8 rules of thumb on saving and retirement

Buy life insurance for the unexpected
9 of 10

The rule: You should have at least five times your gross salary in life insurance coverage.

Why it works: The rule gives breadwinners a good guideline for how much money their families will need to meet their day-to-day costs and adjust financially to life without them, says Baughman.

Grain of salt: If you're the major or sole breadwinner in your household, and you don't believe your spouse's earnings could ever replace your salary in the event of your death, you may need to get more coverage to avoid leaving your family in need of money in the long run, says Baughman. In that case, he suggests multiplying your salary by a factor of 10 to arrive at how much life insurance you need.




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