Why I have Term Life instead of Whole Life insurance

Understanding the difference between whole life insurance and term insurance is probably one of the most "adult" things that I can think of! Don't be intimidated by the idea of life insurance and certainly don't let it prevent you from having the coverage you need!

The difference between whole and term insurance: whole life covers you for as long as you are alive (i.e. as you keep paying the payments); term insurance covers you for a specific set of time (e.g. 10 years or 20 years). Whole life is also known as permanent, universal or cash-value life insurance.

So why do I have term insurance instead of whole life?

Because whole life insurance is sold as an investment product rather than just an insurance. When you "invest" in whole life, you pay a (rather high) premium that gets invested at a rate that is usually not very good. But when you die, you don't get that money that you invested, you only get the amount that you purchased the insurance for (usually between $100k - $1m). You can borrow against the invested money, but that will reduce the amount of your death benefit. You can take the invested money out after three years and close the policy, but that money is subject to fees, of course.

Why not just buy term insurance at a much lower premium and do the investing yourself? It's cheaper, you have more control over your own money and you don't have to worry about extra fees and hoops!

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