Posts tagged tumblrize
Posts tagged tumblrize
As the owner of a life insurance policy, you can generally borrow the policy’s cash surrender value and use the proceeds for any purpose. Before you take a policy loan, be sure you understand the implications of the loan on the policy itself as well as any tax implications, now and in the future.
You can generally borrow an amount up to the policy’s cash surrender value (less an adjustment for interest) from the insurer. The insurer will charge you interest on the loan. Generally, interest is not actually paid, but is added to the amount of the loan. Interest charged on a policy loan is not generally deductible for income tax purposes. There could be other adjustments as well under the contract; for example, a participating policy may restrict the payment of dividends to you while a loan is outstanding.
You are not required to repay a life insurance policy loan. But you can generally repay a life insurance policy loan at any time while the insured is alive. If you do not repay the loan, the cash surrender value paid to you or the policy proceeds at death will be reduced by the amount of the loan (plus interest). Thus, a loan generally reduces life insurance protection.
If the amount borrowed plus interest ever equals or exceeds the cash surrender value, the policy can terminate if additional amounts are not paid into the life insurance policy. Life insurance protection could be lost.
If you have any incidents of ownership in a life insurance policy on your life, proceeds paid at death are includable in your gross estate for federal estate tax purposes. The right to obtain a policy loan is an incident of ownership. Generally, life insurance proceeds received at death by your beneficiary are received income tax free.
You can borrow against your life insurance policy, and the loan proceeds are generally not taxable to you (unless the policy is a modified endowment contract (MEC), see sidebar).
A loan from a MEC is treated as a distribution from the MEC. A distribution from a MEC is subject to the income-out-first rule. As amounts are distributed, they are treated as consisting of taxable income to the extent that they do not exceed the excess of the cash surrender value of the policy over the investment in the contract (generally, premiums paid less tax-free distributions). The taxable income will also be subject to a 10% penalty tax unless the distribution is made after age 59½, on account of disability, or as part of a series of substantially equal periodic payments.
Example: You have a MEC with a cash surrender value of $100,000. You have paid premiums of $50,000. You take a policy loan for $60,000. The first $50,000 ($100,000 cash surrender value - $50,000 investment in the contract) of the loan is taxable income to you.
An outstanding loan is generally treated as an amount received if a policy lapses or is surrendered and may result in taxable income. A policy can lapse if premiums are not paid and the policy terminates when any policy benefits are exhausted as a result. Also, as noted above, if the amount borrowed plus interest ever equals or exceeds the cash surrender value, the policy can terminate if additional amounts are not paid into the life insurance policy. You can cash in a policy by surrendering the policy to the insurer in return for the policy’s cash surrender value (as reduced by the amount of the loan plus interest).
If you surrender your policy to the life insurance company or the policy lapses, any gain realized is taxable at ordinary income tax rates. The gain is the excess of the amount you receive over the net premium cost. The net premium cost is the total premiums you paid less any tax-free distributions received. An outstanding loan is generally treated as an amount received if a policy is surrendered or lapsed and may result in taxable income.
Example: You have a life insurance policy with a cash surrender value of $200,000. You have paid premiums of $75,000. You also have an outstanding policy loan of $175,000. There have been no distributions from the policy. You surrender the policy to the insurer for $25,000 cash. You have taxable ordinary income of $125,000 ($25,000 cash + $175,000 loan - $75,000 premiums). If you have not prepared for it, it may come as quite a shock.
Example: You have a life insurance policy with a cash surrender value of $200,000. You have paid premiums of $75,000. You also have an outstanding policy loan of $200,000. There have been no distributions from the policy. The policy lapses. You have taxable ordinary income of $125,000 ($200,000 loan - $75,000 premiums). Once again, if you have not prepared for it, it may come as quite a shock.
Prepared by Forefield, Inc. Copyright 2011.
Earlier, I criticized Alan Simpson for not knowing — and, more to the point, being actively hostile to — accurate demographic data about Social Security, but perhaps it’d be more useful to run through some of the numbers I find it helpful to keep in mind while writing about the issue:
1) Over the next 75 years, Social Security’s shortfall is equal to about 0.7 percent of GDP. Source(PDF).
2) For the average 65-year-old retiring in 2010, Social Security replaced about 40 percent of working-age earnings. That “replacement rate” is scheduled to fall to 31 percent in the coming decades. Source.
3) Social Security’s replacement rate puts it 26th among 30 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations for workers with average earnings. Source.
4) Without Social Security, 45 percent of seniors would be under the poverty line. With Social Security, 10 percent of seniors are under the poverty line. Source.
5) People can start receiving Social Security benefits at age 62. But the longer they wait, up until age 70, the larger their checks. Waiting to 66 means checks that are 33 percent larger. Waiting to 70 means checks that are 76 percent larger. But most people start claiming benefits at 62, and 95 percent start by 66. Source.
6) Raising the retirement age by one year amounts to roughly a 6.66 percent cut in benefits. Source.
7) In 1935, a white male at age 60 could expect to live to 75. Today, a white male at age 60 can expect to live to 80. Source.
8) In 1972, a 60-year-old male worker in the bottom half of the income distribution had a life expectancy of 78 years. Today, it’s around 80 years. Male workers in the top half of the income distribution, by contrast, have gone from 79 years to 85 years. Source.
The conclusions I draw from these numbers are:
1) Social Security’s 75-year shortfall is manageable. In fact, it’d be almost completely erased by applying the payroll tax to income over $106,000. Source (PDF).
2) Most opinion elites — Simpson being one good example, and the U.S. Senate being another — show a very strong preference for working as long as possible. Most Americans show a very strong preference for retiring as early as possible. Elites who enjoy their jobs need to be very careful about generalizing their experience to people who don’t enjoy their jobs. More bluntly: Raising the retirement age is the worst of all possible options for reforming Social Security. It’s not only regressive, but it also falls most heavily on those with the worst jobs. Means-testing would be much better.
3) Social Security is fairly stingy and getting stingier. We also know most 401(k)s are underfunded, and the same goes for many defined-benefit pension systems, both public and private. We need to be very careful not to “solve” the Social Security problem by worsening a broad retirement-security problem, and that requires approaching Social Security as part of our retirement-security infrastructure rather than simply as a budgetary question. Here are some ideas on how to do that.
According to a report I recently read, the Fed reports that:
“The average American family’s household net worth declined 23% between 2007 and 2009. A rare survey of U.S. households, first performed in 2007 but repeated in 2009 in order to gauge the effects of the recession, reveals the median net worth of households fell from $125,000 in 2007 to $96,000 in 2009.”
This is, as you might guess, an unfortunate effect that the recession has had on many of us. For many families, this recession resulted in lost jobs, lost homes and had, in some cases, devastating effects on overall financial and retirement plans. The good news is that the economy is starting to recover (albeit slowly, and with fewer good jobs than we would hope for). This recovery gives everyone an opportunity to start to pick up the pieces and begin the process of rebuilding their finances. I am currently reviewing many of my personal client’s situations, and in many cases we are altering course somewhat in order to give them the best chance at reaching their goals.
If you haven’t reviewed your financial plans in a while, perhaps it is time to start thinking about it. It’s never too late to develop or revise a plan, and it certainly never too early! Please contact my office if I can be of assistance. I would be more than happy to assist you with a review of your plans.
According to the AARP, Americans age 50 and over have three primary retirement fears:
There are ways to deal with all of these, and more. It just takes some good retirement planning ahead of time.