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IPS / Lighthouse Insurance Group Blog: disability insurance

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A quick glance at how women have been portrayed on TV in the past 50 years reveals a significant change in their roles and identities. From Barbara Billingsley, the pearl-and-white-gloved mother on “Leave It to Beaver” to Linda Lavin and Mary Tyler Moore (just to name two) portraying career women to today’s crop of actresses playing everything from an ex-IRA operative (Gabrielle Anwar in “Burn Notice”) to a police detective and medical examiner duo (Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander in “Rizzoli & Isles”), the message is that women have stepped far beyond their homemaker roles.

And in many cases, due to choice or circumstances, they are making their life journey without a partner—about 51%, according to some studies. There are almost 15 million households led by single women in the United States, and close to three-fifths have children under 18. Independent? Yes. But with that independence comes an increased need to plan for life events that are challenging enough with a partner but can be overwhelming when faced alone.

Life and Long-Term Care Insurance

While life insurance is critical for single mothers who might otherwise leave their children without financial resources, even those women without children should consider some type of life insurance—either term or permanent. Depending on the type and benefits, life insurance can replace the financial support that may have been provided to other family members (an aging parent or disabled sibling, for example) or pay off any of her remaining debts after she dies. While the policy cost will be affected by the type and benefit amount, it’s interesting to note that most consumers assume the price of life insurance to be far higher than reality.

Long-term care is an expensive proposition. According to the Genworth 2012 Cost of Care Survey, rates start at $18/hour for in-home basic homemaker services and increase to $3,300/month for assisted living to more than double that for a private room in a nursing home. And it’s not just the elderly (those 75 and older) that may need it. According to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, 37% of those who require some form of long-term care are 64 or younger.

Even if family members are available to help provide care, the cost can still be significant. According to the Genworth’s “Beyond Dollars” report, the average that recipients pay for out-of-pocket expenses (not including the cost of facility care) can reach $14,000/year, while family members spend another $8,000/year. Long-term care insurance can help defray the expense, and, for those single women without family members to call on, it can help relieve the worries of what will happen if they are no longer able to care for themselves due to accident or illness.


The statistics are sobering: The average age of disabled-worker beneficiaries was 53 in 2010, and almost a quarter of people would have financial trouble immediately if they couldn’t work and earn a paycheck, while half would have trouble in just a month, according to a LIFE Foundation survey.

For women on their own, the impact of even a short-term disability could be devastating. Unable to rely on their partner to provide an income, they could find their savings depleted and their future (and that of any dependents who rely on them) in jeopardy. Given that the majority of accidents are not work-related, women need to take proactive measures such as purchasing disability insurance to protect themselves, their assets and their future.


Retirement used to be called “the golden years” but with the increase in health-care costs and the decrease in value of most investments, the “gold” is more than a little tarnished, and women especially are worried about what the future might hold. According to the 2010 Wells Fargo Retirement Fitness Survey, about 40% of women have less access to defined benefit plans, while 58% worry that they haven’t saved enough for their retirement. As for relying on Social Security, 30% of women plan to wait until age 66 or older to apply. Compared with their male counterparts, they have far less confidence in the stock market, or, for that matter, their own ability to save enough to make the years ahead appear anything less than challenging.

For single women, it can be even more difficult, since they may only have their own pension, retirement funds or Social Security check to depend upon. Taking a proactive approach by meeting with a retirement planning specialist is a critical first step to planning for the years ahead.

Woman have proven themselves capable of handling a variety of life roles and responsibilities—from raising children to succeeding in the workplace. Evaluating their needs and putting key strategies in place is one more empowering step that all women—married or single, with or without dependents—need to take to secure their future.

For more information on how to secure your future, call the insurance experts at Insurance Planning Service today at 800-220-5582 or use our online contact form!

Article Source: LIFE Foundation
Photo Source: LIFE Foundation

More than a million women will go through a divorce this year in the United States, if Census Bureau figures stay similar to last year’s. The emotional and psychological toll cannot be measured, but the financial impact often can. Single Woman at the Beach

In addition to the outright costs of a divorce that can be viewed on a spreadsheet, there are hidden financial bombs, that if not acknowledged or addressed, can explode and destroy a divorced woman’s carefully reconstructed future.

There are myriad financial traps that divorcing or divorced women face. I’m going to highlight just a few to watch out for:

Health insurance
If your spouse was the one that carried the health insurance benefits (and the company has more than 20 employees), then you may be eligible to continue the coverage under COBRA for 36 months. During that time, you may find employment that offers health insurance coverage, or you can look for individual coverage in the open marketplace. The latter solution becomes difficult if you have a preexisting condition. Some states do have a guaranteed program that waives a preexisting condition if you are coming from another plan. However, much is up in the air with health-care reform, so it’s best to talk with an agent to understand your options.

