posted on lifehappens.org

  • No Gym Required for These (Financial) Fitness Tips

    February 20, 2020

    Tags: ,

    If you’re like me, your social-media feeds are jammed with headlines about getting “healthy and fit” in the new year. Of course, they’re referring to diet and exercise and common resolutions to drop pounds and work out more often.

    But it’s just as important to be concerned about your financial fitness—where you can also drop some baggage and get some strength training without going near a gym. (In fact, if you have a subscription to a gym membership but aren’t going, that’s one financial fix you can make right now.)

    Here are some tips to consider for any age:

    IN YOUR 20s:

    Workout: Have a portion of each paycheck deposited into your savings account, or take advantage of bank programs that “round up” or have other automated savings features. Trust me, you won’t feel this burn.

    Diet: Start making coffee at home or at the office instead of going for expensive lattes. Fewer calories, and more money in your pocket. This is a good time to consider getting life insurance (whether you are single or attached) as it is less expensive the younger and healthier you are.

    You also need to consider disability insurance, which pays you a portion of your salary if you are sick or injured and unable to work—because who would pay your bills if you couldn’t? Your work may offer this as an employee benefit, so check with your HR department to find out if you have it and what it covers (short-term, long-term disability, etc.)

    IN YOUR 30s:

    Workout: You probably have a retirement program at work or some other preliminary retirement planning in place. If you don’t, start.

    If you do, why not increase the amount you divert into retirement by a percentage point each year—equaling your company match percentage, if they have it, is a good target.

    Diet: You may not have gotten life insurance beyond what you have through your workplace, but now is the time to consider an individual policy that you own. Remember, when you leave a job, you typically lose that life insurance offered through your workplace. And, given that life insurance through the workplace usually equals one or two times you salary (or a set amount like $50,000), it’s no longer going to cut it if you have a growing family.

    If money’s tight, as it often is with a growing family, lingering student loans, and perhaps a mortgage, a term life insurance policy can protect you through the lean years. But don’t overlook the long-term benefits of a permanent life insurance policy. The cash value can be tapped later for needs that may arise. Plus, there’s nothing that says you can’t have a combination of both.

    Also, consider an individual disability insurance policy that you personally own and follows you throughout your career. If you’re relying on work coverage, know that it goes away when you leave that job, and often these policies have bare-bones coverage.

    IN YOUR 40s:

    Workout: Do you have a financial professional helping you out? Navigating the ins and outs of a growing investment portfolio can be tricky as you move through your career and want to use traditional or Roth IRAs, and the tax benefits of various planning strategies. This may also be the time that you can add a permanent life insurance policy, if you haven’t before, which allows you to accrue cash value and obtain benefits that extend later into your life.

    Diet: If you’re still carrying extra debt at this point, it’s time to get that paid down. Tackle higher-interest debts first, and celebrate each paid-off card or loan with … a bigger payment to the next one on the list.

    IN YOUR 50s:

    Workout: Max out your retirement contributions, especially once your kids are through college. This is also a good time to start researching things like long-term care insurance, and to make sure that your investment portfolio is built in such a way that you can reach your goals.

    Diet: It may be very tempting to take on a new debt now: some folks want a vacation home, or the time may be right to start a business. But beware of any super-risky moves that can spell catastrophe with limited time to recoup losses, or that leave you with unexpected bills.

    IN YOUR 60s and beyond:

    Workout: Evaluate your Social Security situation against your retirement portfolio to determine the best time to retire. Understand the “living benefits” of your life insurance policies and how annuities may help you create a retirement income stream that you can’t outlive.

    Diet: Is it time to downsize? It can be hard letting go of “stuff” so that you can go from that four-bedroom house to a two-bedroom condo. But the financial benefit of doing so may surprise you—plus there is less to clean and take care of (not to mention the ease of jetting off at a moment’s notice with no need for someone to look after your home.)

    A lot depends on factors like your relationship status, your career path, whether you have kids or not, and what your long-term goals are, and these can change at any time in our lives.

    The long and short of it is that just as when it comes to “health and fitness” goals, you’d get an annual physical. Need to know if you’re financially fit? Talk to an insurance professional or financial advisor today.

    By Helen Mosher

    Originally posted on lifehappens.org

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