HELPING YOU MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS ABOUT YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE
To develop a financial strategy for your future, it's important for your financial professional to see a complete, 360-degree view of your financial picture, including how your retirement assets are integrated and work with one another. Our financial strategies use insurance products, such as annuities, to help you meet financial goals. We can work in concert with tax professionals or attorneys in your or our network to advise you on specific aspects of your financial strategy.
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Retirement Income Strategies
Retirement income strategies are not just for the wealthy. As retirement nears, the traditional strategy has been to move growth-seeking products to more conservative, fixed-income products. According to a recent study, for a married couple age 65 there is now a 50 percent chance that at least one spouse will live to age 94.
One drawback to a longer life is the greater possibility of outliving your savings — creating all the more reason to develop a retirement income strategy designed to last a longer lifetime. Sixty-one percent of Americans surveyed said they were more afraid of outliving their assets than they were of dying.
A significant loss in the years just prior to and/or just after you retire could negatively impact the level of income you receive over the course of your life. In fact, if a loss occurs earlier in life, there is also the chance that you may have more time to recover (versus a loss occurring later in retirement). Why? Simply because a smaller pool of assets is left to sustain you throughout your retirement years, and your assets may not have as much time to recover. We can help you design a guaranteed* retirement income strategy that incorporates insurance and annuity vehicles to create opportunities for long-term growth as well as guarantee* income throughout your retirement.
- Prepared by Ernst & Young Insurance and Actuarial Advisory Services practice. The analysis uses the Annuity 2000 mortality table with Scale G2 mortality improvements.
- State of the Insured Retirement Industry: 2012 Recap and a 2013 Outlook, Insured Retirement Institute
Because the market does not provide security, you may want your financial strategies to include some guaranteed* income products. For example, annuities, which are insurance products with guarantees*, can provide a source of supplemental income throughout your retirement.
Twenty-first century asset protection calls for more than just strategic asset allocation. Including products like annuities in your retirement income strategy can help protect your money from declines due to market losses.
Diversifying your retirement assets among a variety of vehicles — both through insurance products and investments, depending on what is appropriate for your situation — may offer you the best chance of meeting your retirement income goals throughout your lifespan.
IRA & 401(k) Rollovers
When you change jobs or retire, there are four things you can generally do with the assets in any employer-sponsored retirement plan:
- Leave the money where it is
- Take the cash (and pay income taxes and perhaps a 10 percent federal penalty tax if you are younger than age 59½)
- Transfer the money to another employer plan (if the new plan allows)
- Roll the money over into an IRA
Rolling over from one qualified plan to another qualified plan allows your money to continue growing tax-deferred until you receive distributions in retirement. If you determine to cash out of an IRA, we can help you find suitable vehicles to help you reach your retirement income goals.
Wealth Transfer & Legacy Planning
IRA accounts have become one of the largest types of assets inherited by beneficiaries. If you don’t anticipate needing your IRA money in retirement, you may wish to consider a legacy planning strategy that potentially reduces taxes and potentially increases the payout your beneficiaries will receive upon your death.
You may want to use some of the value in your IRA to provide your beneficiary(ies) a regular stream of income while leaving the balance of IRA assets invested for tax-deferred growth. The result may yield substantially more money paid out over the course of your beneficiary’s lifetime. We can help you evaluate your financial situation to determine if IRA legacy planning could help you meet your goal of structuring a long-lasting inheritance for your beneficiaries.
Federal Employee Benefits
We Are Experts in Federal Employee Benefits!
Unfortunately for millions of federal government employees about to retire, traditional retirement strategies do not apply. As federal and civil service employees and members of the uniformed services, you need retirement planning specific to the complex requirements of your benefits. One of the biggest issues you’ll face is finding competent advice from retirement planning professionals who thoroughly understand your benefits.
We counsel federal employees on all of your options available within the federal retirement system, and help you understand what additional products and services are available to assist you in completing your retirement plan. It’s important to maximize your federal benefits, but it’s also important to review your total financial picture.
Because our ultimate goal is to provide you with a comprehensive approach to retirement planning, once your federal retirement options are reviewed, you’ll receive a personal retirement report that enables you to get the most out of your benefits.
Tax Minimization Strategies
Rising taxes may be a concern for many individuals approaching retirement. It may be important to incorporate tax planning into your financial decisions.
Investing in or purchasing a tax-deferred vehicle means your money can compound interest for years, free from income taxes, potentially allowing it to earn interest at a faster rate. Few financial vehicles avoid taxes altogether. Insurance products allow you to defer paying them until retirement — when you may be in a lower tax bracket.
Please note that withdrawals will reduce the contract value and the value of any protection benefits. Additional withdrawals taken within the contract withdrawal charge schedule will be subject to a withdrawal charge. All withdrawals are subject to ordinary income tax and, if taken prior to age 59½, may be subject to a 10 percent additional federal tax.
