Many insurance agents market “7702 plans” as a type of retirement plan and explain it to be similar to typical retirement plans, like a 401(k). Sometimes important details are ignored in this process. We’re going to break down what 7702 plans really are, what these plans mean and how they relate to life insurance policies.
A 7702 plan is not a retirement plan, it’s a life insurance policy. In fact, all life insurance policies could be called “7702 plans” because all life insurance policies are covered by section 7702 of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). Many insurance agents use the term “7702 plan” to avoid saying life insurance right away in conversations with potential clients. But obviously, life insurance is not inherently bad if it’s set up correctly to meet the proper needs.
Here at Life Benefits, we design or review “7702 plans” for our clients daily – and we call these policies by their authentic names: Participating Whole Life Insurance, Indexed Universal Life Insurance, etc.
Many advisors will tell you that you should pay as little as possible for your life insurance. But high premiums are not always bad when you’re in the right financial situation. In fact, when a policy is designed well, higher premiums can help you build cash value and overcome the cost of insurance faster.
IRC 7702 plans are cash-value life insurance policies with higher premiums than term insurance policies. The benefits of owning high-premium-high-cash-value life insurance turn out to be many. We talk about some of the benefits later in this article.
IRC 7702 plans work just like life insurance policies because they are life insurance policies. Your premium goes to purchase a death benefit. The plan may build cash value as well. After death, your family is paid the death benefit. The cash value can be used during your lifetime either by taking a withdrawal or leveraging that value to take a policy loan from the insurance company. Think of cash value as your equity in the life insurance death benefit.
Even though it is not accurate to refer to a 7702 account as a “retirement plan,” good life insurance policies like we design at Life Benefits can put you miles ahead when it comes to saving for retirement.
Saving for retirement with whole life insurance can open better options for more sustainable retirement income than typical financial planning which relies mainly on tax-deferred plans such as 401(k)s and IRAs.
A typical investment portfolio cannot provide guaranteed growth. A good life insurance policy will provide guaranteed growth on your money. This gives you confidence and financial peace of mind.
In December 2020, Congress made changes to section 7702 for the first time since it was created 32 years before in 1988.
Through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, the minimum interest rates to be used in the design of cash-value life insurance products were changed to allow for continued low-interest rates across the rest of the economy.
Existing policy owners do not need to worry about their guaranteed policy values since these changes do not affect existing policy guarantees unless significant changes are made to an existing policy.
As of January 2022, life insurance companies have updated their new products in accordance with this legislation. Many companies have endeavored to keep high guaranteed cash values while dividends are projected somewhat lower across the industry. Premiums tend to be slightly higher in order to build similar cash value.
None of these changes negate the value of using whole life insurance as an important financial tool and a liquid form of savings in addition to the permanent death benefit.
Seeing the numbers from the insurance companies we represent here at Life Benefits, we think the findings of the Society of Actuaries have been reflected pretty accurately across the industry resulting in:
IRC 7702 is not a retirement plan. It’s a section of the internal revenue code that dictates how life insurance will be treated for tax purposes. Some experts say life insurance is the single largest benefit in the tax code. Thanks to section 7702, life insurance is not just effective for providing financial protection for your loved ones when you die, it is also a great way to grow your wealth while you’re alive. It can provide retirement income for you in your golden years and it lets you leave money to your spouse, your children, and your grandchildren income tax-free!
To see the numbers for a well-designed policy and how this could benefit you, call Life Benefits at 702-660-7000 or schedule a time for us to call you.