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BabyExamplePictureCalling all Parents and Grandparents!!

Sometimes life insurance seems like a losing proposition. You pay and pay premiums and can’t envision the time when you will need it or even worse, when your family gets the money upon your death.  While traditional products were designed for death benefits protection, today’s products are much more flexible, allowing people to use them for cash value accumulation, disability protection, long term care protection, and should none of those needs become a reality…death benefit protection.

The term we insurance people use to describe these flexible uses of a life insurance policy is  “living benefits” – meaning values created by a life insurance policy can be used during the insured’s life, not just upon their death..  These living benefits become more and more lucrative the earlier you start.

Starting early in a child’s life can allow you to provide benefits to them throughout their life. This can be through cash distributions for college funding or acceleration of death benefit for disability and long term care needs..  We’ve been structuring policies that grow to as much as $1 million of available benefit when the child reaches their 80s (i.e. when they’re most likely to need that coverage for long term care needs) for as little as $25 a month. We don’t start at a million because that would be silly, but we design the policy so it’s gets there when the time is right.

These hybrid products can allow you to use one contract for multiple needs. Cash accumulated inside the policy can be withdrawn on a tax free basis, provided the actual policy stays in force. Much more flexible than a 529 plan, these withdrawals can be used for college funding, starting a business, a home purchase and basically anything the child may need in the future. The living benefit riders allow the insured to draw down on the coverage amount for disability or long term care funding. It’s important that I note here that different carriers have different protections associated with these living benefit riders, so understanding what any given carrier is offering is essential.

These policies can be taken out up to age 90, but like we said, they perform beautifully when started in the toddler years. It’s really not about protecting those years as much as it is providing the long term living benefits we’ve discussed. Many parents and grandparents will also take out like coverage for themselves in order to protect their children and grandchildren from the financial exposure of their own long term care needs later in life. If you’ve shopped for long term care coverage you know it’s a use it or lose it proposition. When you use a hybrid life insurance product with living benefits it’s not. You use the benefit during your lifetime or it passes to your beneficiaries when you’re no longer here.

If you’d like to discuss your personal situation we’d love to hear from you. And PS…these types of policies don’t pull up on our quoting system, so don’t let that scare you.

 




 

September if Life Insurance Awareness Month, hosted by The Life Foundation and promoted by agents and carriers across the nation. It’s a great time to take advantage of many educational promotions geared towards learning more about how to get the right kind and right amount of life insurance.

bigstock-Child_with_many_question_marks-40193056Like most Americans, you probably have insurance on your home, your automobile, and even on your iPhone. This is great, as should something happen to any one of these high-priced commodities, you’ll be taken care of. Yet alarmingly, when it comes to insuring one’s life, Americans tend to be far more lax in their approach to ensuring that their loved ones are taken care of should the unthinkable happen.

Perhaps that’s just the reason that we are so collectively underinsured: Who wants to think about their own mortality? While it may not be a pleasant thought, you know it’s an inevitability. And while it’s not inevitable that your house may burn or you’ll be in a car accident, the time comes for us us all — no matter how prepared we may be.

And the statistics support the fact that we are not nearly as prepared as we should be. According to LIMRA (the Life Insurance Marketing and Research Association), a full third of Americans have no life insurance at all, and of those that do, their coverage amounts to less than four times their yearly income. However, according to the LIFE Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting consumers to make smart insurance decisions to protect their families’ financial futures, most insurance professionals agree that you need at least 10 times your annual income to ensure your family is comfortable now and into the future.

So, before you decide that a $250,000 life insurance policy should be plenty of money for your family to survive on should you die unexpectedly, the LIFE Foundation encourages you take the following into consideration when determining if you have enough coverage:

Your family’s immediate needs, such as:
● Health care costs
● Funeral and burial costs
● The need to take time off from work or school to grieve
Everyday or ongoing needs, such as:
● The mortgage or rent
● Car payments
● Traditional cost-of-living expenses such as heating and cooling, cable, Internet and food
● Paying off credit card or other debts
Future needs, such as:
● Your childrens’ college education
● Your surviving spouse’s retirement needs
● Paying for weddings or celebrating the birth of grandchildren
Your family’s existing resources, such as:
● Your collective savings
● A spouse’s income
● Any life insurance you might already own
● Investments

After adding up all of these costs and available resources, if there is a gap between the sum at which you arrive and what would equal 10 times your annual income, it’s time to get more insurance. What’s more, since every year tends to brings change, no matter how large or small, if you’ve experienced any of the following life changes, be sure to review your existing coverage to make sure you’re adequately covered. Sometimes you might even find you have too much and can take it down a notch.

