Life insurance has become this excruciatingly difficult topic for most people. It’s not fun to think about, it’s not fun to talk about. And, it’s not fun to buy. It’s a financial product that you purchase that provides a lump sum of money to your family (or to anyone you wish) if you die while the policy is in force (meaning, all the premiums due are paid). Think of it as a savings that you don’t have in your bank account, but are paying for on a monthly basis that is guaranteed to be there if your family needs it. It’s sort of an “emergency” savings. The emergency being your death. Not a pleasant thought.
For some life insurance contracts, the insurance company builds an equity (cash) reserve against that death benefit, reducing the risk to the insurance company and giving you the value of that death benefit in cash over the life of the contract. These are considered “permanent life insurance” contracts. Until you decide to take the money, it just sits there on account with the insurance company. Other life insurance contracts, called term insurance policies, provide just the death benefit, and no access to any of the money you’re putting towards the policy.
OK, so far so good. With any luck, you understand what I just wrote. If you’ve “been around the block before”, you’ve probably also heard some of what I just wrote.
Now for the stuff you probably haven’t heard before. Because the next question that arises is:
OK, so what kind of life insurance should I buy?
This question is always funny to me because it’s like asking “what should I buy for transportation-a bicycle or a car?” If we assume that term insurance is more like a bike and permanent insurance is more like a car, I’m sure you’ll see how the answer to this question really depends on what you need or want the life insurance for. Most everyone living today needs a car if they plan on doing any kind of long distance driving. But, some people, who never plan on ever doing any long distance driving, never buy a car. And, they don’t need one.
The “bicycle approach” to buying life insurance is simple and cheap, but limited in what it can do. It will get you from point “A” to point “B” as long as point “B” isn’t too far away from point “A.”
The “car approach” to buying life insurance requires an initially higher cash outlay and is a little more complex in what you need to look for. But, if it’s a well designed policy, it’ll take you to from “A” to “B” and even all the way to “Z.” Unlike a car, though, you’ll always get back more than what you put into it if you hold the contract to maturity.
If you’re out and about on the Internet, you might have noticed that there are just a few articles about life insurance…and a few more on what kind of insurance you should be buying. Don’t worry, I’ve noticed it too.
However, I’ve also noticed a few misleading statements that keep cropping in these articles, so I thought I’d spend some time clearing up some of the confusion. Most of the misinformation in the industry centers around permanent life insurance, so I think I’ll end up focusing mostly on that aspect of things in this article. OK, so here we go…
Misleading statement #1:
Cash value life insurance is one of the worst financial products available, and it is definitely the worst type of insurance you can buy to insure your life. The BEST kind of insurance is term insurance because it’s cheap and I’m not paying all those extra fees to the evil and greedy insurance company. Besides, don’t insurance companies have a record of being reckless, cheating their policyholders, and systematically going out of business.
Fact: Oh boy. Let’s be very careful when we use terms like “the best”. There is no way to answer this question rationally when it’s posed like that. The best always implies “for whom, and for what purpose?”.
For example, term insurance can be the best type of insurance if you think you only need a policy for 20 years to cover your mortgage and all you are considering is the cost of pure insurance. You’re only paying for the pure insurance coverage, which translates into those dirt cheap premiums you see advertised on T.V. and plastered all over the web.
A term policy is also great when you just can’t afford very much in the way of premiums, but still want to insure your financial responsibilities right now. While annual renewable term carries the lowest out of pocket premiums, at least initially, those premiums rise higher than all other policy structures. A level term policy inflates the cost of insurance, similar to a permanent policy, but by doing this up front, it holds down the cost of insurance in the later years of the term policy which effectively levels out the premiums for a specified period (the term of the policy). The cost of the death benefit still rises, but the premium stays the same for the duration of the term.
Statistically speaking, term insurance doesn’t pay out very well. The industry estimates that less than one percent of all term insurance policies ever pay a claim. Insurance agents sell a lot of term insurance by “selling the fear.” You could die tomorrow, and then what? That’s the summary of a life insurance sale’s pitch. It’s the idea that you have uncovered financial liabilities and unprotected moral responsibilities (i.e. children) that you need to insure right now in the event that you die unexpectedly.
That’s exactly how life insurance agents sell a lot of life insurance policies to customers. Get them thinking that they could wrap their car around a telephone pole on the way to work. Nice huh?
