Protection Products

Diversifying Tax Brackets


Protection

When it comes to planning for retirement, it’s widely accepted practice to diversify your clients’ portfolios. To mitigate risk, investments should come from various sectors of the economy and include different types of income vehicles. 

But what happens IN retirement? Have you looked at diversifying your clients’ tax brackets as well? As they take income, they could take a hit with income taxes. Cash value life insurance is an option to help clients reduce their debt to the IRS. 

First and foremost, cash value life insurance provides invaluable income protection during your clients’ working years, just as term insurance does – but if structured properly, the protection lasts forever. In retirement, when it’s time to start taking income, your client can take withdrawals from their cash-value policy and then loans – all income tax free with proper planning. 

The power comes when you think about filling up their lower tax brackets with mandatory income, such as Social Security, pensions, required minimum distributions, etc., then in years when they need more money, they can use the cash value life insurance to avoid triggering higher tax brackets. 

Here’s an example to help explain what I mean:

  • 45-year-old male, preferred underwriting status
  • AXA BrightLife® Grow Indexed Universal Life contract with $500,000 death benefit
  • Annual premium of $8,465 would generate 20 years of income at $21,153 starting at age 66 (based on the BrightLife® Grow at default of 6 percent)
  • Assumes tax calculations made in 2014, filing jointly
  • TAX SAVINGS: $6,730 (40 percent)

 

 

Social Security, Pension, RMDs, other Taxable Income

Taxable Income OR Cash Value Life Insurance, Roth IRAs and Municipal Bond Interest

Total

First $18,150

Next $55,650

Next $26,200

$100,000

Without Life Insurance Planning

Tax Rate

10%

15%

25%

 

Taxes Due

$1,815

$8,348

$6,550

$16,713

With Life Insurance Planning

Tax Rate

10%

15%

0%

 

Taxes Due

$1,815

$8,348

$0

$9,983

 

Put it in Practice: Diversifying your clients’ assets during retirement could help them reduce their tax bills – and anxiety. Think of some clients who could benefit from this strategy:

  • Clients who have maxed out their 401(k)s or can’t qualify for Roth IRA 
    • Life Insurance can act as a Roth IRA Alternative or Supplement
  • Clients of average means who have expressed concerns about retirement
    • May have seen their parents, co-workers or neighbors struggle
  • High net worth or high earners
    • Many clients with assets over $2 million or incomes over $500,000 are subject to new taxes and don’t need all their assets or income today
    • They may have a retirement need

 

As part of the Ash Advanced Markets team, Matt Bowden’s main goal is to provide advisors with the most comprehensive selling ideas and world-class service to help grow their business. Matt has worked with Ash Brokerage for more than seven years, helping to create individual and business case designs and concepts. 

Living Benefits are ‘Not Your Father’s Life Insurance’


Protection

In the 1980s, the now-defunct car manufacturer Oldsmobile ran a marketing campaign with the slogan, “Not your father’s Oldsmobile.” They were trying to overcome the stigma that their cars were slow, boring and, well, old … They wanted customers to view their brand as sporty and fun, with vehicles that had modern features and amenities. 

Do you see the eerie parallel with life insurance? Our work is not defunct, but many people view it as boring and expensive. The phrase “necessary evil” is often tossed around … who wants to buy that? 

The trouble is, the stigma is false. You see, today’s products are “not your father’s life insurance.” Anymore, it’s not about death benefits, but living benefits, too. Modern products can provide access to cash, disability protection, or even long-term care coverage. 

So what can your clients do with an old “jalopy” life insurance policy? Well, you could possibly help turn it into a new, modern vehicle for getting them where they want to be. 

Every year, Ash Brokerage reviews existing life insurance coverage for more than 1,000 clients using our Life Insurance Portfolio Analysis (LIPA). It’s no exaggeration to say that we’ve seen almost everything this industry has to offer, in all shapes and sizes. 

No matter how many cases we work on, most people are still surprised to learn they can take their existing life insurance policy and exchange it for another with comparable or higher death benefits, while providing long-term care coverage as well. Or that they could create guaranteed, monthly income with a smaller amount of life insurance.

Put it in Practice: Your clients’ old life insurance policies may be classic, but likely not fitting their modern needs. Take LIPA out for a spin and help them discover the living benefits of today’s products. 

 

As manager of the Life Insurance Portfolio Analysis team at Ash Brokerage, Sam Rocke enjoys working on complex cases that require creative solutions. His goal is to not only promote and manage the unique process to ensure clients have the best possible protection, but also to present the planning strategies and concepts in a concise format that’s easy to understand. 

Preparing for a Tax-Efficient Retirement


Protection

When asked to consider their financial assets, most people immediately think about their home, vehicle, 401(k), IRA and other financial holdings. While all these items are certainly important, one of the most important assets in your client’s portfolio is one they don’t usually consider: life insurance. In fact, life insurance may be one of the most valuable assets they own. As a fundamental component of a sound financial plan, a policy is capable of providing benefits other assets cannot.

