LifePoint Associates: Your Trusted Partner for Insurance Solutions
When it comes to safeguarding what matters most to you, having the right insurance coverage is crucial. That's where LifePoint Associates comes in. With over [number] years of industry expertise, LifePoint Associates has established itself as a trusted independent insurance agency. Our unwavering commitment to our clients' financial security, coupled with our personalized approach, sets us apart in the insurance landscape.
Tailored Insurance Solutions:
At LifePoint Associates, we understand that every individual or business has unique insurance needs. As an independent agency, we have the freedom to work with multiple reputable insurance providers, giving us access to a broader range of options. This independence allows us to create tailored insurance solutions that perfectly align with our clients' requirements, whether it's home, auto, business, or life insurance.
Experience and Expertise:
Led by owner and CEO Stephen Winter, the LifePoint Associates team brings a wealth of experience to the table. With a collective industry tenure of over [number] years, our knowledgeable professionals have worked with some of the largest insurance companies in Grand Rapids, as well as played an integral role in the growth of new start-up agencies. This expertise ensures that our clients receive expert guidance and support throughout their insurance journey.
We believe in building strong relationships with our clients, and that begins with understanding their unique circumstances and goals. Our dedicated team takes the time to assess your specific needs, budgetary constraints, and risk tolerance. Based on this thorough evaluation, we provide personalized insurance recommendations that offer comprehensive coverage and peace of mind. At LifePoint Associates, we prioritize your best interests above all else.
Commitment to Customer Satisfaction:
Our clients are at the heart of everything we do, and our commitment to their satisfaction is unwavering. We pride ourselves on delivering exceptional customer service at every step of the process. Whether you have a question about your policy, need assistance with a claim, or want to explore additional coverage options, our friendly and knowledgeable team is always ready to assist you promptly and effectively.
Building Long-term Relationships:
At LifePoint Associates, we view ourselves as more than just an insurance agency – we are your trusted partner in protecting what matters most. We strive to build long-term relationships with our clients, adapting our insurance solutions as their needs evolve over time. As your circumstances change, you can rely on us to provide ongoing support, ensuring your insurance coverage remains comprehensive and up to date.
When it comes to securing your financial future and protecting what you hold dear, LifePoint Associates stands out as a dependable choice. With our personalized service, industry expertise, and commitment to customer satisfaction, we are well-equipped to meet your insurance needs. Discover the peace of mind that comes with tailored insurance solutions by partnering with LifePoint Associates – your trusted insurance advisor. Contact us today to embark on your insurance journey.
7 Steps to get your money on track
There are different ways to put your finances on track, depending on your preferences and goals. Here are some tips that can help you get started:
1. Create a budget: A budget is a plan that helps you manage your money. It can help you identify areas where you're overspending and find ways to cut back. You can create a budget using a notebook, spreadsheet, or budgeting app ³⁴.
2. Track your expenses: Tracking your expenses can help you learn where your money goes and how to manage it better. You can use a notebook, spreadsheet, or budgeting app to track your expenses ³⁴.
3. Save for emergencies: It's important to have an emergency fund in case unexpected expenses come up. Experts recommend saving three to six months' worth of living expenses in an emergency fund ¹.
4. Pay off debt: If you have debt, it's important to pay it off as soon as possible. You can start by paying off the debt with the highest interest rate first ¹.
5. Invest for the future: Investing can help you grow your money over time. You can start by investing in a retirement account such as a 401(k) or IRA ¹.
6. Get professional advice: If you're not sure where to start, consider talking to a financial advisor. A financial advisor can help you create a plan that's tailored to your needs and goals ¹.
7. Be patient: Putting your finances on track takes time and effort. Be patient with yourself and celebrate small victories along the way ¹.
(1) How to Keep Track of Personal Finances: Managing Your Money - wikiHow. https://www.wikihow.com/Keep-Track-of-Your-Personal-Finances.(2) How To Track Your Expenses and Stick To a Budget - The Balance. https://www.thebalancemoney.com/how-to-track-your-expenses-2385695.(3) Four Easy Ways To Track Your Finances (Other Than A Budget). https://www.forbes.com/sites/financialfinesse/2015/09/13/four-easy-ways-to-track-your-finances-other-than-a-budget/.(4) 7 Strategies to Keep Your Financial Plan on Track - U.S. News. https://money.usnews.com/investing/articles/strategies-to-keep-your-financial-plan-on-track.
