401k http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1445/all en-US 5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_coffee_credit_cards_82594511.jpg" alt="Woman paying off high interest credit card debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Credit card debt is one of the most costly forms of debt, with interest rates between 20% and 30% in some cases. (Cardholders who have missed a payment might even incur higher penalty rates.) In contrast, secured loans such as car loans and home mortgages can have far lower rates. And unlike a home mortgage or student loans, interest on credit card debt is never tax deductible.</p> <p>So as with any costly loan, your first priority should be <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-day-debt-reduction-plan-pay-it-off?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">paying it off as soon as possible</a>. And even if you have to take out another loan to do so, you can save money when you are able to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">transfer your debt</a> to a new account that has a lower interest rate than your existing credit card balances.</p> <p>See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso2&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">The Fastest Way to Pay Off 10K</a></p> <p>Here are five ways that you can pay off your high interest credit card debt.</p> <h2>1. Credit Card Balance Transfer</h2> <p>If you have a balance on a high interest credit card, you can save money by transferring it to a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">card with a lower interest rate</a>. Better yet, some cards offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-0-balance-transfer-credit-cards?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">0% APR promotional financing on balance transfers</a> for a limited time, from six to as long as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-your-credit-card-debt-with-citi-simplicity-card?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">21 months</a>. Most cards will impose a balance transfer fee of 3% to 5% of the amount transferred. However, there are cards available that offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-with-no-balance-transfer-fees?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">balance transfers with no fee</a>. These balance transfer offers are your best way to eliminate interest charges while you pay down your debt.</p> <h2>2. Personal Loan</h2> <p>Many banks and credit unions are willing to offer <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-lenders-for-personal-loans?ref=internal">personal loans</a> to applicants with good or excellent credit. So long as the interest rate offered is lower than your credit card balance, you can use these loans to pay off your credit cards and reduce your interest costs. However, the best rates will only be available to those who have excellent credit. If you have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-bad-credit?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=cc_article">poor credit</a> and a lot of debt, you may not be approved for a loan with a lower interest rate than the one you currently have.</p> <h2>3. 401K Loan</h2> <p>It's possible to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=internal">loan yourself money from your 401K</a> so that you can pay off your high interest credit card balances. When you withdraw money from your 401K account, you can pay yourself back over as long as five years using very competitive interest rates that will be lower than nearly all credit cards. And since you are essentially acting as your own lender, there is no need to have excellent credit. On the other hand, you will be missing out on the compound interest your investments would have earned, and you will face tax penalties if you fail to pay the back the loan on time.</p> <h2>4. Life Insurance Loan</h2> <p>There are some types of whole, universal, or variable universal life insurance policies that allow you to take out a loan against them. Any money you withdraw is then deducted from your death benefit. And while interest rates can be below that of high interest credit cards, any unpaid interest will be added to your loan amount and subject to compounding. Just like a 401K loan, you are borrowing from your own funds, so your current credit rating will be irrelevant.</p> <h2>5. Home Equity Line of Credit</h2> <p>If you have equity in your home, you may be able to borrow money against it for any purpose, including paying off your high interest credit cards. Current interest rates for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-equity-loan-or-heloc-which-is-right-for-you?ref=internal">home equity lines of credit</a> are below 5%, which is far better than any standard credit card's interest rate. Your ability to secure a home equity line of credit will depend on your home's debt to credit ratio as well as your current credit history.</p> <p><em>Have you ever borrowed at a lower rate to pay off high interest debt? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-surprising-things-lenders-check-besides-your-credit-score">4 Surprising Things Lenders Check Besides Your Credit Score</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-surprising-ways-revolving-debt-helps-you">5 Surprising Ways Revolving Debt Helps You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-scary-facts-about-credit-card-debt">6 Scary Facts About Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-dirty-secrets-of-credit-cards">The Dirty Secrets of Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-its-okay-to-delay-retirement-savings">5 Times It&#039;s Okay to Delay Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards 401k balance transfer debt HELOC high interest home equity line of credit interest rates life insurance loans Wed, 07 Sep 2016 10:31:09 +0000 Jason Steele 1785333 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Times It's Okay to Delay Retirement Savings http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-its-okay-to-delay-retirement-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-its-okay-to-delay-retirement-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hand_coin_piggybank_75172163.jpg" alt="Woman learning times it&#039;s okay to delay retirement savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>About one in five Americans isn't confident about <a href="https://www.ebri.org/publications/ib/index.cfm?fa=ibDisp&amp;content_id=3328">having enough money</a> for a comfortable retirement. If you're among them (or even if you aren't), putting off retirement savings seems like terrible advice. But if you're handling an ever-growing debt monster or an imminent threat of past contributions becoming taxable income &mdash; it may be okay to temporarily put a hold on retirement savings.</p> <p>Here are some of the very few instances you should ever consider temporarily delaying saving for retirement.</p> <h2>1. Paying Back a Loan From Your 401K</h2> <p>According to a study from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, 20% of Americans <a href="http://www.pensionresearchcouncil.org/publications/document.php?file=1271">take out a loan</a> from their 401K plans. Even worse, there is evidence that treating your nest egg like a credit card can quickly become a bad habit: 25% of 401K borrowers take out a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/your-money/one-dip-into-401-k-savings-often-leads-to-another.html?_r=0">third or fourth loan</a> and 20% of them take out five or more loans!</p> <p>While the full loan balance is generally due within five years, it becomes due within 60 days when terminating employment or failing to meet the established repayment schedule. Any outstanding balances become taxable income, triggering not only applicable income taxes but also additional tax penalties.</p> <p>Letting a 401K loan become taxable income will leave you with an unexpected, large tax bill next year and make you miss out on all the interest gains until retirement age. If you need to put retirement savings temporarily on hold to pay a 401K loan back ASAP, it's an understandable choice.</p> <h2>2. Dealing With Major Medical Expenses</h2> <p>If you're facing a major medical expense, you'll probably need all the help you can get. If your medical and dental expenses for the year are more than <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p502/ar02.html">10% of your adjusted gross income</a> (7.5% if you or your spouse are over 65 or turned age 65 in 2016), you may qualify for hardship withdrawals from your retirement accounts. But a better option might just be to adjust the withholding on your paycheck using the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator">IRS Withholding Calculator</a>. This might allow you to pay for the expenses out of pocket by giving your budget more breathing room for the rest of the year. Sure, your retirement savings rate might temporarily slow, but at least you won't actively dip into them, either.</p> <h2>3. Eliminating High-Interest Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>In 2015, 21% of Americans believed that they would be in debt forever, up from 9% in 2013 and 18% in 2014. And high interest debt &mdash; such as credit card balances &mdash; are a big culprit.</p> <p>Instead of mortgaging your future to high-interest debt, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">pay it off quickly</a>, and commit to putting the savings on interest payments toward retirement contributions. You'll probably even end up saving more toward retirement in the long run than if you kept making minimum credit card payments and wasting money on interest and fees. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">When to Use a Balance Transfer Offer</a>)</p> <h2>4. Building an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Thinking that your 401K is already your emergency fund is one of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-emergency-fund-myths-you-should-stop-believing">emergency fund myths</a> you should stop believing. Taking a loan from your 401K is very often a bad idea because of the reasons explained earlier. Instead, take a couple of months to build an emergency fund that meets your unique financial situation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/figuring-the-size-of-your-emergency-fund?ref=seealso">Figuring the Size of Your Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>5. Being Stuck in a Bad Forced-Transfer IRA</h2> <p>If a recent job change resulted in your previous 401K being forcefully transferred to an IRA, you might temporarily reconsider your retirement savings.</p> <p>If your forced-transfer IRA charges outrageous fees, you're better off holding off on your contributions until you qualify for your new employer's qualified plan. In the meantime, you could put the money that you would contribute to the IRA in an investment or saving account with a better return or pay down high-interest credit card debt.</p> <p>Once you set up your 401K with your new employer, roll over the entire balance from the forced-transfer IRA to the new account to improve the performance of your nest egg.</p> <p><em>What are other times it's okay to put off retirement?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-its-okay-to-delay-retirement-savings">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-strengthen-your-finances-before-retirement">5 Ways to Strengthen Your Finances Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account">5 Questions to Ask Before You Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-pay-off-high-interest-credit-card-debt">5 Ways to Pay Off High Interest Credit Card Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k borrowing money debt emergency funds IRA loans medical expenses Thu, 11 Aug 2016 09:30:31 +0000 Damian Davila 1769335 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_sunset_79384959.jpg" alt="Woman making moves after conquering debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Congratulations &mdash; you're debt free! Now what?</p> <p>The road to debt elimination was long and treacherous, but just because the black cloud of lingering bills is no longer hanging over your head, that doesn't mean your financial house is in order. It's in better shape, sure, but you've still got a ways to go. To continue working toward that goal, here are a few smart moves you should make as soon as you get out of the red:</p> <h2>1. Rearrange and Trim Your Budget</h2> <p>Your top priority when getting out of debt is to not get back into debt. To accomplish that, you'll need to make changes to your spending and savings habits. You'll also need to revisit your budget and rearrange your priorities. Now that you don't have credit card or loan payments bleeding you dry every month, you'll have more disposable income &mdash; and you need to decide what you'll do with it to improve your quality of life and set yourself up for the future. Cut out anything that's unnecessary: Maybe it's the cable that you don't watch much of, the gym membership you don't use, or subscriptions to services you can live without. Whatever is it, cut the fat and don't look back.