401k http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/1445/all en-US 5 Financial Moves Now That You'll Regret When You Retire http://www.wisebread.com/5-financial-moves-now-that-youll-regret-when-you-retire <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-financial-moves-now-that-youll-regret-when-you-retire" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/money_uh_oh_175531215.jpg" alt="Learning financial moves now that you&#039;ll regret when you retire" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We all make thousands of decisions every day. Come tomorrow, many of them won't matter much at all. But some decisions do have long-lasting implications. Here are five choices that may leave you longing for a do-over in retirement.</p> <h2>1. Borrowing From Your 401K</h2> <p>It's relatively easy to borrow from most 401K plans. However, the purpose of your 401K isn't to save for a down payment on a house or college bills. It's to build a nest egg for retirement. The more you nibble away at that, the less you'll have for your later years. The best approach? Consider your workplace retirement funds to be off limits &mdash; until retirement.</p> <h2>2. Resetting Your Mortgage Clock Past Your Retirement Age</h2> <p>Interest rates are very low, which has prompted many people to refinance their mortgages. It can be wise to swap out a high interest rate loan for one at a lower rate. However, if this is the home you plan to live in during retirement, make sure your new mortgage will be retired by the time you are. That may mean opting for a shorter term (15 or 20 years instead of 30) or committing to making extra monthly payments. (Use <a href="http://financialmentor.com/calculator/mortgage-payoff-calculator">this calculator</a> to help you figure out how much extra to pay.)</p> <h2>3. Claiming Social Security Too Early</h2> <p>There are some people who may benefit by claiming their Social Security benefits at the earliest possible age &mdash; 62. If longevity doesn't run in your family or if you absolutely have no other options but to take the money sooner than later, go ahead. But good things come to those who wait. When it comes to delaying the start of Social Security, those who can hold off will get quite a boost in benefits.</p> <p>When I looked up my own benefits (<a href="https://secure.ssa.gov/SiView.do">here's where to look up yours</a>), I saw that I'm eligible for $1,780 per month if I claim benefits at age 62. If I wait until my Full Retirement Age of 67, that amount jumps to $2,694 &mdash; a 51% increase. And if I wait until age 70, I would receive $3,441 per month &mdash; nearly twice as much as my age-62 benefit.</p> <p>And here's the other benefit from waiting. Men, I hope I'm not the first to break this to you, but you're probably going to die before your wife, unless she's a lot older than you are. And if your Social Security benefit is larger than hers, the more you can maximize yours, the more it'll benefit your wife once you're gone. That's because upon your death, she'll have the choice of continuing to take her benefit or yours.</p> <p>Social Security claiming strategies are so varied, complex, and important that it would probably benefit you to seek additional guidance via <a href="http://www.socialsecuritysolutions.com/">Social Security Solutions</a> or <a href="http://maximizemysocialsecurity.com/">Maximize My Social Security</a>.</p> <h2>4. Ignoring Inflation</h2> <p>I talked with a newly-retired woman recently who thought she was set for life. She took her savings, divided by her estimated number of years remaining, and was satisfied with her answer. Until I rained on her parade by asking how she planned to account for inflation.</p> <p>She didn't like the idea of investing any of her money in the stock market because she thought that was too risky. And yet, keeping all of her money in a bank savings account virtually guarantees that her buying power will steadily decline. Even a modest annual inflation rate of 2% will cut buying power nearly in half over the course of a 30-year retirement.</p> <p>Most retirees will need to accept the idea of maintaining some level of exposure to the stock market with their investment portfolio in order to make sure their money lasts as long as they do.</p> <h2>5. Counting on Paid Work in Your Later Years</h2> <p>One of today's most significant retirement-related disconnects is the difference between the number of today's workers who are planning to work in retirement (I know, it sounds like an oxymoron) and the number of retirees who actually do still work.</p> <p>An increasing number of people still in the workforce are pushing back their retirement date &mdash; some because they want the mental stimulation that comes from work, some because they realize they'll need the money. And yet, nearly half of people who are now retired left the workforce sooner than intended, many times because of health issues.</p> <p>By the same token, nearly two-thirds of today's workers expect to work for pay to some degree after retiring from their main career, whereas less than one-third of those who are now retired have worked for pay since ending their main career.</p> <p>The best advice? Plan physically, emotionally, and vocationally to work longer than you might prefer while you plan financially to retire earlier than you think you will.</p> <p>Clearly, what you don't do as you prepare for a successful retirement is just as important as what you do. Avoiding the five miscues just discussed will help you prepare well.</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/5-financial-moves-now-that-youll-regret-when-you-retire">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/12-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-decide-to-retire">12 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Decide to Retire</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/stop-falling-for-these-6-social-security-myths">Stop Falling for These 6 Social Security Myths</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-smart-ways-to-boost-your-social-security-payout-before-retirement">6 Smart Ways to Boost Your Social Security Payout Before 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/4-of-the-fastest-ways-to-go-broke-in-retirement">4 of the Fastest Ways to Go Broke in Retirement</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/6-ways-to-guarantee-income-in-retirement">6 Ways to Guarantee Income in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k full retirement age inflation Mistakes money moves mortgages regrets social security Thu, 01 Dec 2016 11:00:08 +0000 Matt Bell 1843961 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Invest When You're In Debt http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-invest-when-youre-in-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-invest-when-youre-in-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/plant_tree_stump_462868653_0.jpg" alt="Learning ways to invest when you&#039;re in debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You know you need to begin investing to save for the future, but you still have some debt to pay off. It is possible to take care of both at the same time?</p> <p>The short answer is that yes, you can pay down debt and invest at the same time. In many ways, this is a personal choice. If you despise debt and sleep better at night knowing that you're paying it off as quickly as possible, that's fine. But if you can tolerate paying off debt at a slower rate and investing some money, you may end up ahead of the game financially over the long-term.</p> <p>Here are some things to consider when deciding how much to invest and how much debt to pay off.</p> <h2>1. Minimum Payments First, Then Invest</h2> <p>While it's certainly possible to pay down debt and invest at the same time, it's never a good idea to invest if you can't make your minimum payments first. If you don't make minimum payments, you'll be on the hook for higher interest, late fees, and penalties. Not to mention that your credit score will take a big hit. Consider investing your money only if you know you can set money aside and still make at least the minimum payments on debt.