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Infinite Banking: Is It a scam?

Jimmy Khan

Sep 09, 2022 17:52


On TikTok, a wealth-building technique known as "infinite banking" has gained popularity. Rapper Waka Flocka Flame has been raving about the concept for millions of people, which entails purchasing a specific kind of life insurance, called whole life insurance, and borrowing money from it over an extended period instead of taking out a traditional loan or using your savings account.

"I felt like the most stupid person in the world. Flocka claims in several of these films, "I was spending money on everything. "Man, kindly. I thought I would open insurance, add two to three million dollars, borrow from it, and reinvest it. Now, I never lose money.

What is life insurance via infinite banking?

According to the Corporate Finance Institute, using whole life insurance plans that pay dividends to increase wealth is known as "infinite banking." [1] Whole life insurance has no expiration date and builds up cash value in addition to the ordinary death benefit paid to the beneficiaries upon the insured's death. By taking out a loan against an existing policy rather than a typical bank, the intention is to boost cash flow.

The idea is straightforward—you buy a life insurance policy that makes money, then take out a loan using your own money, as Flocka and other endless banking zealots portray it. While the money in your insurance policy continues to accrue interest, you are essentially repaying yourself when you repay the loan.

Nelson Nash, an economist, popularized the phrase in his book "Becoming Your Banker" in the late 1980s. In contrast to other insurance types, like the term, which doesn't have a cash value component, whole life insurance plans do contain a cash value component that may be used as collateral for policy loans, says Nash.

But is using unlimited banking an effective way to boost cash flow? Does it also apply to you? According to experts consulted by Policygenius, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to financial planning when it comes to purchasing permanent life insurance to accumulate wealth. In actuality, the majority of individuals find it to be ineffective.

And it doesn't operate as claimed in those popular TikTok videos.

Infinite Banking: What Is It?

Suppose you've ever been given a presentation for a whole life insurance policy. In that case, you know that one of its key selling features is that policyholders may borrow money against the policy's real cash value. You may take a loan against the insurance to pay for an engagement ring, a child's college expenses, or a new automobile.

Nash asserts that a person with enough whole life insurance policies as collateral may continuously borrow money from himself. You could never borrow money from a bank again with this arrangement. Instead, you would borrow money from yourself and gradually repay it. This is how "becoming your own bank" works.

The total life insurance payment you get upon death is the infinite component of infinite banking. A person may keep borrowing against their insurance policy for the rest of their life since whole life insurance plans always payout (as long as the payments are paid). When they pass away, the beneficiary will get the insurance benefit, which they may use to fund their future.

As a result, your beneficiaries—typically your children—could now set up the same thing for themselves, creating something like a family bank.

What foundation does limitless banking have?

The Infinite Banking Concept® (IBC) is based on the idea that anybody may become their banker with the correct tools and approaches. In particular, the IBC contends that people might use whole life insurance plans as collateral rather than borrowing money from a bank.

Because whole life insurance customers have access to their policies' real cash value, this is made feasible. In other words, you may borrow money from yourself for the rest of your life using the complete life insurance policy you purchased as collateral.

As a result, people may utilize IBC to finance various assets, such as their house or their child's education fund.

The ability of policyholders to accumulate wealth while still borrowing from themselves is a crucial aspect of infinite banking. Since dividends may be earned from whole life insurance plans, the policy's cash value should increase over time.

Additionally, infinite banking aims to profit from death benefits. The fact that death benefit payments are assured is one of the main benefits of whole life insurance (that is, as long as the policyholder has paid their premiums). This implies that your life insurance policy's dependents will get your death benefit after passing. The beneficiaries may create an endless banking system for themselves, generating riches that will last for generations.

Austrian economics has had a significant effect on the Infinite Banking Concept®. IBC, according to Nash, is "Austrian economics in action." Nash was a passionate supporter of the Austrian school of economics.

It's crucial to note that whole life insurance and endless banking are two different things, and the means via which a person may obtain endless banking is whole life insurance.


What Are The Practical Requirements For Infinite Banking?

In general, when someone is betting on oneself, it works best when they have a very robust cash flow. The monthly cost of whole life insurance premiums might reach several hundred dollars (between five to fifteen times as much as term life insurance policies).

Additionally, building up cash worth in the insurance might take at least a few years, so for endless banking to work, a person has to be devoted to it.

Try to "superfund" the cash worth as much as possible without breaking the IRS's requirements for Modified Endowment Contracts. This is one of the key things to remember (MEC).

High-yield conditions are another prerequisite for endless banking. Most whole life insurance plans make conservative investments like corporate and government bonds. Because these investments now underperform inflation, policyholders are losing cash value compared to inflation.

The Big Negative: The Costly Insurance

Although it seems convenient to access a "fund" at any moment, there are always drawbacks. Insurance firms aren't providing these plans out of a sense of altruism. These insurance are being offered for them to profit, and that profit comes from you.

It's crucial to weigh the alternatives to Infinite Banking and Whole Life Insurance. The alternative, in this case, is to use a conventional bank to save money, borrow money as required, and make investments.

You should take into account the following costs if you have a full life insurance policy:

The cash value of well-structured whole life insurance does not begin to break even for 5 to 7 years. Many insurance plans are poorly constructed, and you may never make a profit...

Agent profits on these products provide insurance salespeople a tremendous incentive to sell whole-life policies, even when doing so isn't always in their client's best interests.

Even if you decide to take out a loan against your policy's cash value, the typical interest rate will still be between 4 and 8%. Your cash balance is not available to you for free.


Five aspects regarding limitless banking life insurance you should know.

You aren't borrowing money from yourself.

Regarding the idea of unlimited banking, there are a few distinct considerations. Although borrowing money from oneself may seem wonderful, whole life insurance plans don't operate that way. You're borrowing money from the insurance company and still owe interest on it. If you don't, you risk your insurance expiring or your cash worth declining even lower.

