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Life Insurance Review

Life insurance can be very effective in providing financial insulation, security and peace of mind to those who elect to safeguard their loved ones from the financial travesty that can result from an unexpected tragedy. It is important to understand that just because you’ve implemented this layer of financial protection by securing an insurance policy does not mean that you can lock it away for decades and expect it to remain optimal for your ever-changing financial life.

            You may have full faith and confidence in your current insurance broker and the policy they helped you secure based on your facts and circumstances at the time. It is very important to ask yourself and identify any impactful life changes that may have occurred since you had this insurance policy written. As time goes on, it is likely that your financial facts and circumstances have changed. Based on these changes, it is important to review your own insurance coverage on a regular basis to make sure that it is still relevant.

Special Edition-Mitlin Minute-Life In The Fast Lane

In this edition of Mitlin Minute watch Mitlin's President, Lawrence Sprung, take a ride down the luge track at the Olympic Training facility in Lake Placid.

 
Disclaimer: This article represents the opinion of Mitlin Financial Inc. It should not be construed as providing investment, legal and/or tax advice.

The Many Reasons Not to Look at your Life Insurance Policies

Life Insurance Henry Montag

 

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Henry Montag, CFP®: The TOLI Center East

It’s unpleasant, I don’t understand it, I don’t want to deal with a life Insurance salesman. But if you don’t your life Insurance policy may expire before you do.     If you’re like most people you think of life Insurance as a ‘Buy & Hold’ asset that requires no active management, when in reality a life policy is a ‘Buy & Manage’ asset, just like your stock and bond portfolio. You wouldn’t buy stocks and bonds and then place your investment portfolio in the bottom left hand drawer and not look at it for the next 10-15+ years. But that’s what many purchasers of policies do. Problem is if you purchased a life policy over the last 25+ years, there’s a 55% chance that the policy wasn’t guaranteed to last for the rest of your life.  

This is meaningful because interest rates went from a high of 18% in the mid 1980’s to the current rate of 2-3%. This reduced sustained interest rate coupled with neglect over the last 25+ years has caused 23% of those existing non- guaranteed policies to expire years earlier than anticipated (American Bar Association, Flagship book  ”The Life Insurance Policy Crisis”( Jan 2017)).

You may ask, how could that have happened? I paid all of the bills I received from the life Insurance Company on time, and in full. Yes you did but those premium bills haven’t changed over the last 20+ years when interest rates were much higher. As interest rates decreased, the premiums you paid should have been increased to make up for the reduced earnings in your cash value account. Why didn’t the Insurance Company send notices to ask me to pay a higher premium? It’s not their responsibility as managing your policy premium is the responsibility of the owner of the policy. The Insurer’s responsibility is to merely provide you with a death benefit and an annual statement/ bill. Yes, the Insurer could have done a better job of advising their customers of the danger of their policy expiring earlier than anticipated, but perhaps that’s intentional as the insurance company profits when a policy expires prematurely, because the insurer keeps all the premiums and never has to pay out a death claim.

So as a result of the reduced interest rates, the policy not being guaranteed, nor properly managed, an insufficient amount of premium was paid which resulted in an increasing number of individual’s life coverage beginning to expire years earlier than anticipated and requiring a significantly higher premium to keep the coverage in force to one’s life expectancy. (WSJ cover story Sept 2018).

In order to prevent becoming one of the statistics yourself, it is suggested that you meet with an independent experienced fee based life Insurance consultant and go over each policy to make certain you’re getting the most value for your premium dollars. Secondly to determine how long each policy will last, and compare that to how long you want the policy to last.  

Since the maximum guarantee period for a Term policy is age 80, 5-7 years earlier than normal life expectancy for a male. Anyone Insured with a term policy shouldn’t allow the conversion privilege that permits them to convert the term policy to a policy lasting to life expectancy, without any evidence of insurability, slip by. Depending on the Insurer the conversion feature expires between 65 -75.

Once an overall assessment where you compare what you think you have to what you actually have, is made you can resolve the problem and provide the tax free death benefit you intended for your beneficiaries. Keep in mind, the earlier you take the first step the more options you’ll have available and the less costly it will be. I’m happy to have a conversation and share my 35+ years’ experience as an independent CFP® and author so feel free to get in touch as I’m a good resource.

Henry Montag CFP®, in practice since 1976 in L.I N.Y has authored articles and acted as a source for NYSBA Senior Lawyer, NYSSCPA Tax Stringer, Tax Facts, Bloomberg’s Estates Gift & Trust Journal, Trusts & Estate Magazine, & The WSJ. Guest appearances for Wall Street Week, Fox Business News & News 12.

