Category Archives: Tax Planning

Life Insurance vs. Roth IRA for Retirement

Mark Fitzpatrick of recently asked about insurance vs. Roth IRA for retirement. Here’s what I shared with Mark:

Our research indicates some consumers are considering whether to fund a Roth IRA or permanent life insurance to plan for retirement. Why might they be making this comparison?

The Roth is a retirement account specifically designed for retirement savings; alternatively, life insurance provides income to dependents in the event of your passing.

How do the contributions and contribution limits for a Roth IRA compare to premium payments for life insurance?

In this scenario, one would be comparing apples to oranges. I would encourage consumers to first determine their goals and then find the right tools to accomplish them. Both are useful in the right context, but I would not necessarily promote the use of life insurance for retirement unless there was a compelling reason.

For the typical consumer who’s not eligible for a Roth IRA, but isn’t ultra wealthy, how would you recommend they employ these products? Would you recommend one over the other or some usage of both?

Most consumers have employer-sponsored retirement plans, so if they cannot contribute to a traditional IRA or Roth, they will have some plan available to them.

You can also view the article here.

What Are Capital Gains?

Capital gain is the profit you make when you sell an asset. Imagine you decide to invest in the stock market. You buy some shares of a company, let’s call it ABC Inc., at $50 each. Fast forward a year. The value of those shares has gone up to $70 each! If you decide to sell those shares, you’ve made a profit of $20 per share. That profit is what we call a capital gain.

Capital gains are essentially the profits you make from selling an asset like stocks, real estate, or even art, for more than you paid for it. However, the government wants a piece of that profit. That’s where capital gains tax comes in.

The amount of tax you pay on your capital gains depends on how long you’ve held onto the asset. If you sell it within a year of buying it, it’s considered a short-term capital gain, and you’ll usually pay taxes at your regular income tax rate, which could be higher. But if you hold onto it for more than a year, it’s a long-term capital gain, and you might qualify for a lower tax rate.

Let’s go back to our ABC Inc example. If you held onto those shares for over a year before selling them, you might pay a lower tax rate on the $20 per share profit compared to if you sold them within a year.

Tax laws can vary depending on where you live and your individual financial situation. It’s always a good idea to consult with a tax professional to understand how capital gains taxes apply to you.

Overall, capital gains are a way to make money from your investments, and understanding how they work can help you make smarter financial decisions.