In the past, retirees could typically count on three sources of retirement income that divided roughly into thirds. The three sources of income have traditionally been government-funded Social Security, employer-sponsored components and individual savings. With this traditional scenario, both the government and employer-sponsored components of the strategy were considered predictable — reliable income sources that may also be adjusted for inflation, like Social Security benefits. Only one-third of the plan, individual savings, was the responsibility of the individual.
Today, however, due to employer-sponsored plans evolving from guaranteed pension payouts to more defined benefit contribution plans, which generally result in a payout in retirement based upon level of individual participation, the majority of the burden for retirement income seems to have shifted to the individual. For this reason, you may want to consider a guaranteed* fixed income component to your retirement strategy. In short, adding an annuity may be an opportunity to help ensure a portion of your retirement income will be guaranteed*.
An annuity is a contract you purchase from an insurance company. For the premium you pay, you receive certain fixed and/or variable interest crediting options able to compound tax deferred until withdrawn. When you are ready to receive income distributions, this vehicle offers a variety of guaranteed* payout options. Most annuities have provisions that allow you to withdraw a percentage of the value of the contract each year up to a certain limit. However, withdrawals can reduce the value of the death benefit, and excess withdrawals above the restricted limit typically incur “surrender charges” within the first five to 15 years of the contract. Withdrawals will reduce the contract value and the value of any protection benefits, and because they are designed as a long-term retirement income vehicle, annuity withdrawals made before age 59½ are subject to a 10 percent penalty fee, and all withdrawals may be subject to income taxes.
Life insurance has changed a lot over the years and is no longer just "death insurance" for the survivors of the deceased. Many companies now offer living benefits in the event the insured becomes chronically, critically or terminally ill, allowing for the acceleration of the majority of the benefit while the insured is still alive. When shopping for life insurance, consider needs such as replacing income so your family can maintain its standard of living, as well as paying for your funeral and estate costs. A general rule is that you may want to seek coverage between five and seven times your gross annual income. As far as the various types of policies go, they can generally be placed into one of two categories: Temporary and Permanent.
Term insurance is temporary insurance and provides coverage for a specified period of time. It pays out a specified amount of coverage to your beneficiary only if you die within that time period. In a level premium term policy, you pay the same amount of premium from the first day of the policy until the term ends, but if you elect to renew at the end of your term, your rate will increase.
On the other hand, a permanent insurance policy, such as whole life and some universal life, will stay permanently in effect for the rest of your life so long as premiums continue to be paid. With whole life insurance, your rate will never go up and your benefits will never reduce due to changes in your age or health.
Long-Term Care Strategies
As the oldest baby boomers begin to wind through their 60s, one of the biggest concerns may not be outliving income, but outliving good health.
For retirees, home health care can cost $50,000 or more per year, and nursing home care can run as high as $80,000 per year. Does your retirement income strategy account for this kind of possibility? Would you be prepared for twice that amount as a married couple?
Considering that you could have to reduce your financial means before Medicaid will pay for long-term care and neither your employer group nor major medical insurance will cover long-term care, you may want to consider planning ahead for these potential expenses.
We can help evaluate your situation and determine if purchasing a long-term care insurance policy may be the right move to help you feel confident in your financial future.
We can refer you to professionals to help meet your individual needs.
Estate planning is simply determining (while you’re still alive) where your assets should go after you die. Without a properly structured estate plan, your wishes may not be fulfilled, and there may be unintended consequences for your loved ones. While the concept is simple, the vehicles, planning and implementation process can be rather complex. Because of the estate tax laws and emerging vehicles to help you protect and transfer your assets effectively, it’s important to work with experienced estate planning professionals who stay current in this field and advise clients on a day-to-day basis.
There are many different types of trusts, and they can be complex to set up and execute. However, a trust can be a very flexible and advantageous means to transfer your assets in the future. Most trusts can also provide current benefits, such as tax deferral and deductions. Unlike a will, a trust may help avoid probate upon your death. To learn more about trusts and how they may benefit you, we will be happy to help you consult a qualified estate planning attorney that can assist you with these issues.
Probate is the potentially lengthy and costly legal process that oversees the transfer of your assets upon your death. If you do not create a will or set up a trust to transfer your property when you die, state law will determine what happens to your estate. This is called intestate. Without a will or some other form of legal estate planning, there is the chance that more of your property may not go where you want it to. We can refer you to a qualified estate planning attorney that can assist you in these matters.
Creating a charitable gift giving plan may provide you with multiple tax breaks: an income tax deduction, the avoidance of capital gains on highly appreciated assets and the reduction or elimination of estate taxes on the charitable contribution upon your death.
With changes in the tax environment, there may be compelling reasons to integrate philanthropy into your financial and estate planning.
We can refer you to a qualified professional to help you decide if this is a good option for you.