IRA http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3832/all en-US Stop Making These 10 Bogus Retirement Savings Excuses http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/000018814419.jpg" alt="Realizing it&#039;s time to stop making bogus retirement savings excuses" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Saving for retirement can often feel like a drag, and many of us come up with excuses for avoiding it. After all, who wants to think about finances at age 70 when you're decades away and enjoying life <em>now</em>?</p> <p>But no matter what excuse you come up with, there's no denying that putting as much money aside as you can &mdash; as early as you can &mdash; will help you maintain your lifestyle even after you stop working.</p> <p>Here are some of the top excuses people use to avoid saving for retirement, and why they're way off-base. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-steps-to-starting-a-retirement-plan-in-your-30s">8 Steps to Starting a Retirement Plan in Your 30s</a>)</p> <h2>1. &quot;I Have a Pension&quot;</h2> <p>If your company is one of the few remaining organizations that offers a defined benefit plan, that's great. But it should not be a reason to refrain from saving additional money for retirement. Having additional savings on top of your pension can make retirement that much sweeter. And pensions have been under assault in recent years, with companies and governments backing off of promises to retirees due to financial troubles. Protect against this uncertainty by opening an individual retirement account (otherwise known as an IRA).</p> <h2>2.&quot;I'm Self-Employed&quot; or &quot;My Company Doesn't Offer a Retirement Plan&quot;</h2> <p>You may not have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, but that does not mean you can't save a lot for retirement. Any individual can open a traditional IRA or Roth IRA and contribute up to $5,500 annually. With a traditional IRA, contributions are made from your pre-tax income. With a Roth IRA, you pay taxes up-front, so that you won't have to pay them when you withdraw the money at retirement age. In addition, the federal government now offers a &quot;<a href="https://myra.gov/">myIRA</a>&quot; plan, which works like a Roth IRA and allows anyone to invest in treasury securities with no startup costs or fees.</p> <h2>3. &quot;I Won't Be at This Company for Very Long&quot;</h2> <p>One of the key advantages to 401K plans offered by employers is that they are portable. This means that any money you contribute to a plan will follow you wherever you go. In some cases, contributions from your company need to &quot;vest&quot; for a certain amount of time before you get to keep the them, but usually only for a year or so. There's no real downside to contributing to a company retirement plan, even if you don't plan to be there for very long.</p> <h2>4. &quot;The Expenses Are High&quot;</h2> <p>It's very true that many investment products, including mutual funds, have high costs tied to them. It's annoying to buy funds and notice an expense ratio of more than 1%, thus reducing your potential profits. But fees are not a good enough reason to avoid investing, altogether. Over the long haul, your investments will easily rise in value and more than offset any costs. And if you direct your investments to low-cost mutual funds and ETFs, you'll likely find the fees aren't so objectionable. Look for mutual funds with expense ratios of less than 0.1%, and for those that trade without a commission.</p> <h2>5. &quot;I Need to Fund My Kids' College Education&quot;</h2> <p>Putting money aside to pay for college is a wonderful idea, but it should not be done at the expense of your own retirement. Your kids can always work to pay for college or even take out loans, if necessary. But you can't borrow for your own retirement, and you don't want to find yourself working into old age because you didn't save for yourself. In an ideal world, you can save for both college and your own retirement, but you should always think of your own retirement first.</p> <h2>6. &quot;My 401K Plan Isn't Very Good&quot; or &quot;My Company Doesn't Match Contributions&quot;</h2> <p>I'll occasionally hear someone say that they won't contribute to their retirement plan because it's a bad one. No employer match, bad investment options, or high fees can kill any motivation to save. But contributing to even a bad 401K is better than not saving at all. And if you're not thrilled with the offered 401K plan, you can take a look at traditional or Roth IRAs, or even stocks and mutual funds in taxable accounts. There are many bad retirement plans out there, but they are almost all better than nothing.</p> <h2>6. &quot;I Don't Understand Investing&quot;</h2> <p>There's no question that investing can be a very intimidating thing. It takes a while to grasp even the basics of how to invest, and the number of investment products can be bewildering. Don't let fear hold you back from achieving your dreams in retirement. These days, there's a lot of great free information about investing that can help you get started. And many discount brokerages, such as Fidelity, offer free advice if you have an account. Certified Financial Planners are also plentiful &mdash; and often reasonably priced &mdash; and can help you establish a plan to save for retirement and keep you on track.</p> <h2>7. &quot;I Don't Earn Enough&quot;</h2> <p>It's definitely hard to think about retirement when you're having trouble making ends meet now. But it's important to recognize setting aside even a modest amount of money each month can help you achieve financial freedom. Consider that even $25 a month into an index fund can grow to tens of thousands of dollars after 30 years.</p> <h2>8. &quot;I'm Young &mdash; I Have Plenty of Time&quot;</h2> <p>If you're not saving for retirement when you're young, you are costing your future self a lot of money. Thanks to the magic of compound interest and earnings, someone who begins saving in their early 20s can really see big gains over time. If you have $10,000 at age 20 and begin setting aside $200 a month until age 65, you'll have nearly a million dollars, based on an average market return. But if you wait until age 35, you'll end up with barely one-third of that.</p> <h2>9. &quot;It's Too Late for Me&quot;</h2> <p>It's true that the earlier you start investing, the more money you'll likely end up with. But hope is not entirely lost for those who are approaching retirement age but have not saved. Even five to 10 years of aggressive saving and the right investments can result in a nice nest egg. Older people can take advantage of higher limits on contributions to retirement plans including IRAs and 401Ks.</p> <h2>10. &quot;I'll Get Social Security&quot;</h2> <p>You've been contributing to Social Security all your life, but that doesn't mean it guarantees a comfortable retirement. A typical Social Security benefit these days is about $1,300 a month. That's enough to keep you from starving, but you won't be able to do much else. Moreover, concerns over federal budget deficits suggest there is no guarantee of Social Security funds being available when you retire. For certain, there is constant talk by lawmakers of entitlement reform, which could mean to lower benefits or other changes.</p> <p><em>What's your excuse for not saving for retirement?</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/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses">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/8-steps-to-starting-a-retirement-plan-in-your-30s">8 Steps to Starting a Retirement Plan in Your 30s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-guarantee-income-in-retirement">6 Ways to Guarantee Income in Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-for-retirement-when-you-re-ready-to-retire">How to Plan for Retirement When You’re Ready to Retire</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/retirement-accounts-and-money-to-spend">Retirement accounts and money to spend</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-retirement-rules-you-should-be-breaking">6 Retirement Rules You Should Be Breaking</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k compound interest excuses IRA pensions savings social security Mon, 08 Feb 2016 18:00:05 +0000 Tim Lemke 1649873 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways to Reduce Your Tax Bill With Bonds http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-reduce-your-tax-bill-with-bonds <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-to-reduce-your-tax-bill-with-bonds" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/father_daughter_computer_000082622141.jpg" alt="Man finding ways to reduce his tax bills with bonds" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Financial advisors recommend bonds to investors for portfolio diversification, as a fixed income investment strategy, and to hedge against inflation. Even better, some major bond classes can help you reduce your tax bill, too.</p> <p>What's more, they are low-risk investments. Here's how you can reduce your tax bill with bonds. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-tax-friendly-ways-to-save-beyond-your-retirement-fund">9 Tax-Friendly Ways to Save Beyond Your Retirement Fund</a>)</p> <h2>1. Invest in Municipal Bonds</h2> <p>Municipal bonds have long garnered the attention of high-earners seeking to minimize their tax obligations. Muni bonds are tax-exempt at the federal level and, in some cases, local and state tax exempt as well, especially if the investor resides in the issuing state or municipality.</p> <p>Though munis faced some scrutiny during the financial crisis, many &mdash; if not most &mdash; munis deserve a second look now that local government finances are on much more stable footing.</p> <h2>2. Buy U.S. Treasury Bonds</h2> <p>U.S. Treasury bonds pay interest income once every six months. That income is exempt from state, local, and the alternative minimum tax. Some treasury bonds can also <a href="https://www.fidelity.com/fixed-income-bonds/individual-bonds/us-treasury-bonds">reduce your tax bill</a>, even if investing outside of a retirement account.</p> <h2>3. Purchase Zero Coupon Bonds</h2> <p>Zero coupon bonds are exempt from state and local tax. As their name suggests, these government bonds pay no interest, but often offer higher yields. Investors beware, however: Zero coupon bonds come with higher risks than their traditional counterparts, so consider the risk-reward trade-offs before investing in this asset class.</p> <h2>4. Put Bonds Inside Tax-Free and Tax-Deferred Accounts</h2> <p>Investors can defer any taxes owed on interest income by delaying distributions and holding these investments in a tax-deferred retirement account, such as an IRA or 401K. Once the money is withdrawn at retirement age, it'll be taxed based on the individual's tax bracket. Using the same strategy, if they are kept in a tax-free account, such as a Roth IRA or Roth 401K, distributions taken at retirement are tax-free.</p> <p><em>Are bonds in your portfolio? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-reduce-your-tax-bill-with-bonds">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-5"> <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/a-simple-guide-to-series-i-savings-bonds-i-bonds">A Simple Guide to Series I Savings Bonds (I-Bonds)</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-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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stabilize-your-portfolio-with-these-5-bond-funds">Stabilize Your Portfolio With These 5 Bond Funds</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-prepare-for-a-stock-market-dive">8 Ways to Prepare for a Stock Market Dive</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Taxes 401 k bonds IRA municipal tax-deferred treasury Tue, 02 Feb 2016 22:00:06 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1649194 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Reasons Women Might Retire With More Wealth http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-women-might-retire-with-more-wealth <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-reasons-women-might-retire-with-more-wealth" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_money_pink_000007951788.jpg" alt="Learning reasons why women might retire with more wealth" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We hear a lot about how women might be shortchanged in terms of earnings, but there are also plenty of ways women can excel financially. From potentially stronger savings and investment habits, to longer lifespans, women enjoy some serious wealth-building advantages, as well. Here are five reasons women might retire with more wealth.</p> <h2>1. More Women Are Gaining Higher Education</h2> <p>In fact, women are handily defeating men in the college game. Because women are more likely to <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2014/12/11/women-are-dominating-men-at-college-blame-sexism/">graduate from college</a> than their male counterparts, they enter the workforce in better shape. Sure, women are more likely to enter lower-paid areas of the education and health sectors, but they are also breaking into business and <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/04/14/study-finds-surprisingly-that-women-are-favored-for-jobs-in-stem/">STEM programs</a> at an increasing rate.