January 2021
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Term or Whole Life?

One of the results of the recession has been to reinforce the tendency to opt for term insurance as the first life policy. With the disappearance of credit and the pressure on employment, people have decide to switch to prudence. That means paying down the debts and cutting back on discretionary spending. Is this financial puritanism sensible? There are a number of factors to consider. First, a definition. A term policy is life coverage for a fixed number of years. Think of it as like a bet. If you are still alive at the end of the term, the insurance keeps all the premiums, and you and your dependents get nothing. Now, let’s focus on the psychology of the young. Most never bother thinking about insurance or, if they do, it’s a very low priority. Why bother worrying about something that’s unlikely to happen for decades? Statistically, this is a reasonable view. Just as many young people back their health and refuse to buy an individual health plan, the majority see no advantage in life insurance. Life expectancy has been rising steadily over the last 50 years. This calm confidence lasts until they enter a stable relationship. Until children appear. But, by then, the cost of living has gone up and, potentially, what was two incomes has become one. Then, buying term insurance is the cheap option.

The real question is whether buying a whole life policy early is always the right answer. The argument goes that you take on the higher premiums when, as a young single, you have the most disposable income. Inflation and pay increases slowly make the higher premiums more affordable. If you do become a two-income family, this really takes the pressure off. Hopefully, by the time children come along, you have already produced a financial situation in which the premiums are now affordable. Hmmm. Back to definitions: this policy insures your life, but also has an investment element that builds up a cash value over time. If you keep up the premiums, this provides security during retirement and for your dependents. Except, people do not make rational financial decisions. The young prefer to enjoy their youth rather than stay home and save for their retirement. Worse, the reality of most of the investment elements is that they represent poor performance. If you bought term insurance and invested the balance of the premium saved in regular investments, you would almost certainly do better. The hard reality is the insurance companies charge commissions for setting up your account and then impose management fees for investing your money. This slices the top off the investment returns.

So the conclusion is slightly bad news. The decision on what to buy is not directly related to the life insurance quotes you receive through a site like this. The best value is buying term insurance and having the self-discipline to invest a growing proportion of your income. If you do not have that self-discipline, the whole life, universal and variable policies represent compulsory savings. In effect, you are paying the life company to do the work of investing for you. The perfect choice starts with the life insurance quotes and diverts through the office of an independent actuary who will give you an educated guess on the quality of the investment returns from the whole life policy as against managing your own investments over the next thirty years or so. Now you can decide whether you want to trust yourself or accept a low but guaranteed yield from the insurance company.

About Author
To learn what Norris Rios has to say about other things and look on the things from his point of view, visit where he frequently writes on many different subjects that you will find fascinating.

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