The Reasons Adults and Children Need Life Insurance

When families make the decision to purchase life insurance, they are often in the process of experiencing a major life-altering event such as getting married, starting a family, or purchasing a home. In fact, there are many good reasons for purchasing a insurance policy and most of us, at some point in our lives, will realize that owning insurance is very important to ensure our sense of security. Can you even imagine the anxiety of driving on the freeway without auto insurance? All of us know that at some point an accident is almost inevitable. When you purchase life insurance, you are making a plan to be sure your family will be safe from the effects of losing your contribution to the household income

Life insurance insures your life and pays your survivors.

Importance of insurance No one likes to think about the need for life insurance, but if you were no longer in the picture what would happen to the people who depend on you for financial support?. Even if the deceased has some life insurance, the amount is often inadequate. insurance is an essential part of any financial program. Your insurance coverage should be reviewed regularly as changes occur in your life, career and financial goals. Most people buy insurance to replace income that would be lost at the death of a wage earner. Proceeds from a life insurance policy also can help ensure your dependents are not burdened with significant debt when you die.

An important advantage of insurance is that the proceeds pass income tax free to beneficiaries and without going through probate. Most people think of life insurance only as a legacy something left behind after they die. If diagnosed as terminally ill, the insured may request payment of the insurance policies face amount instead of the death benefit being paid to a beneficiary. Portability Under most group policies employees can take their life insurance protection with them when they leave the company or retire and take advantage of group rates and the convenience of direct billing. Cash accumulation some insurance policies have a cash value account or investment component that lets you contribute premium in addition to the amount you pay for your insurance coverage.

Here are answers to other common questions about insurance. How much insurance you need depends on your financial situation and your specific circumstances at this point in your life. Our insurance needs calculator will help you estimate how much insurance you may need to sufficiently provide for the well-being of your loved ones. Everyone’s situation is unique and only you can determine the exact amount of life insurance you need.
Why insurance is so important for us?

On this post I’ll try to make a simple explanation about the importance of life insurance. Everyone surely die now, with health insurance, we can manage the risk of death leaves us with the things of value and benefit to families who leave when we die. With health insurance, we have to give stock to my family when we die, where the insurance company will pay the amount of money insurance money to my heirs, in this case is our family and that money can be used to pay for school children’s etc. That is the most common example of the benefits of life insurance. If expanded, the product according to each insurance company, there are many more benefits from life insurance. After we know a basic knowledge about the importance and the benefits of life insurance, then the second step is to act and find one of the best insurance companies that we can trust. Finding the best insurance companies and the right policy for our insurance plan can be hard if we didn’t know much about the terms in insurance plan.

In most families the major bread winner will have a term insurance policy as it can be very damaging to families when the main means of financial support is cut off. It is always difficult to determine if you should carry term or permanent life insurance.

Term life insurance really only offers death benefits such as funeral costs etc, so if you die then it is worth having the policy. Term insurance is the more affordable way to have death benefits. Currently term life insurance is the simplest form of insurance you can purchase. You can purchase large amounts of this insurance for a long time at very low prices. If you need to pay off a loan and may have difficulties if a family member dies or if you want to protect your children then term life insurance is an excellent insurance choice. The main benefit from term insurance is that you receive large payouts after a short time period. Having term insurance coverage is great if you are carrying debt as it can cover the debt instead of leaving your debt to your nearest relative.

It ensures that your family will not suffer the consequences of living without your earnings. You want to be sure that your family won’t have to uproot their lives and change their living standards in the event their income level is affected by your premature or unexpected death. And you can continue driving through the highway of life, without having to suffer the anxiety of wondering what will happen to those who depend on your earnings.

 

Tips From Life Insurance Agent

Life Insurance is an insurance product that pays at the death of the insured. It really should be called “Death Insurance,” but people don’t like that name. But it insures the death of an individual. Actually, what is insured is the economic loss that would occur at the death of the person insured.

Those economic losses take a lot of different forms, such as:

– the income stream of either “breadwinner” in a family
– the loss of services to the family of a stay-at-home-mom
– the final expenses at the death of a child
– final expenses of an individual after an illness and medical treatment
– “Keyman” coverage, which insures the owner or valuable employee of a business against the economic loss the business would suffer at their death
– estate planning insurance, where a person is insured to pay estate taxes at death
– “Buy and Sell Agreements,” in which life insurance is purchased to fund a business transaction at the untimely death of parties in the transaction
– Accidental death insurance, in which a person buys a policy that pays in case they die due to an accident
– Mortgage life insurance, in which the borrower buys a policy that pays off the mortgage at death – and many more.

Life insurance has been around for hundreds of years, and in some cases, has become a much better product. The insurance companies have been able to develop mortality tables, which are studies of statistical patterns of human death over time…usually over a lifetime of 100 years. These mortality tables are surprisingly accurate, and allow the insurance companies to closely predict how many people of any given age will die each year. From these tables and other information, the insurance companies derive the cost of the insurance policy.

The cost is customarily expressed in an annual cost per thousand of coverage. For example, if you wanted to buy $10,000 of coverage, and the cost per thousand was $10.00, your annual premium would be $100.00.

Modern medicine and better nutrition has increased the life expectancy of most people. Increased life expectancy has facilitated a sharp decrease in life insurance premiums. In many cases, the cost of insurance is only pennies per thousand.

There is really only one type of life insurance, and that is Term Insurance. That means that a person is insured for a certain period of time, or a term. All of the other life insurance products have term insurance as their main ingredient. There is no other ingredient they can use. However, the insurance companies have invented many, many other life products that tend to obscure the reasons for life insurance. They also vastly enrich the insurance companies.

Term Insurance

The most basic life insurance is an annual renewable term policy. Each year, the premium is a little higher as a person ages. The insurance companies designed a level premium policy, which stopped the annual premium increases for policyholders. The insurers basically added up all the premiums from age 0 to age 100 and then divided by 100. That means that in the early years of the policy, the policyholder pays in more money that it takes to fund the pure insurance cost, and then in later years the premium is less than the pure insurance cost.

The same level term product can be designed for terms of any length, like 5, 10, 20, 25 or 30 year terms. The method of premium averaging is much the same in each case.

But this new product caused some problems. Insurers know that the vast majority of policyholders do not keep a policy for life. Consequently the level term policyholders were paying future premiums and then cancelling their policies. The insurance companies were delighted because they got to keep the money. But over time, they developed the concept of Cash Value.

Cash Value Insurance

With Cash Value insurance, a portion of the unused premium you spend is credited to an account tied to your policy. The money is not yours…it belongs entirely to the insurance company. If you cancel your policy and request a refund, they will refund that money to you. Otherwise, you have other choices:

1. Use the cash value to buy more insurance
2. Use the cash value to pay existing premiums
3. You may borrow the money at interest
4. If you die, the insurance company keeps the cash value and only pays the face amount of the insurance policy.

So, does this cash value product make sense? My response is “NO!”

Cash Value Life Insurance comes in lots of other names, such as:

– Whole Life
– Universal Life
– Variable Life
– Interest Sensitive Life
– Non-Participating Life (no dividends)
– Participating Life (pays dividends)

Many life insurance agents and companies tout their products as an investment product. But cash value insurance is not an investment. Investment dollars and insurance premiums should never be combined into one product. And investment dollars should NEVER be invested with an insurance company. They are middle men. They will take your investment and invest it themselves, and keep the difference.

Think about the methods that agents use to sell life insurance, and compare them to any other type of insurance. What you’ll see is that life insurance sales tactics and techniques are ridiculous when compared to other insurance products.

Would you ever consider buying a car insurance policy, or homeowners policy, or business insurance policy in which you paid extra premium that the insurance company kept, or made you borrow from them? But, curiously, life insurance agents have been wildly successful convincing otherwise intelligent people that cash value life insurance is a good product to buy.

Care to guess why insurance agents have aggressively sold cash value insurance and eschewed term insurance?

Commissions.

The insurance companies have become vastly wealthy on cash value insurance. So, to encourage sales, they pay huge commissions. Term insurance commissions can range from 10% to 50%, sometimes even 100%. But cash value insurance commissions can be up to 100% of the first year’s premium, and handsome renewal commissions for years after.

But it’s not just the commission rate that matters. It’s also the premium rates that come into play. Term insurance is FAR CHEAPER than cash value insurance.

