Guaranteed Income Stream for Life. Think Annuities



Are you thinking about retirement? Do you want to make sure you do not outlive your savings? This article by Marvin Feldman is packed with helpful information on how to protect your financial future.


| Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, CEO emeritus of Life Happens |

Are you headed toward retirement or even in retirement and concerned about outliving your savings? Perhaps an income annuity will fit your needs. An annuity is a financial instrument that can offer a guaranteed lifetime income that you can’t outlive.

I’ve spent many years helping my clients with annuities as part of their broader financial plan. So here’s a very high-level understanding of some options.

Fixed income annuities are offered with a number of payment options, allowing you to structure payouts according to your financial goals and objectives. Consider these four income streams:

Joint life: This option provides income for two people, as long as either person is alive. When one person passes away, payments continue to the survivor.

Period certain only: This allows you to target how long you need an income stream. If you were to pass away before the end of the certain period, the remaining payments would continue to the person you designate as your beneficiary, meaning the person you want to receive the money.

Life with a period certain: In this scenario, the annuity pays out income for your lifetime. If you were to pass away prior to the end of the certain period elected, your beneficiary receives the remaining payments.

Life only: This is the least-commonly selected payout. When you die, payments cease—no matter what. This can be risky, but the upside is this option provides the highest payouts.

My mother-in-law, now deceased, used a joint life immediate annuity to generate a lifetime income, using the proceeds from the sale of her home. Now my wife, as her beneficiary, is receiving an income stream for the balance of her life from this same annuity policy.

A guaranteed lifetime income, one you cannot outlive, provides peace of mind. Should this be part of your financial plan? Ask your agent or advisor to see if it fits your needs.

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Who Can I Name as a Beneficiary on My Life Insurance Policy?


When you get a life insurance policy you are required to name a beneficiary. Typically the person or people who receive the payout on your life insurance policy after you die. Some people choose to make the beneficiary a trust, charity or estate. 

You can also choose a percentage of the payout to go to different people. Typically the life insurance holder will be asked to pick two kinds of beneficiaries: a primary and a secondary. The secondary beneficiary will receive the payout if the primary beneficiary is deceased. 

The majority of people buy life insurance to provide for children who are left behind. Ordinarily, this is done by making the surviving spouse or caretaker the beneficiary. But what if you’re widowed or, both you and your partner pass away at the same time?


First, know that it’s not a good idea to name a minor as a beneficiary. That’s because the law forbids life insurance payouts to anyone who has not reached the age of majority, which is 18 to 21 depending on your state. If a child were to be named, then it would be turned over to probate court. The court will name a guardian who has oversight of the money/estate until the child comes of age.

Fortunately, there are two options. The first is to name an adult custodian. The custodian should be someone you can trust to use the money for things like housing, health care, and education until the child reaches the age of majority. At that point, any remaining money gets turned over the child and they can spend it any way they want.

The second option is to work with an attorney to set up a trust. In this scenario, the trust is the beneficiary and a trustee is named to manage and distribute the funds. The main advantage of a trust over naming a custodian is having more control.

Amanda Austin


Amanda Austin has good points about choosing the right beneficiary for your life insurance policy. She goes into more detail in her article found here:




8 Life Insurance Myths Debunked



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We'll do anything to protect our loved ones, right? But the decision to buy life insurance is often met with hesitation, confusion or even denial. After all, it's not an easy subject to think about: What would happen if you were to pass away? When it comes to protecting your loved ones with life insurance, it's important to separate fact from fiction.

To get started, read on to learn the truth about eight life insurance myths — it may change your perspective and lead you to make informed decisions about purchasing a policy.


Even if you are in this group, life insurance is important. Life insurance may help your loved ones pay off your debts (like some private college loans, for instance) if you pass away. Planning early not only helps protect your loved ones from burdensome expenses, but it also gets you started on a financial plan for the future.



According to the 2015 Insurance Barometer study conducted by Life Happens, 80 percent of consumers misjudge the cost of term life insurance. Life insurance can be very affordable for many people, depending on the coverage you’re looking for. You can start with a policy that fits your budget, and you may be able to purchase additional coverage later on.



If you're a stay-at-home parent, life insurance is still important. While you may not bring in an actual paycheck for the household, you likely provide services that could cost tens of thousands of dollars to replace each year. These may include child care, daily transportation, home maintenance and cooking, to name a few. If you were to pass away, life insurance may help cover some of these costs.



Typically, your employer-offered life insurance policy isn’t portable — meaning if you leave your job, you’re probably also leaving your life insurance protection behind. However, when you buy your own, separate life insurance policy you decide how long you want to be covered. Additionally, with an individual policy, you may be able to get more personalized coverage that fits your financial needs.