A list of common life changes to review with your insurance professional:
● The birth or adoption of children or grandchildren
● Marriage, separations or divorce
● Changes in you or your spouse’s employment situation
● The purchase of a new home, or the unfortunate loss of a home
● Refinancing a home or exploring reverse mortgages
● Serious changes in your health or that of your spouse
● The long-term care needs of family members
● The need to provide financial, health care, or other assistance to a parent
● Your current retirement-savings status
● Receiving an inheritance or a financial gift
● Any new tax or estate-planning concerns

With all this in mind you’ll be better prepared to confidently address your life insurance needs when trying to determine how much and what kind of coverage would be best for you… and for your family.

LifeInsuranceMythsLife insurance may not sound all that exciting, but when you do stop to think about life insurance and you, it’s not uncommon to assume that since the concept of life insurance is simple enough, so too are the products. It’s also fairly easy to rationalize the things you really don’t understand about life insurance, and before you know it, you’re harboring potentially damaging life insurance myths.

In addition to your own edification, and frankly, for the safety of your loved ones’ financial futures, it’s important to understand exactly what life insurance is, what it does, and how — not to mention if — you should make a move either to purchase or upgrade your coverage. Read the myths below to see if you need to adjust your thinking when it comes to life insurance.

1. The coverage you get at work is enough.
While this may, in fact, be the case if you’re single, in good financial standing, have no dependents and aren’t worried about estate taxes, for most people, the term policy offered through their employer just won’t be enough to sustain their families’ needs. After all, your insurance payout must not only support your family financially, it must also pay off any debts, such as the mortgage or even the MasterCard, as well as settle up with Uncle Sam.

2. Only the working spouse needs life insurance.
This is a curious — and wildly inaccurate — belief, yet it somehow persists. Life insurance on the breadwinner is intended to fill in the gap left by the loss of a paycheck, but that discounts all the valuable work a stay-at-home partner contributes to the relationship. If you’re used to this arrangement, how would you pay for child care or the cleaning, or even manage the household without a little financial help in the event of such a loss? It can be easy to overlook the many contributions of the non-breadwinner, but to do so would be remiss.

3. The value of your life insurance coverage should equal two years’ salary.
Everyone’s financial circumstances are different, and so are their life insurance needs. You might require more coverage than two years’ salary if you incur medical bills or other debts, have a young family, a mortgage to pay, or any number of life obligations to meet. If your lifestyle is more modest and you’re not financially responsible for anyone, on the other hand, then two years’ salary may even be excessive.

4. Single people without dependents don’t need to own life insurance.
While it’s true you might not have a family to provide for, odds are you’ll still have to cover the cost of your funeral, pay off a few debts, and maybe leave a little bit behind for your parents. And as one MSNBC article on the topic suggests, using a life insurance policy to fund a gift to a favorite charity can be a wonderful legacy for a single person to leave behind.

5. You don’t need professional services to buy life insurance.
You now have the choice to shop online or in person. The tools a professional life insurance agent has to offer can help you identify the needs you have, what you must protect and how best to protect it. With the knowledge of myriad different policies, if you’re honest about your financial and life circumstances, a professional can not only help you determine how much coverage you need, but also help decide whether a term or permanent policy is right for you. They can even customize a plan to meet your unique needs. Our suggestion? Do as much research as you can online paying attention to the credibility of the sources you find. If you’re still confused about your needs, take it to the next level and talk to a professional.

Life insurance is an important product for most everybody to consider, but it helps if you have your facts straight. So whatever else you think you know about life insurance, you might consider running it past an agent or using a credible online source with the right tools to help in your decision making.