</p> <h2>2. Tackle the High Interest Debt</h2> <p>If your debt is tied up in credit cards and other things that come with high interest rates, you may want to hold off on investing until that's under control. Credit cards have interest rates in the double digits, and you're unlikely to generate an investment return that outpaces that. Once that high-interest debt is down to zero, then investing becomes much more possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">Fastest Way to Pay Off 10K in Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>3. Use Your 401K Plan</h2> <p>If you work for an employer that offers a 401K plan or something similar, it's worth taking part even if you have some debt. That's because most employers will match contributions up to a certain amount. So it's like getting free money. Any contributions you make to a 401K are deducted from your taxable income, so there are great tax advantages for taking part. Invest what you can while still paying down your debt. Then, when your debt is paid off, increase your contributions.</p> <h2>4. Look at Low-Cost Mutual Funds and ETFs</h2> <p>If most of your debt is tied up in low-interest things like student loans or mortgages, it's okay to set aside some money to invest in things that will generate a good return. In fact, there are many financial planners that argue against paying off low-interest loans early if market returns are higher than interest rates. Over time, stocks have averaged returns of about 7%, which is much higher than interest rates these days. To get this type of return, consider looking at mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that have low fees and are designed to track the performance of the overall stock market.</p> <h2>5. Find Investments That Trade Without a Commission</h2> <p>If you're trying to invest and pay down debt at the same time, there's a good chance you may only be able to invest a little at a time. That's okay, but it's important to be aware of the fees and commissions you pay every time you buy and sell. If you're only buying a few shares of a stock but paying $8 in a commission, for example, that fee is cutting into a sizable percentage of your investment. Fortunately, many discount brokerages allow you to trade certain types of investments without paying a commission. Fidelity offers fee-free investing on all iShares ETFs, ETrade offers many commission-free ETFs from WisdomTree and Global X, and TD Ameritrade offers more than 100 ETFs with no transaction fees.</p> <h2>6. Automate as Much as Possible</h2> <p>Finding the balance between investing and paying off debt requires some discipline. If you have some debt but are considering investing, determine in advance what your ideal balance is. Then, set up automatic monthly transfers of money into an investment account, and automate your bills as well. If you get extra money or a raise, consider tweaking the balance accordingly. When you automate, it takes the guesswork out, allows you to stay consistent, and makes it easier to do other financial planning.</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/6-ways-to-invest-when-youre-in-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-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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-prevent-a-debt-spiral">5 Ways to Prevent a Debt Spiral</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/beware-of-these-common-debt-consolidation-traps">Beware of These Common Debt Consolidation Traps</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/11-investing-tips-you-wish-you-could-tell-your-younger-self">11 Investing Tips You Wish You Could Tell Your Younger Self</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/8-signs-an-etf-isnt-right-for-you">8 Signs an ETF Isn&#039;t Right for You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Debt Management Investment 401k ETFs fees interest rates market returns mutual funds saving money Wed, 23 Nov 2016 11:30:07 +0000 Tim Lemke 1838645 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Retirement Terms Every New Investor Needs to Know http://www.wisebread.com/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retirement_blocks_73115095.jpg" alt="New investor learning retirement terms" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Congratulations! By starting your retirement fund, you've taken one of the most important steps toward a comfortable retirement. But as a novice investor, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with all the available information, including contribution limits, early penalty fees, and Roth 401Ks. To help you make sense of it all, let's review 15 key terms you should know:</p> <h2>1. 401K</h2> <p>The 401K is the most popular qualified employer-sponsored retirement plan in the U.S. The two most common types of 401K plans are the traditional 401K, to which you contribute with pretax dollars, and the Roth 401K, which accepts contributions with after-tax dollars. Earnings in a traditional 401K grow on a tax-deferred basis (you'll pay taxes on the funds when you withdraw them during retirement) and those in a Roth 401K grow tax-free forever, since you've paid taxes upfront.</p> <h2>2. After-Tax Contributions</h2> <p>Only certain types of retirement accounts, such as Roth 401Ks and Roth IRAs, accept contributions with after-tax dollars. When you contribute to a retirement account with after-tax dollars, your retirement funds grow tax-free forever, since you've already paid Uncle Sam.</p> <h2>3. Catch-Up Contribution</h2> <p>Retirement investors who are 50 and older at the end of the calendar year can make extra annual &quot;catch-up&quot; contributions to qualifying retirement accounts. Catch-up contributions allow older savers to make up for lower contributions to their retirement accounts in earlier years. In 2016 and 2017, 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> (on top of traditional annual contribution limits) are allowed for 401Ks and up to $1,000 for IRAs.</p> <h2>4. Contribution Limits</h2> <p>Every year, the IRS sets a limit as to how much you can contribute to your retirement accounts. In 2016, you can <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-ira-contribution-limits">contribute up to $5,500</a> ($6,500 if age 50 or over) to traditional and Roth IRAs and <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-contributions">up to $18,000</a> ($24,000 if age 50 or over) to a traditional or Roth 401K. These annual contribution limits to retirement accounts remain unchanged for 2017. If you exceed your contribution limit, you'll receive a penalty fee from the IRS, unless you take out excess moneys by a certain date.</p> <h2>5. Early Distribution Penalty</h2> <p>To discourage retirement savers from withdrawing funds before retirement age, the IRS imposes an additional 10% penalty on distributions before age 59 &frac12; on certain retirement plans. Keep in mind that you're always liable for applicable income taxes whether you take a distribution from your retirement plan before or after age 59 &frac12;. Under certain circumstances, you're allowed to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account">withdraw money early</a> from a retirement account without the penalty.</p> <h2>6. Fee</h2> <p>You've heard that there is no such thing as a free lunch and no retirement plan is exempt from this rule. There's always a cost for the employer or employee, or both. Always check the prospectus from any fund for its annual expense ratio and any other applicable fee. An annual expense ratio of 0.75% means that for every $1,000 in your retirement account, you're charged $7.50 in fees. And that's assuming that you don't trigger any other fees! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees?ref=seealso">Watch Out for These 5 Sneaky 401K Fees</a>)</p> <h2>7. Index Fund</h2> <p>An index fund is a type of mutual fund that tracks of a basket of securities (generally a market index, such as the Standard &amp; Poor's 500 or the Russell 2000). An index fund is a passively managed mutual fund that provides broad market exposure, low investment cost, and low portfolio turnover. Due to its low annual expense ratios, such as 0.16% for the Vanguard 500 Index Investor Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/vfinx">VFINX</a>], index funds have become a popular way to save for retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-steps-to-getting-started-in-the-stock-market-with-index-funds?Ref=seealso">3 Steps to Getting Started in the Stock Market With Index Funds</a>)</p> <h2>8. IRA</h2> <p>Unlike a 401K, an individual retirement account (IRA) is held by custodians, including commercial banks and retail brokers. The financial institutions place the IRA funds in a variety of investments following the instructions of the plan holders. A traditional IRA accepts contributions with pretax dollars, and a Roth IRA accepts contributions with after-tax dollars. An advantage of using a Roth IRA is that it provides several exemptions to the early distribution penalty.