A 26(f) program is an investment account with tax loopholes that anyone over the age of 18 can open through an investment broker. If you look up 26(f) programs online, you may see some pretty big promises of major returns with little tax implication. It sounds like a great deal but is it?
Financial service companies are marketing 26(f) programs as something you need to open this instant. While a 26(f) program may be the right choice for you, it’s always good to research and gain a solid understanding of what these programs are before you enroll in one.
Here’s everything else you need to know about the 26(f) program.
What Type of Program is the 26(f) Program?
While the term 26(f) program is relatively unheard of, the concept itself is not. A 26(f) program is simply a plan where your dividends are reinvested into a whole life insurance policy. Loosely, they are comparable to mutual funds. You invest in popular and relatively safe shares of stock and can anticipate a steady return over the stocks’ lifetime, accumulating tax-free earnings along the way.
Why are We Hearing so Much About 26(f) Programs?
The 26(f) program has an interesting, albeit somewhat unclear history. Advertisers claim that 26(f) programs first came about during the Great Depression to provide a tax haven for people to invest what little money they had.
In 2017, news broke out that April 10 of that year would bring about a “retirement blackout.” Marketers pushed people to urgently participate in the little-known investment fund that allowed significant tax breaks – otherwise known as the 26(f) program. In reality, April 10 was simply the deadline for the fiduciary rule to take effect. The fiduciary rule was intended to help retirement investors. The rule requires financial firms to be more transparent with how they collect fees and commissions.
Since this instance, 26(f) programs have continued to be a hot topic of discussion. It’s mostly a discussion by financial services companies trying to get you to invest in their programs. Financial brokers may try to pressure their clients into investing in a 26(f) program. Why? So they can collect higher commissions. This isn’t necessarily a dangerous thing to you – but the claims of a 26(f) program are often overstated.
Should You Invest in a 26(f) Program?
From what anyone seems to really understand from 26(f) programs, they are very similar to mutual funds. Since there isn’t a vast amount of information available regarding 26(f) funds, it’s a safer bet to put your money into a steady index fund.
To discover the best option for you, do plenty of your own research. You can also consider speaking with your financial advisor. As always, be wary of any promises that seem too good to be true.
Have you invested in a 26(f) program? If so, tell us about it in the comments below.
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