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Understanding the Basics
The best way to make an informed decision about buying Life Insurance is to become familiar with the basics.

Why do I need Life Insurance?
Life Insurance is an essential part of financial planning. One reason most people buy Life Insurance is to replace income that would be lost with the death of a wage earner. The cash provided by Life Insurance also can help ensure that your dependents are not burdened with significant debt when you die. Life Insurance proceeds could mean your dependents won't have to sell assets to pay outstanding bills or taxes. An important feature of Life Insurance is there is no federal income tax on proceeds paid to beneficiaries.

How much Life Insurance do I need?
Before buying Life Insurance, you should assemble personal financial information and review your family's needs. There are a number of factors to consider when determining how much protection you should have. These include:

  1. any immediate needs at the time of death, such as final illness expenses, burial costs and estate taxes.
  2. funds for a readjustment period, to finance a move or to provide time for family members to find a job.
  3. ongoing financial needs, such as monthly bills and expenses, day care costs, college tuition or retirement.

Although there is no substitute for a careful evaluation of the amount of coverage needed to meet your needs, one rule of thumb is to buy Life Insurance that is equal to five to seven times your annual gross income.