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Life insurance: If there is someone is relying on your income, you need life insurance.
Your wife should also be insured, even if she doesn't work.  The need to insure her comes from the expenses of replacing her for childcare and housework. And if she does work (or is the breadwinner), then you need to insure her for income replacement - don’t be too macho to insure her.

How much to get?
First figure out how much you live on for real.

One school of thought is to get enough life insurance that you don't use up that payout, only live on the income that money generates.  So to make $80,000 of income at 5%, you need an initial investment (insurance amount) of $1,600,000 or over 1.5 million dollars! This piece of advice makes very little sense in today's low interest rate environment - since to chase a 5% return you need to risk the principal.

A better plan would be to estimate how many years of income replacement or expense coverage you need for each spouse. A big part of the need for income comes from child related expenses, which will end after the children reach a certain age. Or, at younger ages it is reasonable to expect that a widow/widower could get remarried, and therefore won't need as many years. Take all this into consideration and consult a financial adviser if you can afford it.

Another plan.  She'll be able to go to school, or otherwise get set up for a high paying job with a few years of full support.  So you only need a few years’ worth of income.  Let's say $80,000 X 5 years = $400,000.  Realize that her expenses without a husband might be higher than now as a couple.  (babysitter, tutors, etc) 


Term insurance vs Whole life
Term insurance is the cheapest and simplest.  You pay a premium and  if chv”sh the insured person dies, the beneficiary gets the insurance amount. The higher the risk a person is, the higher the premium.  So people with worse health  will pay more than healthy people for the same amount of insurance, and older people will pay more than younger people.
Level term.  One popular type of term insurance has a level premium for a fixed number of years. Many people prefer this to the traditional type of term insurance where the premium each each year pays for coverage only in that year (and as a result the premiums increase every year, because you are aging). In contrast, a level premium term insurance policy has an unchanging premium amount that is guaranteed for a specific number of years. As a result of the design you are overpaying in the early years of the policy to subsidize your cost in the later years. Popular guarantee periods are 10, 20 or 30 years.  As with any insurance, it pays to get one while you are healthy to lock in the lowest rate possible (in general, health only declines, you rarely hear of people getting healthier with age).
Whole life has a level premium that is guaranteed not to increase for as long as you live. Because of insurance laws in the US, this type of insurance policy must always have a "cash value", which is the amount of money you get back if you cancel the policy. That makes Whole Life a much more expensive choice relative to pure insurance coverage (where you'd get nothing back if you cancel) and therefore a bad choice for most people who are not rich (this is complicated to explain in great detail, but it is an effective summary of who is most likely to see good value in buying Whole Life). One fringe benefit of having a cash value in Whole Life is that you have saved money which can be used for your retirement or any other purpose if you are still alive.  For most people though, other savings vehicles will be better.
Universal life is very similar to whole life, in that it is meant to provide insurance coverage for as long as you live (as opposed to Term, which is meant to for a short to medium period of time). The most important difference is that the premium rates for Universal Life are not guaranteed, unlike Whole Life which is completely guaranteed. The concept behind Universal Life is that the insurance company tells you all the charges you are paying for and lets you pay as much or as little as you want for the coverage. Anything extra that you pay goes into an account that can earn interest, and as long as that account doesn't run out of money you stay insured.
Variable Life is an offshoot of Universal Life. The difference is that instead of the extra money going into an account that earns interest, you can choose to invest the extra money in mutual funds. Take my word as an expert in insurance that Variable Universal Life is only for the most investment oriented people (meaning that they barely care at all about the insurance part of the policy). If you are trying to decide on Term or Variable, the answer is always Term.

How long a Term Insurance companies make tons of money on people who buy 30 year terms and then let it lapse after 10 years, since they paid 30 year rates for those 10 years.  Consider a long term Term the equivalent of insuring against the possibility you will be uninsurable in 10 years.  Consider also that you would be able to convert the short term Term into a whole life policy at that time regardless of insurability.

Life insurance has some very favorable tax treatment on the cash value (or account value), which is a big selling point, especially for people in certain tax brackets who have all but run out of tax advantaged places to save money. The exact details are very technical and could not be fairly explained without making this wiki extremely long.

Reevaluate your situation and the amount of insurance periodically.  As things change- income, spending, family additions-  the amount of coverage you need will need tweaking.

In addition to buying insurance, don't forget to set up plans for how your beneficiaries can use the insurance money to live with their needs taken care of. Providing for your family in case of a tragic event is perhaps as selfless an act as a person can do, don't do it halfway! Make sure there will be money AND a plan for how to live on it. In my experience I have seen all types of unqualified people get involved with "helping" a family live off huge amounts of money and getting it wrong 10 times out of 10.

Plan for guardians to care for your children if cv"sh both parents are unavailable.