</p> <p>While college loan debt can slow down your plans to save, the correlation between college and increased earnings is still present. The trick is to start investing as soon as you begin to see your margin of expendable income widen, ideally before age 30.</p> <h2>2. Women Are Living and Working Longer</h2> <p>That's right: Women typically live longer, and thus have more healthful years during which they may work. That means continuing to work in later years &mdash; when earnings may be higher, and more returns from compound interest on savings enjoyed. It also means a postponed retirement, which allows your investments to grow for longer.</p> <p>Check out this handy guide to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-should-you-have-saved-for-retirement-by-30-40-50">reaching your investing goals</a>.</p> <h2>3. Women Are Better Savers at all Income Levels</h2> <p>The road is full of unexpected hurdles to saving, and expensive emergencies are all but inevitable. The good news for female workers is that women are <a href="https://institutional.vanguard.com/iam/pdf/GENDRESP.pdf?cbdForceDomain=true">better at saving</a> than men in general. If that weren't enough, the same study showed that women are also better at managing their 401K accounts than men.</p> <p>It still takes discipline, however, to work this psychology to your advantage. Make specific goals and stick to them.</p> <h2>4. Forgoing Children Could Mean More Savings</h2> <p>On the fence about starting a family? According to the 2014 census, 48% of women between the ages of 18 and 44 <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/09/childless-more-women-are-not-having-kids-says-census_n_7032258.html">do not have children</a>. Clearly, women are increasingly waiting to have kids, or deferring the option altogether.</p> <p>Consider that this may mean more money for those women down the line. Delaying kids can mean more time to solidify your career and earnings, amass savings, and reduce debt before the financial pressures of kids arrive. If you are a 20- or 30-something still weighing the options, avoiding the fate of the <a href="http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2013/01/30/the-sandwich-generation/">sandwich generation</a> might be a deciding factor in postponing or entirely forgoing children.</p> <h2>5. Women Are Less Likely to Make Risky Trades</h2> <p>In addition to being better savers, more educated, and having more working years in which to save, women are also less likely to gamble their savings in poor investments. Women are generally <a href="http://www.nextavenue.org/do-women-and-men-differ-retirement-savers/">more risk averse</a> than men.</p> <p>That said, there is no reason not to learn how to pick more varied investments and take a slightly higher risk (hopefully for greater rewards) every now and then. Try listening to these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-money-podcasts">great money podcasts</a> to pick up tips and stay up to date with the market.</p> <p>Women enjoy a variety of natural advantages when it comes to earning and managing money. The key is making full use of them to strengthen your financial roadmap.</p> <p><em>Are you taking steps to secure your retirement?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-meadows">Amanda Meadows</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-women-might-retire-with-more-wealth">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/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-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/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account">7 Penalty-Free Ways to Withdraw Money From Your Retirement Account</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k">4 Reasons Why a Roth IRA May be Better Than Your 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-surprising-things-women-should-know-about-retirement-planning">12 Surprising Things Women Should Know About Retirement Planning</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement education gender IRA savings 401k women Thu, 31 Dec 2015 14:00:03 +0000 Amanda Meadows 1629244 at http://www.wisebread.com The 10 Biggest Myths About Investing http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-myths-about-investing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-10-biggest-myths-about-investing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_thinking_newspaper_000053925278_0.jpg" alt="Man learning biggest myths about investing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's a lot of information about investing floating around. There are also a lot of bad opinions, misconceptions, and flat-out lies.</p> <p>Knowing the difference between myth and reality is your ticket to hitting your investing goals. Here are 10 of the biggest myths about investing:</p> <h2>1. It's Hard to Get Started</h2> <p>If you've never invested money before, it can seem intimidating &mdash; and you may not even know where to begin. But the reality is that it's never been easier to get started with investing. It's simple to open a brokerage account or Individual Retirement Account (IRA) online, and there's a wealth of great information available to investors for free on the web. If you work for a company that offers a 401K plan, you are usually automatically enrolled. All you have to do is read up on the investment choices and decide how much money you want to put aside.</p> <h2>2. You Need a Lot of Money to Make a Lot of Money</h2> <p>There were days when stock brokers wouldn't even take your calls unless you were willing to invest thousands of dollars. Nowadays, it's possible to open a brokerage account and invest just a share at a time. Granted, transaction fees can make it worthwhile to invest larger sums at a time, and some investment accounts have minimum requirements &mdash; but you generally don't need to be rich to get started. A modest amount of cash set aside at regular intervals can result in a big nest egg upon retirement. Consider that even a person making $30,000 a year and setting aside 5% of their income over 30 years will end up with more than $150,000, based on a 7% annual return.</p> <h2>3. It's Overly Risky</h2> <p>Investing is not without risk, but you are fully in control of how much risk you want to assume. If you're the skittish type, there are plenty of investments, such as bonds and dividend stocks, that will allow you to make money without much risk. And it's important to remember that while stocks can go down in value quickly, they have historically always rebounded. Since the Great Depression, there have been fewer than two dozen down years for stocks.</p> <h2>4. The System Is Rigged</h2> <p>You will often hear this from critics of our financial system. I won't suggest that our system is perfect, but to call something &quot;rigged&quot; is to suggest that the average person can't succeed. The truth is that for the average person, it's easy to buy stocks, bonds, and other investments in a straightforward and transparent way, and make money doing it.</p> <h2>5. Past Performance Indicates Future Returns</h2> <p>It's tempting to buy an investment because it has done well in the past. And it's generally true that if a stock has generated a solid return over a very long period of time, it's a good bet moving forward. But there's absolutely nothing to prevent an investment from tanking even after years of great returns. And it certainly doesn't make sense to invest in something based on the performance of the previous few months.</p> <h2>6. Investment Professionals Know a Lot More Than You</h2> <p>I don't want to disparage fund managers and analysts, but there is a growing body of evidence that no one, not even the most experienced professionals, can consistently beat the performance of the overall stock market. If you put money in an index fund that tracks the overall stock market, there's a good chance you'll do as well or better than the hotshots on Wall Street.</p> <h2>7. You Should Try to Get Stocks During an IPO</h2> <p>Initial public offerings get a lot of headlines, and it may seem desirable to get in at the ground floor. Examples abound, however, of companies that failed to come out of the gate strong. In fact, many companies have seen share prices dip well below IPO levels. (Facebook is the most recent prime example of this.) For most investors, it makes sense to wait after an IPO to see how things go. If you're investing for the long haul, waiting won't hurt you too much. In fact, you may even get a better bargain.</p> <h2>8. You Need to Have [Insert Investment Here] in Your Portfolio</h2> <p>You'll get a lot of advice from people telling you that you need a specific type of investment to optimize your returns. But there is rarely a single investment that should be considered a must-have. There are a million ways to build a collection of investments that will help you get rich; the best advice is to diversify and have a long investment horizon.</p> <h2>9. Gold Is Always Great</h2> <p>You may assume that gold is an amazing investment. I mean, it's <em>gold</em> right? And there has to be some reason there are advertisements for gold on TV all the time. The truth is that gold <em>can</em> be a great investment, but only at certain times. It's worth having some in your portfolio to stay diversified, but gold has taken a beating recently. Shares of the SPDR Gold Trust are down nearly 15% in the last three years.</p> <h2>10. $1 Million Is a Magic Number</h2> <p>One would think that becoming a millionaire means you're set for life. Not these days, however. Thanks to inflation and longer life expectancies, a million bucks may not be enough for most people to live long and retire comfortably. It's a good sum of money, but if you want your money to last 25 to 30 years, you're probably going to want double that &mdash; or even more, if possible. This means saving as much money as you can, as early as you can.</p> <p><em>Do you adhere to these &mdash; or other &mdash; myths about investing?</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/the-10-biggest-myths-about-investing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/whats-the-right-percentage-of-cash-for-your-portfolio">What&#039;s the Right Percentage of Cash for Your Portfolio?</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/you-may-be-putting-your-retirement-money-in-the-wrong-place">You May Be Putting Your Retirement Money in the Wrong Place</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment 401k emergency funds IRA retirement Mon, 07 Dec 2015 10:02:20 +0000 Tim Lemke 1618546 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016 http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2016_money_finances_000078468345.jpg" alt="Learning important changes coming to your 401K in 2016" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We can all agree that investing in a 401K, IRA, or Roth, while being a scary proposition at times, is quite frankly the best use of our money for saving long term. Retirement might be a long way off for you, but it's important to stay on top of the changes that take place for these accounts each year. They could shift your overall direction of planning for your financial future.</p> <p>Here is a list of what will and won't change for your 401K and IRA in 2016.</p> <h2>No Change</h2> <p>Before we look at what's new, let's look at what's staying the same.</p> <h3>1. Contribution Limits</h3> <p>&quot;No change&quot; usually implies something good is happening because it's consistent. In this case, no change for contribution limits means that you are limited to the same amount of money you could put away in 2015 for 2016. In 401K plans, that is $18,000 for people under the age of 50 &mdash; and in IRA and Roth plans, the contribution max will remain at $5,500 for those age 50 or younger.</p> <p>This may not seem like a big deal, but over time the ability to put away less for your retirement means that you will need to earn more on your money that is already invested. According to Vanguard 401K data, only about 10% of participants put away the max every year. There's no escaping the truth that the more you put away, the better off you are going to be in the long run.</p> <h3>2. 401K/IRA Combo</h3> <p>Many people believe that you can only have a 401K or an IRA, but not both. That simply isn't true. In fact, having a separate IRA and a 401K can be a smart financial strategy. The downside of having both is that depending on your income, you may or may not be phased out of deducting your contributions to both plans.</p> <p>In 2016, the income limitations will stay the same. If your adjusted gross income is between $61,000&ndash;$71,000 for single and head of household, or between $98,000&ndash;$118,000 for married couples, your deductible amount for contributions to your IRA will be phased out. If your income is lower, you will receive the full deduction. If your income is over those limits, you won't be able to deduct any portion of your contributions.</p> <h2>Change</h2> <p>And here are the details set to change &mdash; make sure you update your contributions to match.</p> <h3>3. Roth Income Threshold Limits Increase</h3> <p>Roth plans are very popular, especially with the Millennial demographic. They work in reverse of an IRA. Your contributions are made on an <em>after-tax</em> basis, but your distributions in retirement are tax-free. The objective is that you will be in a higher tax bracket when you retire, hence why you will ultimately save money on taxes that would've been due if you had an IRA. Roth plans have their own contribution income limits and are quite generous. In 2016, the contributions income threshold limits will increase by $1,000.