February 09, 2017
Chocolate and roses are classic Valentine’s Day gifts. But I am dead serious when I tell you that the most caring and loving gift you can ever give your loved ones is to protect them with life insurance.
I know, I know. Not exactly romantic. But in terms of material things that we can buy for others, you can’t tell me there is anything that will bestow more protection and peace of mind. Yet a recent survey finds that many parents with children don’t have life insurance. And a significant portion of families that do have insurance, have $100,000 or less of coverage, which I can tell you is way too little.
So are you ready to show your family the love? Here’s how:
• Think about whether anyone is dependent on your income. Kids. Siblings. Elderly parents. If anyone relies on your for all or some of their support, the next question I have for you is whether your savings and investments could support them if you were to pass tomorrow. If the answer is “no” then you need to say yes to life insurance pronto.
• Aim for a death benefit that is at least 20 times your loved one’s income needs. Let me be clear, if you are relying on life insurance through work, you do not have anywhere near enough protection. Most employers provide just one year’s income. It sounds like a lot, but it’s not really enough to take care of your loved ones. One year’s salary isn’t going to help pay the mortgage for very long, or help send a five year old to college.
To make sure your loved ones will be okay, I recommend you buy life insurance with a death benefit that is 20 to 25 times the annual income you want to replace. So for example, if you wanted to replace $50,000 in annual income you would buy a policy with a $1 million to $1.25 million death benefit. Why so much? Because your beneficiaries could invest the money conservatively-in municipal bonds for example-and live off of the income for a very long time.
Now I know that sounds expensive, but trust, me I bet you can afford it. Just keep reading.
• Buy a term life insurance policy. Most of us only need a life insurance policy for a set period of time. Until the toddlers are adults and supporting themselves. Or until we have time to build up our own assets. Or maybe to insure your elderly parents would be okay if something were to happen to you. In that case, term insurance is the right fit for your needs. Term means that it is good for a set term. That can be one year, or 10 years or 20 years. If you die during the term, your beneficiaries receive the death benefit.
After the term, your insurance expires. Because the insurance is not permanent, the cost can very affordable. For example, a 45 year old woman in good health could buy a $1 million level term policy (level means the annual premium never changes) for an annual premium of less than $1,000. That’s less than $85 a month for incredible peace of mind! You can shop online for a term policy at Selectquote.com and Accuqoute.com