You can't watch television or read a newspaper without being reminded of the uncertain times we're in. Disappearing jobs, disturbing stock market losses -- we don't need to tell you, it's rough out there. This has made retirement planning more complicated than ever.

From October 2007 to last December, the market lost nearly $3 trillion in retirement savings.* Many who were counting on their 401(k)s don't even read their account statements anymore. But other factors have muddied the waters for mapping a course toward retirement.

People are living longer. An American born in 1955 was expected to live to age 69, on average. Forty years later, life expectancy was 76.** This is good news; but, we need to prepare for more years of retirement. And, if you thought Social Security would take care of you, think again. Last year, the maximum monthly benefit was $2,185*** -- not enough for many of you to live comfortably.

While there are no easy solutions, the purchase of a life insurance policy can guarantee**** the protection of your loved ones and additionally supplement your retirement savings,***** if the death benefit is no longer needed.

Life insurance's primary purpose is to provide guaranteed death benefit protection, which can provide a tax-free legacy to your loved ones. But, permanent life also carries many living benefits. Cash value is money that accumulates within the policy, tax deferred. This means you do not pay taxes on any of the accumulation within the policy. In addition, you can access that money tax free though policy loans.****** These same funds can also be used for college expenses, as collateral for a small business loan, or any other happily anticipated or unexpected event. In addition to the death benefit protection provided by life insurance, it can also be used to supplement your retirement income. As such, it can be a vital piece of the complex puzzle of retirement planning.

This educational third-party article is being provided as a courtesy by Christian Misa. For additional information on the information or topic(s) discussed, please contact Christian Misa at (201) 291-5759.

Urban Institute, Fact Sheet on Retirement Policy, "How Is the Recession Affecting Older Workers?" Dec. 2009, Richard W. Johnson, www.retirementPolicy.org 

** Voice of America, "U.S. Life Expectancy Hits New High," Sept. 17, 2007.

*** Fast Facts and Figures About Social Security, 2008, SSA Publication No. 13-11785. Released Aug. 2008, page 2.

**** Guarantees backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuer.

***** Loans against your policy accrue interest and decrease the death benefit and cash value by the amount of the outstanding loan and interest; withdrawals reduce the available death benefit.

****** If your life insurance policy is paid up and your need for a death benefit decreases.

Neither New York Life, nor its agents, provides tax, legal or accounting advice. Please consult your own tax legal or accounting professional before making any decisions.