contributions http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/20737/all en-US 5 Ways to Get the Most From Your Employer’s Automated Retirement Plan http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-get-the-most-from-your-employer-s-automated-retirement-plan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-get-the-most-from-your-employer-s-automated-retirement-plan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/arrows_pointing_in_positive_direction_on_401k_statement.jpg" alt="Arrows Pointing In Positive Direction On 401(k) Statement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>An increasing number of companies are automating their 401(k) plans &mdash; automatically enrolling new hires and even automatically choosing investments for employees. If that's true of your employer, don't be lulled into a false sense of confidence. Just because many decisions are being made for you doesn't necessarily mean they're the <em>right</em> decisions. Here's what you need to know.</p> <h2>1. Stay in</h2> <p>The starting point of automated retirement plans is automated enrollment. To not participate, you have to opt <em>out. </em>Don't do that. For the vast majority of employees, participation is a good thing.</p> <h2>2. Invest enough</h2> <p>Most automated plans set employee contributions at very low rates, such as 3 percent of salary, at least initially. Many employees, perhaps assuming that's how much they <em>should</em> be investing, never change their contribution rate.</p> <p>However, 3 percent of salary is almost certainly not enough &mdash; not enough to get the full company match if that's available, and not enough to save adequately for retirement. So, use a free online retirement planning calculator to find out how much you should be saving and set your contribution rate accordingly.</p> <p>If you can't afford to contribute enough right away, see if your company's plan offers <em>auto-escalation</em>, which will automatically increase your contribution rate over time. If it does, signing up would help you follow through on your good intentions.</p> <h2>3. Choose the right investment(s)</h2> <p>Your plan may automatically invest your contributions in a target-date fund. Such funds have many benefits, but also a few features you should watch out for. The primary benefits are that they come with preset asset allocations based on the year of your intended retirement, and they automatically become more conservatively invested as you near your target retirement date. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement</a>)</p> <p>The primary thing to watch out for is that not all target-date funds are created equal. Funds from different fund companies all designed with the same target retirement date in mind can have very different stock/bond allocations.</p> <p>It would be best to determine your optimal asset allocation using a tool such as Vanguard's free <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/FundsInvQuestionnaire" target="_blank">Investor Questionnaire</a>. Then choose the target-date fund that most closely matches that allocation. It might be one with an earlier or later target retirement date than your actual planned retirement date, depending on your optimal asset allocation.</p> <h2>4. Don't pay too much in fees</h2> <p>If a target-date fund is the default investment in your 401(k) plan, and if you like the idea of using a target-date fund, you should still check the fund's expense ratio. The lower, the better. For example, with a fund charging an expense ratio of 0.75 percent, you'll pay $7.50 in fees each year for every $1,000 you have invested. If the expense ratio is 0.25 percent, you'll pay $2.50 per year for every $1,000 invested.</p> <p>If the default fund's expense ratio is on the high side (to give you a point of reference, Vanguard charges just 0.16 percent for its 2040 target-date fund), see if your plan gives you access to a brokerage window. If so, you should be able to choose a target-date fund from among many fund companies, which should enable you to choose a lower-cost fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Watch Out for These 5 Sneaky 401K Fees</a>)</p> <p>Another option is to see if your plan offers index funds, which typically have very low expense ratios. If so, consider using such funds to build a portfolio that matches your optimal asset allocation. You may be able to do so using as few as three funds.</p> <h2>5. Keep your hands off the money</h2> <p>Some companies with automatic retirement plans are finding that many participants are surprised by how quickly money has built up in their accounts. Surprise is quickly followed by a desire for that money, which is then followed by a loan.</p> <p>It would be far better to remember what the money is for (retirement!) and keep your hands off. One of the key ingredients for successful investing is time. Pulling money from your account, even temporarily, gives it less time to compound. Plus, if you borrow against your account and then leave your employer &mdash; whether by your choice or your employer's &mdash; you'll have to repay the entire loan, usually within 60 days.</p> <p>Automation has been very effective at driving up participation rates in 401(k) plans, which has been beneficial for thousands of people. However, to get the most out of your employer's automated plan, make sure the automated choices are truly the best choices for you. If they're not, don't be afraid to make some manual changes.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-ways-to-get-the-most-from-your-employer-s-automated-retirement-plan&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Ways%2520to%2520Get%2520the%2520Most%2520From%2520Your%2520Employers%2520Automated%2520Retirement%2520Plan.jpg&amp;description=5%20Ways%20to%20Get%20the%20Most%20From%20Your%20Employers%20Automated%20Retirement%20Plan"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Ways%20to%20Get%20the%20Most%20From%20Your%20Employers%20Automated%20Retirement%20Plan.jpg" alt="5 Ways to Get the Most From Your Employer&rsquo;s Automated Retirement Plan" width="250" height="374" /></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-ways-to-get-the-most-from-your-employer-s-automated-retirement-plan">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-face-4-ugly-truths-about-retirement-planning">How to Face 4 Ugly Truths About Retirement Planning</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-traps-to-avoid-with-your-401k">7 Traps to Avoid With 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/bookmark-this-a-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-401k-investments">Bookmark This: A Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing 401(k) Investments</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-age-milestones-that-impact-your-retirement">6 Age Milestones That Impact Your 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/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 401(k) automated retirement plans contributions expense ratios fees loans target date funds Wed, 18 Oct 2017 08:30:06 +0000 Matt Bell 2037239 at http://www.wisebread.com Yes, You Can Pay for Education With an IRA http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-can-pay-for-education-with-an-ira <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/yes-you-can-pay-for-education-with-an-ira" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/education_fund_coins_652348714.jpg" alt="Education fund in jar" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When most people think of saving for a college education, they usually think of 529 savings plans or Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (ESA). These accounts allow you to grow your money by investing in select mutual funds, much like a typical retirement account does. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-places-to-stash-your-kids-college-savings?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Smart Places to Stash Your Kid's College Savings</a>)</p> <p>While both of these accounts are great investment tools to pay for a college education, there's another option you may not have considered. A Roth IRA can also be used for educational expenses. There are pros and cons for each way to save for college. Here's a brief rundown:</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td> <p><strong>Coverdell ESA</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>529 savings plans</strong></p> </td> <td> <p><strong>Roth IRA</strong></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>No tax deduction from contributions.</p> </td> <td> <p>No tax deduction from contributions.</p> </td> <td> <p>No tax deduction from contributions.</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Withdraw your contributions tax free.</p> </td> <td> <p>Withdraw your contributions tax free.</p> </td> <td> <p>Withdraw your contributions tax free. (If you withdraw interest, it will be taxed.)</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Annual contribution limit: $2,000 per beneficiary.</p> </td> <td> <p>No annual contribution limit but most states limit total contributions to $300,000.</p> </td> <td> <p>Annual contribution limit: $5,500, or $6,500 if age 50 or over.</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Anyone can contribute but the amount they can contribute is limited by their modified adjusted gross income. Ability to contribute phases out once modified AGI reaches $220,000.</p> </td> <td> <p>&nbsp; Anyone can&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; contribute.</p> </td> <td> <p>Must have income in order to contribute. People with high incomes ($181,000 for married couple) are prohibited from contributing.</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Can be used for higher education and qualified K-12 expenses. Beneficiary must use account by age 30.</p> </td> <td> <p>Can only be used for higher education expenses.</p> </td> <td> <p>Can be used for higher education, first home purchase, qualified medical expenses, and retirement.</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td> <p>Account under guardian's name won't impact beneficiary's FAFSA.</p> </td> <td> <p>Account under guardian's name won't impact beneficiary's FAFSA.</p> </td> <td> <p>Withdrawals will increase your earned income and can affect beneficiary's FAFSA.</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <h2>Roth IRAs</h2> <p>A Roth IRA differs from a traditional IRA in that the income you contribute is already taxed. The beauty of a Roth IRA is that the distribution you take from your contributions is <em>not </em>taxable (as long as the use is approved).</p> <p>Let's say your child is a college freshman. You withdraw $15,000 from your Roth IRA for their first year of school. None of this money will be taxed, as long as it is from your own contributions and not from the interest earned. Withdrawals are considered returns of contributions initially, for tax purposes. They are considered interest earnings second.</p> <p>Now, you are likely thinking, &quot;But aren't IRA withdrawals subject to penalties if you withdraw them early?&quot; Generally, yes. Normally, you must be age 59 &frac12; or older, and have had the account for at least five years to withdraw without incurring a 10 percent tax penalty. Why? Well, all IRAs are retirement funds, primarily. They are designed to be withdrawn only as folks approach retirement.</p> <p>But no penalty applies if the withdrawal is for qualified educational purposes (or a first home purchase, or qualified medical bills). Even if your child or grandchild has a scholarship for full tuition, it's no problem. Roth IRAs can be used for any qualified educational expense, including room, board, books, and supplies.</p> <p>If your child or grandchild ends up not going to college, or not needing all the money, you can simply keep the money to continue funding your retirement. Note that to place money back into a Roth IRA, it will be subject to annual contribution limits ($5,500 if under age 50, and $6,500 if age 50 or older).</p> <h2>Traditional IRAs</h2> <p>You can also use traditional IRAs to pay for college. Essentially, traditional IRAs reverse the tax advantage of a Roth. You get a tax deduction upfront for all money contributed to a traditional IRA &mdash; but all withdrawals will be taxed at the federal and state level.</p> <p>As with a Roth IRA, if traditional IRA distributions before age 59 &frac12; are used for qualified educational expenses, they are not subject to the 10 percent penalty. However, they will be subject to tax. The IRS will get its money whenever you withdraw from a traditional IRA, regardless of what you withdraw it for.</p> <p>Because of the tax implications, while it is <em>possible </em>to use a traditional IRA for educational expenses, it may not be the most prudent move. If you want to tap into IRAs for college expenses, a Roth IRA is the better bet financially.</p> <h2>An important caveat</h2> <p>Realistically, tapping your IRA to pay for your child's education should rarely be your first choice. It can be a smart move if you have a considerable amount saved and a lot of time left before retirement to pay it back. Otherwise, you'll be draining the account of funds you very much need. It may be wiser to use an educational savings account to save for your child's education instead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-too-much-money-for-a-college-fund-is-a-bad-idea?