Tax Free Retirement Income Through Life Insurance

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1 presents Tax Free Retirement Income Through Life Insurance By Travis Jennings TravisJenningsFinancial.com

2 Today, people are living longer than ever before. Yet, while that is certainly great news on many angles, our longer life spans now are also putting a tremendous amount of pressure on our finances - primarily in the area of retirement income. In fact, having enough income in retirement is one of the leading concerns on the minds of most retirees today. 1 In the past, retirement income had primarily come from three key sources. These included employer sponsored pensions, Social Security, and personal savings - and in most cases, income from the combination of these three sources was usually enough to support individuals and couples throughout their retirement years. Now, however, given longer life spans, along with an uncertain Social Security system and the discontinuance of defined benefit pension plans by most companies, many who are approaching retirement must find alternative ways of filling in those income "gaps" and replacing them with a reliable, ongoing source of incoming cash flow during their post-employment years. One way of doing so may come through the use of cash value life insurance. Using Life Insurance as a Retirement Income Strategy While most people may only think about using life insurance for its death benefit proceeds, this financial vehicle can actually be used in a number of different ways - including as a supplement for providing tax-free retirement income. In this regard, permanent life insurance policies - those which offer both a death benefit, as well as an underlying cash value or investment component - can be used both in their accumulation and their distribution phases. Although many individuals will purchase these policies for the death benefit protection need, they are also able to use the policy as a vehicle for accumulation. In doing so, the policy holder my deposit additional funds, over and above the amount of premium that is needed to support the life insurance coverage in-force. In using this strategy, those additional funds will be placed into either the cash value, the index accounts, or the policy's sub-accounts, depending on the type of policy that the individual purchases. Just like with an IRA (Individual Retirement Account), a 401(k), or an annuity, the dollars that are inside of the permanent life insurance policy are allowed to grow on a taxdeferred basis. This means that no taxes will be due on the gain until the time the funds

3 are withdrawn - allowing them to compound a great deal more than if they were taxed each year. Taxable versus Tax-Deferred Growth Unlike an annuity, however, with a life insurance policy, the policy holder is able to take out his or her cost basis first - and that is allowed to come out tax-free. Then, when all of the cost basis has been withdrawn, the policy holder can change over and instead, they can start taking out loans - rather than withdrawals - against the income tax free policy death benefit. Although there may be some additional fees that are associated with using the policy in this manner, these charges will typically be offset significantly when compared to the taxes that would have otherwise been owed by the policy holder in a taxable situation. In addition, provided that the life insurance policy remains in force until the insured passes away, then death benefit from the policy will be paid out - minus the amount of any un-repaid loans - and the beneficiary will be able to receive the income tax free death benefit proceeds.

4 Additional Advantages of Using Life Insurance In Your Retirement Income Plan In addition to providing tax free income to the policy holder, there are a number of other advantages that can also be attained by adding life insurance to your overall retirement portfolio - especially when compared to other, more traditional retirement savings vehicles. These can include the following: No Pre-Age 59 1/2 Withdrawal Penalty One nice benefit to using life insurance for at least a portion of retirement income is that, unlike IRAs, 401(k) plans, and other types of qualified retirement plans, life insurance policy owners won't be hit with a 10% early withdrawal penalty from the IRS for taking money out of the account prior to turning age 59 1/2. So, if an individual were to retire early, for instance, at age 50 or 55, this could provide a source of income to fill in the "gap" before funds can be withdrawn from other sources such as an employer-sponsored pension, or even Social Security. No Funding Limits Also unlike an IRA or a 401(k) plan, there are no annual maximum funding limits as to how much life insurance you can purchase. For example, in 2015, the most an individual can deposit into an IRA account is $5,500 ($6,500 if you are age 50 or over). While life insurers do have financial underwriting guidelines, an insurance professional can help to design a plan that fits within these parameters. Likewise, there are also no "earned income" requirements like there are in order to fund an Individual Retirement Account. No Mandatory Required Minimum Distribution Requirements Owners of life insurance policies are also not required to start withdrawing a certain amount - or any amount - of cash or income from life insurance policies like they are from a Traditional IRA and qualified retirement plans such as 401(k)s at age 70 1/2 based on the RMD (required minimum distribution) rules. This means that funds that are inside of the life insurance plan can remain there for as long as the policy holder wishes, and can continue to grow and accumulate on a tax deferred basis.

