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The Changing Role of Life Insurance After Age 50

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Lou: Lots of things have changed in people’s lifestyle today. People are getting married later. They’re entering into that first job later. They are buying homes later and so on. With that in mind, how is the role of life insurance changing as you see it now for people that are entering into their 50’s and 60’s?

Walt: Right, right. Well I think it definitely is changing and I think in two major ways. First of all, traditionally when people reached their 50’s or 60’s, they didn’t think much about life insurance or the need for it. You know, the kids were gone. They were educated, out of the home. Maybe their mortgage was paid off or close to being paid off. Maybe they didn’t have aging parents that they were still helping so there weren’t really many needs to protect that income. And as we’ve talked about all these new pressures on pre-retirees now, they’re still working and many on relying on that income in their continuing working years and they need to protect that. So, the whole use of life insurance for income protection purposes has re-emerged for people at a later age. And the second change in how people are viewing life insurance today is that with longevity, many of these people will be individuals who will outlive their assets. That’s the whole challenge of longevity. And as a result of that, may pass away without any assets and the last thing people want to do is to be a burden on their heirs for paying not only for their burial but for other expenses that they leave behind. So there’s another role that’s coming to the forefront now is to have a small amount of permanent life insurance when you die for what’s called in the industry final expense purposes.