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If you are age 50 and older, there are many financial opportunities in front of you. You’re likely in your peak earning years and also have less debt. The kids are finally out of the house and paying off the mortgage is within your grasp.

Are you taking advantage of this stage in your life?

If you’re 50 years old…

The year in which you turn 50 years old is the year in which you can start making “catch-up” contributions to your retirement plans.

  • For anyone eligible to make a Traditional or Roth IRA contribution, the annual limit increases from $5,500 to $6,500.
  • Contribution limits for certain employer-sponsored plans increase. The salary deferral limit for 401(k)s and 403(b)s increases from $18,500 to $24,500 for 2018. Anyone participating in a SIMPLE IRA can defer an additional $3,000 of salary, increasing the annual salary deferral limit from $12,500 to $15,500.

But what happens if you die prematurely before you’re able to play catch-up with your retirement accounts? What are you leaving your loved ones? Will your surviving spouse have to dip into their retirement accounts early and be faced with a tax penalty? Life insurance that lasts at least 20 years purchased at or around age 50 is a tremendously important financial instrument to ensure the success of your loved ones’ financial plans—even if you are no longer around.

» Compare: Term life insurance quotes

If you find yourself needing more life insurance coverage, term life insurance is also still quite affordable at age 50. Below is a table showing the estimated costs for a 20-year $250,000 term life insurance policy for a 50-year-old non-smoking male in excellent health. Your costs may be different depending on your risk factors.

Life Insurance CompanyEstimated Monthly Premium
Banner Life$40.85
Haven Life$41.42
Pacific Life$41.44
Protective$41.50
Principal$41.96
AIG$42.73
Prudential$45.50
United of Omaha$46.16
SBLI$51.68
John Hancock$54.39
Lincoln Financial$65.84

If you’re 55 years old…

The year in which you turn 55 years old is the year in which you can start making “catch-up” contributions to your Health Savings Account (HSA) through work. For single individuals, annual contribution limits increase from $3,500 to $4,500. For families, the limit increases from $6,900 to $7,900.

Typically, if you withdraw from your retirement plan before age 59 ½, you’ll be subject to a 10% early distribution penalty. However, if you work for the government or public safety and leave service at or after age 55, you can take advantage of penalty-free distributions from qualified plans, such as a 401(k).

Buying term life insurance at age 55 is not uncommon. Maybe you want to plan ahead for final expenses or medical bills so you don’t leave behind debt for your loved ones to pay. The monthly costs of a term life insurance plan will probably still be less than your cell phone or cable bill.

Below is a table showing the estimated costs for a 20-year $250,000 term life insurance policy for a 55-year-old non-smoking male in excellent health. Your costs may be different depending on your risk factors.

Life Insurance CompanyEstimated Monthly Premium
Banner Life$63.43
Protective$63.64
Pacific Life$64.05
Haven Life$64.33
Principal$65.32
AIG$66.30
Prudential$71.53
United of Omaha$72.84
SBLI$83.27
John Hancock$86.94
Lincoln Financial$100.84

If you’re 59 ½ years old…

Once you’re 59 ½ you can begin accessing retirement accounts without the 10% tax penalty. These accounts include IRAs, 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit sharing plans, other qualified plans, and non-qualified annuities. However, just because you can access them, doesn’t mean you should.

Americans are living longer these days. If you access your retirement accounts before you’re even officially retired, will you have enough money to fall back on when you’re 90 years old? Don’t touch your savings accounts until you actually need to.

If you think you need some extra life insurance, but haven’t purchased any yet, now is the time to do so. Once you turn 60, life insurance costs are going to start increasing pretty dramatically with each year that passes.

Below is a table showing the estimated costs for a 20-year $250,000 term life insurance policy for a 59-year-old non-smoking male in excellent health. Your costs may be different depending on your risk factors.

Life Insurance CompanyEstimated Monthly Premium
Banner Life$99.11
Protective$99.12
Pacific Life$99.39
Haven Life$99.95
Principal$100.01
AIG$102.63
Prudential$114.41
United of Omaha$114.41
John Hancock$118.82
SBLI$131.23
Lincoln Financial$168.11

If you’re 60 years old…

For those whom have lost a spouse, age 60 is when you can become eligible to collect a Social Security survivor’s benefit. Note: This is assuming the surviving spouse did not remarry.

Collecting survivor’s benefits prior to full retirement age will cause the benefit to be reduced. Once you reach age 62, if your individual SS benefits are higher than your survivor benefits, you can switch, but you cannot collect both. It’s advisable to work with a financial planner to determine the best claiming strategy for your situation.

At age 60, term life insurance is still something to consider. It can provide a death benefit for your spouse to retire on if you pass away before saving enough for a comfortable retirement or to help bridge that gap of the loss of Social Security benefits.

Below is a table showing the estimated costs for a 20-year $250,000 term life insurance policy for a 60-year-old non-smoking male in excellent health. Your costs may be different depending on your risk factors.

Life Insurance CompanyEstimated Monthly Premium
Principal$109.81
Haven Life$111.00
Banner Life$111.13
Pacific Life$111.14
Protective$111.59
AIG$114.74
Prudential$128.84
John Hancock$130.39
United of Omaha$130.59
SBLI$147.70
Lincoln Financial$190.53

Life insurance that lasts at least 20 years purchased at or around age 50 is a tremendously important financial instrument to ensure the success of your loved ones’ financial plans—even if you are no longer around.

