We want to share some exciting news from SouthCap- news that means we have more resources than ever to meet your life insurance brokerage needs.
As part of our quest to constantly improve, see the life insurance marketplace at an expert level, and stand poised to capitalize on the future of a rapidly changing industry, it is with great enthusiasm that we announce we’ve joined Gallagher, one of the world’s largest insurance and risk management firms. This combination is intended to provide enhanced and expanded solutions to our clients. In an increasingly complex and dynamic insurance marketplace, uniting our two firms will create a stronger organization that will lead the industry in client service and ethical business practices. By joining Gallagher, we gain the sales support, market breadth, training capabilities and account management resources of a global leader.
Most importantly, the cultures, the values and the reputations of SouthCap and Gallagher align perfectly.
We are excited to share this news with you, and anticipate you will have a few questions. First, you’ve come to expect a level of service from us and we want you to rest assured our service model will not change- we will have the same team in place moving forward. SouthCap’s leadership will remain the same as well. Also, please see the attached Frequently Asked Questions and do not hesitate to reach out to anyone at SouthCap with specific questions.
We firmly believe this change will help us become an even better business partner to you. We are able to offer additional services, resources, and expertise to our clients in a way that continues to meet with our core values and practical approach to life insurance planning. We are looking forward to sharing these additional capabilities with you.
We truly value our relationship with you and look forward to working with you in 2018 and beyond.
Additional Merger FAQs
Life insurance, in particular Survivorship life insurance, is a very common and powerful tool we use with affluent families in order to accomplish the following key objectives:
- Leverage annual gift exclusions on a tax free basis for their children and/or grandchildren.
- Provide tax free pool of funds to pay future estate tax liability.
- Protect core capital and ensure an inheritance outside of their taxable investment accounts.
Due to the tax free treatment life insurance proceeds, the predictable stream of future cash flows offer the same comfort as a fixed income instrument with a potentially more attractive yield than a traditional fixed income investment.
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Playing Offense with Life Insurance – Flyer
Playing Offense with Life Insurance – Powerpoint
Each January we are faced with the opportunity to reflect on the decisions and choices we made in the prior year. It’s a great time to reflect on what went well, and what changes we need to make for the current year to be even better. When it comes to tax planning, the 1099’s we receive each January are also a pause for reflection on our financial gains, losses, and the tax impact of our financial decisions from the prior year.
So how do we maximize the growth of our assets, minimize the downside, and mitigate the impact of taxes? One strategy to consider is tax diversification. It’s critical that we understand how our assets are taxed when we contribute, when those assets appreciate, and most importantly when we take income or a distribution.
Life insurance is an asset with tremendous tax advantages. Contributions grow tax deferred, and can be withdrawn tax free if structured properly. Also, there are no maximum contribution limits, which often constrain contributions to 401(k) or other types of qualified plans.
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The Power of Tax Diversification – Flyer
The Power of Tax Diversification – Powerpoint
Having the Life Insurance Discussion
As trusted advisors, we are in a unique position to understand and help guide our clients’ most important life decisions. Those decisions revolve around the changing nature of their life goals as they enter into different phases of their life. For a young family, income replacement is paramount. For a couple who is entering their pre-retirement years, maximizing asset growth and protecting retirement assets is often their top concern. For business owner clients who are within ten years of exiting their business, protecting the value of the business and ensuring the succession of the business to the next generation of ownership is often what keeps them up at night.
So how do we help them understand how life insurance fits into the picture? How do we help them examine the tremendous leverage and liquidity life insurance can provide to allow them and their families to thrive not only today but for many generations to come?
The answer lies in our ability to ask the tough questions- questions that make the difference in leading our clients towards clarity, peace of mind and powerful decision making. Questions that ultimately lead to solutions which impact generations beyond what our clients can see today. Here are a few questions that can help start the dialogue:
Questions for clients who do not own life insurance:
- How do you see life insurance and its role in your overall plan?
- What have your previous experiences been involving life insurance?(their attitude today plays a key role in their decision making)
- Do you understand the tax advantages and living benefits of life insurance?
