Senate Bill Aims to Help Women with Retirement Planning, but Helps Men, Too

May 8, 2007 ( - Legislation re-introduced into the Senate aims to prompt greater retirement planning for women by: giving new tax incentives for annuities, and imposing new employer mandates regarding sponsorship of qualified retirement plans, and change certain rules governing plan distributions, NewsEdge reported.

The thought is that both women and men would benefit from the measure, but women would especially benefit from receiving guarantee lifetime income in retirement because they typically live longer than men, Frank Keating, the president and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers, told the news service.

If passed, the Women’s Retirement Security Act would regard 50% of lifetime annuity payouts generated from non-qualified contracts, up to $20,000 annually, as tax-free. However, for individual retirement accounts (IRAs), 401(k) plans or other employer-sponsored plans, 10% of annuitized payout, up to $2,000, would be tax-free.

The act would also force employers sponsoring 401(k) plans to allow participation by part-time employees who remain with the company for a certain period of time, and would also require those employers not offering retirement plans to divert a portion of workers’ paychecks into an IRA.

The changes to the distribution rules governing qualified plans would promote the purchase of longevity insurance – or lifetime annuities whose payments are deferred to coincide with the end of beneficiaries expected life span. The value of the longevity insurance would not be considered with regard to tax-qualified plans’ minimum distribution rules, which apply at age 70.5.