Your life insurance death benefits are generally income-tax-free and do not have to be reported, according to the International Revenue Service (IRS). Life insurance helps provide your family with income-tax-free money to help pay for a number of things like funeral expenses, a mortgage, or college tuition.



It is possible to convert some term life insurance policies into a permanent life insurance policy, depending on the policy purchased. However, it's a good idea to speak to your agent up front, as these types of term policies typically must be converted within a specified time period. You also may encounter additional requirements with a convertible term policy, such as increasing premiums.


Life insurance can help you in many different stages in your life. Life insurance later in life has a number of advantages, such as helping to relieve the burden of paying for final costs, paying for state estate taxes your heirs may face, paying off any debt you may have left behind, or simply leaving your children with an inheritance.



While your savings may last through your retirement, have you thought about final expenses? According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the national median cost of a funeral with a burial in 2014 was $7,181. If you don’t have enough money saved, it is possible your loved one won’t be able to pay off final expenses. Keep in mind, if your mortgage has not been paid off, your loved ones may not be able to hold onto your home, if not enough money has been saved.

No matter where you are in life, it's important to help protect your loved ones and your assets with life insurance. If you have any questions, reach out to us! (239) 593-7333


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10 important questions about life insurance that you might not have asked.



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Life insurance can be a tough topic to learn about because no one really wants

to talk about dying. Below we answer 10 questions that people generally want to know

but don't want to ask.


1. Do I have life insurance through my employer already?

Some employers offer life insurance that you would have signed up for when you were hired. Usually, the coverage offered through your employer is inadequate. Even if your company offers great life insurance, you will lose it when you don’t work there anymore. If going through your employer is the only kind of coverage that you’re going to have for yourself at this time than certainly do not forgo it. It is better to have it than to go without.


2. Are medical exams required for me to get a life insurance policy?

Medical exams are a part of the underwriting process.  

There are a few policies out there that do not require a medical exam but they generally have higher prices. Allstate offers no medical exam life insurance. Click here for more info: no-medical-exam life insurance policies


3. Why am I taking this medical exam?

The medical exam will determine someone’s health classification which will determine how much the premiums are.


Classification varies but there are classifications that most companies go by.

Preferred Plus, Preferred, Standard Plus, Standard, Substandard and Smoker. The results of your medical exam depend on a number of health and lifestyle factors in your life. The exam is similar to a basic physical.

Generally, this is what you can expect in the exam:


  1. Measurement of your weight and height

  2. Measurement of your blood pressure and pulse

  3. Blood work (to check things such as cholesterol, glucose, protein, and HIV)

  4. Urinalysis (to check things such as HIV, protein, glucose, creatinine, and cocaine)


4. Can I go to my own doctor for the exam?

Insurers do not want potentially bias third parties to give the exam. The good news is that the insurance company will pay for the exam. The technician will typically come to your house and the insurance company is not who is testing you. Generally, a third party will be the ones that test you.

10 questions about life insurance

5. Am I supposed to lose weight before I take a life insurance exam?

The insurance company is looking for your BMI. A healthy BMI will only help qualify you for the highest or best classification and therefore lower premiums. However, Insurers require to know if your weight has fluctuated more than 10 pounds within the last year. They are looking for the most accurate representation of your health.


6. What’s an underwriter?


An underwriter works for the insurance carrier and figures out how risky you are to ensure.  They look at your exam results and medical records to help them conclude what classification you belong in. The underwriter will even look at your vehicle reports. Click here if you’d like to read more: a guide to the underwriting process


7. What happens if I lie to the underwriter and they find out?

Here is what probably would happen if deception is discovered:

-All of the quotes you have been using will be wrong and you will be offered a higher premium.

-You will get denied coverage or your policy canceled.

-Your death benefit will not get paid out.

8. What’s a death benefit?

The death benefit is the amount that is paid out when a life insurance claim is filed. The death benefit is paid to the beneficiary which the owner of the policy determined before the insured is deceased.

9. What is term life insurance?

Term insurance is a policy that covers you for a fixed period of time.

It is basic and inexpensive.  Term insurance is good for a specific period of time. If you die during your term period, your beneficiary will receive the death benefit.

Regular Permanent life insurance, on the other hand, covers you permanently.

