Treasury Department issues final rules regarding Longevity Annuities

By J. Saunders Wiggins, CFP®, AIF®

J. Saunders Wiggins, CFP®, AIF®

J. Saunders Wiggins, CFP®, AIF® CEO/President

An increasing concern for many Baby Boomers and retirees is whether or not they will outlive their retirement savings. As a result, insurance companies have been lobbying to allow qualified longevity annuity contracts (QLACs) inside 401(k) plans. The idea behind longevity annuities is to provide a “guaranteed” income stream in the later years of one’s life – after age 80 or 85.

This week, the U.S. Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service issued final regulation to make these longevity annuities an option inside 401(k) plans and other retirement plans. One of the issues had been the fact that qualified accounts have required minimum distributions (RMD) starting in the year a person reaches age 70-1/2, which is much sooner than longevity annuities pay out benefits. As a result, the final rules give an exemption to RMD rules for qualified longevity annuities.

QLACs may allow aggregate premiums that exceed annuity payments to be returned to the account upon the account owner’s death. While ACG typically believes that annuities are not the best solution for clients, those with large qualified account balances may consider a QLAC to defer RMDs. However, it should be noted that QLAC premiums are capped at $125,000.

For a summary of final regulations, please see the Treasury Department’s announcement or contact ACG for more information.