What to do When Receiving Life Insurance Money

Life Insurance Money

Recently, I contributed to an article about receiving life insurance money. The Q&A is below followed by a link to Melanie’s full article on the website Meet Fabric.

So do you have an order of things/checklist that people should go through when getting a life insurance payout? 

Receiving a life insurance payout is no different than a financial plan without life insurance proceeds. People have current needs to address. These vary from paying-off debt, building an emergency fund, saving for retirement, replacing the income of the deceased, paying for the final expenses of the deceased, etc. As a financial advisor providing comprehensive planning, I look at everything for my clients. So upon receiving a life insurance payout, the families needs are addressed first. Next, a go-forward plan is built upon their current situation.

For example, the proceeds going to a family who is debt free and the surviving spouse is still able to work. The priority may be to fund a college education account and increase retirement savings. In another example, the surviving spouse is a stay-at-home parent, and carrying mortgage and credit card debt. For this family, it may be in their best interest to pay-off the debt and use the remaining funds to support day-to-day living expenses. 

Also, one of the stories included someone who received a life insurance payout and kept the money in the interest-bearing account from the company and not get a check into her account. Do experts typically advise leaving it in the interest-bearing account, or taking it out and investing it instead?

Upon the death of a loved one, we encourage the beneficiary to receive the proceeds directly. This allows the beneficiary to pay final expenses and evaluate where the remaining proceeds should be allocated. If the beneficiary already has a comfortable savings account balance, and has a long-term investment plan, than yes, investing is a better option for long-term growth than an interest bearing account. Albeit, taking on more risk.

Do you have any tips for someone that is really emotional and maybe not in the best mental space to make financial decisions? How long should they wait to make a decision? How can they do what’s “best” for their money while dealing with grief? 

There is always emotional grievance. That is why hiring a financial professional to guide you through this period is essential. Your advisor will make decisions that exclude the emotions. Part of the planning I do for clients is to run updated scenarios, with the top industry software, of their financial position including the proceeds. This removes the emotions of planning and allows the family to make the best decisions, taking into account multiple options with their proceeds. As a fiduciary, I always serve with my clients best interests, whether a death in the family has occurred or not. It is important to work with a financial advisor who operates under the fiduciary standard of care. 

Follow this link to read the entire article: https://meetfabric.com/blog/what-should-you-do-with-a-life-insurance-benefit

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, retirement, and insurance planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

The Great Divide – Economy and Markets

The Great Divide - Economy and Markets

The Dog Days are here! School is back in session, some in-person, some virtual. The virus continues to be present and the economy slowly is rebuilding while the markets continue to climb. Last week indexes finished slightly up. The Dow up 1.8%, S&P up 0.64%, and Nasdaq up 0.08%. The S&P began the week rising for it’s 7th straight session in the green and briefly passed the all-time high on Wednesday. The flat performance was a result of uncertainty with economic data, the latest virus patterns, and a second fiscal stimulus package that never was.

Last Week

The S&P 500 index is close to record territory once again. The economy and the stock market seem far off. Thursday marked the 100th day since the market lows on March 23. The markets have rebounded 50% since then. A strong recovery for investors, while millions have lost jobs and over 160,000 Americans have lost their lives. Management reports on earnings calls have been surprised at the speed and scale of the demand rebound. Many companies expected a short lived drop, followed by a gradual recovery. Not so much the “snap-back” experienced.

It is encouraging that the U.S. has added back millions of jobs lost during the first wave. Last Thursday marked the first jobless claims report under 1 million since March. Also, from earnings calls, consensus views are pointing towards record breaking earnings next year. Strongly supported by interest rates, which continue to be favorable for the foreseeable future. Investor fears over companies falling into financial distress are offset by the Feds support of buying bonds and Congress spending on relief. Retail sales also rose in July 1.2% higher than June, setting a new all-time high, and another sign of recovery.

The Week Ahead

The equity markets will have their eyes on Washington in hopes of a new stimulus. On Thursday, unemployment claims will be reported and the hope is that a under 1 million trend goes on. Continuing unemployment claims are still above 15 million, however, this is much lower than the 25 million in May. Stress for parents remains as school openings have created more unrest than security. How the school year unfolds for parents will no doubt impact the workforce productivity. Some areas of the country have already started so watching closely for signs that reopening in person can be done safely is key.

At the end of the day, it is clear the markets and the economy are not one in the same. Very different directions, as reflected in year-to-date index performance; Dow down 2.1%, S&P up 4.4%, and Nasdaq up 22.8% through the close on Friday.

Have a safe week!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Market Brief – 2020 Mid-Year Review

Market Brief 2020 Mid-Year Review

Dog days of summer have arrived. For 2020, it feels like the dog days arrived in March. From the moment the pandemic began to spread, to stay-at-home orders, to lock-downs, to protest rallies, to reopening phases, and back to more restrictions… what a year, and we are only halfway home. Didn’t even mentions the murder hornets! Let’s take a minute to catch our breath and see where we have been, where we are, and where we will go. Currently, we are in the midst of earnings season. Big name stocks will report second quarter earnings this week. Last week the main indexes finished mixed. The Dow up 2.3%, S&P up 1.25%, and Nasdaq down 1.1%. The S&P 500 outperformed the Nasdaq index by the widest margin since February 2016. The markets were mainly buoyed by progress of a virus vaccine.

