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Buy term and invest the difference is something you have probably heard before, or perhaps it has even been offered to you by a friend or colleague. But what exactly is this concept? Is it even a wise investment option?

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A Short Definition:

Are You Covered? - Term Life Insurance for Seniors

Buying term and investing the difference means you will use an amount equivalent to what it will cost to purchase a permanent life insurance plan and then compare this to the expense of a term policy for a similar face amount covering the required period. In the following example, a whole life policy will be used as an example of permanent life insurance.

It will show you how term insurance is less costly than whole life insurance, so you invest that difference elsewhere. In other words, you’ll settle for a cheaper term insurance policy and invest money you would otherwise spend on a whole-life policy. This can be a great investment plan for seniors who purchase life coverage today.

How the Policy of Investing the Difference Works:

If you’re a non-smoking, 40 year old American in relatively good health, a $250,000 whole life insurance policy should cost around $347 monthly. In 20 years’ time the cash value guaranteed is about $70,000, but factoring in the present values, that can be raised to a little over $105,000.

That sounds good, but compare it with the cost of a $250,000 term policy that runs for 20 years. Employing the parameters mentioned above, the monthly due will start at $23: that’s a difference of $324 monthly, and if you invest the $324 you save every month for 20 years with an annual return of 8%, the total will be $190,800, give or take a few dollars.

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This is just an example of how this policy saves you money and helps you make money down the line. Rather than paying for insurance premiums, you can invest cash in a retirement account. If the contribution has been maxed, you can save it in a non-qualified investment account.

Better Returns in the Long Run?

Return of Investment in Life Insurance

Given the daily fluctuations in the stock market, it might seem frightening for those who haven’t invested before. There’s no question the market is volatile, but this is usually in the short term, and if your investment horizon is for the long term (15 to 20 years), you can expect good returns.

A typical whole life insurance policy returns 3% to 5% regularly, whereas the historical records show the stock market provides an average return of 12% or better.

The benefits of getting a term policy and investing the difference are still better, even if you factor in the taxes. There are a lot of different tax brackets true, but if you crunch the numbers and compare the results, it’s clear that tax savings cannot compensate for the lower yields that a whole life insurance policy offers when ranged against equities. Indeed, there’s no guarantee of positive returns from a whole life insurance policy, as it could come up in the 10th year.

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Whole Life and Term Policy Compared:

To illustrate the difference in investing the difference insurance and whole life insurance, consider a scenario where a healthy 35-year-old male supports a 30-year term policy with a $400 premium, and another 35-year-old male invests in whole life insurance with a premium costing $4000 annually.

Under this scenario, the difference between the two policies is $3600, and the man with the term policy invests the amount in a retirement account or another investment fund. Using the figures quoted above, the 35-year-old man invested in the $4,000 premium whole life insurance policy will earn 4.77%, whereas the term policy investment returns, on average, 10%.

The example above shows how much of a difference it makes if you invest the difference in premium. Under the scenario outlined, the $3600 is placed in a retirement account and grows tax-deferred. Assuming the investment is a non-qualified account, the term insurance will still provide higher returns.

Here, the 35-year-old man who purchased the 30-year term policy will own life insurance until he reaches the age of 65, the usual retirement age.

Where to Invest?

All the information has made it clear that buying inexpensive term insurance rather than a whole life insurance policy makes more financial sense. Whether looking at the short term or long term, a whole life policy doesn’t provide as many benefits, but the key here is to invest wisely. So, let’s find out some investment opportunities for buy term invest the difference method.

This is important:

Important Strategies and Investing Opportunities with Term Life Insurance

There are many options available such as bonds, stocks, and mutual funds, and you have to research each one and consider your risk tolerance and long-term goals. Remember that these assets provide different returns, market conditions vary, and the time you redeem will be important.

Some people will tell you that there are a lot of risks involved with investing, but that’s true only if you don’t plan. Furthermore, there are investment instruments for those who are averse to risk, such as Certificates of Deposit (CDs). The FDIC covers these and pay a fixed interest rate regardless of what happens to the economy.

But if you’re willing to deal with short-term volatility, you can put your money in the equities market, and as the examples show, the potential returns are much higher. Rather than spend all that money on insurance premiums, it’s better to invest it and make more by the time you reach your retirement age, which is the ultimate goal.

You can use our free insurance quotes if you want to buy term and invest the difference.


Meet Aaron H., a senior life insurance agent from California with 15+ years of experience. With a major in finance, excellent analytical and communication skills, and a passion for helping clients find personalized solutions, Aaron is a trusted advisor in the industry. He stays up-to-date on the latest trends and developments by attending webinars and workshops, reading industry blogs, and writing informative blog posts on this website. Aaron also has a keen understanding of SEO and online marketing, which he uses to help his clients reach a wider audience and get the coverage they need. He cherishes spending quality time with his wife, two children, and elder parents.