Here’s an example of a 30 year old male, non-smoker, buying $100,000 of coverage:

Term insurance costs $0.50 per thousand for a premium of $50.00. At 100% commission, the commission would be $50.00.

Cash Value insurance costs $12.50 per thousand for a premium of $1,250.00. At 100% commission, the commission would be $1,250.00.

So you see that it would be easy for an agent to place his own financial well-being ahead of the well-being of his client. He would have to sell 25 term policies to make the same commission as only one cash value policy.

But, in my opinion, that agent would have violated his fiduciary duty to the client, which is the duty to place the client’s needs above his own. The agent would also have to set aside his conscience.

My opinion is that life insurance agents operate from one of three positions:

1. Ignorance – they simply don’t know how cash value insurance works.
2. Greed – they know exactly how cash value insurance works and sell it anyway.
3. Knowledge and Duty – they sell term insurance.

Which agent do you want to do business with?

How do I know this stuff? Because I sold cash value life insurance early in my career.

When I started as an insurance agent in 1973 I knew absolutely nothing about how life insurance worked. The insurance company taught me to sell whole life insurance, and to discourage clients from term insurance. But, after some time of reading and research, I learned that cash value insurance is a bad deal. I began to sell only term insurance. I refused to set aside my conscience. I also went back to some early clients and switched their policies from cash value to term.

The insurance company fired me for that decision.

I found a new insurance company that only sold term insurance and also paid high commissions. I made a good living selling term insurance, so I know it can be done.

So, as you shop for life insurance, please accept the advice of an old agent. Never, never, ever buy cash value life insurance. Buy term insurance.

 

Signs That You Need Life Insurance

Credit insurance is one of the most misunderstood and fraudulently marketed products in the field of personal finance. The types of insurance sold by creditors to debtors range from the old standard credit life and accident and sickness insurance to such worthless contracts as “life events” which will be explained below. Almost all of these policies are grossly overpriced and are a source of substantial profits for lenders and sales finance companies.

The use of insurance as a type of security for a loan or other extension of credit is not an inherently a bad choice. Both the creditor and the debtor can benefit from removing the risk of death or disability from the equation. If the reduced risk is a factor in providing a lower interest rate, or in basic credit approval, it can be a win-win situation. The problem arises, however, when the creditor intimidates or otherwise induces a customer to purchase an insurance product not for its effect on risk but as an additional and substantial source of revenue.

Normally insurance rates are set by the competitive market, which tends to hold rates down at least for the reasonably informed consumer who does some comparison shopping. Automobile insurance companies, for example, are highly competitive and the rates are seldom regulated. But in the context of an application for credit there may be no competition at the point of sale of the insurance. The creditor may be the only practicable source. The only “competition” is between insurance companies to see who can charge the highest premium and pay the highest commission to the creditor or its officers for selling the coverage. This tends to force rates up rather than down and has been dubbed “reverse competition”.

During the 1950s as consumer credit was expanding rapidly and many states had strict usury laws (laws limiting maximum finance charge rates) both lenders and sellers began relying on commissions from credit insurance premiums to pad the bottom line profits. Many engaged in selling excessive coverage (not needed to pay the debt if something happened to the debtor) and nearly all charged outrageous premiums, with 50% or more being paid to the creditor or its employees, officers or directors as “commissions” for writing the coverage. As incentives for paying as few claims as possible there were also “experience refunds” awarded to creditors, which sometimes raised the total compensation to 70% or more of the premiums. In addition, the premium was added to the loan or unpaid balance of the sale price and finance charges were charged on the premium.

Finally the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) declared it had had enough of the consumer abuse and model legislation was drawn up and passed in nearly every state authorizing insurance commissioners to limit the amount and cost of credit life and accident and sickness insurance…the two biggest sellers in the field. In some jurisdictions the legislation had very little effect because the commissioners would not seriously exercise their new regulatory powers, but in others the rates came down almost immediately. Over a number of years where there was pressure from consumer groups the rates on these two products reached a reasonable level…with some states requiring that the rates produce a 50 or 60 per cent “loss ratio”….ratio of incurred claims to earned premiums….and limiting commission payments to creditors.

While this progress helped the consumer buying credit life and accident and sickness insurance creditors soon realized that it was easy to develop new products which were not regulated under the NAIC model law…products such as “involuntary unemployment insurance” to protect the consumer against job loss and “unpaid family leave” insurance to make payments in the event of a family emergency that required the debtor to have to leave his job temporarily.

Now, back to the question of whether you should purchase credit related insurance in connection with your next transaction, that really depends on the type of transactions, your individual circumstances and the kind of coverage in question. The first question to answer before deciding who to buy credit life insurance from is whether you need life insurance at all. The first step in the answer is “Do I already have life insurance in sufficient amount to cover this obligation and other needs?” If so it is obvious you don’t need any more, and the answer should be “No”.

Life insurance is justified when (a) there are dependents to be cared for after you are gone; (b) you have a moral obligation to a co-signer or co-maker or guarantor…possibly a family member…that you will pay at least your portion of an obligation, living or dead; (c) you own property or other assets which you want to leave to someone upon your demise, and unless this debt is otherwise paid the property may have to be sold to pay it; (d) you are buying something important “on time”, such as a home or an expensive vehicle, and don’t want it to be foreclosed or repossessed if you are not there to make the payments; or (e) you and a partner have invested heavily in a business that depends on both of you working, and you don’t want your partner to suffer a hardship if you are not there. There may be other reasons, but the point is that you must examine your individual circumstances.

You do NOT need life insurance if you have no dependents, own very little and are not leaving anything to anyone, and there is no co-maker to protect, because your debts essentially die with you. No one will have to pay them if you don’t. And if there is no money to bury or cremate your remains don’t worry. Something will be done with them because public health requires it. If you want an expensive send-off buy just enough to pay for the funeral and name a beneficiary with instructions to use it for that purpose so your creditors won’t try to grab it.

If you want to make gifts to others when you die, perhaps to make up for the mistreatment of them while you were around, life insurance is a very expensive “estate substitute”. It is better to put your money into savings than to pay it to some national insurance corporation on the hope that you will profit by dying. With life insurance you are essentially betting that you will die and the insurer is betting you won’t.

Assuming you decide you need life insurance, the next question is whether to buy it from a creditor or on the open competitive market. Most of the time it is best to purchase a proper amount of term life insurance payable either to a beneficiary, or to a trust for the benefit of minor dependents, or to your estate to be used to pay your last rites and obligations. If you have it paid to a beneficiary, such as your spouse or children, your creditors cannot claim it for the payment of your bills….unless you designate a particular creditor as a beneficiary to the extent of your debt obligation. No creditor has an insurable interest in your life except to the extent of your debt.

If you owe a mortgage debt on your home it may be wise to scale your term life policy to approximate the amount of your mortgage so it will be paid off for the benefit of your spouse and children if you, a provider, cannot provide. If you have a car note you need to adjust your total life insurance amount to discharge that obligation as well, so that whoever gets the car gets it free and clear. If you don’t care what happens to the vehicle don’t worry about the additional coverage. The creditor will take it and sell it and eat the balance. It is theoretically possible for a sales finance creditor to sue an estate for a deficiency after repossession but it very seldom occurs. It’s just too much trouble.

Aside from large obligations such as home mortgages and car notes there is usually very little justification for buying life insurance, and certainly not from a creditor. The premium rates on creditor-provided life insurance are much higher, as a general rule, than the rates for other life coverage.

Credit life insurance comes in three varieties…level, decreasing, and revolving. Level life insurance begins and ends with the same coverage over the term and is normally associated with single payment obligations. It is illegal in most states to sell level life insurance on installment transactions. Decreasing credit life comes in two sub-varieties…gross and net. Gross decreasing credit life begins with the “total of payments” (the principal plus all interest you will probably have to pay over the whole term of debt) and decreases by one monthly payment each month until it reaches zero at the end of the term. Net decreasing credit life starts at the “amount financed” and declines as the principal balance declines over the term. Usually net decreasing life is enough to pay the obligation because it tracks the remaining principal, unless you fail to keep up with the payment schedule and reduce the debt accordingly. Gross decreasing life will normally be excessive at the beginning and less so as the term continues. For example, if the principal is $10,000 and there will be $4000 in finance charges on a car note over a six-year term, the insurance will start at $14,000, but during the first month the debtor in fact only owes $10,000 plus a few days interest. This means that if the debtor dies during the term the excess coverage should be paid either to the debtor’s estate or to a named beneficiary. In some states creditors are limited to net decreasing life plus three or four months of payments just in case the account is in arrears at the time of death.

