Cash-value life insurance plan
Some companies offer insurance vehicles as a benefit.
There are various types: whole life, variable life, universal life and variable universal life. They provide a death benefit while at the same time building cash value, which could support your retirement needs. If you withdraw the cash value, the premiums you paid – your cost basis – come out first and are not subject to tax.
“There are some similarities to the Roth tax treatment, but more complicated,” says Littell. “You don’t get a deduction on the way in, but if properly designed you can get tax-free withdrawals on the way out.”
Pros: It addresses multiple risks by providing either a death benefit or a source of income. Plus, you get tax deferral on the growth of your investment.
Cons: “If you don’t do it right, if the policy lapses, you end up with a big tax bill,” he adds. Like other insurance solutions, once you buy it, you are more or less locked into the strategy for the long term. Another risk is that the products don’t always perform as well as the illustrations might show that they will.
What it means to you: These products are for wealthier people who have already maxed out all other retirement savings vehicles. If you’ve reached the contribution limits for your 401(k) and your IRA, then you might consider investing in this type of life insurance.