Outsourcing Fiduciary Duties Offers Small Businesses a Lifeboat
The Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule has left the retirement industry reeling. The threat of increased fiduciary liability makes us wonder where the industry as a whole is heading. For smaller businesses the primary focus will likely be on mitigating risks through the use of outsourcing.
New IRS QTIP Rules Boost Estate Tax Portability Benefits
Uncertainty in estate planning has persisted over whether clients can take advantage of planning techniques involving qualified terminable interest property (QTIP). Newly released guidance allows a powerful new planning strategy that can be used by wealthy clients to maximize a deceased spouse’s federal estate tax exemption that may be “ported” to the surviving spouse.
GAO Report Could Kick-Start 401(k) Annuity Offerings
Annuities play a valuable role in client retirement income planning. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a recommendation to allay plan sponsors’ fears of liability. The GAO has recommended that the Department of Labor (DOL) modify rules governing plan sponsors’ fiduciary liability to facilitate in-plan annuity products within 401(k)s for the middle market.
Community Property: Avoiding a Collision with Federal IRA Rules
Experienced advisors know the importance of beneficiary designations for retirement accounts. The impact of state community property rules on beneficiary designations are less clear. A recent IRS ruling highlighted when federal and state rules collide. The ruling makes clear the importance of proper planning for the disposition of IRAs in community property states.
Self-Directed IRAs: Avoid Stumbling Into Fiduciary Liability
The Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary rule will likely usher in an increase in the number of self-directed IRAs in retirement planning. Changes in the cost structure is expected to push more middle market clients into self-directed IRAs. Despite this, the role of the advisor does not end once a client chooses a self-directed IRA.
Small Business Group Health Coverage: Back for a Sequel?
As the labor market improves, many small business owners want to adjust existing policies to remain competitive—especially in light of the Affordable Care Act. Many have discovered that not having group health coverage creates a barrier to retaining qualified employees. These clients are now looking for advice on offering group health coverage.
GRAT Valuation Discounts Disappearing Soon
The Treasury Department released proposed regulations that will substantially limit currently existing valuation discounts for transfers of interests in family owned businesses. However, because the regulations are not likely to become effective until mid-2017, clients have a short window to take advantage of valuation discounts under today’s rules.
The No-Tax Distribution: Alternatives to the RMD Tax Bite
Most clients view a retirement plan distribution as a tax hit—especially when it’s a required minimum distribution (RMD). It is not true that a tax hit must result from each retirement account distribution. A variety of circumstances exist that can allow a client to take tax-free (or reduced tax) distributions from a retirement plan.
The Deciding Factor: Post-Pension Buyout Investment Management
Lump sum windows are effective risk management tools for pension plan sponsors. Changes to mortality rates, rising interest rates and PBGC premiums, make buyout offers attractive for plan sponsors. The client’s most important consideration are the options for reinvesting the pension funds.
Risks & Rewards: HMRAs Reduce Small Business Health Coverage Risks
Advisors must go above and beyond to help small business clients develop insurance strategies. Questions regarding healthcare planning are some of the most frequently encountered issues advisors face. This is perhaps most apparent in the small business health insurance arena. A traditional HRA with an employer health matching reimbursement account (HMRA) can provide a solution.
The Post-70½ Contribution Rules
Many clients reaching 70 ½ know about required minimum distributions (RMDs) retirement accounts. A client may wish to continue contributing to retirement past the age when RMDs begin—perhaps making up for missed contributions during earlier years. Clients cannot always contribute after reaching age 70½ as different rules govern each type of account
Shifting Ground: Broker-Dealers Embrace Best Interest Contract Exemption
Several insurance carriers have indicated they will attempt to comply with the best interest contract exemption, rather than exiting certain lines of business. Various preexisting compensation arrangements would continue to be viable, if the exemption’s requirements are strictly followed—and could mark the next trend in the broker-dealer industry.