</p> <h2>2. Get Back to Building Your Emergency Fund</h2> <p>If you've been digging yourself out of a negative-money pit, chances are you don't have much of an emergency fund &mdash; and that needs to change ASAP. Building an emergency fund is the best way to avoid a potential debt scenario in the future. You'll be able to draw from that account to pay off life's little surprises in full, so you're not constantly treading water every time something unexpected happens.</p> <p>&quot;I recommend having an emergency fund saved up equal to six months' worth of expenses,&quot; says financial planner Russell Robertson of Alidade Wealth Partners in Atlanta, GA. &quot;This will give you time to get back on your feet if something unforeseen happens without completely disrupting everything in your life.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Check in on Your Credit Situation</h2> <p>Brace yourself. If you've been battling debt for an extended period of time &mdash; especially if you've only being sending in minimum payments &mdash; your credit situation is likely less than ideal. The good news, however, is that you're in the clear now (debt-wise, anyway), and this is the best time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-credit-score-mean-good-bad-or-excellent?ref=internal">start rebuilding your credit</a>.</p> <p>Having a solid credit score puts you in a strong position when you need to finance a purchase, like a house or car, or apply for a new line of credit. It's always a good idea to know where you stand with credit and take steps to improve it.</p> <h2>4. Max Out Your Matching-Dollar Opportunities for Retirement</h2> <p>Like your emergency fund, contributions to your 401K and IRA were probably low (or perhaps even nonexistent) while you concentrated on paying down your debt. With more funds freed up now, it's important to start concentrating on your future &mdash; especially your retirement goals &mdash; and that includes maxing out dollar-matching opportunities to take full advantage of free money.</p> <p>&quot;401K plans in 2016 have a contribution limit of $18,000 a year, plus an extra $6,000 for people over 50, so with no debt to pay, you might have the opportunity to reach that limit now,&quot; says financial planner and investment adviser Jaycob Arbogast of Arbogast Advisers. &quot;Similarly, an IRA has a $5,500 limit for people under 50 and a $6,500 limit for people 50-plus, so maxing out those plans might be a good idea too. For example, with a 6% return, adding an extra $5,000 each year to your retirement savings from age 50 to 60 could add an additional $65,000 to your retirement savings. That's a great boost that someone in debt might not be able to maintain.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Start Investing With Long-Term Returns in Mind</h2> <p>Personally, I recommend investing in real estate, but what you invest in is up to you, so long as you're investing. Outside of your emergency fund, your money should never sit in a savings account earning fractions of pennies. Instead, you'll be better off putting that money in places that promise bigger returns over the long term, so you can meet your savings goals sooner and continue making more investments for (hopefully) a more prosperous life.</p> <p>Alternatively, Robertson recommends the stock market.</p> <p>&quot;If your budget still has room for more saving, put that money to work by investing in the markets,&quot; he advises. &quot;Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are a great way to get diversified, low-cost exposure, and many online brokerages will offer commission-free ETF options as well.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Put Money Back Into the Investments You Already Have &mdash; Like Your Home</h2> <p>For many people, their homes are their biggest investments. To ensure that investment pays off the way you want and need it to, you have to maintain it. Thus, when you've paid off your debt, start thinking about home improvement projects that will increase value. Just be careful that you're not taking on projects that cost more than the house is worth. The last thing you need is to dump your savings into your home if the project doesn't enhance the house enough to make it worthwhile in the long run.</p> <h2>7. Open a Money Market Account for Higher Interest on Savings</h2> <p>If you have a substantial amount of savings in your emergency fund &mdash; and you should &mdash; that money shouldn't be in a traditional savings account. Contact your bank, or research others, to find savings accounts that offer the best interest rates, like money market accounts or high yield savings. Bottom line, there's absolutely no reason you shouldn't be getting the most bank for your buck, especially where savings are concerned.</p> <p>Robertson agrees, and in this particular case, rescinds his recommendation to invest in stocks.</p> <p>&quot;If there is something specific you are saving up for &mdash; a celebratory trip to Europe? A wedding? &mdash; within the next two to three years, I would recommend keeping that money out of the stock market,&quot; he says. &quot;Instead, consider a money market account or CD from an online bank. In many cases you can get close to 1% interest right now on cash that is still guaranteed up to FDIC limits (currently $250,000). In fact, this is a good idea for that emergency fund as well &mdash; something that earns interest and is separate from your everyday checking account.&quot;</p> <p><em>What else should the newly debt-free do with their money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing">8 Money Moves to Make Before You Start Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-myths-about-investing">The 10 Biggest Myths About Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-pay-down-debt-first-or-invest">Should You Pay Down Debt First or Invest?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-shouldnt-invest-like-warren-buffett">7 Reasons You Shouldn&#039;t Invest Like Warren Buffett</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management Investment 401k advice credit score emergency funds ETFs home improvements IRA money moves retirement stock market Fri, 15 Jul 2016 09:00:17 +0000 Mikey Rox 1752364 at http://www.wisebread.com 401K or IRA? You Need Both http://www.wisebread.com/401k-or-ira-you-need-both <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/401k-or-ira-you-need-both" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/IRA_cash_401k_27036895.jpg" alt="Here&#039;s why you need a 401K and a Roth IRA" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are two primary tax-advantaged ways to save for retirement. You could contribute to a workplace retirement plan, such as a 401K plan, or open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).</p> <p>But which one should you use? In some cases, the answer may be &quot;both.&quot; Here are three considerations as you decide which plan(s) works for you:</p> <h2>1. Does Your Employer Provide Matching Money?</h2> <p>If your employer offers a 401K plan and matches some of the money you contribute, start your retirement savings there. That's the easiest money you'll ever make.</p> <p>Under a typical arrangement, your employer may contribute 50 cents to one dollar for every dollar you contribute, up to 6% of your salary. Even at the low end, that's a guaranteed 50% return on your money. So, at very least, contribute the full amount that's eligible to be matched.</p> <p>At that point, you'll probably have an important decision to make. You very likely need to contribute more than 6% of your salary in order to save enough for retirement. (Do you know <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-smart-thing-you-can-do-for-your-retirement-today">how much <em>you </em>should save</a>?)</p> <p>If so, should you simply contribute more to your workplace plan? Or, would you be better off investing those additional dollars through an IRA? Questions two and three will help you decide.</p> <h2>2. Does Your Plan Have What You Need?</h2> <p>Does your workplace plan offer the right investment choices in order for you to follow your strategy of choice? This is especially important if your employer doesn't match contributions, since it means selecting low-cost investments likely to generate strong returns is even more important.</p> <p>If you're keeping it simple by using a target-date fund, it <em>may</em> be fine to use your 401K exclusively for your retirement savings.</p> <p>But what if you're following a more involved strategy &mdash; one that includes the use of a gold fund, for example &mdash; but your 401K plan doesn't offer the necessary investment choices?</p> <p>This would be one good reason make use of an IRA, where you'll have access to a wide range of investment options.</p> <h2>3. How Much Do the Investments in Your Plan Cost?</h2> <p>Even if you're keeping things simple by using a target-date fund offered through your 401K, check on that fund's fees. In particular, find out what its <em>expense ratio</em> is. That's the percentage of the fund's assets deducted each year to cover fund expenses, such as management and administrative costs. If your fund has an expense ratio of .5%, that means for every $1,000 you have invested, $5 is going toward these expenses.</p> <p>Expense ratios vary quite a bit from fund to fund. For example, Vanguard's target-date fund for people planning to retire in 2050 charges just .16%, whereas American Funds' 2050 target-date fund charges .76%.</p> <p>That may not sound like a big deal, but let's say you now have $25,000 in your 401K plan, contribute $500 per month, and earn an average annual return of 7% before expenses, no matter which fund you choose.</p> <p>After 35 years, if you had used the fund charging .16%, you'd end up with more than $1,080,000. If you had used the fund charging .76%, you'd end up with about $150,000 less.</p> <p>So, if the type of fund you'd like to invest in is available for a lower cost outside your 401K plan, that would be another reason to consider an IRA.</p> <h2>Final Factors</h2> <p>Keep in mind that IRA annual contribution limits are much lower than 401K plan limits &mdash; $5,500 vs. $18,000 (or $6,500 versus $24,000 for people age 50 and older). If you contribute 6% of your salary to your 401K in order to take full advantage of your employer's match and then max out an IRA, it's possible you'll still need to invest more. So, head back to your 401K plan and finish out your retirement plan investing there.</p> <p>Also, while a high income will not make you ineligible for your employer's 401K plan, there <em>are&nbsp;</em><a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-announces-2016-pension-plan-limitations-401-k-contribution-limit-remains-unchanged-at-18-000-for-2016">income-based eligibility restrictions for IRAs</a>.</p> <p>There's much to be said for simplicity, but depending on how you answered the questions above, using your workplace plan <em>and </em>an IRA may turn out to be more profitable. Yes, it'll involve a little more work than investing in your workplace plan alone. But being able to follow your strategy of choice and avail yourself of investments with lower fees could pay significant dividends down the road.</p> <p><em>So, which is it for you? 401K or IRA?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/401k-or-ira-you-need-both">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k">4 Reasons Why a Roth IRA May be Better Than Your 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-choose-a-roth-401k-or-a-regular-401k">Should You Choose a Roth 401k or a Regular 401k?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/403b-vs-401k-how-are-they-different">403B vs. 401K: How Are They Different?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-easy-steps-to-take-for-a-better-401k">3 Easy Steps to Take for a Better 401k</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement 401k contributions employer matching individual retirement account IRA Thu, 07 Jul 2016 09:01:07 +0000 Matt Bell 1746129 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Online Sites for Building Wealth http://www.wisebread.com/best-online-sites-for-building-wealth <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-online-sites-for-building-wealth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/smartphone_wealth_building_55483540.jpg" alt="Man finding the best sites for wealth building" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Managing your money has never been easier with the influx of countless online sites to help you build wealth. In the past, your options were limited to either hiring a financial planner, or going at it on your own and hoping you were on track to reach your goals.