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Life insurance can give a non-working spouse time for important decisions with less financial pressure. A death benefit probably won't last a lifetime, but it gives the beneficiary time to decide whether to work, keep or sell a home, start career training and more. This is especially vital for a breadwinner with a young family. Life insurance is a cheap way to build an estate. It can be used by younger families that have not had time to accumulate assets or mid-career breadwinners who haven't been able to save as much. A life insurance policy can be used to fund retirement, pay for college tuition or give survivors a soft landing. Life insurance can help business continuity in the event of the death of an owner. Life insurance is frequently used for buy-sell arrangements, under which the proceeds of a policy are used to buy out the deceased owner's interest and compensate their heirs. Such an arrangement helps remaining owners avoid working with a surviving spouse or family member who may not have had any involvement in the business.
An annuity is a contractual financial product sold by financial institutions that is designed to accept and grow funds from an individual and then, upon annuitization, pay out a stream of payments to the individual at a later point in time. The period of time when an annuity is being funded and before payouts begin is referred to as the accumulation phase. Once payments commence, the contract is in the annuitization phase.
Retirement is one of the most important life events many of us will ever experience. From both a personal and financial perspective, realizing a comfortable retirement is an incredibly extensive process that takes sensible planning and years of persistence. Even once it is reached, managing your retirement is an ongoing responsibility that carries well into one's golden years. While all of us would like to retire comfortably, the complexity and time required in building a successful retirement plan can make the whole process seem nothing short of daunting. However, it can often be done with fewer headaches and financial pain than you might think. All it takes is a little homework, an attainable savings and investment plan, and a long-term commitment.
If you are the primary wage earner in your family and you carry a current mortgage on your home, it is important that you consider risk management in the event that something bad were to happen to you. This is especially important if you do not have adequate savings for your family to pay bills and live comfortably in the event of your death.
One of the best mortgage protection options is term life insurance. To market the product, many new homebuyers will receive flyers in the mail to buy "mortgage protection insurance" immediately. While a good marketing ploy, what you are simply buying is decreasing term life insurance. This is a policy that is set up in which the death benefit is defined to decrease in value, in coordination with the decreasing value of your outstanding mortgage balance each year.
In the event of your death, the life insurance policy provides a tax-free death benefit somewhat equivalent to the value of your outstanding loan balance. It is very important that you compare regular-level term life insurance rates with decreasing term life insurance rates before you buy. You may find that the regular level term is only slightly more expensive than the decreasing term life. For example, a 30-year level term policy for $250,000 (level premium and $250,000 coverage remains constant for 30 years) may cost a 30-year old non-smoker male $40 per month; whereas the same decreasing term life policy (premiums usually remain level, but the $250,000 will decrease to zero by the 30th year), may cost only $35. You, as the consumer, will have to decide if the slight additional premium is worth having the level $250,000 death benefit for the period selected.
Planning for College
Life insurance and Section 529 plans for college savings?
Where you store your child's college savings could impact his or her ability to attend college almost as much as grades and standardized test scores. Section 529 plans -- the college savings vehicle preferred by many families and financial advisers -- offer federal and sometimes state tax benefits, and subtract far less from a student's financial aid package than money stored in a checking or savings account. But having a robust 529 college savings plan could hurt the student's chances at tapping other sources of financial aid, which has parents starting to examine other options, such as cash value life insurance policies. These policies, for example, don't offer state tax incentives but have fewer restrictions on distributions and offer a place for families to shelter funds from the federal financial aid methodology.
Long-term care insurance (LTC or LTCI), an insurance product sold in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, helps provide for the cost of long-term care beyond a predetermined period. Long-term care insurance covers care generally not covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid. Individuals who require long-term care are generally not sick in the traditional sense, but instead, are unable to perform the basic activities of daily living (ADLs) such as dressing, bathing, eating, toileting, continence, transferring (getting in and out of a bed or chair), and walking. Age is not a determining factor in needing long-term care. About 70 percent of individuals over age 65 will require at least some type of long-term care services during their lifetime. About 40% of those receiving long-term care today are between 18 and 64. Once a change of health occurs long-term care insurance may not be available. Early onset (before age 65) Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease are rare but do occur.