As I have stated in previous posts, all life insurance products have a need, but not all people need all kinds of insurance. And the biggest problem with the "buy term and invest the difference" scenario is that the vast majority of people don't do the investing part. And the ones who do are subject to market risks. Losses can happen.
One of the worst objections I've heard when talking life insurance to a prospect is "it's not going to help me when I'm dead". Of course not. Life insurance is primarily for your loved ones who may need those funds to stay in the home, pay off medical bills associated with your death, pay off credit card debt or help fund educational needs.
With this in mind, there are policies out there that can help you before you die. Here are a few ways:
- Retirement supplement. Unlike a tax-qualified retirement plan, you don't have to wait for until you're 59 1/2 to get your money without a tax penalty. And by taking out cash as a "loan" and using the policy as collateral, you can likely get the money tax-free.
- Living benefits. Many of the permanent life policies out there now have some form of living benefits that can be used for chronic illnesses or long term care situations. Depending on the carrier, these benefits may be included or offered as a riders (some at an additional expense).
- Critical illness riders. Again, these are sometimes offered as part of the policy and will let you use some of the funds if a major health event, like a stroke or heart attack, occurs.
- Education costs. I've had clients "overfund" a policy and use the accumulated cash value to fund their children's college expenses. Did you know that when applying for student loans and financial aid, one must disclose any 529 plan or Coverdell plan? But you don't have to disclose life insurance.
- Warehousing money. Funds can be taken out of the policy as a loan, repaid, and used again. For example, I had a client who loved to buy investment properties. If he saw piece of land he wanted, he didn't go to the bank for a loan because he'd have to fill out a lot of paperwork and wait for a loan officer to decide if he qualified. Instead, he'd call the insurance carrier, get the money he needed for the down payment (a check would be sent overnight in some instances) and he would repay the loan within a few months. When he found another piece of property, he'd do it all over again. Smart!