Which Is Better Term Or Whole Life Insurance? From Over 40 Personal Finance Experts!

Written By Licensed Agent Sa ElDecember 14, 2021

When it comes to term life vs whole life you are probably stuck on trying to decide which option to choose:

A quick search in Google and you will find several posts all with different answers on which option is best.

So, I took a different approach:

I decided to teach you the differences between term vs whole life insurance and I also asked over 40 personal finance experts and bloggers a simple question:

Term life vs Whole life, which would you choose and why?

These experts are among the top in the industry, some of them have overcome thousands in debt and others are licensed professionals.

Every day they are working towards helping you better understand the world of personal finance through detailed reviews like our Bestow Life Review

They even create "How To" posts like  How To Get Life Insurance Quotes With No Phone Calls, or how to get life insurance with no exam no waiting period.

So, should you buy term or whole life insurance?  

Well, lets learn what they are first and then get the results to the battle we've all been waiting for.

Two Primary Types Of Life Insurance

There are two primary types of life insurance that make up all of the different forms of life insurance.

They are term life insurance and permanent life insurance. 

Term life insurance is a type of life insurance that will last for a set amount of time as long as the premiums are paid. 

You will also find that term life insurance quotes are always more affordable than whole life insurance quotes.

Permanent life insurance is a type of life insurance that will last for your whole life as long as the premiums are paid.

Get An Instant Life Quote Today!

The final insurance policy premium for any policy is determined by the underwriting insurance company following the application.

Whole life insurance is the most known form of permanent life insurance.

THE SIMPLY INSURANCE WAY

Life Insurance made easy.

Agents not required.

Get quotes and sign up online without talking to an agent. But, we are here if you need us. 

Unbiased, expert advice.

Get unbiased insurance education from licensed experts and also avoid dodgy sales calls.

Coverage in minutes.

You can get life insurance coverage within minutes of getting your quotes and applying.

Is Whole Life or Term Life Insurance Better? 

The Winner Is:

Term Life Insurance

37

Term Life Votes

2

Whole Life Votes

6

Neutral Votes

The personal finance experts have given their answer and they largely prefer Term Life Insurance over Whole life when it comes to buying coverage.


And here's the thing: 


You can easily buy term life insurance online it's super easy to complete the process and have an instant approval or immediate decision..

Our Personal Finance Experts

We reached out to some of the brightest minds when it comes to personal finance, from bloggers, freelance writers, to licensed agents and financial advisors. 

