Five Questions to Ask Yourself When Conducting a Mid-Year Life Insurance Audit


Business woman conducting life insurance auditJust as swiftly as it began, this year is already halfway over. And as we head into the thick of summer, now is a good time to reflect on the first half of 2017 by making a note of any changes that could affect your life insurance needs.

To help make sure your policy is still working for you, conduct your own life insurance audit by asking yourself these five questions:

1. Has my employment status changed?

Even though the unemployment rate has largely decreased over the last several years, there are still unfortunate circumstances that could leave you or a spouse/partner unemployed. Regardless of the situation, an unemployed family member may mean that you want to shop for a cheaper, less comprehensive life insurance policy, at least until your family’s earnings balances back out.

2. Have I received a raise or promotion?

You don’t have to lose your job in order to be affected by your employment. A raise or promotion can also impact your life insurance policy. If you were recently told that you will be earning more money, consider directing some of that toward your life insurance policy.

3. Have there been any changes to my family?

Changes relating to your family structure may alter your life insurance needs. For instance, if you recently became married or brought a new child into the world, you should think about increasing the amount on your life insurance policy to help protect your loved ones. On the flip side, if you recently became divorced, you may wish to decrease the amount on your life insurance policy.

4. Is there a more affordable plan that meets my needs?

The Mutual Fund Store Life Insurance specializes in matching the best life insurance policies with your budget. Since policies are continuously changing, your current plan may no longer be the best option for your needs.

5. What happens next?

If you have been affected by any of the aforementioned events, it is critical that you evaluate your life insurance policy to meet these circumstances. The Mutual Fund Store Life Insurance is here to help you navigate any policy adjustments that must be made.
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Movie Review: Term Life


movie poster for the film, "Term Life," featuring a father looking to take care of his daughter with a term life insurance policy before his life comes to a screeching halt

Photo Credit: IMDB

It’s not every day that a movie is created about the industry you work in – which is why it was exciting when a film aptly titled Term Life was released earlier this year. Featuring a range of familiar faces including comedic icon Vince Vaughn (Nick Barrow), drama veteran Bill Paxton (Joe Keenan,) and rising star Hailee Steinfeld (Cate Barrow) the cast was entwined in a battle of life, death, betrayal and the pursuit of the truth throughout the film.

Plot

“A guy wanted around town by various hit men hopes to stay alive long enough for his life insurance policy to kick in and pay out for his estranged daughter.” — IMDB

The film begins by diving directly into Nick Barrow’s heist-planning business. In Nick’s mind, there is a three-person process to getting a job done:

  1. “Bottom Feeders” find potential jobs that are handed to a “Designer.”
  2. A “Designer” – the role Nick plays – makes the criminal job doable. He plans the timeline, acquires any necessary access information and ensures that the job can be carried out as smoothly as possible.
  3. The “Buyer” essentially purchases the job from a Designer and executes the plan. The Buyers are considered the risk-takers of the operation, but they also stand to make the most money if the job is a success.

Through Nick’s interior monologue, we learn that he has a daughter, Cate, who he loves from afar. Nick believes he is protecting her from his business decisions by staying out of her life; and this theory remains mostly true until Nick’s latest job goes awry.

When the son of a cartel leader, Viktor, is killed by crooked detective, Joe Keanan, Nick’s life is placed into immediate danger. Viktor begins to pursue Nick, believing that it was he who orchestrated his son’s death following a heist.

With a cartel lord hot on his tail, Nick decides to make sure Cate would be taken care of in the event that Viktor catches up to him. Nick files for a term life insurance policy with Cate’s name listed as the sole beneficiary. Unfortunately, it is this same term life insurance policy that exposes Cate’s existence to Nick’s enemies.

The pace of the movie kicks into high gear as Nick races to keep himself and his estranged daughter out of the hands of all who threaten their lives, including Viktor, Detective Keanan and an array of other burgeoning adversaries.

Spoiler Alert: The End

By the end of Term Life, Nick and Cate are able to work through the 16 lost years between them, ultimately leading Cate to save her father’s life by striking a deal with those who originally sought to kill them.

It is in the last ten minutes of the film that Nick receives a “better payout” than he would have received from his term life insurance policy: He gets to keep his life, spend more time with his daughter and his name is cleared of all charges framing him for two murders he did not commit.

