Many business owners are aware that executive bonus plans can be a valuable employee retention tool. What many business owners don’t know is that indexed universal life insurance can be a great vehicle for funding these bonus plans. Using indexed universal life for executive bonus plans is a great way to secure the future of your business.
We are all familiar with the basic types of life insurance, but indexed universal life is really making the scene when it comes to business planning. Although originally introduced in 1997, we are really seeing the growth of this multi-functional life insurance product explode today.
So what is an executive bonus plan? A bonus plan is set up by an employer to reward specific employees or even themselves. Executive bonus plans are discriminatory, meaning that you can pick and choose who you want to be in the plan. The owner will typically purchase an indexed universal life insurance policy on the employee and pay the premium. The money to pay the premium is considered bonus income to the employee so the owner gets a tax deduction in the amount of the bonus. This will work for all forms of businesses, C-Corp, S-Corp, LLC, etc.
Indexed universal life insurance is pretty much the same as its well-known cousin, universal life insurance. The major difference is the way interest is credited in the policy. Indexed universal life has evolved from its original state and become more of a cash accumulation life insurance policy. Interest is credited to the policy based on the performance of stock market indexes such as the S&P 500, NASDAQ, DOW and some foreign stock markets that funds are allocated to.
The cash value of the policy can only increase due to the fluctuations in the market. The policy will never lose money because of drops in the stock market. The policy is not a security product like a mutual fund or variable universal life insurance and is not directly invested in securities. This makes for a great story when you look at what has happened over the last 20 years of investing.
Can you imagine what your investments would look like if you never had a losing year?
Who, Why and How
Executive bonus plans are a great way for owners to compensate key employees by providing a combination of benefits that will help retain that employee.
- Cash value accumulation that can be used in retirement or even surrendered for a lump sum
- Chronic and critical illness benefits that can provide lump sum payments if they become sick or experience catastrophic events
- Life Insurance – pays their family a lump sum when they die
This will not only benefit your employee, but also your business by helping to retain valuable employees. Keeping those key employees will strengthen vendor relationships and protect against the loss of earnings and key accounts. Imagine the employee morale this will create. The key employee will receive a valuable life insurance policy with all of the above mentioned benefits for practically no out-of-pocket cost. Since the key employee is the owner of the policy, there is no restriction on how they use the policy.
Why Indexed Universal Life Insurance?
Executive bonus plans are essentially a non-cash benefit with the idea of increasing the morale and retention of key employees. Most benefits must be offered to all employees – not executive bonus plans. Again, the owner can pick and choose exactly who gets the benefits. The executive bonus plan allows the business to take a tax-deduction for every penny that they bonus to the key employee. Not only does the business benefit but the key employee benefits from the added life insurance and access to an additional tax-free income stream during retirement.
Indexed universal life for executive bonus plans: how does this work?
Very simply! The employee will apply for the indexed universal life insurance policy. Once approved, we can help you set up an executive bonus arrangement. This concept is very common and can be set up very easily. The business can either pay the premium directly to the life insurance company for the policy or they can pay the bonus to the employee. The employee receiving the bonus will be taxed on this additional amount and the business gets the deduction for the amount paid.
The benefits in the policy can be used at any time by the employee. The death benefit will bring peace of mind to the family of the employee. Any cash value in the policy can be used while they are living. If the employee were to leave employment, become disabled or just need financial help, the cash value could be used to assist with the financial impact of any unexpected misfortune.
You have worked hard to get to where you are today. It’s not easy to achieve success. Executive bonus plans can help you grow your business by securing the allegiance of those employees that matter the most, showing your appreciation for their loyalty and dedication. We can help you structure a plan that works for your business. Use the contact us form or call us at 1-800-712-8519 to learn more.