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Savvy Senior: There are several reasons to keep life insurance in retirement

Savvy Senior Jim Miller explains reasons you may, or my not, need life insurance in your senior years.
By Jim Miller, For The Oklahoman Published: August 18, 2014
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Dear Savvy Senior: Is life insurance needed in retirement? I’m about to retire and have been thinking about dropping my policy to escape the premiums. Is this a good idea?

— Over Insured

Dear Over: While many retirees choose to stop paying their life insurance premiums when they no longer have young families to take care of, there are a few reasons you may still want to keep your policy. Here are some different points to consider that can help you determine if you still need life insurance in retirement.

Dependents

Life insurance is designed to help protect your spouse and children from poverty in the case of your untimely death. But if your children are grown and are on their own, and you have sufficient financial resources to cover you and your spouse’s retirement costs, then there is little need to continue to have life insurance.

But if you had a child late in life or have a relative with special needs who is dependent on you for income, it makes sense to keep paying the premiums on your policy.

You also need to make sure your spouse’s retirement income will not take a significant hit when you die. Check out the conditions of your pension or annuity (if you have them) to see if they stop paying when you die, and factor in your lost Social Security income too. If you find that your spouse will lose a significant portion of income upon your death, you may want to keep the policy to help make up the difference.

Work

Will you need to take another job in retirement to earn income? Since life insurance helps replace lost income to your family when you die, you may want to keep your policy if your spouse or other family members are relying on that income. If, however, you have very little income from your retirement job, then there’s probably no need to continue with the policy.

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