On My Own

Taking care of yourself includes taking time to stop and review your insurance and savings.

You may be used to making financial decisions on your own, or perhaps you're finding yourself making all of them for the first time. Whether you're new or a pro, it's easier to take charge of those decisions when you have the right financial plan in place.

When no one is there to catch you, reinforce your financial safety net.

Whether you need savings and insurance just for yourself or are a single parent who provides financial security for your children, take some time to review your insurance and savings needs. Familiarize yourself with what's covered and where you might need to change your strategy. Meet people who are tailoring their planning to take control.

Single Person Divorced Parent Widow
  • Deena

    Single with a full-time job

    Age: 37

    Yearly household income: $50,000

    Preparing for the future Deena is used to making financial decisions on her own. But with a recent friend's passing, she began to think about how her parents and siblings would be affected if something were to happen to her. The last thing she would want is for them to struggle to take care of her funeral costs and other expenses. So she purchased term life insurance. She likes how her monthly payment is affordable and flexible by allowing her to convert her policy into a permanent policy should her needs change down the road.

    Protecting financial health Deena takes great pride in the fact that she supports herself. That's why she needs to prepare if she finds herself with an unexpected loss of income - like critical illness or an accident. Purchasing supplemental health insurance allows her to guard against financial surprise. She may be able to use the payout funds to help cover what her major medical health plan might not cover, like rent, utilities, ambulance transportation and deductible. She'll retain her financial independence while working to get back on her feet.

    Working toward a comfortable retirement Deena loves her job. So much, in fact, that she hadn't even begun to think about retirement until recently. She's knows it's up to her to create a plan that can help her continue to live comfortably in the future. By opening an IRA, Deena can add to it monthly for maximum growth potential, realize its tax advantages and select an investment strategy with a risk level she's comfortable with.

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  • Joanie

    Divorced working mom of two

    Age: 40, 11, 4

    Yearly household income: $45,000

    Preparing for the future Now that Joanie is divorced, she wants to protect the financial stability of her children if something were to happen to her. She wants to know that they'll have enough money for college and other expenses. To plan for the unexpected, she chose a term life insurance policy. It helps protect her family's financial future with money than can be used toward the children's care and future ambitions if she is no longer around. With affordable monthly payments, she can support her kids both now and in the unpredictable future.

    Protecting financial health Joanie needs to change her thinking about how she'd make her rent and cover the family's day-to-day needs if something were to happen to her health. Adding supplemental health insurance helps her prepare for extra out-of-pocket expenses like ambulance transportation or specialized physical therapy her employer's group health insurance may not cover. Plus, to help minimize her financial risk, it may even help cover nonmedical living expenses like the mortgage, car payment or groceries.

    Working toward a comfortable retirement Being on your own offers a certain freedom to make choices for your retirement. But as Joanie is learning, it also means she's responsible to make sure she has a sound retirement strategy in place. So Joanie uses mutual funds for their flexible earning potential and because she has multiple savings goals.

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  • Andrew Baker

    Widowed working father of three

    Age: 40, 12, 6, 3 months

    Yearly household income: $75,000

    Preparing for the future Andrew and his wife didn't have a life insurance policy before her unexpected passing. Now he takes care of his three kids on his own and needs to plan in case something were to happen to him as well. He chose a term life policy that will provide money toward his children's care and future ambitions, like college. His payments are low and predictable so he can continue to budget for his family.

    Protecting financial health With his wife's passing, Andrew doesn't want to take any chances with his financial future. If he were unable to work, and therefore had a lapse in income, his family would sink into debt. Fast. So he chose disability insurance - a type of supplemental health insurance that will pay him directly for everyday living expenses if injury or illnesses cause him to be unable to work. That way, he can afford the basics like groceries, gas and bills and keep his ship afloat.

    Working toward a comfortable retirement Andrew can barely think about the heating and cooling bill next month, let alone retirement. He needs to stick to a strict monthly budget, but he knows he needs to be saving for retirement now to avoid problems later. He's decided to use an annuity as an additional source of income for his retirement years. He reviewed the different types available and selected one that allows his money to earn a fixed income rate and provide a steady source of income so he can continue to support his family after retirement.

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Here are some things to consider in this stage of your life.

Creating a solid financial strategy is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. By learning about your options, you can create a plan that suits your needs and your budget.