The reality is, insurance companies aren’t stupid. If premature death was that prevalent, there wouldn’t be a life insurance industry. Insurance uses something called the Law of Large Numbers. Basically this is how it works: the larger the group of people you are insuring, the more certain you can be about the number of losses you will sustain.
For example, if we were to start an insurance company and we only had one customer, we would be taking on an incredible risk because of the nature of life insurance. If that one person dies, we could be out of business very quickly (imagine that one customer giving you $20 for a $250,000 death benefit and then dying the very next day). If, however, we have a million customers, then we can better control the risks we are taking by insuring other people’s lives. No one can predict when an individual will die, but if we study a large enough group of people, we can make surprisingly accurate predictions about the number of individuals within that group that will die in any given year.
To further illustrate this principle, consider this: A 40 year old male who is a non-smoker may live to be 100 years old. But he may also be hit by a drunk driver tomorrow – it is impossible to know exactly how his life will play out. However, if we sample 100,000 40 year old non-smokers, we can study how many of them will die due to car accidents, how many will die of “natural causes”, and so on. We may develop a statistic that tells us that every year roughly 300 40 year old non smokers will die. We won’t know before hand exactly who those 300 people will be (obviously), but we can make a very accurate prediction that 300 people will die. We can, in turn, use this information to create and price life insurance policies accordingly.
It is no accident that term insurance is the cheapest form of life insurance. Remember there is no such thing as a free lunch. The reason premiums are so low is going to be for one of two reasons: the insurance company expects you to lapse your policy before they have to pay a claim, or, you simply outlive the term of the policy and they raise the premiums high enough to the point where you can no longer afford to pay for the coverage.
Now, that’s not to say that term is a ripoff. It isn’t. You are paying for coverage and you’re getting it. The insurance company is taking a very low risk, and collecting a lot of money from people buying term insurance without the fear of ever having to pay out very many death claims.
In response to the argument that “insurance companies have a record of being reckless, cheating their policyholders, and systematically going out of business”, this is simply a case of mistaken identity. In his book Money, Bank Credit, & Economic Cycles, economist Jesús Huerta de Soto writes that:
The institution of life insurance has gradually and spontaneously taken shape in the market over the last two hundred years. It is based on a series of technical, actuarial, financial and juridical principles of business behavior which have enabled it to perform its mission perfectly and survive economic crises and recessions which other institutions, especially banking, have been unable to overcome. Therefore the high “financial death rate” of banks, which systematically suspend payments and fail without the support of the central bank, has historically contrasted with the health and technical solvency of life insurance companies. (In the last two hundred years, a negligible number of life insurance companies have disappeared due to financial difficulties.)
During one of the most turbulent financial times in our nation’s history – the Great Depression – it was the insurance contract which provided the most stable financial shelter, not the demand deposit accounts (checking and savings accounts) offered by banks. While many banks failed and never reopened their doors, while the stock market crumbled, and many people lost their entire life’s savings, insurance companies were one of the only institutions to survive intact and almost virtually unscathed. This scenario continues to repeat itself during every period of recession or depression in this country.
Even when giants like AIG are supposed to be reeling (but their life and annuity business has not lost any money), the industry as a whole is hunkering down and can (and probably will) weather yet another financial storm.
Insurance companies don’t cheat their policy holders. On the contrary. Because of their more conservative approach to investing and money management, insurance companies can shelter their policyholders from market risk (excluding variable life insurance), are able to avoid calamity, and as a result come out on top when compared to other financial institutions. With a cash value insurance policy, they can actually protect the bulk of their policyholder’s savings from unnecessary exposure to market and bank volatility. With a term insurance policy, the company’s reserve account is kept in tact to pay any claims that need to be paid.
While it is possible, corporate theft in the life insurance business is rare. More often than not, what is often thought of as being “ripped off” is really just “concealment” on the part of the insured. A warranty in the insurance business is a statement made by someone who is applying for life insurance. The warranty refers to a statement made by the applicant. The insurance company is supposed to be able to trust that the applicant is telling the truth-this is the warranty. If the applicant lies about a material fact (a fact that has a bearing on whether insurance would be issued or how an insurance contract would be issued by an insurer), then the insurance company can revoke the contract or alter its terms.
To the unknowing public, this can easily be made to look like an insurance company scamming a poor helpless individual, when in fact, it was the individual that was lying to obtain insurance coverage that he or she may not have gotten otherwise.
Misleading statement #2:
Cash value life insurance is overpriced for what you get. Also, you can never tell how much money you are spending on death benefit and how much money is actually going into the cash value of the policy. With term insurance, the costs are clear.
