Should you get life insurance?

Six questions answered by a life insurance expert.


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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