</p> <h3>4. IRA for Non-Working Spouse</h3> <p>What about those spouses that don't work, but still want to contribute to an IRA? In 2016, IRA income limits will increase for spouses without retirement accounts by $1,000.</p> <p>If your spouse contributes to a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account">retirement account</a> at work, but <em>you</em> don't work, you can set up your own IRA and contributions will be tax deductible up to $184,000 for couples filing jointly. Your contributions begin to phase out from $184,000&ndash;$194,000, and are completely phased out above that income level (meaning they wouldn't be tax deductible). You can always still contribute up to the IRA contribution max, but you just wouldn't receive the deduction.</p> <h3>5. Saver's Credit</h3> <p>The saver's credit is arguably one of the most overlooked tax credits. It rewards lower income individuals and families for saving for their retirement in any retirement plan. If you qualify for this credit, it is worth anywhere from 10%&ndash;50% of the contributed amount &mdash; up to $2,000 for individuals and $4,000 for couples. The credit is available to singles with an income under $30,750, and for couples, under $61,500.</p> <p>Make sure your accountant is aware if you qualify for this credit so you can take advantage of this great benefit. Consider it the government's matching program for your retirement contributions.</p> <p><em>How's your 401K doing?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/shannah-game">Shannah Game</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">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-7"> <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/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-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/4-reasons-why-you-must-open-a-roth-ira-before-april-15">4 Reasons Why You Must Open a Roth IRA Before April 15</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/optimize-your-ira-and-401k">Optimize Your IRA and 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/three-easy-steps-to-take-for-a-better-401k">3 Easy Steps to Take for a Better 401k</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement 401k contributions IRA Roth saver's credit taxes Tue, 01 Dec 2015 14:00:24 +0000 Shannah Game 1617390 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Penalty-Free Ways to Withdraw Money From Your Retirement Account http://www.wisebread.com/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/ira_401k_000006195210.jpg" alt="Learning ways to withdraw from your 401k without penalty" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>While it's true that 401Ks have a higher contribution limit ($18,000 in 2015) than traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs ($5,500 for most people or $6,500 if you're age 50 or older in 2015), it would be a mistake to dismiss traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs as part of your retirement strategy.</p> <p>One of the major advantages of having an IRA is that it offers much more flexibility when it comes to taking distributions before age 59 1/2. Under most circumstances, early distributions from a 401K trigger a 10% penalty fee from the IRS on top of applicable income and capital gains taxes. But IRAs are subject to far fewer limitations in many cases &mdash; often, they're free from the 10% penalty for early withdrawals.</p> <p>Here are seven circumstances under which you can withdraw money before age 59 1/2 from an IRA without triggering an IRS penalty.</p> <h2>1. Health Insurance Premiums During Unemployment</h2> <p>If you're unemployed and can't jump on somebody's health plan for coverage, you're probably going to be stressed out about meeting your monthly premiums. Fortunately, once you've been unemployed for at least 12 continuous weeks, the IRS lets you take a penalty-free early distribution from your IRA to cover your health insurance monthly premiums. (To avoid any doubts about how you're using your IRA monies, consider opening a new bank account to handle deposits from your IRA and payments to your health provider.)</p> <p>Some additional points to remember are that the IRA distributions need to take place during either the year you received the unemployment compensation or the following, and that the IRA distributions need to take place no later than 60 days after you have been reemployed.</p> <h2>2. Large Medical Bills</h2> <p>Uncle Sam also gives you a break when you use an IRA withdrawal to pay for unreimbursed medical expenses greater than 10% (or 7.5% if you or your spouse was born before January 2, 1950) of your adjusted gross income for the year of the distribution.</p> <p>While the IRS doesn't require you to itemize your deductions to take advantage of this exception, you should keep a record of all of your medical, dental, and prescription expenses that weren't reimbursed or paid by others. Remember that you can't include the cost of non-prescription drugs (except insulin) or other purchases for general health, such as vitamins, diet foods, or health club dues. Costs of cosmetic procedures aren't eligible, either.</p> <p>However, you can include 23.5 cents per mile that you drove your car for medical reasons. Refer to the Schedule A of Form 1040 to find out the entire list of eligible expenses that you can use to calculate your total unreimbursed medical expenses.</p> <h2>3. First Home Purchases</h2> <p>If the dream property for which you've been waiting so long finally becomes available and you're up to $10,000 short on the down payment, you can tap into your IRA without a penalty.</p> <p>As long as your total IRA withdrawal for first-time home buying is not greater than $10,000, you can even split your withdrawals over more than one year. Not only can you use these monies to buy your own home, but also to pay qualified costs of buying, building, or rebuilding a property. Just make sure that those qualified costs are paid within 120 days after receiving your IRA distribution.</p> <p>Attention couples: If you keep separate IRA plans, each one of you can withdraw up to $10,000 without penalty to pool at total of $20,000 for a first home purchase.</p> <h2>4. Higher Education Expenses</h2> <p>Whether it is for your own education or that of your spouse, children, or grandchildren, you can take a penalty-free withdrawal from your IRA to cover qualified higher education expenses, including tuition, fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for the enrollment or attendance at an eligible educational institution.</p> <p>Other eligible education expenses include the cost of room and board for individuals that are at least half-time students and special needs services in connection with enrollment or attendance. While there is no limit to the amount of your withdrawal free from the 10% penalty tax, keep in mind that your monies may count as income for the student, and may thus impact their eligibility for financial aid.</p> <h2>5. Debts to the IRS</h2> <p>Uncle Sam wants so badly to collect on your unpaid taxes and arrears that he's willing to forego the 10% penalty tax on your IRA withdrawal. However, as in all other scenarios in this list, you do have to pay applicable income taxes, including capital gains.</p> <p>While using part of your IRA balance to pay all or part of your tax debts may not sound that great, it's better than trying to avoid a levy. Under the second scenario, you may have no bargaining power.</p> <h2>6. Rollovers From Traditional IRAs to Roth IRAs</h2> <p>Unlike traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs are funded with after-tax dollars. This means that you don't owe any taxes on withdrawals after age 59 1/2. Plus, once your Roth IRA has been open for at least five years, you can withdraw your contributions at any time without penalty (note that earnings on your contributions <em>are</em> subject to IRS penalties).</p> <p>If you were to transfer funds from your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, you would pay applicable income taxes now, but no 10% penalty tax on contributions if you wait five years to withdraw those funds from your Roth IRA. Each transfer has its own five-year waiting period and you can only do one IRA rollover per year.</p> <h2>7. Periodic Income Distributions</h2> <p>Last but not least, you can take penalty-free distributions from your IRA by taking a series of substantially equal periodic payments (SEPP) over your life expectancy or the life expectancies of you and your designated beneficiary. The IRS website offers a useful list of frequently asked questions on <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Retirement-Plans-FAQs-regarding-Substantially-Equal-Periodic-Payments">setting up a SEPP plan</a>.</p> <p>If you're planning to set up a SEPP for early retirement, remember that there maybe some financial risks involved. So, before taking your first periodic income distribution, consult your accountant or financial advisor to check your calculations. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-early-retirement-might-be-financially-risky?ref=seealso">4 Reasons Early Retirement Might Be Financially Risky</a>)</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>Taking an early distribution of your IRA may be a last resort to make your financial goals, such as a first home purchase, happen. As you can see from these seven examples, there are ways for you to take an early withdrawal from an IRA without the 10% tax penalty. While these strategies may not be for everybody, some of them can be true game changers. Consult IRS Publication 590-B for more details.</p> <p><em>Have you used your IRA to take early withdrawals without a penalty? Share with us how you did in the comments section.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <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/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-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-tax-changes-for-2016">5 Important Tax Changes for 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/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k">4 Reasons Why a Roth IRA May be Better Than Your 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Taxes 401k borrowing health insurance home buying IRA medical bills penalties sepp Thu, 05 Nov 2015 13:15:18 +0000 Damian Davila 1605093 at http://www.wisebread.com The Step-by-Step Guide to Rolling Over Your 401(k) http://www.wisebread.com/the-step-by-step-guide-to-rolling-over-your-401k <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-step-by-step-guide-to-rolling-over-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/woman_401k_000020117190.jpg" alt="Woman discussing rolling over her 401(k) with her employer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've recently switched jobs, you may be wondering what to do with your retirement accounts. First, congratulations on thinking ahead and planning for your future. Rolling over accounts is an important step toward continuing to build your financial future, and we've created this step-by-step plan to help you navigate the process.</p> <p>That said, before you figure out how to rollover your 401(k), it's first important to know what not to do.</p> <h2>Don't Take a Distribution</h2> <p>It's tempting to let your former employer send you a check to cash out your account, but, unless you're over age 59&frac12;, this can be a huge mistake. Your former employer is required to withhold 20% of the distribution. On top of that, the IRS will charge you an additional 10% penalty if you're younger than 59&frac12;.</p> <p>To break it down in dollars and cents, let's assume there's a $10,000 balance in your 401(k) and you're in a 25% tax bracket.</p> <p>$10,0000 &ndash; $2,000 (20% Withholding) &ndash; $1,000 (10% Tax Penalty) = $7,000</p> <p>You've just taken a $3,000 hit on your portfolio. That's a heavy hit to take. Plus, you'll no longer have that money working in the market for you, which means you're more likely to end up like the majority of Americans who fear their retirement funds are lacking.</p> <p>Some people take distributions because they're not sure how to make ends meet between jobs (a valid fear). But taking a 401(k) distribution is one of the most expensive ways to bridge the gap when you're between jobs.</p> <p>But some distributions happen by accident. If you don't know how to conduct a 401(k) rollover, the paperwork can be confusing and it's easy to check the wrong box or make an inaccurate assumption.</p> <p>If your former company has already sent a check directly to you, there is a remedy, if you act fast. You'll have 60 days to get the funds deposited into an IRA. There is a bit of a hitch, though. You'll be directly responsible for making up the 20% that was withheld by your former employer.</p> <h2>So, What Should You Do?</h2> <p>If you're just starting the 401(k) rollover process, you'll have a few options.</p> <h3>Keep Your Funds In the Current 401(k)</h3> <p>If your 401(k) balance is greater than $5,000, you'll have the option to keep the money right where it is. The upside? No paperwork. The downside? Well, there are a few.</p> <ul> <li>It's easy to lose track of your accounts. The average person holds 11 jobs by age 46. That can add up to a lot of retirement accounts, if they're not being rolled over or combined.