Life Insurance: Why Now is Better than Later

Being a young adult these days is hard.  Life throws so many things at you with blinding speed: work, spouse, kids, mortgage, etc.  Here we are, expected to be able to run with these things, when just a few years past we had to ask for permission to use the restroom at school.  While some of us can easily switch from band shirts and headphones to dress shirts and ties, we can all agree that oftentimes it feels like it takes all our time and energy just to keep up with an adult life’s pace.

With this being the case, it is easy to overlook something as vital as life insurance.  We are already juggling around so many other things.  Why tempt fate by throwing in another ball, right?  I will take care of that stuff somewhere down the road.  Besides, isn’t life insurance something retired people are supposed to be worrying about, not 20 to 30 year olds?

Nope.

The best time to get life insurance is while you are young.  But, regardless of your age, the time to get life insurance is now.  Contrary to what you may hear, life insurance isn’t something you start working on once you are getting up there in years.  Let me explain why.

The most prominent reason is that the older you start, the more your premiums will cost you.  In general, life insurance premiums get locked in when you start, while the amount of the premiums are based on your age when you start.  The premiums tend to have a slight increase based on your age up to age 40, but once you get past that, the increases go way up.  Starting while you are in your 20s versus your 50s or 60s could be the difference between paying $13 a month to $50 a month or more.

Make sure you consider this as well: the time between when we start working and when we retire are our prime earning years.  This is the time when we progress our career and save up the money to take care of ourselves and our loved ones once we decide to call it quits on our jobs.  I don’t want to be Mr. Negative here, but suppose the worst happens and you pass away well before you and your family were planning on?  What about all the money you would have been able to earn and save and provide for your family?  While life insurance doesn’t take away the pain of loss, it can at least mitigate the financial damage done by such a disaster.

Let’s be honest: one of the main reasons that we may choose to put this off is because money is generally a little tighter when we are younger.  So, while life insurance is cheaper if we start young, we may still think it is outside of the realm of financial possibility.  Usually, this isn’t the case.  Most people are actually pretty surprised to find out how cheap life insurance can be for young and healthy people.  Take the example from above.  Say your premiums are $15 a month for decent coverage.  That is about $.50 a day.  I think most of us should be able to afford safety and security for $.50 a day.

Life insurance is important.  No one like to think about their own mortality, but we need to face reality.  Sadly, we are not kids anymore.  It is time to make mature and responsible decisions to protect ourselves and those we care about.  We cannot allow ourselves to be without life insurance.  Now is the time.  Don’t put it off.  I promise you will be happy you didn’t.

Blog written by: Andrew Jordan, Creative Marketing Specialist II for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Do I Need Life Insurance When I Retire?

Sweet, sweet retirement!  This is something I dare say most of us look forward to.  Finally a time to put down the workload and instead take up the sunhats and passports.  I don’t care what anyone says, Bermuda is lovely any time of year.

Once we finally get to that goal, one of the last things we want to worry about is our financial security.  Yet, perhaps this is when we need to consider it most.  As far as life insurance goes, there is a common belief that it is no longer needed once we reach retirement.  In some cases, this is true.  However, many of us may still find ourselves with a strong need for life insurance even after our working years.

The most obvious reason to keep your life insurance after retirement would be for income protection.  Just because we have retired does not mean our loved ones won’t experience a financial loss once we have kicked the bucket.   We need to ask ourselves “Would the people left behind after I die be stuck with a huge bill?  Would they experience a significant loss of income?”  If the answer to this is yes, then life insurance is definitely the way to go.

What about those of us that wouldn’t necessarily be leaving family in a difficult financial situation upon our death, but do not want them to have to deal with funeral planning/expenses or additional income to work with?  There are also the unexpected events to plan for.  We could all use a rainy day fund, right?  Life insurance like Sentinel’s Final Expense policies work perfectly to pay out to your beneficiary a flat amount for funeral costs or whatever else they might run into.  I know that after I am gone, I would like to leave my spouse with a final gift of sorts.  Maybe money to go on that trip with the kids in my memory, some work on the house, or maybe even just an emergency fund.  A final gesture of love, if you will.

Moving past this, there are those among us that reach retirement age but don’t have enough saved up to pay for our living expenses.  Again, life insurance can come to our rescue.  Many life insurance policies build up cash value alongside the death benefit.  You can borrow against this to fund your retirement.  However, you need to keep in mind that what you borrow does lower your death benefit, but this at least gives you the ability to continue to provide for your family during retirement.  I wouldn’t recommend using this as a first option, but if you are in this situation and you have been paying towards a life insurance policy for many years, it is typically an option available to you.

