Financial Planning Products and Services
Magnolia Wealth and Strategies offers a wide range of planning and insurance products designed to provide you with the flexibility you’ve been searching for. Our Financial Services Representatives make choosing the right products for your unique situation easier than ever before. Backed by years of industry experience, and with access to a network of provider resources, our agency is well-equipped to guide you through a complex, changing world of risk and opportunity.
Money in a 529 college savings plan grows tax deferred. And you may be able to withdraw the money without having to pay federal and state income taxes—depending on the plan and where you live—as long as it’s used to pay for qualified, higher-education expenses. 1 If the money from 529 college savings plans is used for other purposes, the earnings portion of a withdrawal is subject to ordinary federal income tax, an additional 10% federal tax, and any applicable state income taxes. 529 college savings plans may also affect a student’s eligibility for financial aid.
529 College Savings Plans
If you find yourself intimidated by the ever-rising price of higher education, then a 529 college savings plan might be a key component in saving for a college education. A 529 college savings plan is a tax-advantaged way to save for college and pay for higher education expenses. Unlike some other savings vehicles, a 529 college savings plan may allow you to make sizeable contributions. The funds may generally be used for any qualified college or higher education expense, including tuition, room, board, fees, books, supplies, and equipment. Tax benefits may be subject to certain restrictions.
More on the 529 Plans
Types of 529 Plans
Although many details of 529 college savings plans vary by state, they generally come in two forms:
- College savings plans—allow you to invest your money in an account to pay for the student’s higher education expenses. Students can use the funds for qualified expenses at accredited institutions in the U.S. and abroad.
- Prepaid tuition plans—allow you to lock in tuition rates at eligible colleges or universities with a lump-sum investment or monthly payments. In other words, since you are paying in advance, you are avoiding potential tuition inflation down the road.
Gift Tax and Estate Tax Benefits
529 plans are partially exempt from the gift tax. You can contribute up to $14,000 ($28,000 for married couples) annually2 per beneficiary, or up to $70,000 ($140,000 for married couples) over a five-year period, without triggering the gift tax.3
Keep in mind that your gifts are excluded from your estate, so investing in a 529 Plan can be a smart strategy to reduce your estate tax.
Funds may be withdrawn without penalty if the beneficiary receives a scholarship (withdrawals can be made up to the scholarship amount), or in the event of the death or disability of the beneficiary. Ordinary federal and state income taxes would be owed on any investment earnings included in gross income.
1 A federal 10% penalty may be imposed on the earnings portion of a non-qualified withdrawal in addition to ordinary income tax.
2 Annual exemption amounts are subject to revision by the Internal Revenue Service.
3 If the Account Owner utilizes the special five-year lump sum exclusion and dies within five years of the funding date, the portion of the contribution allocable to the years remaining in the five-year period (beginning with the year after the Account Owner’s death) would be included in the account owner’s estate for Federal estate tax purposes. Clients should consult their tax advisor.
Investments in 529 college savings plans are not deposits or obligations of any bank, are not guaranteed by any bank, are not insured by the FDIC or any other agency, and involve investment risks, including the possible loss of the principal amount invested.
Conditions, such as contribution limits, vary by plan. 529 college savings plans are subject to market risk and volatility. Accounts may lose or gain value. Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss
Before investing in any plan, investors should carefully consider investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. Plan disclosure documents contain this and other information about the plans, and may be obtained by asking your financial advisor. Read these documents carefully before investing
Some states offer favorable tax treatment to their residents only if they invest in the state’s own plan. You should consult your tax advisor.
The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. We are not authorized to give tax or legal advice. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel.
A sudden interruption of income-due to an extended period of sickness or injury-can have serious financial consequences for many of today’s employees. If you are lucky, you may receive group long term disability benefits through your employer. However, you will need to make sure the benefits available through your group long term disability coverage are adequate for your needs. Group long term disability benefits are taxable if your employer pays the premiums, may be capped at a relatively low amount, and may not cover variable income such as bonuses or commissions. As such, these benefits may not be enough to maintain your lifestyle or pay all your bills if you become too sick or injured to work.
An individual disability income insurance policy can help supplement your group long term disability benefits and protect a larger portion of your income. This, in turn, provides a fundamental layer of security for your financial future. An individual disability income insurance policy you purchase on your own is fully portable, meaning you won’t have to worry about losing coverage if you change jobs, and the benefits paid are tax free if you are the premium payor.1. In addition, an individual disability income insurance policy is non-cancelable by the carrier (as long as the premiums are paid), and with a guaranteed renewable policy, your premiums will never change for the life of the policy. Disability income insurance policies have exclusions and limitations.