</p> <p>But now there are online companies for building wealth that offer many of the services that you would receive if you hired a financial planner for a fraction of the price. After all, everyone should have the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-true-source-of-wealth-creation-that-you-probably-already-have" target="_blank">opportunity to build wealth</a>, not just those who already have a lot of zeros in their bank account.</p> <h2>Betterment</h2> <p>Based off your age and your income, <a href="http://track.flexlinks.com/a.ashx?foid=1029882.2101559&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1">Betterment</a> helps you dial in your financial goals and create a solid plan around those goals. The three primary goals that Betterment helps you reach are Safety (with adequate emergency fund savings), Retirement (making sure you are on target to achieve your retirement goals), and Investing (growing and preserving your capital over time). Through the use of technology and automation, Betterment can offer very low fees to manage your money, starting at .35% annually. Most traditional investment advisers would charge fees upwards of 1% a year. Saving money in fees means that you get to put more money in your pocket, and achieve all of your awesome goals much sooner.</p> <h2>Personal Capital</h2> <p>When was the last time you took a look at your net worth? If you're like most people, you've probably never taken the time to figure out your net worth and analyze your current and future financial road map. <a href="http://track.linkoffers.net/a.aspx?foid=26123426&amp;fot=9999&amp;foc=1">Personal Capital</a> offers an all-in-one wealth dashboard with robust financial tools to keep you informed and on track. On top of their net worth planner, Personal Capital also provides tools to analyze your investment portfolio with their Investment Checkup as well as a retirement planner and wealth management (for a fee). Signing up is free, and you can access all your information on their mobile app or desktop version. One of their most popular tools is the Cash Flow Analyzer, which gives details about your weekly, monthly, and annual spending habits so you can dive deep into what you are spending on things like eating out, entertainment, and travel.</p> <h2>GoldBean</h2> <p><a href="http://www.hellogoldbean.com">GoldBean</a> believes that investing should be easy, fun, and approachable. Geared toward the beginner investor, GoldBean uses their technology to analyze your bank statements to find investment options based around the companies that you love. They believe that you should always invest in what you know &mdash; the companies that you already love and trust. Once they've analyzed your current spending, they create a customized portfolio, provide ongoing financial advice, and offer the ability to buy funds as your experience and confidence in investing grows. Annual membership starts at $50 a year, and trading fees are low at $4.95 per trade after two month's free trading.</p> <h2>Sprinklebit</h2> <p>Stock investing can be scary for anyone, but especially a beginner. There are so many choices, and it's hard to figure out what is best for your situation. <a href="https://www.sprinklebit.com">Sprinklebit</a> believes in demystifying stock investing by using the same principles of Facebook &mdash; social sharing &mdash; and the notion that you should never trade alone. When you sign up for Sprinklebit, you have access to all the other Sprinklebit customers and their portfolios to help you make better investing decisions. You can see which stocks are performing well and which ones are the losers before you put a dime of your money into the stock. Sprinklebit doesn't just stop there. They believe in education and have created 24 chapters of in-depth material to take you through all the different steps of investing for free.</p> <p>You can also set up a mock portfolio with their Market Simulator and use $5,000 free &quot;Sprinklebucks&quot; to give a portfolio a test drive before you pony up any of your real money. With the market simulator, you have access to real-time trading data just like you would in a real portfolio. Once you get your confidence, you can move over into a live portfolio and begin trading. Each trade costs $8, and if you're more advanced, you can move up to their premium option which gives you some advanced trading tools.</p> <h2>Blooom</h2> <p>If you're one of those set-it-and-forget-it types who chose your 401K funds years ago and has never taken a second look, <a href="http://www.blooom.com">Blooom</a> is going to become your best friend. Blooom was created as an easy and affordable way to fix and manage your 401K to meet your needs. Their promise is &quot;No more pie charts, line graphs, or nausea,&quot; but simple, easy to understand knowledge, and tips about how to maximize your 401K funds. You can use their free analysis tool to find out if your 401K is positioned properly (many aren't), and then sign up and pay $1 per month for accounts under $20,000 and $15 per month for accounts over $20,000. There are no other hidden fees, and you can cancel your membership at any time. Professional advisory would cost you a lot more if you turned to an individual broker for assistance. With Blooom, you don't need to be a finance whiz create a 401K portfolio that puts you ahead of the retirement game.</p> <p><em>What's your favorite online company for building wealth?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shannah-game">Shannah Game</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-online-sites-for-building-wealth">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-investment-accounts-all-30-somethings-should-have">7 Investment Accounts All 30-Somethings Should Have</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-shouldnt-invest-like-warren-buffett">7 Reasons You Shouldn&#039;t Invest Like Warren Buffett</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one">How to Tell if Your 401K Is a Good or a Bad One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-8-rules-of-investing-you-need-to-know">The Only 8 Rules of Investing You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment 401k betterment blooom online companies personal capital retirement stocks trading wealth building Tue, 21 Jun 2016 09:31:25 +0000 Shannah Game 1728677 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Making the Biggest Investment Risk of All? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-making-the-biggest-investment-risk-of-all <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-making-the-biggest-investment-risk-of-all" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_watering_plants_9791310.jpg" alt="Man making biggest investment risk of all" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're young, you're full of bravado. You're willing to step out on the skinny branches and take some risks. At least, that's the stereotype.</p> <p>When it comes to investing, though, it turns out that today's young adults are anything <em>but</em> risk takers. According to a recent study by UBS, Millennials (people ages 21&ndash;36) are almost as likely as people age 68 and older to describe their <a href="https://www.ubs.com/us/en/wealth/news/wealth-management-americas-news.html/en/2014/01/27/ubs-investor-watch-report-reveals-millennials.html">risk tolerance as <em>conservative</em></a>. And they're putting their money where their cautious mouths are. The average Millennial investor has more than half his or her portfolio in cash!</p> <p>The problem is, when you're young, one of the riskiest things you can do with your investments is to play it too safe.</p> <p>That's because, over time, inflation eats away at your buying power. Even in today's low-inflation environment, the cost of living is growing faster than money in bank savings accounts. You simply need to earn a better rate of return, and that means being willing to accept more risk.</p> <p>If you're young and feeling hesitant about investing, here are two factors that may be holding you back, along with some suggested solutions.</p> <h2>Lose Your Fear of Losing Money</h2> <p>In 2008, the U.S. stock market tanked by 37%. Imagine having $100,000 invested at the start of that year and ending up with a mere $63,000.</p> <p>Whether you were just a kid at the time or a young worker, that's a frightening bit of market history. But keep this in mind: Since bottoming out in March of 2009, the market came roaring back, nearly tripling in value by the end of 2015.</p> <p>The best way to overcome a fear of investing is to set your expectations by gaining some understanding about the market. Long-term, the stock market has outperformed bonds, real estate, gold, and cash. However, what many people fail to take into account is how bumpy the ride can be at times.</p> <p>To be successful as an investor, you have to expect some ups and downs. If you're a Millennial, you have time to ride out the ebb and flow of bull markets and bear markets. So you can afford to invest aggressively. What you may need to develop is the stomach to handle the ride.</p> <p>Knowing a little stock market history, and expecting some downturns along the way, will help you accept an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/2-investing-concepts-everyone-should-know">age-appropriate level of risk</a> in your portfolio (if you're young, think mostly equities), and then stay invested no matter what's happening in the market.</p> <h2>Develop Your Sense of Urgency</h2> <p>It's easy to think, &quot;I'm young. I can afford to wait a while before I start investing. Right now, I have other priorities, like making my student loan payments.&quot;</p> <p>But there's a high price to be paid for waiting. Consider this. If you invested $200 a month for 40 years, that would amount to $96,000. And if you earned a very realistic average annual return of 7%, you'd end up with about $525,000. That's what happens when you combine periodic investments with a decent rate of return and then allow time to work its magic through the power of compound interest.</p> <p>But what if you waited 10 years? Investing $200 a month for <em>30 </em>years would amount to $72,000. However, because of this late start, you'd end up with less than $245,000.</p> <p>Wow. You only invested $24,000 fewer dollars, but you ended up with nearly a whopping $300,000 less!</p> <p>That should motivate you to find the money to invest now. Keep your housing costs reasonable. See if you can get by without a car or, if you're a two-car family, consider becoming a one-car family. Freeing up a couple of hundred dollars a month could make hundreds of thousands of dollars of difference long-term.</p> <p>If your employer provides a match for some of the money you put into its 401K plan, that's the easiest money you'll ever make. You have to take full advantage of that. So, at the very least, invest enough to get the full match.</p> <p>Remember, if you're a Millennial or younger, you have an asset many older people wish they had. You have time. Make the most of it by getting started as a stock market investor as soon as you can.</p> <p><em>What's holding you back from investing?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-making-the-biggest-investment-risk-of-all">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-millennials-should-stop-being-afraid-of-the-stock-market">7 Reasons Millennials Should Stop Being Afraid of the Stock Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-steps-to-starting-a-retirement-plan-in-your-30s">8 Steps to Starting a Retirement Plan in Your 30s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you">With Micro-Investing, Your Smartphone Pays YOU</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-pay-down-debt-first-or-invest">Should You Pay Down Debt First or Invest?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment 401k compound interest conservative millennials risk tolerance stock market Tue, 14 Jun 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Matt Bell 1730337 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Money Moves to Make When a Layoff Is Coming http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-to-make-when-a-layoff-is-coming <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-money-moves-to-make-when-a-layoff-is-coming" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_suffering_headache_23825868.jpg" alt="Woman making money moves with coming layoff" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The signs are right there:</p> <ul> <li>All departmental budgets are cut way back;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Several key senior managers suddenly resign;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Entire divisions are consolidated, outsourced, or cut; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Many meetings that were previously open to everybody are now held behind closed doors.