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8 Situations Where You Should Buy Life Insurance

8 Situations Where You Should Buy Life Insurance

If you think life insurance is only for wealthy people, you’re in for a big surprise. Life insurance is so important because it protects people who depend on you financially, if you die. It pays one or more beneficiaries as soon as you pass away so that they can pay expenses and replace your lost income.

One of the top reasons people who need life insurance don’t buy it is because they think they can’t afford it. But here’s the rub: studies show that consumers actually overestimate how much they believe life insurance costs—by as much as three times!

Did you know that if you’re in your 30s or 40s, you can get a 10-year term life policy that pays $500,000 for around $20 to $25 per month? In my book, that’s a bargain!

When Should You Buy Life Insurance?

Here are eight instances in life where it’s time to step up and buy a life insurance policy:

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1. You’re the breadwinner.

If you’re the only person earning money to support your household, you need life insurance. Think about what would happen to your spouse or children if you weren’t alive. Would there be enough to pay for ongoing expenses like a mortgage, rent, or daycare?

2. You co-signed for debt.

If you have debt in your name only, no one is responsible to pay it except you—even after you die.[1] The money in your estate must be used to settle your debts and if there isn’t enough, creditors are generally out of luck.

But if you co-signed for debt with another person—such as a credit card, mortgage, or student loan—that’s another story. Anyone named on a joint account with you would be responsible for 100% of the debt if you die. So having life insurance to cover outstanding debt on joint accounts is very important.

Also, if you’re married and live in one of the nine community property states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin), your spouse may still be responsible to pay the debt acquired during your marriage, even if it’s in your name only.[2]

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3. You take care of aging parents. 

If you’re single and have financially dependent parents, then you need a life policy to keep them secure if you aren’t capable of being around to care for them.

4. You want your children to get a college education.

The cost of higher education rises every year and few students can graduate from college without going into debt. If you want to pay for a child’s private school or college education, life insurance is a surefire way to make sure it can happen, even if you’re not alive.

5. You want to leave cash to heirs.

If you have multiple heirs, leaving cash from a life insurance benefit, instead of assets (like houses or cars), is an easy way to distribute wealth in the proportions you want. For example, if two children inherit a house that’s paid for, one might want to keep it as a vacation home, but the other might need to sell it because he can’t afford the annual taxes and insurance.

6. You don’t want heirs to pay estate taxes and fees.

If you have a large estate, there will be taxes, as well as legal and administrative fees that must be paid. Sometimes heirs are forced to sell estate assets in order to afford these charges.

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You can use life insurance as an estate planning tool to fund your estate’s liability and make sure your heirs receive exactly what you want.

7. You have a family member with special needs. 

If you have a child or other family member with special needs, you may need permanent life insurance.[3] This is a type of policy that covers your life no matter when you die and has a savings component, in addition to a death benefit.

8. You want your funeral costs covered.

A traditional funeral that includes a burial can cost over $10,000. Consider what kind of funeral you want and whether your family could afford it if you didn’t have life insurance.

If you already have life insurance, review your coverage at least once every few years, or whenever you have a major change in income, expenses, or family status. The need for coverage changes as you enter a new stage of life and you may need more or less coverage than you did before.

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You can calculate the amount of coverage that’s right for you and compare rates at sites like insuranceQuotes.com and netQuote.com. Remember that life insurance isn’t a luxury—it’s a necessity that’s truly affordable for the vast majority of consumers who need it.

Featured photo credit: zimmytws via shutterstock.com

Reference

[1] Quick and Dirty Tips: The Truth About Debt and Death
[2] Wikipedia: Community property
[3] InsuranceQuotes: What is Permanent Life Insurance?

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Laura Adams

Personal Finance Expert & Analyst

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

The Average Retirement Savings and How to Save Wisely

Are you on track for retirement?

If not, don’t worry, I’m not sure either. I save each month and hope for the best.

Fortunately, I’m at an age where most people don’t save so I’m ahead of the curve.

But, what if you aren’t in your 20s? What if you’re near retirement and are looking to gauge where you stand?

If so, keep reading. Here’s how to prepare for retirement and save wisely during the process.

What Does the Average American Have Saved for Retirement?

Saving for retirement is tricky.

Tell someone straight out of college to save $10k a year for retirement and it’ll be next to impossible.

Make the same request to someone decades older and they’d be more likely to be able to save this amount. But, a 20-year old college student can be “financially ahead” of someone saving more than them. Why?

Age matters in your financial journey. The younger you are, the more time you have to save and put compound interest to work. As you get older and have more saving power, you’d have less time to put compound interest to work.

Here are the average savings Americans hold by age bracket:

20’s – $16,000

During this stage, most people are paying loans and moving up the corporate ladder. Your best bet during this stage is to focus on eliminating debt and increasing your income. Don’t focus only on getting a high-paying job neither.

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Instead, focus on learning via Podcasts, reading books, and taking specialized courses. Doing this will make you more valuable and give you more career options.

30’s – $45,000

At this stage, you’ve hopefully escaped your entry-level salary and work at a career you enjoy. Your earning power has increased but you now have more obligations. For example, marriage, kids, and a mortgage.