Top 10 Personal Finance Experts

holly johnson

Holly 

Johnson
Writer & Personal Finance Blogger

tom drake

Tom
Drake
Financial Analyst & Finance Blogger
Read his answer

j.d. roth

J.D. 
Roth 
Writer & Personal Finance Blogger
Read his answer

andrew schrage

Andrew

Schrage
Econ. Major & Personal Finance Blogger
Read his answer

tiffany aliche

Tiffany
Aliche
America's Favorite Financial Educator
Read her answer

david carlson

David

Carlson
Millennial Personal Finance Blogger
Read his answer

michael kitces

Michael

Kitces
CFP® & Personal Finance Blogger
Read his answer

john schmoll

John

Schmoll 
Finance Blogger & Freelance Writer
Read his answer

trent hamm

Trent

Hamm
Writer & Founder of The Simple Dollar
Read his answer

tracie forbes

Tracie

Forbes
Family Finance & Lifestyle Blogger
Read her answer

holly johnson

Holly 

Johnson
Writer & Personal Finance Blogger

tom drake

Tom
Drake
Financial Analyst & Finance Blogger
Read his answer

j.d. roth

J.D. 
Roth 
Writer & Personal Finance Blogger
Read his answer

andrew schrage

Andrew

Schrage
Econ. Major & Personal Finance Blogger
Read his answer

tiffany aliche

Tiffany
Aliche
America's Favorite Financial Educator
Read her answer

david carlson

David

Carlson
Millennial Personal Finance Blogger
Read his answer

michael kitces

Michael

Kitces
CFP® & Personal Finance Blogger
Read his answer

john schmoll

John

Schmoll 
Finance Blogger & Freelance Writer
Read his answer

trent hamm

Trent

Hamm
Writer & Founder of The Simple Dollar
Read his answer

tracie forbes

Tracie

Forbes
Family Finance & Lifestyle Blogger
Read her answer

ilyce glink

Ilyce

Glink
Personal Finance & Real Estate Blogger
Read her answer

david ning

David

Ning

Personal Finance & Retirement Blogger.
 Read his answer

philip taylor

Philip

Taylor 
CPA & Personal

Finance Blogger
Read his answer

sam dogen

Sam
Dogen

Personal Finance & Lifestyle Blogger
Read his answer

frugal trader

Frugal
Trader

Personal Finance Blogger & Podcaster
Read their answer

chris huntley

Chris
Huntley

Licensed Insurance Agent & Blogger
Read his answer

joe udo

Joe
Udo

Personal Finance & Lifestyle Blogger
Read his answer

sophia bera

Sophia
Bera

CFP® & Personal Finance Blogger
Read her answer

melanie lockert

Melanie
Lockert

Personal Finance
& Debt Blogger
Read her answer

jessica moorhouse

Jessica
Moorhouse

Personal Finance Blogger & Podcaster
Read her answer

elle martinez

Elle
Martinez

Couple Finance Blogger & Podcaster
Read her answer

allison bell

Allison
Bell

Personal Finance Journalist & Blogger


Read her answer

tia chambers

Tia
Chambers

Millennial Personal Finance Blogger
Read her answer

anthony kirlew

Anthony
Kirlew

Financial Coach & Finance Blogger
Read his answer

curtis hearn

Curtis
Hearn

Personal Finance Blogger & CFP
Read his answer

brian brandow

Brian
Brandow

Personal Finance

Debt Blogger
Read his answer

gina young

Gina
Young

MBA and Personal Finance Writer
Read her answer

lance cothern

Lance
Cothern

CPA & Personal Finance Blogger
Read his answer

dan kadlec

Dan Kadlec

Personal Finance Blogger & Journalist
Read his answer

crystal stemberger

Crystal
Stemberger

Personal Finance & Lifestyle Blogger
Read her answer

jordann brown

Jordann
Brown

Millennial Personal Finance Blogger 

Read her answer

sean cooper

Sean
Cooper

Personal Finance Journalist & Author
Read his answer

kate ashford

Kate
Ashford

Personal Financial Journalist in NY
Read her answer

jim dahle

Jim
Dahle

Personal Finance Blogger & Investor
Read his answer

matt becker

Matt
Becker

Personal & Family Finance Blogger
Read his answer

eric rosenberg

Eric
Rosenberg

Personal Finance & Lifestyle Blogger 

Read his answer

aaron crowe

Aaron
Crowe

Personal Finance Freelance Writer
Read his answer

maria schepis

Maria
Ferrante-Schepis

CLU & Insurance Innovation Expert
Read her answer

teresa mears

Teresa
Mears

Personal Finance
Writer & Blogger
Read her answer

emma drew

Emma
Drew

Income & Wealth Creation Blogger
Read her answer

Yaron Ben Zvi

Yaron
Ben-Zvi

Co-Founder &

CEO of Haven Life
Read his answer

donna freedman

Donna
Freedman

Personal Finance
Writer & Author
Read her answer

barbara friedberg

Barbara
Friedberg

Personal Finance Author & Investor
Read her answer

tony steuer

Tony
Steuer

CLU, LA, CPFFE & Insurance Blogger
Read his answer

sa el

Sa
El
Co-Founder Of Simply Insurance & Blogger
Read his answer

THE SIMPLY INSURANCE WAY

Life Insurance made easy.

Agents not required.

Get quotes and sign up online without talking to an agent. But, we are here if you need us. 

Unbiased, expert advice.

Get unbiased insurance education from licensed experts and also avoid dodgy sales calls.

Coverage in minutes.

You can get life insurance coverage within minutes of getting your quotes and applying.

The Experts Discuss Term Life vs. Whole Life

Read below to review each expert's choice and advice on which life insurance option would be best: 

#1: Holly Johnson (Club Thrifty)

holly johnson

Twitter:
@ClubThrifty

Answer:

We have purchased term life insurance a few times, with the last being just a few months ago.

We prefer term life insurance because it's cheap and easy to understand.

We purchased an additional $750,000 in term life insurance coverage on me a few months ago.

