Loss of income from disability has the potential to cause financial hardship. Disability insurance can help.

According to the Social Security Administration, a 20-year-old has more than a 25% chance of becoming disabled before reaching retirement age.1

Loss of income for such a duration has the potential to cause significant financial hardship. And while Social Security Disability Insurance may help, it’s critical to understand that about two-thirds of initial applications are denied and the average SSDI payment is only $1,534 a month.2,3

Disability coverage may be available through your employer, who may pay all or a portion of the cost for your coverage.

Employer plans typically pay up to 50% to 60% of your income. This limited coverage might not be enough to meet your bills, which is why you may want to supplement employer-based coverage with a personal policy. Supplemental policies may be purchased to cover up to about 70% of your income.4

Taxation of Disability Benefits

When you purchase a personal disability policy, the benefit payments are structured to be income tax-free. Consequently, you may not be eligible for coverage that equals your current salary since your take-home pay is always less.

If your employer paid for your coverage, then the income you receive generally will be taxable. If you paid for a portion of the employer-provided coverage, then the pro rata amount of the benefits you receive are structured to be tax-free.

Choices, Choices, Choices

Consider the waiting period before disability payments begin. A longer waiting period saves you money, but it also means that you may have to live off your savings for a longer period. You are the best judge of how much of this risk you are comfortable assuming.

You also may want to coordinate the waiting period with any short-term disability benefits you could have. For example, if your short-term disability covers you for 90 days, look to have at least a 90-day waiting period so that you can potentially lower the cost of the long-term policy.

Ask how a policy defines an inability to work. Some policies will say “the inability to do any job or task;” others will say “own occupation.” You may prefer the latter definition so you’re not forced to perform some less-skilled, lower-paid work. That type of work may not help you meet your bills.

 

1. Social Security Administration, 2024
2. Disability-Benefits-Help.org, 2024
3. SSA.gov, 2024
4. Investopedia.com, July 23, 2023
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

Building wealth requires protection from the forces of wealth destruction.

Did you know that…

  1. Fifty-seven percent of American workers have no private short-term disability insurance.1,2
  2. Sixty-five percent of working people in the U.S. lack private long-term disability coverage.1,2
  3. Forty-eight percent of Americans have no life insurance.3,4
  4. Approximately 14 percent of American drivers are uninsured.5

If you ask a homeowner, replacing a roof is probably the least satisfying expense they will ever face. While the value of such an investment is obvious, it doesn’t quite provide the satisfaction of new landscaping. Yet, when a heavy rain comes, ask that same owner if they would have preferred nice flowers or a sturdy roof.

Insurance is a lot like that roof. It’s not a terribly gratifying expenditure, but it may offer protection against the myriad of potential financial storms that can touch down in your life.
The uncertainties of life are wide-ranging, and many of them can threaten the financial security of you and your family. We understand most of these risks – a home destroyed by a fire and a car accident are just two common risks that could subject you to an outsized financial loss.

Similarly, your inability to earn a living to support yourself and your family due to death or disability can wreak long-term financial havoc on those closest to you.

Insurance exists to help protect you from these forms of wealth destruction.

Some insurance (such as home or car) may be required. When it isn’t mandated (in the case of life or disability), individuals may be tempted to avoid the certain financial “loss” associated with insurance premiums, assuming the risk of much larger losses that are less likely to happen.

But insurance premiums aren’t a financial “loss.” They are designed to help protect you and your family as you build personal wealth.

1. BLS.gov, 2023
2. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Federal and state laws and regulations are subject to change, which would have an impact on after-tax investment returns. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.
3. III.org, 2023
4. Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.
5. AutoInsurance.org, June 22, 2023
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

Learn about all the parts of Medicare with this informative and enjoyable article.

Breaking Down The Basics

Whether your 65th birthday is on the horizon or decades away, understanding the different parts of Medicare is critical, as this government-sponsored program may play a role in your future health care decisions.

Parts A & B: Original Medicare. There are two components. In general, Part A covers inpatient hospital care, skilled nursing facility costs, hospice, lab tests, surgery, and some home health care services. One thing to keep in mind is that, while very few beneficiaries must pay Part A premiums out of pocket, annually adjusted standard deductibles still apply.1,2

Many pre-retirees are frequently warned that Medicare will only cover a maximum of 100 days of nursing home care (provided certain conditions are met). Part A is the one with these provisions. Under the current Part A rules, you would pay $0 for days 1-20 of care in a skilled nursing facility (SNF). During days 21-100, a $204 daily coinsurance payment may be required of you.1,2

Knowing the limitations of Part A, some people look for other choices when it comes to managing the costs of extended care.

Part B covers physicians’ fees, outpatient hospital care, certain home health services, durable medical equipment, and other offerings not covered by Medicare Part A.2

Part B does come with some costs, however, which are adjusted annually. The premiums vary, according to the Medicare recipient’s income level, but the standard monthly premium amount is $174.70, and the yearly deductible is $240 for 2024.2

Part C: Medicare Advantage plans. Sometimes called “Medicare Part C,” Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are often viewed as an all-in-one alternative to Original Medicare. MA plans are offered by private companies approved by the federal government. Although these plans come with standardized minimum coverage, the amount of additional protection offered can differ drastically from one person to the next. This is due to unique provider networks, premiums, copays, coinsurance, and out-of-pocket spending limits. In other words, comparing prices and services offered by different vendors may be the best way to find a Medicare Advantage plan that works for you.3

Part D: Prescription drug plans. While Medicare Advantage plans often offer prescription drug coverage, insurers also sell federally standardized Medicare Part D plans as a standalone product to those with Medicare Part A and/or Part B. Every Part D plan has its own list (i.e., a “formulary”) of covered medications. Visit Medicare.gov to explore the formulary of approved drugs for your Part D plan as well as their prices, organized by tier.4

In fact, Medicare.gov is a great place to start all your research. Once there, you’ll find answers to your most common questions and more information on the different Medicare plans offered in your area.