Source: Conversation with Bing, 7/31/2023
The Stay-At-Home Parent’s Guide to Buying Life Insurance
Whether you’ve always stayed home with the kids or you’ve recently transitioned to the important role of a stay-at-home parent, you probably know how vital your work is to the health and happiness of your family. So, what would happen if you could no longer be there for them in the way you are now?
One of the most comprehensive planning tools for keeping your kids secure is life insurance. It’s designed to be purchased now while you have some control over things and will kick in after you’re gone. Life insurance policies offer many benefits to your family, including a tax-free death benefit, a sense of financial and emotional security, and future insurability when your health may not be as certain.
1. Put yourself in your family’s shoes.
The first step of the process is often the most difficult—because no one likes to think about what life would be like if you weren’t around for your kids. Getting past the pain and discomfort is important, however, because you can’t truly explore all the options for life insurance until you’ve tried to imagine what a day or even a year in your family’s life would be like without you.
What needs will they have to meet? It probably goes beyond housework and cooking. From carpooling to tutoring to possibly even mental health services, the goods and services you provide to your family as a stay-at-home parent are valuable—and your family’s needs may be even greater in the future than they are now. Losing a loved one is disruptive and may require additional resources to help your family achieve healing and wholeness after you’re gone.
2. List out what’s needed—and what it costs.
After you’ve gone through the work of putting yourself in your family’s shoes, you have a better idea of the things they’ll need to pay for in your absence. You may have older kids and not believe they need certain services, but some extra help while they adjust may still be a good idea. Make a list of the items that will need to be initially purchased after you’re gone, along with ongoing needs the kids will have throughout their childhoods. Try your best to price these at a per-year price tag, and add extra each year for inflation.
Be sure to include any costs that your partner or other loved ones in the home may incur; you may even consider how aging parents or those who rely on you in other ways may need support, as well.
And don’t forget about funeral services, since these costs can run in the thousands!
It can be hard to predict all the costs, but a Life Insurance Needs Calculator helps simplify the process.
3. Consider ways to better your family.
While no one considers death to be a good thing, life insurance can be used to help your family move forward in some areas of their lives, even as they deal with your passing. Whether it’s paying off credit card debt or putting aside some college funds for the kids down the road, now is the time to think of your family’s financial responsibilities and put a plan in place for clearing these obstacles, if possible.
If your family lives paycheck-to-paycheck, you may not have much left over at the end of the month to put toward savings. Consider adding some extra coverage to your life insurance to help your family with an emergency fund; the larger life insurance payment could put them in a better financial position.
4. Research your options.
While it’s true that a good life insurance agent can walk you through everything you need to know about the policies they offer, doing a little research ahead of time can only help. You can get familiar with the terminology used when talking about policies, as well as get an idea of the different product types that are available. If nothing else, looking through life insurance articles and guides can inspire questions that you can write down to ask an agent when you meet.
If you don’t have a life insurance agent yet, this tool can get you connected to those licensed in your area and help you choose between them.
5. Prioritize the purchase.
At this point, you’ve done much of the hard work, and you’ve probably even talked to your family about what’s needed in the event you’re not around anymore. With that out of the way, you’re in a great position to meet with a qualified agent and get your insurance policy. Pricing tends to be better when you’re younger and in good health, so there’s an incentive to make your mind up and buy a policy sooner than later.
If, as you age, you decide you need more coverage or a different coverage type, that’s OK. Your agent can talk to you about the changes in your family to ensure you always have the right amount of coverage to help them succeed. Whether you add a new baby to the family or you want to increase your policy coverage to account for inflation, your insurance agent can walk you through what’s needed to always have adequate coverage for every new season in your family’s life.
Should I buy life insurance on my child's life?
The main reason for buying life insurance on anyone’s life is to replace income “lost” or pay for expenses caused by the death of the insured person. If your child dies, there’s no lost income, but there will be a funeral, burial, and related expenses that could run to thousands of dollars, which might cause financial hardship to the parents of the deceased child.
Another reason for buying life insurance on a child’s life is to guard against the possibility that, when the child is older, he or she might not be able to buy life insurance because of intervening illness or other circumstances.