Auto accident deaths create a unique insurance situation where credit life is involved because the casualty insurance on the vehicle will often pay off the car note leaving the credit life insurance to be paid directly to the debtor’s estate as a cash benefit. Millions of dollars of insurance benefits have been lost because the surviving spouse was unaware of the double coverage on the note.

“Revolving account” credit life insurance usually involves a monthly premium computed on the basis of the outstanding balance being billed. The premium covers that amount for 30 days, discharging the obligation if death occurs before the next billing date.

Unfortunately, national banks that issue credit cards have developed a scam to get around the accusation of illegally high credit life premiums. Most of them if pressed would take the position that since they are a “national” bank the states cannot limit their insurance premiums, even if the state also limits premiums charged by state banks, but this legal position stands on shaky ground.

Many have issued their own policies in the form of “debt cancellation clauses” which are amendments to credit card agreements under which the account balance will be canceled if the debtor dies. But because of the risk that some state may clamp down on their rate-setting practices they “bundle” the credit life with up to a dozen other coverages, nearly all of which are not rate-regulated, so the charges produce a very large margin of profit. They won’t sell credit life alone, but require an “all or none” purchase of the various components such as credit accident and sickness, involuntary unemployment coverage, unpaid family leave coverage and even such weird products as “college graduation”, “having a baby”, “retirement”, “divorce” and other “life events”, each of which results in a month or two of benefits at the minimum payment level on the account. These bundled products usually cost upward of $1.00 per $100 per month, or twelve per cent per annum on top of the existing finance charge rate. Truth in Lending does not require that additional 12% to be reflected in the annual percentage rate, however, because the coverage is deemed “voluntary” and not part of the “finance charge”.

So the answer to the initial question is a resounding “maybe”…depending on your individual circumstances, the options available to you, and the cost of each alternative. Perhaps having read this you will know what questions to ask and make an informed choice.

 

Choose The Right Insurance

Term Life by definition is a life insurance policy which provides a stated benefit upon the holder’s death, provided that the death occurs within a certain specified time period. However, the policy does not provide any returns beyond the stated benefit, unlike an insurance policy which allows investors to share in returns from the insurance company’s investment portfolio.

Annually renewable term life.

Historically, a term life rate increased each year as the risk of death became greater. While unpopular, this type of life policy is still available and is commonly referred to as annually renewable term life (ART).

Guaranteed level term life.

Many companies now also offer level term life. This type of insurance policy has premiums that are designed to remain level for a period of 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 or even 30 years. Level term life policies have become extremely popular because they are very inexpensive and can provide relatively long term coverage. But, be careful! Most level term life insurance policies contain a guarantee of level premiums. However some policies don’t provide such guarantees. Without a guarantee, the insurance company can surprise you by raising your life insurance rate, even during the time in which you expected your premiums to remain level. Needless to say, it is important to make sure that you understand the terms of any life insurance policy you are considering.
Return of premium term life insurance

Return of premium term insurance (ROP) is a relatively new type of insurance policy that offers a guaranteed refund of the life insurance premiums at the end of the term period assuming the insured is still living. This type of term life insurance policy is a bit more expensive than regular term life insurance, but the premiums are designed to remain level. These returns of premium term life insurance policies are available in 15, 20, or 30-year term versions. Consumer interest in these plans has continued to grow each year, as they are often significantly less expensive than permanent types of life insurance, yet, like many permanent plans, they still may offer cash surrender values if the insured doesn’t die.

Types of Permanent Life Insurance Policies

A permanent life insurance policy by definition is a policy that provides life insurance coverage throughout the insured’s lifetime ñ the policy never ends as long as the premiums are paid. In addition, a permanent life insurance policy provides a savings element that builds cash value.
Universal Life

Life insurance which combines the low-cost protection of term life with a savings component that is invested in a tax-deferred account, the cash value of which may be available for a loan to the policyholder. Universal life was created to provide more flexibility than whole life by allowing the holder to shift money between the insurance and savings components of the policy. Additionally, the inner workings of the investment process are openly displayed to the holder, whereas details of whole life investments tend to be quite scarce. Premiums, which are variable, are broken down by the insurance company into insurance and savings. Therefore, the holder can adjust the proportions of the policy based on external conditions. If the savings are earning a poor return, they can be used to pay the premiums instead of injecting more money. If the holder remains insurable, more of the premium can be applied to insurance, increasing the death benefit. Unlike with whole life, the cash value investments grow at a variable rate that is adjusted monthly. There is usually a minimum rate of return. These changes to the interest scheme allow the holder to take advantage of rising interest rates. The danger is that falling interest rates may cause premiums to increase and even cause the policy to lapse if interest can no longer pay a portion of the insurance costs.

To age 100 level guaranteed life insurance

This type of life policy offers a guaranteed level premium to age 100, along with a guaranteed level death benefit to age 100. Most often, this is accomplished within a Universal Life policy, with the addition of a feature commonly known as a “no-lapse rider”. Some, but not all, of these plans also include an “extension of maturity” feature, which provides that if the insured lives to age 100, having paid the “no-lapse” premiums each year, the full face amount of coverage will continue on a guaranteed basis at no charge thereafter.

Survivorship or 2nd-to-die life insurance

A survivorship life policy, also called 2nd-to-die life, is a type of coverage that is generally offered either as universal or whole life and pays a death benefit at the later death of two insured individuals, usually a husband and wife. It has become extremely popular with wealthy individuals since the mid-1980’s as a method of discounting their inevitable future estate tax liabilities which can, in effect, confiscate an amount to over half of a family’s entire net worth!

Congress instituted an unlimited marital deduction in 1981. As a result, most individuals arrange their affairs in a manner such that they delay the payment of any estate taxes until the second insured’s death. A “2nd-to-die” life policy allows the insurance company to delay the payment of the death benefit until the second insured’s death, thereby creating the necessary dollars to pay the taxes exactly when they are needed! This coverage is widely used because it is generally much less expensive than individual permanent life coverage on either spouse.

Variable Universal Life

A form of whole life which combines some features of universal life, such as premium and death benefit flexibility, with some features of variable life, such as more investment choices. Variable universal life adds to the flexibility of universal life by allowing the holder to choose among investment vehicles for the savings portion of the account. The differences between this arrangement and investing individually are the tax advantages and fees that accompany the insurance policy.

Whole Life

Insurance which provides coverage for an individual’s whole life, rather than a specified term. A savings component, called cash value or loan value, builds over time and can be used for wealth accumulation. Whole life is the most basic form of cash value insurance. The insurance company essentially makes all of the decisions regarding the policy. Regular premiums both pay insurance costs and cause equity to accrue in a savings account. A fixed death benefit is paid to the beneficiary along with the balance of the savings account. Premiums are fixed throughout the life of the policy even though the breakdown between insurance and savings swings toward the insurance over time. Management fees also eat up a portion of the premiums. The insurance company will invest money primarily in fixed-income securities, meaning that the savings investment will be subject to interest rate and inflation risk.

 

All About Packages of Life Insurance

Life Insurance (though it shouldn’t be) is to this day a very controversial issue. There seems to be a lot of different types of life insurance out there, but there are really only two kinds. They are Term Insurance and Whole Life (Cash Value) Insurance. Term Insurance is pure insurance. It protects you over a certain period of time. Whole Life Insurance is insurance plus a side account known as cash value. Generally speaking, consumer reports recommend term insurance as the most economical choice and they have for some time. But still, whole life insurance is the most prevalent in today’s society. Which one should we buy?

Let’s talk about the purpose of life insurance. Once we get the proper purpose of insurance down to a science, then everything else will fall into place. The purpose of life insurance is the same purpose as any other type of insurance. It is to “insure against loss of”. Car insurance is to insure your car or someone else’s car in case of an accident. So in other words, since you probably couldn’t pay for the damage yourself, insurance is in place. Home owners insurance is to insure against loss of your home or items in it. So since you probably couldn’t pay for a new house, you buy an insurance policy to cover it.

