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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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Financial Planning & Social Security: Long-Term Considerations

Nov 21, 2016 8:18:00 PM

Longing for those retirement years is a common feeling, but lack of planning can have some unintended consequences. Do you know when the best time is to file for Social Security? If you're not sure, you're in good company. Each day, another 10,000 Baby Boomers reach retirement age, and many immediately file for their Social Security benefits. What many don't realize is that this could be a costly mistake and proper financial planning can place you in a better long-term position.

Common Misconceptions About Social Security

Even if you've been given information about your benefits eligibility by the Social Security Administration, a recent investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has found that you might want to question some of that data. The GAO found that the average consumer, whether they received their information over the phone or online, didn't have a strong grasp of Social Security eligibility, which often led them to make the wrong choices.

For example, many retirees don't understand the full implications of claiming Social Security benefits at age 62 versus waiting until full retirement age, which is generally 66. If you took benefits at the earliest possible time, they'd be 25 percent less than if you'd waited. Also, many retirees aren't aware of the tax implications of Social Security benefits or the effect that having a "retirement job" will have on their benefits.




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.




Get An Edge on Life Events: Buy the Right Life Insurance Policy

Aug 13, 2016 2:30:00 PM

Most consumers don't wake up one morning and decide that they need a life insurance policy. While we believe that almost everyone needs life insurance, it's been found that major life events are often the catalyst for either purchasing a policy or updating coverage.

A study by LIMRA several years ago confirmed that 41 percent of recent life insurance purchasers were motivated by a major life event. Among those who wanted to review, increase, or update coverage, about half actually shopped for life insurance. Here are just a few major life events that could impact your need to review or purchase a life insurance policy.




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.




Best Strategies for Retirement Planning

Sep 24, 2015 8:00:00 AM

The process of selecting a retirement plan can be a daunting task, often resulting in years of procrastination. However, the sooner you have a retirement strategy in place, the sooner you can feel comfortable knowing things will be taken care of in your later years. In addition, the sooner you start saving, the more interest you will earn and the less money you will need to save.

Retirement solutions will differ from one person to the next. However, your goal should be to find a solution that not only meets your expected needs, but plans for any unexpected events as well. For example, if only one spouse is working and saving for retirement, a plan should be put in place to ensure the other spouse is financially stable should anything happen to the family breadwinner. This includes ensuring you have a good life insurance policy in place should the need arise.

Take Advantage of Employer-based Plans

The most convenient and possibly the best retirement solution is an employer plan. Many companies provide their full time or salaried staff with a retirement account. These are tax-advantaged plans thanks to the Internal Revenue Service. Many employers offer 401k retirement plans managed by third-party investment companies. In some cases, employers also contribute to them. Oftentimes employers will also provide life insurance policies to take advantage of. It’s a good idea to enroll in one of these plans which allow your life insurance fees to be deducted straight from your pay-check. If your employer does not have a life insurance option, view our affordable life insurance plans.

Individual Retirement Plans

An Individual Retirement Account (IRA) along with the Roth are tax-advantaged plans that are not required to be opened under your employer. More importantly, they provide you with the ability to put aside money for retirement that is a tax deduction for you. Other forms of retirement accounts exist that may be beneficial to those who own their own business or work for non-profit organizations. These accounts allow you to build a retirement account over time, with tax advantages both now and later. It is important to realize that most retirement accounts limit your ability to use those funds immediately, although you may be able to borrow against your funds or just cash out to access money.

Unique Retirement Strategies

If you are looking for retirement savings to put towards other savings tools, there are options available. Here are a few ideas to get started.




Self-Employed Professionals: How Life Insurance Helps You Save for Retirement

Dec 16, 2014 4:30:00 PM

As a self-employed professional, one of the most fulfilling things about working for yourself is looking in the mirror and declaring: “I’m the boss.” You, and only you, are responsible for running the show.

That also means you are solely responsible for your retirement, too. And that can feel a lot less fulfilling and a lot more frightening.

At IntelliQuote, we’re here to tell you that planning for your retirement is a lot easier with a life insurance policy on your side. Let’s explore three ways a life insurance policy can keep your family in the black long after you have left your business.

1) Alternative to retirement savings: Many people believe their retirement saving is a lifeline that will keep them afloat for a decent amount of time. But if you own your own business and have a family, your loved ones may not be able to keep their heads above water for too long after you die. When a spouse dies, business income might dwindle, or just stop, leaving your family between a rock and a hard place. A life insurance policy can give your family money to keep them going for years to come.