To get the most value from their investment dollars, there are things you can do today to help protect your client’s retirement income. Retirement portfolios today are most likely a combination of:

  1. Tax-deferred contributions – pre-tax dollars in IRAs and 401(k)s
  2. Taxable investments – stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other investments
  3. Tax-advantaged investments – municipal bonds or Roth IRAs

However, by diversifying in life insurance, you can help protect your client’s savings and gain the following advantages:

  1. Income-tax-free death benefit for beneficiaries
  2. Tax-deferred growth
  3. No retirement contribution limits
  4. No early withdrawal penalties before age 59 ½ 
  5. Tax-advantaged source of retirement income
  6. No required minimum distributions

Life insurance offers a financial safety net when needed and offsets the impact of estate taxes upon your client’s death, guaranteeing surviving family members have what they need to live comfortably and achieve their goals. When they get ready to retire, they have multiple options for accessing the cash value they’ve built up over decades:

  1. Cash in the policy, converting it to guaranteed lifetime income
  2. Keep a portion of the death benefit and access some of the cash value
  3. Continue the policy to protect your family and leave a legacy

 

Put it in Practice

With the unique benefits of accumulation, tax efficiency and financial flexibility – in addition to the death benefit – permanent life insurance can be a strong addition to your client’s balance sheet and a foundation for their financial security.

 

Matt Erpelding and the Advanced Markets team take on complex business and estate planning cases, using techniques and strategies that are individualized for the clients’ needs. Matt designs custom proposals to simplify what are sometimes very difficult sales strategies. In addition to being a Chartered Life Underwriter® and Chartered Financial Consultant®, he plans to obtain his law degree in the near future. 

Planning for the future… What does that mean to you?


Protection

I don’t know about you, but my life revolves around planning. 

As parents, we plan for our child’s future in education, health and sports. We plan for college, marriage and eventually grandchildren. We hold on to things in preparation for the future. 

As working adults, we plan for retirement, save for the future, build HSA accounts for future medical expenses, and we even plan for death. We create safety nets for unforeseen catastrophes and in turn, create financial security for our loved ones. 

One thing we often neglect to think about: What is going to happen to us when we can no longer take care of ourselves? What will happen if a medical emergency, or simply age, prevents us from living independently? 

Of course, none of us believes we will be in the position to need such planning. The fact is, however, the majority of us will need some sort of care, regardless of the circumstances, at some point in our lives. Along with this knowledge, the trend of extended families living in one home has declined. We can’t always count on children to take care of their parents or other relatives. What option does this leave, but to move dependent loved ones into nursing homes, or to hire in-home care services? 

Long-term care insurance is a vitally important resource everyone should have in their financial safety net. It will provide money toward your care at a nursing home, or even pay for someone to come into your home and help with your care. We all know someone who has stayed in a nursing home. It is a great expense to one’s family. Why not make it easier on your loved ones, and already have a plan in place? 

Bottom Line: Life is all about plans. Make sure yours are complete. 

Meghan Cormany’s focus within the Disability Marketing team is to find available coverage for tricky medical cases. She has worked exclusively with Ash’s Disability Marketing Team for more than seven years, so she brings experience and knowledge of individual and business-related disability products and case design, along with medical underwriting with our carriers. 

LTCAM LTC Awareness Month Planning

Be an Educator, NOT a Promoter


Protection

So, November is here, and we all know what that means, right? No, not Thanksgiving, and not the beginning of Christmas music being played on the radio. November is Long-Term Care Awareness Month. It’s also Alzheimer’s awareness month. 

Unfortunately, our industry has turned November into Long-Term Care Insurance month. Think about it for a minute. More information is passed around about LTC insurance than about educating clients on the importance of planning for an LTC event. That’s not what this month is for!

This November, I challenge you to be an educator instead of a promoter

Let’s take it one step – or even a large leap – further. With the baby boomers turning 69 at an astounding rate of 10,000 per day, we shouldn’t just talk about the importance of LTC planning for a month. Instead, we need to make each day LTC awareness day. With every sunrise, make it a goal to talk to clients about planning, not just coverage. Because awareness isn’t about trying to make a sale; it’s about protecting families and legacies.  

Join me in making the commitment to have the discussion each and every day. These conversations may not be the most comfortable, but they are necessary if you’re truly looking out for your clients’ best interests. If you don’t have someone to work with, find someone. Don’t hide your head in the sand and say you’ll wait until tomorrow. We have a tremendous opportunity to change the paradigm of our business and make a huge impact on the future of our clients and their families.

Put it in Practice: November is a great month to start this initiative. Clients want to talk about LTC planning and are looking to us to help them better understand their options. Here’s to each and every sunrise – and each and every opportunity to make a difference.

Chad Eyrich is proud to help keep families together with long-term care planning. He helps advisors and their clients avoid the potential financial devastation of an LTC event by providing strategies around traditional, asset-based and linked-benefit insurance. In addition to earning his Long-Term Care Professional and Certified in Long-Term Care designations, Chad has a life and health insurance license, and a property and casualty insurance license. 

LTC LTCAM Long Term Care Awareness Month