With 2010 in the rear-view mirror, it’s time to celebrate a new year ahead with hope and optimism. And when the confetti settles, it will be time for the annual ritual of New Year’s resolutions. Approximately 45 percent of Americans make at least one resolution each year; however, very few are successful at keeping them. Wikipedia estimates 52 percent of resolution makers are confident they will meet their goals, yet only 12 percent do.
So, in the spirit of this American tradition, we’ve put together a list of common New Year’s resolutions and their direct effect on helping you save money on term life insurance.
1. Get in Shape / Lose Weight
P90X. Zumba. Richard Simmons. So many choices, so little time. Getting in shape and losing weight are arguably the most popular of all resolutions. And it may also be one of the hardest. Many people simply set their goals at an unrealistic level, setting themselves up for inevitable failure. Small and obtainable goals are the keys to keeping this resolution. Instead of trying to lose 15 pounds, it may be more effective to set a goal of working out three times a week for 30 minutes.
How This Will Help – Life insurance companies assign rating classes to applicants based on a number of factors, including… You guessed it, your height/weight, or build. The guidelines they use are fairly rigid, and even a slight change of 1 or 2 pounds can put you into a better (or worse) rating class. A better rating class means a lower premium and more money in your pocket. Money you can use to buy new clothes to fit your new figure!
Getting in shape will also benefit you in other ways. For example, you may see improvements in your blood pressure or cholesterol. Both of these health factors are used by life insurance companies when evaluating your application for coverage. Improve them, and you have a good chance of improving your rating class and saving money.
2. Quit Smoking
Another popular resolution, quitting smoking often proves difficult for most people. Success and failure are relatively black and white, with very little room for small or moral victories. However, win at this one, and the benefits can exceed those of virtually all other resolutions.
How This Will Help – Accomplishing this goal has the most potential for saving on your term life insurance policy of any other resolution you can make. Tobacco and nicotine users pay considerably more for their term life insurance. A healthy non-tobacco user can pay as little as $240 per year for coverage (male, age 37, $500,000 coverage / 10 years). A tobacco user will pay $980 for the same policy. So it’s easy to see the potential savings by making and keeping this resolution!
3. Travel More
Americans love to travel. Yet, the slow economy of the past few years has kept many Americans at home. However, that trend seems to be reversing. Consumer optimism and a mildly improving economy have led to an increase in travelers. An estimated 3.1 percent more people will travel this holiday season alone.
How This Will Help – Travelling itself will not help you save money on your term life insurance. But traveling wisely can help keep you from paying more for your coverage. Life insurance companies do inquire about foreign travel plans and will use that information when evaluating your application for coverage. A handful of states do not allow this practice, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, and Washington.
One way you can protect yourself from paying more for term life insurance because of your foreign travel plans is to check the U.S. State Department’s Travel Warnings List. If your destination is on this list, chances are good you will pay more for your coverage or perhaps be declined for a policy altogether.
So when you’ve sung the last chorus of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ and you’ve said your final goodbye to 2010, remember to make those resolutions for the new year and keep ’em. Then, you can take advantage of your new health/figure/lungs/jet-setting self and save some money on term life insurance!