Tag Archive for: Forbes

jar of coins with green plant sprouting out of it sitting on a table

Using Life Insurance as an Investment Tool

Life insurance is more than what meets the eye. Forbes writes that life insurance is primarily purchased for risk management. How so? Life insurance helps families manage the risk of financial survival after the loss of a breadwinner. 

The death benefit from a life insurance policy can be used by the beneficiaries in many different ways, including to help:

  • Fund day-to-day living expenses, such as food, gas, and medicines
  • Pay off debts, like mortgages, credit cards, and car loans
  • Provide income to surviving relatives for health care or education needs, or
  • Pay federal and state estate taxes

While life insurance is great at managing the economic risk of death and can provide a rate of return on premiums paid over the years in exchange for a  death benefit, it also can be an effective investment tool for the policy owner while the insured is still alive.

Let’s discuss this further.

Life Insurance as an Investment Tool

As you look to diversify your investment portfolio, life insurance can be a dependable, lower-risk option to funnel money into because of its growth potential and tax benefits. 

There are two types of life insurance categories: term life insurance and permanent life insurance. Here, we are focusing only on permanent life insurance because it includes a cash value account in addition to a death benefit. The cash value component is used by the policy owner to protect, grow, and access wealth on a tax-favored basis while the insured is still alive. 

Let’s discuss how permanent life insurance can act as an investment tool.

Permanent Life Insurance

Permanent life insurance is designed to last your lifetime and is composed of three components:

  • Premiums
  • Cash value, and
  • A death benefit

The cash value is a tax-advantaged savings account. It serves as a living benefit that the policy owner can access for any reason before the insured has died.

When you make a premium payment, what happens? A portion goes to pay for the cost to insure a life for the death benefit amount, as well as for policy fees, state premium taxes, and commissions.

The remainder of their premium goes into your cash value account, which can grow and be accessed without paying tax, for you to use for any purpose at a later time.

There are a few different types of permanent life insurance contracts to note—and the main differences between the types of permanent policies have to do with what mechanism grows that cash value account.

Types of Permanent Life Insurance

  • Whole Life Insurance
  • Universal Life Insurance
  • Index Life Insurance
  • Variable Universal Life Insurance

Visit our article “Permanent Life Insurance: What Options Are Available to You?” for more details on each permanent policy.

Life Insurance as an Investment: Cash Value Life Insurance

All four aforementioned permanent life insurance policies include a cash value component which, when structured properly, can serve as a tax-favored investment vehicle that the policyholder can use while the insured is still alive. 

With all life insurance policies, a permanent policy still includes a large tax-free death benefit paid to the beneficiaries when the insured passes away. 

But the cash value component can have tremendous value as well. It’s available to the policyholder while the insured is alive, and grows tax-deferred.

The cash value can be used to offset future premiums and/or accessed tax-free, for any reason, using either policy loans or a withdrawal of principal. This component adds flexibility and provides a tax-favored source of income for retirement, travel, healthcare needs, or emergencies.

A Final Word

Life insurance, when structured properly, can be a low-risk option to stabilize and grow an investment portfolio on a tax-advantaged basis. In order to ensure your life insurance policy is acting as an investment tool, however, you need proper guidance and insight into selecting the right policy.

This is where our team at Acumen Insurance Solutions comes in.

Contact us today to learn more, then read on to find out what permanent life insurance options are available to you.

Succession Planning Amidst the Great Resignation

Reviewing Forbes’ “Struggling to Keep Employees Amid the Great Resignation? Look to Succession Planning.”

At Acumen Insurance Solutions, one of our core services is business succession planning. For this reason, Forbes article titled, “Struggling to Keep Employees Amid the Great Resignation? Look to Succession Planning” stuck out to us like a sore thumb.

Read on for a little context on business succession planning at Acumen. Then, we’re handing over the reins to Forbes to talk about how succession planning can help boost employee retention during this time.

The Importance of Business Succession Planning

At Acumen, we do our fair share of business succession planning for clients. Most commonly, life insurance is utilized by business owners as a mechanism to:

  1. Protect their families in case they are no longer there to provide income
  2. Protect their businesses in case a key person dies
  3. Provide the liquidity needed to redeem shares when an owner leaves the company or passes away
  4. Provide non-equity compensation to fund executive incentive and retention programs 

There are, however, additional succession planning elements that can increase employee retention during the Great Resignation.

Interested in learning what they are? Continue reading for the full Forbes article.

Struggling to Keep Employees Amid the Great Resignation? Look to Succession Planning.

The Great Resignation has been prevalent for some time now, and unfortunately for businesses, the search for greener pastures is still picking up pace. Nearly 4.3 million people left their jobs in January 2022. In February, another 4.4 million people called it quits. An estimated 44% of workers said they actively looked for new jobs at the end of 2021 or planned to find new employment at the beginning of 2022, so these numbers could continue to jump for the foreseeable future.