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If you’re 62 years old…

The month following your 62nd birthday is when you first become eligible to collect Social Security benefits. However, unless you’re disabled, these benefits will only be about 75% of the full retirement age benefit.

Life insurance companies have a maximum age in which they allow someone to be eligible for certain term lengths. If applying for over 15 years of coverage, age 60 is a common maximum age for life insurance companies, such as SBLI. You’ll see they have been removed from the table below.

This table illustrates the estimated costs for a 20-year $250,000 term life insurance policy for a 62-year-old non-smoking male in excellent health. Your costs may be different depending on your risk factors.

Life Insurance CompanyEstimated Monthly Premium
Haven Life$141.41
Banner Life$142.82
Pacific Life$142.83
Principal$143.52
Protective$145.99
AIG$146.75
John Hancock$160.54
Prudential$165.38
United of Omaha$167.56
Lincoln Financial$200.05

If you’re 65 years old…

The month in which you turn 65 is the month you can become eligible for Medicare. Anyone not collecting SS benefits should enroll in Part A three months prior to your 65th birthday to avoid a gap in health insurance coverage.

Unless you’re covered by an employer-sponsored health plan, you must also enroll in Medicare Part B to avoid future penalties. If you’re still working, check with your employer’s plan to see how it integrates with Medicare and whether or not you’re eligible to opt-out of Part B.

» Calculate: Life insurance needs calculator

At age 65, a 20-year term plan is most likely unnecessary. If you would like coverage, try quotes for a 10 or 15-year term plan. Below is a table showing the estimated costs for 10-year and 15-year $250,000 term life insurance policies for a 65-year-old non-smoking male in excellent health. Your costs may be different depending on your risk factors.

Life Insurance CompanyEstimated Monthly Premium

10-Year Term

Estimated Monthly Premium

15-Year Term

Pacific Life$104.13$141.10
Protective$105.35$143.41
Principal$106.97$143.06
John Hancock$107.84$149.17
SBLI$109.10$151.84
Haven Life$109.54$140.99
Banner Life$109.65$140.61
AIG$115.61$157.78
Prudential$116.38$153.56
United of Omaha$121.41$173.47
Lincoln Financial$144.16$196.00

If you’re 66 years old…

Congratulations! You’ve finally reached the full retirement age for Social Security benefits. If you have not yet collected a retirement or disability benefit, you are eligible to collect your full retirement benefit. But take note! Your monthly benefit increases for every month you wait beyond your full retirement age (until age 70) at a rate of 8% per year. So, if you can wait until age 68, for example, your monthly benefit will be 16% higher than if you claimed it at age 66.

Now, waiting isn’t right for everyone. You need to consider your (and your spouse’s) health and life expectancy. By waiting to claim benefits, you can increase the Social Security benefit you receive later in life and increase your long-term financial security. On the other hand, if you or your spouse are in poor health, you may worry that if you wait to claim benefits, you won’t live long enough to get much back from Social Security.

If you need life insurance at this stage, term life insurance may still be an option. Below is a table showing the estimated costs for 10-year and 15-year $250,000 term life insurance policies for a 66-year-old non-smoking male in excellent health. Your costs may be different depending on your risk factors.

Life Insurance CompanyEstimated Monthly Premium

10-Year Term

Estimated Monthly Premium

15-Year Term

Pacific Life$116.33$158.41
Protective$117.82$162.54
Principal$119.94$166.29
SBLI$122.15N/A
John Hancock$124.09$174.24
Banner Life$125.11$158.40
AIG$125.12$174.64
Prudential$129.06$171.50
United of Omaha$134.53$196.88
Lincoln Financial$159.64$205.63

However, depending on your health, a final expense life insurance policy, also referred to as a guaranteed whole life insurance policy, may be something to consider instead. With final expense insurance, you’re guaranteed coverage no matter your health status. After living 60+ years, it’s no surprise that medical conditions may have creeped in.

» Compare: Guaranteed whole life insurance quotes

If you’re still relatively healthy, there are term policies available for you. However, if you have battled any serious medical conditions such as cancer or a heart condition in the past, and are worried about leaving behind debt to your loved ones, then consider looking into a final expense policy.

Remember, term life insurance quotes are free to run on Quotacy and there is no penalty for applying. It doesn’t hurt to apply for term life insurance, then opt for final expense life insurance if you end up being declined. The more options you have, the better decision you can make.

» Learn more: What Is Final Expense Life Insurance?

About the writer

Headshot of Natasha Cornelius, a life insurance writer, for Quotacy, Inc.

Natasha Cornelius

Writer, Editor, and Co-host of Quotacy's Q&A Fridays

Natasha is the content manager and editor for Quotacy. She has been in the life insurance industry since 2010 and has been making life insurance easier to understand with her writing since 2014. When not at work, she's probably studying and working toward her Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation while throwing a tennis ball for her pitbull mix, Emmett, or curled up on her couch watching Netflix. If it’s football season, the Packers game will be on. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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