Still, another reason for buying life insurance for a child’s life is part of a program to teach the child financial responsibility. Typically the insurance is whole life insurance, ownership of which is transferred to the child when he or she turns 21.
Most insurance advisors recommend that families spend their insurance budget to buy life and disability income insurance on the parents first, before considering insurance for children’s lives. The death of a parent, particularly an income earner, could have financial consequences that are devastating compared to the financial effects of a child’s death.
Why do I need life insurance?
Life insurance is a financial tool that provides a lump sum payment to your beneficiaries in the event of your death. Here are some reasons why you may need life insurance:
To provide for your loved ones: If you have dependents such as children or a spouse who rely on your income, life insurance can provide financial support for them in the event of your unexpected death. This can help to ensure that they are able to maintain their standard of living and cover expenses such as housing, education, and other necessities.
To pay off debts: If you have outstanding debts such as a mortgage, car loan, or credit card debt, life insurance can help to pay off these debts and prevent your loved ones from inheriting your debt burden. This can provide peace of mind and help to alleviate financial stress during a difficult time.
To cover final expenses: Life insurance can also help to cover final expenses such as funeral costs, medical bills, and other end-of-life expenses. This can prevent your loved ones from having to cover these expenses out of pocket, which can be a significant financial burden.
To leave a legacy: Life insurance can also be used as a way to leave a financial legacy for your loved ones or to support charitable causes that are important to you. By naming a beneficiary, you can ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes and that your legacy is preserved.
Overall, life insurance provides financial protection for your loved ones and can help to ensure that they are provided for in the event of your unexpected death.
How to choose the right type of life insurance
Choosing the right type of life insurance can be confusing, but it’s also an important decision. Here are some guidelines that can help you narrow down your best life insurance options.
Consider term life insurance if...
You need life insurance for a specific period of time. Term life insurance enables you to match the length of the term policy to the length of the need. For example, if you have young children and want to ensure that there will be funds to pay for their college education, you might buy 20-year term life insurance. Or if you want the insurance to repay a debt that will be paid off in a specified time period, buy a term policy for that period.
You need a large amount of life insurance but have a limited budget. In general, this type of insurance pays only if you die during the term of the policy, so the rate per thousand of death benefits is lower than for permanent forms of life insurance. If you are still alive at the end of the term, coverage stops unless the policy is renewed or a new one is bought. Unlike permanent insurance, you will not typically build equity in the form of cash savings.
If you think your financial needs may change, you may also want to look into “convertible” term policies. These allow you to convert to permanent insurance without a medical examination in exchange for higher premiums.
Keep in mind that premiums are lowest when you are young and increase upon renewal as you age. Some term insurance policies can be renewed when the policy ends, but the premium will generally increase. Some policies require a medical examination at renewal to qualify for the lowest rates.
Consider permanent life insurance if...
You need life insurance for as long as you live. A permanent policy pays a death benefit whether you die tomorrow or live to be over 100.
You want to accumulate a savings element that will grow on a tax-deferred basis and could be a source of borrowed funds for a variety of purposes. The savings element can be used to pay premiums to keep the life insurance in force if you can’t pay them otherwise, or it can be used for any other purpose you choose. You can borrow these funds even if your credit is shaky. The death benefit is collateral for the loan, and if you die before it’s repaid, the insurance company collects what is due to the company before determining what goes to your beneficiary.
Keep in mind that premiums for permanent policies are generally higher than for term insurance. However, the premium in a permanent policy remains the same no matter how old you are, while term can go up substantially every time you renew it.
There are a number of different types of permanent insurance policies, such as whole (ordinary) life, universal life, variable life, and variable/universal life. For more details, see our articles on the specific types of policies.
Reasons for purchasing an annuity
Annuities can serve many useful purposes.
If you are in a saving-money stage of life, a deferred annuity can...
Help you meet your retirement income goals. Employer-sponsored plans such as 401(k), 403(b), or Keogh are an important part of planning for retirement. However, contributions to these plans and to IRAs are limited, and they might not add up to enough for the retirement income you need, especially if you started saving for retirement late or had contributions interrupted—perhaps due to job changes and/or family responsibilities. Moreover, your social security and defined-benefit pension (if you have one) may provide less than you need to retire. Remember that the purchasing power of defined-benefit pension income is eroded by inflation.
