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Managing your risks is a key component to any successful financial future.  One of the most cost-effective methods of accomplishing that is by transferring many of those risks to an insurance company.

Life Insurance

Most of us take great steps to plan for our future. You want to know that your family will be provided for if you die. This desire for security prompts many people to purchase life insurance as part of their financial plan.

Life insurance is a contract between you and an insurance company. Basically, you pay the insurance company a series of payments-or premiums-based on the type of policy that you've purchased. In turn, the insurance company agrees to pay your beneficiary a specified sum of money. The specified sum is called a death benefit. Your beneficiary is the person that you designate to receive the benefit from the insurance company. Generally the payment your beneficiary receives is not subject to federal or state income taxes. However, payments to your beneficiaries may result in estate tax liabilities. (You should discuss any potential tax benefits with your tax advisor.)

The purpose of life insurance is to provide funds to help preserve your family's financial future. You should consider purchasing life insurance if you have:

  • a spouse/partner
  • dependent children
  • an aging parent or disabled relative who depends on you for financial support
  • a business
  • concerns that your investments won't provide enough to support your loved ones, or
  • an estate to protect

In addition, life insurance coverage may be needed to pay final expenses such as:

  • health care costs,
  • funeral arrangements, and
  • estate taxes

The death of a loved one causes enough personal anguish without adding financial problems. How would your family pay the bills if anything unexpected happened to you?

Life insurance can be purchased in many forms: Term, Whole, Variable, Universal and Variable Universal.

Term Life Insurance

A term policy provides life insurance coverage for a specific period of time.

  • It is pure life insurance.
  • It does not accumulate in value.
  • If you die within the designated time frame, your beneficiary will receive the death benefit amount.
  • It is the least expensive form of life insurance.
  • The younger you are, the lower the premium, or price, you pay for Term Insurance. This price break can help you buy more life insurance coverage when you're young and need to protect your young family's future.

Term insurance is often purchased to cover a specific financial obligation, such as a mortgage payment, since you can select the time period you want the insurance to cover. The premium amount you pay for term life does increase with age, so you may want to look into other available options for ongoing, lifelong coverage. Term life premiums cover the death benefit only and do not accumulate in value. When the specified contract period ends, premium payments stop and coverage ends.

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Whole Life Insurance

Whole life insurance or ordinary life insurance provides protection for life. The premium amount is typically fixed throughout the life of the policy and is due in regular intervals. The payment, though, tends to be higher than the premiums associated with term policies. Part of the premium pays for the death benefit coverage, commissions and fees. The rest is invested in the insurance company's investment portfolio. This investment is called the cash value of the policy. Cash value accumulates on a tax-deferred basis until withdrawal or lapse of the policy. (You should discuss any potential tax benefits with your tax advisor).

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Variable Life Insurance

Variable life insurance is similar to whole life, in that it offers coverage for life and fixed premiums for a specific term or the life of the contract. The difference between whole and variable life insurance is the treatment of the cash value portion of the premium. Instead of the insurance company investing your money in its investment portfolio at a guaranteed rate, you hold the purse strings. This type of life insurance allows you to invest the cash value portion of the premium into a separate account and to direct where this portion of your premium is invested. The separate account investment options include a portfolio of securities.

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Universal Life Insurance

Universal life insurance is similar to whole life insurance. The difference is that your premium is flexible. How much and how often you pay depends on the policy's cash value and the size of the death benefit you choose. You can use the cash value to reduce your out-of-pocket premiums; likewise, a smaller death benefit would reduce the premiums. A flexible premium can be ideal when you need to reduce your coverage. Some policyholders choose to reduce coverage as their children grow up. With fewer dependents living at home, the need for a larger death benefit may not be necessary. Universal life policies also build cash value with a guaranteed minimum return.

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Variable Universal Life Insurance

Variable universal life insurance combines:

  • Universal life's flexible premium payments
  • Variable life's ability to let policyholders invest their cash value.

The premium amount is flexible based on the size of your death benefit and the cash value of the policy. Plus, you control the invested portion of your premium. This money is placed into a separate account from your insurance company's investment portfolio. You're allowed to direct where this portion of your premium is invested. The separate account investment options include a portfolio of securities.

Your cash value varies with the performance of the underlying investments you select. The amount is not guaranteed. The cash value can be taken in a lump sum if the policy is terminated. If the earnings are greater than what the insurance company projected, the death benefit can increase.

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An annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company that lasts over a specific time period. In this agreement, the customer agrees to pay the life insurance company a specified amount of money. These payments are also known as purchase payments and can be made once or over a series of payments. In exchange for these purchase payments, the investor can opt to receive a lump sum or a series of payments from the insurance company. A major potential benefit of annuities is that earnings can accumulate tax-deferred—meaning you don’t pay taxes on either the contributions or the earnings until you take a distribution. (You should discuss any potential tax benefits with your tax advisor. Please note that other investment vehicles, such as IRAs and employer sponsored retirement plans, also may provide investors with tax deferred growth. Also, if an investor invests in a variable annuity through a tax-advantaged retirement plan, the investor will realize no additional tax advantage from the variable annuity.)