</li> </ul> <p>You haven't been laid off (or fired!) yet &mdash; but the company isn't doing so hot, and you strongly suspect you'll be on the chopping block soon. What should you do to prepare? Here is your checklist of 10 money moves for when a layoff is coming. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-re-fired-20-signs-that-a-pink-slip-is-coming?ref=seealso">20 Signs That a Pink Slip is Coming</a>)</p> <h2>Health Care Coverage</h2> <p>Whether you're single or have several dependents, you need to plan how to pay for scheduled and unexpected health care related expenses.</p> <h3>1. Inquire About COBRA Continuation Health Coverage</h3> <p>The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires group health plans to provide a temporary continuation of group health coverage that otherwise might be terminated. Generally, this legislation applies to all private group health plans from employers with 20 or more employees. Some states have similar laws for employers with less than 20 employees.</p> <p>Inquire through your health plan administrator whether you're eligible for COBRA coverage, what coverage is available for you and your dependents, and how much it costs. If you're entitled to COBRA coverage, you'll have an election period of at least 60 days to choose whether to accept continuation coverage.</p> <h3>2. Gather Quotes From HealthCare.gov</h3> <p>While COBRA may be an option, it's often quite expensive. At <a href="http://www.healthcare.gov">HealthCare.gov</a>, you can shop around for health plans available in your Health Insurance Marketplace, check whether or not you qualify for Medicaid, and determine if your children are eligible for the <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/medicaid-chip/childrens-health-insurance-program/">Children's Health Insurance Program</a> (CHIP).</p> <p>By comparing how much it'd cost to maintain your existing coverage through COBRA vs. alternative options, you can make an informed decision about health plan choices.</p> <h3>3. Update Your Mailing Address With Your Current Health Carrier</h3> <p>This is key so that you receive any plan cards, bills, and forms, such as the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-prior/f1095a--2015.pdf">Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement</a>. The Form 1095-A enables you to take the premium tax credit, reconcile the credit on returns with advance payments of the premium tax credit (advance credit payments), and file an accurate tax return.</p> <h2>Retirement Planning</h2> <p>Times may be tough, but continue building up your nest egg. Your future self will be glad you did.</p> <h3>4. Pay Down Any 401K Loans</h3> <p>If you're part of the <a href="http://www.pensionresearchcouncil.org/publications/document.php?file=1271">20% of 401K holders</a> that took a loan from their plan, plan to pay back as much as you can, as <em>soon</em> as you can. When you're laid off or fired, you have only up to 60 days to pay back outstanding balances &mdash; or those funds become <em>taxable </em>income. Also, you would have to pay a 10% early distribution penalty if you're under age 59 1/2 and may be subject to additional incomes taxes and penalties from your state.</p> <h3>5. Check Vesting Period of Employer Contributions</h3> <p>Your employer may require you to work for a specific timeframe before vesting the employer contributions in your retirement account. Contact your retirement plan administrator to understand your fully vested balance.</p> <h3>6. Update Your Mailing Address With Current Plan Administrator</h3> <p>This is important for everybody, but is critical for individuals with a retirement account balance under $5,000. According to a Plan Sponsor Council of America survey, <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/planning-to-retire/2015/01/13/how-to-avoid-being-forced-out-of-your-401-k">57% of 401K plans</a> mail a cash-out check to individuals with balances under $1,000 and transfer accounts to an IRA for those with balances between $1,000 and $5,000. If you would like to prevent these events from happening, contact your plan administrator within a period usually of 60 days from the date of termination. Still, having the correct address on file prevents that a check, form, or notice is lost in the mail. (Yes, rolling over a retirement account is still mostly a paper-based process!)</p> <h3>7. Explore All of Your Rollover Options</h3> <p>Besides cashing out and rolling over to an IRA, there are many other options available for you. To find out all of them, review <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras">A Simple Guide to Rolling Over All of Your 401Ks and IRAs</a>.</p> <h2>Emergency Fund Planning</h2> <p>Since a rainy day may be coming soon, establish how you'll make ends meet in case it takes longer than expected to find a new job.</p> <h3>8. Strengthen (or Start) an Emergency Fund</h3> <p>Sock away more into your emergency fund than you usually do. One way to strengthen or start your emergency fund is to use the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator">IRS Withholding Calculator</a> to estimate your current tax bill (or return) for next year's return. Since about three in every four Americans get a refund every year, chances are that you'll be able to take home more with you for the next couple of paychecks. Follow the recommendations from the IRS Withholding Calculator to adjust your Form W-4 and put the extra monies from your next paychecks into your emergency fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/figuring-the-size-of-your-emergency-fund?ref=seealso">Figuring the Size of Your Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h3>9. Shop Around for Financing</h3> <p>Now, while you still have a job, is the time to look for financing, not once you're laid off. Select a financing option that would act as a last resort fund in case your emergency fund or saving account runs out. Besides a credit card, take a look at a personal line of credit, peer-to-peer lending account, and home equity line of credit (HELOC). Remember you're securing financing but you don't have to use it unless you really have to.</p> <h3>10. Learn the Process for Unemployment Benefits</h3> <p>Once you're laid off, you'll be worried about too many things. Buy yourself some time and contact your <a href="http://www.servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp">State Unemployment Insurance agency</a> ahead of time to learn how to file a claim by telephone or over the Internet. Each state administers a separate unemployment insurance program, so find out your state's eligibility requirements, steps to file a claim, and reporting guidelines for continued eligibility.</p> <p>In most states, unemployment benefits (a percentage of an individual's earnings over a recent 52-week period up to a maximum set by the state) are paid up to 26 weeks. Having this support can provide you much need peace of mind during your search for the next job.</p> <p><em>How should you prepare for a layoff?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-to-make-when-a-layoff-is-coming">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-can-you-really-live-on-unemployment">How Long Can You Really Live on Unemployment?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/left-a-job-do-a-rollover">Left a job? Do a rollover.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-society-of-fear">A Society of Fear</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/optimize-your-ira-and-401k">Optimize Your IRA and 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-strengthen-your-finances-before-retirement">5 Ways to Strengthen Your Finances Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Career and Income 401k downsizing emergency funds going out of business health care IRA laid off layoffs unemployment Wed, 08 Jun 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Damian Davila 1726484 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Handle a Forced Early Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-handle-a-forced-early-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-handle-a-forced-early-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_taking_notes_73540307.jpg" alt="Woman finding ways to handle early retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You had a plan: You would work until 67, contributing the maximum amount of each paycheck into your company's 401K plan. You would then <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-for-retirement-when-you-re-ready-to-retire">enjoy a retirement</a> of traveling the world and spending time with your grandchildren.</p> <p>But then your company changed your plans. They let you go you at age 55 or 60. Finding a new job at this age isn't easy. According to an AARP study released in 2015, 45% of job hunters aged 55 or older were members of the long-term unemployed, those who were out of work for 27 weeks or longer. And when these older job seekers did find new jobs, they tended to earn less money. The same AARP survey found that almost 48% of people 55 or older were earning less on their new jobs than they did at their old ones.</p> <p>Those are intimidating numbers. But they don't mean that a forced early exit from the workforce will dash your retirement dreams. Here are five steps that you can take after you've been laid off or fired to make your earlier-than-planned retirement a successful one.</p> <h2>1. Assess Your Financial Reality</h2> <p>It's easy to panic when you've lost a job. But your financial situation might not be as dire as you think. To find out, it's time to perform a quick financial assessment.</p> <p>First, list your monthly expenses. These might be lower if you are no longer paying a mortgage each month. Then list the income you have coming into your household. Maybe your spouse's income means that you can still save enough money each month for a happy retirement. Maybe you'll need an extra income boost from somewhere to still hit those goals.</p> <p>Depending on how close you are to your official retirement age, you might decide to start receiving your monthly Social Security payments. You'll get less each month if you haven't reached full retirement age, but if you can't hold off on the extra monthly income, receiving your benefits a few years early might be a sound move.</p> <p>If you were laid off or fired, you probably qualify, too, for unemployment insurance. Make sure to take advantage of this. That extra monthly income could help you stay on track for your retirement goals.</p> <h2>2. Get Realistic About Your Retirement Goals</h2> <p>You might have to scale back your retirement goals should you be forced to exit the workplace earlier than planned. Maybe you planned to take a long trip every year. If you're forced out of work five years early, you might have to scale that back to just three big trips spread out over your entire retirement.</p> <p>This doesn't mean that your retirement is ruined. But you might have to refocus. Maybe instead of joining that high-priced country club, you'll be taking your golf clubs to public courses throughout your city.</p> <h2>3. Make Sure You Have a Plan for Insurance</h2> <p>You'll need health insurance even after you lose your job. You might qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, though you might not qualify for these government programs depending on your age and income levels.</p> <p>If you need insurance not offered through the government, you can search for a low-cost plan through the insurance exchange created under the Affordable Care Act.</p> <p>Letting your health insurance lapse can be a costly mistake.</p> <h2>4. Find Part-Time Work to Fill in the Income Gaps</h2> <p>If you need some extra income each month, consider taking a part-time job. This work, even if it doesn't come with the benefits of a traditional full-time job, could provide you with the extra bit of cash that will keep your retirement dreams alive.</p> <p>Depending on your field, you might find a part-time job as a consultant. But even if you can't, you can still find enjoyment, and some extra financial security, by taking on a position in a new field.</p> <h2>5. Meet With a Professional</h2> <p>Retirement planning is complicated when everything goes according to plan. When those plans are suddenly changed? It's even more of a challenge to make sure that you have enough dollars saved for your after-work years.