What’s the difference between Whole Life and Universal Life?

Whole Life and Universal Life can be made to operate with exactly the same result or with much different outcomes.  Whole Life is a fixed product with fixed assumptions.  It operates in the insurance realm much like a fixed-interest mortgage operates in real estate.  You know the premium—and as long as the premium is paid as due, you also know the exact outcome, (death benefit, cash values, loan values) for the policy at any time in the future.  Universal Life can operate in the same way, but also gives you the ability to ‘not pay’ or to ‘pay less’ than billed.  Sure, that affects the accumulation and you may be hurting the reason you purchased the policy in the first place, but it sure gives you a bunch more flexibility in times when it may be difficult to make that ‘fixed’ payment.  Universal Life will stay in force so long as there is a minimal amount of equity left in the accumulation account.