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The Intelligent Life Blog

Helping millions of Americans become educated
in making intelligent decisions around their life needs

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Are New Year's Resolutions a Good Idea?

Dec 24, 2016 8:36:00 AM

Are you one of the many people that flood into the local fitness center during the first weeks of the new year, determined to make a change? How about tossing out all of the sugar in the kitchen or vowing to give up social media - except on the weekends? Many of us make resolutions at the start of the new year with the best of intentions, only to fall back into the same habits in short order. So, it's a pretty common debate about whether New Year's resolutions are a good idea at all or even healthy.

Why News Year's Resolutions Are a Good Idea

New Year's resolutions are an excellent idea for several reasons. Anyone who is willing to sit down and take stock of their life and see where a few things might need improvement should be commended. Setting goals can work but only if done properly.

Thousands of studies have been conducted on goal setting and the psychology of goals. Several overriding themes have surfaced from these studies. Among these are that goals should have meaning, be realistic, and be measurable. Setting a goal to lose 30 lbs. over the coming year is a noble quest, but without an action plan, you likely won't get very far. This is why too many goals, or resolutions, fall by the wayside.




These Statistics Will Make You More Cautious

Nov 27, 2016 9:14:00 PM

While it's true that we are now living longer than at any time in history, the fact remains that we're not immortal. Of course, thinking about your eventual demise is never pleasant, but planning for it is probably the most responsible course. If you're one of those people who thinks that tragedy will never strike close to home, you're not alone.

Sometimes a subtle wake-up call laced with factual data can help move us in the right direction. Here are some startling statistics about accidents, injuries, and even fatal illnesses in the United States and some ways that you can protect your family's financial future.

Leading Causes of Death in the United States

Each year, more than 2.5 million people in the U.S. take their final breath. Of the top five leading causes of death, four are due to illness which may or may not appear unexpectedly. This is particularly the case with cancer, which claims more than half a million people each year. Other leading causes of death due to illness are heart disease, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and stroke. What many don't realize is how frequently unintentional injuries have fatal consequences.




Life Insurance Considerations for the Multigenerational Family

Sep 27, 2016 6:52:00 PM

Our picture of a "normal" household has changed drastically in recent years. Ask your grandparents about their family household growing up and they might describe several generations living under one roof. While we moved away from this for a time, it is fast becoming the norm once again.

In fact, households that contain three or more generations are rapidly increasing in this country. One Pew Research Center study found that, since 1980, the number of multigenerational households in the U.S. has more than doubled. College graduates are returning home, and Baby Boomers are bringing aging parents home for their retirement years. These diverse households bring their own set of challenges, one of which is planning for the future through the right life insurance coverage.




4 Ways Your Life Insurance Policy Can Provide Retirement Security

Aug 28, 2016 10:30:00 AM

Saving for retirement is not an area of strength for many Americans today. According to one recent survey, one-third of Americans have no retirement savings at all, and 23% have less than $10,000 saved. Whether it's lack of education or a shift in priorities, the idea that so many people in this country will be entering retirement with little to live on is disturbing at best. One potential saving grace lies in the hidden value of some life insurance policies. Here are just four ways that your life insurance policy can provide some security in retirement.

Cash Value Benefits

If you have a whole life policy, a cash value component accumulates over time. When you reach retirement age (or before), you can either make direct withdrawals from your policy or you can borrow against the accumulated value of your policy. These funds can be used to meet your expenses in retirement, and any borrowed funds are paid back out of the insurance proceeds when you die.




Tax Planning, Estate Planning, and Life Insurance?

Aug 24, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Benjamin Franklin put it most eloquently when he said, "in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes." Hopefully, you'll have a lot of living and joy in the interim, but planning for certainties only makes sense. This is why it's important to devote some time and resources to such things as tax planning, estate planning, and setting up the right life insurance policy for your needs.

What Does Tax Planning Have to do With Insurance?

Most people wouldn't equate tax planning with life insurance, but the two easily work in tandem. For example, if you have a permanent life insurance policy as opposed to a term insurance policy, there is an investment component. The investments will grow tax-sheltered, which allows for greater accumulation over the life of the policy. Also, the proceeds from any type of life insurance policy are generally paid tax-free to your beneficiaries. Finally, if you do have assets that are going to be subject to an estate tax, property taxes, or other business taxes, the proceeds from an insurance policy can help your beneficiaries to meet these obligations.




