Some of us has probably heard of the saying “Buy term, invest the difference” when it comes to buying insurance and considering investments. But do we really understand what this means? And if we do understand what this means, why do financial planners recommend that you buy term and invest the difference while your insurance agent is pushing you to buy their recommended product instead.
Most whole life insurance products in the market today are considered rip offs. In fact, these kinds of products have already been considered obsolete in the United States. (Term insurance refers to insurance with life coverage only, whole life on the other hand refers to term policy with an investment component. These kinds of products are usually presented as helping you “force” to save for retirement. The problem with the investment part is that they do not usually give a good rate of return) Sadly insurance agents are still selling products like these in the Philippines. What is more sad is that people still buy them because of lack of financial literacy.
In order to fully understand this, let me give you an illustration. My mother asked me if she should continue paying an insurance product that she bought for my sister. The insurance product was worth about P 400,000.00 (Philippine Peso) She already paid half of it so the balance left is P 200,000.00.
I asked her what the benefits of the insurance product were. She said that after 20 years, my sister who is still 18 years old will receive P 40,000.00 per year until she reaches the age of 65. At the age of 65 she can choose to receive P400,000.00 lump sum. If she chooses not to receive the P 400,000.00 lump sum, she can choose to continue receiving P 40,000.00 for the rest of her life. Plus she is also insured for two million pesos for the rest of her life.
I told her that we in order to determine whether she will continue paying the P200,000.00 we have to evaluate the benefits of the insurance product versus the “Buy term, invest the difference” scheme as suggested by most financial planners.
If you add the total money that my sister will be receiving, she will get a total of P1,520,000.00 at age 65, that is if she opts to get the lump sum at age 65, plus she is insured for two million pesos.
On the other hand, if we follow the buy term invest the difference scheme, if her insurance company will allow her, she will convert what she has already paid into “term insurance” which usually runs for only 20 years and then invest the P 200,000.00. If she will invest the P 200,000.00 at a vehicle of investment that gives about 10 % return per annum and also re-invest the returns of the investment taking full advantage of compounded interest at age 65 she will get a whooping P 17,639,497.05.
Now do you see the difference? What is P 1,500,000.00 vs. P 17,000,000.00+. Even if you add the insurance coverage that is only a mere P 3,500,000.00, it still cannot compare to the P 17,000,000.00.
You might ask what about insurance protection? Take note that pure term insurance is very cheap. She can just buy term insurance and renew it every 20 years.
The next thing you could probably ask, what investment vehicle would give me 10 % return per annum? Well there is and there are lots of them. You can put it in mutual funds. It does not guarantee a rate of return but historically most mutual fund companies give you more than 10 % return per annum especially if they are invested in equities. Now that the stock market is very bullish returns ranges from 40 % to more than 70 % per annum. You can even directly invest in the stock market. Even the most conservative investors in the stock market earn more than 10 % per annum.
Buy term invest the difference? It certainly does make sense!!!