Cash Value Life Insurance for Education Savings

How can cash value life insurance be used to fund your child's college education?

The purpose of life insurance is to provide a sum of money (the death benefit) at the death of the insured. When you use life insurance as part of your college-funding plan, you can provide funding for your child's college education in two ways. The first and perhaps obvious use is the death benefit, which can be used to pay for your child's college education should you die prematurely. Statistically speaking, you probably will be alive to see your child through college, in which case you can still use life insurance as part of your education-funding plan. When you choose a cash value life insurance policy, you have a second way of reaching your college-funding goal. When you pay premiums on a cash value policy, some of your money is applied towards the policy cash value, making it sort of a savings account within the life insurance policy. Cash values accumulate and can be used during your lifetime via withdrawals and/or policy loans. This discussion assumes that you will live beyond the time your child enters college, and it will focus on the potential benefits of using cash value life insurance in your plan for funding your child's college tuition.

When can it be used?

You have a need for insurance

Life insurance can be an important tool in your savings plan for your child's college education. However, it is not appropriate that you buy life insurance solely for funding college tuition. You should only consider life insurance for this purpose when you also have a need for life insurance protection. Need is determined by several factors. If you work and produce an income that your family depends on, there is likely an insurance need. Even if you don't work outside the home but are responsible for the care of your children, there may be an insurance need. The worksheet How Much Insurance Do You Need? will give you a guideline to help you and your financial planner determine appropriate levels of life insurance coverage.

Tip: If you already have insurance, review your existing coverage every few years. Changes in your life (such as salary increases, marriage or divorce, the birth or adoption of a child, or purchase of a residence) may indicate a need for a change in coverage.

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