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Retirement plan quality varies greatly. Not all 401(k)s are created equal. There are drastically different fee structures and varying levels of investment options. Most separated employees would be better off moving their money into an account with a low-fee provider like Vanguard or Fidelity, each of which offers vast investment options for your IRA.</li> </ul> <p>Some employers automatically distribute 401(k) funds for separated employees if the balance is below the $5,000 mark. If this is you, you'll want to get your rollover going immediately.</p> <h3>Roll Your Funds Into Your New Employer's Retirement Plan</h3> <p>It's not a bad idea to keep your retirement funds in the same place, so that you don't lose track of previous accounts. Not all 401(k) plans accept rollovers, so if you want to go this route, check with your new employer first.</p> <p>If rollovers are accepted, ask your new employer for instructions on where your former employer should send your existing 401(k) funds. Once you have these rollover instructions, call your former employer and ask for the forms you'll need to fill out.</p> <p>Once the paperwork is complete, your former employer should send your account balance directly to your new employer's plan. There shouldn't be any taxes withheld or penalties assessed for a direct rollover. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-supercharge-your-retirement?ref=seealso">10 Easy Ways to Supercharge Your Retirement</a>)</p> <h3>Roll Your Funds Into an IRA</h3> <p>This is my favorite option, because low cost mutual fund giants like Vanguard or Fidelity generally offer more investment options than most employer 401(k) plans, and they're usually cheaper, too.</p> <p>The first step is to open a new IRA account with a high-quality, low-fee investment provider (like <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/openaccount?CompLocation=GlobalHeader&amp;Component=OpenAccount">Vanguard</a> or <a href="https://rewards.fidelity.com/offers/iramatch?imm_pid=1&amp;immid=00994&amp;imm_eid=e41730670&amp;buf=999999&amp;gclid=CjwKEAjwoZ-oBRCAjZqs96qCmzgSJADnWCv8IN3h4jALOK1EtX2J45rce9bLEBvEsPyTK_PJF86VXxoCDLLw_wcB">Fidelity</a>). You can open an account online with most investment providers by simply going to their website, selecting the Open An Account option, and looking for an account option for rolling over employer-sponsored retirement plan account. To open the new account, you'll need the following:</p> <ul> <li>Your personal information, like social security number, birth date, email address, and street address;</li> <li>The current balance in the 401(k) account that you're rolling over;</li> <li>Your former employer's name;</li> <li>The name of the investment (usually a mutual fund of exchange traded fund) in which you plan to invest your funds. If you don't know what to choose, a popular option is a target retirement fund, which automatically rebalances your account as you age and get closer to retirement.</li> </ul> <p>Once the rollover account is open, the next step is to call your former employer and ask for their rollover instructions. They will likely have a form that needs to be completed and will likely ask for the name and address of the investment house where the funds are to be sent. They'll also need your new rollover IRA account number.</p> <p>Make sure the check they send goes directly to the investment house where you've opened the new account. The check should be made out to the new investment house, with your name and new account number notated on the check. Do not have the check sent directly to you.</p> <p>To complete the transaction, some employers will require a letter of acceptance. If yours is one that does, you'll need to go back to the investment house where you opened the IRA and make the request. Not all employers require this, but it's not uncommon, either, meaning getting the form together shouldn't be a big deal for your new account holder.</p> <p>Once all the forms are signed and completed, it usually takes about three weeks for a rollover to be complete. The funds should be sent directly from your old employer to your new account holder and you should receive a confirmation either in the mail or email. Again, there shouldn't be any taxes withheld or penalties assessed for a direct rollover. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-set-up-an-ira-to-build-wealth?ref=seealso">How to Set Up An IRA to Build Wealth</a>)</p> <p>The whole thing should take about 10 minutes in paperwork and three weeks in wait time (while your old employer sends the funds to your new account holder). It's a small price to pay for building a secure retirement.</p> <p><em>Have you rolled over your 401(k) recently? Did you hit any snags or was it smooth sailing? Tell us about it in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-step-by-step-guide-to-rolling-over-your-401k">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-you-want-your-401k-to-grow-stop-doing-these-6-things">If You Want Your 401K to Grow, Stop Doing These 6 Things</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/left-a-job-do-a-rollover">Left a job? Do a rollover.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-you-cant-postpone-planning-for-your-retirement-and-how-to-start">This Is Why You Can&#039;t Postpone Planning for Your Retirement (And How to Start)</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/intimidated-by-retirement-investing-get-professional-help">Intimidated by Retirement Investing? Get Professional Help!</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-is-when-you-should-borrow-from-your-retirement-account">This Is When You Should Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) IRA life hacks personal finance retirement rollover Wed, 25 Mar 2015 13:00:10 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1356036 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Max Out Your IRA Contributions by April 15th http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-max-out-your-ira-contributions-by-april-15th <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-max-out-your-ira-contributions-by-april-15th" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_piggybank_000013609451.jpg" alt="Woman saving for IRA" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Did you know that if you make a <a href="https://www.fidelity.com/retirement-ira/contribution-limits-deadlines">personal IRA contribution</a> before April 15th of this year, that amount is deductible on your 2014 taxes? If you have the extra cash on hand, this is a great way to boost your retirement account while reducing your current tax burden. Here are seven creative ways to come up with that extra contribution money in the next month.</p> <h2>1. Don't Dine Out</h2> <p>April 15th is about a month away. What if you could make a promise to yourself not to eat out at all in the intervening weeks? Skip the morning coffee pick-up, bring your lunch to work, and find free ways to spend time with friends. Now, take all of that money you would have spent and deposit it into your IRA account, instead. It may sound like a big sacrifice, but it's only a month long and could add up to a big tax break.</p> <h2>2. Lace up Your Walking Shoes</h2> <p>Transportation is another big expense for many people. Consider when you might be able to use your own two feet, take low-cost or free public transportation, or bike to get you from point A to point B. Then, you can bank that transit money right into your IRA account.</p> <h2>3. Delay Spring Wardrobe and Home Purchases</h2> <p>Once the warm weather arrives, we're anxious for a personal and home makeover. If you can delay making any purchases such as these for the next month, you can use that money to contribute to your IRA. Think of it as giving your future self the gift of more freedom by putting that extra money into your retirement account today.</p> <h2>4. Itemize Your Deductions</h2> <p>Many people don't want to be bothered with itemizing their expenses, because it can take some time and requires additional organization and paperwork. However, if your itemized deductions are greater than the standard deduction, you'll save on taxes you owe, or get a bigger refund. Calculate your potential savings and put away that money in your IRA now to enjoy later.</p> <h2>5. Student Loan Interest Deduction</h2> <p>Many working adults today have student loans. If you make less than $80,000 per year as an individual (or less than $160,000 if filing jointly), you can deduct the interest you've paid on student loans. Use the money you'll save on that deduction to increase your contribution to your IRA.</p> <h2>6. Make Your Vacation a &quot;Staycation&quot;</h2> <p>After the rough winter we've had this year, it's tempting to take advantage of the ever-present travel deals being offered. Resist their offers and turn your spring vacation into a staycation. Chances are your hometown comes back to life once it thaws out from winter, and there are plenty of opportunities to re-discover it through events and activities that will help you <em>feel</em> like a tourist in your own backyard.</p> <h2>7. Delay Big Purchases</h2> <p>My laptop is now over five years old, and it's showing its age a bit with decreased speed. I'm tempted by all the features now available on new laptops, but I've decided that I can deal with a bit of decreased speed for the sake of banking some extra money. When it comes to big purchases like electronics, one thing is certain: In six months there will be a brighter, shinier model that's likely no more expensive than today's top-of-the-line. Get as much value out of your durable goods as possible, and only replace them when it's truly necessary. You'll be glad you did once you see that extra money accruing in your savings account.</p> <p>Maxing out your IRA isn't the sexiest purchase you'll ever make, but it's important to contribute as much as you can <em>as soon as you can</em> to take advantage of the compound interest it will generate.</p> <p><em>What clever tricks are you using this tax season to max out your IRA contributions? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-max-out-your-ira-contributions-by-april-15th">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account">7 Penalty-Free Ways to Withdraw Money From Your Retirement Account</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-this-the-end-of-the-back-door-roth-ira-tax-loophole">Is This the End of the Back-Door Roth IRA Tax Loophole?</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/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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-the-government-pays-you-to-live-green">11 Ways the Government Pays You to Live Green</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Taxes deductions IRA saving money Mon, 23 Mar 2015 11:00:09 +0000 Christa Avampato 1350978 at http://www.wisebread.com Is This the End of the Back-Door Roth IRA Tax Loophole? http://www.wisebread.com/is-this-the-end-of-the-back-door-roth-ira-tax-loophole <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/is-this-the-end-of-the-back-door-roth-ira-tax-loophole" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/president obama speech_0.jpg" alt="president obama speech" title="president obama speech" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>One of America's most beloved tax-trimming strategies may soon be outlawed.</p> <p>Deep inside President Barack Obama's proposed <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/budget/fy2016/assets/budget.pdf">Fiscal Year 2016 budget</a> is a measure &mdash; &quot;Limit Roth conversions to pre-tax dollars&quot; &mdash; that could put the kibosh on a practice used by high earners to dodge the income limits on Roth IRA contributions. The verbiage in the budget proposal is succinct, and therefore unclear. But experts say those six little words could stop high earners from contributing to their Roth by way of the back-door strategy.</p> <h2>What's the Big Deal With Back-Door Roths?</h2> <p>The Roth IRA offers account holders something very valuable: tax-free income in retirement. Since contributions to Roths are made using <em>after-tax dollars</em>, these accounts are not taxed as they grow, and no tax money is due when funds are withdrawn in retirement. The catch is that you can only directly <a href="http://www.wsj.com/video/psstthe-backdoor-route-to-a-roth-ira/09198754-C88E-4767-84F5-1FAD8547EBE9.html">contribute to a Roth IRA</a> if your income is below a certain ceiling. For jointly filing married couples, that limit is $191,000. For single filers, it's $129,000. Folks with income beyond those barriers may instead contribute to a traditional IRA account.</p> <p>But high earners (who value the benefits of these Roth accounts as much as the everyman) have a way of dodging the contribution limits that prevent them from enjoying these tax perks. Using the back-door strategy, high earners can make after-tax contributions to a traditional IRA account, for which there are no income restrictions, and then convert that account into a Roth. This method affords all the benefits of a Roth account with few of the limitations. And it's precisely this practice that Obama budget proposal wants to eradicate.</p> <h2>Uncertainty Around the Proposal</h2> <p>&quot;It seems to me they're saying that was a good workaround, but we don't want you to do it anymore,&quot; IRA expert and CPA Ed Slott told Forbes.