</p> <h2>9. 401K Loan</h2> <p>Some retirement plans allow you to take a loan on a portion of your available balance &mdash; generally, 50% of your vested account balance, or <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/retirement-plans-faqs-regarding-loans">up to $50,000</a>, whichever is less. While the loan balance is generally due within five years, it becomes fully due within 60 days from separating from your employer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso">5 Questions to Ask Before You Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <h2>10. Mutual Fund</h2> <p>By pooling funds from several investors, money managers are able to invest in a wide variety of securities, ranging from money market instruments to equities. Investing in a mutual fund enables an individual retirement investor to gain access to a wide variety of investments that she wouldn't necessarily have access to on her own. Depending on its investment strategy, mutual funds can have a wide variety of fees. So, make sure to read the fine print. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-investment-fees-to-watch-for?ref=seealso">4 Sneaky Investment Fees to Watch For</a>)</p> <h2>11. Pretax Contribution</h2> <p>When you contribute to your employer-sponsored retirement account with pretax dollars, you're allowed to reduce your taxable income. For example, if you were to make $50,000 per year and contribute $5,000 to your 401K with pretax dollars, then you would only have to pay applicable income taxes on $45,000! You delay taxation until retirement age when you're more likely to be in a lower tax bracket.</p> <h2>12. Required Minimum Distribution (RMD)</h2> <p>You can't keep moneys in your retirement account forever. At age 70 &frac12;, you generally have to start taking withdrawals from an IRA, SIMPLE IRA, SEP IRA, or 401K. An RMD is the minimum amount required by law that you have take out from your retirement account each year to avoid a penalty from the IRS. You can use of one of these <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/required-minimum-distribution-worksheets">requirement minimum distribution work sheets</a> to calculate your RMD.</p> <h2>13. Rollover</h2> <p>When you separate from your employer, you generally have up to 60 days to transfer moneys in your previous retirement account to a new retirement account accepting those moneys. This process is known as a rollover. In a direct rollover, the process is automatic; in an indirect rollover, you receive a cash-out check from your previous employer to rollover the moneys to a new qualifying retirement account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras?ref=seealso">A Simple Guide to Rolling Over All of Your 401Ks and IRAs</a>)</p> <h2>14. Target-Date Fund</h2> <p>A target-date fund is a retirement investment fund that seeks to provide higher returns to young investors and gradually reduce risk exposure as they get closer to retirement age. Since the Pension Protection Act granted target-date funds the status of qualified default investment alternative in 2006, these type of funds have gained popularity. About half of 401K participants <a href="https://www.ebri.org/publications/ib/index.cfm?fa=ibDisp&amp;content_id=3347">hold a target-date fund</a>.</p> <h2>15. Vesting</h2> <p>In any retirement account, only money that is fully vested truly belongs to you. While all of your contributions and the matching contributions from your employer to your retirement account are always fully vested, some employer contributions, such as company stock, may follow a vesting schedule. In <em>cliff vesting</em>, you only become fully vested after a certain period of time. In <em>graded vesting</em>, you gradually gain ownership of those employer contributions.</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/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know">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-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/optimize-your-ira-and-401k">Optimize Your IRA and 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/the-penalty-free-way-to-withdraw-retirement-money-early">The Penalty-Free Way to Withdraw Retirement Money Early</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retirement-accounts-and-money-to-spend">Retirement accounts and money to spend</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k contributions employer-sponsored retirement index funds IRA new investors Roth savings target date funds taxes terms Thu, 17 Nov 2016 11:00:14 +0000 Damian Davila 1834559 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-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/couple_retired_happy_62784562.jpg" alt="Retired couple shortchanging their retirement savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether retirement is decades away or if it is knocking on your door, there are some key mistakes that couples sometimes make when planning for their retirement. It's not too late to fix them, and addressing these problems now can potentially stave off issues in the future.</p> <p>Are you and your spouse making these retirement mistakes?</p> <h2>Relying on One's Spouse's Retirement</h2> <p>One common mistake that couples make is that they only rely on <em>one </em>spouse's income and retirement savings. While you might be able to live comfortably off one spouse's income now, when you are healthy, you have to calculate just how much you and your spouse will both need in retirement. Hopefully you will both be healthy well into your last years, but plan for the &quot;what ifs.&quot; Have both partners contribute to separate retirement accounts, if you both are working. If one spouse is self-employed or a freelancer, there are still retirement options for them.</p> <p>Even if one spouse does not work, they can still contribute to an IRA account. Carol Berger, CFP&reg;, of Berger Wealth Management, says that spousal IRA accounts are available for married couples who file taxes jointly. Berger says, &quot;This allows a contribution to be made for the nonworking spouse and helps his or her retirement nest egg grow. For example, in 2016, a nonworking spouse can contribute up to $5,500 to an IRA in their name ($6,500 if age 50 or older).&quot;</p> <h2>Putting Your Kids First</h2> <p>There is no doubt that you love your children and that it is easy to put their needs above retirement needs. However, don't delay on saving for retirement for your kids' sake. Saving for retirement should always trump saving for college education. Furthermore, retirement savings should not be dipped into to pay for college.</p> <p>The simple reason is that your children will have access to scholarships, loans, and work to help support them through college. Even if they graduate with a heavy load of debt, they have a long time to pay it off. There are no scholarships for retirement, and I am guessing the last thing you want to do is return to work.</p> <p>&quot;Time does not favor waiting because you lose the benefits of compounding,&quot; says Good Life Wealth Management president, Scott Stratton, CFP&reg;, CFA. &quot;If you put $5,000 into an IRA and earn 8% for 25 years, you'd have $34,242. Invest the same $5,000 10 years before retirement, and you'd only have $10,794. Or to put it another way, if you waited until 10 years before retirement, you'd have to invest $15,860 &mdash; instead of $5,000 &mdash; to reach $34,242.&quot;</p> <h2>Avoiding the Issue</h2> <p>Money is not always the easiest thing to talk about, however, if you avoid the issue, then you will only cause the problem to grow. Sit down with your spouse and talk about your present financial situation. Talk about where you want to be financially in the next year, in five years, and in retirement.</p> <p>If you both agree that you want to spend your retirement traveling and not tied to credit card debt or a mortgage payment, then you need to put in place the right money habits now.