Final Thoughts

While Term Life may not win an Oscar in February, the film does highlight the lengths a father will go to protect his child, such as investing in a term life insurance policy to ensure his daughter is financially taken care of once his questionable career has caught up with him.

To learn more about how you can financially protect your family from a life-ending event, read our official Term Life Insurance page.

 

Term Life Insurance products offered through TMFS Insurance Agency LLC, a separate company, affiliated with Financial Engines Advisors, L.L.C. (FEA), in states where licensed. TMFS Insurance Agency, LLC is under common ownership with FEA. Each entity is its own separate entity that provides services for its client independent from the other.

How to Lengthen Your Life


lengthen your lifeAlways wishing you had more hours in the day? Dreaming of retirement? People have been searching for the Fountain of Youth since the beginning of time. While there is no time machine or magic spell to help us live forever, there are a few small ways to help lengthen your life. Not only will these tips help add to your longevity, but they can make your life more productive, happy, and full.

4 Ways to Help Lengthen Your Life

1. Quit Smoking

Smoking is not just bad for your lungs, it’s detrimental. It also affects your heart and all-around health. It’s so hard to quit, but taking the plunge could add about seven years to your life. It can also help lower your life insurance rates!

2. Meditate

High stress can contribute to the process of aging. Meditation is a proven technique to help reduce stress and teach you how to relax. 1A study at the University of California-Davis found people who regularly practice meditation have higher levels of telomerase. Telomerase is the enzyme responsible for lengthening the telomeres at the ends of your chromosomes, which affects aging. Meditation is a non-invasive way to help increase your longevity and make your life more enjoyable.

3. Get More Sleep

To stay mentally and physically healthy, you need at least 6-7 hours of sleep each night. Surprisingly, not getting enough sleep is worse for your life span than smoking, alcoholism, or obesity. Try cutting back on the caffeine and exercise a little during the day, which in turn may help you sleep better and earlier at night.

4. Try New Things

You could live longer if you try new things and stay active. Take up a new hobby, volunteer, or join a gym. You’re never too old to learn or do something new. You want to embrace every day you have.

For many, taking that first step towards a healthier life is the hardest part, but we believe in you! Get up and try one of these to help add years to your life!
The Guardian

Insurance products offered through TMFS Insurance Agency, LLC, an affiliate of The Mutual Fund Store, in states where licensed. TMFS Insurance Agency, LLC is under common ownership with The Mutual Fund Store. The Mutual Fund Store is a nationwide system of registered investment advisers, which include affiliated companies and independently owned and operated franchises. Individual Stores are SEC or state registered investment advisers. Each Store can offer investment advisory services to prospective and existing clients in the state where the Store is located, while a number of Stores may also offer advisory services in nearby or other states. The Mutual Fund Store and TMFS Insurance Agency, LLC are separate but affiliated companies. They are not responsible for each other’s services or policies. Each entity is its own separate entity that provides services for its client independent from the other. Prospects or clients may directly retain the services of The Mutual Fund Store or TMFS Insurance Agency, LLC.

What You Need to Know About Term Life Insurance and Depression


life insurance and depressionIf you have clinical depression, you might be concerned about qualifying for affordable term life insurance. But don’t worry, there are options for you to consider. Some insurers are open to offering policies to individuals with managed depression.

Life Insurance and Depression

Depression is a serious illness and one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, affecting close to 6.7 percent of the adult population. If you have a life-threatening condition, your insurance options might be limited. However, depression can be treated and managed, so some companies no longer consider it a high risk condition.

The Signs of Depression

Depression can vary from person to person, but some of the signs include:

  • Weight gain or loss

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Trouble sleeping, insomnia, or fatigue

  • Excessive guilt or worry

  • Lack of concentration

  • Feeling of hopelessness

If you have some of these symptoms and are concerned you may have depression, talk to your doctor. If you are worried about getting diagnosed and increasing your life insurance rate, put those worries behind you. Your number one priority should be seeking treatment and getting better.

If you are already diagnosed with depression, the insurer will want to know about past and present treatments, the success of these treatments, and whether or not you follow your doctor’s medical directions.

