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Equity Indexed Life Insurance

Whole (or permanent) life insurance policies are more than meet the eye. Sure they offer a death benefit that caries through the rest of your life as long as you pay your premium and keep the policy in force, but more than that they offer an additional benefit of premiums accruing into something called cash values. These cash values can grow in a few different ways:

  1. They can grow at a fixed rate like in a traditional whole life policy.
  2. They can grow at a variable rate by choosing a sub account to invest them in. Sub accounts in a variable policy may have fixed investments like money markets, they may have stocks, bonds or mutual funds.
  3. They can grow at a variable rate tracking the returns of a specific index-like the S&P 500 or the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

The third kind of growth is seen in an equity indexed life insurance policy. When you have an equity indexed life insurance policy, your cash values grow as they would in a variable policy but the sub account you choose is created to mimic the performance of a particular index. If that index goes up, then your cash value will likely go up. But if the index goes down, then so will your cash value.

One of the most important things to remember about an equity indexed life insurance policy is that there is no guarantee that you will earn money. Many illustrations for life insurance will show the great amounts of cash that can be accumulated in an equity indexed life insurance policy, but there is always the chance that the index you choose for your sub account will go down in value and will reduce the cash values you accumulate. The great things about equity indexed life insurance policies, however, is that they often have a floor, or minimum amount that you are guaranteed to gain. While this threshold is often significantly less than the fixed rate of return in a traditional life insurance policy, it at least offers some sort of gain while markets are down. On the other hand, there is also often a ceiling or maximum gain you can experience which may be less than the actual increases experienced by the index that you choose.

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