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College Planning with IUL

indexed universal life or a 529 plan
Insurance Quotes 2 Day Team

Written By Doug Mitchell

Doug Mitchell, CLU holds a BA degree in Finance from Auburn University as well as having obtained a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from The American College in Bryn Mahr, PA.  Doug has spent close to 30 years in the insurance and financial planning industry and has held licenses to sell securities, long-term care insurance, health.  Doug is also a financial blogger addressing the topics of life insurance, annuities and retirement income planning.

Holly Mitchell  &

Holly Mitchell’s background in life insurance insurance goes back to 1985 when she worked for her father who was a New York Life agent. Holly has a marketing degree from Auburn University and has had a life insurance license since 2008. In addition to advising life insurance for customers all around the country, Holly is our website fact checker.

Rob Pinner   &

Rob Pinner is the founder and CEO of Pinner Financial Services servicing all 50 states. Rob started his insurance career in 2002.

Louis LaBash

Results-driven and innovative life insurance professional with 30 plus years of life insurance industry sales and marketing experience. Recognized as a pioneer in the field, leveraging phone and internet channels to exceed personal sales of over $100 million during the first decade of the 21st century. Creator of a highly effective intuitive IUL life insurance sales software that facilitated the sale of millions of dollars of indexed universal policies by numerous life insurance agents. Proven track record as a Managing General Agent (MGA), Life Agent, IUL Life Insurance Sales Software developer, and leading-edge creator of insurance marketing tools, educational content, and delivery systems.

 4 minute read

There are many reasons that you may plan for your death, one being the provision of an income for those that you love so that they are able to maintain their standard of life. There are different types of life insurance but typically the common goal is this death benefit protection.

Many people are surprised to learn that they can use IUL for college planning. It is the cash value accumulation feature of indexed universal life insurance that makes it a tool for funding your children’s college education.

When funded properly, an IUL policy can build up enough cash to help pay the cost of college for your children and grandchildren. Using life insurance for college savings simply makes a lot of sense.

To make it in this world, now more than ever before, it is important to have an education beyond high school, and that does not come cheap. Economic upheaval and the rising cost of living make it quite challenging for parents to put aside enough money to finance their children’s education.

It is possible to get maximum benefit by starting an indexed universal life insurance policy early to protect your family in the event of the death of a spouse. This same life insurance policy can also be used to help cover the cost of higher education. You are simply buying life insurance to pay for college.

If you didn’t know, college is expensive. In fact, it’s very expensive and getting more and more expensive every year. The average college student is going to face around $30,000 to $100,000 in debt by the time they graduate and there are a lot of students who will have much more debt than that.

If something were to happen to you, then your family could struggle to pay for those college expenses. For this reason, we recommend that families invest in life insurance for college savings so that two risks can be mitigated with one investment product.

indexed universal life for college


Again, starting early is key to any savings goal that you might have.  Accumulation of funds inside an indexed UL product for college or other major costs is a long-term strategy. 

I can’t tell you how many times clients have come to me and ask me what they can do to start an education fund for their kids who are in high school. Although not impossible, starting college saving this late really makes it difficult.

When the kids are young many of us think of a 529 plan for college.  This is great, but there are limitations. Many times we suggest that indexed universal life be considered to help in the college planning process.

Death benefit protection, diversification, annual reset, and tax-deferred growth are the 4 key features of indexed universal life for college planning.  A properly designed IUL policy can provide all 4.

Just like any great plan, you need to stick with it. While indexed universal life is not the only answer to college funding, sticking with your plan will make life much easier and enjoyable.

Some of us are thinking about how we will retire at about the same time that our children will be entering college. What better feeling is there than to know that you have financially prepared for that day by using life insurance for college savings?

Death benefit protection

The security of knowing that your loved ones will be well taken care of should you die is reason enough to buy life insurance. Many parents worry about what will become of their loved ones in case of their sudden death or the sudden death of their bread-winning spouse. This is well taken care of through indexed universal life insurance.

Diversification plus Protection from downward risk

With indexed universal life, you are able to grow your money through exposure to domestic and global markets. Indexes such as the S&P, DOW, NASDAQ, HANG SENG, and EURO STOX determine how much our how little your policy cash value will earn.

Because of a feature called annual reset, your money is protected from market downturns.  With this feature, you have no chance of losing what you have paid in premiums plus the prior interest that you have earned.

It is this cash accumulation that can be used easily for college funding. It is up to you to decide how the cash value of your indexed universal life insurance policy funds are to be used.

Tax-Deferred Growth Potential

With indexed universal life insurance, you get the benefit of building tax-deferred cash value that will be accessible to you in the future for whatever need you might have. This is a great benefit that you will not get in term life insurance.

Any premium payments that you will be making above the cost of insurance will be able to grow tax-deferred at whatever rate that the indexes you have chosen perform. This is a huge opportunity for you to accumulate wealth over time, which can be used for college, retirement or any other financial need you may have.

indexed universal life for college

How do I actually use indexed universal life insurance for college savings?

Now it is time to send the kids off to school. You have followed your plan and now have plenty saved for college. So how do you actually use indexed universal life for college?

Your funds can be accessed in a couple of ways. You can use policy loans or withdrawals.  I recommend that you would use policy loans.  Loans are not taxable and do not have to be repaid.

By using loans, your funds stay in the policy and continue to grow. In most cases, after college is over our clients are able to use this same policy to supplement their retirement income.

Again, this is income tax-free.


We hope that you will use the form to the right or call us at 1-800-712-8519 to request a quote or to ask any questions that you may have about indexed universal life and college planning.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Indexed Universal Life a good way to save for college expenses?

indexed universal life or a 529 plan

If you start early, an IUL is a great solution for accumulating the funds you’ll need plus there are important additional benefits that other saving plans do not provide.

Can I lose money using an IUL for college planning?

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Your IUL policy will contain a FLOOR rate which prevents your cash account from losing money if the market performs poorly and loses money during the creditiing period.

Do I have to pay taxes when I withdraw the money from my IUL?

There is no tax liability if you withdraw money from your account via policy loans rather than a traditional withdrawal from an IRA. This will be especially important if you use the remaining funds in your IUL during retirement.

When will I have to pay back the policy loans?

Life insurance at age 33..

It’s up to you to decide when to pay your loans back or even if you want to pay loans back at all. Any outstanding loans would be deducted from the policy’s death benefit when you pass away.

author avatar
Doug Mitchell, CLU Independant Advisor
Doug Mitchell, CLU holds a BA degree in Finance from Auburn University as well as having obtained a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) designation from The American College in Bryn Mahr, PA. Doug has spent almost 30 years in the life insurance industry and has also held licenses to sell securities, long-term care insurance and home and auto insurance. Doug is a Top of the Table Million Dollar Round Table member (MDRT).  MDRT is a global, independent association of the world's leading life insurance advisors.  For two years, Doug served as President of the Auburn Opelika Association of Financial Advisors and has been a member of the Million Dollar Round Table. He obtained Life Millionaire status at Horace Mann Insurance Company and was awarded the Life Agent of the Year Award. Later in his career with New York Life he was an Executive Council Member. Doug currently serves as President of Ogletree Financial, a managing general agency serving life insurance agents and clients in all parts of the United States. Today, Doug’s main focus is servicing 1000s of policyholders and growing the agency through the reach of