</p> <p>You should develop realistic action steps that will help you reach your financial goals a year from now, five years from now, and most importantly, in retirement. That means you might have to tighten your budget and pay more toward debt. Having clear financial goals will also help you stand firm as a couple when it is tempting to refinance the house to redo the backyard. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>Not Planning for Medical Costs</h2> <p>As discussed briefly above, many couples forget to financially plan for medical costs. It is easy to think, &quot;We won't need that much money in retirement because we won't buy anything or have to care for kids.&quot; However, medical expenses can add up quickly, especially in the last years of life. The cost of caretakers, regular doctor's visits, special medications, and even residency at a hospice can drain retirement savings in a matter of a few years.</p> <p>The worst thing is that many adult children are stuck with the financial burden of their parents' medical costs. Nearly one in 10 people over 40 are considered in the &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-the-sandwich-generation-can-get-ahead">sandwich generation</a>.&quot; This means they are caring for their own children while also caring for aging parents. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reports that Medicare doesn't cover the most common types of long-term care and that a nursing home can cost as much as <a href="http://www.apnorc.org/news-media/Pages/News+Media/Poll-Sandwich-generation-worried-about-own-long-term-care-.aspx">$90,000 per year</a>. If retirement funds don't cover the necessary care for aging parents, their children will either have to foot the bill or try to take care of their parents themselves.</p> <p>Jody Dietel, Chief Compliance Officer at WageWorks says that there is a retirement tool that is often overlooked. A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money">health savings account</a> (HSA) can help cover medical costs. Dietel says, &quot;It's important to understand that there's a place for both a 401K and an HSA. Establishing an HSA gives you the ability to amass savings to be used exclusively for health care expenses and preventing the need to dip into 401K funds for medical-related costs in retirement.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-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-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/dont-despair-over-small-retirement-savings">Don&#039;t Despair Over Small Retirement Savings</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/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/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</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/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits">New Job? Don&#039;t Make These 7 Mistakes With Your Benefits</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k couples expenses health care health savings accounts HSA income IRA marriages medical costs Mon, 14 Nov 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1830892 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Sources of Fast Cash Besides Your 401K http://www.wisebread.com/3-sources-of-fast-cash-besides-your-401k <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-sources-of-fast-cash-besides-your-401k" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/handling_cash_780905671.jpg" alt="Finding sources of fast cash outside of 401K" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're in the middle of a remodeling project, and due to unforeseen circumstances, your money runs out early. You can't live with a half-completed kitchen, but you can't pay for it to be finished right now. And while you have plenty of equity in your home and a healthy retirement account, there's nothing in the bank.</p> <p>Once you've decided to take out a loan, what is the best source of funds? Are 401K loans or borrowing against home equity ever a good idea?</p> <p>&quot;The best option is of course is your parents,&quot; says financial planner Bob Goldman. But if you can't tap the bank of mom and dad for an interest-free loan, your other best options are probably a cash-out refinance, a secondary mortgage, a home equity line of credit, or a 401K loan. Deciding which one to use requires some number crunching and a hard look at your personal situation, including your job security, your repayment timeline, and your will power.</p> <h2>Cash-Out Refinance</h2> <p>Mortgage interest rates are at historic lows, making now a good time to think about refinancing. When you refinance your home, you are replacing your current loan with a brand-new one, preferably at a better interest rate. Depending on how much equity you have in your home, you may have the option of borrowing cash at the time of the refinance &mdash; so that once all the paperwork is done, you'll have a lump sum in your bank account, which you will pay back as part of your regular mortgage payments.</p> <h2>Cash-Out Refinance Pros</h2> <p>A cash-out refinance has a lot going for it.</p> <h3>1. Low Rate</h3> <p>A mortgage often offers the lowest interest rate you can get, outside of promotional offers. And because rates are near historic lows, a lot of people feel that locking in a low rate now for a long loan term is a good call.</p> <h3>2. Low Payments</h3> <p>Because the payback period will be long &mdash; generally 30 years &mdash; a cash-out refi can ease the month-to-month strain of repayment, especially if you are able to lower the interest rate. If you are paying, say, 5% interest on your mortgage and you are able to refinance to 3.77%, you could add $50,000 to your loan principal while only adding about $100 a month to your payment.</p> <h3>3. No Surprises</h3> <p>As long as you take out a fixed-rate mortgage, you know what your payment will be for the life of the loan.</p> <h3>4. Tax Benefit</h3> <p>The interest you pay on your refinanced mortgage will be tax deductible. According to this <a href="http://www.calcxml.com/do/hom09">mortgage tax savings calculator</a>, if you add $50,000 to a $200,000 mortgage, you could save about $10,000 in taxes over the life of the loan, more or less depending on your tax bracket and the interest rate.</p> <h2>Cash-Out Refinance Cons</h2> <p>As great as a cash-out refinance is, it's not free money.</p> <h3>1. Risk</h3> <p>Your home is on the line. For most people, your house is your biggest asset, and putting it even at slight risk isn't a decision to take lightly. Far too many homeowners ended up losing their homes during the financial crisis when they overborrowed against their homes' value.</p> <h3>2. Fees</h3> <p>You have to pay closing costs, which average about $1,800 on a $200,000 loan.</p> <h3>3. Qualifying</h3> <p>You need good credit, especially for the best rates.</p> <h3>4. Starting Over</h3> <p>One thing people often overlook when refinancing, Goldman says, is that taking out a new 30-year loan pushes out the date when you'll be done paying off your mortgage. &quot;You reset the clock on your mortgage,&quot; Goldman says. &quot;You're back to Day One, where you're paying mostly interest.&quot;</p> <h2>What's the Total Cost of a Cash-Out Refinance?</h2> <p>Getting $50,000 this way would cost a typical borrower about $30,000 in interest and fees over the course of 30 years at current interest rates. I calculated this using a mortgage calculator to compare the lifetime cost of borrowing $200,000 versus $250,000, keeping in mind that getting cash out usually increases your interest rate by about ⅛ percent. I added $2,000 in closing costs and subtracted $10,000 in tax savings.</p> <h2>Home Equity Loan</h2> <p>A home-equity loan is so much like a mortgage that it's also known as a &quot;second mortgage.&quot; The only difference between this and a cash-out refinance is that instead of replacing your original mortgage with a new one, you're adding a second loan also using your home as collateral. But everything else &mdash; the fact that you're taking a fixed amount of money, usually at a set rate, and paying it back over time &mdash; remains the same.</p> <h2>Home Equity Loan Pros</h2> <p>A second mortgage is a lot like a cash out refi, but with some wrinkles.</p> <h3>1. Simplicity</h3> <p>If you have a great mortgage rate on your home and don't want to change it, this is a way to borrow money while leaving your original mortgage untouched.</p> <h3>2. Shorter Time</h3> <p>If you have a 30-year mortgage but only want to borrow money for five to 15 years, you can do that with a home-equity loan.