5 New Year’s resolutions you can achieve with life insurance

Colin Lalley 1600


Colin Lalley

Colin Lalley

Insurance Expert

Colin Lalley is the Associate Director of SEO Content at Policygenius in New York City. His writing on insurance and personal finance has appeared on Betterment, Inc, Credit Sesame, and the Council for Disability Awareness.

Published January 3, 2017|7 min read

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It’s that time again. You need to figure out what your New Year’s resolutions will be.You know the classics: Losing weight, saving money, not being a horrible person. And they’re classics for a reason. A recent survey by Marist College shows that a lot of the resolutions topping the list for 2017 are the same as they’ve always been.And buying life insurance can help you reach them.

Don’t believe me? Here’s how buying life insurance can help you achieve five of the top New Year’s resolutions for 2017.

Be a better person

There are lots of ways you can decide to be a better person. You can be nicer, you can donate to charity, you can be more patient with your children, you can stop watching The Bachelor.Or, you can buy life insurance.Life insurance helps protect your family by making sure all of their financial needs – housing, college, everyday costs – are secured. There’s no "what if" when it comes to paying for a mortgage once you’re gone, no wondering how your spouse will reach retirement goals without your income to contribute.It also helps protect your family against inheriting your debt. Some debt, especially if a family member is a co-signer on it, will follow your family even if you’re not around. The last thing they’ll want is debt collectors calling nonstop. Student loans, credit card debt, auto loan payments – they can all be handled with a life insurance death benefit.Looking beyond your family, did you know you can also donate your death benefit to a charity of your choice? Setting up a charity (or museum, or school, or anything else) as your beneficiary ensures that your legacy will live on for years to come, allowing people you’ve never even met to continue enjoying education, culture, and the arts.Not a bad way to become a better person, right?

Get healthier

The Marist survey has a broad "Improve health" resolution, but there are many other more specific resolutions that fall into the same bucket: lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier, stop smoking.Not only will these resolutions allow you to look and feel better, they’ll also make your life insurance more affordable.Your monthly life insurance premiums are tied strongly to your health when you apply. During the underwriting process, a life insurance carrier will classify you based on how risky you are to insure. To do this, you’ll likely undergo a simple medical exam, similar to a physical, and traits like your cholesterol and blood pressure will be measured. Proper exercise and diet can get those numbers into a sweet zone of affordable coverage.

Your weight also affects how much you’ll pay for life insurance. Obesity is linked to conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, so the more overweight you are, the riskier you’ll appear to carriers. That translates into higher premiums. You can still get insured, but it’ll cost you.A habit of smoking can also raise your rates. Again, this is because smoking is linked to problems that make you more likely to die over the term of your life insurance policy, so you’re a riskier prospect for carriers. Current smokers can look to pay up to double the cost in terms of their monthly premiums. Staying tobacco-free for a year can get you back down to more affordable non-smoking rates.If you need that extra boost of motivation to achieve any of your health-related resolutions, think about what it can do to your budget as well as your waistline. Healthier living and life insurance go hand in hand.

Spend less and save more

Financially-related resolutions are common, and you better believe that life insurance plays a role. Most often people start with something simple, like setting a budget or saving more – which is great! – but you shouldn’t stop there. It’s a good foundation for better money habits as a whole, and life insurance can be part of that foundation, too.When you buy life insurance, you’re thinking years – decades – down the line. Buying a 30-year term policy means you’re getting a big picture view of your life and your finances, which is a great way to think about money. Think about mutual fund investments: If you checked your investments every day, you’d go crazy seeing the ups and downs of the markets. If you think about the long term, though, and know that you’ll average 8% returns over the next 20 years, a little dip today doesn’t mean anything to you. You need to think about the future when it comes to your money, and you’re doing that with life insurance.Life insurance also forces you to think about your money in a more holistic way. The best way to calculate your life insurance need is to think about all of the expenses, debts, and financial plans you have. You need to know how much coverage will ensure that all of your financial obligations are taken care of for your family; that might mean scrutinizing your credit card debt more closely, finally looking into savings plans for college, or seriously tackling your student loans. By thinking about life insurance, you’re thinking about every aspect of your financial plan and you’ve just supercharged your financial resolution."Spend less and save more" is a nice resolution, but it’s only one part of your financial plan. If you want a home run resolution – one that’s an affordable way to fill any holes in your financial safety net – consider transforming it into "buy life insurance."

Increase family time

You presumably want to spend more time with your family because you care about them. Well, life insurance is the ultimate way to show that you care about your family.How so? Think about it: If you enjoy spending time with your family, you’re getting something out of that increased family time, too. It’s truly selfless to think about what will happen to your family if you’re not there to benefit from them. Life insurance allows you to do that. You’re considering the worst case scenario – what their future looks like if you’re gone. Do you still want them to be able to afford to live in the home where you made memories? Do you want your children to be able to go to college and make you proud, even if you’re not there to see it?Of course you do.Increasing time with your family shows how much you care about them here and now, on a day-by-day basis, and you should absolutely strive to achieve this resolution. But for a resolution that looks a little further down the road and has the same goal at its center – showing your family you care about them – add life insurance to the list.

Enjoy life

How are you going to enjoy life more in 2017? Will you be less negative? Will you pick up a new hobby? Will performing the above resolutions do the trick?One thing you might try is reducing the stress in your life. Do you know what can help you do that?That’s right. Life insurance.No one knows that the future will hold, so there’s no point in worrying about every little thing that can go wrong. The best we can do is, as they say, plan for the worst and hope for the best. While you’re investing, saving, and building your financial safety net, wouldn’t it be nice to know that if you die before you finish investing, saving, and building your financial safety net, your family is still taken care of?Buying life insurance takes the stress of an unknown financial future off your shoulders. That way you can focus on what really matters – making other plans for the future and spending more time in the present – instead of always worrying about "what if...".New Year’s resolutions are a way to start fresh and achieve new goals. Even if we don’t reach all of them, it’s worth putting in the effort to see how we can better ourselves. Buying life insurance isn’t just a good goal for you. It’s a good goal for your family and their future, too. So add it to your list this year and see how many other resolutions it can help you cross off in 2017.