10. Which is better — term life insurance or permanent life insurance?

I like how policy genius answers this question:

We recommend term life insurance. Unless you’re super-rich, have a complicated estate situation or are closing in on retirement, it’s almost certainly better for you. That’s because the aim of life insurance is to cover your family during the years you’re working to provide for them. (They can take over from there. At least theoretically.) Plus, permanent life insurance is a lot more expensive. Having said all that, you can find more on term vs. permanent life insurance here.

by Jeanine Skowronski


American life insurance policy trends have shifted

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US adults are taking this coverage more seriously and have been considering it more frequently.
The pandemic crisis has forced millions of Americans to consider their finances and their mortality, creating a striking shift in life insurance policy trends across the country.
This changing direction has been particularly strong among younger adults, parents and minorities.
American young adults, those with kids and minorities have all been taking a closer look at their finance management. Among those examinations has been a boost to life insurance policy trends, suggests a new Unum survey. The research showed that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, 41 percent of adults say they have adjusted the way they handle their finances. Almost one quarter (22 percent) of those adults are also thinking of adding or increasing their life coverage.
The pandemic has forced many American adults to think very differently about their financial lives. By the start of the crisis, most did not know how much coverage they needed. Moreover, another 45 percent either don’t have a plan or don’t know if they have one.
The pandemic has altered the lives of Americans right down to life insurance policy trends.
“The pandemic changed our lives, and it’s not a surprise more people are thinking about how they are protecting their families with life insurance,” explained Chris Pyne, Unum Group Benefits executive vice president. “For most people, the ability to earn an income throughout their life is the biggest asset they have.”
Forty eight percent of American households – nearly half – would risk financial disaster within three months of the death of a primary wage earner without adequate coverage. Though 22 percent of survey respondents said they had considered adding to their coverage as a result of the pandemic, certain demographics were more likely to do so than others.

Those most likely to have considered buying coverage for the first time or adding to what they had since the start of the pandemic include: Hispanic adults (38 percent), Generation Z adults (38 percent), Black adults (36 percent), households with children (34 percent), and Millennials (30 percent). When delving more deeply into this life insurance policy trend and asking respondents how much coverage they needed, 36 percent said they required either the equivalent to or double their annual income. Another 28 percent felt they would require three to four times their annual income.



What are living benefits of life insurance?


While life insurance generally benefits your loved ones after you pass away, it can also benefit them (and you) before that time comes through something known as living benefits. 


Term Life Living Benefits

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Term life insurance covers you for a set amount of time, or term. It provides funds to your beneficiary (or beneficiaries) if you pass away during that time.

Living benefit options for term life include:

  • Accelerated death benefits. This living benefit pays out a portion of your term life policy if you ever face a terminal illness. This gives you needed cash to cover medical expenses, debt and more. Many people also use the funds to take a dream vacation or make other memories with their loved ones. Here are four things in mind when it comes to this living benefit:

    • Different insurers have different life expectancy timelines for when you can access the cash.

    • The policy may need to be in force for a certain amount of time before you can access the living benefit.

    • You may be charged interest on the portion of the accelerated death benefit that you use.

    • The advanced amount is typically subtracted from the total amount your beneficiaries receive after you pass away.

  • A variation on this option is called a “critical illness rider” that lets you access your death benefit if you’re afflicted by a specific ailment or disease.

  • Return of premium. With this living benefit, all the premiums you paid during the term are returned to you so long as you don’t pass away during the term. You typically pay more for this kind of policy than you would for a traditional term life policy.

  • Disability waiver of premium. This living benefit lets you skip your premium payments in the event you suffer from a long-term disability for six months or more. While not a true cash benefit, it nonetheless is a valuable option to have since there’s a three in 10 chance you’ll face a disability that keeps you out of work for 90 days or longer at some point during your working career.

Permanent Life Living Benefits

Permanent life insurance has a death benefit like term life insurance, along with the ability to accumulate cash value on a tax-deferred basis, which a term policy does not.

Some permanent life insurance policies give you the option of accelerated death benefits like term life insurance does.

Permanent life insurance lets you tap into needed funds throughout your lifetime in four other important ways as well:


  • Cash value withdrawal. A withdrawal lets you access a portion of the cash value of your permanent life policy. You won’t owe any taxes on this withdrawal if the amount you withdraw is less than or equal to your premium payments. However, you will owe taxes if any portion of the amount you withdraw is from interest, dividends or capital gains. Also be aware that the amount you withdraw will be subtracted from the policy’s death benefit if it’s not repaid.

  • Policy loan. You’ll be charged interest if you take out a loan against your permanent life policy, but it’s usually lower than the interest charged by other lenders. You also won’t have to undergo a credit check or abide by a long list of restrictions.

  • Policy surrender. A policy surrender is when you cancel your permanent life policy to access the cash value portion as a one-time lump sum. The insurer will give you that amount, less any outstanding loans and/or unpaid premiums.

  • Long-term care benefits. Adding a long-term care benefit to your permanent life policy lets you tap into the death benefit to cover long-term care expenses that your health insurance doesn’t cover. The death benefit is typically reduced by the amount of the long-term benefit that you use. It’s a valuable living benefit to have when you consider that 70 percent of people turning 65 today will need some form of long-term care in their lives.

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