</p> <h3>3. Tax Benefit</h3> <p>Like a regular mortgage, your interest is usually tax deductible.</p> <h2>Home Equity Loan Cons</h2> <p>You'll need to be sure you understand the downsides of this kind of loan.</p> <h3>1. Interest Rate</h3> <p>Data from Bankrate shows home equity loans averaging at least a percentage point higher than mortgage rates.</p> <h3>2. Qualifying</h3> <p>You need good credit, especially for the best rates.</p> <h2>What's the Total Cost of a home-equity loan?</h2> <p>About $11,000 in interest and fees to borrow $50,000 for 10 years.</p> <p>If you borrow $50,000 for 10 years through a second mortgage, you would pay about $13,000 interest over the life of the loan. Closing costs would be similar to a mortgage refinance, about $2,000. During that time, the mortgage interest deduction could save you about $4,000 in taxes.</p> <h2>Home Equity Line of Credit</h2> <p>Like a home-equity loan, a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) is a secondary loan that piggybacks on your original loan. As with both types of loans discussed above, your home is still the collateral. The big difference is that while you can get cash out of a first or second mortgage only once, a HELOC is a revolving credit line, meaning that you don't need to know upfront exactly how much you'll need over the life of the loan. You can borrow $10,000 this month for a new furnace, and then $5,000 another month for landscaping.</p> <h2>HELOC Pros</h2> <p>The key advantage of a HELOC is its flexibility, but there are others to consider, too.</p> <h3>1. Borrowing Flexibility</h3> <p>Experts recommend these loans for ongoing expenses such as college tuition, rather than a home repair that you might pay for in a lump sum. If you do a refinance and then realize you'll need to borrow more money, you would need to pay closing costs all over again and might not be able to lock in the same rate.</p> <h3>2. Tax Benefit</h3> <p>Like the above loans, the interest paid on a HELOC is usually tax deductible.</p> <h3>3. Payment Flexibility</h3> <p>Your loan may allow you to pay interest-only for a certain amount of time.</p> <h2>HELOC Cons</h2> <p>As with the other home loans discussed, a HELOC carries some costs.</p> <h3>1. Risk</h3> <p>Like both the above loans, your home is on the line.</p> <h3>2. Rate Uncertainty</h3> <p>Since HELOCs often have <a href="https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0227-home-equity-loans-and-credit-lines#lines">variable interest rates</a>, and rates are currently at historic lows, they will probably rise in the future. By law, how much the rates go up is capped &mdash; the lender must tell you the maximum potential rate when you take out the loan. The average HELOC rate at the moment is similar to home equity rates, or around a point above 30-year-mortgage rates.</p> <h3>3. Balloon Payments</h3> <p>Many HELOCs start out requiring only interest payments, then expect the borrower to pay the whole principal at the end. If you can't, Goldman said, you'll probably end up refinancing the debt into a much longer, more expensive loan.</p> <h3>4. Temptation</h3> <p>As with credit cards, having a line of credit to draw on can encourage overspending. &quot;It's one thing to be on a diet when the refrigerator is empty. It's another thing to be on a diet when the freezer is full of ice cream,&quot; Goldman said. &quot;You'll have this money available to you, so it will require a great deal of discipline to manage it.&quot;</p> <h3>5. Qualifying</h3> <p>You need good credit to qualify, especially for the best rates.</p> <h3>6. Fees</h3> <p>You may or may not have to pay closing costs, and may be charged ongoing fees such as annual maintenance fees and transaction fees.</p> <h2>What's the Total Cost of a HELOC?</h2> <p>Rough estimate: $9,500. It's more difficult to predict the lifetime cost of a HELOC if the rate is adjustable and the amount you owe on it varies, but this <a href="http://www.calcxml.com/calculators/adjustable-rate-mortgage-calculator">adjustable mortgage calculator</a> figures that with steady, modest interest increases, a 10-year, $50,000 HELOC could cost $14,000 in interest. Fees vary, but if your bank charges a $50 annual fee, that adds $500 to the cost. Subtract an estimated $5,000 in tax savings.</p> <h2>Borrowing From Your 401K</h2> <p>If you have a 401K retirement account through your employer, you might have the option of &quot;borrowing&quot; from its balance. This is not a true loan, since the money in your 401K already belongs to you. In reality, what you're doing is getting an exemption from early withdrawal penalties and taxation, as long as you promise to put the money back and pay yourself an interest rate &mdash; generally one to two percentage points above the prime rate.</p> <p>Despite all those articles out there warning you to avoid borrowing from your 401K, Goldman says this can be a good option if conditions are right.</p> <p>&quot;If I had my choice, I would definitely borrow from a 401K,&quot; he said. Although neither borrowing against your home or borrowing against your retirement are without risk, at least if you fail to pay back your 401K loan, you're not out on the street.</p> <h2>401K Loan Pros</h2> <p>This type of loan may be the easiest of all to get &mdash; it's your money, after all!</p> <h3>1. Qualifying</h3> <p>You don't need good credit to qualify for a good rate, making this an attractive option for folks who wouldn't qualify for a regular loan.</p> <h3>2. Risk</h3> <p>If you fail to pay it back, it won't affect your credit score or send collection agents after you. You also don't risk having your home repossessed.</p> <h3>3. No Bank</h3> <p>You pay the interest to yourself, which is sort of like not paying interest at all.</p> <h2>401K Loan Cons</h2> <p>There are not too many downsides to borrowing from your 401K &mdash; but there's a big one you should think very carefully about.</p> <h3>1. Risk to Your Retirement Savings</h3> <p>Failure to pay back this loan could cause great harm to your retirement account. For instance, if your employment ends for any reason, the loan becomes due immediately. If you can't pay it, it's converted to a distribution, which means that you pay taxes and (if you are under age 59 &frac12;, a 10% penalty). So you're basically stuck at your job while you have a 401K loan out; you might end up turning down a new job offer if you don't have the cash to pay the loan. Worse, if you get fired and can't pay it, you could be out of a lot of money in addition to having no job.</p> <h3>2. Double Taxation</h3> <p>The disadvantage that people often don't consider with 401K loans is that while you filled your account with pretax dollars, you repay the loan with post-tax dollars &mdash; but you'll have to pay tax again on the money when you eventually withdraw it in retirement. How much you can get: While home loans let you borrow a percentage of your home equity, 401K loans are capped at $50,000 or half your balance, whichever is less.</p> <h2>What's the Total Cost of Borrowing From Your 401K?</h2> <p>It would vary greatly depending on how close you are to retirement and how well the market does during your loan. Using <a href="http://www.calcxml.com/calculators/impact-of-borrowing-from-my-retirement-plan">this calculator</a>, I came up with an estimated cost of $25,000 in lost investment and tax benefits to borrow $50,000 for five years. That assumes your retirement account would have $10,246 less in it at the time of retirement, and that you lost out on $15,000 worth of tax benefits.</p> <h2>Bottom Line</h2> <p>By these calculations, home equity loans tend to be less costly than mortgage refis or 401K loans. You should run the numbers using your own circumstances before making that determination for yourself.</p> <p>Cost is not the only thing to consider when deciding how to borrow. There's also the degree of risk involved, and the amount of time you have to pay the money back. Again, personal circumstances will dictate your choice: If you only need the money for a short time, for instance, until your stock options vest next year, a 401K loan might be the best choice. If you can't afford to pay the loan off in the near-term, the refinance gives you the most time.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-sources-of-fast-cash-besides-your-401k">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/my-2016-budget-challenge-can-a-paint-job-help-an-old-house-pass-a-re-fi-appraisal">My 2016 Budget Challenge: Can a Paint Job Help an Old House Pass a Re-Fi Appraisal?