Managing risk is perhaps the most significant aspect of any financial plan. There are several types of risks that can have a devastating impact on your future planning objectives. We evaluate, identify and work to mitigate these risks to protect and preserve what you work so hard to build.
People are living longer and that means more time and savings will be spent in retirement. If you need a tax-deferred product to provide a guaranteed¹ stream of income for life² or a specified number of years, it might be worth considering a fixed annuity. An annuity is a contract between an insurance company and an annuity owner. In exchange for a purchase payment, or series of payments, the insurance company guarantees¹ to pay a stream of income in the future.
There are two types of annuities—Immediate and Deferred.
An immediate annuity is usually purchased with a single premium and begins a stream of income within the first 12 months from the date of issue. You decide when payments will begin within that period and how long to receive income.
- Immediate Fixed Annuity
An immediate fixed annuity provides a guaranteed and predictable stream of income during the payout period.
A deferred annuity is specifically designed to help accumulate assets for retirement. It also offers the ability to turn those assets into a guaranteed stream of income at some point in the future. You decide when payments begin and how long to receive income.
- Deferred Fixed Annuity
A deferred fixed annuity earns interest during the contract’s accumulation period. The interest rates are set by the issuing company and are guaranteed not to be lower than the minimum guaranteed interest rate shown in the contract. A contract’s accumulated assets can be converted into a guaranteed stream of income for the future.
¹ Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the issuing company.
² One would need to annuitize and select a lifetime payout option in order to receive income they can’t outlive.
Annuities do not provide any additional tax advantage when used to fund a qualified plan. You should consider buying an annuity to fund a qualified plan for the annuity’s additional features, such as lifetime income payments and death benefit protection.
A sudden interruption of income—due to an extended period of sickness or injury—can have serious financial consequences for many of today’s employees. If you are lucky, you may receive group disability benefits through your employer. However, you will need to make sure the benefits available through your group disability coverage are adequate for your needs. Group disability benefits are taxable if your employer pays the premiums, may be capped at a relatively low amount, and may not cover variable income such as bonuses or commissions. As such, these benefits may not be enough to maintain your lifestyle or pay all your bills if you become too sick or injured to work.
An individual disability income insurance policy can help supplement your group long term disability benefits and protect a larger portion of your income. An individual disability income insurance policy you purchase on your own is fully portable, meaning you won’t have to worry about losing coverage if you change jobs, and the benefits are generally paid are tax free if you are the premium payor.¹ In addition, an individual disability income insurance policy is non-cancelable by the carrier (as long as the premiums are paid), and with a guaranteed renewable policy, your premiums will never change for the life of the policy.
Disability income insurance policies have exclusions and limitations.
¹ The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. We are not authorized to give tax or legal advice. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel.
Life insurance can be the foundation of your financial security and can provide comfort and stability for your family. The purpose of life insurance is to help provide your loved ones with financial protection after you die, in exchange for the premiums you pay to your insurer during your lifetime. Some life insurance policies can provide you with financial protection for a specific duration, while others accumulate cash value, offering a living benefit that can be used for any purpose such as to help supplement retirement income, funding for a child’s education, or cash for emergencies.¹
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance provides coverage for a set period of time at a generally lower cost than permanent insurance. Many term life insurance products allow you to convert to a permanent policy, such as whole life insurance. The cost of insuring oneself increases over time, so it’s important to understand your short- and long-term needs for financial security when you select a policy.
Permanent Life Insurance
Permanent life insurance provides you with financial protection for your entire life, as long as the policy remains in force. Because of the flexibility permanent life insurance offers, there are several types of policies you can purchase.
- Whole Life Insurance. The benefits of whole life insurance include guaranteed fixed premiums, a guaranteed death benefit and guaranteed cash value growth. This means that with whole life insurance, your premiums never increase as long as they’re paid, and the policy has “living benefits,” which may enable you to access the cash value of the policy for any purpose while you’re alive.¹ One thing to keep in mind when taking a distribution from a whole life insurance policy is that accessing the policy’s cash values will reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit and increase the chance the policy will lapse.
- Universal Life Insurance. Universal life insurance provides lifetime death benefit protection along with flexibility that gives you choices as your needs and finances change. It offers options such as coverage amounts that may be increased or decreased, and premiums that you can vary based on your finances as long as there is enough money in the account to pay for the monthly insurance and administrative charges.