« Last edited by henche on July 09, 2014, 10:40:28 PM »

Author Topic: Do you have life insurance?  (Read 71385 times)

Offline Barryg

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Re: Do you have life insurance?
« Reply #380 on: March 17, 2015, 10:33:05 PM »
Just to comment on last two pages in general... Since this discussion started with someone asking what happens in future (if insured is alive) when COL goes up, in the discussion of how you figure where 1 million will take a family don't forget about inflation... Also, I never heard of this free tuition for Almanas... Even if it is true there is no guarantee it will stay around in the future.

Offline ckmk47

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Re: Do you have life insurance?
« Reply #381 on: March 17, 2015, 10:38:37 PM »
Barely get through financially, balanced with raising kids and/or getting an education so that she will hopefully find a job when she has nothing left from her husband's insurance policy.

Is that what a guy would want for his wife?
We're comparing the wrong things.
You're comparing the bare minimum and generous coverage.
I'm comparing the bare minimum and NO coverage.
yos9694 is comparing using the money of the insurance with 'helpful' askanim 'saving' the money for the future and only using the earnings and tzedoko money for day to day expenses.


I think we all agree that ideally everyone should have a generous amount of insurance whose use should be discussed between the couple when they buy it.
But, if they can't afford a generous policy, a bare minimum of insurance is a must rather than not buying anything at all.
My favorite cause: cssy.org

Offline henche

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Re: Do you have life insurance?
« Reply #382 on: March 17, 2015, 11:23:11 PM »
Barely get through financially, balanced with raising kids and/or getting an education so that she will hopefully find a job when she has nothing left from her husband's insurance policy.

Is that what a guy would want for his wife?

That's exactly where most of us are now.

I would allege that many people think they need to have enough insurance that at least if their kids don't have a father they'll be rich. 

Offline YankyDoodle

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Re: Do you have life insurance?
« Reply #383 on: March 18, 2015, 09:49:00 AM »
I tend to agree more with henche on this. You have to balance how you would like your family to be able to live if G-d forbid you die with how you're living now & your current needs. It's great to be wealthy enough to be able to afford 20X COL or whatever but that;s not practical for most people who are getting by day to day or even year to year. There's also retirement money that has to be set aside & rainy day funds... life insurance is not the only situation that needs to be planned for. IMHO thinking about the minimum amount is a good way to go while not yet 100% financially set.

Offline Barryg

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Re: Do you have life insurance?
« Reply #384 on: March 23, 2015, 11:46:02 AM »
I tend to agree more with henche on this. You have to balance how you would like your family to be able to live if G-d forbid you die with how you're living now & your current needs. It's great to be wealthy enough to be able to afford 20X COL or whatever but that;s not practical for most people who are getting by day to day or even year to year. There's also retirement money that has to be set aside & rainy day funds... life insurance is not the only situation that needs to be planned for. IMHO thinking about the minimum amount is a good way to go while not yet 100% financially set.
I brought up the 20 times COL. That calculation IS based on how one is living now and current needs. The average Cheshbon I  heard from others is based on some amount times income.
Here's the reasoning behind 20 times COL. If it costs a family (lets say parents are around 30) $100k/year to pay for living expenses (not extras like fancy leased car for father for work) then 20 times that would be $2,000,000. (A ten year term for 2 mil should cost $40-$60 per month and for a family spending $8k/month that should be affordable. Also, if they want to really do it right and get half of coverage in 30 year term and half in 10 year term it should cost $100/month which also should be affordable). If this person would die c'v and leave $2 million they can pull out $100k/year and keep living and get by day to day... If, they let's say had $750k of insurance they'd be in trouble within a few years (and it would be tough for her to be able to get remarried in the future).
As far as planning for other situations, first of all $100/month shouldn't get in the way (I really hope it doesn't break the bank of the avg. in towner -  if it does they should check out the OOT thread). Secondly, if one has $2 million of ins. and their health goes out the window, they can always still put away money for other situations, but if they have a minimal amount of coverage but saved a few dollars for other stuff and have $400k or $750k or whatever minimal amount of ins. you were referring to they can't necessarily get more coverage later. Third, half of the recent comments are talking about ppl that can barely afford day to day expenses and half of the comments are going on AsherO's Q which was asking how planning based on now's COL will help if COL goes up, which is a very responsible and advanced Q IMO, but there were a lot of comments and Q's and A's going off of that... We need to clarify since this thread is making things very confusing...

Offline AsherO

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Re: Do you have life insurance?
« Reply #385 on: March 27, 2022, 01:26:47 PM »
This looks like an Areivim-like ponzi on the blockchain

https://desure.com/
DDF FFB (Forum From Birth)

Offline jfish227

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Re: Do you have life insurance?
« Reply #386 on: January 11, 2023, 09:17:35 PM »
This looks like an Areivim-like ponzi on the blockchain

https://desure.com/
looks like it still didn't launch