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  Individual Investments

What is a 412(i) plan?
A 412(i) plan is a defined benefit qualified retirement plan, often referred to as a fully insured plan because its investments are restricted to guaranteed annuities and life insurance policies. As a defined benefit pension plan under Section 412 of the Internal Revenue Code, it is exempt from the minimum funding requirements. Benefits are guaranteed by the life insurance company, so 412(i) plans create larger initial deductions than a traditional plan since the funding assumptions are much more conservative.

Benefits of a 412(i) Plan
A business owner establishes a 412(i) for himself/herself and his/her employees. Then the owner makes tax-deductible contributions to the plan. These contributions are used to purchase annuities and possibly life insurance policies.

Why 412(i)?
A 412(i) plan provides a number of benefits including:
  • "Front-loading" contributions. Future cash flow can be an issue with business owners. A 412(i) plan may allow the owner increased tax-deductible contributions in the early years when cash flow may be most certain. Always fully funded. The 412(i) plan's structure ensures that it is never under funded, as can be the case with traditional defined benefit plans. Additionally, like other qualified retirement plans, these assets grow inside the plan tax-deferred.
  • Easy to understand. On a 412(i) plan statement, what you see is what you get since the values are always guaranteed. Life insurance adds completion benefit. When a 412(i) plan includes life insurance, there is a self-completing element to the plan. If the insured participant dies while participating in the plan, the death benefit can replace his or her current earnings and offer valuable protection to the family.

Good Candidates for a 412(i) Plan:
  • Highly paid business owners/professionals looking for guaranteed retirement benefits
  • Small, closely held businesses
  • Companies with few or no common-law employees
  • S corporation owners with limited W2 salary
  • Stable companies with little fluctuation in profits
  • Those who like security and guarantees over a fluctuating stock market with no guarantees

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