Whole Life Insurance has a Strong Risk Adjusted Return – Historical Evidence

 

Three years ago this past Friday we published one of the most significant blog posts on this web site. This post, and a successor post we published last year remain some of the most popular content we’ve created.

For those unfamiliar with the original article, it reported on real historical data provided by a whole life insurance policyholder who was fortunate enough to purchase a decently designed blended whole life insurance policy back in the early 90’s.

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Myth: Indexed Universal Life Insurance has Stock Market Exposure – Case Study

When we discuss indexed universal life insurance with new potential clients, they commonly mention that they already have stock market exposure, so they see no need to gain additional exposure to the market.

I understand the impression they often have, but assuming that indexed universal life insurance gives you additional exposure to the market is a misunderstanding that could lead you to the wrong decision–many clients have expressed their gratitude in our willingness to pause and discuss the product more to ensure understanding.

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Five Reasons Whole Life Insurance is Better than a 529 Plan

 

The 529 Plan began to materialize in the mid 1990’s taking inspiration from prepaid tuition programs in the state of Michigan.

Since the initial formation it has become the dominate recommendation among financial gurus for college savings in the United States—despite President Obama’s suggestion that we end the tax free distribution 529 Plans enjoy during his 2015 State of the Union Address.

Despite the overwhelming support the financial media expresses for 529’s Americans still overwhelmingly choose basic savings accounts to save for college.

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The Power of Whole Life Insurance in a Down Market

 

A few weeks ago a client of ours (we’ll call him Ted to protect his identity) reached out to us looking to take a policy loan from a whole life policy he owns.

A unique and, arguable rare, opportunity arrived on his door step (literally) and he needed cash. The interesting part of this story, though, is not that whole life cash values were available to him so that he could seize the opportunity but rather that he had plenty of other money he could have used instead.

There was just one problem,

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Life Insurance as an Income Producing Asset with the Power of Leverage

 

We’ve talked a lot about using life insurance as an income producing asset. Many people stumble a bit when they first attempt to wrap their head around the notion of using “insurance” either as a place to save money or as an asset from which they can generate income. 

I raised an eyebrow or two when first presented with the idea. Today’s discussion is not an introduction to the concept of using life insurance as an income source, but rather a somewhat advanced look at why it can work so well.

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Case Study: Whole Life Insurance vs. Bond Strategy

 

We receive phone calls and emails every week from people looking to “de-risk” their portfolio and possibly add life insurance as a complement to their other investment and savings strategies.

A comment that tends to trend among these good folks notes that while we’ve done a pretty decent job explaining the more esoteric aspects of life insurance (according to the comments) it’s still somewhat difficult to understand exactly how this works and why it’s beneficial.

I can accept and agree with this comment and in an attempt to build out more comprehensive understanding I'd like to present a case study today that highlights some of the power behind life insurance when used as an asset in one’s portfolio. We’ll be publishing several more of these in the coming year. While we’ve been given permission to share these stories, names have been altered a bit to protect identity.

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An Indexed Universal Life Insurance Success Story

I was recently reviewing an indexed universal life policy issued seven years ago. We do a lot of reviews for life insurance policies (especially the ones we ourselves put in force for people) and such reviews look at performance to date as well as a comparison to the original policy projection to review how things have unfolded.

For a lot of policies, there’s little variance from the original projection. This is especially true on the whole life insurance side of things since dividends don’t tend to vary all that much (a few exceptions exist for policies we’ve been asked to review we didn’t have a hand in putting in force).

Not all that surprisingly the indexed universal life insurance policies have tended to do better than the original projections.

For the policies we’ve put in force, this is commonly due largely to our insistence on assuming a 6 to 6.5% annual index credit (a lot of less honest agents/brokers like to use numbers in the mid 7 to 8% range, though recent legislation is changing that).

The market has enjoyed a pretty good run since 2008 and indexed insurance products have certainly benefited. As a result, I often get asked what happens if the policy performs better than the 6% number I assume, to which I always point out, you’ll simply have more money.

This is great in theory, but a lot of people have a hard time grasping what that means in a more concrete sense. So today we’ll review publicly a policy that has been in existence for almost a decade and see how it has performed.

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2015 Whole Life Focused Company Cash Flow Trend Analysis

Operating cash flow is the cash generated by an insurance company prior to the inclusion of investment income generated by managed assets. Under insurance statutory accounting rules, this is profits generated after deducting operating expenses. Insurers that have issued participating policies can cover planned dividend payments with operating cash and/or investment income.

We look at operating cash as a secondary indicator of insurer operating health. I say secondary because it commonly affects policy performance far less significantly than investment performance on managed assets.

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Paid Up Additions: How to Create Flexible Whole Life Insurance

Flexible Whole Life Insurance

The fixed premium in whole life insurance gives many people a fear of commitment. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. You need not approach whole life insurance with apprehension. The annual premium is not the massive financial commitment it appears to be.

If buying whole life, don't buy a policy that commits you to 100% of the premium each year it's due.  

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7 Reasons to be Wary of Indexed Universal Life Insurance? A Response to Bank on Yourself

Life Insurance Bank on Yourself

Pam and friends over at Bank on Yourself® released a blog post detailing the reasons to be wary of Indexed Universal Life Insurance complete with a video to further emphasize their point.

It comes as little surprise that a marketing program that seeks to help insurance agents sell more whole life insurance would work to demean indexed universal life insurance, but what is surprising is the sheer lack of honesty.

There are a number of over-the-top claims with zero supporting evidence, so we’ll discuss all seven reasons to be wary of indexed universal life insurance.

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