If you’re one of the millions of Americans who owns a permanent life insurance policy (or are thinking about getting one!) you’ve probably done it primarily to protect your loved ones. But over time, many of your financial obligations may have ended. That’s when your policy can take on a new life—as a powerful tool to make your retirement more secure and enjoyable.
Permanent life insurance can open up options for you in retirement in three unique ways:
1. Don't risk outliving your assets.
Your life insurance policy can provide supplemental retirement income via policy loans and withdrawals if it’s structured properly. Having a policy to draw from can take the pressure off investment accounts if the market is sluggish, giving them time to rebound. At any time, you may also decide to annuitize the policy, converting it into a guaranteed lifelong income stream. Some policies may also provide options for long-term care benefits.
2. Leaving a Legacy Made Easy.
According to The Wall Street Journal, permanent life insurance is “a fantastically useful and flexible estate-planning tool,” commonly used to pass on assets to loved ones. Policy proceeds are generally income-tax free and paid directly to your beneficiaries in a cash lump sum—avoiding probate and taxes in one pass. Your policy can also be used to pay estate taxes, ensure the continuity of a family business, or perhaps leave a legacy for a favorite charity or institution.
3. Maximize a spouse’s pension.
While a traditional pension is fading fast in the modern workplace, those who can still count on this benefit are often faced with a choice between taking a higher single life distribution, or a lower amount that covers a surviving spouse as well. Life insurance can supplement a surviving spouse’s income, enabling couples to enjoy the higher, single-life pension—together.
If you do expect your estate to be taxed, you can even establish a life insurance trust, which allows wealth to pass to your heirs outside of your estate, generally free of both estate and income taxes.
Where to start? A policy review
If you’ve had a life insurance policy for awhile, schedule a policy review with your life insurance agent or financial advisor. By the time you reach mid-life, you may have a mix of coverage—term, permanent, group or even an executive compensation package.
Your licensed insurance agent or financial advisor can help you assess your situation and adjust a current policy or structure a new policy to help you achieve your retirement planning goals.
If you currently don’t have coverage, there’s no better time than today to get started. Life insurance is a long-term financial tool. It can take decades to build permanent policy values to a place where you can use them toward your retirement goals. And, health profiles can change at any time. If you’re healthy, you can lock in that insurability now and look forward to years of tax-deferred (yes!) policy growth.