Life insurance is the same way. It is to insure against loss of your life. If you had a family, it would be impossible to support them after you died, so you buy life insurance so that if something were to happen to you, your family could replace your income. Life insurance is not to make you or your descendants rich or give them a reason to kill you. Life insurance is not to help you retire (or else it would be called retirement insurance)! Life insurance is to replace your income if you die. But the wicked ones have made us believe otherwise, so that they can overcharge us and sell all kinds of other things to us to get paid.

How Does Life Insurance Work?

Rather than make this complicated, I will give a very simple explanation on how and what goes down in an insurance policy. As a matter of fact, it will be over simplified because we would otherwise be here all day. This is an example. Let’s say that you are 31 years old. A typical term insurance policy for 20 years for $200,000 would be about $20/month. Now… if you wanted to buy a whole life insurance policy for $200,000 you might pay $100/month for it. So instead of charging you $20 (which is the true cost) you will be overcharged by $80, which will then be put into a savings account.

Now, this $80 will continue to accumulate in a separate account for you. Typically speaking, if you want to get some of YOUR money out of the account, you can then BORROW IT from the account and pay it back with interest. Now… let’s say you were to take $80 dollars a month and give it to your bank. If you went to withdraw the money from your bank account and they told you that you had to BORROW your own money from them and pay it back with interest, you would probably go clean upside somebody’s head. But somehow, when it comes to insurance, this is okay

This stems from the fact that most people don’t realize that they are borrowing their own money. The “agent” (of the insurance Matrix) rarely will explain it that way. You see, one of the ways that companies get rich, is by getting people to pay them, and then turn around and borrow their own money back and pay more interest! Home equity loans are another example of this, but that is a whole different sermon.

Deal or No Deal

Let us stick with the previous illustration. Let us say the one thousand 31 year olds ( all in good health) bought the aforementioned term policy (20 years, $200,000 dollars at $20/month). If these people were paying $20/month, that is $240 per year. If you take that and multiply it over the 20 year term then you will have $4800. So each individual will pay $4800 over the life of the term. Since one thousand individuals bought the policy, they will end up paying 4.8 million in premiums to the company. The insurance company has already calculated that around 20 people with good health (between the ages of 31 and 51) will die. So if 20 people pass away, then the company will have to pay out 20 x $200,000 or $4,000,000. So, if the company pays out $4,000,000 and takes in $4,800,000 it will then make a $800,000 profit.

This is of course OVER simplifying because a lot of people will cancel the policy (which will also bring down the number of death claims paid), and some of those premiums can be used to accumulate interest, but you can get a general idea of how things work.

On the other hand, let’s look at whole life insurance. Let us say the one thousand 31 year olds (all in good health) bought the aforementioned whole life policy ($200,000 dollars at $100/month). These people are paying $100/month. That is $1200 per year. If the average person’s lifespan (in good health people) goes to 75, then on average, the people will pay 44 years worth of premiums. If you take that and multiply it by $1200 you will get $52,800. So each individual will pay $52,800 over the life of the policy. Since one thousand individuals bought the policy, they will end up paying 52.8 million in premiums to the company. If you buy a whole life policy, the insurance company has already calculated the probability that you will die. What is that probability? 100%, because it is a whole life (till death do us part) insurance policy! This means that if everyone kept their policies, the insurance company would have to pay out 1000 x $200,000 = $2,000,000,000) That’s right, two billion dollars!

Ladies and gentleman, how can a company afford to pay out two billion dollars knowing that it will only take in 52.8 million? Now just like in the previous example, this is an oversimplification as policies will lapse. As a matter of fact, MOST whole life policies do lapse because people can’t afford them, I hope you see my point. Let’s take the individual. A 31 year old male bought a policy in which he is suppose to pay in $52,800 and get $200,000 back? There no such thing as a free lunch. The company somehow has to weasel $147,200 out of him, JUST TO BREAK EVEN on this policy! Not to mention, pay the agents (who get paid much higher commissions on whole life policies), underwriters, insurance fees, advertising fees, 30 story buildings… etc, etc.

This doesn’t even take into account these variable life and universal life policies that claim to be so good for your retirement. So you are going to pay $52,800 into a policy and this policy will make you rich, AND pay you the $200,000 death benefit, AND pay the agents, staff and fees? This has to be a rip off.

Well, how could they rip you off? Maybe for the first five years of the policy, no cash value will accumulate (you may want to check your policy). Maybe it’s misrepresenting the value of the return (this is easy if the customer is not knowledgeable on exactly how investments work). Also, if you read my article on the Rule of 72 you can clearly see that giving your money to someone else to invest can lose you millions! You see, you may pay in $52,800 but that doesn’t take into account how much money you LOSE by not investing it yourself! This is regardless of how well your agent may tell you the company will invest your money! Plain and simple, they have to get over on you somehow or they would go out of business!

How long do you need life insurance?

Let me explain what is called The Theory of Decreasing Responsibility, and maybe we can answer this question. Let’s say that you and your spouse just got married and have a child. Like most people, when they are young they are also crazy, so they go out and buy a new car and a new house. Now, here you are with a young child and debt up to the neck! In this particular case, if one of you were to pass away, the loss of income would be devastating to the other spouse and the child. This is the case for life insurance. BUT, this is what happens. You and your spouse begin to pay off that debt. Your child gets older and less dependent on you. You start to build up your assets. Keep in mind that I am talking about REAL assets, not fake or phantom assets like equity in a home (which is just a fixed interest rate credit card)

In the end, the situation is like this. The child is out of the house and no longer dependent on you. You don’t have any debt. You have enough money to live off of, and pay for your funeral (which now costs thousands of dollars because the DEATH INDUSTRY has found new ways to make money by having people spend more honor and money on a person after they die then they did while that person was alive). So… at this point, what do you need insurance for? Exactly… absolutely nothing! So why would you buy Whole Life (a.k.a. DEATH) Insurance? The idea of a 179 year old person with grown children who don’t depend on him/her still paying insurance premiums is asinine to say the least.

As a matter of fact, the need for life insurance could be greatly decreased and quickly eliminated, if one would learn not to accumulate liabilities, and quickly accumulate wealth first. But I realize that this is almost impossible for most people in this materialistic, Middle Classed matrixed society. But anyway, let’s take it a step further.

Confused Insurance Policies

This next statement is very obvious, but very profound. Living and dying are exact opposites of each other. Why do I say this? The purpose of investing is to accumulate enough money in case you live to retire. The purpose of buying insurance is to protect your family and loved ones if you die before you can retire. These are two diametrically opposed actions! So, if an “agent” waltzes into your home selling you a whole life insurance policy and telling you that it can insure your life AND it can help you retire, your Red Pill Question should be this:

“If this plan will help me retire securely, why will I always need insurance? And on the other hand, if I will be broke enough later on in life that I will still need insurance, then how is this a good retirement plan?”

Now if you ask an insurance agent those questions, she/he may become confused. This of course comes from selling confused policies that do two opposites at once.

Norman Dacey said it best in the book “What’s Wrong With Your Life Insurance”

“No one could ever quarrel with the idea of providing protection for one’s family while at the same time accumulating a fund for some such purpose as education or retirement. But if you try to do both of these jobs through the medium of one insurance policy, it is inevitable that both jobs will be done badly.”

So you see, even though there are a lot of new variations of whole life, like variable life and universal life, with various bells and whistles (claiming to be better than the original, typical whole life policies), the Red Pill Question must always be asked! If you are going to buy insurance, then buy insurance! If you are going to invest, then invest. It’s that simple. Don’t let an insurance agent trick you into buying a whole life policy based on the assumption that you are too incompetent and undisciplined to invest your own money.

If you are afraid to invest your money because you don’t know how, then educate yourself! It may take some time, but it is better than giving your money to somebody else so they can invest it for you (and get rich with it). How can a company be profitable when it takes the money from it’s customers, invests it, and turns around and gives it’s customers all of the profits?

And don’t fall for the old “What if the term runs out and you can’t get re-insured trick”. Listen, there are a lot of term policies out there that are guaranteed renewable until an old age (75-100). Yes, the price is a lot higher, but you must realize that if you buy a whole life policy, you will have been duped out of even more money by the time you get to that point (if that even happens). This is also yet another reason to be smart with your money. Don’t buy confused policies.

How much should you buy?

I normally recommend 8-10 times your yearly income as a good face amount for your insurance. Why so high? Here is the reason. Let’s say that you make $50,000 per year. If you were to pass away, your family could take $500,000 (10 times $50,000) and put it into a fund that pays 10 percent (which will give them $40,000 per year) and not touch the principle. So what you have done is replaced your income.

