The death benefit is just what it implies: you die, and the company pays your beneficiary(ies) a guaranteed tax-free death benefit. “Face amount” is just another term for death benefit.
With a properly structured Whole Life policy, the death benefit amount increases every year through the policy dividends and Additional Deposits that purchase Paid-Up Additions over time. Having a constantly growing death benefit provides a hedge against inflation, which in turn helps protect your standard of living (travel, top-notch medical care, schooling, etc…).
You’ll want your death benefit to be increasing at a faster pace than inflation to build wealth and adapt to a potentially growing need for capital during your lifetime.
It is this increasing death benefit amount that drives the increases in your cash value. The death benefit amount on any policy anniversary indicates the potential cash values at age 100, should you live long enough. In this way, the death benefit indicates the potential of your Whole Life insurance policy as a savings vehicle.
Your cash value will always equal your death benefit by age 100, hence if your death benefit keeps growing every year, it forces your cash value to keep growing at an accelerating pace to ensure that the two values equal each other by age 100. Of course, if you don’t live to age 100 to see your cash value equal your death benefit, that amount still gets paid to your family since the primary purpose of a life insurance policy is to provide financial help to your beneficiary(ies).
Note: If you die within the first two years of setting up your life insurance policy, the insurance company reserves the right to ensure all of the information that you provided was indeed true and that the contract was properly put in place. After these initial two years, the policy becomes incontestable (assuming that all the information you provided was truthful to the best of your ability). Attempts to defraud the insurance company are not subject to the two year incontestability period.