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How to make it, spend it, and invest it

5 Mar 2020

3.5.20 How to shop for life insurance; Show some love to your 401k

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Post by MoneyRadio Staff

Life insurance agents are only there to pitch policies with some kind of add-on – the equivalent of a savings or investment account, or something they claim can be used for retirement, will ultimately pay for itself, etc. They have to push ultra-complicated policies to gain more commissions. A straight up policy isn’t worth their time. Complicated policies have very high commissions and high costs for consumers. Think whole life, variable life, universal variable life, index universal life etc. When the name gets long, it gets bad for your wallet. For those of use who earn less than $400k, level term life insurance makes sense – derisively referred to by agents as ‘just death insurance’. The purpose of life insurance is to provide for the living after you’re gone – replacement of income for family. And nothing does that more efficiently or cheaper than level term insurance. In general, buy 10 times what you earn per year. Level term offers coverage for 10 to 30 years that pays only if you die during the term. If you outlive it, it pays out nothing. But premiums are hyper cheap and won’t impact your living standard. See our buying guide to insure and protect your family.

For investors, fears of market losses are common. The market bottomed in 2009, essentially tripled by 2016 and has risen since. Many believe we’re on borrowed time. Investing goes through cycles, and some investors are compelled to move their money into safe, stable choices, like CDs. But even if the market fell off a cliff next week and stayed that way for a few years, for anyone in their 40s or younger, this would have no long term effect. It might actually make you more money to just stay the course and leave your money well diversified. The easiest answer for most of us is the target retirement fund closest to the year of your retirement. Remember when the market tanks, every contribution buys more shares for the same money. When the market eventually recovers, it boomerangs to give you more money than you would have had in a steady market. Declines are your friend the younger you are. Closer to retirement your portfolio should be more conservative, but you don’t stop putting money into the market. Just dial back risk at 60, as you may live another 30 years. Being older doesn’t mean you bag investing. You simply reduce risk, done automatically by target retirement funds, while maintaining opportunity for meaningful gain over time. 

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