1. CMS.gov, 2023
2. Medicare.gov, 2023
3. Medicare.gov, 2023
4. Medicare.gov, 2023
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

“I’m proud to pay taxes in the United States; the only thing is, I could be just as proud for half the money.”
Entertainer Arthur Godfrey

The irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) can be an important estate strategy tool that may accomplish a number of estate objectives; however, it may not be appropriate for every individual.

Using a trust involves a complex set of tax rules and regulations. Before moving forward with a trust, consider working with a professional who is familiar with the rules and regulations.

Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.

What Is an ILIT?

An ILIT is created by an individual (the grantor) during his or her lifetime. The ILIT owns a life insurance policy on the grantor’s life via the transfer of ownership of an existing policy or through the grantor’s annual contribution of cash to pay the premiums on a policy purchased by the trust.

The grantor designates beneficiaries, usually family members, who will typically receive the proceeds upon the death of the grantor.

The trust is irrevocable, meaning that the grantor forfeits all rights to the property contained in the trust. Its irrevocable nature is integral to accomplishing the ILIT’s objectives.

What Can an ILIT Accomplish?

The ILIT may be able to accomplish several estate objectives, including:

  1. Meeting liquidity needs;
  2. Managing estate taxation on the policy proceeds;
  3. Providing income to survivors.

How Does an ILIT Work?

When you die, the trust is designed to receive a payment equal to the policy coverage amount, e.g., $500,000. Since the trust’s ownership of the policy is irrevocable, the proceeds are not considered your property. Consequently, they do not fall into your estate, thus potentially avoiding estate taxation. (Remember, generally no income tax is due on such life insurance proceeds.)1

Keep in mind, this is a hypothetical example used for illustrative purposes only. It is not representative of any specific estate or estate strategy. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.

The trust provisions should be set up to provide direction about how and to whom payments may be made. You may direct that the trust pay out cash to cover certain expenses, e.g., funeral costs, probate, taxes, final medical expenses, and debts.

This may obviate the need to sell less liquid assets at an inopportune time to cover such costs.

The trust’s beneficiaries may receive the proceeds (after any payments are made to satisfy liquidity needs), creating an inheritance free of estate taxes.

Finally, creditors should not be able to attack these assets since they belong to the trust, not you.

Creating an ILIT should be done only with the assistance of a qualified estate planning attorney. It is a complicated exercise in which mistakes may result in losing the benefits ILITs offer.

1. Investopedia.com, January 5, 2023
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. CopyrightFMG Suite.

If your family relies on your income, it’s critical to consider having enough life insurance to provide for them after you pass away. But too often, life insurance is an overlooked aspect of personal finances.

In fact, according to a 2021 study conducted by Life Happens and LIMRA, which closely follows life insurance trends, nearly 50 percent of Americans say that they have no life insurance coverage at all, even though 59% of people without life insurance recognize the need to obtain it.1

Role of Life Insurance

Realizing the role life insurance can play in your family’s finances is an important first step. A critical second step is determining how much life insurance you may need.

Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.

Rule of Thumb

One widely followed rule of thumb for estimating a person’s insurance needs is based on income. One broad guide suggests a person may need a life insurance policy valued at five times their annual income. Others recommend up to ten times one’s annual income.

If you are looking for a more accurate estimate, consider completing a “DNA test.” A DNA test, or Detailed Needs Analysis, takes into account a wide range of financial commitments to help better estimate insurance needs.

The first step is to add up needs and obligations.

Short-Term Needs

Which funds will need to be available for final expenses? These may include costs of a funeral, final medical bills, and any outstanding debts, such as credit cards or personal loans. How much to make available for short-term needs will depend on your individual situation.

Long-Term Needs

How much will it cost to maintain your family’s standard of living? How much is spent on necessities, like housing, food, and clothing? Also, consider factoring in expenses, such as travel and entertainment. Ask yourself, “what would it cost per year to maintain this current lifestyle?”

New Obligations

What additional expenses may arise in the future? What family considerations will need to be addressed, especially if there are young children? Will aging parents need some kind of support? How about college costs? Factoring in potential new obligations allows for a more accurate picture of ongoing financial needs.

Next, subtract all current assets available.

Liquid Assets

Any assets that can be redeemed quickly and for a predictable price are considered liquid. Generally, houses and cars are not considered liquid assets since time may be required to sell them. Also, remember that selling a home may adjust a family’s current standard of living.

Needs and obligations – minus liquid assets – can help you get a better idea of the amount of life insurance coverage you may need. While this exercise is a good start to understanding your insurance needs, a more detailed review may be necessary to better assess your situation.

1. LIMRA.com, 2021
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

How Confident Are You? 

Read through this infographic to discovedr six surprising facts about retirement confidence…
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