  • Protect family with life insurance
  • Consider supplemental health insurance
  • Explore IRA options
  • How can you protect the finances of your loved ones?

    Debt and funeral costs can make a trying time even more difficult for those left behind. Have you taken steps to safeguard your loved ones' finances in the event something happens to you?

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  • The cost of funerals has risen 21% over the past decade

    Source: www.nfda.org

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  • Life insurance helps you avoid being a financial burden

    1. 1. Your beneficiaries receive money to help cover the costs of your final expenses, like funeral and memorial services.
    2. 2. The money can also be used to help pay off your debts.
    3. 3. Choose term coverage with lower premiums or permanent coverage to last a lifetime.

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  • Make a lasting contribution to your community or your favorite charity as a final act of giving. Consider how much you'd want to leave behind when you select a life insurance policy. With easy planning now, you can help support your favorite charities in the future.

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  • Can you afford to miss work if you are critically ill or injured?

    You have health insurance, but it doesn't cover everything. And it certainly doesn't cover costs to pay for daily life if you're in a severe accident. Do you have a prescription for your financial health?

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  • Supplemental health insurance can help fill coverage gaps such as co-pays, deductibles and nonmedical care (e.g. transportation and nonmedical housing).

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  • Supplemental health insurance can give you peace of mind

    1. 1. Examine your current health insurance to determine what gaps might need to be filled.
    2. 2. Determine whether you would need supplemental income to pay for daily living if you were unable to work due to injury or critical illness.
    3. 3. Consider what you can afford in monthly premiums.

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  • Can you afford supplemental health insurance?

    Payments can start as low as $20 per month. Adding more coverage would increase your payments, but it can also be a simple way to help keep you and your family financially secure.

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  • Will your finances be ready for retirement when you are?

    Hard work deserves to be rewarded. Whether retirement is right around the corner or decades away, your money needs to get its job done too. What growth opportunities are you giving your savings?

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  • Your lifestyle may change during retirement, but you'll still have to cover expenses. An individual retirement account (IRA) may help provide the income you need to meet your goals.

    Target Retirement Income

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  • IRA fundamentals

    1. 1. A tax-advantaged way to save for retirement.
    2. 2. You can choose the investments in your account, like mutual funds, stocks or bonds, based on your risk tolerance.
    3. 3. Restrictions on withdrawal time frames encourage use as a retirement funding plan.

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  • Start now to get ahead

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Things To Think About

Five Reasons to Start Saving Now
1. Getting started is the hardest part. Momentum works for your finances just like anything else. If you "pay yourself first" by moving the money out of your checking account right away, you could be surprised by how little you miss it.

2. It will make you happy. Working toward your financial goals is a gift to yourself. Enjoy it! You're looking out for your future, taking care of your family, and making your money work harder for you. That's a great feeling.

3. You'll have more time to think through your options. Starting now will give you as much time as possible to test out your plan and change tactics if you need to. If you aren't ready to take action just yet, take a bit of time to read up on the possibilities (like which college savings accounts may provide you with more tax advantages) so you can move ahead with confidence when the time is right.

4. Compound interest is a force to be reckoned with. If your goal involves putting money aside make compound interest work for you. The longer your money sits in an interest-bearing account, the more money it will earn you.

5. Life happens faster than you expect. Start saving now, while you're thinking about it. Start small if you want to. Now is the perfect time to make sure you don't miss any opportunities to grow your money.

Making a Savings Plan You Can Stick To
Whether you're trying to get out of debt, save for retirement or accomplish any other financial goal, you need a plan. Making a plan you can stick to takes several steps:

1. Know where you are now. Before you do anything else, make a quick list of all your goals. This is also a good time to start tracking your spending and make a list of any debts you might have.

2. Prioritize your goals. Think about which of your goals are most important to you and which are the most urgent. Fund the most important first.

3. Break up big goals into smaller ones. Dividing up a huge goal gives you more victories to celebrate and also makes the goal feel more real.

4. Keep it realistic. It's better to meet a good goal than fall short of a great one. If you do a thorough job on the first two steps above, you'll have all the information you need to create workable, realistic goals.

5. Be open-minded. If you don't have enough money to meet your goals, you'll need to tweak your plan further. You might need to change some of your money habits or adjust your goals, or both.

