If a policyholder save $500 a month for 20 years and earn 5% per annum, the gross gain for the period will be $76,000. However, the total deduction to cover the various charges is likely to take away about 45% of this gain. This will leave a net gain of about $41,000 only. This reduces the yield to 2.8%. The reduction in yield is 2.2% (which is rather high).
A fair deduction should be about 25% of the gross gain. This will give a better return to the policyholder, about 4.1%. The reduction in yield is 0.9% (which is quite fair). This reduction is to cover the cost of life insurance, expenses and profit margin.
During the time that I headed a life insurance company, I was able to give a better return to the policyholder by keeping the expenses low and giving a larger share of the profit to the policyholders. They were able to get a better return. The reduction of yield for an endowment policy is about 1%.
Here is a rule of thumb, if you are buying a life insurance policy:
> look at the assumed yield
> look at the net yield, after deducing the charges
> calculate the reduction in yield
> if the reduction is 1% for an endowment policy or 1.5% for a whole life policy, the yield is fair.
> if the reduction in yield exceed these benchmarks, the charges are probably too high.
You can ask the insurance agents to point out these figures that should be shown in the benefit illustration for the policy.
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