Q: My partner and I are combining our finances and discussing how to protect each other from unforeseen events. This brought up the topic of life insurance. Can you help us know how to begin exploring our potential life insurance needs?
A: While these are often hard conversations, it’s always best to discuss these issues sooner than later, to make sure you have the proper protection in place. This article will hopefully help you get started.
Life insurance is one of those financial products that we put off thinking about. No one wants to talk about the eventuality of them passing away, and we especially don’t like to talk about what would happen if we passed away suddenly.
But life insurance is an important part of any financial and protection strategy. For National Life Insurance Awareness Month, we wanted to share some helpful information about life insurance, including what it is, its different types, and how it can help protect your spouse, partner, and/or family in case something happens.
What is Life Insurance?
According to Life Happens, a nonprofit dedicated to giving users unbiased insurance information, life insurance is an insurance policy that provides cash to your family or loved ones after your death. This “death benefit” helps replace your income and supports your loved ones also in non-monetary ways. Your family can use this payment for funeral expenses, mortgage payments, college tuition, and other bills.1
The Different Types of Life Insurance
There are two main types of life insurance: term life insurance and permanent life insurance. Let’s look at the differences.
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance policies cover the insured for a specific period, usually between 5 and 30 years, depending on your policy. Term policies pay a death benefit only if the insured person dies during the coverage term. These policies don’t carry any cash value, but the premiums are generally lower than permanent life insurance premiums. Furthermore, term life insurance policies may offer a greater level of flexibility because you can amend your policy as your needs change.
Permanent Life Insurance
Permanent life insurance policies cover the holder for their entire life. Some of these policies also carry a savings or investment component. According to US News, this cash value “grows tax-deferred over time and may be withdrawn or borrowed against while you’re still alive.” But remember that withdrawing these funds will decrease the policy’s death benefit unless the funds are repaid.2
There are a few permanent life insurance options, including whole life (sometimes called “traditional” life insurance) and universal life. Each of these policies has its pros and cons.
When considering which life insurance policy is right for you, think about the following factors:
- Coverage duration
- Coverage amount
- Cash Value
Do You Need Life Insurance?
For most people, the answer to this question is “yes.” Life insurance can help protect the people you care about if something happens to you. This could include a spouse/partner, children, disabled family members, aging parents, or any other dependents. There are a variety of coverage limits, and depending on your household expenses, you may not have to purchase an enormous life insurance policy. Even modest protection could help your family pay the bills and make final arrangements. Some also use life insurance to help fulfill their charitable legacy planning wishes as well.
A simple way to calculate how much life insurance you need is to consider all your immediate, ongoing, and future expenses, as well as the financial resources that your loved ones already have. Then, subtract your financial resources from the anticipated expenses to obtain the difference. Forbes lays out the DIME method: debt, income, mortgage, and education.3
Ready to review (or begin) your life insurance policy for National Life Insurance Awareness Month?
There are plenty of websites where you can sign up for a policy, some of which are listed below to get you started. If you still have questions about your life insurance needs, please speak with your financial professional for help.
Jeremy R. Gussick is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional affiliated with LPL Financial, the nation’s largest independent broker-dealer.* Jeremy specializes in the financial planning and retirement income needs of the LGBTQ+ community and was recently named a 2022 FIVE STAR Wealth Manager as mentioned in Philadelphia Magazine.** He is active with several LGBTQ+ organizations in the Philadelphia region, including DVLF (Delaware Valley Legacy Fund) and the Independence Business Alliance (IBA), the Philadelphia Region’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce. OutMoney appears monthly. If you have a question for Jeremy, you can contact him via email at [email protected].
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information and provided with the assistance of Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.
Jeremy R. Gussick is a Registered Representative with, and securities and advisory services are offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA/SIPC.
*As reported by Financial Planning magazine, June 1996-2022, based on total revenues.
**Award based on 10 objective criteria associated with providing quality services to clients such as credentials, experience, and assets under management among other factors. Wealth managers do not pay a fee to be considered or placed on the final list of 2022 Five Star Wealth Managers.