I applied online with Haven Life and was approved with no medical exam that day.

The kicker? 750K in coverage for me was less than $28 per month.

The same policy would have easily cost $500 or more per month if we had purchased whole life instead.

#2: Tom Drake (Maple Money)

Answer:

When I increased my life insurance coverage a few years ago, I chose term over whole life insurance.

The policy is set up so that when the term expires, my wife and I will be able to self-insure using our own assets.

In the meantime, I avoid paying costly whole life premiums on coverage I will never need.

#3: J.D. Roth (Get Rich Slowly)

Answer:

Generally speaking, term life insurance is the best option for most families.

This isn't universally true, but it usually is.

Unless you have some very niche needs, whole life insurance probably doesn't make sense.

And remember: 

Not everyone needs life insurance.

Life insurance is actually "income insurance". It's protection against the loss of your family's primary income.

If you don't have dependents, you don't need life insurance.

If you have ample savings, you don't need life insurance.

And if you're retired (or near retirement), there are usually better options than life insurance to provide for your family.

#4: Andrew Schrage (Money Crashers)

Answer: 

There are many factors that go into answering the question of whether you should purchase term or whole life insurance.

A few of them include your age, general health level, your children's age, your debts, and the financial needs of your family (if you have one)

There are others. And in some instances, it may be advisable to purchase both types of policies.

In a nutshell, term life insurance comes with a death benefit only, and this is only paid if you pass during the term of the policy, hence its name.

It is purchased for a preset period of time, usually 10, 15, or 30 years.

It is more expensive the longer you wait to buy it, however, it is generally less expensive than whole life.

With whole life insurance, you are covered for life, it also comes with a death benefit, but also typically builds cash during its life.

A medical exam is usually required to see if you qualify and as stated, it is generally a little more expensive than term life.

To give you a few examples of which is the best route to go.

A parent who is rather young, with children and who is the primary income earner for the household might want to go with a term life insurance policy.

One that would completely take care of your family's obligations financially speaking should you pass prematurely.

If you are older, say beyond the age of 60, and your children are already grown and earning their own money.

A whole life policy might be a better bet which would cover the monetary needs of your spouse if that person lives well beyond your passing.

There are too many different scenarios to list out here.

Your best bet for making the right choice is to contact an insurance agent.

And go over all of the particulars of your personal situation to learn which type of life insurance policy is best for you.

#5: Tiffany Aliche (The Budgetnista)

Answer: 

Start with Term Insurance. It's the most affordable.

Whole life only if everything else is funded: retirement, emergency account, investments etc.

Whole Life is how the wealthy pass their wealth on generation to generation.

No Personal Info Needed - Get Quotes Instantly

The final insurance policy premium for any policy is determined by the underwriting insurance company following the application.

#6: David Carlson (Young Adult Money)

Answer: 

Term for sure.

Whole life insurance is more of an investment vehicle.

You are better off keeping insurance and investments separate.

#7: Michael Kitces (Kitces.com)

Answer: 

Buy term insurance for the death benefit coverage you need.

Use the rest of your available dollars for your other goals.

#8: John Schmoll (Frugal Rules)

john schmoll

Twitter:
@JSchmoll74

Answer: 

For most individuals, there is no real comparison between Term and Whole life coverage.

Term is by and large that best product for most individuals.

Term is the better option for a number of reasons, such as being significantly cheaper and usually allows you to get more coverage.

Term coverage will expire, thus the term, but it's the better value and the option my wife and I go with.

Many sales reps will try to convince you that Whole life coverage is the route to go but it's simply not a good fit for most individuals.

#9: Trent Hamm (The Simple Dollar)

Answer: 

I would almost always choose a term policy (I hate to say "always," but it's hard for me to find a case for whole life).

The reason is that I want control over my investments. 

Which means I don't want my investments wrapped up with my life insurance policy in a package that isn't completely transparent in terms of the benefits and returns.

Plus, even with the most optimistic "estimates," I feel much more confident about both short term and long term returns from pairing a term policy with my own investments in index funds at the same total monthly cost over all whole life policies I've seen.

#10: Tracie Forbes (Penny Pinchin Mom)

Answer: 

Term - always term.

Life insurance is not an investment tool.

Not only that, but life insurance should be used to cover expenses that may be result in your early death.