</p> <p>But Slott says ending the back-door strategy is not so simple. One issue with Obama's l<a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2015/02/02/obama-budget-would-prohibit-backdoor-roth-iras/">oophole closure proposal</a> is that it doesn't jibe with the Internal Revenue Service's new rules on <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2014/10/15/aftertax-401k-rollovers-advanced-version/">after-tax rollovers</a>, which actually make it easier to convert after-tax dollars into Roth IRA accounts.</p> <p>&quot;They didn't look at the practicality of how it butts heads with the rules that we're working with now,&quot; Slott says.</p> <p>Now, it's important to keep in mind that the president's budget is more of a wishlist than a decree. It's bound to get rewritten, trimmed, and cut as the budget vetting process continues in Congress. But it's an important indicator of what the administration is thinking. And if you're a high earner enjoying the benefits of back-door Roths, it may signal an upcoming change in your retirement planning.</p> <p><em>Do you think back-door Roths should be eradicated? Why or why not?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/brittany-lyte">Brittany Lyte</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-this-the-end-of-the-back-door-roth-ira-tax-loophole">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/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account">7 Penalty-Free Ways to Withdraw Money From Your Retirement Account</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-choose-a-roth-401k-or-a-regular-401k">Should You Choose a Roth 401k or a Regular 401k?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-max-out-your-ira-contributions-by-april-15th">7 Ways to Max Out Your IRA Contributions by April 15th</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/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses">Stop Making These 10 Bogus Retirement Savings Excuses</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Taxes IRA Roth tax evasion Thu, 12 Mar 2015 13:00:08 +0000 Brittany Lyte 1333205 at http://www.wisebread.com You May Be Putting Your Retirement Money in the Wrong Place http://www.wisebread.com/you-may-be-putting-your-retirement-money-in-the-wrong-place <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/you-may-be-putting-your-retirement-money-in-the-wrong-place" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man-reading-newspaper-122577774-small.jpg" alt="man reading newspaper" title="man reading newspaper" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For many investors, their primary &mdash; if not only &mdash; retirement investment account is their workplace 401(k) plan. But if you also have an IRA, perhaps because you rolled over the balance of a workplace plan from a former employer, it's important to make sure your account is at the best broker. Making that determination depends mostly on the size of your portfolio, the types of investments you prefer, and how much trading you do. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/begin-your-investing-career-right-with-some-mutual-fund-basics?ref=seealso">Begin Your Investment Career Right With Some Mutual Fund Basics</a>)</p> <p>Let's take a look at some of the variables.</p> <h2>Portfolio Size</h2> <p>If you're just getting started with investing, the minimum amounts required to open a brokerage account (where you'll be able to open an IRA and buy and sell stocks, mutual funds, and other types of investments) are a good starting point for choosing a broker.</p> <p>Several brokers require no minimums for opening an account, including TD Ameritrade, E*TRADE, and ShareBuilder. At Fidelity, the minimum to open an IRA is usually $2,500, but if you commit to investing $200 per month automatically, you can open an account with your first $200.</p> <h2>Preferred Investments</h2> <p>What types of investments do you want to make and how often do you plan to trade? The main investment choices are stocks or mutual funds.</p> <h3>Stock Investing</h3> <p>While I recommend mutual funds over individual stocks for most people because funds are inherently diversified and therefore usually less risky, if you prefer stocks you can usually find a broker running a promotion for a certain number of free trades. For example, OptionsHouse is offering 150 commission-free trades for those opening a new account. After that, their commission is a low $4.75 per trade. TradeKing's stock commissions are almost as low at $4.95 per trade.</p> <p>It doesn't take much money to invest in stocks since you can buy as little as one share. For example, as of this writing, one share of Microsoft could be purchased for a little over $45 plus commission. Of course, you'll need to invest in more than one company in order to be adequately diversified, so the lower the trading fees the better.</p> <h3>Mutual Fund Investing</h3> <p>All mutual funds have minimum initial investment amounts that need to be taken into account, often starting at $1,000. In many cases, you'll also pay a transaction fee (commission). However, this is an area where brokers distinguish themselves by offering a number of no transaction fee (NTF) funds. Fidelity, Schwab, and Scottrade are some of the leaders here. Fidelity, for example, offers nearly 3,000 NTF funds. The fee for investing in most of the other funds offered through Fidelity's platform is $49.95, although some cost $75.</p> <p>To make up for the fee income they forego by offering NTF funds, brokers typically charge a short-term trading fee if you sell certain NTF funds within 60 to 180 days. For its funds that such fees apply to, Fidelity's short-term period is 60 days, which is the shortest short-term trading period I'm aware of. If you sell any of those funds more quickly than that, you'll pay a fee of $75. Schwab's and Scottrade's short-term holding period is 90 days. TD Ameritrade requires that you hold some of its funds for at least 180 days.</p> <p>If you're a buy-and-hold investor, short-term holding period restrictions may not matter to you. But if your <a href="http://www.soundmindinvesting.com/visitor/2013/oct/level2.htm">investment strategy</a> calls for a certain amount of trading throughout the year, such restrictions, and the potential fees involved, can make a big difference.</p> <p>If you're strictly an index fund investor and are partial to the low-cost funds offered by Vanguard, the company that invented index funds, open your account there. The vast majority of Vanguard's mutual funds and exchange-traded funds are commission-free. You can buy Vanguard's funds through other brokers, but you'll usually have to pay a commission for doing so.</p> <h3>Exchange-Traded Funds</h3> <p>ETFs are considered a type of mutual fund since they hold multiple stocks or other funds. However, they are bought and sold in a fashion similar to stocks. Investors can purchase a single share, for example, and the commission structure is typically the same as what a broker charges for stocks. Here, too, some brokers offer a number of no-commission ETFs. Schwab, for example, offers over 100 ETFs that may be bought or sold without paying a fee. Fidelity offers 80. Some brokers charge a short-term redemption fee if you sell a commission-free ETF within a certain time frame.</p> <p>Stocks and funds. If you invest in both stocks and mutual funds, you'll want a broker that charges a reasonable commission for stock trades and offers a wide assortment of no transaction fee mutual funds. Whereas ShareBuilder offers both types of investments and charges just $6.95 per stock trade, its lineup of NTF mutual funds is very limited. In this situation, Fidelity, Schwab, or Scottrade may be better options.</p> <p>As you can see, there are lots of choices when it comes to brokerage houses, and this represents only a framework for making an informed choice. See if account minimums apply to you and make sure you understand the fees involved for making the types of investments you prefer and for trading them as frequently as you plan to. Be sure to look at more than just the commission schedule, understanding short-term holding period requirements as well.</p> <p><em>If you have investments outside of a work 401(k), where do you keep them? Please share in comments!</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/you-may-be-putting-your-retirement-money-in-the-wrong-place">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/this-is-why-you-cant-postpone-planning-for-your-retirement-and-how-to-start">This Is Why You Can&#039;t Postpone Planning for Your Retirement (And How to Start)</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-ways-investing-sucks-and-why-you-should-do-it-anyway">7 Ways Investing Sucks (and Why You Should Do It Anyway)</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-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make</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/9-silly-reasons-people-dont-invest-but-should">9 Silly Reasons People Don&#039;t Invest (But Should)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-times-raiding-your-retirement-accounts-early-is-okay">4 Times Raiding Your Retirement Accounts Early Is Okay</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment 401(k) investing IRA retirement retirement saving saving Thu, 28 Aug 2014 13:00:11 +0000 Matt Bell 1196855 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways Investing Sucks (and Why You Should Do It Anyway) http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-investing-sucks-and-why-you-should-do-it-anyway <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-investing-sucks-and-why-you-should-do-it-anyway" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple-financial-trouble-178554212-small.jpg" alt="couple financial trouble" title="couple financial trouble" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Okay, so you're thinking about investing, but you're finding it all to be bit annoying. Too much confusing information. Too much risk. Too many hidden costs. Yeah, investing kinda sucks.</p> <p>But here's the thing. You have to do it. It's not really an optional thing anymore if you want to build wealth over the long term. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-investing-concepts-to-ignore-and-10-to-follow?ref=seealso">10 Investing Concepts to Follow</a>)</p> <p>Let's take a look at some of the biggest problems with investing, and why you should do it anyway.</p> <h2>1. It Can Be Confusing and Scary at First</h2> <p>If you're new to investing, you will probably find yourself overwhelmed by it all. There's a lot of special lingo and confusing terms, and you may have no idea how to even get started. You're afraid your money may disappear, and besides, the notion of saving for retirement seems ridiculous when you're young.</p> <h3>Why You Should Invest Anyway</h3> <p>Fear is normal, but you should not let it be an obstacle to getting started. When done sensibly, investing is a tremendous avenue to building financial security and wealth. And it's best to get started as soon as you can.</p> <p>Start slowly by investing a modest amount of money in a 401(k) plan or individual retirement account. Educate yourself about the basics of individual stocks and mutual funds. Read a few annual reports and a prospectus or two. And don't be afraid to seek advice. Find a certified financial planner who can help you get started for a relatively small fee. If you open an account with a discount broker such as Fidelity or Charles Schwab (a good idea), advice is often included at no cost, and these firms offer useful self-help videos and webinars. Get started. You won't regret it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/begin-your-investing-career-right-with-some-mutual-fund-basics?ref=seealso">Begin Your Investing Career Right</a>)</p> <h2>2 . It Takes Time to Manage</h2> <p>True, you'd rather be living your life than worrying about stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and earnings reports. Every moment you spend watching the stock market is one less moment playing with your kids, watching a ballgame, or working on your novel.</p> <h3>Why You Should Invest Anyway</h3> <p>It's not as time-consuming as you think. A simple, balanced portfolio of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds doesn't require a lot of maintenance once you're all set up. If you are investing for retirement, you could go weeks without even checking your balance (and it's probably healthier for you mentally, too.)</p> <h2>3. It Might Take Away From Your Day-to-Day Living Expenses</h2> <p>If you decide to direct 5% of your salary to your 401(k), that's money you won't have available to spend. You'll have 5% less cash to do things like pay the rent, go out to eat, or take a vacation. And that stinks.</p> <h3>Why You Should Invest Anyway</h3> <p>If you <em>don't</em> sock that money away, you'll likely have a terrible retirement. The key is to invest as much money as you can and adjust your lifestyle accordingly. Learn to live more frugally if you have to. You'll survive, and your future self will thank you.</p> <p>Investing for the long haul is the best approach, but you can also boost your income now through dividends and capital gains.</p> <h2>4. You May Lose Money in the Short Term</h2> <p>Investing comes with risk. Any money you place in the stock market or other investments could decline in value, as anyone who endured the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009 can attest. And losing money sucks.