Life insurance
If you were covered as a dependent under your spouse’s group plan, you’ll need to check to see if the benefits are portable (meaning you can continue your coverage if you pay the premiums) or if the coverage terminates when you are no longer a dependent. If you are in good health, it makes sense to find out if an individual policy purchased on your own is a better deal. It may be less expensive than carrying over the group coverage. If you have a health problem, it would make sense to keep the group benefits, if that’s possible.If you have an individual policy you may be OK, although it’s smart to review the amount to make sure it is adequate for your dependents, given your new marital status. Also, in all cases, check your beneficiaries to make sure your ex-spouse is no longer listed, unless that is your intention.
Qualified plans
Another common mistake is not to review the beneficiaries of a qualified plan (your retirement account). According to federal law, your spouse is the default beneficiary of your plan, unless a waiver is signed. When you go through a divorce, you need to make that change. Otherwise, if something were to happen to you and you were remarried, for example, your ex-spouse not your current spouse would get the money.

Disability insurance
Disability insurance, which provides income if you become sick or injured and unable to work, becomes critical when you are single, as your support system has been cut in half. There is no longer that second salary or the same amount of savings and investments to rely on if something were to happen. This coverage can often be obtained through your work; keep in mind that this coverage ends when your job does. Or you can purchase an individual policy on your own. Either way, the key is to know before something happens what kind of coverage you have and how much of your income it will cover.

In your 50s? Long-term care insurance
If you are in your 50s, it’s smart to look into long-term care insurance. Historically the most financially challenged people have been older, divorced women, because they have fewer Social Security benefits from often having been out of the workforce and many times do not have a pension. Long-term care insurance is there for you if you need care, so you won’t have to tap into money set aside for your retirement.

To receive more information about any of your policies, contact the experts at Insurance Planning Service today by calling 800-220-8852 or using our online contact form.


Key person insurance is simply life insurance on the key person in a business. In a small business, this is usually the owner, the founders or perhaps a key employee or two. These are the people who are crucial to a business--the ones whose absence would sink the company. You definitely need to consider key person insurance on those people.

Here's how 
key person insurance works:  A company purchases a life insurance policy on its key employee(s), pays the premiums and is the beneficiary of the policy.  If that person unexpectedly dies, the company receives the insurance payoff.  The reason this coverage is important is because the death of a key person in a small company can cause the immediate death of that company.  The purpose of key person insurance is to help the company survive the blow of losing the person who makes the business work.

The company can use the insurance proceeds for expenses until it can find a replacement person or, if necessary, pay off debts, distribute money to investors, pay severance to employees and close the business down in an orderly manner.  In a tragic situation, key person insurance gives the company some options other than immediate bankruptcy.

If the company is a sole proprietorship and employs just you and no other employees or has no other people who depend on it, then key person insurance isn't as necessary.  You'll notice we didn't mention your family -- don't confuse key person insurance with
personal life insurance.  If you have a spouse and/or children who depend on your income, then you should have personal life insurance for that purpose.

How do you determine who needs this insurance?  Look at your business and think about who is irreplaceable in the short term.  In many small businesses, it's the owner who holds the company together.  he may keep the books, manage the employees, handle the key customers and so on.  If that person is gone, the business pretty much stops.

How much per person insurance do you need?  That depends on your business, but in general, you should get as much as you can afford.  Think about how much money your business would need to survive until it could replace the key person, come up to speed and get the business back on its feet.  Many times, term insurance is appropriate for key person insurance, but forms of whole life or universal life insurance may assist with your business plan because of the cash values that build within these policies.  Buy a policy that fits into your budget and will address your short-term cash needs in case of tragedy.

Don't forget about key person disability insurance as well.  This is intended to assist the business in the event a key person is disabled and unable to work in much the same way as life insurance will assist in the event a key person passes away.

If you need help or advice concerning key business insurance, contact Insurance Planning Service by phone at 800-220-5582 or by using the
online contact form today!

Article Source:
Photo Source:

GraduationIt’s a rite of passage for college students to don cap and gown and march for graduation ceremonies- in fact, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), nearly 1.8 million students will graduate with a bachelor's degree in 2012. As those 1.8 million make the transition from undergraduates to careers, pursuit of advanced degrees or back into mom and dad's basement, it's critical that they understand how walking across that stage may have changed their insurance needs.

While every individual’s needs are unique, here are five basic insurance coverages that all college grads should consider, to see if they apply:

Auto insurance

A shiny new car, whether owned or leased, holds appeal for newly employed college grads. Auto insurance helps cope with the expenses of accidents, vandalism or theft.  A lender or leasing company that finances the vehicle will require auto insurance. Car accidents can create large liabilities for a driver, so the liability portion of auto coverage helps protect the bank account. Plus, auto insurance covers many legal expenses if a driver is sued. If a graduate who already owns a car is moving, where they keep and register the car, especially from one state to another, can impact coverage. It's important for new graduates to let their insurance agent know about these moves to make sure their current coverage will still apply, or if they'll need a new policy.