Annuities come basically in two forms—fixed or variable. A fixed annuity offers a fixed rate of return. This type of annuity is good for investors who want the security of a guaranteed rate of return. (As the guaranteed rate of return is secured by the general assets of the insurance company, investors should consider the financial strength of the insurance company that sponsors the annuity. This can affect the insurance company’s ability to pay claims.)

With a variable annuity, you can invest in investments from some of the nation’s leading money managers. You choose how your money is invested—how much and in which investment options. Variable annuities give you many investment options, from stock market investments to fixed investments, so you have the opportunity to beat inflation. You control the dollar amount of your investments within the options available through your annuity. The return you receive from a variable annuity is based on the performance of the underlying investments. (Investors should carefully consider the financial strength of the insurance company that sponsors the variable annuity. This can affect the insurance company’s ability to pay claims beyond the value of your account in the investment options, such as death benefit. Investors should note that variable annuities are suitable for long-term investors only. Variable annuities are not suitable for short-term investment goals as substantial taxes and insurance company charges may apply if you withdraw your money early from the variable annuity. Variable annuities involve investment risk and will fluctuate in value.)

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Disability Insurance

The loss of income due to a disability can be devastating to a family. Without the ability to pay day-to-day expenses such as mortgages, car loans, credit cards, etc.; savings and even retirement accounts can be quickly depleted. A well-planned disability income policy can help to protect you against income loss due to an injury or sickness and also provide you peace of mind.

Most Disability Income policies provide income replacement in the event of a covered illness or injury. Disability policies come in a variety of packages covering many different options. The following is an outline of what makes up a disability policy.

The Benefit: The amount of income replacement benefit, the policy will pay out in the event of a disability.

The Benefit Period: The amount of time a benefit payment will be paid by the insurance company to the recipient. Typical benefit periods include a 2-year, 5 year, to age 65 benefit periods.

Elimination Period: The amount of time after an injury or sickness before claims can be received by the insured. Elimination period can vary from 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, or 180 days.

Occupational Class: Insurance companies rate occupations depending on the probability that a sickness or injury will occur. A high-risk occupation such as a truck driver is more expensive to insure than a low risk occupation such as an office manager. Depending on your occupational class, the insurance company will determine an occupational rating.

Supplemental Benefits: Many insurance companies offer extra benefits that can be added to a policy for an extra fee. These benefits can include cash riders, special occupational riders, etc.

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Long-Term Care Insurance

Nearly half of all Americans will need long-term care at some point in their lives. In fact, one in five over the age of 50 is at a high risk of needing long-term care within the next 12 months.

What will it cost? How will you pay for it? Does the state government help in any way? What about Medicare? These are questions that need to be examined to determine whether it is appropriate for you to carry this type of insurance.

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Medical and Medicare Supplement

If you have ever been sick or injured, you know how important it is to have health coverage. But if you’re confused about what kind is best for you, you’re not alone.

What types of health coverage are available? If your employer offers you a choice of health plans, what should you know before making a decision? In addition to coverage for medical expenses, do you need some other kind of insurance? What if you are too ill to work? Or, if you are over 65, will Medicare pay for all your medical expenses?

How Do I Get Health Coverage?
Most people have health insurance through their employer. Most businesses offer a variety of health plans to employees as an employee benefit. Although you may have health insurance through your work, it may not be as comprehensive as you might like. If you do not have health insurance through work, you can obtain an individual or family health policy.

Group insurance is typically offered through employers, although unions, professional associations, and other organizations also offer group insurance. As an employee benefit, group health insurance has many advantages. Much – although not all – of the cost may be borne by the employer. Premium costs are frequently lower because economies of scale in large groups make administration less expensive. With group insurance, if you enroll when you first become eligible for coverage, you generally will not be asked for evidence that you are insurable. (Enrollment usually occurs when you first take a job, and/or during a specified period each year, which is called open enrollment.) In addition, some group plans offer dental insurance as well as medical.

Individual Insurance is a good option if you work for a small company that does not offer health insurance or if you are self-employed. Buying individual insurance allows you to tailor a plan to fit your needs from the insurance company of your choice. It requires careful shopping, because coverage and costs vary from company to company. In evaluating policies, consider what medical services are covered, what benefits are paid, and how much you must pay in deductibles and co-insurance. You may keep premiums down by accepting a higher deductible.

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Insurance products offered through Gold Coast Securities, Inc., CA Insurance License No. 0D34025

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