- Variable Universal Life Insurance. Variable universal life introduces an investment component. With variable universal life, you can allocate net premiums and account values among divisions of a separate account and guaranteed principal account.² You can direct a portion of your net premium payments to any of the investment options available through the separate account depending on the particular variable universal life product. Each investment option offers a different level of risk and growth potential. One feature of variable universal life insurance (and universal life) is its premium flexibility: you can skip payments as long as your policy has accumulated enough account value to meet the monthly deductions. Also, you can add numerous riders to your policy. Riders are available for an additional premium.
**Variable life insurance policies are sold by prospectus. Before purchasing a variable life insurance policy, investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the variable life insurance policy and its underlying investment choices. For this and other information, obtain the prospectuses for the variable life insurance policy and its underlying investment choices from your registered representative. Please read the prospectuses carefully before investing or sending money.
- Survivorship Life Insurance. Survivorship life insurance is a form of permanent life insurance that covers two people on one policy and pays a death benefit after both people on the policy have died. The cost for survivorship life insurance is usually lower than the cost of two individual policies.
¹ Distributions under the policy (including cash dividends and partial/full surrenders) are not subject to taxation up to the amount paid into the policy (cost basis). If the policy is a Modified Endowment Contract, policy loans and/or distributions are taxable to the extent of gain and are subject to a 10 percent tax penalty if the policyowner is under age 59½.
Access to cash values through borrowing or partial surrenders will reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit, increase the chance the policy will lapse, and may result in a tax liability if the policy terminates before the death of the insured.
² Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company or companies.
For most of us, it is unpleasant to envision a time when performing routine tasks may become difficult as the result of injury, illness or aging. If the time comes when you need substantial assistance performing daily tasks, it is unlikely you will want cost to be the primary decision-making factor for your long term care. Long term care (LTC) services can be expensive and costs generally continue to rise. Planning early can help ensure that you have more control in receiving the type of care you want — in the setting you choose, should the need arise.
What is Long Term Care?
Long term care includes a variety of services and supports to help meet personal care needs over an extended period of time. The services include help performing Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as: bathing, continence, using the toilet, transferring to/from a bed or chair, dressing and eating. Long term care services are generally not covered under personal health insurance or Medicare because they are not intended to cure, improve or treat a specific medical condition. Medicaid may help individuals with income and assets below state requirements.¹
Whether long term care services occur in a nursing home, assisted living facility or your own home, the costs can be a huge expense. The average stay in a nursing home is 835 days (2.3 years) and $183,700.² The national median hourly rate for a home health aide is $20 and that can add up quickly.³
Potential Ways to Pay for Care
- A variety of sources may be used when expenses do not qualify under Medicare or personal health insurance.
- In some cases, family members and friends may be able to help with some of the care you need — preparing meals, providing transportation; helping with housework, bills or medication for example. Caregiving can be rewarding, but it can also be stressful. It’s important to recognize when family caregivers need a break and/or can no longer provide the care you require.
- When professional long term care is necessary, one option is paying with your own resources such as savings, investments, income (pension, Social Security, annuities) or even your home or home equity. Consider how long these sources might last and what other goals may be unfulfilled if these funds were used for care.
- Another option is insurance designed for long term care expenses, or with the option to use the policy’s primary benefits for long term care if needed. For example, your existing life insurance or annuity may contain provisions to utilize benefits early in the event you need long term care. It is important to have an insurance professional review your existing policies and carefully explain the differences in the types of coverage available today.
- Finally, you may be able to qualify for your state’s Medicaid program. Medicaid only pays after you meet eligibility requirements, including specific restrictions on income and assets.¹
Making it Work
As you can see, there are many alternatives to consider when preparing for the possibility that you may need long term care. Generally, beginning early has advantages. First, at younger ages, you are more likely to be healthy and qualify for various types of insurance. Second, starting early means you may be able to meet your goal with lower installment savings amounts or annual premiums.
You don’t have to prepare for long term care expenses alone. Our Financial Professionals can review a variety of solutions that may help you meet your goals.
¹ For more information regarding benefits provided by Medicare or Medicaid (Medi-CAL in California) visit www.cms.hhs.gov. Medicaid guidelines vary by state. Contact your local Medicaid office for details.
² National Nursing Home Survey 2014, National Center for Health Statistics.
³ Cost of Care Survey, Genworth, June 2015.
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