5 Provides Options for Legacy Planning For those who are at or near retirement, assets that are accumulated in a life insurance policy can be used in legacy planning as well. Here, for those who have assets that are in tax deferred accounts that are not being used for retirement income purposes, these funds could be passed on to the next generation - or even the generation after that. No Probate Due to the fact that life insurance proceeds pass directly to a named beneficiary (or beneficiaries), these funds will typically not be held up in the costly, and usually time consuming, process of probate. This can make it much easier and faster to pass these income tax free funds on to survivors. Protection from Costly Long-Term Care Expenses Oftentimes, certain types of life insurance policies will include the option to add a longterm care rider or an accelerated benefits rider where the insured can access funds while he or she is still living should they require care in a nursing home. This can help in shielding other savings and investments from the high cost of care, keeping those funds in-tact for other needs. Considerations Prior to Moving Forward While using life insurance as a tax-free retirement income source can be an ideal solution, it may not be the best fit for everyone. Therefore, it is important to consider the following points prior to moving forward. First, if you don't continue paying the premium on a permanent life insurance policy, it is possible that you will lose a substantial amount of money - especially in the early years of the plan. In addition, permanent life insurance typically can take several years to build up a substantial amount of cash value. Therefore, in order for the policy to be most effective, you should hold the policy until death. Also, tax-free distributions will reduce the amount of cash value, as well as the face amount of the life insurance policy. Therefore, it may be required for you to pay higher premiums in later years in order to keep the policy from lapsing. You will be required to qualify medically and financially for life insurance. There may also be certain additional charges that are associated with a life insurance policy such as a

6 front end load, administrative fees, the cost of insurance, additional benefit rider costs (if applicable), and surrender charges. In addition, if the policy does become a MEC (Modified Endowment Contract), meaning that the cumulative premium payments that have been paid into the policy during the first seven years are more than the amount that is needed to provide a paid-up policy based on seven statutorily-defined annual premiums, then all distributions - whether withdrawals or loans - will be taxed as ordinary income to the extent of gain in the policy. Taking the Next Step In order to be best prepared for retirement, you should first determine what your income needs will be, as well as how much your survivor(s) would need upon your passing. Once you have done so, you should then look at all of the potential sources for providing you with the income that you need, and then decipher whether each will do so in the most tax efficient manner. Comparing Life Insurance to Other Retirement Savings & Income Vehicles Annual Limits on Contributions Tax Deferred Accumulation Tax Preferred Distribution Income Tax Free Death Benefits Traditional IRA Yes Yes No No Roth IRA Yes Yes Yes Yes Qualified Plan Yes Yes No No CD No No No No Mutual Funds No No No No Muni Bond Fund No Yes Yes No Individual Deferred Annuity No Yes No No Life Insurance No Yes Yes Yes Source: Working with a qualified financial professional can help you in creating a plan that will work the best for your specific needs and goals. Doing so can also help you to ensure that the other assets in your portfolio, as well as your other retirement income sources, will all work in conjunction with one another.

7 About Travis Jennings As the Director of Financial Planning at Accurate Advisory Group, Travis Jennings provides retirees and those planning their retirement with a range of financial planning services. Through his firm based in Wesley Chapel, Florida, Jennings strives to help families secure their lifestyles through smart asset planning and advice on investment strategies, Social Security, 401(k) accounts, retirement income, and more. Travis has presented to countless families at presentation workshops on Social Security, 401(k) strategies, explanations on annuities, the In's and Out's of the brokerage world, and many other related topics for individuals around the Tampa Bay Area. In addition, he has developed a trusted group of Medicare experts, estate planning attorneys, and Certified Public Accountants, and he networks with these professionals in order to extend to his clients the most comprehensive services possible. Travis concentrates on assisting his select families to achieve their retirement and longterm financial goals. He brings a personal approach through strategic relationships with leading money managers and insurance firms, helping clients work toward building and preserving their wealth with asset allocation, modern portfolio theory and systematic rebalancing. He studied economics at the University of South Florida while serving in both active and reserve capacities for the United States Air National Guard. He is also active in several civic and charitable organizations, including senior softball leagues, Boy Scouts of America and youth sports.

8 For more information, contact:

9 Sources 1. Gallup, "Retirement Remains American's Top Financial Worry," April 2014.

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