</p> <p>That's why it's important to meet with a financial adviser who can help you determine what financial steps you need to take now. Depending on your income and community, you might even qualify for free financial advice.</p> <p>A financial planner can help you create a new budget and a new financial plan that fits with your new money reality.</p> <p><em>Have you faced early retirement? What steps have you taken?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-handle-a-forced-early-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-moves-that-guarantee-a-great-retirement">4 Moves That Guarantee a Great Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-without-a-401k">How to Save for Retirement Without a 401K</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-retirement-account-is-right-for-you">Which Retirement Account Is Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k early retirement extra income forced retirement insurance job loss medicaid medicare part-time jobs unemployed Tue, 07 Jun 2016 09:30:33 +0000 Dan Rafter 1725699 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Signs You Aren't Saving Enough for Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_frown_broke_000026428663.jpg" alt="Man learning signs he&#039;s not saving enough for retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you concerned that you aren't saving enough for retirement? Well, you're not alone. In fact, more than one third of Americans haven't started investing for retirement yet. About 75% of Americans over the age of 40 are also behind on their retirement savings, so it's time to break the statistic. We've come up with some common warning signs that you may not be saving enough and need to increase what you're investing.</p> <h2>1. You Don't Have Specific Goals in Mind</h2> <p>First, you need to figure out what the minimum is that you'll need to retire. This will allow you to properly plan your retirement and ensure you are meeting your benchmark goals. Work on determining a target retirement age and goal amount so that you can develop a savings plan on your own or with a skilled professional.</p> <p>It's also important that you know what you'll get from Social Security so that you can plan what you need to save above that. Lastly, work on an estimated monthly financial plan so that you have some idea what you'll be spending on monthly bills and debt payments.</p> <h2>2. You Don't Know How Much to Save</h2> <p>Most professionals recommend saving at least 10% of your gross salary, if you've been saving since your 20s. However, if you don't start saving until your 30s, Schwab recommends upping that contribution to 15%&ndash;25%. If you start in your 40s or later, you would want to save 35% of your income, which is a rather hefty amount. This is all thanks to the power of compounding interest, so it's never too early to start saving.</p> <h2>3. You Aren't Matching Your Employer's Contribution</h2> <p>If your employer is matching your 401K contribution, that is basically free money invested in your future. That's why it's crucial to at least match your employer's contribution, so that they can help you prepare for your retirement as much as possible.</p> <h2>4. You've Borrowed From Your 401K</h2> <p>Borrowing against your 401K is never a good idea. It may help in the short-run, but in the long-run, it can affect your savings goals and financial health during retirement. You would also need to save more aggressively going forward just to catch up with your original savings goals.</p> <h2>5. You Aren't Prioritizing Your Future</h2> <p>One of the first things you should always think about is building savings for yourself so you have the money you need in case of an emergency or unexpected expense. Short of that savings account, you shouldn't be prioritizing anything over your retirement savings. Your retirement and your future should be your first priority, even over your children's education, because nobody will be saving for your retirement except for you.</p> <h2>6. You're Only Investing in a 401K</h2> <p>Contributing to a 401K is a great start to your retirement savings, but it usually isn't enough. Your best bet is to diversify your portfolio, investing in both a 401K and an IRA or Roth IRA. This will ensure you are well prepared for your golden years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-retirement-account-is-right-for-you?ref=seealso">Which Retirement Account Is Right for You?</a>)</p> <h2>7. You Aren't Accounting for Inflation</h2> <p>On average, inflation rates linger around 3%, which means that your expenses will double in less than 25 years. You will need to account for this, as it's one of the biggest retirement planning mistakes anyone makes.</p> <h2>8. You Haven't Sought Advice</h2> <p>You may not necessarily need a financial planner, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't seek advice on your retirement portfolio from time to time. For instance, have you diversified properly? Are you investing in the right types of investment products? Have you adjusted your portfolio to match the appropriate level of risk and reward for your age range and lifestyle? These are some of the many questions you need to ask yourself (and/or a professional) to ensure you are saving and planning correctly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-need-a-financial-planner?ref=seealso">Do You Need a Financial Planner?</a>)</p> <h2>9. You Haven't Started Saving Yet</h2> <p>The sooner you start investing in your future, the more you'll have by retirement, thanks to compound interest. This also means that the sooner you start saving, the less you'll need to save every month to have enough in your retirement years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses?ref=seealso">Stop Making These 10 Bogus Retirement Savings Excuses</a>)</p> <h2>10. You're Worried About Retirement</h2> <p>Possibly the most obvious sign that you aren't saving enough is that you feel very nervous about retirement. If you don't think you're saving enough, then you probably aren't.</p> <p><em>Do you know of other signs that a person isn't saving enough for retirement? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-moves-that-guarantee-a-great-retirement">4 Moves That Guarantee a Great Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-warning-signs-youre-sabotaging-your-nest-egg">6 Warning Signs You&#039;re Sabotaging Your Nest Egg</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses">Stop Making These 10 Bogus Retirement Savings Excuses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras">A Simple Guide to Rolling Over All of Your 401Ks and IRAs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k compound interest goals golden years IRA nest egg not saving enough Thu, 02 Jun 2016 10:30:03 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1721735 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Moves That Guarantee a Great Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/4-moves-that-guarantee-a-great-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-moves-that-guarantee-a-great-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_sun_roadtrip_000087905209.jpg" alt="Couple making moves to guarantee a great retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Times have changed. Retirement is no exception.</p> <p>Back in 1998, 60.5% of Americans said they were <a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/PR1160.Ret-Sat.26Apr16.pdf">very satisfied with their retirement</a> in a study conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Fast forward 14 years later, that percentage dropped to 48.6%. Even worse, the percentage of Americans not satisfied at all with their retirement situation went up from 7.9% to 10.5%.</p> <p>But you can avoid that fate. Here are four ways to turn this period into the best time of your life.</p> <h2>1. Semi-Retire</h2> <p>An old retirement adage goes, &quot;When you retire, think and act as if you were still working; when you're still working, think and act a bit as if you were already retired.&quot; There are three good reasons why this is true.</p> <p>First, putting off retirement may help stave off certain maladies of aging, such as Alzheimer's disease. According to French researchers, there is a correlation between higher retirement age and <a href="http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/07/15/putting-off-retirement-may-help-stave-off-alzheimers">lower dementia risk</a>.</p> <p>Second, later retirement allows you to make the most out of your nest egg:</p> <ul> <li>While you can start receiving Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, you can wait until full retirement age to receive <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/delayret.html">delayed retirement credits</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Roll over a former employer's 401K plan after you turn 70 1/2 into another plan with a current employer, and you aren't required to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) starting the second year after the rollover.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>By continuing to work part-time, you can continue to contribute to a Roth IRA (up to $6,500 in 2016) after you reach <a href="http://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/roth-iras">age 70 1/2</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Third, 83% of U.S. retirees cited &quot;<a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/EBRI_IB_397_Mar14.RCS.pdf">enjoying working</a>&quot; as a major reason to work for pay after retirement. Among current workers who expect to work in retirement, 79% of them cite &quot;wanting to stay active and involved&quot; as a major reason to work for pay in retirement.</p> <h2>2. Take Advantage of Catch-Up Contributions</h2> <p>Starting age 50, you can make additional contributions on top of the regular limit to eligible plans.</p> <ul> <li>Catch-up contributions of <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Participant,-Employee/Retirement-Topics-Catch-Up-Contributions">up to $6,000</a>: 401K (other than a SIMPLE 401K), 403(b), SARSEP, and governmental 457(b).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Catch-up contributions of up to $3,000: SIMPLE IRA and SIMPLE 401K.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Catch-up contributions of up to $1,000: Traditional or Roth IRA.</li> </ul> <p>Let's take a look at the power of catch-up contributions: Let's imagine that you have a 401K and you make $6,000 in catch-up contributions for 15 years. Here is how much more you would have at the end of 15 years, assuming different rates of return, in your 401K:</p> <ul> <li>3% return compounded annually: $113,398.69</li> <li>4% return compounded annually: $122,728.99</li> <li>5% return compounded annually: $132,951.76</li> <li>6% return compounded annually: $144,154.23</li> <li>7% return compounded annually: $156,431.90</li> </ul> <h2>3. Research Adequate Health Coverage and Disability Insurance</h2> <p>Despite the best-laid plans, chances are circumstances will require you to make some changes along the way. Nearly one out of two Americans reported retiring earlier than expected. While some individuals have good reasons, such as accumulating sufficient financial resources or wanting to do something else, many had negative reasons. Of those that retire early, 61% of cited health reasons or disabilities, and 18% cited the need to care for a spouse or family member.</p> <p>This is why getting the right health coverage and disability insurance now for your spouse and yourself is a key way to make retirement enjoyable. Plan ahead so that you don't become part of the 24% of Americans who aren't confident about paying for medical expenses in retirement. Disability insurance is essential for the main breadwinner of the household. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-7-money-moves-now-or-youll-regret-it-in-20-years?ref=seealso">Make These 7 Money Moves Now or You'll Regret It in 20 Years</a>)</p> <p>If you have to retire early due to health problems, the Social Security Administration suggests applying for <a href="http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10035.pdf">Social Security disability benefits</a>, which are full, unreduced retirement benefits.</p> <h2>4. Consider Retiring Abroad</h2> <p>According to a study from a Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, 71% of Americans say travel has <a href="http://www.transamericacenter.org/docs/default-source/resources/travel-survey/tcrs2013_op_travel_and_aging_executive_summary.pdf">helped them enjoy retired life</a>. That's why one way to turn retirement into the best time of your life is to move abroad. Additionally, living abroad can enable you to reduce your living expenses during retirement, without forsaking quality of life. Several cities around the world offer visa pension programs, such as Malaysia's <em>My Second Home</em> and Panama's &quot;pensionado&quot; program, that offer U.S. retirees generous tax breaks and high-quality medical services at reduced costs. Of course, beautiful locales and ideal weather conditions don't hurt either! