One of the smartest decisions you will ever make as an adult is the decision to purchase life insurance to ensure that your family will be taken care of in case anything happens to you. But with all of the options available and the difficulty in understanding the pros and cons of each option, the decision can be tough to make.
At Symmetry Financial Group, friendly and knowledgeable agents provide answers and information to help you make the right choice and select the best insurance policies to provide the best protection for your family. Symmetry Financial Group is not an insurance company selling its own proprietary products; rather, it is an independent insurance broker that can help you objectively analyze and evaluate a variety of insurance products. Symmetry Financial Group partners with more than 30 top-level insurance carriers to provide you with a fully tailored plan, providing the coverage you need to keep your family protected.
Symmetry Financial Group offers an array of life insurance options, as well as mortgage protection, disability insurance, protection against critical illness, and final expense insurance. The company even offers a plan called Debt Free Life to help you become debt-free. The company prides itself on personalized customer service and meticulous attention to detail. Symmetry’s agents will help you decide which insurance plan best fits your needs, keeping costs well within your budget.
Why Is Life Insurance Important?
Life insurance is an important investment in your family’s security. The primary reason to purchase life insurance is to provide protection and peace of mind for your loved ones, ensuring that they will be able to maintain their standard of living even in the event of your death.
Different types of life insurance policies work differently. For example, there are important distinctions between term life insurance and universal life insurance. These differences can mean that one type of plan is better suited to your family than another, depending on your particular circumstances and goals. The agents at Symmetry Financial Group will help you fully understand your options and guide you toward the most intelligent decision.
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance is the most affordable type of life insurance available. In a term life insurance plan, your family is covered for a specific policy term that can range anywhere from 10 to 30 years. The monthly cost of your premium payments will depend on your age and health when you purchase the plan. In many cases, you may be able to purchase a term life plan without undergoing a physical exam.
One benefit of term life insurance is that it can provide a cash death benefit that you can use to cover final expenses – including funeral service expenses – as well as other expenditures, such as college expenses, paying off an outstanding mortgage balance, or covering ongoing expenses after your death.
In addition to the “face amount” death benefit, some term life insurance policies provide a “return of premium” option. Normally, the insurance coverage simply expires at the end of a term life insurance policy. Once you stop paying premiums, you receive nothing more from the insurance company. With the return of premium option, the insurance company agrees to refund part or all of your paid policy premiums when the term of coverage expires. Typically, there is a charge for this option, but it can be very reassuring to know that you’ll get your premium payments back when your coverage ends if you don’t die during the policy term.
Universal Life Insurance
Universal life insurance is a more permanent life insurance policy. This type of insurance is generally more flexible than other options, while still providing affordability. Universal life insurance provides a cash death benefit, as well as flexible premiums.
One benefit of universal life insurance is that, instead of simply providing a fixed death benefit amount in exchange for a fixed monthly premium payment, universal life policies provide you the flexibility to adjust the premium payments, as well as the death benefit amount. This means that, as the owner of a universal life policy, you can periodically adjust your premiums and death benefit amount as your needs and circumstances change over the course of your life. Universal life policies also provide built-in cash value that lets you accumulate savings on a tax-deferred basis within the policy itself.
Term Life vs. Universal Life Policies: How Do They Compare?
Term and universal life insurance both provide critical protection for your loved ones in the event of your death. Each life insurance policy is set with a “face amount” death benefit. If you should die while the policy is in effect, the insurance company will pay that death benefit amount to the individuals that you name as your beneficiaries.
With both types of insurance, your beneficiaries may use that death benefit sum to cover your final expenses, pay off a mortgage, cover estate or death taxes, or cover other expenses. These funds also help compensate for the sudden loss of income that may occur in the event of your death. With all forms of life insurance, benefits are generally tax-free, although, with some universal life policies, a portion of the death benefit may be taxable.
One of the most important differences to note when you’re considering term versus universal life insurance is the duration of coverage with each type. If you own a term life insurance policy, you are essentially paying for coverage for a predetermined period of time. You may think of it as “renting” or “leasing” coverage for that time period. If you have a 10-year term policy, the insurance company will pay the death benefit to your named beneficiaries if you should die during the prescribed policy term of 10 years; however, if you should die after the policy term expires, your beneficiaries will get nothing. Term life insurance policies typically offer a renewal option at a higher premium once your policy term ends.
