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Choosing a life insurance product is an important decision, but it can be complicated. As with any major purchase, it is important that you understand your needs and the options available to you.
Why do I need life insurance? The main purpose of life insurance is to provide cash to your family after you die. The money your dependents will receive (the "death benefit") is an important financial resource: It can help pay the mortgage, run the household, end ensure that your dependents aren't burdened with debt. The proceeds from a life insurance policy could mean that they won't have to sell assets to pay outstanding bills or taxes. What's more, there is no federal income tax on life insurance benefits.
Where do I begin? Start by evaluating your family's needs. Gather all your personal financial information and estimate what your family will need after you're gone. Include ongoing expenses (such as day care, tuition or retirement) and immediate expenses at the time of death (like medical bills, burial costs, and estate taxes). Your family also may need funds to help them readjust... perhaps to finance a move, or pay expenses while job hunting. Remember, life insurance provides financial protection. If protection is not your primary goal, you should consider other financial products
How much life insurance will I need to purchase? While there's no substitute for evaluating your individual needs, one rule of thumb is to buy life insurance equal to five to seven times your annual gross income. To evaluate your individual needs you need to determine what costs you would like to ensure are covered if you die. Considerations include your mortgage payments, kids education, living expenses, etc.