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/x-exciting-world-cities-you-can-afford-to-retire-in?ref=seealso">4 Exciting World Cities You Can Afford to Retire In</a>)</p> <p><em>How do you plan turn retirement into the best time of your life?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-moves-that-guarantee-a-great-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-warning-signs-youre-sabotaging-your-nest-egg">6 Warning Signs You&#039;re Sabotaging Your Nest Egg</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k">4 Reasons Why a Roth IRA May be Better Than Your 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-its-okay-to-delay-retirement-savings">5 Times It&#039;s Okay to Delay Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k disability golden years healthcare insurance IRA moving abroad nest egg work in retirement Fri, 27 May 2016 10:00:12 +0000 Damian Davila 1717321 at http://www.wisebread.com A Simple Guide to Rolling Over All of Your 401Ks and IRAs http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retirement_fund_jar_000061741674.jpg" alt="How to roll over all of your 401ks and IRAs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The median number of years that U.S. workers <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/tenure_09182014.htm">stick with their current employer</a> is 4.6 years, according to U.S. Department of Labor. This means that sooner or later you're bound to quit, get fired, or get laid off from your current job. To avoid steep transaction fees, early distribution taxes, or losing retirement account contributions, you need to be ready to roll over your hard-earned nest egg when the time comes.</p> <h2>Establish How Much You Really Have</h2> <p>The first step is to determine the current balance of your 401K or IRA. While you'll eventually receive a separation from employment notice from your previous employer stating your total vested account balance, you can save time by researching your vested balance, net of any 401K loan balances you may owe.</p> <h3>Take Care of Any Outstanding Loans From Your 401K</h3> <p>Unlike IRAs, many 401K plans offer the option to take loans from your retirement account. As long as you keep up with your payment schedule, you generally have up to five years to pay back your loan in full. However, when you change jobs, the unpaid loan balance becomes due within 60 days.</p> <p>Any unpaid loan monies by the deadline or transaction date of your rollover are subject to federal income tax, a 10% early distribution penalty for those age 59 1/2 and under, and state income tax or penalty, if applicable. You can't roll over unpaid 401K loans.</p> <h3>Know the Vesting Schedule</h3> <p>Your own contributions to your 401K or IRA are always fully vested. However, contributions from your employer to your retirement account may be subject to a vesting schedule. Trying to retain top talent as long as possible, employers may require a minimum period of employment before employees gain full control on part of their retirement accounts. The two most common vesting schedules are <em>cliff vesting</em> (100% vesting is only provided after a set number of years) and <em>graded vesting</em> (a vested percentage is provided every year).</p> <p>When you separate from your employer, you forgo any non-vested contributions to your retirement account.</p> <p>Once you know your outstanding loan balance and vesting schedule, you have a clear idea of how much you can rollover.</p> <h2>Choose Rollover Options</h2> <p>Under most scenarios, you have six options for your total vested account balance:</p> <ol> <li>Keep your account;</li> <li>Rollover account into a new or existing IRA;</li> <li>Rollover account into a new or existing qualified plan;</li> <li>Do an indirect rollover;</li> <li>Request a full cash-out of your account; or</li> <li>Do a mix of the above five options.</li> </ol> <p>Let's analyze each one of these scenarios, because some of them may trigger taxes.</p> <h3>1. Keep Your Account</h3> <p>All retirement accounts stipulate a minimum amount required to remain in your old employer's plan, usually ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. If you're happy with your current financial provider, you can choose to keep the account.</p> <p>Make sure to read the fine print because some providers may strip away some services (such as certain investment options or coverage of fees) and gain the right to convert your 401K into an IRA without your input. According to a Plan Sponsor Council of America survey of 613 plans with eight million participants, 57% of 401K plans transfer balances between $1,000 and $5,000 to an IRA when the participant leaves the employer.</p> <p>While such forced-transfer IRAs don't trigger early withdrawal penalties or income taxes, they are often subject to high fees and low investment returns. A November 2014 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that forced-transfer IRAs <a href="http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667151.pdf">have administrative fees</a>, ranging from $0 to $100 or more to open the account, and $0 to $115 annually to retain the account.</p> <h3>2. Rollover Account Into a New or Existing IRA</h3> <p>Whether you have a 401K or IRA, your current provider will provide you the option to request a rollover to an existing IRA, or open a new one through any of their partner institutions. Either option triggers no income taxes or distribution penalties. Under this scenario, keep in mind that you're not bound to the offerings from your old employer's financial institution and have the option to shop around for a new IRA with other financial institutions, as well.</p> <p>There are two types of IRAs: traditional IRA and Roth IRA. The main difference between them is that you pay taxes up front with the Roth IRA, and that you pay taxes at withdrawal with the traditional IRA. One of the advantages of owning an IRA is that there are many penalty-free ways to withdraw money from your retirement account before age 59 1/2. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso">7 Penalty-Free Ways to Withdraw Money From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <h3>3. Rollover Account Into a New or Existing Qualified Plan</h3> <p>Besides an IRA, you can also rollover your retirement account into a 401K, 403(b), 457, Federal Thrift Savings Plan, or employer qualified plan, as long as the target plan allows those funds. Rollovers into new or existing qualified plans trigger no income taxes or early distribution fees.</p> <p>The IRS provides a useful <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/rollover_chart.pdf">rollover chart</a> to determine to which accounts you can rollover retirement contributions. However, the most surefire way to find out is by contacting your plan's customer service center.</p> <h3>4. Do an Indirect Rollover</h3> <p>Direct rollovers are only possible if you already have a retirement account with a previous or new employer or are able to open a new plan on your own. In the event that you think that you can find a new job offering a retirement account within 60 days, then you could try to do an indirect rollover.</p> <p>Your old employer would cut you a check, withholding the necessary 20% for income tax purposes. Once you have a qualified plan with your new employer, you would deposit the check in full and add the 20% withholding out of pocket. The IRS will return you the 20% withholding when you file your tax return. Make sure to deposit the full amount because any gap is subject to applicable income taxes and penalties for those age 59 1/2 and under.</p> <h3>5. Request a Full Cash-Out of Your Account</h3> <p>This is the least desirable of all options because not only do you pay incomes taxes and trigger early distribution fees, but also forgo investment returns. At age 20, a $600 balance on a 401K may not seem like much. However, assuming an investment return of 6% compounded annually and a target retirement age of 65, you would be saying goodbye to an extra $8,258.77 for your nest egg.</p> <p>Every year you have a ceiling on how you much contribute to your 401K or IRA. By cashing out that past contribution, you'll never be able to make it up.</p> <h3>6. Do a Mix of the Previous Options</h3> <p>Depending on your unique situation and set of rules from your old and new retirement accounts, you could use portions of your old account for different purposes. For example, you could cash out 10% of your vested account balance, subject to income taxes and early distribution penalties when age 59 1/2 and under, and rollover 90% of vested account balance to an IRA.</p> <p>Doing a mix of rollover options requires careful planning and plenty of legwork, but it may provide the solution that is better suited to your financial goals.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>Knowing how to rollover your 401K or IRA is a skill that you'll use many times throughout your work years. The process is relatively simple but requires many steps. Before rolling over funds, make sure to plan ahead by minimizing loans from your 401K and maximizing total vested balance. Contact your old and new plan managers so that you are aware of all applicable rules and can make an informed decision. Keep an eye on the deadline for a rollover so that you're not forced to take a cash-out or forced to transfer to a high-fee IRA.</p> <p><em>Have you ever rolled over your 401K or IRA? How did you do it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-warning-signs-youre-sabotaging-your-nest-egg">6 Warning Signs You&#039;re Sabotaging Your Nest Egg</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k">4 Reasons Why a Roth IRA May be Better Than Your 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account">5 Questions to Ask Before You Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-retirement-account-is-right-for-you">Which Retirement Account Is Right for You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k cash out employers IRA outstanding loans rolling over Roth IRA vesting schedule Wed, 18 May 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Damian Davila 1709866 at http://www.wisebread.com A Simple Guide to Retirement Plans for the Self-Employed http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-retirement-plans-for-the-self-employed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-simple-guide-to-retirement-plans-for-the-self-employed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_working_laptop_000064887191.jpg" alt="Woman learning about self-employed retirement plans" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Being self-employed has its ups, but it can also have its downs. For instance, there may be enormous business costs to worry about, and you likely have to finance your retirement account entirely on your own. Fortunately, there are a number of self-employed retirement plans that can help you save enough for retirement.</p> <p>In fact, these specialized plans allow you to save significantly more than you could with traditional retirement accounts. That's because self-employed workers typically don't have the employer contributions and match benefits that many traditionally employed workers enjoy. By contributing to one of these accounts, you can save a ton in taxes this year with an upfront tax break and tax-deferred growth.</p> <h2>SEP IRA</h2> <p>The Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) IRA plan is similar to a traditional IRA, but does not have the high start-up or operating costs of a conventional retirement plan. Instead, there are low administrative costs, and the plan is simple to operate. Any contributions you make to your SEP IRA are with pre-tax funds. You will be required to take a minimum distribution at age 70 &frac12;. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-sep-ira-is-how-the-self-employed-do-retirement-like-a-boss?ref=seealso">The SEP-IRA Is How the Self-Employed Do Retirement Like a BOSS</a>)</p> <h3>Maximum Contribution Amount</h3> <p>$53,000 per year ($59,000 if you're age 50 or older), or 20% of your net earnings from self-employment.</p> <h3>Tax Advantages</h3> <p>Contributing to your SEP IRA can lower the amount of income you pay taxes on now. Once you retire, your withdrawals will be taxed at your ordinary income tax rate. If you make withdrawals before age 59 &frac12;, there will be an additional 10% early withdrawal penalty fee added. You may also be eligible for a <a href="http://www.dol.gov/ebsa/publications/SEPPlans.html">tax credit of up to $500</a> per year for the first three years to cover the cost of starting the plan.