This is another reason why Whole Life insurance is bad. It is impossible to afford the amount of insurance you need trying to buy super high priced policies. Term insurance is much cheaper. To add to this, don’t let high face values scare you. If you have a lot of liabilities and you are worried about your family, it is much better to be underinsured than to have no insurance at all. Buy what you can manage. Don’t get sold what you can’t manage.

Looking to invest in an IRA? What is the Best IRA to invest in?

 

Life Insurance Policy

The primary purpose for getting life insurance will always be to protect the people you care about in case something were to happen to you. How much capital would you need in order to pay off debts, support your loved ones, or to take care of all your affairs?

After you understand what priorities you would like to protect through life insurance it is fairly easy to determine the correct amount of coverage.

What Type Of Life Insurance

The next question is what type of coverage will best serve your needs. In order to get the right amount of coverage you also have to make sure that the premiums fit comfortably into your budget.

Term Insurance Benefits

Term insurance is less expensive than whole life insurance, because you are renting the insurance. Your coverage is considered pure insurance in this case, because it doesn’t develop cash value or participate in company dividends.

Instead it allows you to get the right amount of protection for the least expensive premiums available. Term insurance has also developed over the years to offer more comprehensive options. You can get a return-of-premiums policy where you pay more during the life of the policy, but the insurance company refunds all of your premiums at the end of the fixed term.

There are also term policies that allow you to lock in your age and health for the remainder of your life, so that you can have the coverage and premiums locked in for the rest of your life. This is a great and inexpensive way to obtain permanent insurance.

How Long Should You Lock In Your Premiums

The longer you can lock in your premiums the more advantageous it will be in the long run. The insurance company takes into consideration the mortality risk during the level period of the term. If you are 35 and you get a level 20-term policy then the rates will be fixed until you are 55. And because you are locking in the premiums at a younger age, the average risk and rates will be less than if you were to lock in your premiums at 55.

Most people have an insurance need that will last throughout the rest of their lives. If you can permanently lock in a portion of your insurance at a younger age this can save you substantially on premiums. It happens quite often where people will have to apply for new coverage after the fixed rates on their current policy have expired, and because they are now older and have to pay much more in premiums.

Your health is also locked in when you first take the policy out. Many people looking for insurance in their fifties or sixties are dealing with some type of medical condition that makes the cost of life insurance double or triple in cost. The same logic that applies to locking in your age is also good to keep in mind when locking in your health. We don’t know what is going to happen to us, and if we have our insurance locked in then our insurability and premiums will be unaffected by a medical event.

Level Term Insurance

I always recommend getting a level-term policy as opposed to one that will start off lower and increase premiums each and every year. The level term policies allow you to lock in your age and health for the remainder of the term, whereas the increasing-premium policies become more expensive every year based on your new age.

Because term insurance is a less expensive way to get the right amount of protection, I believe that it is the right choice for a large majority of people looking at life insurance.

Cash Value Life Insurance: When To Consider It

First A Word Of Caution About How The Life Insurance Industry Operates

An agent who pushes one company above the others is doing his or her clients a disservice. Every company has its positives and negatives and each company has focused on certain demographics to try to create a competitive edge. There are 17 life insurance companies in the fortune 500 alone. These companies have very similar investment portfolios and conduct business in ways that are more common than not. Eight of these companies are mutual, nine are stock companies, and they all operate in order to make a profit. The most important thing that anybody can do is to have an agent who can help them shop the market for the company that is going to fit their needs best. Somebody that is a smoker with high blood pressure is going to have better options outside of the companies that target nonsmokers without health conditions. Finding the least expensive company on the market for your age and health can save you thousands of dollars.

I used to work for an insurance agency where we only sold a single triple-A-rated-insurance company. When I worked for this agency, my fellow agents and I were especially inculcated with the benefits of this company’s whole life insurance. This situation is not unique.

Captive agencies have managers that groom agents to push one company because they get paid commissions when their agents sell these products. Please don’t assume that life insurance agents are experts on the benefits of different companies and types of insurance plans, because many of them are unaware of the benefits beyond their own company. Instead of consulting their clients and shopping the market they push a single product that doesn’t always match up well. There are far too many people being given advice from agents to consider whole life insurance, because they are trained to present the same products to every client.

When You Are Considering An Insurance Company It Will Always Be Advantageous For Some People And Ill Advised For Others

If you sit down with an agent who goes over a list of benefits about a single insurance company, keep in mind that most benefits are really trade-offs. For instance, if a company is a triple-A rated insurance company than they are probably also more conservative with whom they insure. A triple-A rating is great, but it is really only necessary if you plan on participating in the companies dividends, or in other words buying their whole life insurance. There is no need to pay extra money for the privilege of having a triple-A rated company as many agents insist. A.M. Best considers a company with an A-rating to be in excellent financial health and there are many A-rated companies with less expensive insurance offers if you are not planning on participating in whole life.

When Whole Life Insurance is a Good Idea

For some people, whole life insurance can be a great complement to their financial security. I have sold whole life insurance based on the following benefits.
1) It has a guaranteed return that will consistently build up the cash value in the policy.
2) It gives policyholders permanent insurance so that they are insured throughout their lifetime.
3) It allows them to stop paying premiums after a certain number of years, because the dividends from the company will be enough to keep the policy in force.
4) It allows policyholders to take cash from the policy in the form of a loan, so that you have another option if liquidity is needed.
5) The growth of the policy is tax deferred and tax-free as long as long as the policy is kept in force.

The problem can be that many of these benefits point to life insurance as an asset or investment. Life insurance should always be considered for the death benefit first and foremost. If you have already maxed out both your Roth Ira and 401(k), have at least three months of expenses in accessible savings, and are looking for something else to build up savings then whole-life insurance can be a good option. The point is that whole life insurance is a good choice when you have the ability to max out your qualified retirement funds and are looking to complement your savings with a conservative tie in to your life insurance.

Whole life can be a mistake for a couple of reasons

There are risks when putting your money into whole life insurance. The risks aren’t always clearly explained, because the agents focus on the guaranteed dividends that will grow the cash value every year. However, one significant risk is buying into whole-life insurance, paying the premiums for a number of years, and then not being able to keep up with the premiums down the road. Life insurance companies bank on this happening to a certain percentage of policyholders.
If this occurs you are in danger of losing thousands of dollars in paid premiums without the benefit of accumulating any cash value. When a policy lapses or you can’t keep up with whole life premiums then the insurance company will retain your premiums without you having any cash value built up or any insurance in force.
These whole life polices are structured to have large front end expenses and it will take at least a couple of years before your premiums start to build up cash value. It takes about ten years before the amount of premiums you put into the policy will equal the cash value in the policy.

How Cash Value In Whole Life Insurance Works

The other risk with whole life insurance is not understanding how the cash value in the policy works and taking out too much of it. The cash value in the policy is liquid, but the insurance company will let you take out about 97% of it in order to protect against the policy lapsing. Any cash that is taken out of the policy is loaned from the policy at interest.

Lets assume that you are in the first 20 years of your whole life policy and are taking a loan from the cash value in the policy. The loaned interest rate is 8.0 %, the non-loaned dividend interest rate is 6.85%, and the loaned-dividend interest is rate is 7.9 %. Notice that the insurance company steps up the interest rate on the loaned amount or the amount borrowed from your cash value. This mitigates the cost of the loan, but the loan still creates an ongoing obligation to pay interest. For instance the cost of borrowing here would be 6.95 %.

(The loaned interest rate (8.0 %) + (the non-loaned dividend interest rate (6.85%) – the loaned-dividend interest rate (7.9%)) = cost of borrowing (6.95%).

The cash value in the policy is really a double-edged sword, because it leads to a significant risk that you will not be able to keep up with the premiums. It is practically intended for people who can repay the loan quickly so that the policy continues to develop dividends instead of an obligation to pay interest. It is great for people who aren’t ever tempted to borrow from the policy, because the dividends will compound and eventually be able to cover the cost of annual premiums. When this occurs the risk of lapsing will be negligible. However, this takes quite some time to achieve and it truly depends on how disciplined you can afford to be with the additional cost of these premiums. If you would rather have control of your money up front there is an argument that you can buy term and invest the rest instead of leveraging the insurance companies general fund.

