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Hidden Treasure in Life Insurance

Updated on January 7, 2012
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Keith Schroeder writes The Wealthy Accountant blog with 30 years experience in the tax field. He is the tax adviser of Mr. Money Mustache.

Do you have life insurance?

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If you have life insurance, is it to protect your family or for business reasons?

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How much life insurance is on you?

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 Some people think “life insurance” is a dirty word; I think it is a tool. Life insurance cash values are over $3 trillion, second only to mutual funds in size (Accounting Today Vol. 23 No. 17, Pg. 18). This vast store of wealth requires more attention than many give it. This blog post deals with those that already have life insurance and is in no way a recommendation to buy, cancel, or change your life insurance situation. Rather, use this post as a guide to discuss your life insurance with your agent. Also note, I am life insurance licensed, but haven’t sold a policy in five or so years. I like to keep informed on financial matters to serve my clients best and defer personal insurance needs to agents that make a career in insurance. Much of the information in this post is from the above listed article in Accounting Today. For more information, check out their website at www.webcpa.com.

All assets should be reviewed periodically to ensure it is optimized. You and your agent should review your insurance plans on a regular basis. Life insurance comes in many flavors. “Cash Value” life insurance is powerful tool when used correctly. The greater your wealth, the more likely it is you will need some sort of life insurance, term or cash value (whole, universal, etc.) to reduce your tax burden now and in your estate. Business owners need to consider life insurance to protect their business. Used correctly, life insurance can assure a smooth transition of a business to new owners and survival of the business should a key employee or owner die.

Many new life insurance products handle business and personal needs better than older policies at a lower premium. A good insurance agent can help you plan accordingly.

Families also need to consider life insurance. Children and the surviving spouse may need funds to keep the house, send the kids to college, and so forth. A good plan is always preferable to flying blind.

The details of life insurance are vast. A short blog post doesn’t do it justice. See your agent. And while you are there, ask to review your home, auto, and umbrella insurance. Demand an explanation on the differences in uninsured, underinsured, and liability. Some day I’ll write a post on these issues. Until then, do yourself a favor, review your insurance. That is what your agent is paid to do.

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