Tax season is here. And with tax reform in place, this season could be a game-changer. What do I mean? Well, your clients could be saving thousands of dollars on their income taxes. Now’s your chance to help them use it wisely.
Take a look at the chart below. I’m not a tax expert, but I estimate a married couple with a combined income of $250,000 and two kids could save more than $7,000 with the new tax code.
What if you took that money and used it to purchase a tax-advantaged financial instrument?
Cash value life insurance can not only give clients protection during their working years, but it can also create a supplemental, tax-free retirement income stream for their future. It may sound complicated, but it’s not. You’re simply taking one tax advantage to create another – and your clients don’t lose any net household income. You can watch a great video that better explains the concept.
There are other uses too. Today’s insurance products offer flexibility and coverage for things like long-term care or chronic illness. If you missed it, watch the replay of the webinar we did on this topic.
Bottom line: No matter their situation, you owe it to your clients to explore the possibilities. Before they cash out their tax savings, you should check out the options available with life insurance. Give me a call – no matter the question, no matter the need. I’m here to help.
For financial professional use only. Calculations based on married couple with two children, living in Texas (with no income taxes), paying $11,157 in mortgage interest. Actual tax savings will vary. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Ash Brokerage and its representatives do not provide tax or legal advice. Consult a tax or legal professional.
It's been a great run in the equity markets. If you manage money, business has been good. Your assets under management are likely at an all-time high. You’re starting the year with a nice recurring revenue stream. Life is good – or is it?
Well, life insurance isn’t all good. It’s somewhat of a pun, but in all seriousness, risk management products have taken a back seat to AUM. Who wants to talk about death, getting sick or running out of income in this market? Not many people.
Let’s face it, most of your time is spent on asset allocation, rebalancing, tax management, seeking alpha, low-cost, etc., etc., etc. By the time you’re done with all that, the risk management strategy can wait for the next meeting. You can get to it another time … your clients are fine, right?!
For now. Unless you know something I don't, everyone has a 100 percent chance of not being fine forever.
What if you put the risk management conversation at the forefront of your conversations this year? Actually have a heart-to-heart discussion about the risks in life. I’m not talking about death insurance conversations, I’m talking about living insurance conversations.
You need to plan for WHEN something will happen, not if. You need to talk about risk – extended health care, chronic illness, disability, outliving income and, yes, death – at every client meeting.
To put it bluntly: You cannot call yourself a financial advisor, wealth manager or any other term that implies “holistic” planner unless you have a strategy around risk management.
No more excuses. Make 2018 the year you become a "When it happens" advisor. To clarify, I don't think your clients must buy or own insurance coverage. But I do think you need to help them set a plan for action for WHEN one of life’s risks happens to them.
Take the pressure off yourself and just have a conversation with the clients you serve. This isn't about product, or features or price. Tell them that you simply care enough to make a plan. When you do this, I bet your business will grow, your clients will be happier and you will know more about them than you do now.
And yes, I imagine a few folks will want to transfer some of that risk away from their own balance sheet. If they want to know what that looks like, that's when you call us. And we’ll answer.
Editor’s Note: The need for efficient retirement planning is evergreen, so we decided to re-publish this post from 2015. We’ve updated the numbers, but the conclusion remains: a few differences may allow high-income individuals to take advantage of Roth benefits through the purchase of cash-accumulating life insurance contracts.
But, has anyone really analyzed these comparisons and their validity? Let’s take a closer look at why life insurance is often compared to Roth IRAs with additional benefits.
To qualify for a Roth IRA, your clients have to fall under income certain limits established by the IRS. If they’re married filing jointly, their income has to be less than $184,000 to qualify for a full contribution. If filing single, their income has to be under $117,000. In addition to income limits, Roth IRAs also have annual contribution limits – currently the limit is $5,500, but people age 50 and over can contribute up to $1,000 extra per year to “catch up” before they retire.
Life insurance, on the other hand, isn’t bound by any IRS income or contribution limits. Instead, it’s bound by insurable interest and medical qualifications.
In a Roth, your clients always have access to the basis without penalty. However, if they’re looking to access cash in excess of the basis before age 59½, they’ll incur a 10 percent tax penalty. There are exceptions for first-time homebuyers and qualified educational expenses, however.
With life insurance, your clients may incur surrender charges in the first 10 to 20 years, depending on the contract. Outside of surrender charges, there’s no penalty for accessing the cash value in excess of basis before age 59½. It’s important that early withdrawals are closely monitored, however, as they could affect the performance of the contract and create a tax liability if the policy lapses.
Life insurance policies are self-completing and provide beneficiaries a tax-free death benefit – which is greater than the account balance – should the client die before retirement. (Please note that life insurance has cost-of-insurance charges to provide this benefit.) With a Roth IRA, the account balance passes to beneficiaries and may be subject to taxes.
Beyond age 59 ½, both contracts allow the client to access the gain without paying capital gains tax. Neither contract requires a minimum distribution at age 70½ like a traditional IRA.
Life insurance and Roth IRAs have several similarities. However, a few differences may allow high-income individuals to take advantage of Roth benefits through the purchase of cash-accumulating life insurance contracts.
Most people know they need to save for retirement … that’s why most of us are saving. According to an article published in the Principal Financial Well-Being Index, 61 percent of workers are very concerned about their long-term financial future.
In the disability income world, we all know how important it is to cover our most valuable asset: our ability to earn a paycheck. But what about covering our retirement contributions? According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, health problems are No. 1 reason workers take an unexpected early retirement. If your clients were to become disabled, would they be able to continue to contribute to their 401(k) or other retirement plans? The answer, most likely, is no.
A disability plan that covers retirement contributions can help protect your clients’ retirement in the event that they become too sick or hurt to work. I know adding another expense could make for a difficult sale. But, can your clients afford to NOT purchase this type of coverage?
Ask your clients how they plan to live in retirement. Maybe they want to spend their days volunteering. Or maybe they want to travel in their non-working years.
If they experience a health problem during their earning years, not only could their dreams of how they want to spend their retirement be crushed, but they could also have the burden of figuring out how they will save for an early retirement, or a retirement that includes unexpected medical expenses.
Put it in Practice: Talk to your clients who are contributing to their 401(k)s. Those who are at their maximum issue limits for DI insurance are great prospects as well. A policy that covers retirement savings allows them to purchase additional coverage on top of their personal coverage.
© 2018 Ash Brokerage LLC.