Term Insurance versus Permanent Whole Life Insurance:
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Primary types of life insurance

The two most common forms of life insurance are Term and Whole Life.   Experts will criticize both, however they are equally useful when chosen according to the needs of the individual.

Term Insurance

Term life insurance is best for people whose primary concern is protecting assets like a mortgage or other large debts.   It’s also recommended for providing money for a spouse and children in the event of the death of the primary wage earner. It is also a good choice for a small business owner who needs to protect the business interest in the event of the loss of one of the principals.   The premiums for term insurance are less expensive than whole life insurance.

Term insurance is not recommended  if....

  • you are close to retirement and need final expense coverage or a fund that will provide your heirs with a way to pay taxes on your estate.
  • your primary purpose for the insurance is investment that you may be able to surrender or exchange in later years. Term has no cash value.

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Whole Life

Permanent life insurance lasts your entire life. These policies have a death benefit or "face value" and they also build up a "cash value." You can borrow against this cash value. If you cancel your policy, you'll receive the cash value.

You always want to consider some form of whole life if your primary purpose is to cover final expenses or to provide a legacy for your heirs.

Cashing in a whole life policy

While it is true that a whole life policy builds cash value, simply surrendering it and taking the cash is usually not your best option. If you want to discontinue  paying a premium you could choose to take a  "reduced paid up" policy.    The company will tell you how much "paid up" insurance you have purchased at that time. They will give you a certificate of paid up insurance, and you will not have to pay any additional premium. (FYI - A reduced paid up will always result in a reduction of face value, but will be more than the cash value of the policy.)

Also, experts agree that a more productive option for cashing in a policy is to apply for a 1035 exchange with a company that offers annuities. An annuity is a retirement instrument typically paying better interest rates than most CDs, can possibly avoid probate upon your death, and give you access to your money without a loan.

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Consider this…

The EWS Financial Group Asks You to Ask QuestionsThere are many companies that send life insurance offers through the mail. You will find that most of these offers, when targeted for anyone other than a child, are for Term Insurance. That's fine, if that's what you need.   Unfortunately,seniors and many of those who have delayed purchasing insurance are often mislead by the low initial price of the coverage. Often times they do not realize that they may have a premium increase as often as every five years, and may even have a policy that only covers them until they reach age 80.    Imagine reaching age 80 and suddenly discover that the insurance you have paid on for 20 years is either expired or priced far beyond your means.

What is the best choice for you?  Make sure that you take the time to sit down with a reputable agent.   This way you can ask your questions, write down the answer—and go somewhere else if you don't get the answer you want.

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