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Saving Too Much Money for a College Fund Is a Bad Idea</a>)</p> <p>However, there are still benefits of using an IRA over an educational savings account if you know your retirement will still be secure. For example, by combining the funds into one account, you will have more flexibility in choosing whether to spend your savings on education &mdash; and how much &mdash; or to continue to hold it for your retirement.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fyes-you-can-pay-for-education-with-an-ira&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520To%2520Pay%2520For%2520Your%2520College%2520Education.png&amp;description=Yes%2C%20You%20Can%20Pay%20for%20Education%20With%20an%20IRA"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20To%20Pay%20For%20Your%20College%20Education.png" alt="Yes, You Can Pay for Education With an IRA" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anum-yoon">Anum Yoon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-can-pay-for-education-with-an-ira">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</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/should-you-save-for-college-using-a-529-prepaid-tuition-plan">Should You Save for College Using a 529 Prepaid Tuition Plan?</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/which-retirement-account-is-right-for-you">Which Retirement Account Is Right for 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-smart-places-to-stash-your-kids-college-savings">5 Smart Places to Stash Your Kid&#039;s College 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/this-one-thing-could-be-the-key-to-retiring-rich">This One Thing Could Be the Key to Retiring Rich</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Retirement college contributions distributions higher education qualified expenses Roth IRA saving money traditional ira Wed, 04 Oct 2017 08:00:07 +0000 Anum Yoon 2029157 at http://www.wisebread.com This One Thing Could Be the Key to Retiring Rich http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-thing-could-be-the-key-to-retiring-rich <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-one-thing-could-be-the-key-to-retiring-rich" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/beautiful_young_woman_at_home_0.jpg" alt="Beautiful young woman at home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Writing things down is a powerful exercise. Productivity experts and personal growth coaches have long known this truth, and frequently promote writing down goals and priorities as a way to take control of life and achieve more. Does the power of writing apply to your financial life, as well? Turns out that it does in a very significant way.</p> <h2>Written plans lead to more retirement savings</h2> <p>A recent report from Charles Schwab makes it clear that writing down your financial goals can have a huge effect on how well you do in reaching them. According to the report, people with a written retirement plan are almost twice as likely to increase their 401(k) contributions and rebalance their portfolio. And that's not all a written plan can do for you: You're also twice as likely to stick to your savings goals if you've written down your plan.</p> <p>Despite the obvious power of a written financial plan, most people don't have one. According to the Schwab report, even though about two-thirds of Americans have a financial plan, only a quarter of us have that plan in writing.</p> <p>Is it really a plan if it's not in writing? Maybe, but it's certainly not as powerful.</p> <p>Writing things down makes them seem more real and helps you understand clearly how to reach the goals you're setting. A survey from Wells Fargo found that folks with a <a href="https://newsroom.wf.com/press-release/wells-fargogallup-survey-us-investor-optimism-rises-highest-level-16-years" target="_blank">written retirement plan</a> felt much more secure about reaching their financial goals for retirement. It isn't that the amount needed for retirement changes, but that a written plan helped these individuals understand exactly what they needed to do to reach their retirement goals.</p> <h2>Start getting your plan on paper</h2> <p>How do you get your financial plan written down? Start simple and start right now: Get a piece of paper or open up a computer document, and start writing down your goals. Focus on three main areas: an income goal, a budget goal, and a long-term savings goal.</p> <p>The key is to just get started and remember that you can adjust your plan as you gain more information. Until you have everything written down, you don't really know what you're aiming for or if your goals are even possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/half-of-americans-are-wrong-about-their-retirement-savings?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Half of Americans Are Wrong About Their Retirement Savings</a>)</p> <h2>Get some professional help to improve your plan</h2> <p>Once you've gotten some basic ideas down on the page, consult a professional financial adviser to help you turn those basic thoughts into a viable financial plan. Over two-thirds of the people who do have a written financial plan got help from a financial professional.</p> <p>Getting professional help is a good idea for two reasons: First, it helps you to actually finish that plan you started. Second, having professional advice will result in a better financial plan. An adviser can help you ask questions, look at issues, and develop solutions you might have missed on your own. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>Turn your plan into actions</h2> <p>Once you have your plan written down, you need to translate it into regular actions.</p> <p>For example, if you set a savings goal that you want to meet in five years, you'll divide that into a monthly savings amount. Now you have a monthly savings target (and we know that, with a written plan, you're much more likely to reach it). When you turn the goals on your plan into actions, you can quickly assess whether you're making progress or not.</p> <h2>Automate your financial actions</h2> <p>As much as possible, automate the actions that you derive from your financial plan. Set up automatic transfers into your savings account, for example, or have a certain percentage of your paycheck deposited into your savings account rather than your checking account.</p> <p>Those small automations take the work out of reaching your financial plan. The easier you make it on yourself, the more likely you are to stick to your plan. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-automate-your-finances?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Automate Your Finances</a>)</p> <h2>Review your financial plan regularly</h2> <p>A written plan is not a static thing, so you need to review it regularly and adjust it as needed. Perhaps you get a salary increase or an unexpected windfall; how will you apply it? Review your plan, decide where to apply your wealth increase, and adjust your plan as needed.</p> <p>It's a great idea to set an annual appointment with your financial adviser; you can use that time to review your plan together. Then you can apply that professional insight to any adjustments you make to your plan, and move forward with even greater financial efficiency.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthis-one-thing-could-be-the-key-to-retiring-rich&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThis%2520One%2520Thing%2520Could%2520Be%2520the%2520Key%2520to%2520Retiring%2520Rich.jpg&amp;description=This%20One%20Thing%20Could%20Be%20the%20Key%20to%20Retiring%20Rich"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/This%20One%20Thing%20Could%20Be%20the%20Key%20to%20Retiring%20Rich.jpg" alt="This One Thing Could Be the Key to Retiring Rich" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-thing-could-be-the-key-to-retiring-rich">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement">7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About 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/yes-you-can-pay-for-education-with-an-ira">Yes, You Can Pay for Education With an IRA</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-actions-women-can-take-right-now-to-get-their-retirement-on-track">5 Actions Women Can Take Right Now to Get Their Retirement On Track</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</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-dumb-ira-mistakes-even-smart-people-make">5 Dumb IRA Mistakes Even Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement advice contributions financial advisers money goals saving money strategy writing things down written plan Fri, 29 Sep 2017 08:00:06 +0000 Annie Mueller 2028009 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/latin_american_woman_saving_in_a_piggybank.jpg" alt="Latin American woman saving in a piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're unemployed, saving for retirement may be the last thing on your mind. It may seem impossible to save for the future when you have no steady income to even pay basic bills.</p> <p>But depending on your situation, it may still be possible to build your nest egg even if you're not working full-time. Here are some tools and suggestions for keeping an eye on the future during a period of joblessness.</p> <h2>Familiarize yourself with IRAs</h2> <p>Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are great for people who don't have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans like 401(k) accounts. A traditional IRA is similar to a 401(k), in that any contributions are deducted from whatever taxable income you have. With a Roth IRA, on the other hand, earnings are taxed up front, but any gains you have won't be taxed when you withdraw money at retirement age.</p> <p>IRAs are useful for people who are self-employed, or who earn money inconsistently through part-time or freelance work. So if you're not employed full-time but still have some earned income, these accounts can help you save.</p> <h2>Think of retirement savings as a necessary expense</h2> <p>When you're unemployed, it's important to get a handle on all of your expenses so that you know where you need to cut. You may find that there are a lot of costs (luxury purchases, eating out, cable TV) that can be taken out of your household budget, while other expenses (food, electricity, debt payments) are more necessary. If you think of retirement savings as a necessity, you will be forced to cut spending elsewhere.</p> <h2>Roll over your old 401(k)</h2> <p>If you've been laid off from a job, you will no longer be able to contribute to the 401(k) you may have had from your employer. But the account will still exist and the money is still yours. You can let the old 401(k) account sit, but it's better to roll it into a traditional individual retirement account (IRA). The IRA will give you more flexibility and investment options, and may also have lower fees. And you can begin contributing to it once you have any earned income at all.</p> <h2>Focus on rebalancing</h2> <p>You may not be able to add much to your retirement accounts, but you can work to make sure they are optimized. This means making sure you have the right mix of investments based on your retirement date, and getting the optimal blend of stocks in various industries and asset classes. It's always smart to examine your portfolio to ensure you are not over- or underinvested in any one area.</p> <h2>Look for higher bank interest rates</h2> <p>If you're not taking in much income for the time being, you need to have your cash savings working for you. That means any cash savings you have should generate as much income as possible. Interest rates are still quite low, but many online banks offer interest rates on CDs and savings accounts that are higher than average.</p> <h2>Avoid the temptation to cash out</h2> <p>It may be tempting to take money out of your retirement funds, but you should avoid it if at all possible. One of the best ways to see your retirement savings grow is to let your investments do their thing. You can see a meaningful increase in your retirement savings just from market gains, even if you're not contributing for the time being.</p> <p>Withdrawing from retirement accounts, however, has consequences. First, any money you take out has no chance to grow and help you expand your overall retirement savings. Second, there are penalties and taxes associated with taking money out of retirement accounts early. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Questions to Ask Before You Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <h2>Continue to focus on growth, if you can</h2> <p>If you are unemployed and have some investments in a taxable brokerage account, you may be tempted to shift them to dividend stocks or other income-producing investments. This can give you extra income at a time when you may need it. But making this kind of adjustment could have a long-term negative impact on the overall growth of your portfolio. If dividends, bonds, or other income-focused investments will help you keep the lights on, fine. But it's best to focus on finding other sources of income, or reduce your spending first before going this route.