Annuities as an RMD Answer: Navigating Potential Pitfalls
There are valid reasons why a client may be interested in an annuity-within-an-IRA strategy. Pitfalls associated with a poorly executed annuity purchase strategy can cause unnecessary expenses. This is especially true if the client is planning to use the annuity as a tool for simplifying his or her IRA required minimum distribution (RMD) obligations.
ABLE Accounts Unlock Door to Tax-Preferred Special Needs Savings
The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was enacted nearly two years ago, but only recently has the savings account for disabled individuals become a reality. ABLE accounts represent a valuable tax-preferred planning tool for disabled individuals. Relying on these vehicles alone can be a mistake and are just one piece of the puzzle.
NUA: One Potentially Pleasant Tax Surprise
Leaving an employer often has clients wondering what to do with the funds in an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan. Transferring those assets into an IRA maintained by the client is one response. The tax benefits involving the net unrealized appreciation (NUA) of employer securities held in tax-deferred accounts can provide a tax surprise that’s actually pleasant.
The Variable Annuity’s Post-Fiduciary Rule Revival
While the sale of variable and fixed indexed annuities remain permissible under the DOL rule, recommended products must be in the client’s best interests and compensation must be “reasonable”. A commission-based product is unlikely to remain viable. Enter the fee-based variable annuities insurance carriers are beginning to revamp—potentially signaling a comeback for these products.
Who’s Tracking IRA Basis?
Advisors and clients may believe they know the tax rules that govern IRA distributions. Rollovers, conversions, nondeductible contributions and inherited accounts can all impact how distributions are taxed, however. Tracking IRA basis is critical to helping clients avoid taxes and penalties and the financial advisor is the person best suited to help.
Putting Excess 529 Plan Funds to (Tax-Preferred) Work
Saving to cover the cost of a college is a guessing game. For over-funded tax-preferred college savings plans, it’s important to understand how excess funds can be put to good use. Rules governing excess 529 funds are nuanced—so the devil is in the details when it comes to maintaining their tax-preferred status.
When HSAs and Medicare Mix: Avoiding a Surprise Tax Hit
Once an individual becomes eligible to receive Medicare benefits, the rule is that individual is no longer eligible to contribute to an HSA. This rule is complex, however, and there are ways a Medicare-eligible person can continue HSA eligibility. It’s important that advisors have a full understanding of these important rules regarding Medicare and HSAs.
The Next Thing- Annuitant Driven Annuities
Postmortem tax issues on annuities can be addressed when the contract is purchased. This often occurs when the contract is annuitant-driven (rather than only owner-driven). Insurance carriers have a new form of annuitant-driven fixed indexed annuity that can avoid some of the complications that can cause both unanticipated retirement income outcomes and adverse tax consequences.
Estate Plan Redux: Emerging Strategies for a Post-Portability World
The past three years have ushered in a new era in estate planning. Many of these clients still rely upon their old estate plans though which could have adverse tax consequences later (i.e. credit shelter trusts). New techniques can help clients take advantage of new rules to minimize both estate and income tax.
Mitigating Postretirement Health Expense Risk
Postretirement healthcare costs are likely to be the most significant expenses that clients will incur after retirement. Costs continue to rise at a time when the client’s income has likely become relatively fixed. Health Savings account strategies can help with healthcare expenses with careful planning during the client’s working years.
Brave New World: Post-Fiduciary Rule Fixed Indexed Annuity Sales
Sales and recommendations of fixed indexed annuity products will cause an advisor to become subject to the new fiduciary rule and so advisors must determine whether these products are in their clients’ “best interests.” A more rigorous investigation and an understanding of both the contract itself and the client’s financial situation and goals is required.
The Math of Medicare Deferment Strategies
Many clients are working longer than ever with many clients having employer-sponsored health insurance well past the age of Medicare eligibility. While not every client will be eligible for delaying enrollment in all parts of Medicare, the financial benefits of delaying enrollment can be substantial and it is important to understand the rules that apply.
