A generation ago, unexpected loss of a loved one could be seen as an isolated situation. But today, a quick search of GoFundMe delivers a difficult reality check. Simply type “funerals” into the search field, and behold—799,182 results (on this particular day). Almost 800,000 tales of the sudden loss of a loved one, compounded by an acute financial crisis.

Scrolling through the many names and faces of tragedy can be tough. And yet it allows us to see the cost of putting off buying life insurance in a whole new way. The truth is, life can be breathtakingly uncertain, but the financial impact of a sudden, unexpected loss doesn’t have to be. With life insurance, you can know—without the shadow of a doubt—that if you or your spouse or partner died unexpectedly, your family would be financially secure. And you can know that for less than a $1 a day.

The Pros and Cons of Crowdsourcing
GoFundMe and other crowdfunding sites are fabulous for stretch goals, for helping people get back on their feet after a setback, and for inspirational charity projects. These modern tools let regular people pool needed capital easily and safely by collecting small donations from large numbers of people and sharing your story far and wide on social media.

“An uncertain amount of money, reduced by service fees and taxes, or a predetermined tax-free payment?”

But assuming you’ll rely on a crowdfunding site if tragedy befalls? Which would you prefer during a time of intense stress—a new technology that enables panicked fundraising by your grieving family, or a time-tested financial tool that delivers funds immediately to your beneficiaries in a cash lump sum to pay immediate expenses, such as the funeral and burial, and in addition, all the day-to-day bills and debts that will have to be paid as life continues on.

An uncertain amount of money, reduced by service fees and taxes, or a predetermined tax-free payment?

An online fundraising obligation for your grieving family to organize, or complete certainty that all costs are covered, allowing your loved ones to focus on other things?

Choose the Best Scenario for Your Family, Today
Which model would you choose for your family during a time of intense stress? As it turns out, the time to choose is actually now, when tragedy is the furthest thing from everyone’s minds.

You can choose to put a financial buffer in place today, so that your loved ones will never have to fend for themselves after an unexpected loss. And you can make this choice for less than the price of a daily coffee.

As a point of reference, if you’re a healthy 30-year-old who doesn’t smoke, you can get a 20-year, $250,000 level term life insurance policy for about $16 a month. As you age and your health changes, the premium to get a life insurance policy increases, so it makes sense to buy coverage—and lock in the low price—when you are young and healthy.

The truth is, crowdfunding only goes so far. Instead of hoping a crowdfunding site will be there if tragedy strikes someday, you can research coverage options for you and your family, right now.

A minimum of hassle today can ensure your loved ones will never have to shoulder the terrible double burden of both personal and financial loss—and that they’ll never have to set up the crowdfunding page no one ever wants to build.

By Erica Oh Nataren

Originally Published By LifeHappens.org

Fear of missing out—is more than just a hashtag. Many Millennials admit that #FOMO drives a lot of their decisions on what they wear, what they do, even what they eat and drink. We live in a world of social influence.

But one area where #FOMO really does you a disservice? No one is afraid of missing out on the benefits of life insurance. And why should you? There are so many other things competing for your dollars. That said, do you know what you’re missing out on by not having it? Are you making one or more of these mistakes?

You think life insurance is much more expensive than it actually is. Three in four Millennials overestimate the cost of life insurance—sometimes by a factor of 2, 3, or even more! (2017 Insurance Barometer Study by Life Happens and LIMRA) Imagine being able to afford life insurance for the cost of that daily latte, and for less money than your avocado toast habit!

You think you can’t qualify for life insurance. Nothing could be further from the truth, and yet four in 10 Millennials think this is true, according to the same study! Younger candidates have an easier time getting life insurance because they are generally healthier.

You’ll turn to GoFundMe if something goes wrong. In an era where social networking does all things, it’s natural to think that your loved ones can crowdfund their way to solvency after something happens. But life insurance benefits aren’t taxed like GoFundMe proceeds are, and life insurance has a defined, immediate payout that GoFundMe does not. Plus, your loved ones don’t need the stress or the stigma of having to ask others for help.

You’d rather spend that money on other things. In fact, one study recently suggested that many Millennials are more concerned about planning their next night out with a significant other than planning for their financial future.  But sensible steps now will make for a better future with that significant other long past tomorrow night’s date.

You don’t care because you don’t have people depending on you for money. Take a look at your student loans. Were any of them private loans? Who is liable for them—in full, often immediately—if something happens to you? There are other debts you may need to consider as well—anything where you have a co-signer.

You keep saying you’ll get around to buying insurance, but don’t. Millennials are getting married, having families! Young families have enough to worry about with daycare costs and increased medical costs, right? Well, imagine what your young family would do about those bills if something happened to you. Could your spouse pay the rent or mortgage without your income?

You tune out when “adulting” gets too hard. One recent college grad recently confessed to me that he hadn’t elected into any of his employee benefits at the dream job he got in his field because “my dad takes care of that.” He was shocked to learn what he was missing out on!

Yes, adulting *is* hard, but a sound financial plan that includes retirement and insurance coverage (health, life, and disability insurance are all part of that plan) goes a long way to making sure that you don’t look back on your younger years and think, “Oh, why didn’t I start this sooner?” Plus, you don’t have to do it alone—that’s what insurance agents are for. They will sit down with you at no cost, or obligation, to discuss what you need and how to get coverage to fit your budget. But then, signing up—that IS on you. Don’t miss out.

By Helen Mosher
Originally Published By Lifehappens.org

Do I need life insurance once I retire? Just because you’re retired doesn’t necessarily mean you’re financially sound.

Think of all the different scenarios that may still be applicable: You may have been required to retire early; you may have had investments that have gone sour and haven’t had time to rebuild your nest egg. Additionally, there may be a need to cover final expenses, you may have children still at home who depend on the them, or you may have a family member like an aging parent or special-needs sibling that you provide financial support for.

