Your Insurance Matters: What if you live past 100?

Your Insurance Matters
What if you live past 100?
by Shirley R. Lamdan, CLU, Hagerstown, MD

What if you live past 100? Does this sound silly? It's really not so far-fetched at all! People who are 100 years old are called centenarians and they are one of the fastest-growing groups in the United States.
But if we look a bit closer at this segment of the population, some troubling properties emerge. Two thirds of 100 year olds have incomes below the poverty line. Almost one half have no savings. Almost 40% cannot afford to buy anything but the essentials. No "extras" were within their reach.
These rates are much higher than for Americans in their 60's.
Even if many of us are not going to reach age 100 (and beyond!), there's no denying that the trend is clear: people are definitely living longer. So this may be a good time for a Reality Check! Here are a few questions we should ask ourselves.
As you age, will your life insurance still be there? Will your savings still be there? Will you still have income (in addition to Social Security)? Will it be enough?
On your life insurance, are you still in the term trap? How old will you be when the term coverage runs out? Yes, it will run out. Check your insurance contract for the date the term insurance ends. It's on the first or second page. Or, call your insurance professional.
Let's be honest about it: you'll still need your life insurance protection then, too, right? Don't let yourself go without coverage. Call your insurance agent for a permanent plan. It's cheaper in the long run, anyway. Ask for a plan that guarantees insurance for your entire lifetime and that also provides cash accumulations.
As for the matter of savings, will your financial reserves be there as you age? Are you worried about market turmoil?
When looking for security, many people think first about CD's. But there are other guaranteed options for your "safe money". Fixed annuities of several types guarantee growth and offer convenient and helpful features.
Benefits of a fixed annuity that you may find appealing include:
Tax-deferred growth until your money is withdrawn. This means there are no taxes due until money is actually withdrawn.
Ability to withdraw up to 10% of the annuity value each year without being charged any penalties by the insurance company.
Opportunity to turn the annuity's value into lifetime income.
Guaranteed interest rates that are competitive with CD rates.
Guaranteed death benefit paid directly to your named beneficiary (outside of probate).
Other than Social Security, will you have an income as you age? More and more people are considering immediate annuities. These provide lifetime income. The checks keep coming. You'll definitely have expenses that need to be paid for, so those checks will be very welcome.
If you have a few items to think about, good! Start preparing now for the "new" older age; it lasts a very long time. Long-term thinking and planning are certainly what we need. Short-term won't work anymore.

Since 1982, Shirley R. Lamdan, CLU of Hagerstown, MD has been serving individuals, corporations, and nonprofits with independent retirement and insurance services. She can be contacted at 301-791-9427 and