R.W. Greene & Associates, Inc.

CONNECT

Address:

2850 N. Swan Road, Suite 140
Tucson, AZ 85712

Phone:

(520) 745-5585, (888) 838-5554

Fax/Other:

(520) 745-5754

Universal Life Insurance

What Is Universal Life Insurance?

Universal life insurance was developed in the late 1970s to overcome some of the disadvantages associated with term and whole life insurance. As with other types of life insurance, you pay regular premiums to your insurance company, in exchange for which the insurance company will pay a specific benefit to your beneficiaries upon your death.

As with whole life insurance, a portion of each payment goes to the insurance company to pay for the pure cost of insurance. The remainder is invested in the company’s general investment portfolio, with the potential to build cash value.

Most universal life policies pay a minimum guaranteed rate of return. Any returns above the guaranteed minimum vary with the performance of the insurance company’s portfolio. The policyholder has no control over how these funds are invested; funds are managed by the insurance company’s professional portfolio managers.

However, universal life policies are very flexible. As the policy owner, you can vary the frequency and amount of premium payments and also increase or decrease the amount of the insurance to suit changes in your situation.

For example, if your financial situation improves significantly, you can increase your premiums and build up the cash value more rapidly. On the other hand, if you find yourself under a financial strain, you can reduce your premiums, or you may even be able to deduct premium payments from the cash value of the policy. Of course, changing the premium or withdrawing part of the cash value in your policy will affect the rate at which your cash value accumulates. It may also reduce the size of the death benefit.

Any cash you withdraw from your universal life policy is considered “basis first.” You won’t incur a tax liability until your withdrawals exceed the premiums you’ve paid into the policy. Any amount that exceeds the premiums will be taxed as ordinary income.

It is possible to structure many universal life policies so that the invested cash value will eventually cove