If you don’t have life insurance, make plans to take care of it as you prep your taxes. Since you’ll have a clear picture of your annual income, plus already be thinking about finances, it’s a perfect time.
Here are some tips to understanding life insurance:
- You need 8-10 times your gross annual income in coverage. (So if you make $30,000 a year, you will need $240,000 – $300,000 in coverage.) The lump amount received is then invested, and the yield off the interest used for living expenses. That way, the lump sum is not reduced, and keeps working month after month, year after year.
- Term insurance is one of the cheapest types of insurance you can buy. For a non-smoking male in his 30s, it’s approximately $20-25 a month. Actual amounts are determined by health of covered individual, age, face value, term length, insurance company, and other factors.
- The best term insurance is Level Term – 10, 15, 20, 30 years. This is insurance that is guaranteed to remain the same expense month after month, year after year, for the length of the term.
- Term insurance is only coverage at face value. It does not “build cash value” or anything similar. Whole or universal life policies do that – but are much more expensive. However, if health issues make whole or universal life all you can get, do it. More expensive coverage is at least coverage.
- If you cannot afford a full (8-10 times your income) policy right now, look into getting one at a lower face value. Even lower coverage is better than none at all. You can usually increase the coverage later.
One final tip: If you ever change policies (for any kind of insurance) never cancel the first policy until the new one is already in force. Canceling your first policy prior to having another active could be disastrous.
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