Fact: “Overpriced” is a very generic term. Overpriced compared to what? When you hear words like “overpriced for what you get” or just “overpriced”, always ask “compared to what?” People who buy life insurance are primarily looking for one of two things (sometimes both)
1) a death benefit and/or
2) a secure savings
With this in mind, compare life insurance contracts. Don’t compare life insurance to other investments. The reason is simple. When you look at financial products, you want to be comparing the product with its peers, not other products that are outside of its investment function or experience.
For example, when you buy a share of Microsoft, you don’t compare it with a real estate investment trust to see if the Microsoft share is a good buy. You compare the Microsoft stock to other software and tech companies (this is actually an aspect of a well known and accepted investment philosophy called fundamental analysis). So, when financial planners suggest that you compare whole life insurance to a stock mutual fund, they are either evading, misleading, or showing you their ignorance of how to value a financial product.
With stocks, it’s meaningless to compare a tech company to an oil and gas company because those two industries have very different growth potential. Their price to earnings ratios, and in fact how the businesses make money, are vastly different from one another. Ignoring this basic principle is actually very dangerous, as it could lead you into making very poor investment decisions. You don’t do it with stocks, and you don’t do it when comparing other financial instruments–life insurance included.
When you buy a life insurance policy, compare it to other policies. There are many different kinds of contracts on the market. Some are built and priced well, some aren’t. It is possible to buy a poorly designed whole life, universal life, or variable life policy. But it’s also very possible to buy a policy that will return 10 times its annual premium in interest or dividend payments every year.
As to the costs of the contract: There are two ways insurance companies calculate the mortality costs for a policy: guaranteed and current charges. The guaranteed mortality charges, which is what constitutes the cost of the death benefit, are the same for all guaranteed life insurance products. This means that the cost of insurance for term, variable life and whole life are all the same. Any person who tells you otherwise is either lying or ignorant.
All life insurance policies use what’s called the Commissioners Standard Ordinary (CSO) Mortality table. This table is uniform for all states. The reason that premiums are higher for permanent insurance is because a significant portion of the premium must go towards investments that build the cash surrender value of the policy. Additionally, sufficient premiums must be collected to provide a death benefit out to your age 100 or 120, depending on the permanent policy you’re buying. With term insurance, the insurer is only providing a death benefit for 30 years or less and does not build any cash reserve in excess of what’s legally required to pay for future death benefit claims. With permanent insurance, the cash value is a cash reserve which is used to do two things: pay for the future death benefit claim and reduce the actual amount of insurance you purchase. The cash value replaces the death benefit.
In all policy types, a cost surrender index is available which tells you the cost of the death benefit on a per thousand dollar of death benefit basis. Costs for permanent life insurance (aside from some types of universal life), normally go down over time. But, the cost index for permanent life insurance starts out higher in the beginning of the contract compared to term life. However, over time, the cost of the permanent policy will be exactly the same as the term policy. In fact, some very well designed policies not only become much cheaper than term policies, the cost index goes negative. This means that the policy has no cost and instead you earn money, on top of what the cash value account of the policy earns, just by having the policy. Term policies will never do this. Ever.
But, permanent life insurance cost indexes sometimes assume that the interest or dividends paid on the cash value account of the policy are paid out to the policyholder. This is rare in real life. Instead, the interest paid to the policy normally stays in the policy and becomes part of the cash value. A better way to calculate the cost is to ask for an internal rate of return report from the insurer (called an IRR report).
Misleading statement #3:
If you are smart with the money you have today and you get rid of your mortgages, car loans and credit card debt and put money into retirement plans you don’t need insurance 30 years from now to protect your family when you die.
Fact: Being a “smart” investor doesn’t guarantee that you will be shielded from market corrections. Many investors who were otherwise pretty good at investing (i.e. high net worth investors) lost a lot of money in the 1930s, in the ’80s, in the 90s, in 2000 and 2008.
It’s true that you might not need a death benefit when you’re old and gray and the kids are gone and your home is paid off. At that point, you might be wondering why you purchased a permanent policy. Of course, the death benefit isn’t likely to be costing you much, if anything, since the net amount at risk to the company decreases as you grow older. Many people would have dropped the death benefit at age 65 and relied on their savings to produce a consistent, reliable, income. Others are OK with having the death benefit that comes with a permanent policy. Paying the cost of insurance at that age is still cheaper than paying taxes on investment earnings and well designed permanent policies tend to be income producing in the latter years anyway (if that’s what you purchased the policy for). So, in terms of the savings component, this is largely a personal choice.
