Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Quite possibly. In fact, there are many reasons why you may want to consider life insurance after your children have left home:
To help meet goals
If your children are in college and/or not completely financially independent, life insurance may help "finish the job." Although you may have provided for tuition, what about your kids' ongoing living expenses (e.g., room and board, laundry, entertainment/activity costs, etc.)? And, while Social Security benefit payments for your surviving spouse and children may be available, they stop when your kids leave high school.*
To support other dependents
If you have parents, disabled adult children or others who depend on you for financial support, life insurance could help continue this support if you die before they do.
To offset "lost" retirement savings
If you die unexpectedly before retirement, your Social Security survivors' benefits and pension, if you have one, are based on your salary at that time. And your retirement savings contributions stop, of course. If you're early or even midway in your career, that might create a big gap between needs and resources. A life insurance policy may help fill that gap.
To meet commitments based on two incomes
Most two-earner couples make financial commitments (e.g., home mortgage, loans, leases, etc.) based on their combined income. Life insurance covering each earner may help the survivor continue to meet those commitments.
To pay final expenses
Perhaps you don't have enough savings available to pay for funeral and burial costs, final medical expenses, estate administration and transfer costs, and federal and state income and estate taxes.† Life insurance may help cover these costs, which can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars.
To create a financial "safety net"
Conventional wisdom says each household should have an "emergency fund" to meet surprise unavoidable outlays. If you don't have an emergency fund and something happens to you, it might be more difficult for your family to obtain immediate cash. Life insurance may help solve this problem.
To offset lost income if a spouse dies after beginning Social Security retirement benefits
When a couple retires and begins receiving Social Security retirement benefits, each one receives an income. The earner with the larger pre-retirement income gets a benefit based on that income, and the person with the smaller (or no) pre-retirement income gets either a benefit based on his or her own earnings record or half of the spouse's Social Security benefit, whichever is greater. When one spouse dies, the larger retirement benefit continues but the second benefit stops. Life insurance may help offset this income drop.
To provide for your charities
Life insurance can be an effective way to make a final gift to your favorite charity.
Call me to learn more about how life insurance can benefit you and your loved ones or beneficiaries.
*Surviving spouse may receive benefits at any age if caring for a child younger than age 16 or disabled; unmarried child may receive benefits if under age 18 (19 if attending secondary school full time) or disabled. Source: http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/10084.html.
†This document is for informational purposes only. You should consult your attorney, accountant or tax adviser for legal or tax advice.
Life insurance issued by Farmers New World Life Insurance Company, Mercer Island, WA 98040.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Your home may be your castle — but it also can be a very hazardous place. We become so accustomed to our homes that we often overlook potentially dangerous habits and situations. Here are a few simple steps that may help prevent many common household accidents:
Keep stairs clearly lit. Stairs are one of the most dangerous spots in your home. Click here for Stair Safety Tips.
Help prevent falls. Install grab bars in tubs and showers and use non-slip mats. Have bright lights over stairs and on landings. Keep them well lit and clear of boxes, furniture and other tripping hazards.
Help prevent poisoning. Keep cleaners, medications and beauty products where children can't reach them. Use child safety locks. Call (800) 222-1222 for information about poisons. If anyone ingests or inhales poison, call 911 immediately.
Help prevent fires, burns and inhalation hazards. Check all smoke, fire and carbon monoxide alarms regularly and hold family fire drills. If you build a new home or renovate an existing home, consider installing fire sprinklers. When cooking, stay at your stove. To help prevent scalding, set your hot water heater at 120°F.
Help prevent choking and suffocation. Any item that can fit through a toilet paper tube can choke a young child. Keep coins, latex balloons and hard round foods, such as peanuts and hard candy, where children cannot see or touch them. Pediatricians recommend placing babies to sleep on their backs without pillows, blankets, comforters or toys in cribs.* When your children are in or near water, watch them very carefully and stay close enough to touch them at all times. This includes bathtubs, toilets, pools, spas and even buckets of water.
The best way to handle an emergency is to be prepared. Make sure you have an emergency phone list posted by each phone in your house. I can give you a sample list so call me and start making your home safer today.
Here are tips that may help you and your family navigate your steps safely:
Install a light switch at the top and bottom of stairs.
Make sure handrails run the full length of the staircase.
Fix loose stair carpeting immediately.
Don't use throw rugs at the top or bottom of a flight of stairs.
If you intend to paint basement stairs, add some sand to the paint for a better grip or install rubber or abrasive treads.
Make sure the outside of your house is well lit or paint the edges of outside steps white so they can be seen in the dark.
*Source: U.S. Surgeon General's Office: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/pressreleases/sg05052005.html.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Can you imagine someone stealing your motor vehicle while you're in it? That's a very scary thought, yet it happens to thousands of motorists every year.* You can help reduce the risk of being carjacked if you stay alert, avoid dangerous situations and places, drive defensively and keep your car locked. Read on for some valuable information that may help keep you and your family out of harm's way.
Stay alert. Whenever you enter or exit your car or stop your car and remain in it, vigilance is the key to safety. So remain alert at stop signs, red lights, in front of electronic gates or in your driveway.
Driveway precautions. Don't let your guard down, assuming you're safe just because you've reached your own driveway. In fact, don't even pull into your driveway if you think you're being followed by a car you don't recognize. Instead, drive around the block, and if you are being followed, head to the nearest police or fire station. If you have a cell phone, use it to call 911 for help.
Red light and stop sign precautions. Whenever you are at a stop sign, intersection or red light, keep your windows closed and leave enough room between you and the vehicle in front of you to allow you to escape, if necessary. Rule of thumb: Make sure you can see the entire back of the vehicle in front of you including its tires. This will allow you to maneuver your car easily if you need to pull away quickly.
Behaviors to avoid. Don't let people know you have money. Remain alert when you walk to your car from a shopping center with a bunch of bags. Try not to wear any flashy jewelry when running errands. Carjackers wait for these opportunities and then take advantage of them.
The bottom line: Constant vigilance can help to reduce the risk of carjacking.
Friday, April 9, 2010
David Lorms, Farmers Insurance Agent, donated $500 to Lu Lu Stevens Elementary School to fund a Perfect Attendance Award program for the 2010 Spring Semester. Students with perfect attendance will have their names entered into a drawing for prizes. Pictured with Lorms is Lucy Anderson, Principal.