Uncle Sams Snake Oild
Uncle Sam and his band of merry-men, better known as Congress, have been pushing snake oil on the unsuspecting public in the form of retirement plans. But wait, isn't a pension plan one of the perks we look to when shopping for an employer? Well, not all pension planning is created equal and in most cases, quite disastrous.
Distributions from all qualified plans must begin no later than April 1st of the calendar year following the year that the participant attains age 70 1/2, or the calendar year in which the employee retires. Special rules apply if the distribution is made to a 5 percent owner of the business. The purpose of minimum distribution rules for retirement plans is to force the owner or participant of the pension plan to withdraw money from the plans, thus triggering an income tax on these monies. On April 16, 2002, the Internal Revenue Service issued final regulations as to these distributions.
Generally, the idea pursuant to the regulations is to have the owner or participant of the pension plan begin taking the money out of the pension plan beginning at the later of when he finishes working or age 70.5. One purpose of this is to insure that these monies will be subject to income tax prior to the death of the owner.
Based on the current system the government has created with pension plans, the average retired couple will pay eight to twelve times more in taxes on their IRAs and 401(k)s during their retirement years than they saved during their contribution and accumulation years. Generally, it is understood that you put money into your pension plan and tax is deferred and this is a great thing. Unfortunately, you may well be in a higher tax bracket if your pension accumulation is done right.
In addition to a higher tax bracket upon reaching retirement, many people find themselves with a free and clear home; they no longer have mortgage interest deductions to offset income tax. Many Americans find they are now paying back everything they saved in taxes during their accumulation and contributions years within the first two years of distributions. Therefore, there is an insidious income tax awaiting most people and if they didn't plan their estates, double taxation in the form of both income and estate tax.
Many postpone the transfer of their qualified funds until age 59 Ѕ in order to avoid the 10% tax penalty. Sometimes by delaying the payment of taxes, retirees will find themselves in a higher tax bracket after age 59 Ѕ because Congress could raise tax rates because of a political change. Inevitably, one must pay the piper now or later.
What is the answer? Simple, investment grade life insurance. This type of life insurance is not the same as the one you get countless letters about in the mail. This is life insurance that is focused on building up a triple compound because it is tax deferred. The difference between the deferral that life insurance experiences and pension plans is that when it comes time for payout, life insurance is received as a loan. This is a powerful concept because the proceeds will not be taxed; loans are not a form of taxable income. However, as a loan you will have interest on the payments. Most people mistakenly think they are going to pay interest on their own money with life insurance. While in theory that is true, the best insurance carriers provide for zero wash loans where the interest basically is forgiven or taken out of the death benefit when a person passes on. We are talking about real life insurance not the typical death insurance that most people have because you use it while you're alive.
If you are over fifty, I'm sorry we missed you. If you have children don't let another day go by without them starting a plan because 79 million people are heading for the social security hand out in the next few years. Despite Social Security getting a 2.7 percent boost next year (2005), Medicare will eat up much of the increase and when the 79 million qualifying Americans sign-up - look out below.
James Burns, Esq.
Law Office of James Burns
18662 MacArthur Blvd., 2nd Floor
Irvine, CA. 92656
James Burns is an attorney with 2 law degrees one in tax and has trademarked financial concepts to assist individuals in creating wealth, protecting it and eventually transferring it to loved ones.