</p> <h3>Why You Should Invest Anyway</h3> <p>There may be years in which the markets take a dive, but it's important to know that the S&amp;P 500 <a href="http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/New_Home_Page/datafile/histretSP.html">has averaged a return of more than 9% annually</a> since 1928. The key here is to avoid day-to-day market watching and take a long-term approach to investing. Don't think about how a stock or mutual fund has performed over the last week or even the last year. Think about how it will perform between now and when you want to retire. The longer you invest, the more likely you are to see your money grow substantially. (This is also an argument in favor of getting started as early as you can.) (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/using-time-horizons-to-make-smarter-investments?ref=seealso">Using Time Horizons to Make Smarter Investments</a>)</p> <p>It's important to note that you'll be protected against big losses if you have a diversified portfolio. Index funds are a great way to invest in the broader stock market and protect yourself against wild price swings. If you want to invest in individual stocks, buy shares of large, diversified companies that offer strong historical returns.</p> <p>If you are getting close to retirement, financial advisors suggest changing the mix of your investment portfolio to include safer investments like bonds and CDs.</p> <h2>5. Fees</h2> <p>Just about every time you invest, someone takes a small portion of your money. You might pay something like $9 every time you trade. If you invest in mutual funds, the managers of those funds might take a percentage point or two for their expenses.</p> <h3>Why You Should Invest Anyway</h3> <p>Over time, market returns usually more than offset any fees you pay. And you can avoid paying high fees in many cases. Discount brokers including Vanguard, Fidelity, and Charles Schwab offer well-performing Index funds with expense ratios of a tenth of a percent or even less. Also keep an eye out for investments that can be traded without a commission. (Fidelity, for instance, allows investors to trade its iShares Exchange Traded Funds <em>at no charge</em>.)</p> <h2>6. Taxes</h2> <p>Wait, so I have to pay normal taxes on my salary, and then I have to pay 15% or more in taxes on any capital gains and dividends from the money I choose to invest? This sucks!</p> <h3>Why You Should Invest Anyway</h3> <p>You wouldn't forego your salary because you have to pay taxes on it, would you? The same goes for investments. But it's important to know that even though the taxman likes to take his chunk, it's fairly easy to avoid or reduce the amount you pay. When you invest in a 401(k) or traditional IRA, the amount you contribute is deducted from your taxable income. If you contribute to a Roth IRA, you can withdraw your money as well as the capital gains tax-free when you retire. Other accounts, such as 529 College savings plans and similar education accounts can also allow you invest tax-free and have other tax benefits.</p> <p>There are other ways to avoid paying too much in taxes. It's worth a visit to your accountant to find the best way to invest and keep more of the money you earn.</p> <h2>7. You May Have to Wait to Get Your Money</h2> <p>One of the tough things about saving for retirement is that you often can't access your money until you reach a certain age. Most individual retirement accounts and 410(k) plans will not let you withdraw money before age 59&frac12; without paying a 10% penalty. You might have hundreds of thousands of dollars in an account, but you'll get stung if you withdraw that dough early.</p> <h3>Why You Should Invest Anyway</h3> <p>For most people, the primary goal of investing is to build wealth for retirement. It's important to understand that retirement planning is a marathon, not a sprint. Leaving your money alone for a long time will help it grow. Consider that if you invest $100 a month from now until 2039, you'll have about $221,000 based on average market returns. Keep going until 2045, and you'll have $356,000. That's right, an extra five years in this scenario will land you 65% more money. So embrace the wait. Waiting is your friend.</p> <p><em>What's keeping you from investing? Let us know in comments, and we'll see if we can't convince you why you should anyway.</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/7-ways-investing-sucks-and-why-you-should-do-it-anyway">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-may-be-putting-your-retirement-money-in-the-wrong-place">You May Be Putting Your Retirement Money in the Wrong Place</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/this-is-why-you-cant-postpone-planning-for-your-retirement-and-how-to-start">This Is Why You Can&#039;t Postpone Planning for Your Retirement (And How to Start)</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/intimidated-by-retirement-investing-get-professional-help">Intimidated by Retirement Investing? Get Professional Help!</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-dumb-401k-mistakes-smart-people-make">5 Dumb 401(k) Mistakes Smart People Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-silly-reasons-people-dont-invest-but-should">9 Silly Reasons People Don&#039;t Invest (But Should)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment 401(k) investing IRA retirement Mon, 18 Aug 2014 09:00:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 1185370 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Places to Keep Your Money Safe — And Growing http://www.wisebread.com/12-places-to-keep-your-money-safe-and-growing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-places-to-keep-your-money-safe-and-growing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mobile-banking-160857206-small.jpg" alt="mobile banking" title="mobile banking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Maybe you've heard a story like this: An entirely ordinary &mdash; and often reclusive &mdash; elderly person passes away, revealing the millions of dollars they have stashed away in their modest homes.<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/09/7-million-in-gold-discovered-in-dead-mans-home/"> One Nevada man died to reveal a fortune</a>, including gold bars and coins, worth more than $7 million. His bank account was found to be holding a meager $200.</p> <p>In an age when there are so very many options for saving, investing, and managing our money, the notion that people still really do put cash under their mattresses is a bit hard to imagine. Then again, if you've been faced with the task of deciding where to keep your savings, you've probably discovered it isn't an easy one, precisely because there are so many choices.</p> <p>So where can you keep your money safe but still earn a decent return? Here are some key options.</p> <h2>Savings Accounts</h2> <p>They're simple, they're convenient, they're easy to find and they're perfectly safe in terms of protecting your principal investment. Because there is so much competition, you can also find a decent interest rate if you shop around. Just be sure to choose an account with no fees. Who wants to pay to save? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-savings-account-interest-rates-are-so-low?ref=seealso">Why Savings Account Interest Rates Are So Low</a>)</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>Those who prioritize liquidity (the ability to withdraw your money whenever you want it without restrictions) above all other conveniences. If you're looking to save for shorter term goals, or for an emergency fund, a savings account is a great option.</p> <h2>Money Market Accounts</h2> <p>This type of savings account tends to provide higher returns than a typical savings account, but that also has more restrictions on withdrawals and minimum deposits. Some money market accounts even allow some check-writing privileges. These accounts are risk free in terms of losing your initial deposit and, like a simple savings account, are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which protects your deposits against bank failure.</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>Those who value safety and are willing to forego some convenience and accessibility for higher rates of return.</p> <h2>High-Yield Checking Accounts</h2> <p>Many checking accounts charge a monthly fee, but some checking accounts, often called &quot;high yield checking accounts,&quot; actually offer pretty solid interest rates instead. These accounts are typically offered by local credit unions and online banks and, as of July 2014, some offered interest rates as high as 5% &mdash; although there are quite a few caveats to scoring that kind of return. You can run a search of these types of accounts and what they offer at <a href="https://www.checkingfinder.com/">CheckingFinder</a>.</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>Those who seek safety, reasonably good liquidity and don't mind jumping through a few hoops for a higher return.</p> <h2>Certificates of Deposit</h2> <p>A certificate of deposit, or CD, is a sort of IOU from a bank in which the bank agrees to pay back the amount you deposited plus a specific amount of interest within a certain time frame. For example, if you buy a $1,000 CD with a 5% interest rate, you'll be owed $105 when the CD matures. Generally, you can't withdraw this money before the CD's maturity date without incurring a penalty. However, CDs are very low risk and generally provide higher returns than a savings or money market account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-basics-of-cd-laddering?ref=seealso">The Basics of CD Laddering</a>)</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>Those who are seeking a long-term savings vehicle and don't expect to need to access their savings immediately.</p> <h2>U.S Savings Bonds</h2> <p>If you can afford to keep your money tied up for at least a year, U.S. savings bonds might be another option to consider. These super-safe investments are sold and backed by the U.S. government and they tend to provide competitive interest rates. As an added bonus, interest on government bonds (unlike corporate bonds) is accrued monthly and compounded semi-annually, helping your investment grow a bit faster. You may also get tax deferral or exemption benefits on the proceeds of government bonds.</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>If you're seeking safety and plan to keep your money invested for between one and five years, government bonds may be a good bet for you.</p> <h2>Pay Down Debt</h2> <p>We often think of savings as money that we save, but you could also think of it as money that you spend to save you money. If you have a lot of debt that you're trying to pay off, it's probably best to save up an emergency fund and then put the rest of any money available for saving toward your debt. If you consider that some credit cards have interest rates of 20% or more, paying down your balance actually has a pretty great financial return.</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>Those who have what's called &quot;revolving debt,&quot; or debt that you aren't able to pay off at the end of the month and continues to compound interest charges. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-inspiring-people-who-each-paid-off-over-100000-in-debt">5 Inspiring People Who Each Paid Off Over $100,000 in Debt</a>.)</p> <h2>Pay Down Your Mortgage</h2> <p>Just as paying off your credit card or line of credit can provide a return in the form saved interest expenses, so can paying down your mortgage. Plus, if you consider that a home is one of the most valuable assets many people own, paying into that asset can act as a bit of a savings account you can cash in when you downsize later in life.</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>Anyone with a mortgage &mdash; as long as you have other essential savings bases covered, such as an emergency fund and retirement savings.</p> <h2>Real Estate</h2> <p>Not everyone is a fan of watching the number of digits in their bank balance grow; some people prefer to invest in something concrete, and that often means investing in real estate. Yes, the real estate market in the United States has had some serious lows in recent years, but over the long term, <a href="https://www.ncreif.org/property-index-returns.aspx">real estate has proved to have reasonable growth</a>.</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>Those who like concrete investments, who can handle some long-term risks, and who aren't interested in liquidity at all. Seriously &mdash; it can take months, or years, to sell a property.</p> <h2>Your Workplace Retirement Program</h2> <p>If you have a workplace retirement program, use it. It's as simple as that. Not only will contributions to a retirement plan such as a 401(k) reduce your taxable income, but your investment will also go to work immediately to help ensure that your golden years really are golden. Plus, any employer contribution represents free money, so at least contribute enough to your plan to maximize your employer's matching program.</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>Anyone who has access to one, particularly if your employer matches some of your contributions.</p> <h2>An IRA</h2> <p>Most types of IRAs are investment vehicles that allow you to save money and defer paying taxes on that money until you retire. The benefit of this arrangement is that savings can grow faster without the headwind taxes represent. It is also assumed that people's income will be lower when they're no longer working, putting them into a lower tax bracket and allowing them to withdraw their funds at a lower tax rate when they retire. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choosing-a-retirement-account-whats-available-and-what-s-best-for-you?ref=seealso">Choosing a Retirement Account</a>)</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>IRAs are suitable for most investors, but there are many different types with different rules and benefits. Therefore, it's best to do some research or consult with a retirement planner to help you decide what kind of IRA might work best for you.</p> <h2>A Flexible Spending Account</h2> <p>Medical and other health related costs add up very quickly. That's why some employers offer what are called flexible spending accounts, or FSAs. In an FSA, your employer will deduct pre-tax income from your paycheck and set it aside for you to use on qualifying health expenditures that aren't covered by your regular health insurance plan. Often, you get to decide how much you contribute up to a certain limit. FSAs are a good bet because they ensure you have some money set aside for unexpected medical expenses. Because they're funded with pre-tax income, they can also significantly reduce your income tax bill.</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>Those who are concerned about medical expenditures, have health problems or have a number of dependents on their health plan.</p> <h2>Educational Savings Account</h2> <p>If you have children, an education savings account (read: college fund) may be a great place to park your cash. You can contribute up to $2,000 per year, and interest is accumulated tax free. The only caveat to avoiding taxes is that your child has to use the money by the age of 30 for qualifying educational purposes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-reasons-not-to-save-for-your-childs-college-fund?ref=seealso">3 Reasons Not Save For Your Kid's College Education</a>)</p> <h3>Who It's Best For</h3> <p>People with kids, especially if they're bound for the Ivy League &ndash; you're going to need all the money you can get!</p> <p><em>Do you have a great savings vehicle I missed? Let me know where you're keeping your savings in the comments.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-places-to-keep-your-money-safe-and-growing">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/discover-bank-review-you-know-the-card-but-what-about-the-bank">Discover Bank Review: You Know the Card, but What About the Bank?</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/are-you-paying-these-6-unfair-banking-fees">Are You Paying These 6 Unfair Banking Fees?</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/this-is-why-you-cant-postpone-planning-for-your-retirement-and-how-to-start">This Is Why You Can&#039;t Postpone Planning for Your Retirement (And How to Start)</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/easy-savings-in-2007">Easy savings in 2007</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/an-introduction-to-high-yield-reward-checking-accounts">An Introduction to High Yield Reward Checking Accounts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking banking checking investing IRA money market safe investments saving Tue, 12 Aug 2014 13:00:22 +0000 Tara Struyk 1180824 at http://www.wisebread.com If You Want Your 401K to Grow, Stop Doing These 6 Things http://www.wisebread.com/if-you-want-your-401k-to-grow-stop-doing-these-6-things <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/if-you-want-your-401k-to-grow-stop-doing-these-6-things" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/401k-savings-452996721-small.jpg" alt="401k savings" title="401k savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="156" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you counting on your 401(k) to fund your dream retirement? If so, make sure you're not making the following common mistakes. By avoiding these pitfalls, you'll ensure that you end up with the most money possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/optimize-your-ira-and-401k?ref=seealso">Optimize Your IRA and Your 401(k)</a>)</p> <h2>Stick to the Default Contribution Percentage</h2> <p>If your employer automatically enrolls you in your 401(k), that's a great thing. More employees usually end up participating in the plan than if they had to sign up on their own. Sticking to the default contribution rate, however, is not that good. The <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2013/11/18/the-downside-of-401k-automatic-enrollment">average default contribution rate</a> for plans with automatic enrollment is just 3.4%.</p> <p>There are two reasons why this won't help your 401(k) grow.</p> <h3>1. Too Low to Earn the Full Employer Match</h3> <p>This may not be the amount that'll get you the full matching contribution from your employer. On average, most workers would need to contribute an average of 5.1% of pay to get the full match their employers are offering. The employer match is extra money your employer will give you for free, as long as you contribute your own money first. Since you're entitled to this money as part of your compensation package, it wouldn't be wise to pass it up.</p> <h3>2. Falls Short of the Contribution Limit</h3> <p>This may not be the amount that'll get you contributing up to the full <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Participant,-Employee/Retirement-Topics---401%28k%29-and-Profit-Sharing-Plan-Contribution-Limits">IRS contribution limit</a>. The contribution limit is the most amount of money you can invest in a single year. And the more money you put in now, the more money you'll have later. In 2014, you can contribute a maximum of $17,500. If you're age 50 or over, this amount increases to $23,000.</p> <p>In order to contribute at the 3% rate and still reach the maximum of $17,500, you'd need to be making about $590,000 per year. So if your salary is less than that, find ways to contribute more than 3%. Because the more money you invest now, the more you'll have later.</p> <h2>Stick to the Default Fund Choice</h2> <p>If your employer automatically enrolls you in your 401(k), they may also choose the fund you're invested in. Sometimes, this isn't the best choice.</p> <p>Check to see if the default fund is either a money market or stable value fund. If it is, you may want to switch to another fund. These funds aren't designed to really grow your money. Instead, their purpose &mdash; as their name suggests &mdash; is simply to keep the value of your money stable.</p> <p>Better investment choices include stock and bond index funds. For more help on choosing the best fund, check out <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0470067365/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0470067365&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=V3ISWB6EAGPEJZLJ">The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing</a>.</p> <h2>Put Too Much Money in Your Company's Stock</h2> <p>Professionals recommend no more than 5% to 10% in a company's stock. And there's a good reason why.</p> <p>Remember what happened to Enron? Employees who put most of their retirement funds in their company stock not only lost their jobs &mdash; they also <a href="http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2002/01/enro-j14.html">lost their retirement money</a>.</p> <p>Rather than investing most of your money in your company's stock, it's better to ensure that your money is properly diversified.</p> <h2>Borrow From Your 401(k)</h2> <p>The main reason not to do this is because if you take out a loan from your 401(k), then that money is no longer working towards your retirement needs. In other words, you lose the power of <a href="https://personal.vanguard.com/us/insights/saving-investing/power-of-compounding">compounding</a>.</p> <p>Also, if you leave your job, you'll generally be required to repay the loan balance <a href="https://guidance.fidelity.com/viewpoints-workplace/borrowing-from-your-retirement-sv">within 60 days</a>. If you don't, the unpaid balance is considered as defaulted. This means you'll need to pay a 10% penalty on top of owing income taxes on the defaulted amount if you are not at least age 59 &frac12;. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-when-you-should-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso">This Is When You Should Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <h2>Cash Out If You Leave Your Job</h2> <p>By cashing out, you not only get taxed and penalized, but similar to borrowing, you also lose the earnings that money could have generated.</p> <p>Worst of all, you probably <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/fidelity/2014/04/17/the-risks-of-cashing-out-your-401k-early/">won't even get all of your money</a>: If you haven't reached age 59 &frac12;, your employer is required to withhold 20% for the IRS. On top of that, you'll need to pay a 10% early withdrawal penalty.</p> <p>So for every $1,000 you cash out, you would only receive about $700. The other $300 would go to the IRS.</p> <h2>Settle for High Fees</h2> <p>Most employees don't realize it, but there are costs associated with investing in your 401(k).</p> <p>These include fees to pay brokers, accountants, administrators, and fund managers just to name a few.</p> <p>How much can all of this add up to?</p> <p>In <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0767929845/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0767929845&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=27ZD3XFCFMBL4UQV">Fight For Your Money</a>, David Bach found that when you add in these fees and hidden charges, the average 401(k) plan actually costs employees between 3% and 3.5% of what they've got invested each year.</p> <p>So what should you do?</p> <p>Ask your company or 401(k) provider for a breakdown of the fees you're being charged. If they are much more than 3%, <a href="http://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/How_to_campaign_for_a_better_401%28k%29_plan">complain</a>.</p> <p>By ensuring that you don't make these mistakes, you'll increase your chances of building a nice, large nest egg for your retirement.</p> <p><em>Are you making any of these 401(k) mistakes? Any others we should be aware of? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/darren-wu">Darren Wu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-you-want-your-401k-to-grow-stop-doing-these-6-things">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/this-is-why-you-cant-postpone-planning-for-your-retirement-and-how-to-start">This Is Why You Can&#039;t Postpone Planning for Your Retirement (And How to Start)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-step-by-step-guide-to-rolling-over-your-401k">The Step-by-Step Guide to Rolling Over 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/4-reasons-why-you-must-open-a-roth-ira-before-april-15">4 Reasons Why You Must Open a Roth IRA Before April 15</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/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) investment IRA retirement taxes Mon, 30 Jun 2014 09:00:05 +0000 Darren Wu 1150361 at http://www.wisebread.com 12 Things You Didn't Know About Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-didnt-know-about-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/12-things-you-didnt-know-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/retirement-86490853-small.jpg" alt="retirement" title="retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="145" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's nice to get out of the rat race.</p> <p>However, once you hit retirement you have to learn to get along with way less &quot;cheese.&quot; With <a href="http://www.ebri.org/pdf/FF.276.Ests.10Apr14.pdf">less than half of Americans</a> having ever thought about how much money they need for retirement, it is clear that several people are still clueless about retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-the-basic-intro-to-having-a-retirement-fund-that-everyone-needs-to-read?ref=seealso">This Is the Basic Intro to Having a Retirement Fund That Everyone Needs to Read</a>)</p> <p>If you consider yourself a know-it-all in retirement matters, here is a list of 12 things about retirement that may shock you.</p> <h2>1. Some May Not Retire At All</h2> <p>If you think that most people retire at age 65, think again. Back in 1991, only about 11% of workers expected to retire after age 65. Fast forward to 2014 and 33% of workers expect to retire after age 65 and <a href="http://www.ebri.org/pdf/FF.273.RetAge.20Mar14.pdf">10% don't plan to retire at all</a>. Attitudes are changing and more Americans are considering semi-retirement during their golden years.</p> <h2>2. $1 Million Is Not Enough</h2> <p>For several years, financial advisors have used $1 million as a rule of thumb for your target retirement fund. As life expectancy improves, this target may be too low. With men and women reaching ages <a href="http://www.ssa.gov/planners/lifeexpectancy.htm">84 and 86</a> respectively, $1 million nest eggs may run out. Considering a 4% annual withdrawal, a $1 million retirement fund may last you only <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/finance/retirement/retirement-statistics-1.aspx">about 25 years</a>. The Social Security Administration projects that about 10% of 65 year olds will even live beyond 95.