Conversely, universal life policies provide a more permanent type of coverage that may protect your family for the duration of your lifetime. As long as you pay premiums regularly and keep the policy in force, the policy will provide coverage until its maturity date, which, in some cases, could extend as long as age 121.
At Symmetry Financial Group, you can sit down and talk with a qualified agent to learn which type of policy is best for you. Term life insurance is often recommended for young homeowners who are starting families and want to make sure that their mortgage is covered or provide supplemental income for the surviving spouse in the event of premature death, while still maintaining affordable monthly premiums. A universal life policy may be more suitable for more established individuals with longer-term insurance needs, such as covering estate liquidity for taxes, bestowing charitable funds, or leaving a family inheritance.
Term life insurance is normally less expensive than universal life insurance because term policies will only be in effect for a fixed period of time and cover only the cost of the insurance itself. By calculating the probability of your death, the insurance company determines the cost of your policy premiums. This means that the younger and healthier you are when you purchase life insurance, the more affordable your monthly premiums will be.
Universal policies are typically more expensive than term policies because the premiums are adjustable and include extra funds that are credited to the policy’s “cash value” amount, which acts almost as a savings account in which cash accumulates, at a tax-deferred rate, within the actual insurance policy. When you pay the monthly premiums for your universal life policy, any amount above the cost of the insurance is added to the cash value, where it also earns a competitive interest rate. If you should require a period of lower premiums during which your monthly premiums don’t cover the full cost of the insurance, the difference may be covered by the cash value amount. In contrast, with term life insurance, the policy will be terminated and coverage will end if you do not pay your monthly premiums in full.
Another benefit that universal life insurance provides is the ability to take out a loan from the accumulated cash value within your insurance policy. This allows you to borrow funds from yourself and then make payments to repay the loan. When you make those loan payments, you pay yourself a competitive interest rate.
Debt Free Life
Debt Free Life is an insurance product that helps you get out of debt in nine years or less and take charge of your financial future by building savings. Debt Free Life uses the cash value of your life insurance policy to pay off debt related to mortgage payments, student loans, car loans, credit cards, and medical bills. z The policy’s cash value amount grows over time so that you can use the savings to retire comfortably later in life. As the cash value amount within the policy increases, you can incrementally pay off debt and continue to save the balance of the cash amount for your retirement, without spending any extra money. Additionally, Debt Free Life protects your family with life insurance coverage in the event of your death.
Although most people don’t consider the possibility of becoming injured, ill, or disabled, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one in four Americans, or about 61 million individuals in the U.S., currently live with a physical or mental disability. The U.S Social Security Administration estimates that 25 percent of young adults in their early 20s will become disabled before they reach retirement age.
Disability insurance provides coverage for your most essential asset: your ability to earn a living. Since most American households rely on two incomes to pay the mortgage, if one income earner is unable to work, it can become impossible to cover monthly household expenses.
Disability income insurance replaces a major portion of your income when you are unable to work due to illness or injury. In fact, many people refer to disability insurance as “paycheck protection.” Combining disability insurance with life insurance can provide your family with all the protection you need to ensure that your family can maintain their standard of living in case you are unable to contribute financially due to disability.
A solid disability insurance plan protects your family by covering your monthly mortgage and household bills. You may apply for Social Security Disability benefits, but even if you qualify, the coverage often proves insufficient.
It’s also no easy feat to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits because the Social Security Administration uses a very strict definition of “disability,” requiring that you be incapable of working in any occupation that you would otherwise be qualified for, based on your education, job experience, and training. Conversely, private disability insurance purchased through an agency such as Symmetry Financial Group defines disability using your own occupation as a criterion rather than the “any occupation” definition that the Social Security Administration uses, so it becomes far less difficult to prove that you qualify for coverage.
As with any insurance policy, you will have to make regular premium payments on your disability insurance policy to keep your policy in effect. You may choose to purchase disability income insurance as a stand-alone policy or add it as an endorsement to your life insurance policy. Surprisingly, purchasing private disability income insurance or adding disability coverage to your life insurance policy is easily affordable for most people. By providing you with the ability to choose from several carriers and policies, Symmetry Financial Group can help you customize your coverage to meet your specific budget and needs.