Coverage such as missed wages, mortgage, college.

It is not a tool to give your loved ones wealth.

INSURANCE WHERE YOU LIVE

Life insurance by state.

#11: Ilyce Glink (Think Glink)

ilyce glink

Twitter:
@Glink

Answer: 

Term. Because you get more coverage for less money.

#12: David Ning (Money Ning)

david ning

Twitter:
@MoneyNing

Answer: 

I prefer term life insurance because it insures what people really need.

Unexpected death causing a sudden shortfall in income.

Without adding in the complexity of the investment component of other types of life insurances.

#13: Philip Taylor (PT Money)

philip taylor

Twitter:
@ptmoney

Answer: 

I'm 41 and married with 3 young kids.

I chose term life insurance ten years ago (I bought a 20yr $500k policy).

This is best for me because I expect my kids and wife not to depend on me for income after the 20 year term.

I see whole life as a good product for people with long-term dependents (i.e. children with special needs).

#14: Sam Dogen (Financial Samurai)

Answer: 

If you are filthy rich, with cash flow coming out the wazoo, then having a whole life policy is fine, despite the fees.

Whole life is another tax efficient investment vehicle to help grow your wealth.

But for 90%+ of people who need life insurance, term life is the way to go.

Fees are much lower and you're allocating capital 100% towards a specific need.

Always review your net worth and future liabilities each year so you can properly ascertain how much term life insurance to have.

Answer: 

I'm a fan of the popular concept of buying term and investing the difference.

There are specialized cases where whole life insurance works, but the vast majority of people‎ are better off going with renewable and convertible term insurance.

The cost of whole life insurance is onerous and the investment portion of the plan typically face high fees and under perform.

No Personal Info Needed - Get Quotes Instantly

The final insurance policy premium for any policy is determined by the underwriting insurance company following the application.

#16: Chris Huntley (Insurance Blog By Chris)

Answer: 

I'm not a fan of whole life insurance as an investment.

Advisers love to point out its tax and liquidity benefits, but I think those are outweighed by the poor investment return found in most whole life policies.

Dave Ramsey said the average return of a whole life policy over 30 years is 2.6%.

I also don't like how the premiums are essentially forced.

If you stop making premium payments, the policy must take the premiums from somewhere, so it either pulls them from the cash value or creates a policy loan.

When neither are available, the policy lapses, and the owner could lose a high percentage of his/her initial investment.

Name another investment with such "forced contributions." They don't exist.

As for the tax and liquidity benefits, tell me what benefit it is tax-wise to pull out cash from an investment that hasn't appreciated.

That's the case with most whole life policies for the first 7 to 10 years.

There is no tax benefit during those years because even in a taxable account, you can pull out your money tax-free up to its basis.

I think the liquidity benefits are also overstated.

They're nice for short term loans but many people take loans to supplement their retirement income.

The problem is policy loans accrue interest, and you could end up in a situation where you have to pay the loans down, something people never consider when they view their policy as something that gives them money.

I say term is the right choice for short term coverage needs, and for the few people who need permanent protection (for example, for estate planning needs) I recommend guaranteed universal life.

Guaranteed universal life offers a fixed level premium and face value like whole life, but typically at half the cost.

The only time I recommend whole life is when purchasers are looking to cover final expense needs, or who have tough health conditions, and can only qualify for guaranteed issue whole life policies.

It's also useful in some unique business planning purposes.

#17: Joe Udo (Retire By 40)

joe udo

Twitter:
@RetireBy40

Answer: 

I choose Term life insurance because it's cheaper and easier to understand.

I want to make sure that my wife and kid won't struggle financially in case I pass away.

We only need 20 years coverage because our kid will be independent by the end of the term.

Whole life insurance might be a good fit for some people, but I'd prefer to manage my own investment.

#18: Sophia Bera CFP® (Gen Y Planning)

sophia bera

Twitter:
@sophiabera

Answer: 

I'm a huge fan of term life insurance policies because the premiums are much more affordable.

I've never seen a situation where I recommend a whole life insurance policy to a millennial.

#19: Melanie Lockert (Dear Debt)

Answer: 

I tend to think Term Life Insurance is a safer bet.

It has more flexibility and you can choose a time frame that works for you.

It's best to get life insurance when you're young and rates are more affordable.