The bottom line is this: If you owe someone, love someone, or someone depends on on you financially, you need life insurance. And just because you’re retired or old doesn’t mean those three things go away.

Do I need the same amount of life insurance coverage as I did before? If you bought the life insurance to replace income and have built up their investments, maybe not.

Then again, if you have built up their investments over the years, there may be some state or federal inheritance tax that will have to be paid upon their death. And even if there is no federal tax, there may still be significant state inheritance tax. There are also things like probate costs, administration costs; there might be final debt or a mortgage on house, too. So as long as there is some type of financial exposure, you need life insurance to match up with that.

If I don’t have one, is it still possible to buy a policy in retirement? Absolutely. Just because you’re old or older doesn’t mean you’re uninsurable.

I just got a call from someone doing planning for the family patriarch who’s 85 years old. They realized that right now, the estate is worth more than the combined amount of federal exemption and that there will be tax to pay. That’s where life insurance comes in, at less than a dollar for each dollar of tax.

Another reason to have the coverage is if someone has taken 100% pay-out on their pension, with no survivorship provision. If that person dies, no money gets paid out to the surviving spouse. This is more common than you think. Nor is it unusual to hear that someone remarries and forgets to change the pension beneficiary. Life insurance can ensure that the spouse is taken care of.

What else should I know about having life insurance in retirement? People don’t often talk about the living benefits of life insurance.

Let’s say you no longer need the death benefit, but are living with a lingering, terminal illness and may not have sufficient cash to pay medical expenses. The accelerated death benefit provision means you can go to the insurance company and pull down money from the policy to absorb the costs of that illness and avoid bankruptcy.

A permanent life insurance policy is also a place to put money aside that gives you a better rate of return than a low pay-out CD or putting money in a safely deposit box. It’s a way to have some safe money invested at no risk—it’s just there for when you need it.

By Marvin H. Feldman
Originally Published By LifeHappens.org

Many people in their 40s are facing an uncomfortable fact: They simply aren’t where they’d hoped to be financially. Fortunately, all their life experience can help correct for past mistakes.

“There’s a different trigger moment for everybody,” says Jay Howard, financial advisor and partner at MHD Financial in San Antonio, Texas. “But regardless of when it comes, people find themselves looking down the barrel of a gun as they consider retirement.”

One challenge is that it’s impossible to advise 40-somethings based on tidy “life stage” demographics. Some are just starting families, while others are sending offspring to college. They’re married, single, divorced, and just about everything in between.

But for those still grappling with financial instability, these four principles can help in moving forward with confidence:

1. Acknowledge what you’ve done right.
It could be one great decision sandwiched in between some fails, or just a single good habit that can mitigate the impact of a host of wrongs.

Take the example of Kiera Starboard, a 46-year-old controller at a San Diego software firm. A mom to two adult sons and a teenage stepson, she always made having sufficient life insurance—both term and permanent—a priority, the result of her previous training as a financial advisor. “Even if it was tight, I made the payments,” she says. “It was a priority for my family’s sake, and for my own peace of mind.”

Unlike the 40% of Americans who have no life insurance, Starboard was protected when the unthinkable happened last August. Less than two years into her marriage, her husband, Steve, was killed while riding his motorcycle to work—one month after they purchased a small, additional life insurance policy to supplement his employer coverage.

“To have had to deal with financial stress on top of everything else, it would have been unbearable, incapacitating,” says Starboard. “My stepson and I are certainly in a much better position today than we would have been, had Steve and I not followed the advice I used to give to others.”

2. Take action to shore up the decades ahead.
For many, the hardest part can be learning to put your own long-term future first—sometimes for the first time in your life.

“I see people focusing on their kids’ college savings, and not enough on retirement or an emergency fund for themselves,” says Starboard. Many advisors point out that kids can borrow for college if necessary, but no one can borrow for retirement.

The most important step is clear, says Howard: “You must have a written financial plan, period. Because that plan will dictate what you must do to be successful for the entirely of your life.

“The financial plan is your road map,” he continues. “In it will be your portfolio requirements, your savings goals, and your insurance-related needs.”

Finally, make sure your plan takes inflation into account, commonly estimated at 3% a year. Says Howard, “Inflation is the silent assassin that eats away at your nest egg.”

3. Apply the hard-fought wisdom you’ve gained.
“Treat the numbers determined by your plan—such as monthly savings—as bills that need to be paid,” advises Howard. When money comes in, it’s easy to start thinking of a new kitchen or a trip to Tulum. “Just be patient and keep the bills paid.”

Using that wisdom also applies to the big stuff. As the executor to her husband’s estate, Starboard has held back making any major decisions. “In a prior loss, I committed to real estate transactions and other things prematurely. At the time, it really felt like the right thing to do but my grief clouded my perception. I had a painful, expensive learning lesson.”

4. Focus on your shining future—really.
Forward thinking is an essential part of your financial plan, says Howard. “Get help really envisioning what kind of retirement you want. For each aspect, really drill down. For instance, where do you want to live? Do you want to be near your grandkids? Will you have the money to go see them? How often? It’s not just financial planning, it’s life planning.”

If all that forward thinking feels presumptuous, Howard recalls the eminently quotable Yogi Berra, who once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might not get there.”

By Erica Oh Nataren
Originally Published By Lifehappens.org

Dear Ron, Thank you so much for generously supporting [us] and our AIDS walk team this year. It was a lovely foggy Sunday morning in Golden Gate Park, with thousands of folks walking to fight AIDS. It has been a pleasure working with you over the years. You have saved us LOTS of money! I want you to know how much we appreciate all that you do!

- San Francisco, Non-profit organization

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