In Parts One and Two of our 5 part series, we went through the basics of why dividend-paying whole life insurance may be the only fixed income tool you need and just what type of insurances are out there for purchase. Today's article will discuss how exactly a dividend paying whole life insurance policy should be structured to benefit you, the consumer of the product and not your insurance agent.
Does it drive you crazy when you hear some CEO that was fired get a $15 million severance package? Where did the money come from? It was most likely from an insurance policy. The company goes to NY Life, in this example, and says we need an insurance policy on our CEO and we only want to pay the premium in full just once, and we want the death benefit to be $50 million. NY Life responds and says to the company that if they want $50 million dollars in death benefit, it will cost them a one-time fee of $18 million, and the company will have immediate access to the cash value of $15 million within the policy. This is known as a single premium policy, and explains why an Infinite Banking [IB] designed whole life policy can build so much cash value so quickly. If the company does not need that money, it is earning interest on that cash value along with a possible dividend that compounds the cash value over time. These "single premium" policies are known as Paid-Up Additional riders for the policy that we purchase for ourselves (PUA for short).
There is one other key concept to understand. We just can't stuff this policy with excessive cash without the IRS starting to sniff around. There is a 7 pay-test to make sure this insurance policy remains as an insurance policy and does not turn into a Modified Endowment Contract, aka a MEC. If the policy becomes an MEC, you have lost all the flexibility and benefits this insurance policy can provide and have essentially created an annuity.
So think of a see-saw. You have this single premium whole life insurance policy on one side with all this cash value built in, and on the other side of the see saw is a term life insurance policy with $0 cash value (remember: if you pay in full for the term and you don't die, you get nothing). The teeter point is the MEC. We start on the term side, but get as close to that teeter point as possible WITHOUT crossing over. How do we make sure we didn't cross over? The insurance company will tell you the maximum amount of money you can put in the policy each year without having any issues with the IRS, so you don't have to figure it out.
How should one of these policies be structured to benefit you? Well let's use an example of a person in their early 30s. She makes $100,000/year, so the maximum amount of life insurance she can purchase is up to 25x her annual salary, or $2.5 million in death benefit. This should be structured to maximize the Cash Value of the policy, so we want to see lots of PUAs in the policy, but there has to be a minimum amount of a traditional whole life policy to support it. As I said earlier, the PUAs are the catalyst or the turbo. You can only put so much turbo on an engine of a Kia Rio. The engine of a Corvette, however, can handle much more turbo. The minimum ratio of whole life premiums: PUAs allowed should be at least 1:3 when done in favor for you, preferably higher.
In our example, $1 million dollars in death benefit for whole life will cost us $14,000/year. As I said in the last article, this is much more expensive in premiums compared to term. To legally override the system, we need to add a 10 year term rider. A $900,000 term policy will cost about $700/year (so 20x more than whole life). By adding this term rider, we increase the death benefit to $1.9 million. This allows us to add those PUAs which turbocharge that Cash Value. How much PUAs? $45,000 of PUAs are allowed in this case
(14K premiums: 45K PUAs, or 1: 3.1), which adds another $600,000 in death benefit, giving us $2.1 million in death benefit. What does this do starting Year 1? If this was a traditional whole life policy and the premium was $60,000, you would have about $1500 in cash value. That's it. By structuring it the infinite banking way, you have access to $44,000 of cash value, or almost 75% of what you just put in. And you have a $2.1 million dollar death benefit just in case something happened to you.
In our example above, do I have to put in $60,000 every year? The answer is no, but you have the option to put in that amount. To keep this policy in force, the minimum premium one has to put in each year is $14,700 (the $14,000 for the base whole life policy plus the $700 term rider) with the ability to put in an additional $45,000 each and every year to buy those extra PUAs and turbocharge the cash value. Depending upon the company your policy is with, you may only put in the money around your anniversary date or anytime of the year.
You have a choice in terms of trying to grow this cash value. This is supposed to be a very conservative part of our overall assets. I will make it easy and make sure this is a dividend-paying whole life policy. You do not want to be tied to the stock market directly as one can be with universal life. Though I called this the fixed income side of my portfolio, this is NOT something you put at risk. The dividend grows by compound interest, not simple interest. This dividend will become so large over time that it can pay your whole life premium without you putting in another penny into the policy. In fact, with our policy, our goal is to maximize the amount of money we can put in for the first 7 years and then leave it alone and let the dividends pay the premium. The other interesting thing to note is with a traditional whole life policy, the death benefit remains the EXACT same value. With an IB policy, as the cash value grows, the death benefit grows as well, so your loved ones will actually have more money from the death benefit in case you passed prematurely.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.