Choosing a Policy

Don’t try to hide your medical history. It is better to offer as much information as you can to show that you are taking your condition seriously.  An otherwise healthy person who has depression can certainly get insurance at a low rate. It varies case to case, so we always recommend talking to an insurance agent to see what will be best for you.

Got questions about term life insurance or what to do if you have a medical condition such as depression? Contact us today—we’re happy to help!

How Positive Thinking Can Prolong Your Life


positive thinkingA positive person typically is more happy, healthy and satisfied. They believe they can overcome any obstacle and difficulty and look on the bright side of all situations. To be a happy person you have to know how to adjust your attitude and be emotionally and mentally cheerful throughout the day. In turn, you may, in fact, live a happier, healthier and longer life. A 30-year study of 447 people at the Mayo Clinic found that optimists had a 50 percent lower risk of early death than pessimists. So how can you start embracing positive thinking and turn your negative thoughts around?

Positive Thinking Techniques

 

Surround yourself with positive people.

Positive and negative thinking are contagious! We are affected by those around us, so make sure you are not surrounding yourself with negative or toxic people.

Smile!

Just smiling can increase your mood. Don’t believe it? Check out this article that covers many studies on smiling alone.

Reroute negative thoughts.

Once a negative thought enters your mind, take notice of it and replace it with a positive thought. Over time you will eventually teach your mind to think positively, and to ignore negative thoughts without even having to replace them.

Try meditation.

Meditation is a wonderful way to calm the mind and eliminate unnecessary negative thoughts. It leads to increased mindfulness, purpose, and better health overall.

Count your blessings. 

Every morning make a list of five things you are grateful for in your life. Do this every day for a month and see how it makes you feel. It is guaranteed to help you start your day off on the right foot.

Watch what you say. 

Challenge yourself to go one week without complaining or criticizing anything, yourself, and anyone. You may instantly notice how much negativity you are thinking and spreading. Try it for at least two weeks to make it a habit.

De-stress.

One of the most common explanations for those who longer is less stress. Stress is known to trigger inflammation, which speeds up the aging process and leads to more health issues. Do what you can to de-stress whether it’s through meditation like mentioned above, picking up a hobby, exercising or practicing yoga.

These simple techniques can become some of the best habits you’ve ever adopted, and may even add years to your life. Pick at least one to try this week and start smiling!

Life Insurance for People with Health Problems


Life Insurance for People with Health ProblemsBuying life insurance is simple when you are healthy, which is one of the reasons we recommend starting a policy when you are a young adult. Life Insurance for people with health problems is possible, but it’s important you know everything there is to know about life insurance and your condition(s). Just because you have a health problem does not mean you will have a problem with life insurance. It simply means you might have to work a bit harder, or do more to prepare for the process in front of you, than others.

Factors that are considered for life insurance:

  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Financial Status
  • High-Risk Activities
  • Lifestyle
  • Health

Life insurance for people with health problems and a few major health issues: 

High Blood Pressure or Heart Disease

Heart disease or high blood pressure is a red flag, because the severity and progression of heart disease can be difficult to document and also difficult to insure. Talk to your doctor, get a pro involved, and figure out not only an action plan for your health but for your insurance.

Diabetes 

You can get life insurance if you have either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, and if your diabetes has been under control for for at least several months. Note that you can also get life insurance if you are insulin dependent. If your diabetes is not under control you still may be able to receive coverage with special options.

Asthma

The concern with the chronic condition of asthma relates to the severity of each person’s case and how well it is managed. For the most part, those with asthma just need to make sure they are doing what they can to treat their condition in order to receive a normal policy.

Obesity

Since obesity can lead to many other health concerns besides itself, this is a top concern for insurers. Those overweight face a higher risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, stroke, arthritis and more. If your policy requires a medical exam, your doctor will calculate your body mass index, or BMI, to determine your risk class.

Cancer

Just as each cancer case is unique, every insurance company will underwrite the disease differently. When you are diagnosed with cancer, each company will handle it differently depending on your situation. This is not a predictable disease,and can be difficult to plan around until you are able to learn more details of your situation.

Depression

Depression can drive up your life insurance rates. Since severe depression can lead to suicide or hospitalization, it is not rated favorably by some companies or insurable. If you have depression it is best to seek help that is documented and work to manage your disease.

