Friday, May 15, 2020

Universal Life Anyone?

From time to time I will have a client tell me "I know nothing about life insurance, but my friend says I need whole life" or "The guy on TV says to buy term and invest the difference".  Oddly, no one suggest Universal Life (UL) to their friends.

UL's can be a great fit for a life insurance game plan if structured correctly.  Unfortunately, they can also be confusing to agents and clients alike.  Here are some things to consider before purchasing a UL.

  1.  The growth in traditional UL's are based off of interest rates.  Back in the 1970's and 1980's, when interest rates were very high, UL's were sold as investment vehicles.  When interest rates dropped, so did the growth of the policies. 
  2.  The cost of insurance increases as time passes.  Unlike a whole life policy, whose costs drops with time, UL's fees increase.  If the costs surpass the growth (see #1) the policy will "eat at itself". 
  3.  UL's are considered "flexible premium" policies.  An agent can offer you a minimum, maximum and target premium.  We recommend not going with the minimum, as it looks attractive but can end up with no cash value at some point.
  4.  Indexed UL's are based on an "index" which reflects the markets instead of interest rates.  These can be used for retirement supplements (again, if structured correctly) and can be more affordable than a whole life.  Indexed UL's are great for the conservative person who doesn't want to be directly in the market and still needs life insurance protection for their family.
I've seen people use UL's for all kinds of purposes, including final expense (if you're healthy it can be a lot less expensive than a whole life plan) and retirement supplements (the cash value can accumulate well if structured properly). 

In the current economic situation that many individuals and families are faced with, a good UL can protect your family and provide an extra income stream in your later years. 

Chris Castanes is the president of Surf Financial Brokers, as well as a professional speaker helping sales people be more productive and efficient.

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