Skip to content

July 17, 2014

Recent tax rules permit longevity annuities (LAs) to be held in 401(k), IRA, 403(b) and other employer-sponsored individual account plans

A recent press release announcing the final rules explains that, “as boomers approach retirement and life expectancies increase, longevity income annuities can be an important option to help Americans plan for retirement and ensure they have a regular stream of income for as long as they live.”
In general, the final rules:
• Amend the required minimum distribution (RMD) rules so payments don’t have to be taken from LAs to satisfy Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) requirements
• Set a maximum investment in an LA to the lesser of 25% of the plan account balance or $125,000 (adjusted for cost-of-living increases)
• Provide individuals with the opportunity to correct inadvertent LA premiums that exceed these limits
• State that the LA must provide that payments begin no later than the first day of the month next following the participant’s 85th birthday, although the maximum age may be adjusted later due to changes in mortality
• Allow for LAs to include “return of premium” death benefit provisions
• Expand the manner in which a contract can be identified as an LA
• Provide that LAs in qualified plans may not include “cash out” provisions, and no withdrawals are permitted in the deferral period, and, unless the optional death benefit or return of premium options are available, no payments will be made if the annuitant dies before the payment start date, although each of these restrictions may be found in LIAs that are not purchased within tax-qualified accounts
• For more information, the final rules can be read here.

Caution: This ruling will most likely have limited applicability. Taxes should not be the primary reason for financial decisions. It is a factor that should be considered after seeing how it impacts your financial plan.

What is a longevity income annuity?

A longevity annuity (LA), also referred to as a deferred income annuity or longevity insurance, is a contract between you and an insurance company. As the insured, you deposit a sum of money (premium) with the company in exchange for a stream of payments to begin at a designated future date (typically at an advanced age, such as age 80) that will last for the rest of your life. The amount of the future payments will depend on a number of factors, including the amount of your premium, your age, your life expectancy, and the time when payments are set to begin.

Caution: Guarantees are subject to the claims-paying ability and financial strength of the annuity issuer.

Share your thoughts, post a comment.

You must be logged in to post a comment.