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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 April 3, 2019

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

How to Nix Your Credit Card Debt in Less Than 3 Years

Debt is never a fun thing to be in. But, there are many actions that you can take that will help you rid yourself of the burden of debt once and for all.

By coming up with a set plan, eliminating your debt can feel much easier than constantly thinking about it.

This post will provide some tips on how you can do this to help you nix your credit card debt in less than 3 years.

Hint: there are ways that are easier than you think.

1. Consider Consolidating Multiple Credit Cards If Possible

This may not be applicable to you, but if you have multiple cards – it is something to consider. Keeping up with multiple bills is time consuming.

It will depend on the balance you have on each. Consolidate ones you can but do not do it to the point that you get too close to the maximum limit. Also, it is ideal to pick the card with the lower interest rate.

Consider if there are any fees or alternatively, rewards, with transferring a balance to another card. Watch out for fees. Note that some cards offer rewards for transferring a balance to them. This is extra cash that can help go towards paying off your debt.

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Having one or two cards can make nixing your debt much simpler than keeping up with the balance of a bunch of cards. Keeping track of paying the minimum towards a bunch of cards is time consuming. Spend the time to consolidate instead to make the overall process simpler going forward.

My tip: Have one main credit card. Have a second one that you use for necessities – such as groceries or gas – that offers rewards for those purchases (a lot of cards do) and set the second one on auto-pay. You should be able to pay off a smaller amount on auto-pay if it is a necessity. If you think you cannot, then you may need to cut down a lot on expenses.

Why do I suggest doing this? Having one thing set to auto-pay is one less thing to think about. One less thing to waste time on. Same idea with consolidating to one main card. Tracking down too many is a hassle.

2. Try to Pay the Full Balance You Spent Each Month at the Very Least

You need to pay off the amount you are spending each month when that bill comes in. This is the amount you spent THAT month.

Do not let the debt keep accruing while you work on paying any unpaid debt that has accrued. It will become a never-ending battle. Try as best as you can to be current on paying for each month’s expenses when that month’s bill comes out.

If this is a strain, consider why. You may need to cut expenses. Or you may need to consider other cards. Or look at where this money is going.

3. Pay Extra When You Can – Every Small Amount Counts

This cannot be emphasized enough. If you are looking at a lot of credit card debt, it can look daunting, but each extra amount that you can put towards the debt will really add up – no matter how small it is.

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It does not just reduce the principal amount that you have left to pay off, but it reduces the amount that is collecting interest. You will always save money with that reduced interest.

4. Create a Plan on How to Pay Extra

Back to the main point, having this plan is giving you one less thing to think about.

This plan should be a plan that works for you. If it does not work for you, your spending habits, and your views on debt, then it will not be an effective plan.

For instance, if a set plan of an extra $50 (or another amount that you know you can afford) works for you, then do that. Set that aside every month and pay that extra amount. Treat it like a bill. Choose an amount that works for you and pay it like clockwork as though it was a bill you had to pay each month.

Little amounts will not nix it entirely, but they will help tackle it and having a set plan can make it less of a chore. Creating a new plan of how much to put towards it each month is an unnecessary added stress.

5. Cut out Costs for Services You Do Not Use

If you are signed up for subscriptions that you do not use because of some free trial or for some other reason, cut it out. Your overall financial position will look better.

In turn, that will make cutting your credit card debt easier. Look at your statements to find these expenses. If you do not use them, you may forget you are paying some unnecessary amount each month. Cutting it out can really add up in savings that you can put towards other needed expenses.

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6. Get Aggressive About It

Consider these points:

Depending on the interest and the level of debt, you may need to give up a few indulgences. For example, instead of ordering delivery or going out to eat, cook at home. Everything adds up.

Other things may be more of a sacrifice. It may be a trip you wanted to go on, or a daily latte habit you’ve picked up. In these instances, consider how important it is to you and if it’s worth the sacrifice. And if it is a costly expense, think whether you can wait to indulge.

Cutting an extravagant expense can really help make a dent in your overall debt. Try not to add to debt when you are trying to pay it off. It will be a never-ending battle. Make it less of a battle with these tips and it will feel easier.

Bottom line: Do what you can to make this process easier for you. Implement steps that do this. It takes time now, but will help overall. Also, keep track of your spending and paying down of your debts. Which is the next point.

7. Reevaluate Your Progress at Set Intervals

Doing a regular check-in can help you see your efforts pay off or maybe indicate that you need to give this a bit more effort. If you check every 3-6 months, it will not feel so much like a chore or feel so daunting.

By doing this, you will be able to better understand your progress and perhaps readjust your plan. Bonus: if you see it pay off, it will feel great to do this check-in. You will get there.

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Finally (and most importantly)…

8. Keep Trying

Do not get discouraged. Pushing it off will make it worse. Just keep trying.

Once your debt becomes lower, each monthly payment will reduce the balance more. Why? You are paying less towards interest. It will be a snowball effect eventually and it will become much easier to manage. Just get to that point. And know once you do, it will feel easier and motivating.

Start Knocking out Your Debt Today

The best way to eliminate debt is to get started right away. Begin by implementing the above steps and watch your debt just melt away. Try out some of the above strategies and see what works best for you. Soon you’ll be on your way to a debt free life.

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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