The best time to purchase disability insurance is while you’re still healthy and working. Many disability insurance policies can be tailored to incorporate cost-of-living adjustments, meaning that your policy benefits will increase as your income increases over time.
Critical Illness Insurance
Most Americans are aware that an unexpected diagnosis of a major illness can set their lives back in catastrophic ways. An estimated 56 million Americans under the age of 65 have difficulty paying medical bills, and medical bills are the number one reason for bankruptcies in the United States. If an unforeseen health crisis leaves you incapable of earning your income, how will your mortgage and household bills get paid? And that’s not to mention the medical bills that will also pile up pretty quickly.
Critical illness insurance provides a benefit lump sum in the event that you are diagnosed with a critical illness or health condition, as specified in the individual policy. This assistance can alleviate the financial burden that accompanies critical illnesses, letting you focus on your recovery.
The lump-sum benefit that your critical illness insurance policy pays may be used to cover medical bills, mortgage or rent payments, and other expenses. You may also use these funds to cover alternative medical treatments not covered by your health insurance policy or to pay for travel to obtain treatments away from home.
Critical illness insurance policies vary, but typically, they offer payouts ranging from $10,000 to $1 million. Each policy details the specific conditions covered, which typically include heart attacks, cancer, and strokes. Some policies may also cover conditions such as kidney failure, organ transplant, heart disease, and paralysis.
To keep your critical illness insurance policy in effect, you will have to pay a monthly premium. Your insurance company will pay you the payout amount in the event that you are diagnosed with a covered condition while the policy is in effect. Typically, critical illness insurance benefits are paid in a lump sum payment, and this payment is generally tax-free.
Planning for retirement can mean the difference between being able to afford your desired lifestyle and facing financial hardship once you retire. To ensure your financial peace of mind after retirement, consider purchasing retirement protection benefits provided by annuity products and indexed universal life (IUL) insurance policies. These products allow you to turn your savings into a regular income stream once you retire.
An annuity is basically an insurance product that helps you accumulate cash. You have the option to make an initial deposit and watch it grow or make periodic deposits over time. In an annuity, your money accumulates and is tax-deferred. As a holder of a deferred annuity, you can accumulate money during the “accumulation phase,” and once you’re ready to draw on your annuity, you “annuitize” the contract, converting it into an income stream that provides regular monthly, quarterly, or yearly payments.
An Indexed Universal Life (IUL) policy is permanent life insurance coverage that incorporates a cash value savings component, along with a death benefit component. You can make payments toward your cash-value account at any time, and this account can be tied to a market index, so you gain the benefit of investing in financial markets without the financial risk.
Symmetry Financial Group also offers SmartStart life insurance, a plan that helps you protect your child’s future with a savings account while also providing essential life insurance coverage. The SmartStart policy provides life insurance coverage for your child, along with a cash value savings component that covers expenses beyond just a college education. Your child may use the available cash value of the plan at any point in their life, whether for a down payment on their first home or their retirement. If the SmartStart policy is still in force when they reach retirement age, they can even use it to create a retirement income stream from the policy’s cash value.
Premiums on a SmartStart policy are surprisingly affordable, as it is generally inexpensive to ensure a healthy child. You pay a small sum each month, starting when your child is young. A portion of your premium covers the cost of life insurance coverage while the balance helps the policy’s cash value accumulate and grow tax-free.
The SmartStart plan protects your child’s future insurability, regardless of any medical issues that might come up in their life, as well as providing death benefits so that their family will have complete peace of mind.
The amount of money that you can earn on the cash value of a SmartStart policy is generally more than the interest paid by most banks. The policy’s growth is also tied to several market indexes that you select, with no market risk of loss. This means that your funds get the advantage of upside potential through investment, without the risk of losing your principal. The sooner you purchase your SmartStart policy, the greater its growth potential will be.
The SmartStart life insurance policy provides your child with the potential for dramatic financial growth to ensure that they’ll have sufficient funds to cover their college education, as well as other major life expenses.
With all of the plans and policies available through Symmetry Financial Group, you’re sure to find the perfect insurance solution to fully protect your home, your future, and your loved ones.