</p> <h2>SIMPLE IRA</h2> <p>The Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) IRA Plan allows both the employee and employer to contribute. Contributions are on a pre-tax basis, and you will be required to take a minimum distribution at age 70 &frac12;.</p> <h3>Maximum Contribution Amount</h3> <p>$12,500 per year, $15,500 if you're age 50 or older, plus an employer contribution of 3% of income.</p> <h3>Tax Advantages</h3> <p>Contributing to your SIMPLE IRA can lower the amount of income you pay taxes on now. Once you retire, your withdrawals will be taxed at your ordinary income tax rate. If you make withdrawals before age 59 &frac12;, there will be an additional 10% early withdrawal penalty fee added. The penalty is 25% if you make withdrawals within the first two years of participating in the plan.</p> <h2>Individual or Solo 401K</h2> <p>This is very similar to a traditional 401K plan, with lower maintenance charges. Any contributions you make to your self-directed 401K plan are with funds you haven't been taxed on yet. You will be required to take a minimum distribution at age 70 &frac12;.</p> <h3>Maximum Contribution Amount</h3> <p>$18,000 per year ($24,000 if you're age 50 or older). With a <a href="https://www.fidelity.com/retirement-ira/small-business/self-employed-401k/overview">profit sharing contribution</a>, business owners can contribute up to 20%&ndash;25% of the business earnings. The total contribution limit is $53,000 per year ($59,000 if you're age 50 or older).</p> <h3>Tax Advantages</h3> <p>Contributing to an Individual or Solo 401K plan can lower the amount of income you pay taxes on now. Once you retire, your withdrawals will be taxed at your ordinary income tax rate. If you make withdrawals before age 59 &frac12;, there will be an additional 10% early withdrawal penalty fee added.</p> <h2>Which One Is Right for You?</h2> <p>If you aren't sure about which self-employed retirement account is right for you, consider speaking with a financial adviser. They can help you make informed decisions based on your financial situation and retirement goals. You can also use a simple <a href="https://scs.fidelity.com/products/mobile/sepMobile.shtml">self-employed plan contribution calculator</a> to determine which plan may be right for your scenario.</p> <h2>Don't Wait to Sign Up</h2> <p>Don't wait any longer to start investing. The sooner you get your retirement plan going, the sooner you can begin taking advantage of compound interest. (Visit the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Retirement-Plans-for-Self-Employed-People">IRS' website</a> for information on how to set-up one of these plans.) Most self-employed workers claim that their lack of preparation for retirement is due to their limited budget. However, nearly all retirement experts agree on one thing: It doesn't matter how much you're saving for retirement, as long as you're saving.</p> <p><em>Do you have other tips for choosing the right self-employed retirement plan? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-retirement-plans-for-the-self-employed">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-sep-ira-is-how-the-self-employed-do-retirement-like-a-boss">The SEP-IRA Is How the Self-Employed Do Retirement Like a BOSS</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-biggest-mistakes-freelancers-make">The 5 Biggest Mistakes Freelancers Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-without-a-401k">How to Save for Retirement Without a 401K</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entrepreneurship Retirement 401k freelance individual 401 k self-employed SEP IRA SIMPLE IRA solo 401k Fri, 06 May 2016 09:30:20 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1703114 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Financial Moves You Will Always Regret http://www.wisebread.com/9-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_regret_money_000017061233.jpg" alt="Woman making financial moves she will always regret" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all do dumb stuff with our money, especially when we're young. Most of the time, we make mistakes that won't cripple us in the long run. But there are a handful of bad financial moves that almost always come out negative.</p> <p>Nobody's perfect, but if you avoid these mistakes, you'll probably be in good shape, money-wise.</p> <h2>1. Failing to Invest When You're Young</h2> <p>If you've read Wise Bread long enough, you should know about the power of compounding investment returns. This is the notion that the earlier you invest, the better off you'll be financially because your investments will have time to grow. A $500 per month investment from age 45 to 60 will grow to about $161,000, assuming a 7% annual return. But if you start at age 30, it would represent $606,000. And if you started at age 20? $1.28 million.</p> <h2>2. Buying a House You Can't Afford</h2> <p>There are many reasons why the economy and stock market took a dive in 2007 and 2008, but one of the main culprits was the subprime mortgage crisis, which stemmed from a flurry of people who purchased expensive homes with unfavorable loan terms. People bought homes with little or no money down, with mortgage payments that began high and only got higher. This led to a massive number of foreclosures, as homeowners were left unable to make payments.</p> <p>Banks these days try to avoid lending to anyone who would have to pay more than 28% of their net income each month toward the mortgage. Lenders are also reluctant to provide home loans to those who would have an overall debt-to-income ratio of 43% or more. If you find that you may be exceeding these limits, it's likely that you are stretching yourself too thin and are putting yourself at risk of foreclosure, and possibly bankruptcy.</p> <h2>3. Racking Up Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>Debt stinks, and credit card debt may be the worst kind. That's because credit card interest rates tend to be so high that's hard to make a dent in what you owe. An interest rate on a credit card is at least 11% even for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-low-interest-rate-credit-cards">low-interest cards</a>, according to Bankrate.com. That means that for every $100 you owe, you're paying an additional $11 annually. These extra payments then make it harder for you to save for other important things, and to make matters worse, high debt hurts your credit score, and a bad credit score affects your ability to get things like a home loan. So in summary, credit card debt can lead to an endless spiral of despair.</p> <p>Take heart, however. It's possible to avoid credit card debt by living within your means and paying off all credit card balances in full each month. If you do end up with credit card debt, focus on <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt">paying off credit cards</a> with the highest interest rates first, then work your way down.</p> <h2>4. Choosing a College Based on Price</h2> <p>There is an assumption by some parents and students that the most expensive schools are also the best. And that's one of the reasons why members of the Class of 2015 exited with an average of $35,000 in student loan debt.</p> <p>While it's true that many of the top schools are quite pricey, it's best to evaluate colleges on overall value, not cost. This means taking into account not just the price, but also the quality of the education and the likelihood of landing a well-paying job after graduation. (Because a good job will help you pay off those student loans.)</p> <p>There's also a growing acceptance of community college as an option for students. Community colleges will offer a low-cost place for students to take the foundational classes that are common among freshmen and sophomores before going off to a major university to complete their degree.</p> <p>Student loan debt is often referred to as &quot;good&quot; debt, but it's horribly crippling to millions of young people. Worst of all, it can't be discharged in bankruptcy, so failing to make student loan payments can haunt a student for years after graduation.</p> <h2>5. Cosigning a Loan With an Untrustworthy Person</h2> <p>At one point or another, many people are approached with a request to cosign a loan. Often it's from a friend or relative who would not otherwise be able to obtain the loan on their own. Generally speaking, you should almost always say no to these requests. That's because cosigning the loan makes you responsible for paying the loan back if the other person fails to make payments. This can lead to financial hardship for you and hurt your credit score.</p> <p>If you have a loved one in need of assistance, you're almost always better off just lending or giving them money directly, or finding some other less risky way to help.</p> <h2>6. Ignoring Your Company's 401K Match</h2> <p>You may think that as long as you put some money into your company's retirement plan, you're doing fine. But are you maximizing the money you could be getting from enrolling?</p> <p>Most companies will match contributions up to a certain percentage of your pre-tax income. Usually, this means matching up to 5% of your salary, and some companies match even more. So if you're not contributing up to this level, you're leaving free money on the table. Over time, this could add up to tens of thousands of dollars missing from your retirement account.</p> <p>If you are unclear about how much to put into your 401K, make sure you at least put in enough to get the full company match. Even an additional 1% or so from your employer can make a huge difference in the size of your retirement fund later.</p> <h2>7. Not Buying Health Insurance</h2> <p>If you are young, you may feel like health insurance is a waste of money. You have no illness, you work out, you eat right. But ask about the young guy who got into a severe car accident, or tore a ligament in a pickup soccer game. No one is invincible, and <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/jun2009/db2009064_666715.htm">62% of all bankruptcies</a> stem from from medical expenses, according to a 2007 Harvard Study.</p> <p>There's even less of an excuse to avoid health insurance now that there are reasonably priced plans available on state and federal health exchanges.</p> <h2>8. Defaulting on a Loan</h2> <p>You may find yourself in a situation where debt seems so overwhelming you decide to stop making payments altogether. You should avoid this temptation and keep making payments, even if they are the minimum.</p> <p>Quite simply, if you fail to pay a debt, it will show up as a negative event on your credit reports, and will thus impact your ability to get favorable loan terms in the future. Failing to pay a debt often leads to calls from collection agencies, and you could even be sued. If you lose a judgement, you may have your wages garnished. If you find that you owe too much, you may be able to file for bankruptcy as a last resort. But that won't help you avoid debt from student loans, which can remain on a credit report for seven years and are not discharged in bankruptcy.</p> <h2>9. Failing to Pay Taxes</h2> <p>You may hate the Internal Revenue Service, but the agency does not care about your feelings. If you owe taxes, you are expected to pay them, and there are penalties for dodging the tax man. You'll be penalized 5% of what you owe for each month your taxes are late.</p> <p>The IRS advises that you're better off filing a return and paying some taxes, even if it's not the full amount. A &quot;failure-to-file&quot; penalty is usually higher than a &quot;failure-to-pay&quot; penalty, the agency says, and it will work with you on an installment plan if you can't pay a tax bill in full right away.</p> <p>Paying your taxes late doesn't usually hurt your credit score, but if you pay nothing to the IRS, you may be subjected to a federal tax lien, which would show up on credit reports.</p> <p><em>Have you made these &mdash; or other &mdash; financial moves you later regretted?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/optimize-your-ira-and-401k">Optimize Your IRA and 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-tax-friendly-ways-to-save-beyond-your-retirement-fund">9 Tax-Friendly Ways to Save Beyond Your Retirement Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-best-free-financial-learning-tools">9 Best Free Financial Learning Tools</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-best-money-management-tips-from-john-oliver">7 Best Money Management Tips From John Oliver</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one">How to Tell if Your 401K Is a Good or a Bad One</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance 401k compound interest cosigning investing loans retirement stocks taxes Thu, 21 Apr 2016 10:30:05 +0000 Tim Lemke 1694644 at http://www.wisebread.com Which Retirement Account Is Right for You? http://www.wisebread.com/which-retirement-account-is-right-for-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/which-retirement-account-is-right-for-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retirement_fund_money_000085578577.jpg" alt="Learning if an IRA, 401k, or 40k is right for you" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Saving for retirement is one of the most important things you can do for your future self. With so many options to choose from, how can you decide which type of account to invest your money in? There are a number of differences between an IRA, Roth IRA, and 401K. We've covered some of the most important factors below to get you started.