2) Option to liquidate if you need fast access to cash: One thing you can count on in life is the unexpected, specifically unexpected emergencies. And when disaster strikes, you want to be as liquid as possible. Rather than rushing to cash in taxable funds that can take forever to become available and have penalties that might haunt you in your upcoming tax return, why not dip into the tax-exempt cash reserves within your life insurance policy?

3) Allows you to assign beneficiaries: What if you’ve run a successful business and you’ve done a great job of saving for retirement for a number of years, but you have no one to whom you can pass on your assets? Your life insurance can also double as a trust and you can list the beneficiaries that you wish to receive the fruits of your hard-earned labor, whether the recipients are members of your family or causes that you feel deeply about. Either way, you’ll ensure your legacy of success lives on for the next generation of ambitious entrepreneurs.

If you’re a self-employed professional, you may fret that saving for your eventual retirement is difficult, but life insurance is a great way for you to sock away additional money and give you options for where your money goes in the future.

Plan for tomorrow’s emergency today. Let IntelliQuote help you receive up to six life insurance quotes in just a few minutes. Learn more.




Why Empty Nesters Need Life Insurance More than Ever

Dec 3, 2014 6:00:00 PM

When your children leave the nest and go off to college, they aren’t the only ones entering a new stage of life. As a parent, you too are redefining your independence. You’re in a cycle of downsizing; fewer people in the house means fewer responsibilities and lower grocery and utility bills. Hooray!

So why on earth would we suggest that you increase your monthly financial obligations and buy more life insurance at this time?

We know it sounds crazy. But hear us out, because in today’s post, we are going to show you why paying out a little extra money now will fiscally reward you (and your family) in the future.

“Life insurance is only valuable if I have dependents.” This is a common misconception that a lot of people have. The awesome fact is that it doesn’t matter if your kids live at home or if they’re on their own, you can choose a policy that is jam-packed with benefits.

1) Provides long-term care security: As you grow older there is a possibility that when you reach a certain age you’ll need help caring for yourself, such as a private care facility or a visiting nurse. Assisted living care costs can add up—quickly. The average nursing home in the Midwest can cost $60,000 per year. These fees can place a serious burden on your loved ones. And, according to a study from EBRI (Employee Benefit Research Institute), the compounded risk of running out of money during retirement is between 100 and 800% (depending on the preretirement income and long-term care expenses). But life insurance can squelch these worries, so they never materialize into reality. Plus, as an added bonus, you won’t be taxed on most of the benefits on a qualified long-term care policy.

2) Great for supplementing your spouse’s pension: When you retire, you may think, “Goodbye life insurance. Hello, pension payouts.” But before you pull the plug on your policy, consider this: if you were to pass away, the checks your spouse receives could be significantly smaller or could be eliminated altogether. This could place a heavy amount of stress on him or her, forcing them to move and reduce their quality of life.

3) Leave a legacy for your children: We mentioned in a previous post that just because your child leaves the nest, it doesn’t mean that he or she won’t boomerang back home in the future. In the aftermath of the 2008 economic recession, many adult children moved back home after college in droves. Wouldn’t it be nice to know that you could leave your children some money to help them get off their feet and make a fresh start?

Adding to your bills after your children have left home seems counterintuitive, but the right insurance policy can offer financial stability and peace of mind.

Start on the road to more financial security. Why not compare insurance rates in just three easy steps? Let IntelliQuote help you get started today




Life Insurance: The Security Blanket for Your Pension

Nov 1, 2014 10:22:00 AM

Ah, retirement. You’ve been waiting for this day for many years, and it has finally arrived. After years of hard work, you can now rest and start collecting your retirement checks. It’s smooth sailing from now on, right?

Well, that depends on whether or not you have a backup plan.

Depending on the amount of your pension, you and your spouse could live quite well. However, if you were to pass away, your pension checks would either drastically decrease or stop altogether, leaving your spouse with no source of income.

Before you start to panic, this scenario doesn’t have to become a reality. Remember the backup plan we mentioned? Today’s blog post will explain five benefits that life insurance can provide after you’ve retired.

1) Avoid a reverse mortgage: You’ve probably seen commercials for reverse mortgages on television throughout the recession. If your income is limited, and you’re retired, using the equity in your home as cash sounds like a good idea--in theory. However, this option is not without its pitfalls, namely high fees and interest rates. It also means that you won’t be able to leave your home to your heirs when you die because the house must be sold to cover the loan amount. A life insurance policy may give you financial options.