Bill Broich

, Founder

Life Insurance Goes Beyond Protection and Could Be a Potential Retirement Booster

We typically think of life insurance as safeguarding loved ones financially if we pass away. But did you know some policies may also give your retirement a nudge? Let's dive into the world of cash-value life insurance and see how it might fit into your long-term financial picture.

Understanding Life Insurance: Term vs. Cash-Value

There are two categories of life insurance: term life and cash-value life insurance.

  • Term life insurance is pure protection. You pay a premium for a specific period (term), and if you pass away within that time, your beneficiaries receive a death benefit. However, term life offers no cash value accumulation.
  • Cash-value life insurance, on the other hand, combines an insurance element with a savings component. While it also provides a death benefit, a portion of your premium goes towards building cash value over time. This cash value may be accessed through loans or withdrawals, with tax implications depending on the policy and how you access the funds.

There are several types of cash-value life insurance, including whole life, universal life, and variable universal life. Each has its features and benefits, so it's crucial to consult a financial professional to determine the right fit for your needs.

Cash Value for Retirement? Yes, with Caution

The cash value in cash-value life insurance may be a potential source of retirement income. You may:

  • Withdraw the cash value:  This reduces the death benefit, but you may access the accumulated amount. However, withdrawals exceeding your basis (total premiums paid) may be subject to taxes.
  • Take a loan against the cash value: This may be a tax-advantaged way to access funds, but interest accrues, reducing the overall death benefit and cash value growth. Remember, it's a loan, not free money, and needs to be repaid.
  • Use dividends: Some cash-value policies offer dividends, which may supplement retirement income or be reinvested to grow the cash value further.

Life Insurance vs. Dedicated Retirement Savings

While cash-value life insurance offers some retirement benefits, it's essential to consider its limitations:

  • Higher Cost:  Cash-value life insurance premiums are generally more expensive than term life due to the savings component. This reduces the amount you may directly invest towards retirement.
  • Lower Returns: The cash value component typically grows at a slower rate compared to dedicated retirement accounts like IRAs or 401(k)s, which may be invested in a broader range of assets with potentially higher growth potential.
  • Reduced Flexibility: Accessing cash value through withdrawals or loans may have tax implications and reduce the death benefit for your beneficiaries. Dedicated retirement accounts often offer more flexibility in managing your savings.

Optimizing Your Strategy: A Balanced Approach

Here's how to create a well-rounded strategy:

  • Prioritize term life insurance: Secure adequate term life coverage to protect your loved ones in case of your untimely passing.
  • Maximize dedicated retirement savings:  Contribute consistently to IRAs or 401(k)s to benefit from tax advantages and compound interest for long-term growth.
  • Consider cash-value life insurance as a supplement: Once your core retirement savings are on track, explore cash-value life insurance as a potential source of additional retirement income or an emergency safety net.


  • Consult a financial advisor to assess your needs and determine the appropriate mix of life insurance and retirement savings products.
  • Regularly review your financial plan and adjust your strategy as your life and retirement goals evolve.

By combining life insurance with dedicated retirement savings, you may create a robust financial plan that safeguards your loved ones and allows you to enjoy a secure and comfortable retirement.

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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Bill Broich

E. 171 Okonek

Grapeview, Washington 98546

(360) 701-6209

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