A variable universal life insurance policy, known in the insurance industry as a “VUL,” has many benefits. A VUL offers permanent life insurance and allows you the option to invest your cash value funds as you see fit within the policy.
Apportionment of Your Money When You Purchase a VUL
Unlike a term life insurance policy, a VUL builds cash value. This cash value accrues because a part of your insurance premium is applied to pay for the life insurance portion of the policy while the rest of your premium is placed in a separate account where it can earn more dollars for you.
Restrictions on managing the cash account for your variable life insurance policy are many as the Security Exchange Commission, the SEC, oversees such accounts due to their volatile nature. At the time you purchase your policy, you’re required to designate into which type of investment accounts your money will go.
How Cash Value Accounts Function in a VUL
For all practical purposes, your cash value account functions as a mutual fund. In many VULs, the buyer has 10 to 20 choices to invest their cash value dollars. With so many choices, how do you choose which one is right for you?
Review these points when choosing VUL investment options:
1. Consider your overall financial goals. Just as with any investment, you can align your VUL investment choices with your financial goals, choosing conservative or aggressive investments, or somewhere in between, depending on your level of risk tolerance.
* For example, if you want aggressive growth and know the financial market, you’ll be more likely to select aggressive growth vehicles offered within your VUL.
* On the other hand, if you’re more conservative in your investment goals, you might stick with more “fixed” type of investments offered within your VUL, like a money market fund.
2. Recognize the limits of your VUL. The company sponsoring the policy limits choices for investments in VULs. Shop around before you purchase your VUL to find options that you’re most comfortable with.
* For example, Insurance Company ‘A’ might offers 3 choices for your VUL investments (such as stocks, bonds and money market), whereas Company ‘B’ offers 15 choices (a variety of equities, plus real estate bonds, high-yield corporate bonds and various other investment vehicles).
3. Think about diversification. Another important element related to investment choices for your VUL policy is diversification. Do you feel more secure with many smaller investments?
* Keep in mind that the larger the number of investment vehicles you select, the more you’ll probably pay because you’ll be charged a separate fee for each of these vehicles.
* Some financial experts believe it’s smarter to designate just 2 or 3 investment vehicles to limit the amount of your money that goes to pay investors’ fees for your VUL policy.
4. Take overall investors’ fees into account. Bear in mind that the premiums for VULs are double or even triple the amount you would pay for a term life insurance policy, largely due to the costs of accumulating and managing the funds found in the separate cash value accounts.
* Ensure you understand how and when such fees will be charged, as well as the amounts of fees before you buy a VUL.
5. One option, if available, is to the let experts manage VUL cash funds. In the event you’re unsure about your capacity to make investment decisions, ask your VUL agent if you have the option to have the company’s management professionals manage the cash funds for you. This move, of course, would be most wisely done before purchasing a VUL.
You have options when it comes to selecting how to invest your cash value monies in your VUL. Ensure you understand the ins and outs of your VUL before purchase. As with any investment, remember you can incur financial gains or losses over the short or long term based on decisions regarding your VUL.
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