X Reasons to Revisit Your Life Insurance Policies: Weekly Update 1/11/17
Posted on January 24, 2017

Reasons to Revisit Your Life Insurance Policies: Weekly Update 1/11/17


For most of your adult life, you’ve had the protection of life insurance to help safeguard you and your family. But as your life evolves, your family’s needs and financial goals will inevitably change, too. With every transition and milestone, you should take the time to revisit your life insurance policy to make sure you have the coverage you need. Here are some key reasons to take a second look at your life insurance.
1. It’s time for your annual review.

Each year, you need an annual health checkup with your doctor to make sure all is well.  The same thinking applies to your life insurance policies. Generally, it’s a good habit to review your policy every 12 months; doing so will help you identify where you are today versus what you may need in the future.[1] You can also ensure that nothing changed in the market to affect your coverage. You may find that you have the coverage you need and do not need to change any details – or that you need to make more adjustments than you anticipated. You’ll only truly know what strategy to pursue if you complete an annual policy review with your financial advisor.

2. You no longer have financial dependents.

Retirees often revisit their life insurance because they no longer financially provide for their loved ones.[2] When your children or grandchildren are young and depend on you financially, protecting your family with life insurance makes sense should anything happen to you or your spouse. But, once children and loved ones move out and manage their own financial lives, they will no longer be as financially affected when one of you passes. As a result, you may no longer need the full coverage you had with dependents.

3. You are newly married or divorced.

A change in your marital status affects how many people you must account for in your financial life. Whether you have married, remarried or divorced, your financial life and needs have evolved. When you experience one of these life changes, you’ll want to revisit your life insurance policy to ensure it accurately reflects your marital status and financial profile.[3]

4. You and your spouse are no longer employed.

When you had a job, you probably had life insurance coverage through your employer. Once you are no longer employed, however, you completely lose that coverage – and now must cover your life insurance needs on your own. If you and your spouse find yourself no longer supported by your employer benefits, now is the time to revisit your financial needs and the life insurance policy that will best support your life today and in retirement.[4]

5. Your beneficiaries changed.

Whether you want to name a new grandchild or remove someone who passed away, revisiting your life insurance to ensure your beneficiaries are up to date is essential.[5] Any time you have a change in your beneficiaries, you need to address every policy they are connected to. Failing to do so could leave your desired beneficiaries without access to the funds – while jeopardizing the money you’ve invested in the policy throughout the years.

Overall, your unique financial needs will drive what strategies make sense for you. And a variety of factors will affect whether or not you need to revise your life insurance policy beyond what we share here. To explore what strategy is right for you, feel free to contact us at 408-227-2700. We’re happy to discuss the options available to you as pursue your financial goals.

Tips for Deducting Expenses from Charity Travel

Volunteering for your favorite charity is a common way many Americans give back to their communities. If you plan to donate your time by volunteering and must travel as a result of your involvement, then you may be able to deduct some charity-related travel expenses. Here are some tips to consider:


  • Volunteer at a Qualified Charity
    In order to deduct your travel expenses, you must first make sure that the organization is a qualified charity. Generally, all churches and government entities are qualified. Ask the organization of their charity status before you donate any time or check an organization’s status by using the Select Check tool provided by the IRS.
  • Provide Genuine and Substantial Duty
    To qualify for deductions, you must provide real, substantial work throughout the trip. If your responsibilities are considered nominal, or you don’t have any duties for a significant time of your travel, then you can’t deduct your expenses.

Deductions – Allowable

Out-of-Pocket Expenses
In order to deduct these expenses, the costs must be necessary for your volunteering efforts while you’re away from home. To qualify, the costs must:

  • Be unreimbursed
  • Connect directly to the organization’s services
  • Result from the specific services you provided
  • Be separate from any personal, living, or family expenses

Travel Expenses
When you incur expenses directly related to traveling, you may be able to deduct some of these costs. These expenses can include:

  • Air, rail, and bus transportation
  • Car expenses
  • Lodging costs
  • Meals/food costs
  • Taxi or other transportation between the airport or station and your lodging

Deductions – Non-Allowable

Value of Time or Service
When you donate your time or provide services to a charity, you’re unable to deduct the value of this work, including any income you lose as a result of serving as an unpaid volunteer.

Certain Travel Expenses
Be aware that you can’t deduct some travel expenses. An example is when you travel for charity but devote a large portion of your trip to recreation or a vacation. Consult with your tax advisor on the specific travel expenses that you can’t deduct.

Going far off the fairway and finding your ball stuck in the trees is never fun-but if this happens to you, you’re not alone. Everyone experiences this frustration eventually. To fix the situation, you need to be able to hit a great punch shot. Here are a few tips to get you back on the fairway.

Freshen Your Home’s Air with Houseplants

Having houseplants in your home is great for bringing a burst of green life into your living spaces. But houseplants can do more for you than liven up a room-they are also great detoxifiers for the air in your home. Houseplants process carbon dioxide, fill the air with oxygen, and can remove common chemicals that create respiratory problems. Here are a few plants that are easy to care for and can freshen your home’s air:

  • English Ivy: Helps remove formaldehyde
  • Bamboo Palm: Helps remove formaldehyde
  • Peace Lily: Helps remove many toxins, such as acetone and benzine
  • Lady Palm: Helps remove ammonia from the air
  • Rubber Plant: Helps remove formaldehyde

Give Used Containers New Life

The everyday packages and containers in your life usually just get thrown away or tossed into a recycle bin once you use the product. However, you can go a step further in your green living by repurposing packages and containers and using them for other household items. By doing so, you avoid having to buy extra containers and keep usable packaging from junking up landfills. Here are a few tips on which containers to reuse:

  • Glass Jars: You may only be able use that spaghetti sauce once, but your glass jar can live on. Thoroughly wash the jar, peel off the label, and use it for storing items in your pantry, such as dry beans or flour. You can also use jars to hold bathroom toiletries like cotton balls-or even repurpose them into glass lanterns. If you can imagine the storage, a glass jar can probably do the job well.
  • Brown Paper Bag: At its heart, the brown bag you get in your grocery store (when you forget to bring your reusable shopping bags!) is really just paper. From covering your children’s school textbooks to wrapping presents to creating a shipping envelope-the possibilities for reuse are limitless.
  • Tin Can: We may only traditionally use tin cans for food storage, like beans. But these containers can serve a host of functions. Plant herb seeds in them and start an indoor garden. Decorate the outside and turn them into pen holders for your desk. You can also use them as rustic vases.
  • Zippered Bedding Bags: Those durable plastic bags holding your new sheets can easily become the perfect organizing tool. From storing your kids’ small toys to holding toiletries for your airline travels, you really can reuse this packaging in countless ways.

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