Purchase Life Insurance While You Are Healthy

If there’s one insurance lesson that should be learned from those with health issues, it’s that it’s wise to purchase life insurance when you’re still healthy. This is the best preventative method to avoid costly rates after getting diagnosed with an illness, an injury, or simply aging. If you have a pre-existing condition and would like to learn how you can save money on life insurance, a chat with a life insurance agent may be just the solution you need to help plan for your future.

In some cases, before you purchase a life insurance policy, you have to undergo a life insurance health exam.  In this case, being healthy can make a huge difference in price. Be sure to check out our tips on having a successful life insurance health exam.

If you have any questions about your health or life insurance rates, we are happy to help. Contact us today for any questions or a free life insurance quote!

Grad School and Life Insurance


grad school and life insruanceAre you in grad school? Most likely life insurance is far from your mind or to-do list. We understand you’re mostly worried about paying your bills, your job, and school work. Some students don’t know that grad school and life insurance go hand in hand and could save you from trouble in the long run.

While grad school can be a great next step to boost your career, the only problem with it is that it’s so expensive. If you have to take out student loans, you are not alone. Almost all students have to take out loans at some point, and may not ever consider ways they can help protect the financial security of their loved ones if the responsibility of the loan were to ever transfer over.

Grad School and Life Insurance For Different Stages

1. Did you have a co-signer? If you’re single and need a co-signer for your student loans, that debt would likely fall to your co-signer if you were to die

2. Are you married? If you are married, your loans are now potentially the responsibility of your spouse. If you were to pass, they would take on your debt.

3. Do you have children?  If you have children, life insurance is a must. The payoff to your beneficiary is part of your the long-term commitment to pay a mortgage, their tuition, and the loss of your income if you are working.

4. Are you single? Even though you are young and single, and no one else would be left with your debt if you were to pass, you may still consider life insurance. When you are young and healthy life insurance is the most affordable. You can lock in on a plan before you get older and get married, and your rates may stay low.

What Happens to Student Loan Debt When You Die?

Sudden death is something no one wants to have to think about, but it’s important to be prepared for the worst.  Evaluate the types of loans you have or need to get and what happens to them after you pass. You should always know what would happen to your debt if you were to die, whether you’re married with financial dependents or single. If the student doesn’t get any loans consigned, there is no need for insurance to protect his family. If you have Federal student loans and pass away, the loans are automatically discharged. But private loans are a different story and policy goes case by case.

The point of insurance is to protect people that possibly depend on you. In the case of a student, it’s to protect your family and cosigners from the burden of your consigned debt. In addition, it’s also cheaper to start younger in life than to wait later.

Have you considered taking out insurance to protect your family from your debt? Contact us today for any questions and a free quote!

High Risk Sports and Life Insurance


MAUI, HI - JANUARY 16 2016: Professional surfer Francisco PorcelDon’t worry thrill seekers, most likely your sport or adventures lifestyle won’t cause you problems when purchasing life insurance. But, there are a few hobbies or careers in particular that may have you running into bumps when you start researching life insurance policies. High-risk sports and life insurance don’t always go together, but with the right insurance partnership, you will find a plan that meets your needs.

High- Risk Sports That May Increase your Life Insurance Policy

1. Base Jumping

Base-jumping is illegal in the U.S. unless it’s being performed by a professional at an event. But, if you are traveling and are a base jumper or even a performer it may still be hard to get covered.

2. Ice Climbing

Ice climbers are in constant danger of causing a self-inflicted stab wound from one of their razor-sharp crampons, as well as the risks that come with regular mountain climbing. Ice climbing is a highly dangerous hobby or career. If you are one that spends a good amount of time pursuing the adventures of an ice climber you may have trouble getting insured.

3. Surfing

By surfing, we are talking about the dangerous big wave surfing, the ones that masters travel around the world to catch. Riding 50-foot waves for a career can make it hard for you to be insured. Big wave surfing can lead to drowning, broken bones, and more; making for a high risk policy, indeed. 

4. Cliff Diving

There is an old cliche, that it’s not the fall that hurts but the landing. The most dangerous part of diving so high into water is the landing. If you hit the water the wrong way, or rocks below you could seriously injure your spine, hip, collar bone, or worse.

5.Street Luge

Did you know riders on luge can reach up to 70 miles per hour? Think how dangerous it is just to be in a car going that fast. Now remove several thousand pounds of protective steel and air bags and imagine the potential for fatal injury.

