If youâ€™ve ever been pitched on a 702(j) retirement plan by a salesman, then you already know itâ€™s not a retirement plan at all. A 702 plan is life insurance thatâ€™s commonly advertised as a retirement plan. The 702(j) retirement plan even mimics the lingo of actual plans such as the 401(k) and the 403(b). This deceptive marketing leads many consumers to think itâ€™s a scam or hoax.
While itâ€™s legal, a 702 account is a complex and pricey insurance product that could be right for you â€” but probably isnâ€™t. Consumers have a large variety of other bonafide retirement plans that can better meet their needs, and at a lower cost.
OA 702(j) plan is permanent life insurance that can cover you for life. This type of plan requires policyholders to pay monthly premiums, which grow tax-deferred and provides a tax-free death benefit. In addition to paying for the insurance, part of the premium goes into a cash account that is accessible (tax-free) by taking out a loan against the policy. The policyholder will then be paying more than necessary to keep their insurance, with any excess acting as enforced savings.
This loan policy is how aggressive marketers claim that consumers can enjoy a tax-free retirement. These tax-free loans donâ€™t need to be repaid while the policyholder is alive; however, they are repaid from the death benefit after the owner is deceased.
The biggest downsides to these plans are the high expenses, including typical life insurance fees and commissions. These expenses curtail how fast your policyâ€™s value can grow and inhibits the loan amount you could withdraw later, especially when compared to traditional retirement plans. And if you lapse on paying the monthly premiums, you wonâ€™t be able to maintain the policy.
Consumers also have to watch out for complex insurance contracts that may be difficult to understand. If you donâ€™t understand the benefits and all associated costs, itâ€™s best to simply stay away from 702(j) plans and stick with the traditional alternatives.
Some consumers think 702(j) plans are a hoax because salespeople aggressively pitch the product as a special loophole only available to the wealthy or so-called â€śinsiders.â€ť While the marketing may feel deceptive, the plans themselves are perfectly legal.
The program â€” also known as 7702 or 702 plans â€” takes its name from Section 7702 of the United States Code, which outlines the rules for insurance contracts. The code itself deals specifically with life insurance products, not retirement plans. That still doesnâ€™t stop marketers and salesmen from marketing a 702(j) as a retirement plan, which is why itâ€™s so important to conduct thorough research on any financial product.
Even if they truly arenâ€™t retirement plans, permanent life insurance may be right for you, depending on your unique situation. For example, those who want life insurance can make use of the plan because it provides a death benefit. That benefit could be valuable for your heirs if you donâ€™t anticipate living long â€”or savingâ€”enough to make a traditional retirement option viable.
These plans can also be useful for retirees that expect to have a high income throughout retirement. They can help retirees avoid increased taxes and charges for Social Security income and Medicare because insurance payouts arenâ€™t treated as income. Unlike traditional retirement plans, youâ€™re not obligated to take a required minimum distribution from a 702(j) and itâ€™s tax-free, so it allows you to minimize taxable withdrawals from traditional retirement accounts.
While permanent life insurance may not be for you, there are many circumstances where term life insurance is a prudent choice. Hereâ€™s everything you need to know about term life insurance.
Rather than sign up with a deceptively marketed 702(j) plan, consumers have quite a few other, more desirable options for retirement. The following plans offer substantial tax benefits today, with the potential to grow your nest egg tax-free over time:
A 702(j) plan isnâ€™t the smartest retirement option â€” itâ€™s technically life insurance, and there are many alternatives that offer stronger benefits for a more comfortable retirement. The most important thing to remember when it comes to your retirement savings â€” regardless of your plan â€” is to start contributing today. Compound interest grows with time, and the longer your money sits, the more valuable it grows.
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