Life insurance is about love. If you love someone, and they depend on you, and that dependency would be a problem if you were gone, you need life insurance. In honor of Valentines Day, we’re posting this message from the Life Foundation. The Life Foundation is a non profit dedicated to educating people on the values of life insurance. Their website is a fantastic resource. Just come back to us when you’re done checking it out ;)

LIFE_Things_We_Do_2013

 

imageIt can be a fun play on words for us life insurance types, but wife insurance is serious business.

I’m not getting into the stay at home mom vs. career mom debate, and please hold those thoughts to yourself. And I’m not saying wives are more important than single mothers, because I’m going to include mothers of all kind in my #insuremomtoo campaign. My plight is not about these age old ridiculous arguments and judgements. It’s about protecting families, whatever structure and circumstance they have and pointing out that there is a need to insure mothers. Somewhere along the line we’ve discounted that need.

I hear it all the time when I’m talking to people about life insurance. The wife calls our office to research policy options for herself. I return the call and the husband answers. When he asks what the call’s about and I say “life insurance” it’s always the same response: “Oh no, she didn’t mean for her. She must have been calling about my policy.” Whether she stays at home or works, this is always the conversation.

Today, 61% of mothers work outside of the home, yet most families solely rely on the husbands life insurance policy for protection of their family. Simultaneously, far too many families undervalue the financial impact of a stay at home mother’s work, having little or no life insurance in place to protect that value.

The gap in coverage levels between husbands and wives is so extreme we really need to consider it a concept all to its own. Wife insurance. An Australian insurance company has put together a very tongue-in-cheek website using the term. Depending on your sense of humor you may think it funny. But they’re in Australia and we need to take care of the issue here in the US.

In February we kick off a three month campaign focused on educating families on the life insurance needs of women. All women. For pennies on the dollar we can reduce these risks and sleep better at night. I promise.

Reasons(Back in October, we stopped by the CoverHound blog with our top 10 reasons to review your life insurance…)

AKA…leave me alone creepy life insurance agent.

You may not hear it all the time. But I do.

And as good as my intentions are when I say, “when’s the last time you reviewed it?” the person I’m talking to ducks and dodges, squirms even.

“I have life insurance. Thank you.”

Somehow, we’ve come to believe that life insurance is a static fixed object and once you’ve handled it, you’re done. WRONG. Some of this belief is myth, some avoidance behavior. More of the latter most honestly. Who wants to talk about death and provide “samples.” Did someone say needles? Ick.

But here’s the deal…products change, you change, your life changes. What worked for you last year may not be working for you this year. And if you don’t take a look at it, you’ll never know. Don’t ask don’t tell was repealed last year, so let’s not hang on to it when it comes to life insurance.

Here are the top 10 reasons why you should take a look at whatcha got:

1) You may have too much and reducing the amount you have can save you money.

2) You may have too little and you’re putting those who count on you at risk.

3) You might be able to get the same amount for less because products have gotten cheaper since you purchased.

4) You might be able to get more for the same amount if that’s what you need.

5) If you were rated for a health concern that’s gotten better you can get your current policy rerated or buy a new one…both options will save you money (PS…health stuff for life insurance is like accidents and tickets for car insurance. The longer it’s been, the cheaper your rates might be).

6) If you’ve had changes occur in your life and haven’t adjusted your coverage you might be exposed where you don’t want to be.

7) The type of product you’re in may not be suitable for where you are in your lifespan.

8) If you own a policy with cash value you can move that cash tax free to a new policy that can save you money or increase your coverage amount.

9) Your need for life insurance may have expired before you did and you can dump it.

10) You might just have the perfect coverage and you can move on like a happy little bee.

Our suggestion? Review it annually (no matter what’s going on in your life) with your insurance advisor or an independent broker who can compare your coverage to all the carriers available and give you an unbiased review.

Want to check rates your self? Head on over to our Resources page and pull some quotes. Best part is it’s free and you won’t have some annoying life insurance guy breathing down your neck (unless you’re into that sort of thing of course).

Last but not least, you can always call us. We’ll try not to be too creepy.

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