Set a plan to pay off all your debt and focus on eliminating unnecessary expenses. Leverage financial tools like Personal Capital to ensure you’re on track for retirement.

40’s – $63,000

This is the stage where you’re at the prime of your career. Top financial institutions recommend you have at least 2 to 4 times your salary saved up. If you’re falling behind, start maxing out your 401K and Roth IRA accounts.

50’s – $115,000

During your fifties, you’re close to retirement but still, have time to save. You may be helping your kids pay college tuition and other expenses. Since you’re at the peak of your earning power, max out all your retirement accounts.

60’s – $172,000

By this point, you should have about eight times your salary saved up. If not, you’ll depend primarily on social security benefits averaging $1400 per month. Max out all your retirement options as much as possible before retiring.

Ways to Save Money on a Tight Budget

The sad reality is that most Americans aren’t saving enough for retirement.

Even high-earning power isn’t enough to secure one’s financial future. You need to have the discipline to save for retirement while time is in your favor. Don’t wait for you to have a high salary to save, start with having a small budget.

First, get a clear picture of where you stand. Write down a list of “needs” and “wants.” For example, Netflix and Amazon Prime are “wants” and a “cell-phone” is a need.

Use tools like Personal Capital to analyze your spending patterns. Personal Capital allows you to add all your financial data in one place–making it a powerful option to gauge where you stand.

Once you know all your expenses, organize them from highest to lowest expense. When you can’t cut more expenses, call your service providers to negotiate a lower price. If you’re not good at negotiating, use services like Trimm to lower your monthly expenses.

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How to Save Money Each Month

By this point, you know the average amount of money you should have saved for retirement based on your age.

But, breaking this down into monthly goals can be challenging. Here are some rule of thumbs to follow:

Aim to contribute 10%–15% of your salary each paycheck. Review your progress each week.

Why so often? The reality is that life gets in our way and you will have many financial setbacks. Your goal isn’t to be perfect but to get back on track instead.

Reviewing your finances weekly lets you know where you stand with your retirement. This doesn’t have to be a long process either. All it takes is login in Personal Capital to view your net worth and check how much you have saved for retirement.

Turn saving into a game and aim to save more each month. It will get challenging but you’ll get creative and find more ways to save.

Top Money Saving Challenge Tips

To prepare for your financial future and not be another statistic you need to be different.

How?

By adopting new habits that’ll help you become a saving machine. Here are some ways you can save more:

Automatically Contribute Towards Retirement

If you’re working for a company, you can automatically contribute towards your 401k. If you’re not currently contributing more than 10%, make this your goal. Contribute 1% more today and automatically increase this amount a year from now.

Odds are that you’re not going to be negatively affected by contributing 1% more. Many times we spend our money on things we don’t need. Contributing more towards retirement is a great way to secure your financial future.

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Use the Right Tools to Know Where You Stand

Once you’re contributing more towards your retirement accounts, gauge your progress. Make use of finance tracking apps to help you view the big picture of your retirement.

When I’d first signed up for the app Personal Capital, I didn’t know I had a negative net worth. Despite saving thousands of dollars, my debt brought my net worth to the negative. Knowing this motivated me to save more and spend less.

Now, I have a positive net worth. But, it was because I was able to view the big picture using the app. Find out what your net worth is using a finance tracking app and you may surprise yourself.

Bring in Experts to View Your Blind Spots

If you have too little or too much money saved, you should consider hiring financial experts.

Why?

You may need someone to hold you accountable to help you reach your financial goals. Or, you may need help managing your money as effective as possible.

Regardless of the reason, getting help may help improve your financial situation.

Before you hire an expert, find out which areas you need help the most. For example, if you’re constantly overspending, find a debt counselor. If you’re struggling with choosing the best investment options, hire a financial advisor.

Speed up Your Retirement Contribution

After learning how to manage your money well, the next best thing is to earn a higher income.

You’re capped at how much you can save but not much you can earn. Even if your employer isn’t giving you a promotion, you can still take charge of your financial future. How?

By starting a side-business.

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This will be something you’d work on after you’ve finished your day job. Once you start earning income from your side-business, you’ll be financially better off.

The best part is the more work you put into your side-business,[1] the more potential it has to earn more money.

So start a side-business in an area you’re familiar with. For example, if you enjoy writing, do freelance writing for small e-commerce businesses.

Once you’re earning a higher income, you can contribute more towards your retirement. Don’t wait for the right opportunity to secure your financial future, create one.

Reach Financial Freedom with Confidence

What if you were able to retire tomorrow with no problem, all because you’d have enough money saved up and little to no debt left to pay off? How would you feel?

My guess is that you’d feel happy and relieved.

Most Americans are falling behind their retirement goals for many reasons. They’re not prepared, they carry bad money-habits and are thinking short-term.

For you to retire successfully, you need to work backward and adopt better habits. Contribute more towards your 401K and focus on growing your income.

If you do, you’ll save money and pay debt faster.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re behind your retirement goals. Take the first step today towards a brighter financial future. Isn’t retirement worth the hard work and sacrifice to be at peace?

Featured photo credit: Huy Phan via unsplash.com

Reference

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