Is a Retirement plan or a Savings plan the same as a Pension Plan?
Savings Products are a good means of savings to have a lump sum at maturity and can be used for retirement planning. However, today, Private Pension Plans are available on the market. Such products provide a combination of a lump sum and an annuity at retirement.
Can I have a life cover with a retirement or a savings plan?
Yes a combined Policy incorporating both a Life Cover and a savings / investment element is possible.
What is the maximum contribution I can invest?
Clients should not save more than the maximum amount in order to qualify for the tax credit available for a Pension Plan. The maximum regular premium is being suggested to be €2,000p.a. and this will be adjusted in future years in line with revised maximums once known. Clients wishing to save more than these amounts should put the additional amounts into another savings product.
What is the type of investment in such plans ?
These plans usually take the form of a with-profits (endowment) type of investment or unit-linked. With-profits funds participate in the distribution of the returns of the Life Insurance company, whilst unit-linked funds participate in the equity market.
What is the tax position under such a plan?
Under the current laws of Malta you the Policy Holder is not liable to personal or capital gains tax when the policy matures or on earlier surrender. Furthermore there is no tax payable under the Plan in the case of a death claim.
However, Pension income is subject to Income Tax at the individual’s marginal rate of tax at the time in which the income is received.
On the other hand, a 15% tax credit is available on contributions to a Personal Pension Plan. In 2015, tax credit is available on contributions up to a maximum of €2,000, which means the maximum tax credit is €300 (€2,000 x 15%). In 2016 the maximum contribution is reduced to €1,000, which means the maximum tax credit will be €150.
Is there a maximum or a minimum term under such policies?
This varies from one insurance company to another. However such policies usually have a minimum term of 5 or 6 years. The maximum term is chosen by the client.
Personal Pension Plans are designed to provide a pension at retirement; however legislation states that benefits may be accessed at any time between the ages of 50 and 75. The earlier you decide to take the benefits the smaller the pension will be.
After issuing the policy can the investment element be increased?
In addition to the regular premium it is possible to make top-up payments that will be credited directly to your Policy Account. This will obviously contribute towards increasing the maturity value of the plan. Please refer to the tax credits for the Pension Plan mentioned above.
Can I stop the plan?
Most insurance companies offer surrender values if the plan is stopped prior to maturity date. The amount of surrender value, if any, is subject to various factors and to various charges. These should be explained prior to taking out the Policy.
Can the Savings plan be issued in the name of a Child?
Various Child Policies are available. However it is recommended that a detailed discussion is undertaken to evaluate the pros and cons of issuing such a policy, in the long term.
I am still confused as to which policy is best suited for my needs. What can I do?
Choosing the right savings plan is not an easy task and therefore it is recommended that you make an appointment with your insurance broker to guide you in this regard.