Has provided CPE & CLE credits to NYSBA, ABA, AICPA, NYSSCPA, & EPC. He co-authored an American Bar Association Flagship publication; Jan 2017, ’The Advisors & Trustees Guide to Managing Risk & Avoiding a Client Crisis’’.

Top Five Things to Review Before Changing Jobs

Top Five Things to Review Before Changing Jobs

 

The days of working for a company for 40 plus years, being handed a gold watch for your tenure, and collecting a pension for the remainder of your life is long gone. It is more likely that today’s workers will hold ten to fifteen jobs, spending less than five years at each employer according to a recent report from theBureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to the stress and anxiety associated with finding a new job, there are important financial aspects that should be reviewed with each change. 

  • Do you have a financial plan in place? It would make sense that you should have a financial plan in place, especially if you are looking to make a job change. Using the plan, you could easily determine how the employment change will ultimately affect your financial situation-whether positive or negative. Although you may not be changing jobs for financial reasons, it would be a good idea to know going in what the effects will be. 
  • How are you protecting yourself, and your family, from death or disability? You need to evaluate how you are covered for life and disability insurance. Often times we see younger employees, even older ones, only having group coverage through their employer. Many times this coverage is not portable and cannot come with you when you separate from service. It is a good idea to research if your new employer has these coverages available for you. Whether they make it available or not, it may make sense for you to explore obtaining your own individual coverage that is yours to have regardless of your employer. This is especially worthwhile if you plan on having the number of employers mentioned in the report above. 
  • What are you going to do with your retirement monies at your previous employer? It would not make too much sense to have ten to fifteen different retirement accounts when you finally look to retire. You may create a job just to keep track of where all your assets are, how they are invested and how they are performing. Upon leaving an employer, you usually have the ability to maintain the account where it is, unless you do not satisfy certain minimums and they force you to move it or roll it over. Typically you would want to roll these assets over and that can be done by rolling them into your new employer’s retirement plan, if the plan provisions allow, or into your own IRA. There are several things to consider when trying to determine which method to use when rolling over your assets. We will review this particular topic in a future post, as this is a topic of its own. 
  • Are you contributing to your 401(k) and changing jobs mid-year? It is important to note that there is a maximum, for 2019 it is $19,000 for those under 50 years of age and $25,000 for those over, that you can contribute to your 401(k) on an annual basis. You will want to make sure that you do not violate these thresholds if you contribute to both the old and new employers’ retirement plan. This amount is not a maximum per employer, but actually a maximum on the amount you can defer annually from your earnings. Putting too much in over the course of the year will give you extra work to unwind what was done and remove the excess amount. 
  • Are you in the process of looking for a new home and would need a mortgage to purchase it? Looking for a new home is a great experience and also a stressful one. Buying a new home ranks up there with looking for a new job, so you may not want to try doing both of these at the same time. In addition to saving yourself stress, you may not want to do both of these at the same time due to your need of a mortgage. It will be important that the mortgage company see stability in your work history and they certainly will want to make sure you are with your employer for a specific period of time. The time period they are looking for will be dependent upon the type of loan you would be looking to secure. It would be wise to consult with a mortgage consultant prior to making any job changes while in the home buying process. You certainly will want to make sure you are with your employer when you are about to close because the mortgage company will call them around the closing to verify you are still employed. You will not want to risk your home purchase over a job change, so it is important that you research this in advance. 

Changing jobs brings a certain level of stress with it and there are certainly ways to mitigate it. Ideally you would want to have a financial plan in place, in advance of any change, and this will put you ahead of your fellow job changers. The advisor who helped you develop the plan will be in the unique position to walk you through these top five things you should review, as well as others not mentioned here. Having the right advisor on your side, that is a good fit, will alleviate much stress and make the transition go much smoother.

We have helped many clients through this process and would welcome the opportunity to help you or someone you know. Please feel free to contact us, Mitlin Financial, at (844) 4-MITLIN x12 if you or someone you know has plans of changing jobs in the foreseeable future or they simply want to put a plan in place. We look forward to helping you, and them, make this a smooth transition.

This article represents the opinion of Mitlin Financial Inc. It should not be construed as providing investment, legal and/or tax advice.

Write Your Financial Future

Mitlin Financial Inc. presents the "Write Your Financial Future" 
Originally Held March 24, 2020
 
This is a replay of the "Write Your Financial Future" webinar that was held on March 24, 2020. This was intended to be held live at Book Lovers Con in Nashville, TN, but it was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
 
We decided to hold the workshop virtually through a webinar for everyone that was planning to attend. Please feel free to email or call with any questions you may have, as we are here to help!

 

                   This webinar represents the opinion of Mitlin Financial Inc. It should not be construed as providing investment, legal and/or tax advice.