As a successful executive, your life is busy. Between travelling for work, the never-ending conference calls, and all-day meetings you barely have time with your family, let alone to research tax codes or review the changes to your company's benefits. Even if you did have the time, soon you will be busy again and financial planning is put on the back burner. At Summit Financial, LLC, I focus my team's service to provide unique solutions that answer executives' unique needs, and we focus your financial plan so it takes into consideration all of your company plans, stock plans, pensions and more.
I encourage you to review my Executive Strategy Brochure and sign up for our Executive Insights Newsletter to learn more.
Areas we provide advice to help executives
- Executive pension plans
- Executive supplemental savings plans
- Stock options
- Restricted Stock Units
- Deferred Compensation
- Group life insurance
- Company 401(k)
- Employee stock purchase plans
Learn More About What Your Company May Offer:
Company stock plans
There are a number of ways executives are compensated. Most executives receive some sort of stock incentive plan as part of their compensation. This may be a stock option, restricted stock or the ability to purchase their company stock at a discount. Often times, this compensation makes up a large part of the executive's overall compensation. When it comes to stock-based compensation, there are several considerations to take into account, including income taxes, vesting periods, and the risk of owning large amounts of employer stock.
Fortunately, there are several financial and tax planning opportunities available for executives who receive stock based compensation. Some of these opportunities may include the Section 83-b election for restricted stock, net unrealized appreciation for employer stock in a 401(k), or gifting shares to a donor advised fund for charitable purposes. If you receive stock based compensation, it's imperative to understand all of your financial planning opportunities - after all it's not what you make, but what you keep.
Non-qualified Deferred Compensation Plan
A non-qualified deferred compensation plan is an arrangement between an employer and a key employee whereby the employer agrees to pay additional compensation for a specified period of time in exchange for the continued service of the employee. When certain tax code requirements are met, this arrangement allows the employer to single out highly compensated employees for the purpose of rewarding them for their contributions to the company, and as an incentive for the employee to stay with the company.
The amount of compensation to be deferred is agreed upon by the employer and the employee. The plan can be funded or unfunded. If it is funded the employee must be at risk to forfeit his rights to the compensation or else it will be currently taxable. An unfunded plans allows for the taxation of compensation to be deferred until it is actually received.
Many plans are informally funded through the use of life insurance which is owned by the employer on the life of the employee. The accumulated cash value funds the plan and is distributed as compensation over a specified period of time. The death benefit is available to compensate the family of the employee if death occurs prior to distribution. The employer may also use the death benefit proceeds to offset the cost of funding the plan. The distributions are taxable to the employee when they are received and the employer receives a tax deduction as the benefits are paid. Non-qualified deferred compensation plans may funded, unfunded, or informally funded with the use of life insurance.
Executive Bonus Plan
Another way an employer can reward selected key employees is through an Executive Bonus Plan (IRC Sec. 162) wherein the employer bonuses the premium for a life insurance policy owned by the employee. The policy, including the cash values, belongs to the employee who can maintain the coverage on his own if he were to leave the employer.
The bonus which equals the amount of the net premium payment is considered to be additional compensation to the employee and is taxed currently. In some cases, an employer will bonus an extra amount to offset the employees tax on the premium. The bonuses are tax deductible to the employer.
Executive compensation plans such as non-qualified deferred compensation and executive bonus plans involve legal, tax and insurance issues. The guidance of a qualified tax or financial professional is strongly recommended.