1The information provided is not written or intended as tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for purposes of avoiding any Federal tax penalties. We are not authorized to give tax or legal advice. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from their own tax or legal counsel.
Disability income insurance policies have exclusions and limitations.
Life insurance can be the foundation of your financial security and can provide comfort and stability for your family. The purpose of life insurance is to help provide your loved ones with financial protection after you die, in exchange for the premiums you pay to your insurer during your lifetime. Some life insurance policies can provide you with financial protection for the short term, while others accumulate cash value, offering a living benefit that can be used for supplemental retirement income, funding for a child’s education, or cash for emergencies1.
More on Life Insurance
Term Life Insurance
Term life insurance provides coverage for a set period of time at a generally lower cost than permanent insurance. Many term life insurance products allow you to convert to a permanent policy, such as whole life insurance. The cost of insuring oneself increases over time, so it’s important to understand your short- and long-term needs for financial security when you select a policy.
Permanent Life Insurance
Permanent life insurance provides you with financial protection for your entire life, as long as the policy remains in force. Because of the flexibility permanent life insurance offers, there are several types of policies you can purchase.
- Whole Life Insurance. The benefits of whole life insurance include guaranteed fixed premiums, a guaranteed death benefit and guaranteed cash value growth. This means that with whole life insurance, your premiums never increase as long as they’re paid, and you can also take advantage of “living benefits,” which enable you to borrow against the cash value of the policy for any purpose while you’re alive1. Borrowing cash from the policy can help in financing life-changing events or emergencies, and the policy’s cash value accumulates on a tax-deferred basis. One thing to keep in mind when purchasing whole life insurance is that loans reduce the death benefit of your policy, and loan interest should be repaid in order to prevent lapse.
- Universal Life Insurance. Universal life insurance provides lifetime death benefit protection along with flexibility that gives you choices as your needs and finances change. It offers options such as coverage amounts that may be increased or decreased, and premiums that you can vary based on your finances as long as there is enough money in the account to pay for the monthly insurance and administrative charges.
- Variable Universal Life Insurance. Variable universal life introduces an investment component. With variable universal life, you can allocate net premiums and account values among divisions of a separate account and guaranteed principal account. You can direct a portion of your net premium payments to any of the investment options available through the separate account depending on the particular variable universal life product. Each investment option offers a different level of risk and growth potential. One feature of variable universal life insurance (and universal life) is its premium flexibility: you can skip payments as long as your policy has accumulated enough account value to meet the monthly deductions. Also, you can add numerous riders to your policy. Riders are available for an additional premium.
**Variable life insurance policies are sold by prospectus. Before purchasing a variable life insurance policy, investors should carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses of the variable life insurance policy and its underlying investment choices. For this and other information, obtain the prospectuses for the variable life insurance policy and its underlying investment choices from your registered representative. Please read the prospectuses carefully before investing or sending money.
- Survivorship Life Insurance. Survivorship life insurance is a form of permanent life insurance that covers two people on one policy and pays a death benefit after both people on the policy have died. The cost for survivorship life insurance is usually lower than the cost of two individual policies.
1 Distributions under the policy (including cash dividends and partial/full surrenders) are not subject to taxation up to the amount paid into the policy (the cost basis). If the policy is a Modified Endowment Contract, policy loans and/or distributions are taxable to the extent of gain and are subject to a 10% tax penalty. Access to cash values through borrowing or partial surrenders can reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit, increase the chance the policy will lapse, and may result in a tax liability if the policy terminates before the death of the insured.
2 Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company or companies.
SpecialCareSM is a program that provides access to information, from what you need to know in order to provide the best care to your loved one, to how to manage the needs of yourself and other family members. For example, you’ll learn why accepting a generous financial gift from a loving grandparent may not be in their best interest, and why disinheriting your child with special needs might be the right thing to do.
If you are caring for a person with a disability or other special need—a spouse, a child, sibling, dependent parent or other relative or friend—you should consider our SpecialCareSM program.
The SpecialCareSM program, developed exclusively by Massachusetts Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), is an innovative outreach initiative that provides access to information, specialists, and financial products and services that can help improve the quality of life for people with disabilities and other special needs and their families and caregivers.
The SpecialCareSM program takes a team approach to help ensure proper life care planning for the future of a person with a disability or other special need.
A Special Care Planner1 or a MassMutual Financial Services Representative with the Chartered Special Needs Consultant® (ChSNC) designation2 can work with you and your professional advisors–your banker, accountant or financial planner, lawyer, social workers and health care providers—to review your financial picture and offer options that make sense for your situation.
