Do You Need Life Insurance?

How Much Do You Know About Life Insurance? 
Of the 35 million American households without life insurance, 11 million include children under age 18, according to LIMRA, an insurance industry research organization.

That’s strange, because providing for one’s children after one’s death is considered a classic use of life insurance. It’s a situation that may be the result of misunderstanding how life insurance works. Think you know a lot about life insurance? Try our quiz to see if you’re right.

1. What is life insurance used for?

(a) Providing for a loved one financially after your death.
(b) Estate planning.
(c) Both of the above.

2. What percentage of consumers say most people need life insurance?

(a) 95%
(b) 85%
(c) 62%

3. What percentage of consumers say they have life insurance?

(a) 84%
(b) 62%
(c) 51%

4. What percentage of Americans who have life insurance don’t think they have enough?

(a) 90%
(b) 50%
(c) 40%

5. Which is not a type of life insurance?

(a) Term life
(b) Whole life
(c) Partial life

The percentage of American households with individual life insurance has hit a 50-year low, thanks in part to high unemployment and confusion over products. But life insurance is an important part of your overall financial plan and shouldn’t be overlooked. Your insurance agent can help you determine if you need a policy, and if so, which type of coverage and how much you need for your individual circumstances and goals.

(Answers: 1c, 2b, 3b, 4c, 5c.)  

How to Change Those Red Lights to Green 

LightsEver wish you could cut your bike commute? Hey…that would be magic. But who needs magic? Veloloop, the latest in bike gadgetry, may do just that.

Invented by an avid cyclist who was sick of getting stuck in traffic, Veloloop is a metal ring that attaches to your bike and claims to turn red lights green.

Today’s roads have electronic sensor systems buried under the surface to keep cars from waiting too long at red lights. These sensors detect the presence of iron (in steel) in vehicles and maintain traffic flow by keeping cars moving. But bikes? Not so much, as they don’t contain sufficient metal.

According to an article in The Atlantic’s, Veloloop uses a patented circuit, detects when you reach an intersection, triggers the sensor…and, best of all, let’s you know it’s done.

Is it the answer? At press time, the cyclist/inventor was still seeking funding. But ask any frustrated cyclist whether the idea of turning red lights green is a good one; chances are the answer will be a resounding yes. It bodes well for Veloloop.

March’s Smile: Laughter in the Headlines 
HeadlinesWe all know headlines can invite you into an article or put you off reading it. But double up with laughter? More often than you might think. Take these examples…Please!

“Bugs flying around with wings are flying bugs”

“Threat disrupts plans to meet about threats”

“Bridges help people cross rivers”

“Bill would make it illegal to break rules” 

Then there are the “ironics,” like:

“Missippi’s (sic) literacy program shows improvement,” and “Dam road sign keeps disappearing”

And last, but certainly not least, there’s this effort: “Total lunar eclipse will be broadcast live on Northwoods Public Radio”…Huh?

Are You One of 4 Million Facing Health Tax Penalties? 
Most Americans had until March 31, 2014, to begin the enrollment process in health coverage under the Affordable Care Act of 2012. To help ensure consumers would take the need to purchase health care seriously, the Act set out tax penalties.

Tax preparer H&R Block estimates the majority who remain uninsured after the deadline will qualify for penalty waivers. However, you may be one of the four million uninsured the company believes won’t qualify for a waiver and will face a tax penalty this year.


What is the penalty for going without insurance? Penalties start small but increase each year. The penalty for tax year 2014 is 1% of adjusted gross income (AGI) or $95 per adult and $47.50 per uninsured child, whichever is higher. In 2015, the penalty increases to $325 per adult or 1% of AGI and $162.50 per child. And in 2016 it will rise to 2.5% of AGI or $695 per adult, with an additional $347.50 per child. High wage earners face additional tax implications.


Exceptions to penalties may apply if you missed the open enrollment deadline. Triggering events such as a job loss or a divorce may allow you to enroll after the open enrollment period. In addition, if you qualify for Medicaid in your state, you can enroll at any time.

To avoid tax penalties, and to have peace of mind concerning your health, talk to your insurance agent. Healthcare coverage may prove to be more affordable than you think.