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What is whole life insurance?

Whole life policies, a type of permanent insurance, combine life coverage with an investment fund. Here, you're buying a policy that pays a stated, fixed amount on your death, and part of your premium goes toward building cash value from investments made by the insurance company.

Cash value builds tax-deferred each year that you keep the policy, and you can borrow against the cash accumulation fund without being taxed. The amount you pay usually doesn't change throughout the life of the policy.

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