Life Insurance at Various Life Stages

protecting a family

Your need for life insurance changes as your life changes. When you’re young, you typically have less need for life insurance, but that changes as you take on more responsibility and your family grows. Then, as your responsibilities once again begin to diminish, your need for life insurance may decrease. Let’s look at how your life insurance needs change throughout your lifetime.

Footloose and fancy-free

As a young adult, you become more independent and self-sufficient. You no longer depend on others for your financial wellbeing. But in most cases, your death would still not create a financial hardship for others. For most young singles, life insurance is not a priority.

Some would argue that you should buy life insurance now, while you’re healthy and the rates are low. This may be a valid argument if you are at a high risk for developing a medical condition (such as diabetes) later in life. But you should also consider the earnings you could realize by investing the money now instead of spending it on insurance premiums.

If you have a mortgage or other loans that are jointly held with a cosigner, your death would leave the cosigner responsible for the entire debt. You might consider purchasing enough life insurance to cover these debts in the event of your death. Funeral expenses are also a concern for young singles, but it is typically not advisable to purchase a life insurance policy just for this purpose, unless paying for your funeral would burden your parents or whomever would be responsible for funeral expenses. Instead, consider investing the money you would have spent on life insurance premiums.

Your life insurance needs increase significantly if you are supporting a parent or grandparent, or if you have a child before marriage. In these situations, life insurance could provide continued support for your dependent(s) if you were to die.

Going to the chapel

Married couples without children typically still have little need for life insurance. If both spouses contribute equally to household finances and do not yet own a home, the death of one spouse will usually not be financially catastrophic for the other.

Once you buy a house, the situation begins to change. Even if both spouses have well-paying jobs, the burden of a mortgage may be more than the surviving spouse can afford on a single income. Credit card debt and other debts can contribute to the financial strain.

To make sure either spouse could carry on financially after the death of the other, both of you should probably purchase a modest amount of life insurance. At a minimum, it will provide peace of mind knowing that both you and your spouse are protected.

Again, your life insurance needs increase significantly if you are caring for an aging parent, or if you have children before marriage. Life insurance becomes extremely important in these situations, because these dependents must be provided for in the event of your death.

Your growing family

When you have young children, your life insurance needs reach a climax. In most situations, life insurance for both parents is appropriate.

Single-income families are completely dependent on the income of the breadwinner. If he or she dies without life insurance, the consequences could be disastrous. The death of the stay-at-home spouse would necessitate costly day-care and housekeeping expenses. Both spouses should carry enough life insurance to cover the lost income or the economic value of lost services that would result from their deaths.

Dual-income families need life insurance, too. If one spouse dies, it is unlikely that the surviving spouse will be able to keep up with the household expenses and pay for child care with the remaining income.

Moving up the ladder

For many people, career advancement means starting a new job with a new company. At some point, you might even decide to be your own boss and start your own business. It’s important to review your life insurance coverage any time you leave an employer.

Keep in mind that when you leave your job, your employer-sponsored group life insurance coverage will usually end, so find out if you will be eligible for group coverage through your new employer, or look into purchasing life insurance coverage on your own. You may also have the option of converting your group coverage to an individual policy. This may cost significantly more, but may be wise if you have a pre-existing medical condition that may prevent you from buying life insurance coverage elsewhere.

Make sure that the amount of your coverage is up-to-date, as well. The policy you purchased right after you got married might not be adequate anymore, especially if you have kids, a mortgage, and college expenses to consider. Business owners may also have business debt to consider. If your business is not incorporated, your family could be responsible for those bills if you die.

Single again

If you and your spouse divorce, you’ll have to decide what to do about your life insurance. Divorce raises both beneficiary issues and coverage issues. And if you have children, these issues become even more complex.

If you and your spouse have no children, it may be as simple as changing the beneficiary on your policy and adjusting your coverage to reflect your newly single status. However, if you have kids, you’ll want to make sure that they, and not your former spouse, are provided for in the event of your death. This may involve purchasing a new policy if your spouse owns the existing policy, or simply changing the beneficiary from your spouse to your children. The custodial and noncustodial parent will need to work out the details of this complicated situation. If you can’t come to terms, the court will make the decisions for you.

Your retirement years

Once you retire, and your priorities shift, your life insurance needs may change. If fewer people are depending on you financially, your mortgage and other debts have been repaid, and you have substantial financial assets, you may need less life insurance protection than before. But it’s also possible that your need for life insurance will remain strong even after you retire.

