As your priorities change at every stage of life, you need to change with them, especially when it comes to insurance. Coverage that meets your needs when you are 25 years old is likely to be different when you reach age 55. As you think about your evolution through life, consider these important stages and the insurance needs of each.
Protecting one of your most valuable assets
When you are young and just beginning to accumulate financial assets, your ability to earn income is likely the foundation of your financial future. Protecting that income is critical. Consider this: If you are a 35-year-old earning $50,000 per year, let’s say you have an additional 30 years of earning potential. With estimated annual salary increases of 3 percent, you’ll earn more than $2.3 million dollars over the remainder of your career.
What would happen to those you care about if you could no longer work because of illness, injury or death and your earning power was gone? Chances are there would be financial hardship unless you protected your income with disability income insurance and life insurance.
If your employer offers disability income insurance as a benefit, you may assume you’re adequately protected. However, that coverage may be insufficient if you examine it closely. Also, remember that group disability ends when you leave your job. With today’s unstable job market, that’s something to think about.
Individual disability income insurance policies are available with various features and options, and may be more affordable than you think. Since your coverage stays with you, job changes or periods of unemployment won’t interrupt your protection.
Another way to protect your income is with short-term life insurance that may be able to be converted to permanent insurance later on. Term insurance offers inexpensive protection at a time in your life when you might have large financial obligations like a home mortgage, and permanent life insurance may be financially out of reach. Life insurance with a guaranteed conversion feature may also give you the ability to convert to permanent life insurance in case your health changes.
Growing your assets and saving tax dollars
As you grow more financially successful, achieving your financial goals and accumulating assets requires ongoing attention. It’s true that your income remains the foundation for your future, but hopefully you’ll begin to have more opportunity to improve your lifestyle, enjoy more discretionary spending and save more money.
Again, insurance can be a valuable tool for reaching your goals in this stage of life. Let’s say you are a family with two wage earners and you depend equally on both salaries to help with financial obligations like college. Chances are you will also be trying to grow your retirement savings. This may be the time to convert your term life insurance to permanent policies. This move may help you accumulate tax-deferred cash value and still provide income tax-free benefits in the case of your untimely death.
A permanent life insurance policy can help ensure a steady flow of dollars to supplement retirement income for your survivors in case you don’t reach retirement age. If both you and your spouse are fortunate enough to retire and live up to or beyond your life expectancies, it may also give you an optional source of supplemental income to help control the amount of taxes you will pay in retirement.
Giving back and leaving your legacy
In later years, you may wish to leave assets to loved ones or charities that are important to you. Of course, you’ll also want to avoid having to deplete your assets in case you or your spouse becomes ill during this life stage.
Once again, certain types of life insurance provide the flexibility to reach these goals. Tax diversification through life insurance can help you reduce the amount of taxes due, and thus increase the size of your estate. Thanks to a tax-free death benefit, it may be a good way to help offset your taxable investments so your family can make the most of your financial legacy.
Leaving a gift to charity with life insurance is a flexible, cost-effective and, in many cases, tax-advantaged strategy that will benefit your cause after your death.
If you are wondering which life stage you are in and what type of insurance you need, an insurance review with a financial adviser can be helpful. Be sure to ask him or her about the insurance policy’s features, benefits and fees, and whether the insurance is appropriate for you, based upon your financial situation and objectives.
Because each life stage goes by too quickly, it’s important to make the most of every day. Knowing that you and your loved ones are protected will help you do just that.
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