Your Personality Profile And Budget Must Be In Line

I recommend taking a look at both your budget and how much control you want over your money for at least the next ten years if you are considering whole life. Because term insurance can now permanently lock in your age and health in the same manner as whole life insurance, the biggest question is whether or not you want control over investing the difference in premiums. Many people prefer whole life insurance because they don’t have to think about investing the difference; the insurance company does it for them. They can also grow their death benefit by the amount of growth in cash value and act as their own creditor if they ever want to borrow cash from the policy.

A Couple Other Points About Whole Life Insurance

The cash value component in a whole life insurance policy needs to be addressed. The first is that cash value is based on compounding dividends. So the longer you keep the paying premiums the more advantageous it is. The second is that if you go with a reliable insurance company they will usually pay non-guaranteed dividends that are based on the results of an insurance companies investments. This is when rating is important to consider, because you are now participating in these dividends. Also if you have allowed the cash value to grow and take out modest loans from the policy later in life, you will most likely have enough in dividends to keep pace beyond the ongoing obligation of interest. However if you do surrender the policy the gains will be taxed as capital gains and you will have to pay a surrender charge as well. If the policy is in force and you pass away while there are still outstanding loans, the death benefit will be paid out after it covers the cost of the loans that you have taken from the policy.

Term Insurance Vs. Whole Life

I believe the most important factor in all of this is the human element. If you are patient, conservative, and comfortably able to continue paying premiums without the temptation to borrow from the cash-value then you are a good candidate for whole life insurance. The majority of people have fluctuating budgets and circumstances where they are better off with something that locks in their age and health and gives them the opportunity to invest the difference elsewhere.

 

All About Life Protection

While insurance isn’t an investment, it’s an important part of sound, savvy personal financial management. Insurance is protection. It protects everything you’ve worked so hard to earn. It protects your spouse in the event of premature death. It sends the kids to college. It holds together a family at a time when money shouldn’t be a concern.

You need insurance but shopping for the right coverage to protect your family and your assets is like learning a new language. Term life, whole life, universal life, actual cash value, dividends, loans against policy – it’s a maze of insurance products out there and finding the right coverage for your needs may take a little research.

Here’s a starter course on getting the most for the least in life insurance and still have the protection you and your family need.

Types of Life Insurance

There are two basic types of life insurance with numerous variations on a theme.

Term life insurance is the simplest to understand. It’s also the most economical protection you can buy.

Term life insurance is paid when the insured (you) pass on within a defined term – a defined length of time your life insurance coverage is in effect. Term life comes with a variety of time frames: five-, ten- even thirty-year terms are available.

The younger you are, the lower the cost of the monthly premium – the dollar amount you pay for protection each month. Premiums are calculated based on two factors – your age (and general health) and the dollar amount of protection you need. It’s simple. A $100,000 term life insurance policy won’t cost as much as a $500,000 policy because you’re buying less protection.

With term life, you keep things simple. The insurance company pays X amount of dollars to the beneficiaries when the insured individual passes on, as long as the policy is in effect, that is, the death occurs during the term of the policy, thus the name term life insurance.

Term life policies don’t accumulate value, you can’t borrow against them and, if you choose a short term and your health changes, you could end up paying more for your term life insurance than you would if you buy a long-term policy – one that covers you for the long term.

To determine how much term life you need, add up funeral costs, outstanding personal debt, mortgage debt, the prospect of paying tuition and other large expenses that would drain family resources. Figure what it would cost your family for a single year.

Then multiply by a factor between 5 and 10. Use the lower factor if you don’t have a lot of debt and the higher factor if you’re carrying a couple of mortgages and you have three kids to put through school. That’s how much term life you need to protect your family and all their expectations.

The other class of insurance is whole life insurance, also called permanent insurance, universal insurance, variable universal insurance and other product names, but all fall into the general class of coverage called whole life insurance.

The first difference between term and whole life is that whole life covers you from the day you buy the policy until you die. Of course, this assumes that you pay your whole life insurance premium each month. There is no term (length of time coverage is in effect) to whole life. Buy it when you’re young and your premiums will be low and you’ll start building cash value.

That’s the other main difference between term and whole life insurance coverage. Whole life pays dividends. Not a lot, but dividends that can be used to lower monthly premiums, or they can be allowed to accumulate earning interest.

Once the whole life policy has accumulated enough cash value you can borrow against that cash value to buy a house or cover some tuition bills. The downside to taking loans against the value of a whole life policy is that it lowers the payout to family in the event of the insured individual’s death.

However, a whole life policy does increase in value while providing protection for your family. The cost of coverage is also higher. Expect to pay more for $500K of whole life versus $500K of term life insurance, simply because the insurer is paying interest on your monthly premiums.

Calculate your coverage needs using the criteria listed above. Don’t think of whole life as a money-maker. It’s not intended to increase your wealth. That’s a side benefit. An important side benefit, but the primary reason for purchasing whole life is to protect your family in the event of your pre-mature death.

Life Insurance Sources

There are hundreds of insurance companies and even more life insurance products so talking to a knowledgeable professional is a good first step.

An insurance broker can advise you but, keep in mind, each insurance broker carries a “line” of products from a limited number of insurance providers so each broker will tell you her products are the best value.

If you do the math yourself, you know going in, how much coverage you want to buy, at which point, it’s just a matter of finding a reputable insurance company offering competitive rates and the benefits you’re looking for.

Another resource is your local bank – often the best place to start researching your life insurance needs. Banks sell a broad range of life insurance products and, because insurance isn’t the primary business of a bank, you’re more likely to get straightforward answers to your questions.

Another reason to visit your bank’s insurance rep is that your bank knows the financial you – how much you have in accounts, how much comes in and goes out on a month to month basis, your tax status and other personal finance information needed to get the right kind of life insurance at the right price.

Talk to your employer. Life insurance may be a benefit along with health care and two weeks vacation, but you may also be able to increase the dollar amount of coverage with money deducted from your paycheck painlessly.

Unions, associations, your local Chamber of Commerce and other organizations are also sources for low-cost term or whole life coverage. Purchasing life insurance coverage through an industry association, for example, gets you group rates that translate into more coverage at a lower monthly premium. On the other hand, when you purchase term or whole life through your union you usually don’t have a choice of insurers and that’s an important point to consider.

Go with an insurance company that’s ranked highly by Standard and Poor or some other rating organization. Your broker or banker will steer you toward quality of coverage so you get more for your money.

Life insurance sounds complicated but, when you break it down into simple terms, it’s something you can do with a trusted advisor to point you down the right path.

Get life insurance. Get term life if you want lower premiums; get whole life if you want your insurance to build cash value against which you can take loans.

It’s your choice. Making the right one saves money and delivers the peace of mind that only quality life insurance protection delivers.

No one likes to think about buying life insurance. It’s depressing. It’s also essential to protect your family and your assets. What kind of life insurance is right for you? Here’s what you need to know before talking to an insurance agent or company.

 

Things You Should Prepare Before Buying Life Insurance

Secret #1: Don’t spend too much time on a life insurance quote.

Do not be fooled by the low price quotes you get online – they don’t apply to you unless you are extremely healthy. Statistically only 10% of people who apply actually get the lowest priced policy. The premium you end up paying has nothing to do with the initial quote you get online or from an agent. It is amazing to me how often I see people getting duped by an agent who quotes company X at a lower price than another agent.

Life insurance policies are the same price no matter who you buy from! One agent or website quoting a lower premium means nothing. Prices for any given policy is based on your age and health. There are a few exceptions to this but that is beyond the breadth of this article.

Most life insurance companies have 10-20 different health/price ratings and no agent or website can assure you the quote they give you is accurate. You have to apply, do a health check, and then go through underwriting (meaning you complete a mini-exam with a nurse in your home and then the company checks you doctor records and reviews and ‘rates’ your health) to get the real price of the policy. Remember that a health rating also factors in your family history, driving record, and the type of occupation you have. Only use quotes to help narrow down your choices to the top companies. You may want to consider a no load or low policy. The more that you save on commissions the more money builds up in your policy. You can even buy term insurance no load, and save a lot on premiums. You will not get the help of an agent, which may be worth something if they are very good.

The most important factor determining price is matching your particular health history with the company best suited for that niche. For instance company X might be best for smokers, company Y for cancer survivors, Company Z for people with high blood pressure, etc.

