The main reason to have life insurance is because you want your loved ones to receive money after you die. But that’s only part of the story.
With some policies, you can access the cash value or accelerate the death benefit for your own use while you are still living. These options are usually referred to as “living benefits” and they may be the best-kept secret of life insurance. Think about those times when life surprises you and having an extra source of income would come in handy.
Life Surprise #1: You’re facing a chronic or terminal illness. It's hard to know how you'll handle having a chronic or terminal illness. But one thing is sure: it's likely to be stressful, financially and emotionally. Many people worry that, if they become seriously ill, they'll be a burden to their family. They wonder who'll take care of them. If they can stay in their home. Or what it'll do to their retirement savings. Should You Be Concerned? Everyone likes to think, “It won't happen to me.” It's true that no one can really know whether they'll become ill or what the illness will be. But there are some things you can do to get an idea. One is as simple as looking at your family tree. For example, does Alzheimer's, cancer, or another serious ailment run in your family? Get to know your family tree using the My Family Tree tool. After you fill it out, discuss any patterns you see with your financial professional as you prepare for retirement. From Giving Care to Needing It There's a 52% chance you may develop a chronic illness or disability when you're 65 years or older. Women in particular are at greater risk. If you're a woman:
You'll likely live longer.
You may be the one taking care of those around you, both older and younger.
You may have fewer resources.
How Can Life Insurance Help?
Some life insurance policies have optional features, called “riders,” sometimes available at an additional cost, that let you access a portion of your policy’s death benefit money if you are chronically or terminally ill and meet the terms of the rider. For example, if you have $250,000 in coverage, you may be able to access a portion of that money each month to use any way you choose. You could use it for medical care, to settle debts, to adapt your home, or even to take a dream vacation with your family. These riders are designed to help you financially and make an emotional time just a bit easier.
Life Surprise #2: Your retirement lasts longer than you thought it would.
It’s crazy to think that your golden years could last longer than your retirement savings. But people today are living longer, healthier lives and it could happen. Let’s say you plan to have enough to live comfortably 20 years after retirement. What happens if your savings didn’t grow like you expected, or you live 25 or 30 years after retirement? You can access cash from your life insurance policy in the form of withdrawals or tax-free loans and use it any way you choose, like supplementing retirement savings, so you can truly enjoy your long life. If you choose to take withdrawals or loans from your policy, they will reduce the cash value and the death benefit of your policy and may have tax consequences.
If you’re a business owner then you know that daily surprises are part of the deal, and also part of the fun.
Life insurance can help ensure your business has a long and healthy life by:
Enticing key employees to stay. Life insurance is a valuable benefit to offer key employees.
Attracting top talent. Use a life policy as part of your executive compensation package.
Ensuring an orderly transfer of your business interests. Provide the funds your heirs need to make sure the business continues to run smoothly.
Acting as collateral for a bank loan. Get the capital you need for your business.
Life Insurance Lets You Live Life We know what challenges life can throw your way. Life insurance offers a range of solutions for you.
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