</p> <h2>Reinvest dividends, if you can</h2> <p>If you do have dividend stocks already, you can still contribute to your retirement portfolio by reinvesting any dividend income you get from stocks. You may be tempted to use that investment income to pay bills and help get through your unemployed period, but if you can get by without it, direct the dividends to buy more stocks and other investments instead. Even small contributions added to your retirement accounts can add up to considerable savings over time.</p> <h2>Get your spouse involved</h2> <p>Perhaps you never thought to include your spouse in retirement planning because you felt it wasn't necessary while you were working. Now his or her income can be directed to help you save. This may be a challenge, since they are now also working to help pay more of the bills. But there are some ways to use your spouse's income for your own retirement accounts. If you have a traditional or Roth IRA, your spouse's earned income can go toward your account. (Note: This is only allowed if you file your taxes jointly.)</p> <h2>Plan to pay into accounts later</h2> <p>If you are unemployed but expect to be working in short order, you can postpone contributions to your IRA and add money later, even if it's after the end of the year. In fact, you can contribute to an IRA all the way up until April 15 of the following year. So for example, let's say you planned to max out your IRA by making monthly payments. (This would be about $458 monthly for a total of $5,500 for the year &mdash; the maximum amount allowed by the IRS for people under 50.) But let's say you are out of work from August through October of that year. You can hold off on contributing during that time and make up the difference in later months, even the first few months of the following year, if necessary.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Save%2520for%2520Retirement%2520When%2520You%2520Are%2520Unemployed.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Save%20for%20Retirement%20When%20You%20Are%20Unemployed"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Save%20for%20Retirement%20When%20You%20Are%20Unemployed.jpg" alt="How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed" width="250" height="374" /></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/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">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/yes-you-can-pay-for-education-with-an-ira">Yes, You Can Pay for Education With an IRA</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-to-invest-in-stocks-past-age-50">7 Reasons to Invest in Stocks Past Age 50</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/bookmark-this-a-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-401k-investments">Bookmark This: A Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing 401(k) Investments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-sure-you-dont-run-out-of-money-in-retirement">How to Make Sure You Don&#039;t Run Out of Money 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/what-you-need-to-know-about-the-easiest-way-to-save-for-retirement">What You Need to Know About the Easiest Way to Save for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement 401(k) contributions dividends interest rates job loss loss of income rebalancing Roth IRA saving money stocks traditional ira unemployment Wed, 12 Jul 2017 09:00:14 +0000 Tim Lemke 1979037 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/male_medicine_doctor_wearing_blue_tie_holding_piggybank.jpg" alt="Male medicine doctor wearing blue tie holding piggy bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I put off signing up for an HSA for years because it was confusing and seemed to have a lot of rules and restrictions. You need to have an HDHP (high deductible health plan) in order to get an HSA. HSA funds can only be spent on qualified medical expenses &mdash; or else you can be hit with a 20 percent penalty and have to pay income tax on the withdrawal. I was hesitant to contribute funds into an account when I was worried it would be complicated to get the money back out.</p> <p>But participating in an HSA turned out to be a lot easier than I expected, and it has saved me a lot of money. If you do not anticipate having a lot of health care expenses, a high deductible health plan plus an HSA may be a good move. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How an HSA Saves You Money</a>)</p> <h2>1. Convenient access to HSA funds</h2> <p>You can conveniently access your HSA funds using a credit card tied to the HSA account at the doctor's office or pharmacy. You can also pay medical expenses with a check or credit card, and then withdraw funds from your HSA account to put back into your checking account.</p> <h2>2. Use HSA funds for a variety of medical expenses</h2> <p>HSA spending is not limited to only doctor and hospital bills &mdash; you can also <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover" target="_blank">use HSA funds</a> for medication, eye care, dental care, and other health-related expenses including bandages and prescription sunglasses. The IRS offers a complete list of <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf" target="_blank">qualified medical expenses</a>.</p> <h2>3. HSAs offer plenty of tax advantages</h2> <p>You'll contribute pretax dollars to an HSA from every paycheck, without paying income tax on those contributions. This means you can save around 25 to 30 percent on health care expenses, depending on your tax rate. In addition, you can earn interest on the funds in your HSA account. With some HSA providers, you can even invest your HSA funds for more potential growth. Gains on HSA funds are tax-free.</p> <p>For qualified medical expenses, you can also withdraw funds from your HSA tax-free.</p> <h2>4. HSA funds roll over from one year to the next</h2> <p>One of my concerns with putting money into an HSA was the fear that it was a &quot;use it or lose it&quot; proposition like some flexible spending accounts I have previously used for health expenses. But funds in an HSA roll over from one year to the next, so you never lose your money if you don't spend it.</p> <h2>5. An HSA builds funds for future medical costs</h2> <p>An HSA is not only a way to pay for current medical expenses, it is also an ideal vehicle to build savings for future medical expenses. You can deposit money on a pretax basis, enjoy growth on invested HSA funds without paying taxes, and then withdraw funds years later when medical expenses arise with no tax obligation. No other investment vehicle provides this combination of benefits to grow savings for medical costs.</p> <h2>6. You can use your HSA as an IRA at age 65</h2> <p>When you reach age 65, you can continue to draw funds for qualified medical expenses tax-free. Or, you can use your HSA funds for any purpose you wish, without penalty (but you will pay income taxes if it's for non-health spending). An HSA effectively functions as an individual retirement account (IRA) when you reach 65, with the added benefit of tax-free dollars for medical expenses.</p> <h2>7. Your HSA is portable</h2> <p>When you move from one employer to another, or even opt to pursue freelance work, you get to keep your HSA and all of your funds.</p> <h2>8. Free HSA funding</h2> <p>Some employers contribute funds to employees' HSA accounts as a benefit. If you don't have an HSA, you might be missing out on free money!</p> <h2>9. You don't need an employer to have a HSA</h2> <p>Although the easiest way to take advantage of an HSA is to simply sign up for a program offered by your employer, you can open your own HSA if you are self-employed. You will need to find your own HSA provider such as a bank, credit union, insurance company, or investment broker. Look for an HSA provider with low fees, that provides access to HSA funds via a credit card, and that provides investment options for HSA funds.</p> <h2>10. Significant tax savings</h2> <p>The maximum annual HSA contribution amount is $3,350 for individuals, or $6,750 for families. Let's say your federal plus state income tax rate is 25 percent. Since contributions are tax-free, if you contribute the maximum to your HSA, you would save $837.50 for an individual or $1687.50 for a family on taxes on current or future qualified medical expenses.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F10%2520Reasons%2520an%2520HSA%2520Is%2520Actually%2520Worth%2520Having.jpg&amp;description=10%20Reasons%20an%20HSA%20Is%20Actually%20Worth%20Having"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/10%20Reasons%20an%20HSA%20Is%20Actually%20Worth%20Having.jpg" alt="10 Reasons an HSA Is Actually Worth Having" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-reasons-an-hsa-is-actually-worth-having">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/how-the-self-employed-can-cut-health-care-costs">How the Self Employed Can Cut Health Care Costs</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-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money">How an HSA Saves You Money</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/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you">3 Ways More Money in Retirement Might Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-surprising-things-your-hsa-will-cover">11 Surprising Things Your HSA Will Cover</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Health and Beauty Taxes contributions health care health spending account HSA IRA medical expenses saving money tax advantages tax-free Fri, 30 Jun 2017 08:30:18 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1974217 at http://www.wisebread.com These 17 Companies Will Help You Repay Your Student Loan http://www.wisebread.com/these-17-companies-will-help-you-repay-your-student-loan <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/these-17-companies-will-help-you-repay-your-student-loan" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/saving_for_education.jpg" alt="Saving for education" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Student loans can dampen the ability of new grads to get on their feet financially, causing stress at home and at work. According to Student Loan Hero, the graduating class of 2016 had an average student loan balance of $37,172 &mdash; up six percent from the year before.</p> <p>While it's daunting to see that number rise, the good news is that, in an effort to recruit and retain the best hires, a growing number of employers have started programs to help employees pay back those hefty student loans. Here are a few of those companies helping workers get out of debt.</p> <h2>1. Chegg</h2> <p>In April 2015, tutoring and study services company Chegg announced its college loan reduction plan for full-time employees in partnership with Tuition.IO, a company that provides a web-based platform for tracking and managing student loan payments. This benefit has an annual cap of $1,000 (less taxes), but has no cap on the total amount an employee can receive.</p> <h2>2. ChowNow</h2> <p>ChowNow has found this perk so useful in hiring talent that the company decided to double it from when it first started offering it to employees. The Los Angeles-based online food ordering company has an employer-paid student loan assistance program that matches up to $1,000 a year of employee payments.</p> <h2>3. CommonBond</h2> <p>Since December 2016, this lending marketplace platform has been granting $100 per month to its employees to pay down student loans. While CommonBond limits the perk at $1,200 per year, the company continues helping its employees until they fully pay off their student loans. Employees also have the option to refinance their student loans with CommonBond. On average, student borrowers save over $14,000 when refinancing through CommonBond, according to the company.</p> <h2>4. Credit Suisse</h2> <p>The financial services company doesn't offer a lump sum benefit to its employees, but instead provides a 0.25 percent discount on interest rates to workers that refinance their student loans with online lender SoFi.</p> <h2>5. Connelly Partners</h2> <p>Boston-based ad agency Connelly Partners works with Gradifi to offer a student loan repayment plan that improves the longer the employee stays with the company. Like a 401(k) plan, the agency matches up to $100 per month of its employees' debt payments. Employees who stick around for at least six months receive a $1,000 student loan payment bonus. Those who work for the company for five years receive another $1,000 bonus for the sixth year.</p> <h2>6. Fidelity Investments</h2> <p>The financial services firm makes an annual $2,000 direct payment to employees' student loan servicers, up to a total of $10,000. If your career with Fidelity requires you to continue your education, then Fidelity will reimburse you 90 percent of qualifying costs (up to $10,000 per year) of a work-related degree or certification program. You must have worked for the company for at least six months to qualify.