</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/15-surprising-ways-bad-credit-can-hurt-you">15 Surprising Ways Bad Credit Can Hurt You</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-things-you-need-to-know-about-credit-scores">5 Things You Need to Know About Credit Scores</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-surprising-ways-revolving-debt-helps-you">5 Surprising Ways Revolving Debt Helps You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance 401k borrowing HELOC home equity line of credit interest loans mortgages refinance second mortgage Wed, 02 Nov 2016 10:00:10 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1825229 at http://www.wisebread.com The Penalty-Free Way to Withdraw Retirement Money Early http://www.wisebread.com/the-penalty-free-way-to-withdraw-retirement-money-early <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-penalty-free-way-to-withdraw-retirement-money-early" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/saving_money_retirement_85578577.jpg" alt="Withdrawing retirement early without any penalties" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's widely know that for most retirement plans, including an IRA and 401K, there is a cost to withdrawing money before you reach 59-&frac12; years of age. Take money out of a traditional IRA or 401K early and you're stuck paying taxes plus a 10% early withdrawal fee. If you withdraw money from a Roth IRA early, you'll have to pay tax on any withdrawn gains.</p> <p>There are some ways to avoid this penalty, including one mechanism that may be unknown to many investors.</p> <p>It's called a SEPP (stands for Substantially Equal Periodic Payment), and it may help some investors access their money early without a cost. The basic idea behind a SEPP is that you can receive regular payments (usually annually) from your retirement account, as long as they are a consistent amount and you do so for a certain length of time.</p> <p>Here are some key things you need to know.</p> <h2>1. You Must Take Withdrawals for at Least Five Years</h2> <p>Once you begin a SEPP program, you are required to make regular withdrawals for five years or until you are 59-1/2, whichever comes last (with some exceptions for disability or market decline). So for example, a person who is 56 must make withdrawals until they are 61. A person who is 45 must continue to make withdrawals for the next 14-1/2 years. Thus, it's generally not a good idea to embark on a SEPP program if you are young. If you stop the program before the required time is up, you must pay the IRS all of the waived penalties, plus interest.</p> <h2>2. Calculating Your Payments Is, Well, Complicated</h2> <p>Okay, so you're required to make regular withdrawals of the same amount of money. But how much should you be withdrawing? There are three main methods of determining this.</p> <h3>The Required Minimum Distribution Method</h3> <p>In simple terms, divide your total account balance by your life expectancy. (The IRS has a table to help you determine this.) Under this method, the amount you withdraw must be recalculated each year and could change.</p> <h3>The Fixed Amortization Method</h3> <p>Under this system, payments are based on the life expectancy of the account holder and a chosen interest rate.</p> <h3>The Annuity Method</h3> <p>To determine payments under this system, divide your account balance by an annuity factor that is based on your age.</p> <p>Generally speaking, the Required Minimum Distribution method is the most straightforward and will result in the smallest payments. This makes it a better choice for investors who do not want to deplete their accounts as quickly. However, payments must be recalculated each year, whereas the other two options only require calculations to be made once.</p> <h2>3. It's Not a Good Idea for an Emergency</h2> <p>There may be times when you are tempted to withdraw from your retirement account to take care of a financial emergency. But a SEPP isn't designed to help you with that. The five-year requirement makes it impossible to make a single withdrawal or even a small series of withdrawals. If you have a one-time emergency, you're better off find other methods to get cash quickly.</p> <h2>4. It Won't Always Work for a 401K</h2> <p>If you're considering using a SEPP to withdraw money from a 401K plan, the IRS requires you to first separate from the employer that maintains the plan. So once again, this is not a decision to make lightly. That said, 401K plans from previous employers are acceptable, as are any rollover IRAs you created from past plans.</p> <h2>5. It Is Not Easily Adjustable</h2> <p>Once you sign up for a SEPP program, there's no way to cancel it before the required time. If you find that your payments are too much, you can change your calculation method to the Required Minimum Distribution method. But this change is only allowed once.</p> <h2>6. You Must Stop Contributing</h2> <p>Once you decide to use a SEPP program, you can't adjust the balance of the retirement account. That means no more adding money to the account and no separate withdrawals. Any change to the account balance could lead to the SEPP being disqualified, in which case you're on the hook for all of the penalties and taxes, plus interest.</p> <h2>7. Withdrawing Money Early Means You Will Have Less Later</h2> <p>It's important to remember that a retirement account is called a <em>retirement </em>account for a reason. Your goal should be to ensure that money in the account lasts for the entire time after you are done working. That could mean decades. So if you are withdrawing money early, understand that you are reducing the amount that will be available to you later in life.</p> <h2>8. You Probably Need Professional Help</h2> <p>A SEPP is not an easy thing to understand or set up yourself. A tax and investment adviser will help you understand if a program is right for your particular situation, and walk you through the steps to determine the proper payments.</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/the-penalty-free-way-to-withdraw-retirement-money-early">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-9"> <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-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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know">15 Retirement Terms Every New Investor Needs to Know</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/should-you-choose-a-roth-401k-or-a-regular-401k">Should You Choose a Roth 401k or a Regular 401k?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k annuity IRA penalties sepp substantially equal periodic payment taxes withdrawals Tue, 18 Oct 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1815050 at http://www.wisebread.com Rich People Spend $350K+ to Park Their Cars — Here's How We'd Spend it Instead http://www.wisebread.com/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fancy_sports_car_91447401.jpg" alt="Spend $350K on this instead of parking fancy cars" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I came across a news report recently about the construction of a <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/14/luxury/autohouse-car-condo-miami/index.html">luxury condominium for cars</a>. It will allow people with fancy cars to park their vehicles in a secure environment, at the reasonable cost of just $350,000.</p> <p>Yes, $350,000 for a place to park.</p> <p>Suffice it to say, we can think of smarter things to do with $350,000. If you are lucky enough to have this kind of cash available to you, consider these alternative and sensible ways to spend your money.</p> <h2>1. Bolster That Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Before you shell out thousands of dollars for that custom-made personal watercraft, ask yourself if you'd have enough cash left to pay for a major medical bill if you got hurt. Or a hot water heater if it leaked all over your basement. Ask yourself how long you could get by if you lost your job. It's bad to blow money on unnecessary things. It's even worse to blow that money when you have nothing saved for a rainy day. Make sure you have <em>at least</em> three months of living expenses in liquid savings before you make any crazy purchases.