Retirement Read Time: 4 min

Supplementing retirement income with whole life

Retirement your way. That’s what whole life insurance can offer you — a versatile and flexible financial vehicle to help provide for your loved ones while possibly supplementing your retirement income along the way.

None of us know how long we’ll live, and that uncertainty can make planning for retirement difficult. You don’t want to take a pay cut or reduce your lifestyle during your retirement years, but traditional retirement vehicles can constrain your income level. Some of these vehicles impose annual contribution limits, or restrictions on when or how much you can access without incurring a penalty.

Whole life insurance spans your lifetime, so it can help eliminate some of the guesswork around protecting loved ones while maintaining a place to tap into funds to supplement your retirement income.1 Whether your retirement looms in the distant horizon or in the near future, whole life allows you to take the long view, providing you with a built-in cash value that you can tap into if and when you need it.2 

Whole life isn’t just a valuable death benefit for you and your loved ones. It can also provide a valuable “living” benefit for your retirement life. The cash value in a whole life policy can do more than cover emergencies. Unlike some financial vehicles that place restrictions on withdrawals, you can withdraw money from a whole life policy at any age, for any reason, without penalty, as long as there is sufficient cash value accrued in the policy. Whether you use it to help downsize your home, or to offset medical expenses, the choice is yours.

Additionally, whole life policies don’t have a maximum contribution limit. You choose your contribution limit based on your individual retirement needs, wants, and policy size. Used in combination with other retirement assets, such as 401Ks, IRAs, and annuities, whole life can contribute to building a comfortable retirement portfolio, all while offering the additional benefits of tax-deferred growth.Additionally, it’s not considered part of the Social Security taxation formula.

Plus, if you don’t want or need to access your whole life cash value, you can live through your retirement years in confidence — spending down other retirement assets knowing you can still leave a legacy to your loved ones through your policy’s guaranteed death benefit.

Tackle retirement income uncertainty

Whole life can assist you in bridging the gap you may face when it comes to protecting retirement income. Consider these financial realities:

  • Social Security pays an average of 40% (for medium earners) of what retirees made during their working years.4
  • It’s estimated there are only enough Social Security funds to pay 80% of scheduled payments after 2035. 5
  • Chances are you’ll spend 20 years in retirement, the length of time for the average American.6
  • You may want to consider saving for at least 25 years of retirement at your desired percent of salary, be it 75%, 85% or even 100%, based on your retirement plans.

Protect your retirement vision

Saving for retirement requires a careful balance between assets and protection. Whole life policies can offer both, helping you live the retirement you’ve always envisioned. Incorporating whole life into your retirement portfolio now will help prepare you for whatever the future holds.


1 Policy benefits are reduced by any outstanding loan or loan interest and/or withdrawals. Dividends, if any, are affected by policy loans and loan interest. Withdrawals above the cost basis may result in taxable ordinary income. If the policy lapses, or is surrendered, any outstanding loans considered gain in the policy may be subject to ordinary income taxes. If the policy is a Modified Endowment Contract (MEC), loans are treated like withdrawals, but as gain first, subject to ordinary income taxes. If the policy owner is under 59 ½, any taxable withdrawal may also be subject to a 10% federal tax penalty.

2 Some whole life polices do not have cash values in the first two years of the policy and don’t pay a dividend until the policy’s third year. Talk to your financial representative and refer to your individual whole life policy illustration for more information.

3 Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents and employees do not provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. Consult your tax, legal, or accounting professional regarding your individual situation.

4 U.S. Social Security Administration, Social Security: Understanding the Benefits, January, 2020, Publication No. 05-10024




This material is intended for general public use to potentially assist you in planning for your future. By providing this material, Guardian/Park Avenue Securities is not undertaking to provide investment advice for any specific individual or situation, or to otherwise act in a fiduciary capacity.

Guardian and its affiliates, subsidiaries, employees, agents, and outside contributors, are not authorized to provide legal, tax, or investment advice in the materials of this website including but not limited to any blogs. The information provided does not constitute a solicitation of an offer to buy or an offer to sell financial or insurance products. Individual situations can vary; please contact a financial professional, your tax, investment or legal advisor for guidance and information specific to your situation. Guardian is not responsible for the consequences of any decisions or actions taken in reliance upon or as a result of the information provided by this material. To learn more about Guardian, visit .

Brought to you by The Guardian Network © 2018, 2022. The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America®, New York, NY

2022-142466 Exp. 08/24

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