The variables used in our online calculator are defined in detail below, including how to interpret the results.
In this first section of the calculator, you'll be asked to input some of your basic living expenses such as mortgages, rent, and childcare.
If you're a homeowner, this calculator provides you with two options. The first is to include your monthly mortgage payment and have that monthly amount included for the years of coverage you'll be entering later on. Alternatively, you can use your life insurance proceeds to pay off the outstanding balance on your mortgage later on; in that case enter zero here. If you decide to include your monthly mortgage payment, just make sure the years covered does not exceed the years remaining on your mortgage. Also do not include your property taxes in this value; you can include that later in the Other Basic Expenses.
If you are presently renting a home or an apartment, then enter the amount of your rent here.
Your monthly living expenses would include food, clothing, home repairs, and entertainment expenses.
This is the monthly expense associated with childcare. Again, pay careful attention to the number of years of basic coverage later on when entering this value. For example, your life insurance needs should not include 20 years of childcare coverage.
This monthly insurance expense includes medical insurance, car insurance, homeowner's and long term care insurance.
Other basic expenses could include costs such as property taxes or tuition to grammar schools and high schools.
This is the number of years you want to cover basic expenses. We've talked about some things you'd want to consider earlier. For example, you will not have child care expenses for 20 years, or you may decide to go back to work after children have left the home.
In this next section, you'll be asked a series of questions dealing with some of the significant future expenses you might encounter.
This is the number of children that is used to calculate the total college expenses in the following line item.
This is the annual amount of college tuition paid for each child identified above.
If you're planning on contributing to a child's wedding expenses, then enter that amount here: the total for both children.
Typical funeral expenses.
If you're planning on providing eldercare for your parents, then enter that amount here.
This is the number of years of eldercare that you want to provide.
In this next section of the calculator, you'll be asked a series of questions dealing with any outstanding loans and/or debt.
This is the balance you typically carry on a credit card. This is not the amount you charge each month, rather the balance you'd like to pay off using insurance proceeds.
If you have a car loan and want to pay off the loan, then enter that amount here.
If you have a home equity loan and want to pay it off, then enter the loan balance of remaining principal here.
If you have a personal loan, or even an outstanding student loan, then enter the outstanding balance on each loan here.
If you'd like to pay off your mortgage using your life insurance proceeds, then enter the amount of remaining principal on that mortgage here.
In this final section of calculator inputs, you'll be asked a series of questions concerning your existing assets and savings.
This is the total value of money you have in an employer savings plan.
This is the equity you have in your home. Enter that amount if you are planning on selling your home or borrowing against its value.
This includes cash, savings accounts with banks and other financial institutions, stocks, bonds, and personal accounts.
If you have life insurance coverage with your employer, then enter that amount here.
This is where you'd enter the amount of any existing life insurance you have; allowing this calculator to figure out if an insurance gap exists.
This is the total of all the monthly basic living expenses entered earlier converted to an annual expense.
This is the annual living expenses multiplied by the basic years of coverage entered earlier.
This is the total of all the significant future expense you'd want covered by life insurance.
This is the total outstanding debt to be paid off using life insurance.
This is the total of all expenses and debt to be covered by life insurance or the assets mentioned earlier.
This is the total of all assets you've identified earlier that could be used to either pay off existing debt or cover your monthly expenses.
This is the total amount of any additional life insurance you'd need to pay the expenses or financial obligations you've identified within this calculator.