Weekend Reading: Index Universal Life Can Enhance Retirement Income

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
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If you’re considering the addition of cash value life insurance into your retirement plan for accumulation, it’s important to understand the differences between whole life insurance and index universal life insurance (IUL), particularly when it comes to how much a policy’s cash value grows.


From a high level: With cash value life insurance, upon retirement you can take tax-free distributions “for a number of years, as long as the policy was initially structured in a non-modified endowment form.” Further, the policy death benefit is tied to its accumulation benefits, but tax-free death proceeds can “fulfill a savings plan should the insured die.”

Whole life vs. IUL: While the guaranteed death benefit of whole life insurance makes it beneficial for estate and tax planning purposes, IUL lends more opportunity for accumulation. With IUL, you can link cash value performance to a menu of indices, like the S&P 500. Additionally, many IUL contracts protect against market volatility with guaranteed index returns (five to six percent on average), offset by performance caps. Upon purchasing IUL, however, it’s also beneficial to have the liquidity to pay premiums as quickly as the policy permits.

You have a plethora of options available to help you reach your retirement goals; more today than ever before. With the right team, you can find the best tool for the job.