How Much Life Insurance Do I Need?

How much will your people need in the event something happens to you? Ladder’s Calculator helps you assess your life insurance needs.

A Simple Guide to Our Handy Calculator

The Gist

Determining how much life insurance coverage you need depends on your current savings compared with your present and future liabilities. The Ladder Calculator helps you figure it out.

Life insurance needs are inversely correlated with savings. When you estimate your life insurance needs, they can be offset by your existing savings.

Choosing your coverage depends on a number of factors:

Debt.
Would you like your family to be able to pay off a mortgage? Do you also have credit card payments, car loans, student loans or any other debts that might become too onerous if your income isn’t available to pay them off? If you have debt, it can be helpful to have enough life insurance to cover it—either in part or in full.

Children.
Is your child’s college education something you plan to pay for? If so, consider the current annual tuition, in today’s costs, for the kind of college you envision your child attending. The calculator estimates what your expenses will be by the time each child is old enough to enroll. (College costs grow each year, typically at rates much higher than inflation.) Our calculation is based on your inputs for each child’s age, your estimate for the annual tuition per child, and a tuition growth rate of 7% per year.

Living Expenses.
Would you like your family to maintain its current lifestyle? That includes both the fun (entertainment, vacations, shopping) and the mundane (childcare, utilities, medical and dental, gas, groceries). Looking at your current budget, credit card bills, and bank statements will help determine what you spend each year. If some of these expenses will be covered by the income of other members of your household, adjust your estimate accordingly. Living Expenses do not need to include the cost of a mortgage or debt, if you plan to pay those off with the life insurance coverage. Similarly, don’t include here the cost of saving for college, if you have that in the children’s section above.

Additional Coverage
Are there other expenses that are not captured in the sections above? Perhaps you want to send your children to private high schools, or you have aging parents who rely on your financial help. You can add an estimate for these needs in the Calculator where it suggests you “Add additional coverage.”

Savings and Existing Life Insurance.
Have you been a careful saver all your life? Do you have investments such as a 401(k)? What other life insurance do you already have? These assets already cover part of your needs. Our calculator subtracts these existing assets from the expenses you determined above.  

Head on over to our Calculator to get started now.