For most folks this is not the best route to go, but whether it's worthwhile for you depends on your particular financial picture and needs. Generally speaking, I'd only support using variable universal life (VUL) insurance as a retirement/accumulation tool if all of the following are true:
You're already contributing the maximum to your 401(k), 403(b), or other retirement plan through work.
You're already contributing the maximum to a Traditional IRA or Roth IRA (if eligible, there are both income and contribution limits).
You have a lot of surplus income/cash flow above your needs and that's likely to continue for many years. You don't want to start this savings program with healthy surplus cash flow and then have to curtail it a couple of years down the road because your income has dried up.
You're looking for additional methods to squirrel-away money on a tax-deferred or tax-free basis for retirement.
You buy one of the less expensive VUL policies that still offers a reasonable line-up of (hopefully less expensive) investment subaccounts.
The VUL policy is structured to "max-fund" the policy by making substantial regular premium payments. Just making basic payments to keep the policy in force won't achieve what this strategy is capable of.
Some advisers will add to the list that you should actually need life insurance to begin with. I'm ambivalent on that...whether or not you actually need life insurance is irrelevant to whether you may eventually benefit in retirement from the policy's accumulations. The key is to make sure you've first cared for the more advantageous opportunities noted above, then pursue this if it makes sense in your situation. What I would say is...if you do need life insurance, don't buy this more expensive VUL if your funds are limited and you'd be under-insuring yourself vs. if you bought a less expensive type of life insurance (term, for example). I hope that helps. All the best!
Larry has a good answer here. I'm not a fan of VULs because it can be difficult to make sense of the fee and return illustrations. In a nutshell, a 10% "return" here isn't exactly the type of 10% return that you would expect from a traditional investment.
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