</p> <h2>7. Kronos</h2> <p>Based in Chelmsford, Massachusetts, the workforce management software provider has partnered with solutions provider Student Loan Genius to pay up to $500 per year to help employees pay down student debt.</p> <h2>8. LendEDU</h2> <p>Since February 2016, the online marketplace for student loan financing has paid $2,400 per year ($200 per month) to employees with student loan debt.</p> <h2>9. Martin Health System</h2> <p>Employees working in the nursing field at Martin Health System in Florida can receive up to $2,000 per year to help pay down their student loans. In addition to this benefit from Martin Health System, Florida nurses can also work in areas with staff shortages to qualify for the state's Nursing Student Loan Forgiveness Program or the federal Perkins Loan Cancellation for Nurses and Medical Technicians.</p> <h2>10. Moonlite Bunny Ranch</h2> <p>In 2015, Dennis Hof, the owner of the legal brothel Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Nevada, promised to match 100 percent of his employees' student loan payments for two months, up to the full amount that they made during that period.</p> <h2>11. Natixis Global Asset Management</h2> <p>All Natixis employees receive an annual $1,000 student loan repayment benefit, up to $10,000 over a 10-year period. The company used to require that workers reached five years of employment in order to receive a lump sum benefit of $5,000, but did away with the requirement in July 2016.</p> <h2>12. Nvidia</h2> <p>This computing giant offers comprehensive student loan repayment options. First, employees working at least 20 hours per week who graduated within the previous three years can apply for a reimbursement of $6,000 a year for qualifying student loan payments, up to $30,000. Second, employees who successfully refinance their student loans with SoFi receive a bonus ranging from $200 to $500 and pay no loan origination fees. Third, employees who need to go back to college can receive a reimbursement of up to $5,250 each year for qualified job-related educational expenses, including tuition and books, as long as they earn at least a B average.</p> <h2>13. Powertex</h2> <p>The clothing design company was among the first businesses in Wisconsin to partner with Gradifi to offer a student loan repayment assistance program. Powertex gives eligible employees $100 per month for student loan payments for up to six years.</p> <h2>14. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC)</h2> <p>Associates and senior associates at the consulting firm receive $100 per month ($1,200 a year) toward student loan payments for up to six years.</p> <h2>15. SoFi</h2> <p>Many employers partner with SoFi to offer a student loan repayment assistance program. The online lender also offers its own eligible employees $200 per month to help them fully pay back student loans.</p> <h2>16. Staples</h2> <p>The office supply retailer offers top-performing full-time employees $100 a month for three years, for a total of $3,600 in student loan assistance. To maintain their eligibility, employees must meet set criteria throughout the entire three years.</p> <h2>17. Aetna</h2> <p>As of January 2017, the health care company matches employees' student loan payments of up to $2,000 per year, with a lifetime maximum of $10,000. The program is available to employees who have graduated within the previous three years from an accredited institution.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fthese-17-companies-will-help-you-repay-your-student-loan&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FThese%252017%2520Companies%2520Will%2520Help%2520You%2520Repay%2520Your%2520Student%2520Loan_0.jpg&amp;description=These%2017%20Companies%20Will%20Help%20You%20Repay%20Your%20Student%20Loan"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/These%2017%20Companies%20Will%20Help%20You%20Repay%20Your%20Student%20Loan_0.jpg" alt="These 17 Companies Will Help You Repay Your Student Loan" width="250" height="374" /></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/these-17-companies-will-help-you-repay-your-student-loan">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/10-things-you-didn-t-learn-in-college-but-you-should-have">10 Things You Didn’t Learn in College (but You 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/how-to-stop-student-loans-from-ruining-your-life">How to Stop Student Loans From Ruining Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-get-student-loan-debt-forgiveness">8 Ways to Get Student Loan Debt Forgiveness</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-job-hunting-roadblocks-millennials-must-overcome">5 Job Hunting Roadblocks Millennials Must Overcome</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/7-money-moves-every-new-college-student-should-make">7 Money Moves Every New College Student Should Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Education & Training Job Hunting college companies contributions education employee benefits jobs loan repayment plans student loans Thu, 22 Jun 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Damian Davila 1968233 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Reasons Every Millennial Needs a Roth IRA http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-every-millennial-needs-a-roth-ira <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-reasons-every-millennial-needs-a-roth-ira" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/her_company_and_savings_are_growing.jpg" alt="Her company and savings are growing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You're young. You're earning a bit of money. You know you need to start saving for retirement. So what's the easiest way to get started?</p> <p>One of the best vehicles for retirement savings for millennials is a Roth IRA, which is a type of account that offers a great selection of investment options and tax advantages. You contribute to a Roth with money that's <em>already </em>been subject to income tax, but when you withdraw it in retirement, everything you've earned in the fund is tax-free. In comparison, you don't pay tax on 401(k) or traditional IRA contributions until you take out the money in your later years. Both have benefits, but there are reasons you might particularly want to consider a Roth while you're young.</p> <p>It's easy to open a Roth IRA through most popular online brokerage firms, and you don't need a lot of money to get started. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-retirement-accounts-you-dont-need-a-ton-of-money-to-open?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Retirement Accounts You Don't Need a Ton of Money to Open</a>)</p> <p>Here are some reasons why a Roth IRA is an essential part of any millennial's investment plan.</p> <h2>1. You may not have a 401(k)</h2> <p>If you work for a company, you may be offered a 401(k) plan, which allows you to invest in a variety of mutual funds and deduct any contributions from your taxable income. In many cases, your company will match a portion of any contributions you make.</p> <p>But these days, an increasing number of millennials are performing a variety of contract or &quot;gig&quot; jobs, rather than working full-time with a single company. A Roth IRA is not tied to an employer, so anyone can invest as long as they have earned income. If you are earning income but don't have access to a 401(k) plan, a Roth IRA may be your next best option.</p> <h2>2. You have a 401(k), but it's lousy</h2> <p>If you have a 401(k), it's wise to take advantage of it, especially if your company offers a match. But be aware that your 401(k) plan may not offer a wide range of things to invest in, and there may be high fees. This is why many financial planners suggest contributing to a 401(k) up to the company match, and then placing any additional savings in a Roth IRA, which may offer lower costs and more investment choices.</p> <h2>3. There are some tax advantages over a 401(k)</h2> <p>The key feature of a Roth IRA is that any investment gains can be withdrawn tax-free anytime after age 59&frac12;. If you are a millennial, this is a big deal &mdash; because unless you're making big bucks already, there's a good chance you will be in a higher tax bracket when you are older. This tax advantage is in contrast to a traditional IRA or a 401(k) plan, in which the tax advantages come upfront.</p> <h2>4. You can use it to pay for education</h2> <p>Typically, if you withdraw from an IRA before age 59 &frac12;, you must pay a 10 percent penalty on the withdrawal, plus any income tax. But the one big exception involves qualified higher education expenses.</p> <p>If you use a Roth IRA to pay for education, and limit your withdrawal to your contributions but not your earnings, there are no penalties or taxes. If you do decide to include Roth earnings in your withdrawal, those funds will be subject to income tax. This is a helpful feature for millennials, who may consider going back to school. Parents can also use a Roth IRA to pay for educational expenses for their children. Keep in mind that money from a Roth IRA could impact financial aid calculations. And of course, any money taken out for college means less money in the account for retirement.</p> <h2>5. You can get cash quickly in an emergency</h2> <p>It's not the best idea to withdraw money from a retirement account, because you'll lose out on the potential investment gains from the cash you take out. But, you are permitted to take out <em>your contributions</em> from a Roth IRA without penalty at any time. This makes them potentially useful as emergency savings accounts.</p> <p>Just remember it's only the money you put into the account, not the gains, that can be taken out penalty-free. When you're young and not earning much, it helps to have funds that you can tap whenever a crisis arises. Just don't get in the habit of using a Roth IRA this way too often; the account is meant for long-term investment gains and will benefit you the most if you leave your money alone to grow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/using-your-roth-ira-as-an-emergency-fund-ever-a-good-idea?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Using Your Roth IRA as an Emergency Fund &mdash; Ever a Good Idea?</a>)</p> <h2>6. You can keep contributing for as long as you want</h2> <p>If you are a millennial, it's impossible to know when you will retire. You may choose to retire at age 60, or keep working until you're 100. Thus, it makes sense to have an investment account that will let you contribute for as long as you want.</p> <p>One of the nice things about a Roth IRA is that you will not be forced to make withdrawals at any time. This is in contrast to traditional IRAs, which require you to begin pulling out money by age 70&frac12;. (This assumes, of course, that rules don't change between now and then.)</p> <p><em>(Editor's note: An eagle-eyed reader pointed out that any Roth earnings used to pay for education would be subject to income taxes. We've corrected the text to reflect that.)</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-every-millennial-needs-a-roth-ira">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/using-your-roth-ira-as-an-emergency-fund-ever-a-good-idea">Using Your Roth IRA as an Emergency Fund — Ever a Good Idea?</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/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-your-retirement-is-on-track">8 Signs Your Retirement Is on Track</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/this-one-thing-will-get-you-to-1-million-tax-free">This One Thing Will Get You to $1 Million (Tax-Free!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-get-the-most-from-your-employer-s-automated-retirement-plan">5 Ways to Get the Most From Your Employer’s Automated Retirement Plan</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) contributions emergency funds investing millennials Roth IRA self employed tax advantaged withdrawals Thu, 01 Jun 2017 09:00:11 +0000 Tim Lemke 1957901 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Face 4 Ugly Truths About Retirement Planning http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-face-4-ugly-truths-about-retirement-planning <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-face-4-ugly-truths-about-retirement-planning" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-155373418.jpg" alt="Learning ugly truths about retirement planning" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most working Americans still have a long way to go to ensure a comfortable, financially secure retirement. But, with consistency and dedication, retirement planning can be a feasible project. Let's review some of the ugly truths of retirement planning, and the strategies you can use to conquer them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>1. Employer matches require work</h2> <p>While people often like to think of employer matches as free money, the truth is that you do need to do some &quot;work&quot; to earn those matches.