One final point I would like to make: Life insurance can be used as a safety net from retirement plan investment losses.  In the United States, a lot of us save up for retirement using investment options that either go up or down depending on the markets.  In the event of a stock market crash or downturn, we have the potential to lose painful amounts of money meant for our later years.  We can not control how the markets fluctuate, but we can use life insurance as described earlier to protect us regardless of the upticks and downturns on Wall Street.

The last thing any of us want to do is reach retirement and not find ourselves laying on a beach chair somewhere in the Caribbean without a care in the world (or maybe that’s just me?).  Whatever your retirement goals may be, life insurance can help you achieve them not only before but also during your retirement years.  Plan out your retirement goals and incorporate life insurance into them to make sure you and your loved ones are taken care of regardless of what happens.

Just something to think about the next time you’re fantasizing over a piña colada.

Blog written by: Andrew Jordan, Creative Marketing Specialist II for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Does Life Insurance Cover Funeral Costs?

Death.  It is something that eventually comes for all of us.  Whether young or old, rich or poor, we all will eventually find ourselves slipping out of this life.  Believe me, this concept doesn’t excite me any more than it does you.  However, as we consider our inescapable mortality, we need to make sure that we are seeing the big picture: there’s a lot more at stake than just our own selves.

The last thing that any of us want to do when we kick the bucket is leave our loved ones with massive debts, such as a mortgage, college tuition, or basic living expenses.  Covering these types of expenses is the main idea behind life insurance.  But, there is one expense (and typically a large one) that we often fail to consider: funeral costs.  An average funeral in the United States can cost between $7,000 to $10,000.  Adding this to the expenses mentioned earlier could end up being catastrophic to your family’s finances.

Source: http://www.usurnsonline.com/funeral-resources/10-interesting-funeral-infographics/

Luckily, life insurance does exist, and it can indeed cover funeral costs.  In general, the way that life insurance works is like this: When a policy is issued, the policy owner chooses someone to be the beneficiary of the policy.  When the insured person passes away, this beneficiary submits a claim to the insurance company, and the insurance company pays them the proceeds.  From this point on, the beneficiary is free to use the funds as they deem appropriate, including for funeral expenses.

With this being the case, the real question becomes this: “Do i have enough coverage to pay for my funeral expenses?”.  It’s a little too common for beneficiaries to find out after the fact that the life insurance policy doesn’t cover everything that is needed or was planned for.  Without careful planning, there may be out-of-pocket expenses loved ones could get stuck with.  I would definitely encourage everyone with a life insurance policy to plan out their funeral beforehand with a funeral director.  Make sure you understand the specific costs of the services you want, and plan your life insurance policy with that in mind.  Some funeral homes will even allow you to assign them as the beneficiaries of a policy.  This way, the benefit is paid directly to them and you don’t even need to get involved during a difficult time.

To many of us, life insurance may seem quite expensive and perhaps not worth paying the premiums to later receive the promised payout.  While I would disagree with such a thought, I can understand larger premiums taking a toll on a family’s livelihood.  Insurance companies are aware of this, and many have created what is referred to as a Final Expense policy, where the benefits are designed to cover funeral costs and premiums are generally quite lower.  Sentinel Security Life offers such policies under our “New Vantage” life insurance products.  If this fits your needs more than having larger and more expensive coverage, seek out a Sentinel agent near you.

Life insurance is a great and powerful tool that can save families a lot of grief and headaches during a time that should be spent on more important matters.  Combined with a little bit of planning and thinking ahead, you can have all funeral costs taken care of and only concern yourself with making sure your policy stays current so it can be utilized when the time comes.  We all want to take care of our loved ones while we are on this earth.  Make sure that you are continuing to care for them even after you’re gone.  Use life insurance.  I promise you it’ll make a hard situation a little bit better.

Blog written by: Andrew Jordan, Creative Marketing Specialist II for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Can I Have More Than One Life Insurance Policy?

Life insurance can be an interesting thing. There are many rumors and misunderstandings that surround it.  Do only breadwinners need coverage?  Are my premiums deductible?  Am I better off investing my money?  However, there seems to be one question in particular that has many people feeling lost: can/should I have more than one life insurance policy?  The simple answer to this question is yes, with a few limitations.

While insurance is heavily regulated, it is completely legal to own more than one life insurance policy. It is, in fact, a common practice of those with knowledge of the insurance industry.  The restriction doesn’t lie in how many life insurance policies you own, rather in how much coverage total you have compared to your assets, income, and other financial responsibilities.  When you apply for a life insurance policy you must disclose to the insurer all coverage you have, and possibly justify why you feel you need to coverage you’re requesting.  In general, these limitations are considered generous and most people won’t run into an issue acquiring multiple policies.