Secret #2: Ignore the hype on term versus cash value permanent insurance.

You can go crazy reading what everyone has to say on buying term insurance versus a whole or universal life policy. Big name websites give advice that I think borders on fraudulent. Simply put there is NO simple answer on whether you should buy permanent cash value policies or term insurance.

But I do think there is a simple rule of thumb – buy term for your temporary insurance needs and cash value insurance for your permanent needs. I have read in various journals and run mathematical equations myself which basically show that if you have a need for insurance beyond 20 years that you should consider some amount of permanent insurance. This is due to the tax advantage of the growth of the cash value within in a permanent policy. I am divorced and have taken care of my children should I die. I probably no longer need as much insurance as I now have. I have earned a great return on my policies and have paid no taxes. I no longer pay the premiums, because there is so much cash in the policies. I let the policies pay themselves. I would not call most life insurance a good investment. Because I bought my policies correctly, and paid almost no sales commissions my policies are probably my best investments. I no longer own them, so when I die my beneficiaries will get the money both tax free, and estate tax free.

Since most people have short term needs like a mortgage or kids at home they should get some term. Additionally most people want some life insurance in place for their whole life to pay for burial, help with unpaid medical bills and estate taxes and so a permanent policy should be purchased along with the term policy.

Secret #3: Consider applying with two companies at once.

Life insurance companies really don’t like this “trick” because it gives them competition and increases their underwriting costs.

Secret #4: Avoid captive life insurance agents.

Look for a life insurance agent who represents at least fifty life insurance companies and ask them for a multi company quote showing the best prices side by side. Some people try to cut the agent out and just apply online. Just remember that you don’t save any money that way because the commissions normally earned by the agent are just kept by the insurance company or the website insurance company without having your premium lowered.

Plus a good agent can help you maneuver through some of the complexities of filling out the application, setting up your beneficiaries, avoiding mistakes on selecting who should be the owner, the best way to pay your premium, and also will be there to deliver the check and assist your loved ones if the life insurance is ever used.

Secret #5: Consider refinancing old life policies.

Most companies won’t tell you but the price you pay on your old policies has probably come down dramatically if you are in good health. In the last few years life insurance companies have updated their predictions on how long people will live. Since we are living longer they are reducing their rates rather dramatically. Beware the agent may be doing this to obtain a new commission, so make sure it really makes sense.

I really am amazed at how often we find that our client’s old policies are twice as expensive as a new one. If you need new life insurance consider “refinancing” your old policies and using the savings on the old policies to pay for the new policy – that way there is no extra out-of-pocket costs. We like to think of this process as “refinancing your life insurance” – just like you refinance your mortgage.

Secret #6: Realize life insurance companies have target niches that constantly change.

One day company ‘X’ is giving good rates to people who are a little overweight and the next month they are super strict. Company ‘Y’ might be lenient on people with diabetes because they don’t have many diabetics on the books – meaning they will give good rates to diabetics. At the same time company ‘W’ might be very strict on diabetics because they are insuring lots of diabetics and are afraid they have too big of a risk in that area – meaning they will give a bad rate to new diabetics who apply.

Unfortunately when you are applying a life insurance company will not tell you, “Hey, we just raised our rates in diabetics.” They will just happily take your money if you were not smart enough to shop around. This is the number one area a smart agent can come in handy. Since a good multi-company agent is constantly applying with multiple companies he or she will have a good handle on who is currently the most lenient on underwriting for you particular situation. The problem is that this is hard work and many agents are either too busy or not set up to efficiently shop around directly to different underwriters and see who would make you the best offer. This is a lot harder than just running you a quote online.

Secret #7: Don’t forget customer service.

Most people shopping for insurance focus on companies with the lowest price and the best financial rating. Unfortunately I know of some A+ rated companies with low rates who I would not touch with a ten foot pole simply because it’s easier to give birth to a porcupine backwards then it is to get customer service from them.

Before I understood this I used a life insurance company that gave a client a great rate but 2 years later the client called me and said, “I have mailed in all my payments on time but just got a notice saying my policy lapsed.” It turned out the company had been making lots of back office mistakes and had lost the premium payment!

We were able to fix it because we caught the problem so early. But if the client happened to have died during the short period the policy had lapsed, his family might have had a hard time proving that the premium had been paid on time and they might not have received the life insurance money – a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in that case.

Secret #8: Apply 3-6 months ahead of the time you need the insurance if possible.

Don’t be in a hurry to get a policy if you already have some coverage in force. But go ahead and apply right away knowing that you might need months to shop around if the first company does not give you a good rate. Even though the life insurance industry is getting more automated your application will still often be held up for weeks or months while the insurance company waits on your doctor’s office to mail them a copy of you medical records.

If you are in a hurry and buy a quickie ‘no-underwriting’ policy without going through the full health checks and underwriting that a mainstream life insurance company requires, you will end up paying 20%-50% more because the insurance company will automatically charge you higher rates because they don’t know whether you are healthy or about to die the next day.

Secret #9: Avoid buying extra life insurance through work if you are healthy.

I am sure there are exceptions to this “trick” but I have rarely found one. By all means keep the free life insurance your employer provides. But if you are healthy and you are paying for supplemental life insurance through payroll deduction you are almost certainly paying too much. What is happening is that your ‘overpayments’ ends up subsidizing the unhealthy people in your company who are buying life insurance through payroll deduction.

Usually the life insurance company has cut a deal with your employer and will waive the required health exam for all employees – instead they just average the price for all the employees and offer one or two rates for males or females at any given age. Life insurance companies know they will pick up lots of unhealthy clients this way so they jack up the price on everyone so that the healthy people end up overpaying so that the unhealthy employees get a cheaper policy. Also, unlike the guaranteed term policies which we recommend, most life insurance you buy through work will get more expensive as you get older.

Also group life insurance is generally not portable when you retire or change jobs meaning that when you retire or change jobs you might have to apply all over again even though you will be older and probably not as healthy and risk being turned down for a policy. If the group plan does allow portability they generally limit your conversion choices and force you to go into expensive cash value plans.

I remember helping someone evaluate his supplemental life insurance. He was sure it was a better deal than any policy I could find him. Little did he know that the price of his group plan would go up every year? By the time he retired his premium would have risen to over $10,000/year. I found him a policy for around $1000/year that would never go up. Also, unlike his old group life policy, he could take the individual policy with him when he changed jobs or retired.

Secret #10: Do a trial application on a COD payment basis.

Only send money with the application if you need the life insurance coverage right away. Sending a check with the application is a traditional practice agents used to do – I think mostly because it got them their commissions faster. If you send money with an application you usually get temporary coverage immediately but if you already have plenty of coverage and are just trying to get better rates ask your agent to do a trial application on a COD basis so you only pay once the policy is approved. If you do not send money, and you die before paying for the policy there is no coverage.

Secret #11: Wear your shoes when the nurse measures your height.

When the insurance company sends out the nurse to do your health check try to be as tall as possible if you are overweight? In most states you are allowed to wear shoes and if you are a little overweight your taller height/weight ratio will look a little better to the underwriter who is determining your health rating and policy price. Also do your exam early in the morning with no food in you – this will make your cholesterol count and various health ratios look the best.

Secret #12: Be careful with extra perks and riders.

Most policies come with options like accidental death benefit, child riders, disability riders, return of premium etc. If you do the math on most of these “extras” they usually don’t make smart financial sense. Life insurance companies are out to make money and these riders are usually profitable because they either cover something that rarely happens or they are so stringent that the benefit never gets paid out. Keep things simple and focus mainly on getting a life policy to cover your life without many strings attached. Again a good agent can help you weigh the benefits of the extra riders. But be wary of an agent who tries to tack on every possible extra rider.

Understanding Life Insurance

Life Insurance: A Slice of History

The modern insurance contracts that we have today such as life insurance, originated from the practice of merchants in the 14th century. It has also been acknowledged that different strains of security arrangements have already been in place since time immemorial and somehow, they are akin to insurance contracts in its embryonic form.