</p> <p>First, your employer may require a minimum period of employment or contribution to your retirement account before you become eligible for employer contributions. According to a Vanguard analysis of 1,900 401(k) plans with 3.6 million participants, 27 percent of employers <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2015/06/29/how-does-your-401-k-stack-up" target="_blank">require a year of service</a> before providing any matching contributions. And that waiting period may be on top of the waiting period to be eligible for an employer-sponsored 401(k) in the first place.</p> <p>Second, once you're eligible for the employer match, you may have to contribute a minimum percentage from each paycheck yourself to get it. According to Vanguard, 44 percent of employers required a 6 percent employee contribution to get the entire 401(k) match on offer.</p> <p>Third, only 47 percent of surveyed employers provide immediate vesting of employer contributions. Since only moneys in your retirement account that are fully vested truly belong to you, you may have to wait up to six years to get to keep it all. If you part ways with your employer earlier than that, you may have to say goodbye to some or all of those employer contributions. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know?ref=seealso" target="_blank">15 Retirement Terms Every New Investor Needs to Know</a>)</p> <h3>How to handle it</h3> <p>Find out the applicable rules for employer contributions under your employer-sponsored retirement account. Ask about the waiting period for eligibility, how much you should contribute to get the full employer match, and what is the applicable vesting schedule for employer contributions. This way you'll know how to make the most (and keep the most!) of any employer contributions.</p> <h2>2. Full retirement age is higher than many of us think</h2> <p>According to the 2016 Retirement Confidence Survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), one in every two American workers expected to retire <a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/ebri_ib_422.mar16.rcs.pdf" target="_blank">no later than age 65</a>.</p> <p>The problem with that plan is that only those with born in 1937 or earlier have a full retirement age of 65. Your full retirement age is the age at which you first become entitled to full or unreduced retirement benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Retiring earlier than your full retirement age decreases your retirement benefit from the SSA.</p> <p>For those born 1960 or later, full retirement age is 67. If this were your case, retiring at age 62 or age 65 would <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/retirechart.html#chart" target="_blank">decrease your monthly benefit</a> by about 30 percent or 13.3 percent, respectively. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-crucial-social-security-terms-everyone-needs-to-know?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Crucial Social Security Terms Everyone Needs to Know</a>)</p> <h3>How to handle it</h3> <p>If you're one of the 84 percent of American workers expecting Social Security to be a source of income in retirement, then you need to keep track of your retirement benefits. There are two ways do this.</p> <p>First, since September 2014, the SSA mails Social Security statements to workers at ages 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, and 60 and over, who aren't yet receiving Social Security benefits and don't have an online &quot;my Social Security&quot; account. Here is a <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/materials/pdfs/SSA-7005-SM-SI%20Wanda%20Worker%20Near%20retirement.pdf" target="_blank">sample of what those letters look like</a>. Second, you could sign up for a my Social Security account at <a href="http://www.ssa.gov/myaccount" target="_blank">www.ssa.gov/myaccount</a> and have access to your Social Security statement on an ongoing basis.</p> <p>Through either one of these two ways, you'll get an estimate of your retirement benefit if you were to stop working at age 62 (earliest age you're eligible to receive retirement benefits), full retirement age, and age 70 (latest age that you can continue delaying retirement to receive delayed retirement credits). That way you can plan ahead for when it would make the most sense to start taking your retirement credits.</p> <h2>3. Retirement accounts have fees</h2> <p>One of the most common myths about 401(k) plans is that they don't have any fees. The reality is that both you and your employer pay fees to plan providers offering and managing 401(k) plans. One study estimates that 71 percent of 401(k) plan holders <a href="http://www.aarp.org/work/retirement-planning/info-02-2011/401k-fees-awareness-11.html" target="_blank">aren't aware that they pay fees</a>.</p> <p>While an annual fee of 1 to 2 percent of your account balance may not sound like much, it can greatly reduce your nest egg. If you were to contribute $10,000 per year for 30 years in a plan with a 7 percent annual rate of return and an 0.5 percent annual expense ratio, you would end up with a balance of $920,000 at the end of the 30-year period. If the annual expense ratio were to increase to 1 percent or 2 percent, your final balance would be $840,000 or just under $700,000, respectively.</p> <h3>How to handle it</h3> <p>One way to start minimizing investment fees is to pay attention to the annual expense ratio of the funds that you select.</p> <ul> <li>When deciding between two comparable funds, choose the one with the lower annual expense ratio. Research has shown that funds with a lower expense ratio tend to better performers, so you would be minimizing fees <em>and </em>increasing your chances of higher returns.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Explore index funds. For example, the Vanguard 500 Index Investor Shares fund [<a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=vfinx" target="_blank">Nasdaq: VFINX</a>] has an annual expense ratio of 0.14 percent, which is around 84 percent lower than the average expense ratio of funds with similar holdings. The Admiral version of this equity index fund has an even lower annual expense ratio of 0.05 percent.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Check the prospectus of your funds for a schedule of fees. From redemption fees to 12b-1 fees, there are plenty of potential charges. Review the fine print of any fund that you're considering investing in and understand the rules to avoid triggering fees. For example, you may need to hold a fund for at least 65 days to prevent triggering a redemption fee. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Watch Out for These 5 Sneaky 401(k) Fees</a>)</li> </ul> <h2>4. 401(k) loans are eating away nest eggs</h2> <p>According to the latest data from the EBRI, 23 percent of American workers <a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/ebri_ib_422.mar16.rcs.pdf" target="_blank">took a loan</a> from their retirement savings plans in 2016. On top of the applicable interest rate on your loan, you'll also be liable for an origination fee and an ongoing maintenance fee. Given that origination fees range from <a href="http://www.nber.org/papers/w17118.pdf" target="_blank">$25 to $100</a> and maintenance fees can go up to $75, 401(k) loans are one expensive form of financing. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Questions to Ask Before You Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <p>Additionally, when you separate from your employer, the full unpaid balance is due within 60 days from your departure. If you don't pay back in time, that balance becomes taxable income, triggering potential penalties at the federal, state, and local level. One penalty that always applies is the 10 percent early distribution tax for retirement savers under age 59-1/2.</p> <h3>How to handle it</h3> <p>Don't borrow from your retirement account. Studies have shown that 401(k) borrowers tend to come back for additional loans, increasing their chances of default. One study found that 25 percent of 401(k) borrowers came back for a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/your-money/one-dip-into-401-k-savings-often-leads-to-another.html" target="_blank">third or fourth loan</a>, and 20 percent of 401(k) borrowers came back for <em>five </em>or more loans. Borrowing from your retirement account should be a very last-resort option because there are few instances when it's worth it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-when-you-should-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso" target="_blank">This Is When You Should Borrow From Your Retirement Account</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/how-to-face-4-ugly-truths-about-retirement-planning">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-traps-to-avoid-with-your-401k">7 Traps to Avoid With 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/5-ways-to-get-the-most-from-your-employer-s-automated-retirement-plan">5 Ways to Get the Most From Your Employer’s Automated Retirement Plan</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-reasons-early-retirement-might-be-financially-risky">4 Reasons Early Retirement Might Be Financially Risky</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-of-the-toughest-decisions-youll-face-in-retirement">Three of the Toughest Decisions You&#039;ll Face 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-age-milestones-that-impact-your-retirement">6 Age Milestones That Impact Your Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) contributions employer match fees full retirement age loans nest egg social security ugly truths Fri, 07 Apr 2017 08:00:13 +0000 Damian Davila 1922316 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Things Financial Advisers Wish You Knew About Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/men_tablet_work_579235928.jpg" alt="Men learning what financial advisers wish they knew about retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Wish you had a crystal ball for retirement planning? Most of us do, and for good reason. Even if you're sure you'll have <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-money-will-you-need-to-retire?ref=internal">enough money to retire</a>, there are no guarantees until you get there. If your nest egg runs short, it will be far too late for a do-over.</p> <p>This is where a financial adviser can help. A financial adviser will know if you're heavy on risk, not diversified enough, failing to maximize tax advantages, or simply not saving enough. They will also make sure to take into account your lifestyle and preferences to ensure you're on the right path to your ideal retirement, and not just following a cookie cutter plan that's not going to be the right fit.</p> <p>We asked financial advisers for some of the most important ideas they wish their clients understood when it comes to money, retirement, and the future.</p> <h2>1. Social Security will be around in some form</h2> <p>]Andrew McFadden, a financial adviser for physicians, says many clients refuse to accept that Social Security will still be around when they retire. This is especially true if they are part of Gen X or Gen Y, he says, since they are decades away from receiving benefits.</p> <p>However short on funds we may be, the Social Security Administration projects the ability to pay around 75 percent of current benefits after the fund is depleted in 2034. This is a key detail, notes McFadden, since many people hear Social Security is going bankrupt and refuse to acknowledge any benefits in their own retirement planning.</p> <p>&quot;It's not all roses, but that's still a far cry from those bankruptcy rumors,&quot; says McFadden. &quot;So lower your expectations, but don't get rid of them altogether.&quot;</p> <h2>2. It's ok to &quot;live a little&quot; while you save for retirement</h2> <p>Russ Thornton, founder of Wealthcare for Women, says too many future retirees sacrifice living now for their &quot;pie in the sky&quot; dream of retirement. Unfortunately, tomorrow isn't promised, and many people never get to live out the dreams they plan all along.</p> <p>&quot;So many people assume they can't really live until they're retired and not working full-time,&quot; says Thornton. &quot;Nothing could be further from the truth. Find ways to experience aspects of your dream life now, whether you're in your 30s, 40s, or 50s.&quot;</p> <p>With a solid savings and retirement plan, you should be able to do both &mdash; save and invest adequately, and try some new experiences that make life adventurous and satisfying now.</p> <p>&quot;Don't accept the deferred life plan,&quot; he says. That future you dream about and plan for may never come.</p> <h2>3. The 4 percent rule isn't perfect for everybody</h2> <p>Born in the 90s, the 4 percent rule stated retirees could stretch their funds by withdrawing 4 percent per year. The catch was, a good portion of those investments had to remain in equities to make this work.</p> <p>The 4 percent rule lost traction between 2000 and 2010 when the market closed lower than where it started 10 years before, says Bellevue, WA financial adviser Josh Brein. As many retirement accounts suffered during this time, it was shown that the 4 percent rule doesn't always work for everybody.