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4 Hidden Benefits of LIRP (plus the unhidden tax advantages)

Thomas Losher   |   April 2024   |   3-minute read
4 Hidden Benefits of LIRP Banner

In the realm of retirement planning, life insurance often takes a backseat to more traditional investment vehicles like 401(k)s, IRAs and annuities. But that doesn’t mean it’s not an effective retirement planning tool. A life Insurance retirement plan (often referred to as LIRP), besides being fun to say, offers more than just tax advantages.

While LIRP doesn’t replace other sources of guaranteed income, such as Social Security or annuities, for high-net-worth clients seeking robust retirement strategies, overlooking the potential of life insurance can mean missing out on significant benefits.

Tax advantages are undoubtedly a key selling point, but once you’ve started the conversation, there are several other reasons why integrating life insurance into retirement planning can be advantageous.

Tax Advantages: Just the Beginning

Let's start with the benefits your clients are most likely to ask about—tax advantages. Life insurance policies offer several tax benefits that can enhance retirement planning:

  • Tax-deferred growth: Cash value within a life insurance policy grows tax-deferred, meaning policyholders don't pay taxes on the gains as long as the funds remain within the policy.
  • Tax-free death benefit: The death benefit paid out to beneficiaries is typically income tax-free, providing financial security for loved ones without tax implications.
  • Tax-free policy loans: Policyholders can access the cash value through policy loans, which are generally not subject to income tax, allowing for tax-efficient withdrawals during retirement.

Taken together, the tax advantages offered by life insurance not only allow for greater benefits during retirement, they also ensure that more benefits are available for beneficiaries. And, if those benefits are part of life insurance policy’s death benefit, they pass to beneficiaries tax free.

Supplementing Retirement Income

In addition to offering tax advantages, life insurance can serve as a valuable tool for supplementing retirement income:

  • Income replacement: For high-net-worth individuals, life insurance can provide an additional layer of income replacement, ensuring surviving spouses or dependents maintain their standard of living in retirement.
  • Pension maximization: In scenarios where a pension offers a joint-and-survivor option, opting for a single-life payout and using life insurance to provide for the surviving spouse can maximize the pension benefits while still protecting the spouse's financial future.

Estate Planning and Legacy Preservation

Beyond retirement income, life insurance plays a crucial role in estate planning and legacy preservation:

  • Estate tax mitigation: High-net-worth clients may face estate tax liabilities upon passing. Life insurance can provide liquidity to cover these taxes, preserving the estate's assets for heirs.
  • Equalization of inheritances: Life insurance can help equalize inheritances among heirs, particularly in situations where illiquid assets, such as real estate or business interests, are involved.

Long-Term Care Planning

As longevity increases, so does the need for long-term care. Life insurance policies with accelerated death benefit riders or long-term care riders can provide a source of funding for long-term care expenses, alleviating one of the largest risks faced in retirement—longevity, or the risk of outliving assets.

Charitable Giving

For clients with philanthropic goals, life insurance can be an effective tool for charitable giving:

  1. Donor advised funds: Naming a charity as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy can create a substantial legacy gift, allowing clients to support causes they're passionate about even after they're gone.
  2. Charitable remainder trusts: Life insurance can fund charitable remainder trusts, providing income for beneficiaries during their lifetimes, with the remainder going to charity upon their passing.

While tax advantages are undoubtedly a compelling aspect of using life insurance for retirement planning, it’s valuable to recognize the broader spectrum of benefits it offers. From supplementing retirement income to estate planning and charitable giving, life insurance can be a versatile tool in crafting comprehensive retirement strategies for high-net-worth clients.

By understanding and effectively communicating these benefits, you can help their clients achieve their retirement goals while preserving their wealth for future generations. For more about LIRP and other Advanced Markets concepts, your Ash team is ready to design customized solutions for any situation.

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About the Author

Thomas Losher , CFP® helps simplify the technical aspects of cash value life insurance and change the broad misperceptions that exist around life insurance. As an Advanced Markets Analyst, he bridges the gap between highly complicated concepts and the unique uses of life insurance solutions.