Whole Life Insurance: An Excellent Investment Everyone Tells You Not to Buy
Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
If you ask most financial advisers about cash value life insurance, this is what you will hear: Buy term and invest the difference. For many people, this makes perfect sense, but most people buy term and spend the difference.
If you buy term and spend the rest, you will have nothing to show for it-no cash value and no ability to keep the policy in force because of the significant premium increases as you age. That’s why most term policies expire prior to the death of the policyholder.
I don’t sell insurance and have no interest in any entity that does. However, I do believe the right kind of cash value (also called “whole life”) insurance policy could be a worthy addition to your portfolio.
Let me give you an example:
If you are twenty-nine years old, in excellent health, and a nonsmoker, you could purchase a cash value policy for a premium of $17,000 a year, for twenty years. The policy would have a death benefit of $1.2 million.
After the first year, the cash value of this policy would be more than $15,000. After five years, the cash value would exceed the premiums you paid up to that point ($85,000). After twenty years, the policy would be fully paid up, and you would not have to pay any additional premiums to keep the policy in force.
You don’t have to die to benefit from this policy. You could take out the cash value of the policy, up to the amount of the premiums paid, tax-free (although these withdrawals will reduce the amount of the death benefit). If you hold the policy until death, the death benefit will be paid to your beneficiaries tax-free.
The after-tax return of this policy is illustrated to be 5.5 percent, which is significantly greater than what you are likely to earn on your own after-tax by investing in bonds. By holding this policy, you can consider more aggressive investments for the balance of your portfolio.
The stark reality is that most Americans in their fifties have not accumulated anything close to the cash value of this policy. For those people, having access to this fund during their life, and providing for their beneficiaries upon their death, would be a huge improvement over the dire circumstances they are confronting.
Here’s the problem:
Your insurance agent is unlikely to present you with the optimal policy that will maximize your cash value. What you should look for is a blended insurance policy, which means it combines whole life and term life into a single policy. A blended policy should result in higher cash values immediately, and higher death benefits at life expectancy, because of lower sales costs. Blended policies are sold by many excellent, highly rated insurance companies, including Northwestern Mutual, Guardian, New York Life, and Mass Mutual.
“Lower sales costs” means lower commissions. Insurance agents are motivated to sell you traditional, higher-commission policies.
If you are considering insurance where the annual premium will be $10,000 or more, you should retain the services of a fee-only insurance consultant. They give unbiased advice and agree to act as your fiduciary (meaning they have no conflicts of interest and look out solely for you). In most states, an insurance agent has no fiduciary obligation to you.
Learn about the other side of the story with term life insurance from Linda Rey at the Equifax Personal Finance Blog.
Dan Solin is a Senior Vice-President of Index Funds Advisors. He is the author of the New York Times best sellers The Smartest Investment Book You’ll Ever Read, The Smartest 401(k) Book You’ll Ever Read, and The Smartest Retirement Book You’ll Ever Read. . His latest book is Timeless Investment Advice.
Watch Dan on YouTube.
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.