Commissions and other fees must be paid.

In some of the movies on TikTok about infinite banking, credit card debt is used as an illustration of how to utilize the cash value from your entire life insurance policy: According to the theory, it would be better to borrow money from your life insurance policy to pay off credit card debt since, after you have repaid the loan in full, including interest, the money would be reinvested in your assets.

However, that is not how borrowing against your entire life insurance policy works. The insurance company receives a portion of the interest you pay on the loan when you repay it with interest.

Additionally, a portion of your premiums is used for fees and commissions rather than your cash worth before you ever apply for a loan. According to Rick Kahler, a certified financial planner in South Dakota and the founder of Kahler Financial Group, "people don't realize commission on this stuff [the whole life policies] is 50% to 70% of the premium — there's just nothing here that is unique that you can't do yourself without the cost."

You aren't truly earning more money by maintaining expensive insurance.

Although it may seem enticing to retain a cash value life insurance policy and get profits from your insurance provider, Jose V. Sanchez, a licensed financial advisor in New Mexico who specializes in retirement wealth, defines dividends as a return on premium paid. That indicates that if you and I have [a policy] through a firm that pays dividends, we may have overpaid for it this year, and they are just returning it to us as shareholders.

You must deposit significant money into your account before applying for a loan.

You can't simply instantaneously "become your bank" by having one of these policies, as the idea of endless banking indicates, unless you're like Waka Flocka and have $2 million or $3 million lying around to put into a whole life insurance policy at once.

Before being able to borrow money against your policy, you must first build up a sizeable cash value, which takes time. According to Sanchez, the crucial aspect of life insurance is that the commission is often paid out for the first five to ten years, making it difficult for a policy to start gaining pace and increasing in value before then.

According to Patrick Hanzel, a licensed financial advisor and the Advanced Planning Manager at Policygenius, life insurance cash value should be compared to home equity. Hanzel says, "Your cash worth (equity) in a whole life insurance policy begins at zero and develops over time, similar to equity accumulating in a house when you make mortgage payments." "Infinite banking is not a way to get wealthy overnight."

You're purchasing one of the priciest insurance available.

Most individuals find whole life insurance prohibitive since it is five to fifteen times more costly than alternatives like term life insurance, particularly those young and in the early stages of their careers.

You would be obligated to pay a monthly premium of several hundred dollars for the following 10 to 15 years, if not longer, to benefit from a whole life coverage. Why? Because your insurance will expire if you cease paying payments on it, this introduces an element of risk absent from other tax-favorable accounts.

You may contribute $6,000 this year and $6,000 the next year to a Roth IRA [individual retirement account] when you consider supporting other wealth accumulation vehicles, for example. But if anything goes wrong or you lose your job, you may decide not to finance it, and your savings will still grow, according to Sanchez. You have to commit to a permanent policy for the long term. To ensure that you won't face financial difficulties, you must have a variety of revenue sources. That's a hazardous assumption for a lot of individuals.

What choices do you have if you wish to include life insurance in your financial plan but are still in your twenties?

The most crucial step is to first determine your insurance requirements.

Take a look at your financial commitments. Have you had a partner, kids, or a mortgage? According to Sanchez, most young families with mortgages or school debts may get coverage utilizing a low-cost, high-value policy. The option is provided by term life insurance, and it protects you throughout the critical period when you need financial security.

Invest the difference in other tax-advantageous accounts instead of paying higher premiums. The knowledge that you may continue to pay for your insurance coverage for as long as you need it to safeguard your family and other commitments will give you peace of mind.

"I would recommend contributing to [your] own 401(k)," says CFP Kahler if your objective is to accumulate money. If your company has configured your 401(k) plan to permit it, you may borrow money from most of them. Putting money into your retirement can accelerate wealth accumulation.

Sanchez holds similar views: He claims there is a great potential to completely fund your 401(k), particularly in your early years. "It's amazing if you're young and can fill your Roth IRA at the 10% tax rate. We're simply so used to the advantages of tax-deferred accounts now. Even if they lack excitement, they are nonetheless valuable.

Whole life insurance may be advantageous to some individuals.

Whole life insurance is often helpful when you already have riches that you need to safeguard. According to Sanchez, "some permanent plans do a terrific job at meeting the need, keeping cash value low, and keeping cost low" if you're thinking about what you want out of a policy and have longer-term requirements, more than 20 or 30 years.

There are benefits to living a full life. A whole life insurance policy can be a useful addition to your plan if you're trying to reduce your inheritance tax, are already making the most of your 401(k) and Roth IRA contributions, have long-term dependents, or any of the above. According to Hanzel, whole life insurance and wealth-building techniques like infinite banking are never intended to be the only answer for a comprehensive financial strategy.

However, alternative investing techniques may be a better and less hazardous match for most individuals, particularly those just starting their careers or families. Kahler states, "Cash value life insurance is for extremely few individuals or nearly no one." "In most situations, acquiring term [life insurance] will benefit the young family that needs a lot of insurance. Not investing in it. It's insurance, and it costs money.

Where can you get additional information about financial tactics?

While TikTok and other social media platforms are changing how individuals typically get financial advice, conducting your research and carefully considering your financial requirements and objectives is still crucial.

More information is available on social media and more opportunities to obtain it. According to Sanchez, every product, including infinite banking, operates on some level. Because items vary on a weekly and monthly basis, the agents who sell them are the ones who know this tool the best.

You should talk with a financial counselor to ensure you have a sound and complete financial strategy. You can make an informed choice about the kind of insurance best for you by speaking with an insurance expert. Independent brokers like Top1Markets are an excellent place to start if you want impartial guidance.