Fiduciary Rule Highlights HSA Retirement Income Value
IRA and other retirement planning advisors have long anticipated the release of the final DOL fiduciary rule. Putting HSA advisors under the fiduciary rule umbrella is the DOL’s acknowledgement of an important alternative use for HSAs in retirement income planning. It’s now important that HSA advisors understand the compliance requirements of the fiduciary standard.
Retirement Income Planning: Not Just for Grown Ups
Planning for retirement is typically not on a teenager’s mind. The benefits of an IRA for a child though can be substantial. Adult clients can maximize tax-preferred savings for the family and provide a secure financial future for the child. The question of which type of account is used—traditional or Roth—has significant consequences.
Next Level RMD Planning: Avoiding the Post 70½ RMD
Planning for required minimum distributions (RMDs) after age 70 ½ is part of most client’s retirement strategy—even if the client wants to reduce RMDs. Clients can avoid taking RMDs by working past age 70 ½. The rules are extremely specific however and tax advice is necessary to avoid the tax hit of RMDs.
GAO Offers a Revised Retirement Spending Model
Two key retirement issues for clients are the level of retirement savings needed and how to withdraw savings during retirement. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new analysis on how spending patterns can change during retirement. Advisors should be on the lookout for valuable changes coming to the Department of Labor retirement income calculators.
Retaining Key Executives with Insurance Strategies
Developing tax-efficient compensation plans for key executive employees vital to the business can be complicated. Income and contribution limits for traditional retirement accounts make it difficult for these employees to accumulate substantial account values. Nonqualified compensation plans using life insurance can provide additional compensation to valuable employees and also offer tax advantages.
Avoid the Tax Trap with Trusts and Annuities
Both trusts and annuities can play powerful planning roles for clients in a variety of situations. When the two strategies collide, however, the tax consequences can be disastrous. Whether a trust is an owner or beneficiary of an annuity, the client purchasing the contract needs to be aware of serious tax consequences that can result
Avoid Policy Replacement Tax Traps
When a client is looking to replace an existing financial product with a new product, a tax-free IRC Section 1035 exchange may seem like a solution. Depending upon the types of products involved and various other factors, the path to a 1035 exchange can be littered with tax traps that must be avoided.
The Extra Mile: Understanding the AG 49 Impact on IUL Consumers
The March 1 effective date of the second phase of Actuarial Guideline 49 is just around the corner. As indexed universal life insurance grows, so too do the variations in both product design and use. An ability to convey the concepts espoused by the guideline can help advisors go the extra mile with clients.
ILITs Team Up with IRA Trusts to Maximize Inherited IRA Benefits
Estate planning for IRA’s can be complicated. Naming the spouse as beneficiary can diminish the value of IRA assets for the children after the death of the spouse. In providing for children, inherited IRAs are often no longer receive creditor protection. An irrevocable life insurance trust with an IRA trust can provide a solution.
Short-Term Care Insurance Takes Off
For many clients, long-term care insurance has become prohibitively expensive despite the need for coverage. This situation has created a need for what is called short-term care insurance. The need is reinforced by the fact that about one half of all long term care coverage is for less than one year’s worth of care.
No-Refund Options Double the Deferred Annuity Safety Net
Worrying about the possibility of outliving retirement savings is often inevitable, especially for healthy clients. No-refund deferred income annuities can double the otherwise available payouts late in life, when the risk of outliving savings is the greatest. While the prospect of doubling annuity payouts appeals strongly to some clients, this option also has potential downsides.
Online Roadmap to Post-File & Suspend Strategies
Several Social Security planning strategies were eliminated in 2015 and clients may need to make up for retirement income shortfalls. The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers an online system with calculators that can help clients. An online account can generate a realistic picture of the role of Social Security benefits will play in retirement.