</p> <h2>2. Pay Off High-Interest Debt</h2> <p>If you have money, there's no real excuse for carrying high-interest debt, such as that from credit cards. Interest from debt can erode your net worth, so pay off as much as you can. Focus on paying down the debts with the highest interest rates and go from there.</p> <h2>3. Contribute Maximum Toward Retirement</h2> <p>If you have a high income, there's no reason to hold back on putting as much into your retirement funds as possible. Those with 401K accounts can contribute up to $18,000 per year, and anyone with earned income can contribute $5,500 annually into an individual retirement account. Both of these accounts allow you to invest and see your money grow in a tax advantaged way. Focus on investments that mirror the overall performance of the stock market, and you'll see your money grow without much stress. Maxing out retirement funds may very well be the least frivolous thing to do with your money.</p> <h2>4. Invest Even More</h2> <p>Okay, so you've maxed out the amount you can place in retirement accounts. That doesn't mean you can't continue to invest! If you have the funds, consider buying stocks, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds in a traditional brokerage account. You will have to pay taxes on any gains, but if you're investing for the long haul, you'll still come out well ahead in most cases.</p> <h2>5. Go to College</h2> <p>The best kind of investment is an investment in yourself. If you have enough money to pay for college, go for it! A typical person with a bachelor's degree <a href="https://trends.collegeboard.org/education-pays/figures-tables/lifetime-earnings-education-level">earns 66% more</a> over the course of their lifetime than someone who does not got to college, according to the College Board. And the earnings get even higher for those with advanced degrees. If you've already been to college, consider opening a college savings account for your children or another relative who's college-bound. Most states offer 529 plans that allow you to invest money without paying tax on the gains, provided that the money is later used for education expenses.</p> <h2>6. Buy a Home (Or a Second One)</h2> <p>If you're sitting on a sizable sum of money, it might make sense to put some toward a down payment on a house or other piece of real estate. It's better than renting, because you're building equity and may be able to even sell the real estate later at a profit. If you already own a home, consider buying a second and renting it out. This way, you not only get the benefits of real estate ownership, but an additional income stream as well. This sure beats cars or other material items that don't accrue in value.</p> <h2>7. Do Some Home Maintenance and Upgrades</h2> <p>Maybe it's time for a new roof, or your furnace has been on the fritz. Maybe you've always wanted to turn the basement into a nice family room. If you invest a little money into your home, you can stave off expensive repairs later, and any upgrades you make could increase your home value.</p> <h2>8. Give Some Away</h2> <p>$350,000 is a fair chunk of change, so why not give some away to a cause that you support? Remember that all charitable donations are tax deductible, so there's a financial benefit to giving away cash rather than spending it on something silly.</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/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</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-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know">The Only 6 Rules of Frugal Living You Need to Know</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-10-biggest-myths-about-investing">The 10 Biggest Myths About Investing</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/retirement-accounts-and-money-to-spend">Retirement accounts and money to spend</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting 401k charity debt emergency funds investing IRA luxury money retirement spending Thu, 13 Oct 2016 09:30:20 +0000 Tim Lemke 1811799 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_saving_retirement_33504544.jpg" alt="Couple making retirement planning steps late" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most Americans aren't saving enough for retirement &mdash; and worse, many are off to a late start. Since 2011, the annual percentage of U.S. workers with less than $1,000 in savings and investments for retirement has ranged from <a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/EBRI_IB_422.Mar16.RCS.pdf">26% to 36%</a>.</p> <p>These low savings levels are taking a toll on nest eggs. One estimate puts the ideal retirement savings for an individual at <a href="http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/10/03/the-average-americans-retirement-savings-by-ageand.aspx">age 45 at $162,000</a> and calculates that, in reality, most Americans are about $100,000 short of that goal by the time they reach age 45. Let's review what late-starters should do to give their savings a necessary boost and learn some tips for those who are 15, 10, or five years away from retirement.</p> <h2>15 Years Away From Retirement</h2> <p>Assuming that your target retirement age is 65, you're now 50 years old and are likely to be part of the Generation X. About half of members of Generation X have <a href="http://time.com/money/4258451/retirement-savings-survey/">less than $10,000</a> in retirement savings.</p> <h3>Step 1: Take Advantage of Catch-Up Contributions</h3> <p>Starting at age 50, you're now legally allowed to start making annual catch-up contributions on top of the regular contribution limits to your qualifying retirement accounts. In 2016, individuals age 50 and over could contribute an extra:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-catch-up-contributions">$6,000</a> on top of the $18,000 limit to 401K (other than a SIMPLE 401K), 403b, SARSEP, and governmental 457b plans;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>$3,000 in catch-up contributions to SIMPLE IRA or SIMPLE 401K plans; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>$1,000 on top of the $5,500 limit to traditional or Roth IRAs.</li> </ul> <p>Additionally, individuals with at least 15 years of employment can make additional contributions to their 403b plans on top of the regular $6,000 in catch-up contributions. For more details, review the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-403b-contribution-limits">IRS rules for 403b contribution limits</a>.</p> <h3>Step 2: Chase Lower Investment Fees</h3> <p>When choosing funds for your 401K, you may think that there's little difference between a fund with an annual expense ratio of 0.16% and a fund with one of 0.25%. However, when you're 15 years away from retirement, those differences compound over time. A $30,000 investment would cost $48 per year on the first fund and $75 per year on the second fund.</p> <p>By investing in the fund with the higher annual expense ratio, and assuming that both funds have an annual return of 7%, you would miss out on an extra $703.94 in retirement savings by the time you reach age 65. Not to mention on the additional gains on those moneys that you would have during your retirement years.</p> <p>Several studies have shown that expense ratios are the only reliable predictor of future fund performance. For example, research from rating agency Morningstar has found that <a href="http://news.morningstar.com/articlenet/article.aspx?id=347327">low-cost funds consistently outperform high-cost funds</a>.</p> <h2>10 Years Away From Retirement</h2> <p>At this point, you're now 55 years old and you're supposed to be wiser. Still, about <a href="http://time.com/money/4258451/retirement-savings-survey/">33% of Americans</a> age 55 and over have no retirement savings and 26% have retirement accounts with balances under $50,000. On top of taking advantage of catch-up contributions and chasing lower-cost funds, here are some additional steps to give your retirement strategy a much-needed boost.</p> <h3>Step 3: Consider Cities Where You Can Retire on Just Social Security</h3> <p>It can be a humbling experience to have to tighten your belt after having worked so hard for many decades. If you're going to become part of the <a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/EBRI_IB_422.Mar16.RCS.pdf">62% of U.S. retirees</a> that expect Social Security to be a major source of income during retirement, start investigating what U.S. cities are better suited to live on your expected check from the Social Security Administration (SSA).