With that being answered, the natural next question to ask is “Should I, though?” While the answer will vary for every person and their situation, most would benefit from having multiple policies.  Many life insurance policies complement each other, such as final expense policies and term life policies.

Let’s use a few examples: Suppose a mid-age husband and father seeks coverage.  He may elect to purchase a larger term life insurance policy should something happen to him over a set number of years, while also taking out a smaller but permanent final expense policy to assist his family with covering funeral and burial costs.  Let’s say a mother initially took out a life insurance policy when it was just her and her husband, but now has added children to the family and has determined that her current coverage isn’t enough?  She may elect to take out an additional policy to increase her total coverage.  Since there isn’t a limit to the number of policies you can take out, it is easy to combine policies to create the coverage that you need.

It’s important to remember the purpose of life insurance. Should something happen to you, the last thing that you would want is for your family to be put in a difficult financial situation.  Oftentimes, having a single policy isn’t enough to cover the everyday expenses like a mortgage, daily necessities, or educational expenses.  Make sure you consider the benefits of multiple coverage while doing your financial planning.  Should you have any questions or thoughts about taking out additional life insurance policies, reach out to a trusted insurance agent or insurer.  Doing so now may make a world of difference when it counts.

Blog written by: Andrew Jordan, Creative Marketing Specialist II for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Financial Planning – Never Too Young to Start

Millennials have become adults in a very interesting time: in our years, one could argue we have seen more than our fair share of economic upticks and downturns.  Having been fortunate enough to grow up in a time where information is readily available (thanks, Internet), I’m sure that most of us are already familiar with this roller coaster of economic stability.

Many of you were probably like me: put huge amounts of time and effort into your schooling to receive that coveted college degree and stepped out into the world to take on its challenges, only to find yourself stuck in the middle of a recession with high unemployment rates.  That “dream job” that was supposed to be waiting for you at the other end of that collegiate career is not there for the taking.  You find yourself searching a lot longer than you expected to in order to get started down your path to financial security.
When you finally get yourself a solid job and steady income, it’s easy to want to put that money toward immediate rewards that you worked your butt off for. Planning ahead for the future might slip into the backseat.  “Europe and that 4K TV have already waited long enough.  Retirement is such a long ways away. I’ll get to that eventually.”
Cue the meme of Kim Kardashian rolling her eyes.
Financial planning and strategy are just as, if not more, important to our generation than it was to those who preceded us.  Unless we have a solid playbook of how to get to where we want to be financially, it is frighteningly easy to not make it there.  Please thoughtfully consider some of the following tips to help set yourself up for financial success.
All achievements are met by first considering what you want to accomplish.  Money is a tool and if you use it correctly it can get you to where you want to be.  Is your goal to be able to set enough aside to start your own business five or ten years down the road?  Maybe your heart’s desire is to retire at 55 and see the world?  Maybe even take some trips before then?  Make sure you understand where you want to be.
Understanding your goal is vital to do now for one simple reason: time.  With the oldest millennials being in their early 30s,  we have plenty of time until we reach the age where we are no longer able (or willing) to work.  Plenty of money can be made in various forms during this time.  Salaries, benefits and investments can strongly contribute to your comfort later in life.
With time on our side, one would be wise to set up a retirement plan.  Are you familiar with the term “compound interest”?  If not, make sure you give it a quick look online.  Setting up a 401K (offered through many employers), traditional or Roth IRAs, or annuity can take your money and multiply it many times over.  Each one comes with its own benefits and restrictions, so make sure you research which plan is best for your interests.  You’d be amazed at how just putting in small amounts now can become huge sums later.
Budgeting.  To many, just hearing the word is enough to make them cringe as if they just jabbed their toe.  Fewer have the willpower to stick to one, but those that do reap the benefits.  I myself have found that this is not only a great tool for setting up long-term goals but short term ones as well.  Maybe Europe doesn’t have to be so far away.  Setting aside a bit of money each paycheck instead of, say, going out to eat 7 nights a week, will make vacations and larger purchases achievable without sacrificing your future financial safety net.
This is all assuming the road ahead is straightforward, but life tends to steer you in different directions. All it could take is one bad car accident or losing your partner to make it so you are no longer able to earn the living you were. There is one form of financial planning that not many people our age take seriously: life insurance.  With death feeling so far off, it’s natural to not consider planning for it.  Life can unfortunately be disastrous at times, and the last thing we want to do is leave our loved ones in a position of not only mourning, but financial difficulty.  Life insurance can help to alleviate the pressures and stresses that a family suffers through during a death.
I hope you were able to get something valuable from what you have read here.  We have many challenges in front of us, but I feel we are more than up to the task.  By following through and applying smart and strategic financial planning, we will be able to make sure that money isn’t something we’ll have to worry about throughout our lives.
 Blog written by: Andrew Jordan, Accountant for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Work-Life Balance

Thinking about what I want to accomplish and setting goals happens at the beginning of each new year. Often my ‘resolutions’ are not as resolute as they should be to impact lasting change, and many trickle off by February and are forgotten. However, one thing that never changes is planning my annual camping trip; the only consistent trip I take during the year.  Who can blame me when there are views like this to enjoy?

