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Should I Keep My Life Insurance Policy After Retirement?

7 March 2019

According to Petrie Marx, Product Actuary for Sanlam Individual Life, there’s a misconception in the market that life insurance is no longer necessary when you retire. We asked him to provide more insight into this important topic.

1. As a retiree living off my retirement savings, do I still need life insurance?

Life insurance can offer valuable protection in many instances. For example, if you still hold some debt as you move into retirement, life insurance can cover this in the event of your death. Additionally, with some funeral protection in place, you won’t burden your family with funeral costs.

Life insurance is also useful for retired couples who are earning a so-called ‘fixed pension’. The value of this type of policy may decrease when one spouse dies – and life cover can be used to supplement the living spouse’s loss of income.

And, of course, life insurance can also add immense value to the financial legacy that you leave for your loved ones.

2. When is it prudent to keep life insurance after retirement?

If you have an extended family structure that spans multiple generations, you may still have dependants during your retirement. You can make provision for these loved ones after you’re gone by maintaining your life insurance.

Alternatively, you may also want to prepare for the possibility that you’ll need ongoing care later in your retirement should you suffer from a severe illness, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. This is best provided for in our market by keeping your dread disease and severe illness cover in place.

3. Can life insurance help with estate planning?

Life insurance is an important tool in estate planning — and this is a key reason why many maintain their policies into retirement. While it’s good to appoint beneficiaries for your life insurance, you could also have some life cover for which you don’t appoint a beneficiary. This portion of funds can be used to create liquidity in your estate to pay the necessary duties and taxes. This way, your estate can be wrapped up quickly and your loved ones won’t need to sell assets to cover these costs.

4. Can I restructure my life insurance to suit the retirement life stage?

Yes, absolutely – many of the products available today are very flexible. You may, for example, want to cancel your disability insurance, as you won’t be earning income from an occupation; or consider reducing your annual automated cover escalations.

Ultimately, it’s best to speak to a financial adviser who can guide you through this process and make sure that you have sufficient life cover in place, with premiums that are affordable during this life stage.

Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
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