While Americans have been concerned about saving for retirement, many among them have not yet begun to focus on total retirement security. Mention retirement security, and your client’s thoughts turn to accumulation.
Will they have “enough” money to retire comfortably? How much is “enough”? What rate of spend-down can they safely take? What tax bracket will they be in? What will they really need to live on?
What gets lost in this myriad of questions is the much broader concept of living a secure retirement: giving our clients the confidence that they will have their financial house in order and will be able to accomplish their financial goals for themselves, their families and communities.
The concept of accumulating funds for retirement is fairly straightforward. Save “enough” money, earn “enough” of a return on that money, minimize the impact of taxes on the accumulation process, then decide just how much can be safely spent each year and still have a reasonable chance of not outliving one’s assets.
For those clients who understand the greater context of retirement security, they can start planning now for their golden years. With careful attention to their overall financial plan, retirees will be able to spend even more of their hard-earned dollars to enjoy retirement, while also preparing to leave a financial legacy for generations to come.
Let’s look at a few examples of priorities that consumers commonly highlight as they assess a financial legacy:
? Provide for a grandchild’s education and overall welfare;
? Secure a financial future for a special needs child, grandchild, niece or nephew;
? Donate to a favorite charity or non-profit organization.
As priorities are assigned, clients are often eager to start allocating assets for these worthy purposes. However, it’s easy for emotion to override fiscal prudence. By setting aside money or assets for these causes, consumers are automatically reducing their retirement income nest egg.
For example, if Grandma and Grandpa set aside $500,000 of their own assets to send all 3 of their grandchildren to college, they remove the consumption of those assets from the retirement income equation. Now a once comfortable and manageable monthly retirement income may be stretched too thin.
Considering the use of life insurance as the funding vehicle for a legacy may not be intuitive, but it does have merit. Through a survivorship life insurance policy, consumers can generate income (tax-free) thereby creating an asset for the grandchildren on a deeply-discounted basis. Remember, most survivorship life policies will cover one uninsurable in case either Grandma or Grandpa has significant medical issues.
The same scenario applies for grandparents who want to provide for a special needs child, grandchild, niece or nephew. Again, life insurance can provide a more effective avenue in creating dollars to pass on to beneficiaries.
What we’re doing is saving assets for personal use by creating other assets to meet the overall goals of our clients on a cost-effective basis using life insurance as the funding vehicle. As you know, the least expensive way to create those assets would be with a survivorship life policy. For any given premium outlay, survivorship allows our clients to maximize the death benefit provided to meet their financial goals.
Conversely, for any given death benefit target, such as leaving $1 million to their favorite charity, the least costly way to provide those dollars is again using a survivorship policy. This effective use of life insurance can be applied to family and community legacies, allowing assets to be used for your clients’ own enjoyment in retirement.
We, as an industry, have a unique opportunity to enhance our clients’ retirement years by helping them move beyond the short-sighted view of retirement security as just a monthly paycheck. By taking a broader view, we can help clients with a comprehensive plan to assist a financially secure retirement for themselves and a secure future for their family and community.
“We, as an industry, have a unique opportunity to enhance our clients’ retirement years by helping them move beyond the short-sighted view of retirement security as just a monthly paycheck.”