So how do you get the best rates, without giving up your sport?

1. If you are a professional or serious about your sport, take safety training and certification courses. Training from a credible professional company may reduce your life insurance rate and make your sport more credible. You can also purchase highly-rated safety equipment to see if that helps lower your premium. It couldn’t hurt and may even save your life!

2. If you only engage in a dangerous sport every so often make sure this is clear to your insurer.

3. Shop around policies to find one that fits your lifestyle. Even the biggest thrill seekers have term life insurance options.

There is a difference between being a thrill seeker and taking unnecessary risks. Even those who like living on the edge should talk to a professional about term life insurance.  Contact us today and we’d be happy to help with your insurance policy needs.

How to Lower Blood Pressure and Add Years to Your Life


According to Prevention.com, a Harvard study found that high blood pressure (hypertension) plays a contributing role in more than 15% of deaths in the United States. High blood pressure increases the risks of heart attack and stroke, as well as aneurysms, cognitive decline, and kidney failure.

People with hypertension often need several medications to control blood pressure. Luckily a good amount of people that have high blood pressure can get healthy without medication; the key is to understanding how to lower your blood pressure to get the results you need.

How to Lower Blood Your Pressure Naturally

1. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Even dropping just a few pounds can have a substantial impact on your blood pressure. Excess weight makes your heart work harder and over time, could lead to hypertension. If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight may be enough to get your blood pressure under control so this should be the first step to take.

2. Exercise

The American Heart Association recommends at least 150-minutes of moderate activity each week. To achieve this, you should aim to exercise 30 minutes at least five days a week. Taking brisk walks is an excellent way to meet your fitness goal.

3. Keep Calm and Breathe

According to Men’s Health, men who express their anger outwardly are two times as likely to have a stroke than those who remain calm and control their tempers.  It is important to learn how to control emotions. A few ways to relax and keep calm are meditation, yoga, and breathing. Taking a few slow, deep breaths can help relieve tension.

4. Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking may help you lower your blood pressure levels 5 to 10 points. Smoking is overall bad for your health and depletes protective vitamins and minerals in your body. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, which raises blood pressure. If you have not seen your doctor in the last two years, it’s important to set up an appointment to have a physical and get your blood pressure checked. You want to be able to live a long happy and healthy life without any sudden health surprises.

For many, taking that first step and doing something is always the hardest part. Get up and try one of these tips to start lowering your blood pressure. Because everything in the world of insurance is measured by risk, you may be in a position to get better rates in the future by simply walking, breathing or doing one of our other tips each day.

4 Financial Tips for Newlyweds to Start Before “I Do”


With June being the biggest wedding month of the year we thought it would be appropriate to discuss all the big financial to-dos that come with planning the big day. Open communication is the key to a happy marriage, as well as healthy finances. You’ll want to take the most significant step with your soon to be spouse, and that is talking about everything from savings to debt to your future. Once you know where you both stand and where you want to go, you can start moving forward!

Check out these four financial tips for newlyweds:

1. Set a Budget 

Make sure you are on the same page about how much you are spending and saving. Are you going to be sharing a bank account or keeping your money separate? You will also want to evaluate the debt you each have and set up a plan in your monthly budget on how that will be paid off and who will be responsible for payments. Even if you intend to keep your finances somewhat separate, it can be helpful to have a joint checking account so you both have access to a pool of money somewhere else.

2. Figure out Benefits

Decide if both of you should be on one person’s medical or dental insurance plan through work if one of you is insured or if you should stay on your own individual plans. Also, make sure you are both taking advantage of your company’s retirement plans and other benefits for spouses.

3. Set up an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund can help ensure that you have enough money readily available in case something happens to one of you, such as losing your job. This could be three months to a year of your salary, depending on how secure your job is and how much income you earn.

4. Have Protection Through Life Insurance

Someone else is now relying on you and your income, so it’s important that you are both insured. Ensure that you have the proper amounts of life insurance so that if you were to pass, your spouse would be able to carry on financially. This is even more important if you have children.

It can be a stressful task to think about all these to-dos while you are planning a wedding, but it is critical in the long run. Once completed, all of these steps will help you smoothly move forward financially and peacefully with your new partner.