However, one financial responsibility that is certain is your death. You are responsible for your own burial expenses. And, for that alone, a small permanent policy-at the very least-is a wise choice.
Another beneficial reason for owning life insurance in your old age is to offset the taxes that must be paid on retirement accounts or your estate. Your beneficiary will receive the value of your retirement plan when you die and the amount will be subject to income taxes. If you used an IRA and the beneficiary is your spouse then, under current tax law, the spouse can just roll over your IRA into theirs – delaying the tax due until the spouse draws the money out (note: this approach may also increase the RMD on the IRA at age 70 ½). If your beneficiary is not your spouse, and you used an IRA, then your beneficiaries may be able to “stretch” the IRA over their lifetime. They will still pay income taxes on the money, but they are basically just delaying the inevitable – the money will eventually drain out of the account and be taxed.
Since life insurance death benefits are tax free, they can help your beneficiaries pay the taxes owed on these accounts. Obviously, you are under no obligation to buy permanent insurance to cover this cost after you are dead. However, if there are things that you really and truly want to have happen (with your estate) after you’re dead, it’s probably a good idea to make sure that things get done the way you’d like them to get done.
These are just a few examples of when you might want life insurance as you get older. Saying, as a blanket rule, that you’ll never need it is simply not true. You might not, but then again you might.
Misleading statement #4:
Instead of buying a cash value life insurance policy, you would be better off getting a term policy and investing the difference. If a $100,000 whole life policy cost $100/month, you could likely get a bigger term policy (i.e. $150,000) for just $10/month and put the extra $90 in a cookie jar or under your mattress. After 3 years you would have $3,000 and when you died your family would get your savings.
Fact: This is actually something Dave Ramsey uses as an example. If you invest $90 per month, even at a 10% NET rate of return, you have $3,791 after 3 years. Both Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman love to point this out and then say that there’s nothing (or close to nothing) in your cash value life insurance policy.
It’s true, the first 3 years of most permanent life insurance policies have little or no cash values available for you to use (unless it’s a high cash value policy or a limited pay policy, in which case cash is always in there in the first year).
I don’t really like the way interest is compared using these kinds of comparisons because it compares the savings without the cost of the term added in. Remember, with permanent insurance, the savings and insurance are lumped together. When you figure out the effective yield on Ramsey’s “superior” plan, it’s a measly 1.73% (you contributed $3,600 over those 3 years with the cost of the term added in and your total cash at the end of 3 years is $3,791).
Ramsey loves to think that anyone can average 10%, 12%, or even 15% in their mutual fund for 20 or more years. There is some research done by DALBAR Inc. that suggests that most investors only earn 2%-3% in mutual funds. Most whole life policies earn 3%-4%. A well designed policy will earn 4%-6%.
And, besides that, averaging investment returns can be a bit deceptive in and of itself, so I caution anyone, even those interested in some of the fancier life insurance policies with investment sub-accounts, that averaging doesn’t always tell the whole story. Actual compound growth can differ significantly from your averages.
Fixed cash value life insurance is guaranteed to pay a set rate of return that will be there in the future. Some policies also pay dividends which do not normally fluctuate in the same way that many other types of investments fluctuate in value.
Buy permanent life insurance if you want to leverage your savings. What I mean is this: you don’t have $500,000. An insurance company does. You pay premiums to buy this death benefit. A cash value policy builds a cash reserve that is set aside to offset the future claim (death benefit). By buying a cash value policy, you are effectively leveraging your future savings. If you die before you’ve accumulated the death benefit amount, the insurer pays the death benefit. If you live to the point when your cash value equals your death benefit (usually age 100, but some policies stretch out to age 120), the insurer cuts you a check for the death benefit-turned-cash value. With permanent life insurance, the whole idea is to buy enough savings (death benefit) that will be there for you if you live to an extremely old age or pay your loved ones the savings if you don’t make it (the latter being what usually happens).
Buy mutual funds if you want to invest or speculate. Buy stocks if you want to invest or speculate.
Misleading statement #5:
Cash value life insurance is a complete rip-off. When you buy a cash value policy, you pay high premiums, and you start to build cash value, but when you die, the life insurance company effectively “steals” the cash value you’ve worked so hard to save up and your family never sees a dime of that money.
