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TIAA-CREF - Life Insurance

About Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF)

For over 80 years TIAA-CREF has been providing benefits for the education and nonprofit research communities, earning a reputation for high-quality, low-cost financial products, as well as responsive service, disciplined investment management, and unrivaled professional integrity.

And today TIAA-CREF are doing even more. While continuing to provide retirement plans, TDAs, and individual insurance to educators across the country, TIAA-CREF are steadily expanding their menu of products and services and offering more and more of them to people in all walks of life. TIAA-CREF's individual and group life insurance, group disability insurance, and long-term care insurance are available not only to people in higher education and research, but also to K-12 teachers and their families. IRAs are open to spouses of people in education and research. And TIAA-CREF's mutual funds, mutual funds IRAs, tuition savings programs, and trust services are available to the public at large.

With more than $290 billion in assets under management, TIAA-CREF, headquartered in New York City, is a leading financial services organization, a major institutional investor, and the world's largest retirement system. TIAA is the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association, one of only three U.S. firms to hold triple-A ratings from all four major independent analysts of the insurance industry. CREF is the College Retirement Equities Fund, an open-end, diversified management company registered with the federal Securities Exchange Commission.


TIAA-CREF Why Life Insurance?

Most financial experts consider life insurance the foundation of financial planning. Life insurance offers a unique combination of benefits not available from other products--benefits that can serve a variety of purposes. Before learning about the two basic categories of life insurance policies -- permanent and term -- it's helpful to review some of the most common needs that life insurance can help address:

Income replacement
What's your most valuable single asset? Your home? Your investments? Actually, if you're like most people your most precious asset is your earning power. Current income is the cornerstone for your family's lifestyle, the basis for your financial security now and in the years to come.

But what would happen if your earning power were taken away...if you were no longer there to provide for your family? Could they keep up their standard of living? Could they afford to keep living in your home? What would happen to the hopes and dreams you've shared?

Life insurance is the best way to protect loved ones from the sudden loss of a breadwinner's earnings. It can help guard the financial stability of your household and help your family hold on to what you've worked so hard to provide.

Retirement and estate planning
Life insurance can help supplement retirement income and/or ensure its continuation to your spouse after your death. Cash values accumulated in permanent life insurance policies may become sizable over time and provide the flexibility for realizing additional income later in life. And policy proceeds can be used by a surviving spouse to generate or augment retirement income.

Preparing your estate to pay for final expenses can be another important element of life insurance planning. Such expenses can include outstanding debts, the costs of estate disposition and transfer of assets to heirs, medical expenses not covered by insurance, burial costs, and more. Your estate may also face federal and state income and other tax liabilities. Life insurance proceeds can provide a high degree of liquidity, making it easier to preserve capital and avoid the hasty or forced sale of assets to meet a family's need for immediate cash.

Charitable giving
Life insurance is often used as part of a plan to make significant gifts to favorite charities or other institutions (universities, museums, religious institutions, etc.) In some cases you can use life insurance policies to make direct gifts. In others, life insurance ensures asset replacement for an estate that has made a significant gift (for example, art, securities, or real estate) so that the family's own legacy isn't diminished by the amount of the donor's gift.

Business planning
Many business situations call for life insurance. The most common involve planning for business continuation. Individuals with an interest in a partnership or other closely held business often find insurance can provide the liquidity needed by a surviving spouse or heirs of a partner, principal, or stockholder without undercutting the viability of the business. Similarly, in a family business life insurance proceeds can facilitate the transfer of ownership from one generation to the next.


TIAA-CREF Permanent vs. Term Life Insurance

Permanent insurance, such as universal life and ordinary (whole-life) coverage, includes both income protection in the form of death benefits and a savings (cash-value) element. Because of the savings element, premiums do tend to be significantly higher than for term insurance. But the cash value that accrues can grow on a tax-deferred basis and become substantial over time.

Term life insurance is protection in its purest form. You buy coverage at comparatively low cost for a specific period (the "term") directly related to your needs. Although premiums for most term policies increase with age or at the end of each renewal period, term insurance usually provides the highest amount of coverage for each premium dollar.

Let's look at how permanent and term life insurance are similar to "buying" and "renting" a home and the key features of each.

Buying vs. Renting

Permanent and term life insurance are often compared to buying or renting a home.

When you buy your own home, you satisfy a long-term need with a long-term solution. While your monthly cost may be higher than rent, your mortgage payments build equity over time. Likewise, permanent life insurance helps you to satisfy a long-term death benefit need with a long-term solution. And also like with a home purchase, while the monthly premium for a permanent policy will generally be higher than that for term, the premiums also help to build cash value that can be accessed in the future.

Alternatively, term insurance is like renting. It's appropriate for when you have a short-term or temporary protection need or limited resources to pay for coverage. Like renting, monthly costs are usually lower. However, costs increase with age -- so buying or renewing a term policy as you get older will result in higher premiums. And like a lease, there won't be any equity (cash value) in the policy at the end of the coverage period. Often, just like renters who save before they can buy, individuals who need insurance protection but have limited resources buy term coverage and later switch to permanent protection. (This is called converting the policy.)

 

 

 

730 Third Avenue,
New York,
NY 10017-3206

http://www.tiaa-cref.org

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