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We stay in a place that is outside most cell phone coverage, which is the best part of my camping trip.  It is time completely unplugged from all distractions. I spend my time reading in my favorite hammock, cruising around on my dirt bike, fishing, painting, or just hanging out in the shade with a plate of delicious food chatting with family.

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You may be wondering why I have told you all about my favorite trip of the year. Taking an annual trip to the place I love the most is one way I have found to unwind, recharge, and refocus on my priorities.  I regain my equilibrium and re-energize to face the stress of life.

3So what does this have to do with goals or setting up proper work-life balance? Why is it important to practice work-life balance?  Does such a thing actually exist?  Below are five things I try to do.

  1. Prioritize and Plan — while this may seem obvious, I have learned that preparation helps alleviate much of the stress of last minute changes. Planning ahead is essential at work because much of what I do depends on or affects my coworkers’ projects. Now for the “life” side of planning ahead. Does it really matter if I plan what day I’m going to do my laundry?  For me, it does.  I have a schedule for when I will complete certain tasks such as laundry and frozen meal prepping which helps me instantly identify what time I have available for the inevitable emergencies of life. (By the way, my favorite “emergencies” often involve chocolate and a good book!)
  2. De-junk, De-clutter, Delete — this is a new one for me. I have recently discovered the freedom of just simply getting rid of excess— not only is there more physical space in my environment but I have found that the more neat and tidy my space is, the easier it is to maintain my balance and stay centered on what is most important.
  3. The Power of a Positive No — learning how to say “No” is a great way to maintain balance at work. Saying no, or communicating concerns and limitations can help management adequately plan time and set expectations for project completion.
  4. Relaxation, Meditation, and Laughter — As a naturally artistic person, spending time creating something new is my way of relaxing and de-stressing. Journaling, reading, watching movies, cooking, gardening, spending time with friends and families, and even cleaning are all ways of relaxing—you just have to find what works for you. Meditation or mindfulness is also useful for maintaining balance. Just don’t forget to laugh! Laughter releases endorphins that will help you feel better.
  5. Vacation — last on my list, but just as important as the rest is a vacation! Although my camping trip is my favorite vacation during the year, I try to plan ahead to spread my vacation time throughout the whole year. Taking a day off here and there throughout the year can really help to keep a fresh perspective and balance.

Hopefully these tips help you find your center and balance work and life to create an amazing future.  I still have a lot to work on but it just takes one step at a time.  (Or in my case, one long ride through the mountains!)  Good luck!

Blog written by: Jennifer Tolman, Creative Marketing Specialist for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Saying Goodbye to Dad

Losing my dad to cancer was one of the toughest things I have had to do. The emotional and physical toll the death of a loved one has on the individual and family is exhausting. If that is not enough, you then have the financial responsibility of planning a funeral fitting of your loved one.

We had some money. Dad had a life insurance policy, but because it was acquired less than two years before his passing, we only received $500; not much to work with. Mom told me that they had tried to plan ahead by purchasing the policies so the family wouldn’t have to worry about final expenses, but as life goes you can’t plan for cancer.

The funeral was a loving tribute to my dad as a husband, father, and military veteran.  The whole experience opened my eyes to a part of losing someone that I hadn’t thought about before…finances. I am glad my mom has a life insurance policy. After Dad passed away, we realized we needed to do something different so we purchased additional insurance for Mom to cover not only the burial but also any outstanding debt she may have when she passes.

Going through this process showed me that it is an easy process and the benefits are very high. The value of life insurance is not something we often think about but I’m so glad my parents started planning ahead. Having learned from this experience I will never again underestimate the importance of life insurance.

Blog written by: Revellie Pope, Senior Underwriter for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Better Safe Than “Too Late”

While final expense insurance can be a difficult topic to discuss with ones you love, it is essential to planning your life and can be a major factor of how your family’s standard of living is when you are no longer around. Final Expense Insurance can substantially impact your family after you are gone by ensuring they are not negatively impacted financially.