Have it All: Optimizing Results with Whole Life + Indexed Universal Life Insurance
Today’s insurance product marketplace is flooded with options and insurance carriers have answered with product innovation that allows clients to combine the guarantees of traditional whole life insurance with the upside of indexed universal life insurance (IUL). Understanding these new products can help clients experience the best of both worlds, eliminating the need to choose
Wellness Initiatives-Not Just for Employer Sponsored Life Plans
Wellness programs have received attention in recent years—as a way to save on health insurance. Life insurance carriers have begun to include wellness programs too. These initiatives not only can help clients reduce the cost of life insurance protection, but they can actually provide a way for clients to increase their policy value.
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Disability Income Insurance, Long Term Care Insurance, Health Insurance, 529 Plans, Taxation of Investments...
Group Term Life Insurance, COBRA, Cafeteria Plans, Flexible Spending Accounts, Health Savings Account...
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Certain high income clients who have not previously made deductible IRA contributions ought consider opening a traditional IRA this year and contributing the largest allowable nondeductible contribution they can manage.
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Estate Tax, Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax, Gift Tax, Valuation
Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs), Hedge Funds, Mutual Funds, Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), Unit Trusts
Amounts Not Received as an Annuity, Amounts Received as an Annuity: Fixed Annuities, Annuity Rules: Variable Annuities, Charitable Gift Annuity, Death, Disposition, Divorce, Estate Tax, Gifts and Charitable Gifts, In General, Loss, Private Annuity, Structured Settlements, Taxation, Withholding
Bond Premium, Corporate Bonds, Inflation-Indexed Bonds, Market Discount, Municipal Bonds, Original Issue Discount, Other Issues Affecting Bonds, Short-Term Taxable Obligations (Maturities One Year or Less), Treasury Bonds and Notes
Accumulated Earnings Tax, Alternative Minimum Tax, Death Proceeds of Business Life Insurance, Estate Tax Issues, Gift Tax Issues, Premiums, S Corporations, Sale or Liquidation of Partnership Interest, Stock Purchase Agreement, Transfer of Policy
Funded Deferred Compensation (Annuities and Trusts), Unfunded Deferred Compensation
New Disclosure Regulations for Retirement Plan Service Providers
Corporations And Other Business Entities, General Rules
Abbreviations, About Summit Business Media, About the Editors, Introduction
Death Benefits, Group Permanent Insurance, Group Survivor Income Benefit, Group Term Life Insurance, Retired Lives Reserves
Employer-Provided Health Insurance, Health and Medical Savings Accounts, Health Insurance And The Estate Tax, Health Insurance And The Gift Tax, The New Health Care Reform Law
Distributions, Early Distributions, Eligibility, Employer-Sponsored IRAs, Estate Tax Issues, Filing Requirements, In General, Required Minimum Distributions, Simple IRA, Simplified Employee Pension (SEP)
Cash Value Increases, Collection of Delinquent Income Taxes from Life Insurance, Creditor Insurance, Death Proceeds, Demutualization, Disability Provisions Under Life Policies, Divorce, Gift Tax Issues, Gifts and Charitable Gifts, Government Life Insurance, Life Insurance Trusts, Life Insurance: Estate Tax Issues, Living Proceeds, Policies Insuring More Than One Life, Premiums, Single Premium Whole Life Insurance Policy, Taxation Of Distribution of Life Insurance Contract, Value of Unmatured Policy
In General, Non-Qualified Long-Term Care Insurance Contract, Premiums, Reporting Requirements, Taxation of Benefits
Insurance & Employee Benefits, Investments
Employer Deduction, Plan Types And Features, Qualification, Qualified Plans And The Estate Tax, Taxation of Distributions
Dividends, Sale or Exchange, Stock Options, Stock Warrants, Worthless Securities
Amounts Received Under the Plan, Changing Issuers, Contract Requirements, Contributions, Distributions, Excise Taxes, Plan Termination, Social Security and Withholding Taxes