What Happened?

The year started off strong through mid-February. Early cases and the fast spread of the coronavirus took hold in Asia and quickly jumped country borders to become a worldwide pandemic. Just about a month from the market peak in February came the market lows in March, a 33.9% drop for the S&P index. In just a few weeks, the U.S. economy erased 7 years of employment gains. 30 million Americans lost jobs, driving unemployment as high as 22% in April. By June, the unemployment rate hovered around 14%. Still extremely high, but significantly lower from 2 months prior.

In March, the Fed stepped in and provided a backstop to the equity markets. Stabilizing and possibly adding turbo to the economy via stimulus for individuals and businesses. The pandemic accelerated tech disruption. It changed how companies reach consumers, how supply chains work, how to deal with remote employees, and still build their brands.

Where Are We Today?

Year-to-date index performance; Dow down 6.54%, S&P down 0.2%, and Nasdaq up 17.0% through the close on Friday. Last week, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said the Trump administration and Senate leadership are discussing a new stimulus bill. The end of July is the target time frame as the previous stimulus benefits are ending. The housing market reports are exceeding expectation. Current metrics show a shortage of existing home inventory, limited housing labor to build new homes, and a shortage of entry level homes for the first time home buyer. Historically low mortgage rates help boost the housing demand. Labor income across the board is surging and consumer spending is rebounding.

The markets are in fairly good position today. Much of the strength is attributed to the Fed and swift implementation of monetary policy. With interest rates near zero, investors are willing to pay for future earnings. Growth stocks have done well, value stocks have lagged. When the economy improves and interest rates rise, growth stocks will be challenged by high valuations. Communities have begun to re-open. The U.S. seems to have chosen independence over lock-down. This has led to a recent uptick in coronavirus cases. Deaths due to the virus have decreased as health care has gotten smarter about how to handle symptomatic cases. The resurgence of hiring and end of mass layoffs indicate the job market is recovering. While the decreasing layoffs and increasing hires offer hope, the reopening process has been trending in the wrong direction.

Where Are We Going?

It’s election season. From here on out, politics will headline media reports. Snippets and quotes from leadership on both sides will sway the markets. Bigger than the election is the Fed’s actions. Interest rates are low and likely to remain low for a very long time. This creates a scenario of easy lending and the opportunity for trillions of dollars to remain invested in the market. The future months will measured by the resurgence of the coronavirus, how quickly a vaccine can be developed, another round of monetary stimulus, and the upcoming election. If you thought the first half of 2020 was a roller coaster, the second half might be just as wild! Take care and be safe.

Market Brief’s are taking a summer hiatus, see you at the end of August!

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your wealth management, investment, and retirement planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.

Life Insurance – How to Make Sure You Have Enough

Life insurance - How to make sure you have enough

It is often recommended to get life insurance when you are younger, but what if you do not buy enough coverage early on and later become wealthier or have a bigger family than you imagined? What options should you consider and when should you start planning? 

If you need more life insurance coverage as your family grows, buying an additional policy is often the solution. Most people will have life events occur which prompt the need for more life insurance, such as a growing family. And there is no reason not to apply for another life insurance policy to make up for the coverage your family needs. I often find couples I work with who have small starter policies in place. After evaluating their needs, it is often determined they are under-insured, and they want more coverage. Term insurance is a great option for families looking for the lowest cost coverage that provides protection for a certain amount of years. If the couple is looking for a permanent life insurance plan, there are options such as universal life and whole life insurance products to explore. As for the timing of the life insurance purchase, the younger and healthier you are, the lower the premium because you are less of a health risk to the insurance company. That is why if you need the coverage, the best time is right now.

Why is group life insurance not necessarily the best way to go? What are the downsides with group life insurance? 

Group life insurance is a great benefit to have from an employer. However, group life insurance has a couple disadvantages, such as, amount and portability. In terms of amount, group life insurance coverage often equates to 1-2 times annual salary, and most people need much more coverage than that for their family and/or estate. If you leave your current job to go to a new company or start a new career, the coverage does not necessarily go with you. Group plans also have rising premium cost. Whether it is annually or every 5 years, the cost of insurance goes up and it is not always covered by the employer. I recently helped a couple lower their insurance cost by applying for individual policies because over the policy term, it would be cheaper to have an individual policy.

What approach should people take to avoid being under-insured when it comes to life insurance coverage? How often should they review and how should they determine an ideal amount of life insurance coverage?

The approach people should take to avoid being under-insured when it comes to life insurance coverage is to have their plan reviewed at least annually. Life events and changes happen over the years and if you stay on top of your coverage needs, you will always have adequate coverage. There is no ideal amount of life insurance, nor rule of thumb. Everyone has a different need and desire for coverage. Working with an experienced financial advisor or insurance professional who can provide a life coverage analysis is the best way to know if you have the right amount of coverage for your family and estate.

Click here if you would like to learn more about your options and if we can assist you with your life insurance planning.

This website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be specific advice or recommendations. For specific advice or recommendations you would need to meet directly with one of our advisers.