</p> <p>It doesn't mean the rule should be thrown out completely though, nor should it still be followed like gospel. In fact, in 2015, two-third of retirees following the 4 percent rule had double the amount of their starting principal after a 30-year stretch. These retirees could have benefited from taking out more than the limited 4 percent, which could have meant an extra vacation each year, or another luxury that they were indeed able to afford.</p> <p>There's absolutely no denying the importance of making your retirement dollars last. But, after a lifetime of working and saving, you also deserve to enjoy those dollars to their full capability.</p> <p>Bottom line, take time to re-evaluate your drawdown strategy every few years and make adjustments as necessary. While you don't want to go broke in retirement &mdash; you also don't want to miss out on all the incredible things this time in your life has to offer.</p> <h2>4. Retirement looks different for everyone</h2> <p>Minnesota financial adviser Jamie Pomeroy says he wishes people would abandon their preconceived notions on what retirement should look like. He blames the financial industry in part for perpetuating the idea that certain retirement planning accounts and products work for everyone. &quot;They don't,&quot; he says.</p> <p>&quot;Some enjoy retiring to the beach, some take mini-retirements before reaching a retirement age, some work part-time in retirement, and some just want to spend time with their grandkids,&quot; he says. &quot;The concept of retirement is dynamic, ever-changing, and defined very differently by lots of different people.&quot;</p> <p>To find the right retirement path and plan for your own life, you should sit down and decide what you really, truly want. Once you know what you want, you can craft a realistic plan to get there.</p> <h2>5. Investment returns aren't as important as you think</h2> <p>According to North Dakota financial adviser Benjamin Brandt, too many people focus too much energy on their investment returns &mdash; mostly because they are an immediate and tangible way to gauge the success or failure of our financial plans.</p> <p>Investment returns should only be judged in the proper scope of a long-term financial plan, and &quot;over decades,&quot; he says.</p> <p>In the meantime, our behavior can make a huge impact when it comes to reaching your retirement goals. By <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-quirky-ways-to-spend-less-and-kick-start-saving?ref=internal">spending less and saving more</a>, for example, we can avoid debt and potentially invest more money over the long haul. Those moves can help us retire earlier whether the market performs the way we hope or not.</p> <h2>6. Small changes add up</h2> <p>When it comes to retirement planning, many people feel overwhelmed right away. For example, some people may realize they need $1 million or more to retire and give up before they start.</p> <p>Financial adviser Jeff Rose of Good Financial Cents says this could change if everyone realized how small changes &mdash; and small amounts of savings &mdash; add up drastically over time.</p> <p>&quot;Someone who invests just $200 per month for 30 years and earns 7 percent would have more than $218,000 in the end,&quot; says Rose. &quot;Now imagine both spouses are saving, or that they boost their investments incrementally over the years.&quot;</p> <p>As Rose points out, a couple who invests $500 per month combined and earns 7 percent would have more than $566,000 after 30 years.</p> <p>Looking for ways to save money and invest more will obviously make this number surge. If you boost your contributions each time you get a raise, for example, you'll have considerably more for retirement. Remember even the smallest contributions can greatly add up over the years.</p> <h2>7. Don't forget about long-term care</h2> <p>Joseph Carbone, founder and wealth adviser of Focus Planning Group, says many future retirees are missing one key piece of the puzzle, and that piece could cost them dearly.</p> <p>&quot;I wish many of my clients understood the biggest hurdle from passing wealth on to their heirs is long-term care costs,&quot; says Carbone. &quot;Whether it is home health care, assisted living, or the dreaded nursing home. It is real and it is scary.&quot;</p> <p>According to Carbone, most people have no idea how much long-term care costs and fail to plan as a result. &quot;Even though the average stay is only 2.7 years in a nursing home, the total cost for those 2.7 years could be well over $400,000,&quot; he says</p> <p>To help in this respect, Carbone and his associates suggest working with an attorney who specializes in elder law. With a few smart money moves, families can prepare for the real possibility of using a nursing home at some point. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it?ref=seealso">Is Long Term Care Insurance Worth It?</a>)</p> <h2>One more thing advisers wish you knew</h2> <p>While financial advisers don't know everything, their years of experience make them painfully aware of what lies ahead for those of us who fail to plan. And, if there's one thing financial planners can agree on, it's this: The sooner we all start planning, the better off we'll be.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-things-financial-advisers-wish-you-knew-about-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-one-thing-could-be-the-key-to-retiring-rich">This One Thing Could Be the Key to Retiring Rich</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/how-to-overcome-these-4-common-retirement-fears">How to Overcome These 4 Common Retirement Fears</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/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you">3 Ways More Money in Retirement Might Cost 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/how-to-face-4-ugly-truths-about-retirement-planning">How to Face 4 Ugly Truths About Retirement Planning</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/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do">If You&#039;re Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 4 percent rule advice contributions financial advisers investments long term care planning social security Wed, 05 Apr 2017 08:30:15 +0000 Holly Johnson 1921765 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Traps to Avoid With Your 401(k) http://www.wisebread.com/7-traps-to-avoid-with-your-401k <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-traps-to-avoid-with-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/iStock-163904271.jpg" alt="Finding traps to avoid with your 401(k)" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>More and more Americans are choosing an employer-sponsored 401(k) as their preferred way to build up their nest eggs. As of 2014, an estimated 52 million Americans were participating in a 401(k)-type plan.</p> <p>When used properly, a 401(k) can be a powerful tool to save for your retirement years, but there are a couple of crucial pitfalls that you have to watch out for. From high fees to limited investing choices, here is a list of potential downsides to 401(k) plans &mdash; and how to work around them.</p> <h2>1. Waiting to set up your 401(k)</h2> <p>Depending on the applicable rules from your employer-sponsored 401(k), you may be eligible to enroll in the plan within one to 12 months from your start date. If your eligibility kicks in around December, you may think that it's fine to wait until the next year to set up your retirement account.</p> <p>This is a big mistake for two main reasons.</p> <p>First, contributing to your 401(k) with pretax dollars allows you to effectively reduce your taxable income for the current year. In 2017, you can contribute up to $18,000 ($24,000 if age 50 or over) to your 401(k), so you can considerably reduce your tax liability. For example, if you were to contribute $3,000 between your last two paychecks in December, you would reduce your taxable income by $3,000. Waiting until next year to start your 401(k) contribution would mean missing out on a lower taxable income!</p> <p>Second, your employer can still contribute to your 401(k) next year and make that contribution count for the current year, as long as your plan was set up by December 31 of the current year. Your employer contributions have to be in before Tax Day or the date that you file your federal taxes, whichever is earlier.</p> <h3>How to work around it</h3> <p>If you meet the requirements to participate in your employer-sponsored 401(k) toward the end of the year, make sure to set up your account by December 31st. That way, you'll be ready to reduce your taxable income for the current year through your own contributions and those from your employer before their applicable deadline (December 31 and Tax Day or date of tax filing (whichever is earlier), respectively).</p> <h2>2. Forgetting to update contributions</h2> <p>When you set up your 401(k), you have to choose a percentage that will be deducted from every paycheck and put into your plan. It's not uncommon that plan holders set that contribution percentage and forget it. As your life situation changes, such as when you get a major salary boost, marry, or have your first child, you'll find that your contributions may be too big or too small. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-its-okay-to-delay-retirement-savings?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Times It's Okay to Delay Retirement Savings</a>)</p> <h3>How to work around it</h3> <p>To keep a contribution level that is appropriate to your unique financial situation, revisit your percentage contribution every year and whenever you have a major life change. Don't forget to also check whether or not you elected an annual increase option &mdash; a percentage by which your contribution is increased automatically each year &mdash; and adjust it as necessary.</p> <h2>3. Missing out on maximum employer match</h2> <p>Talking about contributions, don't forget that your employer may contribute to your plan as well. In a survey of 360 employers, <a href="https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/bigger-401k-matches.aspx" target="_blank">42 percent of respondents</a> matched employee contributions dollar-for-dollar, and 56 percent of them only required employees to contribute at least 6 percent from paychecks to receive a maximum employer match.</p> <h3>How to work around it</h3> <p>Employers require you to work a minimum period of time before starting to match your contribution. Once you're eligible, meet the necessary contribution to maximize your employer match. One estimate puts the average missed employer contribution at $1,336 per year. This is free money that you can use to make up for lower contribution levels from previous months or years.</p> <h2>4. Sticking only with actively managed funds</h2> <p>When choosing from available funds in their 401(k) plan, account holders tend to focus on returns. There was a time in which actively managed funds were able to deliver on their promise of beating the market and delivering higher-than-average returns. That's why 401(k) savers often choose them.</p> <p>However, passively managed index funds &mdash; funds tracing an investment index, such as the S&amp;P 500 or the Russell 2000 &mdash; have consistently proven that they can beat actively managed funds. Over the five past years, only 39 percent of active fund managers were able to beat their benchmarks, which is often an index. That's why over the same period, investors have taken $5.6 billion out of active funds and dumped $1.7 trillion into passive funds.</p> <h3>How to work around it</h3> <p>Find out whether or not your 401(k) offers you access to index funds. Over a long investment period, empirical evidence has shown that index funds outperform actively managed funds. Review available index funds and choose the ones that meet your retirement strategy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-steps-to-getting-started-in-the-stock-market-with-index-funds?ref=seealso" target="_blank">3 Steps to Getting Started in the Stock Market With Index Funds</a>)</p> <h2>5. Chasing high returns instead of lower costs</h2> <p>When reading the prospectus of any fund, you'll always find a disclaimer warning you that past returns aren't a guarantee of future returns. So, why are you holding onto those numbers so dearly? As early as 2010, investment think tank Morningstar concluded that a fund's annual expense ratio is the only reliable indicator of future investment performance, even better than the research firm's well-known star rating.</p> <p>And guess what kind of funds have the lowest annual expense ratios? Index funds! For example, the Vanguard 500 Index Investor Shares fund [Nasdaq: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VFINX?p=VFINX" target="_blank">VFINX</a>] has an annual expense ratio of 0.16 percent, <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/snapshot?FundId=0040&amp;FundIntExt=INT" target="_blank">which is 84 percent lower</a> than the average expense ratio of funds with similar holdings. If your 401(k) gives you access to lowest cost <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/snapshot?FundIntExt=INT&amp;FundId=0540" target="_blank">Vanguard Admiral shares</a>, you would shed down that annual expense ratio even further to 0.05 percent.