Insurance is based on planning for the unexpected. Planning for death could seem a bit morbid, however life insurance can take care of medical costs to funeral costs. Lisa Ryerson, Regional Vice President of Appreciation Financial, shares why life insurance is beneficial in the long run.

1. When should you start having life insurance?

As soon as possible. I truly believe that once a newborn gets his or her social security number then their parents should get them a life insurance policy. It will set the child up for college funds, retirement, living benefits, and life insurance for the future. It is so inexpensive for babies to get life insurance. The cost of life insurance increases as we get older and our health declines as well, making it more challenging and in some cases the person can be considered uninsurable.

2. What are things to consider when purchasing life insurance?

You're at risk if you don't have life insurance in place. There are some amazing living benefits as well in order to pay for medical costs in the future, death benefit so that in case something happens to you then your family, mortgage, etc. will be protected, and retirement savings.

3. Why should a person get life insurance?

To protect their family when they pass. I have met many families and never once have I met someone that was upset with owning life insurance when a family member dies. Unfortunately, the opposite is also true and I have met too many families that did not have life insurance and some of their stories are heart breaking such as losing their home, financial stress (especially during the grieving process), and overall the complete financial ruin that can come with the loss of a loved one.

4. What types of life insurance are there?

Term, whole life, universal life, and indexed universal life insurance. Life insurance products have improved so much over the years and it's much more than just a death benefit. There are living benefits that truly help people so they don't have to die to access some of the benefits and address some of the real basic needs that people have. The fact remains that we are living longer than ever before but with that comes challenges with health and other costs. Our products help make sure people don't put themselves in a financial bind.

5. How many people don't have life insurance?

Far too many, America is grossly underinsured. According to a life insurance survey, 64% of Americans do not have life insurance at all. The majority of life insurance in this country is owned by the top 10% income earners and as they pass their heirs reap the rewards. We want to reverse that trend, not to make people rich through life insurance but rather to ensure that families don't become poor because they didn't have it in place.

6. How do you determine how much life insurance you need?

Figure out who and what you would like to be covered if something were to happen to you. Mortgage, children's college expenses, burial expenses, debt, etc. It's important to remember that when someone passes away there is a grieving period which typically means time away from work. There are also additional expenses that come with death so it's a "double whammy" because income is lost and additional expenses are taken on. I would shoot for 10 times your income as a good rule of thumb when it comes to insurance. That gives your family a 10-year buffer to either pay down debt or have income accessible to them for that time period.

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The Federal Reserve sets the guardrails for the federal funds rate, and through that helps control the money supply for the nation.

When you take out a loan for a car, charge something to your credit card, or get a personal line of credit, there is going to be an interest rate that applies to your loan.

A lot of different factors go into what you will be charged, including your own personal credit score. But even those with flawless credit still see a minimum charge that they can't get around. That all goes back to the Federal Funds Rate.

One thing consumers rarely realize is that all of our banks are lending money to each other every night. Banks are legally required to maintain a certain percentage of their deposits in non-interest-bearing accounts at the Federal Reserve to ensure they have enough money to cover any withdrawals that may unexpectedly come up. However, deposits can fluctuate and it's very common for some banks to exceed the requirement on certain days while some fall short. In cases like this, banks actually lend each other money to ensure they meet the minimum balance. It's a bit hard to imagine these multibillion-dollar financial institutions needing to borrow money to tide them over for a bit, but it happens every single night at the Federal Reserve. It's also a nice deal for those with balances above the reserve balance requirement to earn a bit of money with cash that would normally just be sitting there.

The Federal Reserve The Federal Reserve


The exact interest rate the banks will charge each other is a matter of negotiation between them, but the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) (the arm of the Federal Reserve that sets monetary policy) meets eight times a year to set a target rate. They evaluate a multitude of economic indicators including unemployment, inflation, and consumer confidence to decide the best rate to keep the country in business. The weighted average of all interest rates across these interbank loans is the effective federal funds rate.

This rate has a huge impact on the economy overall as well as your personal finances. The federal funds rate is essentially the cheapest money available to a bank and that feeds into all of the other loans they make. Banks will add a slight upcharge to the rate set by the Fed to determine what is the lowest interest that they will announce for their most creditworthy customers, also known as the prime rate. If you have a variable interest rate loan (very common with credit cards and some student loans), it's likely that the interest rate you pay is a set percentage on top of that prime rate that your lender is paying. That's why in times of low interest rates (it was set at 0% during the Great Recession), a lot of borrowers should go for fixed interest rate loans that won't increase. However, if the federal funds rate was relatively high (it went up to 20% in the early 1980's), a variable interest rate loan may be a better decision as you would be charged less interest should the rate drop without the need to refinance.

The federal funds rate also has a major impact on your investment portfolio. The stock market reacts very strongly to any changes in interest rates from the Federal Reserve, as a lower rate makes it cheaper for companies to borrow and reinvest while a higher rate may restrict capital and slow short-term growth. If you have a significant portion of your investments in equities, a small change in the federal funds rate can have a large impact on your net worth.

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