Fact: Cash value life insurance is not a “rip off” at all. The life insurance company isn’t stealing anything from you, or anyone else. There is no trickery or malicious intent involved at all. You are getting exactly what you paid for – a leveraged savings tool.
The cash value is a cash reserve. When the cash value accumulates in a policy, it builds up against the value of the death benefit and effectively replaces it. When you take out a policy loan or withdraw money from the policy, this is why you see the death benefit decrease along with the cash value. When you die, you can’t have your cake and eat it, too. In other words, you get the death benefit, part of which is comprised of the cash reserve. During your lifetime, that cash value kept you from paying ever increasing costs of insurance. That’s why your premium remained level.
You may have put $15,000 into a life insurance policy, and may only have $10,000 in cash value in the first 5-10 years. At death, your heirs will have to “suffer” with $100,000 of death benefit you purchased, which is 10 times the amount of the cash value. How, exactly, this is supposed to be a rip off, I’m not sure.
If the life insurance company has received $15,000 in premium payments from you, and they turn around and pay out $100,000, it doesn’t take a math wiz to see that you are benefiting here. There is just no way that you could have somehow given your family $100,000 income tax free with $15,000 sitting in a savings account earning 1% (even 5% on high yield savings accounts).
Some “gurus” argue that if you died and had bought term and invested the difference, you would have the value of your savings plus the term insurance death benefit. And, you could, but these “gurus” are forgetting that most term policies never pay a death benefit so this theory just won’t come to fruition for most folks. So what you are really getting is a taxable savings that may or may not go through probate (depending on whether you had all of your savings invested in a retirement account, or sitting in a savings account).
If you actually held a term policy until your death, you would likely pay much more in insurance premiums than what the “gurus” would have you believe, since term insurance becomes quite expensive in your old age. If you died young, then you simply wouldn’t have the savings built up that the “gurus” promise.
If you really wanted to try to pull off getting the death benefit plus your savings, buy a dividend-paying whole life policy or a universal life insurance policy with an increasing death benefit. Your death benefit grows over time, effectively giving you the savings plus the cash value of the policy. Problem solved.
Misleading statement #6:
There is no way a life insurance company can guarantee anything in their cash value policies. This is all just a big “trust me” scam. I could do better if I took the money and stuffed it under my mattress or better yet, put my retirement savings where it belongs – in a 401(k).
Fact: I’m not sure when people started believing that stuffing money under mattresses was safe, but in any case this again is simply untrue. The guarantees provided by fixed life insurance come from bonds and bond-like instruments that the insurance company holds.
A bond is a long-term IOU. It is a contract that represents a loan from a corporation or the U.S. Government. With a bond, you know up front exactly how much interest the bond will pay, what the returns will be, and these returns are guaranteed. The only real risk taken in a bond is whether or not the institution will pay. If the institution that is issuing the bond can meet its financial obligations, then it will pay the interest specified in the bond every year and no less.
Many of the bonds in a life insurance company’s general investment account are investment grade bonds. Investment-grade bonds are bonds, like corporate bonds, that have a very low risk of default. These are bonds that are usually issued by very high profile, old companies with a solid track record or repayment history.
Some of the bonds in the insurance company’s investment portfolio are U.S. Government bonds. These bonds pretty much never default. By investing in both types of bonds, an insurance company can make a meaningful guarantee to the policy holder that actually has substance.
One important thing to note is that, unlike bonds, a life insurance contract provides guarantees that, generally, a bond cannot. Additionally, in fixed-type permanent life insurance, your interest credited to the policy may rise if interest rates rise. This is true with dividend paying whole life, interest-sensitive whole life, and fixed universal life insurance. So, when interest rates climb, you’re not stuck with a low fixed rate in your policy.
Misleading statement #7:
Cash value life insurance is a rip-off because if I ever want to access the cash value of the policy, I have to borrow it and pay the insurance company interest. Why should I have to pay the insurance company to use my money?
Fact: You are not borrowing your own money. It’s idiotic that the anti-cash value crowd insists on saying that you are, especially when those people are Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman-they know better. You are borrowing money from the insurance company. Now, it’s not exactly the same as taking out a personal loan, which is normally unsecured and requires an application and credit check.
All you have to do is ask for the money. The insurance company uses your policy’s cash value as collateral for the loan. It’s sort of like putting money into a savings account and then getting a signature loan. What does the bank do with a signature loan? They secure it with the money you deposited in your savings account. It’s the exact same thing that happens with a life insurance policy loan (except that the insurance company pays a much higher rate of interest on that savings account to offset the interest on the loan you are taking).