- Has anyone ever shown you how different types of life insurance work and why they are purchased?
- Have you seen how life insurance is used effectively by business owners to create the liquidity necessary to ensure a business transition?
- Do you understand how key person insurance can vary depending on a business objective?(indemnify the business from a loss vs. retention of key people)
Questions for clients with existing life insurance:
- Why did you buy the life insurance you currently own?
- If owned by a trust, who is the current trustee? How long has it been since you have reviewed the trust(s) and beneficiaries in the trust?
- Do the current trustee(s) and trust provisions reflect your objectives today?
- Has anyone recently offered to review your current policies?
- Have there been any changes in your recent health that may lead us to consider converting your existing term policies?
These are not easy questions, but they are vitally important in helping our clients understand the impact that properly structured and funded life insurance policies can have for them and their loved ones. As we work to help them accomplish their most important goals, take the time to help educate them on the “why” and “how” of sound life insurance planning. You don’t have to be the expert. Begin the dialogue and lean on us for help in guiding them towards the best possible solutions.
“Having the Life Insurance Discussion- Having the Courage to Ask”
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Leveraged Gifting Strategies
A very common scenario we are presented with is one where clients acknowledge the need for life insurance for estate planning or wealth transfer planning purposes, however, they do not want to infringe upon current cash flow in order to fund the ongoing premium obligation. Fortunately, many of them have accumulated substantial amounts of money in their qualified plans and will not need the required minimum distributions for retirement. Many of these clients plan on leaving their 401(k) or IRA balance “to the kids”. What they do not realize is that while quaified plans are excellent accumulation tools, they are inefficient transfer tools. These funds are an ideal place to start when identifying a potential source of premium dollars for the needed life insurance coverage.
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IRA Max Presentation – August 2015 Newsletter
Last week I received a call from a friend who is an advisor. He was recently approached by a business owner client who is considering a possible exit from his business. This particular owner has enjoyed the past 30 years of leading and growing this business, but is now at a point where he wants to travel and spend more time with his family. He has one son in the business, and two children who are not involved in the business. One is an artist in San Diego and the other has special needs. She was born with Down’s syndrome and is a true inspiration to her father. He wants to spend more time with the children he rarely saw while he was growing his organization. When I asked my friend what paths this client had explored as a possible exit strategy, he answered “He hasn’t yet. I was over at his office doing a benefit review and he mentioned a friend of his told him to look into an ESOP. That’s when I called you”.
These conversations are happening every day as we speak across the US. According to The Conway Center for Family Business, the mean age of a controlling shareholder in a family business is age 60. This means over the next 10-15 years, many closely held businesses will be looking for guidance on how to exit their business in a manner that allows for them to maximize their value for their family while ensuring a sound succession to the next generation of leadership. The terms exit and succession planning go hand in hand. Without a well thought out exit strategy, the chances of a solid succession plan are slim to none.
As advisors, how can we best help our clients explore the paths available? We can begin by asking them a simple, yet profound question. “What is it that you really want?” If their primary objective is to leave the business in the hands of the family, then focus on the best possible strategies there. If the main objective is creating an opportunity for the key employees to become owners, then start there. The potential paths will begin to form once the business owner has time to reflect and create a vision of what he or she truly wants. As their trusted advisor and friend, it is our obligation to help them find clarity in these areas.
Start with these questions:
1) In terms of your exit and succession plan, what is it that you really want?
2) If your plan is to keep the business in the family, who will run the business?
3) If you plan to sell the business, what are your thoughts on the value of the business?
4) Have you ever had the business valued?
5) Has anyone approached you recently to buy the business? If so, at what price?
6) Who will replace the skills you bring to the table and is in the best position to assume your key relationships?
7) Are there any gaps in the next generation of leadership that need to be filled today?
There are many possible questions to ask, and these are just a few that can help start the dialogue. Remember, we do not have to be experts in this arena. We can bring the necessary experts in based on the answers to the above questions. However, as our client’s friend and trusted advisor, we can be the catalyst that move this conversation in the right direction. A direction that ensures a stronger business today and in the future.