More on Special Care Insurance
By following a person-centered life care planning process, you can keep the person with a disability or other special need as the primary focus, and develop a life care plan that helps enable that person to obtain the best quality of life possible.
A life care plan is a coordinated program of social, medical, financial, and legal strategies for people with disabilities and their families. A life care plan continually changes to adapt to the needs of the individual throughout his or her life.
Financial Services Representatives. A Financial Services Representative who specializes in working with special needs will work with the person with a disability or other special need, their family members or caregiver, and their personal advisors to help you:
- Understand the social, medical, and legal needs of the person with the disability or special need;
- Review your financial picture;
- Learn about options that make sense for your situation;
- Ensure benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income won’t inadvertently be jeopardized, and;
- Maximize finances, and help maintain the lifestyle of the individual with special needs.
Medical Professionals. Medical professionals provide informational and emotional support for the individual with special needs and/or families.
Social Workers. Social workers often act as the client advocate when working with other service professionals (e.g. schools, medical facilities, financial advisors and/or special care planners/ChSNC).
Attorneys. Attorneys provide legal services for people with disabilities and other special needs, their families or caregivers. They work closely with financial advisors and other Financial Services Representatives to develop the proper documentation for various items such as trusts.
Accountants. Accountants, working with Financial Services Representatives and other advisors, seek to understand the unique financial requirements of a person with a disability or other special needs and his or her family in order to help them properly develop a life care plan.
Family Member or Caregiver. The family member or caregiver plays a pivotal role in determining the proper care and benefits for the person with a disability by working closely with other members of the team.
Here are some external website links to provide families with further information to support loved ones with special needs.
Links to Organizations
- Academy of Special Needs Planners
- Brain Injury Association of America
- Easter Seals
- Autism Speaks
- Autism Society of America
- National Down Syndrome Congress
- National Down Syndrome Society
- National Spinal Cord Injury Association
- Paralyzed Veterans of America
- Special Needs Alliance
- United Cerebral Palsy
Links to Services
- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
- Individual Education Plan (IEP)
- Office of Special Education & Rehabilitation Services (OSERS)
- Social Security Disability Benefits
Links to Educational Materials
For Family Advisors
If you have clients who are caring for a person with a disability or other special needs—a child, a spouse or a dependent parent—our SpecialCareSMprogram can help by providing access to information, specialists, and financial solutions that can help you and your client:
- find information and contacts related to health care issues,
- learn more about earning and supplementing an income,
- create a safe and accessible living environment,
- find needed special equipment,
- obtain educational assistance, and;
- enhance personal independence
Through our SpecialCareSM Program, MassMutual helps make a difference in the quality of life for people with disabilities and other special needs and their families and caregivers.
1 The Special Care Planner receives advanced training and information in estate and tax planning concepts, special needs trusts, government programs, and the emotional dynamics of working with people with disabilities and other special needs and their families. The certificate program is offered by The American College in Bryn Mawr, PA, exclusively for MassMutual Financial Services Representatives.
2 Chartered Special Needs Consultant (ChSNC®) – a professional designation awarded to those individuals who’ve completed 120 hours of academic classes in addition to holding either Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) or Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designations and previously completing the Special Care Planner certification program. The ChSNC designation was developed by The American College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. The certification program and the professional designation evolved from MassMutual’s SpecialCareSM Program.
A trust is a fiduciary arrangement through which the trustee manages assets for the benefit of third parties. A trust is commonly used to transfer wealth to heirs or to favored charitable organizations. Insurance products, such as life insurance policies, annuity contracts and disability policies, may be used to fund trusts in appropriate circumstances.
Trusts are very flexible and may be drafted to meet the specific intent of the individuals creating the trust and customized to meet the specific needs of trust beneficiaries.
You can use trusts as a key element in a comprehensive estate and wealth transfer plan, or to otherwise direct how your legacy will be managed and distributed after your death.
Advanced estate planning and trust services require specific knowledge typically not provided by many financial advisors. Using trust services means collaborating with a third party that has your best interests in mind while the trust is set up through an attorney. Trust services include:
- Investment management & prudent diversification of account assets;
- Periodic statements, annual tax reporting and investment reporting; cash management, safe custody and prompt distribution of assets;
- Processing of capital changes such as stock dividends, splits, exchanges and tenders;
- Bill paying, automated deposits and disbursements (ACH and wire);
- Income collection and allocation
Traditionally, advisors had to refer clients to other providers. The person appointed as your trustee should have the knowledge and capability necessary to administer sometimes complex arrangements and to meet the fiduciary duties and responsibilities that are imposed under trust law. If properly drafted by an attorney and administered by the trustee, a trust can ensure that trust assets are managed and distributed after your death as you had desired.