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Vital questions families should consider

Nov./Dec. 2009 California Country magazine

It's important not to lose sight of long-term financial needs, including life insurance.



Recent economic turmoil has forced many families to take a closer look at their finances and alter their spending habits. Though it’s easy to focus on more immediate needs during times like these, it’s important not to lose sight of long-term financial needs, including life insurance.

The following questions could be vital in helping your family take control of its destiny. There’s no time like now to plan for tomorrow.

What sources of income does your family have? Even if you are a two-income household, the death of one wage earner can drastically affect a family’s life. Sufficient life insurance can help the family to stay in the home and community they’re familiar with.

Have you had any recent life changes? Milestones such as marriage, divorce, job promotion or buying a home often result in changes to a household’s income and financial obligations. If your family has recently been through one of these life changes, it’s important to review your life insurance coverage to make sure that you have the right level of protection.

Are you self-employed or a small-business owner? In addition to protecting your business with appropriate life insurance coverage on yourself and other owners, you may have retirement needs that qualified plans like 401(k)s and profit sharing can’t meet because of contribution limits and anti-discrimination rules. Life insurance can also be used for business succession planning and rewarding and retaining key employees.

Do you have any estate planning needs? Life insurance can be an effective way to pass wealth to loved ones or favorite groups. While you should consult a legal or tax advisor for advice on your specific situation, using life insurance to transfer wealth to people or charities can be a tax-efficient way to maximize your gift.

Has the market downturn impacted your retirement savings? If so, you should consider how an unexpected death could affect your family’s ability to rebuild its retirement nest egg. Life insurance can help you fill this gap and stay on track to achieve your retirement goals.

Do you need help from an insurance professional? Deciding which type of life insurance coverage is right for your family can be a complicated process. If you need help, don’t hesitate to turn to an insurance professional who can explain the different options and help you make an informed decision.

Consumers should know that features, limitations and availability vary by product type and by the state in which the policy is issued. Those items need to be carefully considered before purchasing any insurance products.

Visit www.nationwide.com for a listing of local Nationwide agents or call Nationwide’s Consumer Solutions Center at 888-543-3756.

Article contributed by Nationwide, which is sponsored and endorsed by the California Farm Bureau Federation. John Valentine, CLU, CPCU, is sales director for Nationwide Insurance. He can be reached at 800-552-2437 ext. 4393 or valentj4@nationwide.com.


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