Whole life Insurance as an asset class

What is participating whole life insurance?

A participating whole life insurance policy is an asset accumulation, estate, and retirement planning vehicle. It is designed to enhance the cash value in a long-term dividend interest rate earning asset class while providing guaranteed cash value and permanent life insurance. This policy is currently classified by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as a tax-exempt life insurance policy for taxation purposes and we assume that the current Income Tax rules regarding life insurance will remain the same. In Canada, the opportunity to earn policyholder dividends is unique to participating policies where the policyholders share in the experience of the pool of life insurance policies through the payment of policyholder dividends.There are six reasons physicians use participating whole life as an asset class.
  • Tax-free growth. Similar to an RSP, money inside a whole life policy is deemed by Revenue Canada to be tax-exempt and grows tax free.
  • Performance. Dividends are guaranteed to be paid and the increased annual cash values and death benefits are guaranteed. The current dividend interest rate is 6.25% with some carriers.
  • Asset allocation. Sun life is the third largest debt provider in North American investing in Hospitals, Bridges and Roads making its asset allocation conservative with a history of strong performance in a participating insurance policy which means by law, the insurer must return 97.5% of the profit of the insurance portfolio to its policy holders (you).
  • Diversification. Perhaps most important is the fact that the traditional investment portfolio of stocks and bonds is no longer working and whole life is an alternative asset class.
  • Guarantees. Each and every year as you get a policy statement these values are guaranteed. This means at the current dividend rate, unlike regular investments that fluctuate year by year, every year as your dividends are paid in, values are vested and guaranteed never to go down.
  • Death tax. Most incorporated physicians do not realize that at the time of their death over 70% of their estate may disappear to death tax (tax on the shares of their corporation, tax on the investment gains inside the corporation and tax on the dividends being paid to their heirs). Participating whole life insurance is permanent life insurance and can help pay off your tax liability.
The above is an overview for general purposes only and is not to be relied upon for definitive legal, tax or financial planning advice. Professionals interested in exploring these opportunities should consult with their legal or tax advisor to discuss their specific needs and circumstances. E&OE.
June, 2019


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