The SECURE Act has created some really interesting opportunities for financial advisors who specialize in retirement income planning, especially when you consider that some of these changes can cause eventual sub-optimal tax situations for clients.

Prior to the SECURE Act, Roth conversions had a substantial advantage over life insurance as a planning tool because although life insurance death benefits are tax free to the beneficiary, the beneficiary must the invest the proceeds somewhere, giving rise to the tax on growth that occurs during the beneficiary’s lifetime, compared to a much longer period of tax-free growth and withdrawals from the Roth.

With the new 10-year limitation, the benefits of life insurance are now much closer to the Roth, particularly for clients with a conservative to moderate risk tolerance. For these clients, tax-deferred accumulation and tax-free withdrawals to basis and loans thereafter mimic the benefits of the Roth. A properly selected and structured life policy is likely to provide a reasonably similar internal rate of return to that of a mostly bond portfolio, particularly in rising interest rate environments. A need for protection against potential long-term care expenses can thus flip the advantage from the Roth to life insurance.

Read the Perspectives Magazine article for a closer look.