</p> <h2>Roth IRA</h2> <p>Any contributions you make to your Roth IRA are with funds you've already paid taxes on, so your money can grow tax-free from then on. If you make more than $132,000, or $194,000 for married couples filing jointly, then you won't be eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA. There are no required minimum distributions and no age limit for contributions.</p> <p>Maximum contribution amount: $5,500 per year, $6,500 if you're age 50 or older.</p> <p>Tax advantages: Earnings grow tax-free with tax-free withdrawals in retirement.</p> <h2>Traditional IRA</h2> <p>Any contributions you make to your IRA are with funds you haven't been taxed on yet. You will be required to take a minimum distribution at age 70-&frac12;.</p> <p>Maximum contribution amount: $5,500 per year, $6,500 if you're age 50 or older; cannot contribute after age 70-&frac12;.</p> <p>Tax advantages: Contributing to your IRA can lower the amount of income you pay taxes on now. Once you retire, your withdrawals will be taxed at your ordinary income tax rate. If you make withdrawals before age 59-&frac12;, there will be an additional 10% early withdrawal penalty fee added. Certain approved purchases can be withdrawn penalty-free, such as a first home purchase and approved college expenses.</p> <h2>401K</h2> <p>A 401K is a retirement savings plan sponsored by an employer. Any contribution you make to your employer-sponsored deferred contribution retirement plan is made with funds you haven't been taxed on yet.</p> <p>Maximum contribution amount: $18,000 per year, $24,000 if you're age 50 or older.</p> <p>Tax advantages: Contributing to a 401K can lower the amount of income you pay taxes on now. Once you retire, your withdrawals will be taxed at your ordinary income tax rate. If you make withdrawals before age 59-&frac12;, there will be an additional 10% early withdrawal penalty fee added.</p> <h2>Which One Is Best?</h2> <p>If you can only open one account, or only have the funds to contribute to one retirement account, which is the one to go for? Suze Orman is a big proponent of the Roth IRA and calls it &quot;the best retirement investment you can make.&quot; There are also a number of benefits to the Roth IRA.</p> <p>For instance, you can withdraw your contributions (but not the earnings) in emergency situations, without worrying about taxes or penalties. While you don't want to ever withdraw from your retirement accounts, it can provide you with peace of mind knowing that the funds are available to you in an unexpected future emergency situation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-facts-about-roth-iras?ref=seealso">7 Surprising Facts About Roth IRAs</a>)</p> <p>If you believe you are in a lower tax bracket now than you will be in retirement (like you are just starting your career), a Roth IRA is usually the way to go. With a Roth IRA, you will be investing after-tax funds now, which means you won't be taxed later when you are in a higher tax bracket. On the other hand, if you are near your peak income now, then you will likely be at a lower tax rate in retirement, which favors a traditional IRA or 401K plan. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-roth-iras-are-ideal-for-young-professionals?ref=seealso">Why Roth IRAs Are Ideal for Young Professionals</a>)</p> <p>If your employer offers contribution matching, definitely invest towards that account until you hit the company match limit so that you can benefit from the free money. With both an IRA and 401K, whatever you invest can be deducted from consideration this tax year. This means that you will be taxed on a lower amount, resulting in tax savings now.</p> <h3>Employer-Sponsored Plans</h3> <p>If your employer offers retirement benefits (such as contribution matching), then take advantage of this free money; your future self will thank you for it. You'll want to invest at least as much as the company match.</p> <p>Ask about what sort of 401K, 403(b), 457, or pension plans your employer offers. This will allow you to take advantage of as much of the employer's contribution as possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-steps-to-starting-a-retirement-plan-in-your-30s?ref=seealso">8 Steps to Starting a Retirement Plan in Your 30s</a>)</p> <h3>Self-Employed Options</h3> <p>Did you know that 28% of the nearly 15 million self-employed Americans are <a href="http://www.amtd.com/English/newsroom/research-and-story-ideas/Self-Employed-Survey/">not saving for retirement</a> at all? Sure, it can be difficult to set aside money for retirement when you can barely pay your business expenses as it is. However, it is imperative that you save what you can now to take advantage of compound interest and to ensure you are prepared for retirement.</p> <p>Self-employed individuals have <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Retirement-Plans-for-Self-Employed-People">further retirement savings options</a>, such as the SEP-IRA, SIMPLE IRA, and Individual or Solo 401K. These have higher contribution limits so that you can have a more sizable retirement savings. These accounts will allow you to save for retirement, while enjoying an up-front tax break and tax-deferred saving.</p> <h2>When in Doubt, Ask a Pro</h2> <p>If you aren't sure about which retirement account is right for you, it's time to speak with a financial adviser. They can help you make informed decisions based on your financial situation and retirement goals. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-need-a-financial-planner?ref=seealso">Do You Need a Financial Planner?</a>)</p> <p><em>Do you have other tips for choosing the right retirement plan? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-retirement-account-is-right-for-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k">4 Reasons Why a Roth IRA May be Better Than Your 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-warning-signs-youre-sabotaging-your-nest-egg">6 Warning Signs You&#039;re Sabotaging Your Nest Egg</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-sep-ira-is-how-the-self-employed-do-retirement-like-a-boss">The SEP-IRA Is How the Self-Employed Do Retirement Like a BOSS</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras">A Simple Guide to Rolling Over All of Your 401Ks and IRAs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-your-kid-need-an-ira">Does Your Kid Need an IRA?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k Roth IRA saving money self-employment traditional ira Thu, 21 Apr 2016 09:30:24 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1691583 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Questions to Ask Before You Borrow From Your Retirement Account http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_nest_egg_000026193397.jpg" alt="Asking questions before borrowing money from retirement account" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You need a quick infusion of cash, and there's plenty of it sitting in your IRA or 401K account. Should you withdraw the needed money from these retirement accounts?</p> <p>Not surprisingly, there's no simple answer. Withdrawing from a retirement account might make sense depending on how old you are or what you need the money for. But in other cases, withdrawals from these accounts can derail your plans to save for a happy retirement. They might also leave you with a big financial penalty.</p> <p>Before you make a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make" target="_blank">withdrawal from an IRA or 401K plan</a>, ask yourself these five questions. Your answers will tell you whether the time is right to take money from these accounts.</p> <h2>1. What Do You Need the Money For?</h2> <p>The goal of both 401K accounts and IRAs is to save money for your retirement years. If you withdraw funds before you hit retirement, you'll cut down on the money available to you after you leave the working world. When you're on a fixed income, you might truly miss those dollars. You'll also lose any interest that the money you withdrew would have generated, unless you pay it back quickly. So unless you absolutely need the money, it might be best to hold off on a withdrawal.</p> <h2>2. Can You Get the Money From Other Sources?</h2> <p>Again, you want your retirement accounts to be as full as possible when you leave the workforce. Can you find a different source for the money you're planning to withdraw? Maybe a family member can loan you the funds. Maybe a cash-out refinance on your home or a home equity loan can leave with you the money you need.</p> <h2>3. How Old Are You?</h2> <p>This is one of the bigger questions. If you withdraw money from your traditional IRA or 401K after you reach age 59-and-a-half, you'll do it penalty free, though you will still have to pay taxes on these withdrawals. The same is true for a Roth IRA, though you won't pay any taxes on most withdrawals from this kind of IRA.</p> <p>But if you are under 59-and-a-half, you'll be hit with a 10% penalty on the money you withdraw unless you are using it for specific reasons, such as buying a first home. For traditional IRAs and 401K plans, you'll also have to pay taxes on the money you withdraw, so this move is an especially big hit. The better choice? Wait to withdraw money from your retirement accounts until you hit 59-and-a-half.</p> <h2>4. Will You Face a Penalty If You Don't Make Withdrawals?</h2> <p>You'll get hit with a penalty if you withdraw money from a traditional IRA before 59-and-a-half. But did you know you'll face an even greater penalty if you don't take regular withdrawals from your traditional IRA after you turn 70-and-a-half?</p> <p>That is the age at which the owners of traditional IRAs are required to begin their minimum required distributions. If you fail to make these scheduled withdrawals you will be taxed at a rate of 50% of the distribution you were required to have made. So don't skip these withdrawals.</p> <h2>5. Are You Buying a New Home?</h2> <p>You can withdraw from your traditional IRA and Roth IRA before 59-and-a-half without any penalty if you are using the funds to buy a first home. And the definition of what makes for a first home is quite broad: Yes, a first home can be the first home that you have ever purchased. But you will also qualify for a first-home exemption if you or your buying partner haven't owned a principal residence in the last two years.</p> <p>With a traditional IRA, you can only withdraw up to $10,000 to help cover the purchase of a new home. With a Roth IRA, you might be able to withdraw a bit more because you can always withdraw your contributions to a Roth IRA without facing any taxes or penalties. The $10,000 limit, though, does hold for the earnings you've made on your Roth IRA.</p> <p>If you and your spouse or partner are buying a home together, you can both qualify for the first-time homebuyer exemption and borrow $10,000 each, giving you $20,000 to use toward your home purchase.</p> <p>Remember, though, you are still losing this money from your retirement account. You might enjoy that house you are buying, but you might miss that $10,000 when you hit retirement age.</p> <p>The rules are different for a 401K plan, which has no penalty exemption for withdrawing money before 59-and-a-half for buying a first home. You can take out a loan against your 401K, though, and use that money to help buy a home. But you will have to pay this loan back in installments and with interest.</p> <p><em>Have you ever withdrawn money from a retirement account? What questions did you ask first?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account">7 Penalty-Free Ways to Withdraw Money From Your Retirement Account</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-its-okay-to-delay-retirement-savings">5 Times It&#039;s Okay to Delay Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k">4 Reasons Why a Roth IRA May be Better Than Your 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k borrowing money buying home IRA penalties withdrawal Wed, 13 Apr 2016 10:00:12 +0000 Dan Rafter 1686647 at http://www.wisebread.com