Help you diversify your investment portfolio. Investment experts routinely advise that to get the best return for a given level of risk, you should diversify your investments among a number of asset classes. Fixed annuities, in particular, offer a unique asset class—an investment that is guaranteed not to decrease and that will actually increase at a specified interest rate (and, often, potentially more). The guarantees are supported by the claims-paying ability of the insurer.
Help you manage your investment portfolio. Investment experts routinely advise that, whenever your investments in various asset classes get too far from the percentage allocations you prefer, you “rebalance” to the original formulation, by shifting funds from the classes that have grown faster to the ones that have grown more slowly. If you do this with mutual funds, you pay capital gains taxes; if you do it in a variable annuity, you don’t pay capital gains taxes. When you eventually withdraw money from the annuity (which could be many years after the rebalancing), you pay tax then at the ordinary income rate.
If you are in a need-income stage of life, an immediate annuity can...
Help protect you against outliving your assets. Social security pays retirement income for as long as you live, as do defined-benefit pension plans. But the only other source of income available that continues indefinitely is an immediate annuity.
Help protect your assets from creditors. Generally, the most that creditors can access is the payments from an immediate annuity as they’re made since the money you gave the insurance company now belongs to the company. Some state statutes and court decisions also protect some or all of the payments from those annuities.
What is a lifetime income annuity?
A lifetime income annuity is a financial product designed to provide individuals with a guaranteed stream of income for the entirety of their lives, regardless of how long they live. To secure this financial arrangement, individuals typically make a lump-sum payment or a series of premium payments to an insurance company, often at or near the time of retirement. In return, the insurance company commits to making regular payments, which can be monthly, quarterly, or annual, throughout the individual's lifetime.
This financial tool is often used to create a stable and predictable source of income in retirement, mitigating the risk of outliving one's savings or investments. Lifetime income annuities come in various forms, including single-life annuities that cover one individual and joint-life annuities that continue payments to a surviving spouse or beneficiary, offering flexibility to address specific financial and family needs. While they provide financial security, it's crucial to carefully evaluate the terms and options of lifetime income annuities to ensure they align with your retirement goals and circumstances.
What IRMAA and how does it effect my Medicare?
IRMAA stands for Income-Related Monthly Adjustment Amount, and it's a surcharge that some Medicare beneficiaries may have to pay on top of their standard Medicare premiums. IRMAA is based on your modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) from two years ago. In other words, the government looks at your income from two years prior to determine your IRMAA charges.
IRMAA affects both Medicare Part B (which covers medical services) and Medicare Part D (which covers prescription drugs). If your MAGI exceeds a certain threshold, you'll be subject to IRMAA, which increases the cost of your Medicare premiums.
Here are the income-related adjustments for both Medicare Part B and Part D:
**Medicare Part B IRMAA**:
- If your MAGI is above a certain threshold, you will pay an additional amount on top of your standard Medicare Part B premium. These thresholds are updated annually, and the higher your income, the higher your IRMAA.
**Medicare Part D IRMAA**:
- If your MAGI exceeds certain income thresholds, you'll also pay an additional amount for your Medicare Part D prescription drug plan.
It's important to note that not everyone will be subject to IRMAA, as most Medicare beneficiaries have incomes below the thresholds. But if your income is higher, you'll need to be aware of the additional costs associated with IRMAA when planning for your Medicare expenses.
Life Insurance 101
Have you ever wondered how your loved ones would manage financially if something happened to you? Watch this to learn the basics of life insurance and how important it is for protecting your loved ones.
Long-Term Care Insurance 101
Learn the basics of long-term care insurance and how it can protect your independence and retirement savings.
Disability Income Insurance 101
What would happen if I was unable to work due to an illness or injury? How long would I be okay financially?” That’s where disability insurance comes in.
Guaranteed Lifetime Income
“What appealed to me about annuities was their security and dependability—the peace of mind of not running out of money in retirement,” says Linda. And she adds that as a single woman, there’s comfort in knowing she’ll have a guaranteed income stream for life.
Sara Tells Her Story
Sara Mathews Dixon, a widow at 40, tells other parents to consider life insurance early on before health issues make it hard or impossible to get. “We don’t control the universe,” she says, “and you don’t know what’s going to happen down the line.”