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How Much Life Insurance Should a Railroader Have to Protect What's Important? Thumbnail

How Much Life Insurance Should a Railroader Have to Protect What's Important?

Video Survivor Benefits Retirement Financial Planning Estate Planning

Welcome, readers, to another edition of the Highball Advisors Railroad Retirement Whiteboard. I'm John McNamara from Highball Advisors, and today we'll be discussing the critical topic of protecting your family in case of unfortunate circumstances. Although it may not be the most exciting subject, it's an essential aspect that requires attention because your loved ones are relying on you. Let's explore how we can safeguard your family if something happens to you, focusing on life insurance.

Determining the appropriate life insurance coverage depends on your financial and family situation. For instance, if you're a single person without any financial obligations, life insurance may not be necessary at this point in your life. However, if you're in your forties with three kids and others relying on you, it becomes crucial to prioritize this protection.

It's worth noting that life insurance premiums are generally more affordable when you're younger and have fewer dependents. As you grow older and accumulate more responsibilities and assets, the cost of insurance tends to increase. Insurance companies take into account your age, financial status, and proximity to the end of your life expectancy when calculating premiums.

The primary purpose of life insurance is to cover debts and financial obligations you would leave behind. These may include mortgages, student loans, and any other outstanding debts that need to be settled. By considering these factors, you can estimate the appropriate level of coverage you require.

Now, let's explore the two main types of life insurance. First, there's whole life insurance, also known as permanent insurance. This type of policy remains in effect as long as you continue paying the premiums. Whole life insurance includes an investment component, which some individuals find appealing. However, it's important to note that I personally do not recommend this option as I prefer to separate investments and insurance.

The second type is term life insurance, which provides coverage for a specific duration, such as 10, 15, or 20 years. Term life insurance is often more cost-effective compared to whole life insurance. Many individuals choose a term life policy that aligns with their retirement plans. By the time they reach retirement, they have built sufficient wealth through their railroad retirement annuity and other investments, which can serve as a safety net for their family. Term life insurance can bridge the gap until retirement, offering the necessary protection during that period.

To determine the appropriate coverage amount, you should consider several factors. Start by assessing your outstanding debts, such as your mortgage or any other loans. Next, calculate your income replacement needs. A commonly used guideline is to aim for coverage equivalent to 10 times your annual income. This figure ensures that your family's financial needs are adequately addressed. If your employer offers life insurance coverage, which is typically around two and a half times your income, you can subtract that amount from your total coverage needs.

Another approach to determining coverage is the "standard living method." This method involves calculating the amount required to maintain your family's current standard of living. For example, if your annual expenses amount to $50,000, multiplying that figure by 20 would indicate a needed coverage amount of $1 million. By withdrawing 5% annually from the insurance proceeds, you can sustain your family's lifestyle for 20 years, while the remaining funds can continue to grow through investments.

Remember, these are just some approaches to help you determine the appropriate life insurance coverage. There are various other methods you can explore. The key is to start thinking about your insurance needs, consider your debts and financial obligations, and evaluate the lifestyle you want to provide for your family. By doing so, you can work backward to arrive at a suitable insurance coverage amount.

I hope you find this information helpful and urge you to dedicate some time to consider your life insurance needs. If you're approaching retirement and would like to go through our boarding for railroad retirement process, please don't hesitate to reach out. It's an excellent resource for you. Until next time, stay safe, stay on track, and take care. Goodbye, everyone.


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Disclaimer: This article is provided for general information and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. Highball Advisors encourages you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Highball Advisors, and all rights are reserved from Highball Advisors, and all rights are reserved.