#20: Jessica Moorhouse (Jessica Moorhouse Blog)

Answer: 

Term Life for me.

It's more affordable for young families and it gives you more flexibility in terms of changing your policy down the road.

I'm also of the belief that you should only require life insurance if you can't afford if something does happen.

For instance, a popular policy for millennials is a term life for 20 years for say $500,000. That secures you for 20 years.

Hopefully during those 20 years you've saved up enough and have enough assets that you won't need life insurance (or you can afford the higher cost of life insurance) when your term is up

#21: Elle Martinez (Couple Money)

elle martinez

Twitter:
@Elle_CM

Answer: 

We chose term life insurance because it offered the amount and type of protection we wanted at a price we could afford.

We signed up for term life in our 20s and got a great deal.

During this time, the money we saved with term instead of whole life went towards other goals like getting out of debt, building our savings, and now investing more for retirement.

We have a few policies (added them when we had kids) with either a 20 year or 30 year term.

The plan is that by the time they are over, we'll have accumulated enough assets to cover things.

#22: Allison Bell (Think Advisor)

allison bell

Twitter:
@Glink

Answer: 

I think people in a position to choose should split the difference and get both, either using a policy with a rider or two separate policies.

The term life chunk will work better if you die soon and your beneficiaries need a lot of cash fast.

In the long run, the whole life policy will be more flexible and longer lasting, and meet more needs.

#23: Tia Chambers (Financially Fit And Fab)

tia chambers

Twitter:
@finfitandfab

Answer: 

For most millennials, term life insurance is sufficient.

Term life insurance is easy to understand and inexpensive.

Then you can use the additional money that you would have spent on a more expensive whole life policy on other financial goals like investing for retirement.

#24: Anthony Kirlew (Fiscally Sound)

Answer: 

Term Life is good for having a death benefit and you can certainly purchase more insurance coverage for less money with a term policy.

Whole life can be a great product because it allows you to build cash value which you can use to borrow against to finance things that you might otherwise pay interested for (such as cars).

It also allows you to take out tax free distributions in retirement (as loans) which are paid by the death benefit.

If one is debt free and has significant financial resources (including a solid retirement fund), term life should suffice.

#25: Curtis Hearn CFP (Gratus Capital)

Answer: 

Whole life insurance is sometimes called the “Swiss army knife” of the financial world, because (supposedly) whatever you need, it can do.

If you need insurance, it has you covered. Retirement funding? It has that too. Tax deferral? Check. 

What about investment returns? It can even do that.

Unfortunately, while it’s true that Whole life can do a lot of these things, it’s not true that it does them well.

If you need life insurance, Term life can provide more coverage for a cheaper cost.

Then, if you’re also looking for investment returns, you can take the difference and invest in stock mutual funds for long term growth.

If you also need tax-deferral, there’s an alphabet soup of retirement plans out there that can provide it without the high fees associated with most Whole Life policies.

The truth is that in over a decade as a financial advisor, I’ve recommended Whole Life less than half a dozen times, and Term life probably hundreds.

Why? Because it’s very rare that you have to guarantee life insurance coverage for an entire lifetime (which is why Whole Life is called “Whole Life.”)

The vast majority of the time, you’re much better off buying term and investing the difference with the goal that by the time the term ends, you’ve saved enough to “self-insure,” and no longer need the life insurance coverage.

INSURANCE WHERE YOU LIVE

Life insurance by state.

#26: Brian Brandow (Debt Discipline)

Answer: 

I have for my family and would always advise term life.

I like to have the coverage at a low premium for a period of time typically when children are young.

The goal is always to build wealth and become self-insured, so life insurance is no longer needed.

#27: Gina Young (Money Savvy Living)

Answer: 

I recommend whole life insurance for everyone because the benefits of coverage, the building up of a cash value, and the fact that an individual is covered more than 20 or 30 years is always a plus.

However, if someone can't afford that, then I recommend a return-of-premium term insurance policy.

It costs a bit less on a monthly basis, gives the insurance benefit of lump sum coverage during the term, and if it is not needed, the policy holder gets the premiums paid in back.

So it ends up being a forced-savings account.

With either of these options, the insured's family has coverage and are building up some sort of cash value.

#28: Lance Cothern (Money Manifesto)