For example, the proceeds of a life insurance policy can be used to pay your final expenses or to replace any income lost to your spouse as a result of your death (e.g., from a pension or Social Security). Life insurance can be used to pay estate taxes or leave money to charity.



Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. does not provide investment, tax, or legal advice. The information presented here is not specific to any individual’s personal circumstances.

To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each taxpayer should seek independent advice from a tax professional based on his or her individual circumstances.

These materials are provided for general information and educational purposes based upon publicly available information from sources believed to be reliable—we cannot assure the accuracy or completeness of these materials. The information in these materials may change at any time and without notice.

Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. NASA Federal Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members.

Instagram Money Scam Involves Your Debit Card and PIN

banking loan or cash concept, businessman give money

People can be too trusting and in the world of the Internet, that can be dangerous. There is a scam that promises to make you rich using Instagram; and who wouldn’t want to be rich if it’s as easy as sending your debit card and bank account to a nice looking person on your Instagram feed? Be aware though, that nice and seemingly trustworthy person who promises to help you, may run off with the entire contents of your bank account.

The scam is not new, but the strategy has evolved and in such a way that it really seems a bit crazy to believe. It’s a variation of the money flipping scam. The nice person holding a wad of 20 dollar bills in a photo claims it and more can be all yours if you just send her your debit card and PIN so she can deposit money directly into your account. And if it is that easy to get rich, why wouldn’t you do it?

The scammers actually may deposit money in to your account with a check. Then, shortly after, you will see a withdrawal of a much larger amount. The check was fake, of course, and not only does your new Instagram contact disappear with your money, but you may also owe the bank some fees as well.

  • Never give your debit card to anyone and consider your PIN especially secret.
  • Consider strangers you meet on the Internet as you would those you just met walking down the street. If you wouldn’t give someone you met on the street your debit card and PIN, why would you send it to someone you never met and only know through social media?
  • It isn’t possible to get rich quick, so don’t fall for the easy money ploys.
  • No legitimate advertiser will ask you to mail in your debit card and give out your PIN, so that should be a big red flag that the offer is a scam.

An example of this “flipping money” scam came from a young person who saw an ad on a social media site. The promise was that if she sent a text to a number, a person sent instructions for where to send her debit card and PIN. The scammer said she’d make the victim $4,000. The debit card was kept for a week and instead of $4,000 being deposited to her account, she was told she owed the bank $6,000 and the deposited check was a fake. Of course the scammer’s Instagram account was deleted and the scammer was nowhere to be found.

If you have been the victim of this scam, contact local law enforcement and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Instructions for doing this are on the organization’s website.

© Copyright 2015 Stickley on Security

Seven Bad Money Habits to Curb Now

broken piggy

Whether it is biting our fingernails, losing track of house keys or procrastinating; we all have some bad habits that we’d like to break. Often, we simply “accept” our bad habits without thinking about how they may actually be standing in the way of us living our lives as we want to. When it comes to making the most of your money, consider curbing some of these actions that may be taking a toll on your wallet.

  1. Ignoring your bills: Just because you don’t look at them does not mean they don’t exist. Mail has this unfortunate way of piling up very quickly, so take a few minutes every day to sort through your papers to make sure you don’t miss bills or other important paperwork. Setting up automatic payments through your bank can make this process easier.
  2. Maxing out your credit cards: When used correctly, credits cards are an effective and useful tool in helping you to make big purchases and build a good credit history. The key is paying off your balance every month. Be wary of spending up to your credit limit and just paying off the minimum amount each month. That is one way people fall easily into debt.
  3. Not contributing to your 401k plan: It may feel like you have absolutely no money to spare, but investing in your company’s retirement plan is crucial to building a nest egg for the future. Start by talking to the HR person at your company and learning about your benefits. Then, try to contribute as much as your company matches since it is essentially free money towards your personal savings.
  4. Spending blindly: It’s important not to be oblivious to how much money you spend on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. All of those receipts for gas, snacks, soft drinks and restaurants add up very quickly if you are not aware of how much you are spending every day. You can use this calculator to create a budget for your daily expenses.
  5. Not having an emergency fund: Whether your car breaks down, you chip a tooth eating, or you get laid off – unexpected events can wreak financial inconvenience and havoc. Save regularly for a rainy day (experts recommend having 3–6 months worth of living expenses saved) so you will be covered if the unexpected happens.
  6. Living beyond your means: With so many temptations from new electronic equipment, to new fashion every season, to “big” sales every other day at your favorite department store, it is easy to fall into the habit of constantly buying new things. Becoming a financially disciplined person is simply learning how to resist the urge to spend what you don’t have. You can use this Saving for a Goal calculator to set aside money for something special.
  7. Stop playing money mind games: What we say to ourselves and to others about our finances can have a big impact on how we interact with money. Watch out for statements like, “I’ve never had money, and I will never make any money,” “Shopping is my therapy,” and “But, I’ve always let my partner take care of our finances.” Be aware of excuses and negative talk that may keep you from feeling confident about being able to manage your finances.

