Life insurance seems simple enough: if you die, your surviving loved ones get a big chunk of money so they don't suffer financially from your loss. But different kinds of life insurance have their unique advantages: term insurance is inexpensive, and a great hedge against temporary financial obligations, like a mortgage, car payments and tuition. But after the term expires, it goes away. Permanent insurance lasts until the day you die, no matter how old you get. The premiums cost a bit more, but the bulk of the premium is saved in a retirement account, so the policy can be withdrawn or borrowed against at any time. And the growth is tax free. Most people's situations require a combination of term and permanent insurance.