Heather Calhoun

Burgess & Associates

Don't Borrow Your Way To Retirement

Unlock the Power of Life Insurance: Your Guide to Tax-Free Financial Security

If you've been looking for a financial planning tool to help you secure a stable future, you might not need to look further than your life insurance policy. Legendary salesman Ben Feldman once said, "Life insurance is the only tool that costs pennies and guarantees dollars." It's not just about providing financial security to your family after you're gone. Your life insurance policy may0 be a multifunctional financial tool with benefits you can tap into while alive. Here's how:

Leverage and Tax-Free Growth

Two key features make life insurance incredibly advantageous: leverage and tax-free accumulation. Imagine paying a relatively small premium to secure a guaranteed amount that your beneficiaries will receive. That's leveraging at its best. Regarding tax-free accumulation, your permanent life insurance policy may help you build a cash reserve, allowing you to accumulate funds tax-free. In short, the money within your permanent life insurance policy grows without the burden of taxes as long as it adheres to the IRS guidelines.

Borrow Against Your Policy: The Power of Policy Loans

Life insurance may serve as an emergency fund or a cash reservoir. A policy loan lets you tap into your accumulated cash value. It functions similarly to a secured credit card, with your cash value dictating the borrowing limit. But be careful: if the loan amount gets close to or equals the cash value, you risk having the policy lapse. This might result in a tax bomb, nullifying your tax-free benefit.

The Different Flavors of Permanent Life Insurance

Two primary types of permanent life insurance are Whole Life and Universal Life. Whole Life is straightforward, with fixed premiums and guaranteed cash value. Universal Life, however, offers more flexibility but carries some risk. Its premiums are flexible, but the rising insurance cost might not be covered if you're not careful.

Indexed Universal Life (IUL): The Pros and Cons

Some marketers advocate using Indexed Universal Life (IUL) for tax-free income. While IUL has its merits, it's critical to note that it's not a guaranteed source of retirement income. Suppose you've been shown illustrations projecting optimistic returns year after year; exercise caution. These are often "if-come" projections based on an ideal economy that never experiences downturns.

The Smart Approach: Income Planning Over "If-Come" Planning

A safer alternative to "if-come" planning is income planning. Rather than relying on hypotheticals, opt for financial products like fixed index annuities with an income rider. These allow you to determine a guaranteed income baseline you'll receive by a specific date. The downside is that you won't get the tax-free benefits reserved for life insurance.

Is Life Insurance Right for You?

Life insurance can be a powerful tool for tax-advantaged cash management and as a financial blueprint supplement. But, like any tool, you must fully understand its ins and outs. If you're contemplating taking out a policy loan or you've been pitched an IUL, it's imperative to consult with a trusted financial advisor for an unbiased review and possibly explore alternative strategies.

If you've made it this far, you're serious about understanding the different avenues for a secure financial future. Don't let that momentum go to waste. Consult a trusted financial advisor for an even-handed, expert opinion on your life insurance options. Be careful; borrowing too much from a life insurance policy can become a nightmare,

  • Leverage and Tax-Free Growth: Life insurance isn't just a death benefit. It may be a powerful tool for leveraging a small investment into a substantial payout, all while allowing your cash value to grow tax-free.
  • Policy Loans: These allow you to tap into your accumulated cash value for financial needs. Just be cautious; borrowing too much can result in a policy lapse and a "tax bomb."
  • Whole Life vs. Universal Life: Two primary types of permanent life insurance exist, each with its pros and cons. Whole Life offers fixed premiums, while Universal Life offers flexibility but carries some risk.
  • Indexed Universal Life (IUL): This type of policy has been marketed as a tax-free income source. However, it’s crucial to remember that it’s not a guaranteed source of retirement income.
  • Income Planning: Opt for guaranteed, reliable financial products like fixed index annuities with an income rider0 instead of relying on optimistic "if-come" projections.

Many people have learned about the power of using the Safe Money approach to reduce volatility. Our Safe Money Guide is in its 20th edition and is available for free.  

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Heather Calhoun picture

Heather Calhoun

Burgess & Associates

3322 South Campbell Avenue

Suite P-4

Springfield, Missouri 65807


(417) 581-8220

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