For more ways to break bad money habits, check out this Bankrate article.

Copyright© Visa

Online Summer Shopping Safety: Shop Safe, Shop Smart

Beautiful woman shopping by computer over internet.

It’s that time again! Shopping for back-to-school and summer sales is a great way to save some cold cash. Internet shopping is a quick and easy way to find super sales and bargains galore. However, the truth is internet thieves are ready to shop with you. Easy access to shopper accounts and passwords make life easy for those looking to relieve you of your hard-earned dollars.

There are ways you can make it difficult for the bad guys to gain your information. Following a few simple steps give internet interlopers a hard time getting access to your accounts. Hopefully these crooks will give up on you. So, get ready, take aim and guard your information!

Don’t pass on great passwords.

It’s true. When creating accounts on shopping sites, start smart with passwords using a mix of upper and lower case letters and numbers. Use a special character or a few. Don’t use dictionary words either. Regularly change passwords and avoid reusing the same ones for different accounts. All of these help give your summer-deal shopping a great start!

If you don’t know it, don’t put your money on it!

Use websites you trust or are well-known. If it looks phishy, it probably is. Scammers have ways of making websites look official, gaining your trust. Look for little things giving a disreputable site a series of red flags. Misspellings and bad grammar are easy to spot. Incredible offers may also be a lure by phishing desperadoes.

Do your homework

A few minutes well-spent may keep you from a world of hurt. Do a little background search regarding bad reviews and rip-off reports from previous shoppers on a site. Someone’s unfortunate shopping experience should be your warning to stay away. And remember that just because it shows up on Facebook, doesn’t mean it can be trusted. Scammers use social media to lure victims all the time.

Get the right connection

Always shop at websites beginning with “https:” That way you know your information is less likely to be railroaded into someone’s scamming attempts. If you don’t see the “s” on the end of the http, skip it. There is usually a lock icon somewhere on the browser to give you more sense of security as well.

Avoid using unsecured Wi-Fi. Internet shopping on public sites is an open invitation for scammers. Shopping on smartphones isn’t any safer than using a tablet or desktop computer. Use the same security measures on all your devices. Remember that if you are shopping from your mobile device, only use apps that you downloaded from the official app stores for your device.

Protect your PIN

Use a credit card when making online purchases rather than a debit card. If a crook gets both your card number and the PIN, he can recreate your card and drain your account. Instead, use the credit card features, a gift card, or other payment types such as PayPal when offered.

Following these basic guidelines is the start to a safe internet shopping spree. Common sense and intuition, along with computer smarts are your best defense against scammers. Don’t help these crooks steal your identity, ruining your summer shopping deals. Arming yourself and those you love is the best deal of all!

© Copyright 2015 Stickley on Security

A Home Downsizing Self-Quiz

Highway Signpost "Downsizing - Straight Ahead"Perhaps you’ve heard the call of coyotes from that den you don’t go into anymore, or you’ve seen tumbleweeds congregating in that extra, extra bedroom. Or maybe you’ve just looked at your electric bill lately. No matter your reasoning, if you are a homeowner who feels like you have more space than you really need, you’ve probably considered downsizing into a smaller dwelling at some point. Here are questions to ask yourself when you are considering the change:

What is my equity position in the current home?
Obviously, having a positive equity position in your home is a biggie, since it will make it a lot easier financially to get into a new place. If you sell the home and the amount you receive is less than what you owe on the mortgage(s), you will have to use your own money to make up the difference or face the consequences associated with a short sale. In other words, if you are in a negative equity position, downsizing might not be the best option.