Reasons to have Final Expense Insurance.

There are a multitude of reasons why Final Expense products are so valuable for one to have.

  • There is no doubt that family is always at the forefront of most decisions made in life, and when purchasing a final expense insurance policy, this definitely rings true. Being properly prepared is the best way to assure that your family and legacy will be intact when you pass. The Peace of mind that comes with having final expense insurance is one that helps you fight unforeseen circumstances and be prepared. Final expense insurance can help cover things like funeral costs, medical bills, debts, and other financial situations that could financially burden your family if not otherwise covered correctly.
  • The ability for you to plan for expenses when someone passes can leave you with comfort in knowing your family will not have to struggle financially in order to pay for final expenses.
  • Death should not lead to debt for loved ones. We all want our families to live great lives, even when we can no longer be there and be involved. Final expense insurance can help pay debts and help families secure money for their futures. Providing even when you have passed is great and helps bring peace of mind to the situation. With funerals having a median cost of $7045[1] and the median household income being 51,017[2] funerals can put financial stress on your loved ones. This accumulated with possible things like medical bills, debts, and benefits lost from passing can hurt loved ones financially. Be prepared for the unforeseen and unknown by preparing adequately.

Final Expense insurance is a very crucial and important facet in today’s insurance landscape. It is becoming more of a necessity than an option. Being aware and prepared to protect you and your family’s standard of life is what is key when considering your options.

To learn more about Sentinel Security Life Insurance Company’s New Vantage Life Insurance products, please visit our website at www.sslco.com or call 1.888.510.0668.
Blog written by: Brian Mehl, Creative Marketing Assistant for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.


[1] National Funeral Directors Association. Nfda.org/about-funeral-service-/trends-and-statistics.html
[2] Data collected from the Census Bureaus of the United States of America

Sentinel Security Life Welcomes Russell Hill

Russell PicSentinel Security Life Insurance Co. would like to welcome Russell Hill as Assistant Controller!

Although Russell is new to this position, Sentinel welcomed him last November as an investment accountant bringing over 25 years of accounting experience in various industries, but most notably with insurance.

Russell isn’t just about numbers. At Sentinel, Russell can be recognized because of his smiling face and University of Utah pride. As a graduate of the University of Utah, Russell is loud and proud when it comes to donning red and cheering on the University of Utah Running Utes football team.

Russell enjoys going bowling, but isn’t partial to golf – although he has not yet picked up this endearing sport. Firing up the grill, barbecuing outside on the deck of his home and on occasion picking up some Cafe Rio counts as a touchdown for this guy. The beautiful Utah outdoors during spring and autumn provide solace for Russell, who fortunately also finds solace within the walls of Sentinel Security Life.

Sentinel Security Life is thrilled to have Russell Hill as part of the family.

Blog written by: Brian Mehl & Thy Vu Mims, Creative Marketing for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.

Hospital Indemnity – Why You Should Choose One

Healthcare is no longer an option, but a necessity. Without proper coverage, a single health-related event can be financially devastating. Many families are left to face insurmountable medical bills and associated costs. Many families forget fine details when planning for emergencies, such as out-of-pocket expenses left over after coverage has run out.

14 million Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are exposed to gaps in their policy resulting in unforeseen out-of-pocket expenses. These gaps can be costly – the average hospital inpatient benefit gap in Medicare Advantage is $1,500. Nobody wants to pay that cash amount, and many do not plan for those costs.

Currently, only 1% of Medicare Advantage enrollees use a Hospital Indemnity plan to help with those unforeseen costs. It is not commonly understood that some Hospital Indemnity plans go hand-in-hand with Medicare Advantage plans to provide beneficiaries with the best coverage possible. Unexpected Hospital expenses are then covered including: Primary Care Doctor Office Visits, Skilled Nursing Care, Durable Medical Equipment, Lump Sum Cancer Payouts, Ambulance Services and much more.

Hospital Indemnity plans are designed to offer relief from unexpected medical bills due to the above-mentioned medical needs. Nobody should be left to pick up the pieces after a health-related incident. Nobody should fear not having enough to cover their needs. Make sure you have a secure hospital indemnity plan that covers the gaps that Medicare Advantage leaves behind.

To learn more about Health Insurance and different types, including Indemnity Plans, visit The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) – a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Americans take responsibility for their finances through the ownership of life insurance and related products.

To learn more about Sentinel Security Life Insurance Company’s Hospital Indemnity product, please visit our website at www.sslco.com or call 1.888.510.0668.

Blog written by: Thy Vu Mims, Marketing Communications Manager for Sentinel Security Life Insurance Co.