</p> <h3>How to work around It</h3> <p>When evaluating a fund in your 401(k), look for comparable alternatives, including index funds. To maximize the growth of your nest egg, chase funds with lower annual expense ratios and investment fees. Regardless of their performance (which tends to be better anyway!), you'll minimize your investment cost. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Watch Out for These 5 Sneaky 401(k) Fees</a>)</p> <h2>6. Not periodically rebalancing your portfolio</h2> <p>Even when choosing index funds, you still need to periodically adjust your portfolio. Let's assume that you follow this investment recommendation from Warren Buffett for your 401(k): <a href="http://www.berkshirehathaway.com/letters/2013ltr.pdf" target="_blank">90 percent in a low-cost index fund</a>, and 10 percent in government bonds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-pieces-of-financial-wisdom-from-warren-buffett?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Best Pieces of Financial Wisdom From Warren Buffett</a>)</p> <p>Depending on the market, your portfolio allocation may be way off as early as one quarter. If the S&amp;P 500 were to have a huge rally, you may now be holding 95 percent of your 401(k) in the index fund. That would be much more risk that you may be comfortable with, so you would need to take that 5 percent and put it back into government bonds. On the other hand, holding 85 percent in government bonds would make you miss your target return for that year. Forgetting to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-most-important-thing-youre-probably-not-doing-with-your-portfolio?ref=internal" target="_blank">rebalance your portfolio</a> once a year when necessary is one easy way to derail your saving strategy.</p> <h3>How to work around it</h3> <p>Many 401(k) plans offer an automatic annual rebalancing feature. Review the fine print of this feature with your plan and decide whether or not it's suitable for you. If your plan doesn't offer an automatic rebalancing feature, choose a date that makes the most sense to you and set it as your day to rebalance your portfolio every year.</p> <h2>7. Taking out 401(k) loans</h2> <p>Treating your 401(k) as a credit card is a bad idea for several reasons. Doing this:</p> <ul> <li>Creates additional costs, such as origination and maintenance fees;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Becomes due in full within 60 days of separating from your employer;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Turns into taxable income when not paid back, triggering potential penalties from the IRS and state and local governments; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>May quickly turn into a bad habit: <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/your-money/one-dip-into-401-k-savings-often-leads-to-another.html" target="_blank">25 percent of 401(k) borrowers</a> go back for a third or fourth loan, and 20 percent of them take out at least five loans.</li> </ul> <h3>How to work around it</h3> <p>Treat your 401(k) as a last-resort source of financing. There are very few instances when you should <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-when-you-should-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=internal" target="_blank">borrow from your retirement account</a>. Make sure that you go through all of your credit options and include the opportunity cost of foregoing retirement savings, including potential taxes and penalties, when comparing a 401(k) loan against another type of loan.</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-traps-to-avoid-with-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-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-face-4-ugly-truths-about-retirement-planning">How to Face 4 Ugly Truths About Retirement Planning</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-get-the-most-from-your-employer-s-automated-retirement-plan">5 Ways to Get the Most From Your Employer’s Automated Retirement Plan</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/bookmark-this-a-step-by-step-guide-to-choosing-401k-investments">Bookmark This: A Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing 401(k) Investments</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</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-age-milestones-that-impact-your-retirement">6 Age Milestones That Impact Your Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) actively managed funds contributions employer match employment fees index funds loans rebalancing Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:00:15 +0000 Damian Davila 1909973 at http://www.wisebread.com 3 Ways More Money in Retirement Might Cost You http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-622064048.jpg" alt="Learning how more money in retirement might cost you" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="142" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You might think that there is no such thing as too much money in retirement. After all, without a steady income from working, you need your retirement nest egg to last you throughout your golden years. So more money must be better, right?</p> <p>Well, as The Notorious B.I.G. once said, the more money we come across, the more problems we see &mdash; even in retirement. While I would never discourage anyone from saving as much as they can for retirement, it is a good idea to recognize what kinds of additional problems a large retirement portfolio could cause you.</p> <p>Here's what you need to know about the potential pitfalls of having more money in retirement:</p> <h2>1. You Will Owe Taxes on Tax-Deferred Retirement Accounts</h2> <p>According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of December 2016, <a href="https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-5/pdf/defined-contribution-retirement-plans-who-has-them-and-what-do-they-cost.pdf" target="_blank">44% of all workers</a> were participating in a tax-deferred defined contribution plan, such as a 401K or an IRA. These types of retirement accounts allow workers to put pretax dollars aside for their retirement, where the money grows tax-free. Once you reach age 59&frac12;, you may withdraw money from such tax-deferred accounts without penalty.</p> <p>The potential trouble comes from the fact that any distribution you take from your tax-deferred account is taxable as ordinary income. This means that you will be taxed on that income in the same way you would be taxed on the same amount of income from a job. Because of the taxes you will owe on your distributions, the money in your tax-deferred retirement account is worth less than the dollar amount.</p> <p>Since many workers anticipate having a lower tax bracket in retirement than they do during their career &mdash; that is, they expect to have a much lower retirement income than career income &mdash; it makes sense to put off the taxes they will pay on the money in their 401K or IRA until after retirement. However, for anyone who manages to create a large retirement portfolio from a modest salary during their career, the tax burden in retirement will be much larger.</p> <h2>2. Required Minimum Distributions May Force You to Withdraw Money You Don't Want</h2> <p>If you put money aside into a tax-deferred account, the IRS will want to see its cut of the money eventually. For that reason, the IRS requires each account holder to begin withdrawing money during the year that he or she reaches age 70&frac12;. There is a minimum amount you must withdraw, and the IRS levies a stiff penalty for failing to do so &mdash; you will owe 50% of the amount that should have been withdrawn.</p> <p>In addition, the required minimum distribution is calculated based on your date of birth, the balance of each tax-deferred account as of December 31 of the previous year, and one of three <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/required-minimum-distribution-worksheets" target="_blank">IRS distribution tables</a>. That means your required minimum distribution must be recalculated each year using your new end-of-year balance from the previous year and your new distribution period according to the IRS distribution table. Getting the amount wrong can be potentially costly, and if you have a great deal of money in your tax-deferred accounts, you will be required to take more money than you necessarily want to access in one year.</p> <p>Don't forget, this required minimum distribution is also taxed as regular income (as we discussed above), so in addition to potentially withdrawing money you don't want, you will also owe taxes on the amount that you are required to withdraw.</p> <h2>3. You Will Be Taxed on Your Social Security Benefits</h2> <p>Many people are unaware of the fact that up to 85% of their Social Security benefits may be subject to income tax in retirement. The higher a retiree's non-Social Security income, the more likely it is that they will owe taxes on their Social Security check.</p> <p>The way the IRS determines whether your benefits are taxable is by calculating something known as provisional income. The formula for determining the provisional income is: One-half of your Social Security benefits, plus all your other income, including tax-exempt interest. (While tax-exempt interest is included in this calculation, tax-free distributions from a Roth IRA are not.)</p> <p>Your provisional income is compared to an upper and lower base amount to determine how much of your Social Security benefits are taxed, if any. If you file as single, then your lower base amount is $25,000. If your provisional income is above that amount, then you owe taxes on 50% of your Social Security benefits. The upper base amount for single filers is $34,000. If your provisional income is above that amount, then you owe taxes on 85% of your Social Security benefits.</p> <p>What this means is that the more money you take from your retirement accounts, the more of your Social Security benefits are considered taxable.</p> <p>For instance, if you are single and you take $38,000 from your IRA in retirement each year, then you are in the <a href="https://taxfoundation.org/2017-tax-brackets" target="_blank">25% tax bracket</a> and you owe taxes on 85% of your Social Security benefits since your income is above the upper base limit. If you decide to withdraw an additional $1,000 from your IRA one year, your additional $1,000 in income will cause $850 more of your Social Security income to be considered provisional income, making it subject to taxation at your marginal tax rate of 25%. You'll owe $462.50 on your $1,000 withdrawal ($1,850 x 25% = $462.50) between your IRA taxes and your Social Security benefit taxes.</p> <h2>More Money in Retirement Is a Good Problem to Have</h2> <p>Though having a large nest egg may cause some headaches after your retirement, it's important to remember that this is a better problem to have than facing retirement <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement" target="_blank">without enough savings</a>. Just recognize that large amounts of money need to be properly managed and you need to stay on top of your financial life post-career. You can handle each of the financial problems that you may see with a larger retirement portfolio, as long as you are aware of them and prepared for them.</p> <p> &nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/heres-how-your-taxes-will-change-when-you-retire">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change When You 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/why-tax-day-is-april-15-and-other-weird-financial-deadlines">Why Tax Day Is April 15 and Other Weird Financial Deadlines</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-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security</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-of-the-toughest-decisions-youll-face-in-retirement">Three of the Toughest Decisions You&#039;ll Face 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/heres-how-you-should-budget-your-social-security-checks">Here&#039;s How You Should Budget Your Social Security Checks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Taxes 401k benefits contributions income IRA social security tax brackets tax-deferred Wed, 08 Mar 2017 10:00:10 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1901333 at http://www.wisebread.com The Inventor of the 401K Has Second Thoughts About Your Retirement Plan — Now What? http://www.wisebread.com/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-171328267.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the early 1980s, the 401K plan was introduced as a potential supplement to the pension plans offered by employers. Now, they are a staple of retirement planning, while pensions are available to fewer workers than ever before.</p> <p>A 401K allows workers to set aside a certain amount of their salary and invest into a variety of mutual funds. Often, companies will match contributions up to a certain amount. These plans can be powerful vehicles for amassing great wealth in retirement, but the founders of these plans recently voiced concerns that the plans are inadequate for many people, and that they were never meant to <em>replace </em>pensions altogether.