How much money will potentially be saved on monthly housing payments?
If you’ve given serious thought to downsizing, you’ve probably looked at what it would cost to live in a new place. When you are comparing that number to what you currently pay for your house, don’t forget to include categories like taxes, maintenance and repairs for the future on the house side of the equation. Also, pay close attention to utilities since there can often be a dramatic difference in what you will pay in a larger home and what you would pay in a smaller home, apartment, or condo. Sometimes these expenses can tip the scales such that downsizing is the better option.

Does my current neighborhood still fit my needs?
It’s not just the house that should be weighed when making a decision on downsizing. If you moved into a neighborhood because it had great schools or lots of wide open space, as you get older those things may not matter anymore. Downsizing could mean being able to find an area that’s better for what you want now while also saving you money.

Will I be able to maintain the property in the years to come?
Maybe at one point you were gung-ho about climbing ladders to do fix-it projects or spending all day on a yard project. But as you get older, you may not be able to maintain the property like you once did. This could mean increased expenses in the future, or if you can’t afford to hire someone to do these things for you it could result in the property quickly losing value as it falls into disrepair. Sometimes it is best to sell a home when you are still able to keep it at its most attractive.

What’s my relationship with my stuff?
Many people find getting rid of a good deal of their accumulated belongings liberating since they feel less controlled by their possessions. Others have sentimental or practical attachments to certain possessions that require a fair amount of space to store. Either way, think about what you would really need to have with you in the home and then decide how much space it will take going forward to keep it.

What are your space needs for guests?
You may enjoy having a larger space to host family members or friends who come to visit. Think about the maximum number of visitors you have at one time and if you can accommodate them in a smaller space. Many people find that even in a smaller place they are still able to have plenty of guests.

© 2013 BALANCE

Two Ways to Save on Your Wedding Day!

Wedding1Your wedding day can easily be considered as one of the biggest moments in your life; it’s the day in which you and your partner take the first steps forward together into the future, and typically it’s an occasion filled with friends, family, and fanfare. Unfortunately, it can also be extremely easy to become overwhelmed during the planning stages of such a big milestone event, especially if you are on a strict budget. Let’s face it- rings, gowns, tuxes, venues, food, and flowers all cost money, and when it comes to weddings, they usually cost A LOT of money. While you should absolutely do whatever will make you the happiest on your big day, there are also some things that you can consider in advance that may help you save some significant funds. Remember, marriage is usually the gateway to even larger upcoming expenses such as a house, children, and college funds, so it’s very important not to blow up your bank accounts on one day- even if it is the big one. Here are two helpful tips that can help you save significant money, while maintaining the wedding of your dreams.

  1. Keep Your Guest List Reasonable!– This can easily be the biggest headache not only between you and your fiancé during the planning stage, but you and your own family as well! Whether it’s mom wanting her second cousins, dad expecting an invite for his co-workers, or you trying to find room for you college friends, deciding who to invite to your wedding can be a steep hill to climb. Did you know, however, that wedding experts claim that you should only invite the number of guests that you could have at least one minute to speak with individually? Meaning, it would take a full 5 hours to simply have a one minute conversation with each of your guests if you decide to invite 300 people to the event; that’s without eating, dancing, or stopping to cut the cake! Next, factor in the money it costs to actually invite and have someone attend- food, drink, invitations, stamps, envelopes, favors, etc. to get a realistic “per person cost” for your wedding. It’s clear to see that you can save serious money if you can lower the amount of people you and your fiancé decide to invite. In the perfect world, every guest pays for his or her plate through their gift, but we all know that it’s never that easy. Inviting only the guests that truly matter will help you start of this whole process on the right foot.
  2. Off-Peak can be Perfect for You– Before you even break out a calendar and begin searching for a date for your big day, remember one thing- Saturday is EASILY the most expensive day to get married. Therefore, if you are looking to knock off a large chunk of your expenses from the start, look into getting hitched on either a Friday or better yet, a Sunday. Friday can still offer your guests the luxury of not having to head to the office the morning after your wedding, and a 7 or 8pm start time for the reception can give everyone plenty of time to make it to the event from work. If some people can’t make your ceremony on time, so be it, that part is more for your closest friends and family anyway. Having your wedding on a Sunday, unfortunately, means most people will have to work the next day, but you can counteract that inconvenience by having a lovely early morning or afternoon wedding rather than an all night ordeal. Venues will be begging you to take the date off their hands since they are typically harder to book on their end, and will be throwing special offers your way if you decide to go for it. You’ll get WAY MORE than what you pay for on a Sunday, and hey- it never hurts being different!