Needless to say, employee retention has become a top priority. Some companies have chosen to go the monetary route, using compensation increases to attract and retain employees. Others have given more perks to reengage their teams, offering greater flexibility, remote work options, and paid parental leave. These solutions can work in some instances, but they don’t truly address the root cause of the Great Resignation problem.

The pandemic gave people time to step back, reassess their lives, and unlearn the old ways of working. Many people have realized that life’s too short to stay in jobs that aren’t fulfilling, especially when staying doesn’t allow them to grow. An increasing number of employees now want future-oriented job opportunities, so a solution to the Great Resignation can be found in the unlikeliest of sources: succession planning.

Succession planning is often just thought of as a means for identifying and developing future company leaders. Though that’s certainly true, succession planning is also vital for every other area of a business—especially employee retention.

Establishing a companywide succession plan

Although no two succession plans will look the same, certain elements have proven to be most successful when retaining and attracting talent. The following should be part of your succession planning process:

1. Create a mentorship program.

It’s no secret that mentorship programs benefit employers and employees alike. Such initiatives can support career development, strengthen onboarding efforts, reduce training costs, and even help nurture a culture of learning. Mentoring is also essential to succession planning and talent retention, as it develops your future leaders and can even increase the momentum of a mentee’s growth within your company.

How you go about establishing a mentorship program is entirely up to you. Vince Dawkins, president and CEO of Enertia Software, suggests a systematic approach: “Assess your workforce and ask yourself where you see each person fitting within your operations. Then, carefully pair junior employees with more seasoned team members.”

“For your mentorship program to work, however, don’t forget to set mentoring goals,” Dawkins writes. “Each pairing will have different objectives, and participants should revisit these objectives regularly to keep knowledge transfers on track and ensure ownership among the team.” Once mentors and mentees are paired and goals are set, it becomes much easier to measure the program’s success across both development and business objectives.

2. Employ individual self-selection.

In many organizations, one of the biggest issues in succession planning—and leadership development in general—can be attributed to the selection process. Though logic would tell you to evaluate team members and select the worthiest candidates based on a mix of performance and potential, such an approach leaves room for biases. It’s akin to the unconscious biases seen in certain recruitment practices where “like hires like.”

Although evaluation will always play a role in succession planning for specific positions within your company, a much better approach is self-selection. It’s simply more inclusive. And according to Janice Burns, chief people officer at Degreed, “This creates a pipeline of unexpected (and otherwise hidden) talent committed to proving their success and, therefore, more likely to remain at the company.”

Allow team members to nominate themselves for development opportunities that put them on track for leadership roles. Ask interested individuals to provide a business case for the investment and then monitor their progress. You might be surprised at the hidden talent within your organization.

3. Prioritize organizational culture.

Culture impacts all aspects of a business. Everything from engagement and productivity to collaboration and decision-making can be traced back to the health of your organization’s culture. The time is now to review your mission, values, goals, and expectations, as they collectively serve as a North Star to guide teams and motivate employees to do their best possible work.

Culture is a living, breathing organism, so it can change when left unchecked. That change might be gradual but is still consequential to your company. So, make a habit of seeking feedback from employees. Ask your team where they might need support, resources, and so on. Invest in them, and they’ll invest in you. As writer Kat Boogaard explains, “Regularly asking employees what you can do to support them and implementing that feedback can reduce your organization’s attrition, which is even more important during ‘The Great Resignation.’”

What’s more, your efforts will create a pool of devoted employees, all with a greater understanding and appreciation for your organization’s mission, vision, and values. Each one could be a future leader.

4. Practice transparency.

Individual aspirations can take an employee only so far. Sometimes, people need to hear where leadership sees them progressing within operations to truly find the right career development paths. Therefore, schedule time with each employee to discuss your plans for their future growth. And be sure to open the floor for their input. Maybe you see a sharp and talented customer service representative moving into management, but that person’s interests don’t match your vision.

The ultimate goal is twofold: identify the ideal development opportunities to keep employees happy, engaged, and content to stay at your organization and develop a succession plan for all operational roles. If you haven’t taken the time to discuss a team member’s future, you could miss out on a great leader—and you might lose the person to another company in the process.

Succession planning won’t necessarily be a cure-all for your talent woes. Recognition, respect, autonomy, and communication all contribute to whether a given employee will pull up stakes. Still, succession planning can serve as a solid foundation to build up future talent retention and acquisition efforts within your organization. It demonstrates a commitment to and an investment in your employees’ futures, which can go a long way toward keeping them engaged at your company for the long run.

Infographic of Succession Planning Amidst the Great Resignation

What We Do

Working with owners of successful businesses also requires coordination with their estate plans; our team at Acumen is uniquely positioned to design flexible life insurance plans with both goals in mind.

Interested in learning more? Read on to hear us answer the question, “Can I Change My Life Insurance?