</p> <p>Here are three list of cities to start your search:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security <p> </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-exciting-affordable-american-cities-to-retire-in">4 Exciting, Affordable American Cities to Retire In <p> </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-more-exciting-affordable-american-cities-to-retire-in">4 More Exciting, Affordable American Cities to Retire In</a></li> </ul> <p>Thinking about your budget during your retirement years is a good idea so you can plan withdrawals from your retirement account, figure out your necessary contributions for the next decade, and figure out ways to rein in expenses.</p> <h3>Step 4: Dial Down Your Investment Risk</h3> <p>Desperate times often call for desperate measures. However, playing part-time stock trader with your retirement funds or allocating more moneys to investment vehicles promising higher returns &mdash; and more risk! &mdash; isn't a good idea. Remember that only <a href="http://us.spindices.com/documents/spiva/spiva-us-mid-year-2014.pdf">20% to 25%</a> of actively managed funds beat their benchmark.</p> <p>Talk with your plan administrator about income investing, which focuses on picking financial vehicles that provide a steady stream of income. While you may think that bonds are your only option, there many other securities to choose from. For example, there are stocks that consistently pay dividends.</p> <h2>5 Years Away From Retirement</h2> <p>It's the final countdown to retirement age and now you're age 60. With a retirement savings benchmark of $260,494, <a href="http://time.com/money/4258451/retirement-savings-survey/">about 74% of Americans</a> are behind on their retirement savings. Here are three additional planning steps.</p> <h3>Step 5: Accumulate Delayed Retirement Credits</h3> <p>It's time to get the most accurate picture of your expected retirement benefit from the SSA. To do this, you can use the <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/anypia/anypia.html">Social Security Detailed Calculator</a>, which lets you estimate your retirement benefit by accessing your actual earnings record through a secure interface. If you find that monthly benefit check to be too low, one way to boost is delaying your SSA benefit past your full retirement age.</p> <p>Depending on the year that you were born, your full retirement age will fall somewhere between <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/retirechart.html">age 65 and 67</a>. For every year that you delay your retirement benefit past your full retirement age, you can get <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/delayret.html">up to an 8% increase</a> on your total annual benefit. The benefit increase no longer applies when you reach age 70, even if you continue to delay taking benefits.</p> <h3>Step 6: Delay Required Minimum Distributions</h3> <p>Generally, holders of traditional and Roth 401K plans must start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) once they reach age 70-1/2.&nbsp;</p> <p>However, there is one way to delay RMDs. If you were to take a part-time job offering a retirement plan that allows you to rollover your old 401K plan, then you can continue to contribute to the new plan and delay your first RMD until April 1st of the year after you retire.</p> <p>Keep in mind that:</p> <ul> <li>Your old traditional 401K must go into a new 401K;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Your old Roth 401K must go into a new Roth IRA;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Your new plan must accept rollovers; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You can't hold more than 5% of the company sponsoring the old plan to be able to do a rollover past age 70-1/2.</li> </ul> <p>Before you attempt a rollover past age 70-1/2, consult the plan administrator of your current retirement plan, the one from your potential new employer, and your tax accountant or financial planner, if you have one. This is one of those times that may warrant <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser">hiring the right type of financial adviser</a> to prevent any tax penalties.</p> <h3>Step 7: Consider Retiring Abroad</h3> <p>Last but not least, one way to further stretch your nest egg is to retire in a city abroad to live better on a smaller budget, have access to generous tax breaks, and enjoy beautiful locales and ideal weather conditions.</p> <p>Several countries, including Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua, offer retirement programs that provide U.S. retirees several benefits and require a minimum monthly SSA benefit ranging from $600 to $1,000 to qualify. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/x-exciting-world-cities-you-can-afford-to-retire-in">4 Exciting World Cities You Can Afford to Retire In</a>)</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/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make">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-14"> <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/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/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-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings">4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings</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/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know">15 Retirement Terms Every New Investor Needs to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k 403b catch contributions IRA retirement planning saving Tue, 04 Oct 2016 10:30:13 +0000 Damian Davila 1805038 at http://www.wisebread.com 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-14"> <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/3-sources-of-fast-cash-besides-your-401k">3 Sources of Fast Cash Besides Your 401K</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-dirty-secrets-of-credit-cards">The Dirty Secrets of Credit Cards</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </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/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead">Rich People Spend $350K+ to Park Their Cars — Here&#039;s How We&#039;d Spend it Instead</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/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-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-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/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead">Rich People Spend $350K+ to Park Their Cars — Here&#039;s How We&#039;d Spend it Instead</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-invest-when-youre-in-debt">6 Ways to Invest When You&#039;re In 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-essentials-for-building-a-profitable-portfolio">5 Essentials for Building a Profitable Portfolio</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-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/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/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know">15 Retirement Terms Every New Investor Needs to Know</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/three-easy-steps-to-take-for-a-better-401k">3 Easy Steps to Take for a Better 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/403b-vs-401k-how-are-they-different">403B vs. 401K: How Are They Different?</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-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/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-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/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-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-financial-moves-you-will-always-regret">9 Financial Moves You Will Always Regret</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-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/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/with-micro-investing-your-smartphone-pays-you">With Micro-Investing, Your Smartphone Pays 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/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/youre-wasting-up-to-42532-by-not-investing-your-gasoline-savings">You&#039;re Wasting Up to $42,532 by Not Investing Your Gasoline Savings</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-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/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? 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