Health insurance

Under the new federal health care law, children can remain on their parent's health insurance policy until age 26. With unemployment and underemployment high among those in their early twenties, this can provide many recent grads with health insurance until they are able to get it through their employer or an individual policy. Individual policies can be pricey and differ significantly in coverage, so talk with a Trusted Choice® insurance professional about what makes the most sense.

Homeowners or renters insurance

College grads starting out may not own a home yet, but may rent a residence. To make sure their possessions are protected, homeowners and renters insurance offer comprehensive coverage whether at home or traveling. Liability insurance included in renters and homeowners coverage also helps protects against the risk of being sued. There usually are limitations on renters coverages within a group house—a typical post-graduate arrangement—so it is important to understand the details of a policy.

Life insurance

New grads may find a job with an employer that offers group term life insurance coverage. However, those with children may find it worthwhile to buy additional term life insurance or permanent life insurance, which builds cash value over time.

Disability insurance

This is a vital but often-overlooked insurance coverage. It provides income when a person is injured or disabled, whether on the job or off. A Trusted Choice® insurance professional can calculate the right amount of coverage to help a person live while recovering.

New college grads may want to lean financially on their parents’ insurance coverages as long as possible (though mom and dad might feel a little differently!). While that makes sense, it’s not always viable. For instance, auto insurance companies will require an owner or lessee of a car to carry their own coverage. There are plenty of insurance policies out there that new grads won’t need, unless there are special circumstances, such as air travel insurance, contact lens insurance or cancer insurance. Typically, it is better to have comprehensive policies like renters or health.

Parents of new graduates also should take this time to review their own insurance portfolios, as there may be opportunities to reduce their premiums when child moves out of the home.

INSURANCE PLANNING SERVICE is a Trusted Choice® insurance professional and we can help new grads and their families navigate these waters, to provide sensible coverage that won’t break the bank.  Call us today at 800-220-5582 or use our easy Contact page.  We're eager to help!

Article Source: Trusted Choice
Image Source: Microsoft clip-art

While most of us understand the need to insure our cars and homes, many do not consider insuring what pays for those things… our paychecks. It is crucial to understand the importance of properly insuring your paycheck with disability insurance. Here are answers to six of people’s most pressing disability insurance questions:

1. Where does disability insurance fit within my financial plan?

Disability insurance is there to protect your income, should you become ill or injured and unable to work. In essence, it protects your paycheck. Your financial plan needs to begin and end with income planning. Unless you first protect your income, there is no financial plan!

2. What about disability insurance through my work—isn’t that enough?

That’s called group disability insurance. With this particular coverage, you are just a tenant. You are not in control because you do not own the policy. It can be taken from you in an instant; your employer may give it up or the insurer may decide to stop insuring the group. You are at their mercy.

Plus, 70% of employers don’t offer long-term disability insurance at work, which means if you do have coverage, it’s probably short-term disability insurance, which would not help you meet your financial obligations if you were sick or injured for an extended period of time.

Also, keep in mind that group long-term disability insurance typically only covers your base salary, so bonuses, commissions, incentives, deferred compensation, stock options and pension contributions are generally not covered. In most claims scenarios, people are very disappointed with the adequacy of their group disability coverage.

3. How does disability insurance differ from long-term care insurance?

Simple. Disability Insurance pays you and long-term care insurance typically pays someone else who is providing the care service.

4. How does disability insurance differ from life insurance?

When it comes to income replacement and asset conservation, there is no difference. The difference between disability insurance and life insurance is you’re either above or below six feet of dirt. The main concept to think about is that the chances of becoming disabled are much greater than dying prematurely.

5. How much disability insurance should I have?

You should have as much disability insurance as possible. No less than 65% of your gross income is considered adequate. I’ve not met anyone who is receiving disability benefits that has said that their benefit is more than enough. Unfortunately, when you’re disabled, the truth is always the opposite; there is never enough money. That’s why supplemental disability insurance is often necessary to adequately protect a person’s income. You can get a working idea of how much you might need here.

6. Where can I get disability insurance?

A good financial advisor or insurance agent will always offer disability insurance, so that should be a clue when choosing an agent.

Our agents at Insurance Planning Service are ready to help you asses your disability insurance needs.  Call us today at 800-220-5582 or use our online contact form.

Source: LIFE Foundation

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Lighthouse Group Main Office in Grand Rapids, MI
Mailing Address | P.O. Box 530009, Livonia, MI 48153

Phone: 734.421.9900 | Toll Free: 800.220.5582 | Fax: 734.421.9911

Also serving these Detroit area communities in Michigan: Livonia, Farmington Hills, Ann Arbor, Southfield, Plymouth, Canton, Westland, Northville, Novi, Dearborn, South Lyon & Walled Lake