</p> <p>For sure, 401K plans place more of the savings burden and risk onto the individual than pensions do. And many plans are lousy, with high fees and poor investment choices. So, what to do? Here's how to build that big retirement fund even when you're at the mercy of the 401K.</p> <h2>1. Save Up to the Match, Regardless</h2> <p>You may be annoyed that a 401K is all your employer has to offer, but if the company is offering to match contributions, you'd be a fool not to participate. Even if the plan has lousy mutual funds with high fees, free money is still free money. Most good companies offer at least 50 cents for every dollar you contribute up to a certain amount, and that can add up to a lot of dough over time.</p> <h2>2. Get an IRA</h2> <p>A 401K is not the only vehicle for saving for retirement. Individual retirement accounts, or IRAs, offer some good tax advantages and better flexibility than a 401K. There's no company match for an IRA, but you have the ability to invest in just about anything. That's why many investors will put money in a 401K up to the company match, then put any additional savings in IRAs. Most people can contribute $5,500 annually into an IRA. With a traditional IRA, any money you contribute is deducted from your taxable income. With a Roth IRA, your money is taxed right away but you don't have to pay tax on any gains when you withdraw the money at retirement.</p> <h2>3. Start Early and Have a Long Time Horizon</h2> <p>Despite the flaws of a 401K, it's still very possible to amass a large sum for retirement if you begin investing when you are young and keep it up for a long time. If you enter the workforce when you're 18 and keep saving and investing until retirement age, that means you'll have 45 years to allow your nest egg to grow. In fact, under this scenario, it's possible to retire a millionaire by putting aside less than a few hundred dollars per month.</p> <h2>4. Find the Low-Cost Funds</h2> <p>Even if your 401K plan isn't perfect, you owe it to yourself not to make matters worse by investing in bad funds. Many 401K plans offer mutual funds with high management fees and other expenses, but most also offer low-cost options, including basic S&amp;P 500 Index funds. Find those funds with the lowest fees, so you get to keep more of your money. Look for funds with expense ratios below 0.5%, if possible.</p> <h2>5. Embrace the Power</h2> <p>When an employer offers a pension, it almost always contributes to a pension fund and then hopes that investment returns are enough to meet the obligations they have to employees. So in reality, the only significant difference between a pension and a 401K plan is who is in control. With a 401K plan, you have more control over how you invest. For some people, this is scary. But for others, it's just as scary to leave their financial future in the hands of others.</p> <h2>6. Make a Good 401K Part of Your Job Search</h2> <p>Think about the last time you searched for a job. When you applied and interviewed for positions, did you take the quality of the company's 401K plan into account? Chances are, this was far down the list of concerns, below salary, health benefits, and even vacation time. But imagine if more people turned down job offers because of a lousy 401K plan or a low company match. If more prospective employees voiced concerns about the quality of retirement plans during the hiring process, companies might be more likely to improve their plans.</p> <h2>7. Talk to Your Lawmakers</h2> <p>It's unlikely that the President or Congress can force companies to bring back pensions, but they are the ones who could change 401K plans to make them more attractive. Lawmakers could pass legislation that improves the tax benefits of plans or increases the amount investors are allowed to contribute. They could pressure companies to boost their matching contributions, and require more companies to offer plans to more employees. Lawmakers could also propose new kinds of savings plans managed by the government. At the very least, voicing your concerns about the quality of the 401K as a retirement option could start a conversation on Capitol Hill.</p> <h2>8. Join a Union, If You Can</h2> <p>Much of the erosion of defined benefit plans has coincided with the drop in influence of labor unions in America. According to the AFL-CIO, about 75% of union workers participate in defined benefit plans, compared to about 20% for nonunion workers. But far fewer people are part of unions these days.</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-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what">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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses">Stop Making These 10 Bogus Retirement Savings Excuses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-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/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/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you">3 Ways More Money in Retirement Might Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k contributions employer match IRA nest egg pensions Roth savings Mon, 13 Feb 2017 10:30:33 +0000 Tim Lemke 1889313 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-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/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what">The Inventor of the 401K Has Second Thoughts About Your Retirement Plan — Now What?</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/optimize-your-ira-and-401k">Optimize Your IRA and 401(k)</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/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you">3 Ways More Money in Retirement Might Cost You</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 8 Signs Your Retirement Is on Track http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-your-retirement-is-on-track <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-signs-your-retirement-is-on-track" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_retirement_accounts_78210119.jpg" alt="Couple finding signs their retirement is on track" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You feel like you're a diligent saver, and are doing all you can to ensure you have a comfortable retirement. But how do you know if you're doing things right? It's hard to predict how much money you'll need, and it seems impossible to know if you're on the right track when retirement is years or even decades away.</p> <p>Thankfully, there are some easy ways to tell if your retirement planning is sound. If your portfolio has most or all of these characteristics, keep up the good work and don't fret!</p> <h2>1. Most of the Funds Are in Tax-Advantaged Accounts</h2> <p>When saving for retirement, it's important to place your money in accounts that shield you from paying unnecessary taxes. A 401K is a common plan offered by employers that allows you to contribute and invest in a variety of different mutual funds. Any money you contribute will be deducted from your taxable income. It's also possible to invest in a Roth IRA, which allows you to invest and avoid paying taxes on any gains. If all or most of your money is in these accounts, you'll be saving thousands of dollars and will have a much higher net return on your investments.</p> <h2>2. You've Been Contributing Heavily</h2> <p>It's hard to know exactly how much you should put into your retirement accounts, but &quot;as much as you can&quot; is usually good advice. If you're maxing out your allowable contributions to 401K or IRA plans (or both), you're probably doing quite well. For 401K plans, you can contribute up to $18,000 annually. IRA plans can accept $5,500 in contributions each year. Even if you're not maxing out these accounts, contributing enough to take advantage of your employer's match of 401K contributions is one good threshold to hit. As much as people like to talk about stock market gains helping them get rich, the truth is that your portfolio's value is helped a lot more by the amount you're contributing in the first place.</p> <h2>3. You've Seen Steady Growth Over Time</h2> <p>Take a look at your portfolio's performance on a line chart. Are you generally seeing an upward trend, without a lot of wild ups and downs? Does it seem like your savings is steadily growing over time, even during periods when the stock market is not doing well? A good retirement portfolio should generally be free of volatility, and see steady gains as time goes on.</p> <h2>4. Your Projections Look Good</h2> <p>No one knows how the stock market will perform in the future, but you can make some reasonable assumptions based on historical market returns. The S&amp;P 500 has seen average annual growth of about 7% since 2006, and annual average gains are even higher the farther you go back. If your portfolio's performance has been in line with these annual averages, you're probably in good shape, as long as you're contributing a significant amount.</p> <p>It may be possible to project how much money you'll have in retirement by taking the amount you have now, then adding your contributions and the annual average return through your retirement year.</p> <h2>5. Your Investments Are Focused on Growth</h2> <p>Unless you are close to retirement, your portfolio should be heavy on investments that promise growth over the long term. This means a big dose of stocks, rather than bonds or cash. Small cap and value stocks should be a driver of most retirement portfolios, as they often promise the most growth potential.</p> <p>It's tempting to want to be conservative with your investments, because stocks can be risky, and no one likes to feel vulnerable to a bad day in the stock market. But building a large retirement next egg requires you to overcome your fears and recognize the positive historical returns of stocks.</p> <h2>6. Your Portfolio Is Well-Balanced</h2> <p>It's always a good exercise to examine your investments to see if you are too heavily invested in any one sector or asset class. Sometimes, your portfolio can get out of whack, and will require rebalancing of your assets. If you are working hard to keep your investments nicely balanced, you'll likely be shielded from any major swings in the market and should see solid growth over time. There is one caveat here, which is that buying and selling during rebalancing could have tax implications, so you'll want to weigh the costs and benefits each time you're considering it.</p> <h2>7. You're Not Paying Too Much in Fees</h2> <p>A robust retirement portfolio should probably contain some mutual funds and/or exchange traded funds (ETFs). But these investments often come with management fees, commissions, transaction fees and other costs. A typical investor pays about 1.5% in fees, according to Rebalance IRA. That could add up to thousands of dollars over time. To avoid losing money to fees, look for investments with very low expense ratios, and those that trade without a commission. Low-cost investments often outperform those with higher expense ratios anyway. So if the costs in <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stabilize-your-portfolio-with-these-5-bond-funds" target="_blank">your retirement portfolio</a>&nbsp;are low, that's one more thing you're doing well.</p> <h2>8. You Haven't Spent Any of It</h2> <p>There may be times in your life when you'll be tempted to withdraw money from your retirement accounts to pay for other expenses. There's a cost to doing this; any money taken early from these accounts is subject to being taxed, and you'll have to pay a 10% early withdrawal penalty if you take money early from a 401K. And of course, on top of these penalties and taxes, you'll lose out on any future growth this money might have accrued. If you've been diligent about not touching your retirement savings early, you'll be in much better financial shape than if you had raided these funds.</p> <p><em>How's your retirement looking?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-signs-your-retirement-is-on-track">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/how-to-tell-if-your-401k-is-a-good-or-a-bad-one">How to Tell if Your 401K Is a Good or a Bad One</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-every-millennial-needs-a-roth-ira">6 Reasons Every Millennial Needs a Roth IRA</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-best-online-brokerages-for-your-ira">5 Best Online Brokerages for Your IRA</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-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-for-retirement-when-you-are-unemployed">How to Save for Retirement When You Are Unemployed</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement contributions ETFs growth index funds investing on track portfolio stocks tax advantaged Thu, 28 Jul 2016 09:00:11 +0000 Tim Lemke 1760749 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/3-ways-more-money-in-retirement-might-cost-you">3 Ways More Money in Retirement Might Cost 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/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/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