6. Examine and readjust. Once you've put your plan in motion, keep an eye on it to make sure it runs smoothly. It's good to revisit your goals a couple times a year - to tweak them or just inspire yourself.

How to Track Your Expenses
Follow three simple steps:

1. Every time you get money or spend it, document where, what, when and how much. (Free online tracking tools: Mint, Yodlee, Wesabe or iXpensit app for iPhones.)

2. Write out a list of categories for your spending. You can include whatever categories make sense to you. (For example, some people might have groceries, dining out, work lunches and snacks. Others might just have food.)

3. After a few weeks, add up how much you spent in each category. Take note of any expenses that happen repeatedly, and start to plan for them so you aren't taken by surprise.

How to Stop Living Paycheck to Paycheck
1. Change your mind. Living paycheck to paycheck is basically a countdown to zero. Build an emergency fund so that getting close to zero will feel uncomfortable.

2. Start an emergency fund and add to it regularly. This will be the cushion that floats you through hard times, unexpected problems and other money troubles. If you take it slow, you could very well find that you hardly miss the money. Over time, you can increase the amount you put into your emergency fund.

3. Pare down your expenses. Take some time to track your spending, so you know exactly where your money goes. You might find that making a few simple changes can free up a small chunk of money each month, which you can add to your cushion.

4. Increase your income. Sell things on eBay or Craigslist. Volunteer for overtime. Pick up a part-time job. Ask for a raise. Whatever it takes to pad your checking account, do it.

The Ins and Outs of Emergency Funds
Emergencies happen. There's no way to predict them and often no way to avoid them, so you might as well plan for them. An emergency fund is a great way to do that.

How Much Should I Save?
The ultimate goal for your fund depends a lot on your circumstances. If you've been living paycheck to paycheck or are in debt, start with a goal to build up $1,000 as your emergency fund. Eventually you'll want to keep three to six months of expenses in your fund - more if you have children, are the sole breadwinner or are self-employed.

Why Not Just Rely on Credit Cards?
Credit cards can be truly helpful in an emergency - there's no denying it. But if you need to use them, you'll probably end up paying interest. With an emergency fund, you'll earn interest.

Where Should I Keep It?
Accessing the money in your emergency fund needs to be quick, easy and free. One great option is to have a high-yield savings account linked to your checking account. Transfers tend to be fast, and you'll still earn interest. For larger emergency funds, you might try a money market fund or a mutual fund (preferably a lower-risk type, like a bond fund).

Life insurance issued by Allstate Life Insurance Company, Home Office, Northbrook, IL; Lincoln Benefits Life Insurance Company, Lincoln, NE. In New York, Allstate Life Insurance Company of New York, Hauppauge, NY.

Please note that Allstate Life Insurance Company or its agents and representatives cannot give legal or tax advice. The brief discussion of taxes on this page may not be complete or current. The laws and regulations are complex and subject to change. For complete details consult your attorney or tax advisor.

Securities offered by Personal Financial Representatives through Allstate Financial Services, LLC (LSA Securities in LA and PA). Registered Broker-Dealer. Member FINRA, SIPC. Main Office: 2920 South 84th Street, Lincoln, NE 68506. (877) 525-5727.

You should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of mutual funds before purchasing shares or investing money. Additional information about these and other subjects can be found in the mutual fund prospectus. To obtain a prospectus, please contact your Allstate Personal Financial Representative. Please read the prospectus carefully before purchasing shares or sending money.

Any annuity payment is dependent on the ability of the issuer to pay its claims. An annuity may impose charges (including but not limited to surrender charges, mortality and expense risk charges, administrative fees, underlying fund expenses and feature charges) that can reduce the value of your account and the return on your investment.

You should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of 529 college savings plans before purchasing or investing money. Additional information about these and other subjects can be found in the Plan Description. You may obtain copies of the Plan Description from your Allstate Personal Financial Representative. Please read the Plan Description carefully before purchasing or sending money.

Investors should consider whether the investor's or designated beneficiary's home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available with an investment in the home state's plan.

An investment in a money market fund is not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation or any other government agency. Although the fund seeks to preserve the value of your investment at $1.00 per share, it is possible to lose money by investing in the fund.

Bond investments are subject to interest rate risk such that when interest rates rise, the price of bond fund shares can decrease and the investor can lose principal value.

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