Calculate Your Needs

When purchasing life insurance, the question really isn’t how much you need, but how much capital your family will need at the time of your death, which depends on two variables:

1)    How much will be needed at death to meet immediate obligations?

This amount takes into account all final expenses: uncovered medical bills, funeral and estate-settling costs, outstanding debts, mortgage balance and college costs to name a few.

2)    How much future income is needed to sustain the household?

This is the number you’ll arrive at after calculating the “present value” of cash-flow streams your family will need after your death.

Please be sure to enter a value in all fields to process the analysis. If a field is not used, please enter 0.

Note: only numeric values will be accepted. Do not use special characters such as $ or commas.

Estimate your family's expenses in case of your death 1
?Typically the greater of $15,000 or 4% of your estate. This would include uncovered medical costs, funeral expenses, and final estate settlement costs. Note: If your estate is over $1,500,000 your final expenses may be much higher due to federal and state estate or inheritance taxes.
?Mortgage payment fund: Whether or not your survivors would use life insurance proceeds to pay off the mortgage right away, creating a fund to cover mortgage payments makes sense.
?College funding: Total projected college costs (tuition plus all other costs such as room and board, books, etc.), less current funds in the child’s name. The tuition amount being used is for the average 4-year education and is provided by The College Board, which is $158,072 for private institutions and $71,440 for public institutions.
Total annual income your family would need if you died today 2
?Total amount your family needs, before taxes, to maintain their current standard of living, typically 60%-75% of total income. Families with higher incomes typically fall into the lower end of that range.
?Includes bank accounts, money market accounts, mutual funds, CDs, bonds, stocks and other assets.
?Includes 401(k), Keoghs, pension and profit sharing plans.
?Includes individual policies, group term coverage available through work, and any other life insurance on your life payable to your family or for the benefit of your family. Do not include accidental death insurance or “double indemnity” insurance.
Assuming your spouse would work following your death 3
?Marginal tax rate: This is the rate of tax you are paying on your highest dollars of income. For instance, in 2013 a married taxpayer earning $50,000 has a Marginal Tax Rate of 15%. That’s because earned income between $72,500 and $146,400 gets taxed at 25%. The lowest Marginal Tax Rate is 10% and applies to couples who earn less than $17,850. The highest Marginal Tax Rate is 39.6% for dollars earned in excess of $450,000.
Extras 4
Analysis 5

Your need for life insurance:

Should you die, the financial impact on your dependents is the loss of your income as well as the immediate expenses associated with your death. The death benefit offered through life insurance serves as replacement income for a period of time to help your family build a more financially secure future.


Lump Sum Needs at Death:

  Final expenses: $
  Outstanding debts: + $
  Mortgage: + $
  College funding: + $
  Total lump sum needs: = $

Income Needs:

  Annual income to be provided: $
  Number of years to provide income:
  Estimated inflation rate: %
  After-tax net investment yield: %

Calculation & Results:

  Present value of income needs*: $
  Lump sum needs: + $
    = $
  Less current investment capital: - $
  Less existing life insurance: - $
  Less present value of spouse’s income*: - $
  Your need for additional life insurance: = $
question What's next? Learn about your options. Once you know how much you need, see what options are available to suit your situation.

This life insurance needs calculator is available as an app too!