A:

There are many factors to consider when calculating life insurance. Some of those factors include marital status, dependents, earnings of each spouse and how much time they have left to work. With life insurance, you want to avoid a situation where the insured is either under-insured or over-insured. Under-insuring means that there will not be enough money left over for loved ones and over-insurance is a waste of money in the unlikely event of a death.

Most insurance companies say that a rule of thumb for life insurance is six to 10 times the amount of annual salary. Another way of calculating the amount of life insurance needed is to multiply annual salary with the number of years left until retirement. For example, if a 40 year old man currently makes $20,000 a year, under this approach, the man will need $500,000 (25 years * $20,000) in life insurance. Many life insurance companies and advisory firms offer free life insurance calculators for customers to use to figure out what amount is the right amount for them.

Regardless of the source of the estimate, life insurance must be enough to replace the earnings of the deceased. In other words, the amount of life insurance taken out should be enough to replace the earnings gap that will be left behind when the breadwinner is gone and any additional expenses that might be incurred (estate tax preparation fees, etc).

To learn more, read Bundle Your Insurance For Big Savings.

This question was answered by Chizoba Morah.

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