When you run out of collateral, you can’t borrow any money from the insurance company. But, because the policy is being used as collateral, there are no applications, credit checks, or anything else associated with these loans. You just ask for the money and they give it to you. Unlike traditional loans, you get low-or 0%-interest rate for the life of the loan, which doesn’t ever have to be paid off until you die (and then, they take the money from your death benefit to satisfy the loan). You couldn’t ask for better loan terms from any bank or any other financial institution for that matter.
Well gee, you put money into this policy and you can’t just take it right back out? I have to borrow money from the insurance company and use my policy as collateral? I’m not sure I like that….wait….do you want to know what the major benefit of having a savings like this is?
You get all of that money on a tax-free basis!
Holy cow, that’s amazing! Yep, you-and only you-get to control your savings without worrying about paying taxes on the money because you are “accessing” the money through loans, which is not income or gain according to the IRS. And, did I mention that the loans carry low (1%) or no (0%) interest on them? Meanwhile, the policy’s cash value continues to grow and continues earning interest to offset the interest you’re being charged for those loans. To be fair, you also need to make sure that you do not “overloan”. Overloaning is when you attempt to borrow more than what is in the policy and it lapses. If this happens, the loans are considered “forgiven” and you need to pay taxes on all of the interest you’ve earned for the life of the policy. Insurance companies are very good and preventing this from happening by either suspending borrowing when you’ve borrowed 95% of your cash value, or they at least warn you that you are about to lapse the policy and that it’s time to pay back some of the money you borrowed.
Another option on some life insurance policies is a withdrawal option. You don’t have to pay interest to access your money (even though, as discussed above, this is not really a major issue due to the design and terms of policy loans). Most policies have a withdrawal option where you may access either all or part of the cash value of a life insurance policy directly without taking loans. The terms of withdrawals vary from company to company, but are typically very liberal – especially in the later years of your life when you are most likely to need or want the money.
All in all, it sounds like I am a something of a cheerleader for cash value insurance. I’ll admit, I do like the contracts that are designed and built well. They’re becoming fewer in number, but they’re still out there. However, it’s not all glitz and glam and I’ll be the first to admit that.
The company you purchase your life insurance from should not necessarily be cheap on their pricing, but they should also not be wasting money, either. They need to be structurally sound with consistent managerial principles and a good industrial philosophy.
If an insurance company gets bought out, the new owners may not share the same vision that the original management had. For a cash value policy, this can be detrimental to policy performance. The new management may want to raise the internal cost of insurance or move those “trust me” movable parts found in many policies.
There’s nothing like buying from an insurance company whose management decides to change the assumptions that you thought would never change 10 years after you’ve been paying into your policy.
Look for companies that are either mutual companies or are structured in a way that offers a clear benefit to policy owners. Most, but not all, permanent policies have moving parts to make sure that the insurance company can make enough money to keep paying claims (that’s a good thing).
But those moving parts can be abused by new management that doesn’t share the same vision as a management team focused on maximizing policy values to the policy owners. Don’t be afraid to ask representatives of the company what can happen to the movable parts in the permanent policy if the company gets bought out, and what the company has done to protect their policy owners from being taken advantage of by inexperienced or overzealous management.
The best protection against a policy going south on you is to just purchase a policy with few or no real moving parts. A basic, dividend paying, limited pay, whole life for example.
It’s hard to know who to trust in the financial industry sometimes. Some of the biggest names in the business have it all wrong. Some “gurus” try to paint every individual with the same brush, eliminating the context of an individual’s life. This makes for a terrible advisor, and downright dangerous financial advice. If you ever encounter a financial adviser who starts spouting any of the lies in this article, my suggestion would be to run for the hills and find yourself another adviser who knows a little bit more about insurance planning.
Before you make a final decision on whether to buy term or cash value life insurance, consider what you are really looking for. Regardless of what type of insurance you buy, the strategy is essentially the same. You’re buying life insurance and building a savings simultaneously. The only question is whether you can do a better job of building that savings than the insurance company.
If you are really very confident in your investment abilities, or are just looking for an investment, then be prepared to look for stocks, bonds, no load mutual funds, options, and other various financial derivatives (and learn how to research them). Then, you would buy a term life policy to cover you until that savings was sufficient to pay off all your financial obligations. If you aren’t that confident in your investment ability, or you just want an integrated savings and insurance product, then cash value life insurance would be your best bet._________________________
October 2nd, 2012 | by David | 26 Comments