The phenomenal growth of life insurance from almost nothing a hundred years ago to its present gigantic proportion is not of the outstanding marvels of present-day business life. Essentially, life insurance became one of the felt necessities of human kind due to the unrelenting demand for economic security, the growing need for social stability, and the clamor for protection against the hazards of cruel-crippling calamities and sudden economic shocks. Insurance is no longer a rich man’s monopoly. Gone are the days when only the social elite are afforded its protection because in this modern era, insurance contracts are riddled with the assured hopes of many families of modest means. It is woven, as it were, into the very nook and cranny of national economy. It touches upon the holiest and most sacred ties in the life of man. The love of parents. The love of wives. The love of children. And even the love of business.

Life Insurance as Financial Protection

A life insurance policy pays out an agreed amount generally referred to as the sum assured under certain circumstances. The sum assured in a life insurance policy is intended to answer for your financial needs as well as your dependents in the event of your death or disability. Hence, life insurance offers financial coverage or protection against these risks.

Life Insurance: General Concepts

Insurance is a risk-spreading device. Basically, the insurer or the insurance company pools the premiums paid by all of its clients. Theoretically speaking, the pool of premiums answers for the losses of each insured.

Life insurance is a contract whereby one party insures a person against loss by the death of another. An insurance on life is a contract by which the insurer (the insurance company) for a stipulated sum, engages to pay a certain amount of money if another dies within the time limited by the policy. The payment of the insurance money hinges upon the loss of life and in its broader sense, life insurance includes accident insurance, since life is insured under either contract.

Therefore, the life insurance policy contract is between the policy holder (the assured) and the life insurance company (the insurer). In return for this protection or coverage, the policy holder pays a premium for an agreed period of time, dependent upon the type of policy purchased.

In the same vein, it is important to note that life insurance is a valued policy. This means that it is not a contract of indemnity. The interest of the person insured in hi or another person’s life is generally not susceptible of an exact pecuniary measurement. You simply cannot put a price tag on a person’s life. Thus, the measure of indemnity is whatever is fixed in the policy. However, the interest of a person insured becomes susceptible of exact pecuniary measurement if it is a case involving a creditor who insures the life of a debtor. In this particular scenario, the interest of the insured creditor is measurable because it is based on the value of the indebtedness.

Common Life Insurance Policies

Generally, life insurance policies are often marketed to cater to retirement planning, savings and investment purposes apart from the ones mentioned above. For instance, an annuity can very well provide an income during your retirement years.

Whole life and endowment participating policies or investment linked plans (ILPs) in life insurance policies bundle together a savings and investment aspect along with insurance protection. Hence, for the same amount of insurance coverage, the premiums will cost you more than purchasing a pure insurance product like term insurance.

The upside of these bundled products is that they tend to build up cash over time and they are eventually paid out once the policy matures. Thus, if your death benefit is coupled with cash values, the latter is paid out once the insured dies. With term insurance however, no cash value build up can be had.

The common practice in most countries is the marketing of bundled products as savings products. This is one unique facet of modern insurance practice whereby part of the premiums paid by the assured is invested to build up cash values. The drawback of this practice though is the premiums invested become subjected to investment risks and unlike savings deposits, the guaranteed cash value may be less than the total amount of premiums paid.

Essentially, as a future policy holder, you need to have a thorough assessment of your needs and goals. It is only after this step where you can carefully choose the life insurance product that best suits your needs and goals. If your target is to protect your family’s future, ensure that the product you have chosen meets your protection needs first.

Real World Application

It is imperative to make the most out of your money. Splitting your life insurance on multiple policies can save you more money. If you die while your kids are 3 & 5, you will need a lot more life insurance protection than if your kids are 35 & 40. Let’s say your kids are 3 & 5 now and if you die, they will need at least $2,000,000 to live, to go to college, etc. Instead of getting $2,000,000 in permanent life insurance, which will be outrageously expensive, just go for term life insurance: $100,000 for permanent life insurance, $1,000,000 for a 10-year term insurance, $500,000 for a 20-year term insurance, and $400,000 of 30 years term. Now this is very practical as it covers all that’s necessary. If you die and the kids are 13 & 15 or younger, they will get $2M; if the age is between 13-23, they get $1M; if between 23-33, they get $500,000; if after that, they still get $100,000 for final expenses and funeral costs. This is perfect for insurance needs that changes over time because as the children grow, your financial responsibility also lessens. As the 10, 20, and 30 years term expires, payment of premiums also expires thus you can choose to use that money to invest in stocks and take risks with it.

In a world run by the dictates of money, everyone wants financial freedom. Who doesn’t? But we all NEED financial SECURITY. Most people lose sight of this important facet of financial literacy. They invest everything and risk everything to make more and yet they end up losing most of it, if not all- this is a fatal formula. The best approach is to take a portion of your money and invest in financial security and then take the rest of it and invest in financial freedom.

 

Life Insurance As Investment Tool

A lot of people have been approached about using life insurance as an investment tool. Do you believe that life insurance is an asset or a liability? I will discuss life insurance which I think is one of the best ways to protect your family. Do you buy term insurance or permanent insurance is the main question that people should consider?

Many people choose term insurance because it is the cheapest and provides the most coverage for a stated period of time such as 5, 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. People are living longer so term insurance may not always be the best investment for everyone. If a person selects the 30 year term option they have the longest period of coverage but that would not be the best for a person in their 20’s because if a 25 year old selects the 30 year term policy then at age 55 the term would end. When the person who is 55 years old and is still in great health but still needs life insurance the cost of insurance for a 55 year old can get extremely expensive. Do you buy term and invest the difference? If you are a disciplined investor this could work for you but is it the best way to pass assets to your heirs tax free? If a person dies during the 30 year term period then the beneficiaries would get the face amount tax free. If your investments other than life insurance are passed to beneficiaries, in most cases, the investments will not pass tax free to the beneficiaries. Term insurance is considered temporary insurance and can be beneficial when a person is starting out life. Many term policies have a conversion to a permanent policy if the insured feels the need in the near future,

The next type of policy is whole life insurance. As the policy states it is good for your whole life usually until age 100. This type of policy is being phased out of many life insurance companies. The whole life insurance policy is called permanent life insurance because as long as the premiums are paid the insured will have life insurance until age 100. These policies are the highest priced life insurance policies but they have a guaranteed cash values. When the whole life policy accumulates over time it builds cash value that can be borrowed by the owner. The whole life policy can have substantial cash value after a period of 15 to 20 years and many investors have taken notice of this. After a period of time, (20 years usually), the life whole insurance policy can become paid up which means you now have insurance and don’t have to pay anymore and the cash value continues to build. This is a unique part of the whole life policy that other types of insurance cannot be designed to perform. Life insurance should not be sold because of the cash value accumulation but in periods of extreme monetary needs you don’t need to borrow from a third party because you can borrow from your life insurance policy in case of an emergency.

In the late 80’s and 90’s insurance companies sold products called universal life insurance policies which were supposed to provide life insurance for your whole life. The reality is that these types of insurance policies were poorly designed and many lapsed because as interest rates lowered the policies didn’t perform well and clients were forced to send additional premiums or the policy lapsed. The universal life policies were a hybrid of term insurance and whole life insurance policies. Some of those policies were tied to the stock market and were called variable universal life insurance policies. My thoughts are variable policies should only be purchased by investors who have a high risk tolerance. When the stock market goes down the policy owner can lose big and be forced to send in additional premiums to cover the losses or your policy would lapse or terminate.

The design of the universal life policy has had a major change for the better in the current years. Universal life policies are permanent policy which range in ages as high as age 120. Many life insurance providers now sell mainly term and universal life policies. Universal life policies now have a target premium which has a guarantee as long as the premiums are paid the policy will not lapse. The newest form of universal life insurance is the indexed universal life policy which has performance tied to the S&P Index, Russell Index and the Dow Jones. In a down market you usually have no gain but you have no losses to the policy either. If the market is up you can have a gain but it is limited. If the index market takes a 30% loss then you have what we call the floor which is 0 which means you have no loss but there is no gain. Some insurers will still give as much as 3% gain added to you policy even in a down market. If the market goes up 30% then you can share in the gain but you are capped so you may only get 6% of the gain and this will depend on the cap rate and the participation rate. The cap rate helps the insurer because they are taking a risk that if the market goes down the insured will not suffer and if the market goes up the insured can share in a percentage of the gains. Indexed universal life policies also have cash values which can be borrowed. The best way to look at the difference in cash values is to have your insurance agent show you illustrations so you can see what fits you investment profile. The index universal life policy has a design which is beneficial to the consumer and the insurer and can be a viable tool in your total investments.