Permanent life insurance policies offer clients important financial living benefits, yet only 22 percent of Americans own one, according to Northwestern Mutual's 2014 Planning and Progress Study.

As long as the loan premiums are paid, there are several advantages to permanent life insurance, says David Simbro, senior vice president, Northwestern Mutual.

The cash value of a permanent life insurance policy never declines and is guaranteed to continue increasing over time, tax-deferred.

In addition, policy-owners can leverage the value of the policy to pay for college, fund a business, or address any unexpected financial needs.

Policy owners can also access the cash value by taking a loan or by selling – cashing in – the policy to supplement retirement income.

Simbro encourages people to meet with a financial advisor to explore the role permanent life insurance can play in their overall financial planning strategy.

"Permanent life insurance is the proverbial Swiss army knife of financial solutions because it can be used to tackle any financial challenge, from leaving a legacy to dealing with a medical emergency," said Simbro.