Life Insurance Really Does Fit Into Your Financial Plan

Jul 23, 2016 8:30:00 AM

We all have ideas about planning for the future and where we'd like to see our money invested. Unfortunately, those visions and reality don't always match up. In fact, a study by the Allianz Longevity Project found that Americans are optimistic about living longer, but a majority feel financially unprepared for those extra years. The study found that 79% of Gen Xers, 74% of Millennials, and 57% of Boomers didn't feel that they would have enough money to live according to their life expectancy. The good news is that, with some help and the right life insurance policy, many of these concerns can be alleviated.

The Changing Face of How We Save

Several generations ago, nearly everyone had a pension and a retirement plan. Pew Charitable Trust estimates that only half of American workers today are enrolled in any sort of workplace-sponsored retirement plan. Saving for retirement and, worse, the purchase of life insurance is low for several reasons. Many simply don't understand their needs and others have no interest in thinking about or planning for the future. If this sounds familiar, you're not alone, but that doesn't mean that you're in good company if you wish to retire with money in the bank.




Millennials Aren't So Different After All: 4 Things They Need to Know About Life Insurance

Jul 12, 2016 2:30:00 PM

Many Millennials believe that they're different and that the tried and true retirement and estate planning principles don't apply to them. While Millennials are unique in many ways, this may not be one of them. As a class, Millennials are the most educated generation. They are also the most optimistic about the future and the most diverse generation in American history. Yet, these differences and optimism could be a setback if they prevent this group from purchasing the one thing that most of them truly need - a life insurance policy. Here are just four things about life insurance that every Millennial should know.


While Millennials are unique in their own way, the need for life insurance cuts across generations.




10 Things You Didn't Know Your Life Insurance Policy Can Do

Jun 28, 2016 8:00:00 PM

Over the last several years, the term "life hack" has come into vogue. A life hack is an object or process used to make a small part of your life easier, usually by taking a common object and repurposing it for something that it wasn't originally made for. Examples include using old socks as wearable dusting rags during spring cleaning, a contact lens case for pill storage during an overnight trip, or a muffin tin as a condiment holder for an outdoor barbecue.

In a sense, a life insurance policy acts as a financial "life hack." After all, it can be utilized for something other than providing a death benefit upon someone's passing. Here are ten innovative ways that a life insurance policy can be used:

  1. As a safeguard against being uninsurable. People who are very old and/or unhealthy may not be able to obtain a new life insurance policy. But if you already have a term life insurance policy, you can extend the term or convert it to whole life insurance before it expires - so your coverage never lapses.
  2. As collateral. If you ever need to apply for a loan of any sort, you can use the cash value of a whole life policy as a source of collateral in order to receive a higher amount or a lower interest rate.
  3. As an investment tool. The value of a whole life policy will always grow and never decline, which is more than can be said for many other investments on the market. Some policies even pay dividends to the policyholder.
  4. As a way to pay for college. With the costs of tuition rising, you can tap into the cash value of your whole life policy to help pay the costs of higher education for your children or grandchildren.
  5. As a way to pay off your debts. If you ever need to repay loans, you don't have to wait until you die to access your payout. Just draw upon the cash value of your whole life insurance policy to settle those debts.
  6. As an additional source of retirement income. If Social Security and your retirement savings do not provide enough income during your golden years, you can arrange to withdraw a regular stipend from your whole life policy - or even surrender the entire policy in favor of the cash value.
  7. As funding for long-term care. Many older adults require partial or round-the-clock medical care, which can be expensive. Funds from your whole life policy can be allocated toward these long-term care costs while you are still living.
  8. As a way to fund a favorite charity. If you want to support a cause or organization that has become important to you, part or all of the death benefit of your life insurance policy can be earmarked for that charity upon your passing.
  9. As a way to help pay taxes. If you've accumulated significant wealth, your heirs may be left with a hefty estate tax bill upon your death. As a result, many people acquire life insurance policies in order to offset or pay off any post-death tax bills.
  10. As financial security for your heirs. If your loved ones know that they will receive a portion of your life insurance death benefit as part of their inheritance, they can enjoy the peace of mind of having a fiscal safety net while they are alive.

Obtaining quotes for a life insurance policy is easy. Just visit the IntelliQuote website, fill out a basic form, and you'll receive price quotes from several insurers so you can compare premiums and policies side by side. When you think about it, you can really view IntelliQuote as a sort of "life hack" with regard to shopping for life insurance!