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Retirement Planning Begins with Income Protection

With all of the news coverage about retirement – how much people are saving for it, how much they will need for it and the odds they will run out of money in it – it is not surprising that LIMRA research shows Americans’ top financial concern is having enough money for a comfortable retirement.

Setting a plan to save for retirement income is an important goal for everyone. But what happens when something happens that upsets that plan? What if the family breadwinner becomes disabled and is unable to work? What are the immediate and long-term consequences to the family if the primary wage earner dies unexpectedly?

As we all know, life insurance ownership has been trending downward for many years. These historic lows are disturbing, especially at a time when people say they seek financial security.  With disposable income at a 30-year low, American families must make difficult decisions in order to determine their financial priorities. Unfortunately, in this environment, protecting the family income often gets put on hold.  

LIMRA research tells us that 70 percent of families could not last a month without the breadwinner’s salary. If a primary wage earner died suddenly, those families would face financial jeopardy within a few months.

And yet, a full third of consumers believe they do not have enough life insurance. Only 7 percent of consumers say they are very likely or extremely likely to purchase life insurance in the next year.

Life insurance is the one product that can help families keep a roof over their heads and provide for basic living expenses, while allowing time for the families to recover and heal from the loss of their loved one. LIMRA’s research shows that people do not fully understand the risks they take by not having life insurance.

Many Americans worry about saving enough money for retirement. We need to help people see how life insurance can help them have a secure retirement.

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM). This year marks the 10th anniversary of LIAM, which is an effort to raise awareness among consumers and producers about the need for life insurance. LIAM is sponsored by the nonprofit LIFE Foundation and more than 100 of the nation’s leading insurance companies and industry groups, including LIMRA. During this month, we target our efforts on making sure Americans understand the vital importance of life insurance as part of their financial plans.

Sales representatives and advisors can take advantage of this awareness campaign to reach out to customers and their families to make sure they are protected against the risk of dying too young, living too long or becoming disabled. Our research has shown that families who work with advisors consistently report they are more confident about the future than those who don’t work with advisors. Consumers are rightly concerned about what their retirement will look like. The advisor’s role is to help them see the whole picture.


Robert A. Kerzner, CLU, ChFC, is president and chief executive officer of LIMRA, LOMA and their parent organization, LL Global. He leads the world’s largest association of life insurance and financial services companies, providing their members with research, training and development, consulting, assessment, compliance, and other benefits and services. Contact him at [email protected].

Clients Need Help Shifting Their Retirement Thinking [email protected].

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