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Life insurance is a key part of financial planning. Part of your insurance plan should contain some protection for those whom you may leave behind should the unexpected happen.
Who needs life insurance? If there are individuals who depend on you for financial support, or if you work at home providing your family with such services as child care, cooking, and cleaning, you need life insurance. Older couples also may need life insurance to protect a surviving spouse against the possibility of the couple’s retirement savings being depleted by unexpected medical expenses. And individuals with substantial assets may need life insurance to help reduce the effects of estate taxes or to transfer wealth to future generations.
A popular approach to buying insurance is based on income replacement. In this approach, a formula of between five and ten times your annual salary is often used to calculate how much coverage you need. While this approach is simple, it may not provide your loved ones with enough money to continue in their present condition. How many times have widows had to sell the house to keep the family going after an unexpected death.
Another approach is to purchase insurance based on your individual needs and preferences. The first step is to determine your unique income replacement needs.
Currently, a large portion of your income goes to taxes (insurance benefits are generally income tax free) and to support your own lifestyle. Start off by determining your net earnings after taxes. Then add up all your personal expenses such as food, clothing, magazine subscriptions, club memberships, transportation expenses, etc. The remainder represents annual income that your insurance will need to replace. You’ll want a death benefit amount which, when invested, will provide income annually to cover this amount. Then, you should add to that the amounts needed to fund one-time expenses such as college tuition for your children or paying down mortgage or debt.
Income replacement for nonworking spouses is an important and often overlooked insurance need. Coverage should provide for your costs for day care, housekeeping, or nursing care. Add to this any net earnings from part-time employment.
Finally, estimate your own “final expenses” such as estate taxes, uninsured medical costs, and funeral costs. What is your life insurance number? Call us today to further discuss this very important need.
Conventional wisdom says that life insurance is sold, not purchased. In other words, some people are reluctant to discuss the importance of owning life insurance, and others are simply unaware of the need to have life insurance. Although many large companies provide life insurance as part of their benefits package, this coverage may be insufficient.