</p> <h2>3. Gen Y Needs to Save $2 Million</h2> <p>Here is some bad news for those born in the early 1980's and later. <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2011/09/15/gen-ys-2-million-retirement-price-tag">Many registered investment advisors</a> recommend members of Gen Y have a retirement savings goal of at least $2 million. Inflation, higher student debt, more expensive health care, and longer life expectancy are major causes for this radical increase. The key to saving $2 million for retirement is starting early. Assuming a 7% average annual return, you'll need to save $510 per month if you start at age 20. If you start age 40, you'll need to put away $2,270 every month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retirement-planning-if-you-re-under-30?ref=seealso">Retirement Planning If You're Under 30</a>)</p> <h2>4. Full Retirement Age Is 67</h2> <p>When reading the fine print from your retirement accounts, an age that appears a lot is 59 &frac12;. This is the age at which most retirement accounts allow you to start taking withdrawals without any penalty. This is not the case for social security benefits. The <a href="http://www.ssa.gov/retire2/retirechart.htm">full retirement age</a> for those born 1960 and later is 67.</p> <p>This means that if you decide to retire before age 67, you are entitled to reduced social security retirement benefits. For example, if you retire at 65, you get about 13.3% less than you would at age 67. On the other hand, if you decide to retire past age 67 you are entitled to <a href="http://www.ssa.gov/retire2/delayret.htm">delayed retirement credits</a>, which boost your benefits slightly. Delayed retirement credits reach a cap at age 70.</p> <h2>5. Almost Half of Americans Have Less Than $10,000 Saved for Retirement</h2> <p><a href="http://www.ebri.org/files/Final-FS.RCS-13.FS_3.Saving.FINAL.pdf">46% of all American workers</a> have less than $10,000 saved for retirement and 29% of all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement. If you fall under either of these categories, get your retirement strategy together. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-supercharge-your-retirement?ref=seealso">10 Easy Ways to Supercharge Your Retirement</a>)</p> <h2>6. Employer-Sponsored Plans Increase the Likelihood You'll Save</h2> <p>Here is some good news: Those workers that participate in retirement plans at work are 45% more likely to save than those that don't. According to data from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, those saving for retirement at work are more likely to have saved at least $50,000.</p> <h2>7. Self-Employed Can Save for Retirement</h2> <p>Freelancers, independent contractors, and small business owners can save for retirement, too. The best options are <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/One-Participant-401(k)-Plans">one participant 401(k)'s</a> and <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Sponsor/Simplified-Employee-Pension-Plan-(SEP)">Simplified Employee Pensions</a> (SEP's), which both have higher caps than Roth or Traditional IRAs. Under both retirement accounts, you can put away up to 20% of your net self-employment earnings with a cap at $51,000, as of 2013. Most financial firms can offer a SEP, but fewer can offer a one participant 401(k). Contact your financial institution for more details for eligibility requirements and rules.</p> <h2>8. Older Workers Can Save $5,500 Extra for Retirement</h2> <p>It is never too late to start saving for retirement. The IRS gives all workers age 50 or older the chance to make catch-up contributions of <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Participant,-Employee/Retirement-Topics-Catch-Up-Contributions">$5,500 every year</a> to their retirement accounts. These catch-up contributions are the best way to give your nest egg a much needed boost.</p> <h2>9. Married Couples Save More</h2> <p>When it comes to retirement planning, married couples are doing better than singles. Unmarried men and women are just as likely to have ever saved for retirement and to be currently contributing to a retirement account. However, those <a href="http://www.ebri.org/pdf/FF.275.Svrs.3Apr141.pdf">probabilities double for married workers</a> and their spouses. Nearly 75% of married of married couples are currently saving for retirement. These statistics prove that two heads think better than one.</p> <h2>10. Children Can Contribute to an IRA</h2> <p>That's not a typo. Little Jimmy can start putting away that lemonade stand money into a traditional IRA, even if he's just age 10. You can open a traditional IRA, a Roth IRA, or an Education IRA for your children and they can <a href="http://www.fool.com/money/investingforkids/investingforkids03.htm">contribute up to $2,000 per year</a> from their income. While you will have custodial control over your kid's account until she reaches legal age, you have to eventually turn over the rights to her. Make sure to discuss with her the implications of early withdrawals.</p> <h2>11. Non-Working Spouses Can Have Retirement Funds, Too</h2> <p>If you file taxes jointly with your spouse and have non-working spouse, you can fund your spouse's traditional or Roth IRA. The working spouse can contribute up to $5,500 per year to the non-working spouse's account, and up to $6,500 when over age 50.</p> <h2>12. IRAs Are Protected From Bankruptcy Proceedings</h2> <p>Under the <a href="http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/PLAW-109publ8/html/PLAW-109publ8.htm">Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act</a> (BAPCPA) of 2005, the first $1 million of traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs are protected in case of bankruptcy. The amount protected is adjusted every 3 years to current cost of livings standards and, as of 2013, it stands at $1,245,475. There is no protection cap for employer-sponsored retirement plans, such as 401(k)s, 403(b) profit sharing plans, and 457(b) deferred compensation plans.</p> <p><em>Did anything here surprise you? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-things-you-didnt-know-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-5"> <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/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-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-why-your-retirement-cost-calculations-may-be-wrong">8 Reasons Why Your Retirement Cost Calculations May Be Wrong</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/if-you-want-your-401k-to-grow-stop-doing-these-6-things">If You Want Your 401K to Grow, Stop Doing These 6 Things</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/left-a-job-do-a-rollover">Left a job? Do a rollover.</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-is-when-you-should-borrow-from-your-retirement-account">This Is When You Should Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) IRA retirement facts social security Wed, 25 Jun 2014 21:00:04 +0000 Damian Davila 1147194 at http://www.wisebread.com This Is Why You Can't Postpone Planning for Your Retirement (And How to Start) http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-you-cant-postpone-planning-for-your-retirement-and-how-to-start <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/this-is-why-you-cant-postpone-planning-for-your-retirement-and-how-to-start" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retirement-couple-121197844-small.jpg" alt="retirement" title="retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="151" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's no secret that for today's workers, the burden for retirement planning has shifted from employer to employee. What many savers don't realize is that the costs associated with retirement are much higher than many workers expect. Over a 30 year retirement, a $2 million nest egg could provide just $66,000 per year in income. That's without accounting for inflation and the decreasing value of the dollar each year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-calculate-future-value-and-why-it-matters?ref=seealso">How to Calculate Future Value and Why It Matters</a>).</p> <p>Traditional retirement safety nets are quickly diminishing and the majority of Americans today are worried about <a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/168626/retirement-remains-americans-top-financial-worry.aspx?utm_source=alert&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_campaign=syndication&amp;utm_content=morelink&amp;utm_term=All%20Gallup%20Headlines%20">not having enough money</a> to fund their golden years.</p> <p>First, let's look at why they are wise to be worried. Then let's look at what can be done about it.</p> <h2>Why You Need to Be Saving for Retirement</h2> <ul> <li> <p>Today, <a href="http://pensionretirement.com/companies-in-the-us-that-still-offer-defined-benefit-pension-plans/">only 17% of U.S. companies offer a defined benefit pension plan</a> and that number is shrinking &ndash;&ndash; fast. Even companies that do offer a pension are pulling back by grandfathering in current employees while offering new hires a standard defined contribution plan like a 401(k), instead. In other words, your chances of finding a company to fund your retirement today are slim and they're getting slimmer every year.</p> </li> <li> <p>The average Social Security beneficiary receives a mere <a href="http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/quickfacts/stat_snapshot/2014-04.html">$1,230 a month in retirement benefits</a>. How far could $14,760 per year take you?</p> </li> <li> <p>Even worse, it's estimated that the Social Security trust fund will be depleted in about 20 years. Unless a reform package is approved by then, Social Security retirement benefits will probably decrease by about 25% in coming years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-social-security-just-a-grand-ponzi-scheme">Is Social Security Just a Grand Ponzi Schem?</a>)</p> </li> <li> <p>The full retirement age for <a href="http://www.financial-planning.com/blogs/social-security-senator-outlines-possible-fixes-2689430-1.html">Social Security benefits</a> is on the rise. For upcoming retirees it's age 65, but it goes up to age 67 for those born after 1960. It's expected that the benefits age will rise even further, too, possibly to age 70.</p> </li> <li> <p>Medical expenses are, um, expensive. According to a recent AARP Health Newsletter, a couple retiring at age 65 could need $240,000 to pay <a href="http://www.aarp.org/health/medicare-insurance/info-12-2012/health-care-costs.html%20">out-of-pocket medical costs</a>. This amount assumes the couple is eligible for Medicare coverage (early retirees are not) and doesn't include the high cost of long-term care. Otherwise, the costs go up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-what-it-really-costs-to-get-sick">This Is What It Really Costs to Get Sick</a>)</p> </li> <li> <p>If you want to retire early, your medical expenses will be even higher. Much higher. That's because medicare coverage doesn't kick in until age 65 and health care options are limited for those between the ages of 50 and 64. In his book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1402229240/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=1402229240&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=TZFLARLFYHACE346">20 Retirement Decisions You Need to Make Right Now</a>, Certified Financial Planner Ray E. Levitre says, &quot;this age group&hellip; is most likely to be denied coverage or be hit with high insurance premiums that are hard to swallow.&quot; Private health insurance premiums can range between $500 and $1000 per month, per person (or more). Without proper health coverage, a heart attack, trauma, or cancer can easily cost between $25,000 and $50,000 per year.</p> </li> <li>Life expectancies are longer &mdash; much longer &mdash; than they used to be. Fifty years ago, the <a href="http://www.ssa.gov/planners/lifeexpectancy.htm">average life expectancy</a> for men was 66.6 years. Today the average 65-year-old man can expect to live until age 84 and one out of every four lucky retirees will live past age 90 (and one in 10 past age 95!).</li> </ul> <h2>How You Should Be Saving for Retirement</h2> <p>With modern retirements lasting up to and above 30 years, it's no wonder so many companies have rolled back their pension plans. All those extra retirement years are exciting, yes, but they're also expensive to fund. What's a present-day worker to do? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-easy-ways-to-supercharge-your-retirement?ref=seealso">10 Easy Ways to Supercharge Your Retirement</a>)</p> <h3>Know How Much You Should be Saving</h3> <p>There are countless <a href="http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/retirement/calculate-retirement-income-money.aspx">retirement calculators</a> online. Run your numbers through one to find out your risk of running out of money before retirement ends. Once you know what you need to save to offset a shortfall, it's that much easier to get started. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-money-will-you-need-to-retire?ref=seealso">How Much Money You'll Need to Retire</a>)</p> <h3>Start Saving as Early as Possible</h3> <p>Treat your retirement savings like you would any other bill: Budget for it and put the dough away each month, as if it were a necessary expense (because really, it is). The earlier you start, the more you can take advantage of compound earnings and, ultimately, the less you'll have to sock away in the long run. Here's a look at what you'd need to save, starting at different ages, to retire with $2 million (assuming an average annual increase of 7% per year and retirement at age 65).</p> <ul> <li>Start at age 20 and you'll have to save $510 per month.</li> <li>Start at age 30 and you'll have to save $1,050 per month.</li> <li>Start at age 40 and you'll have to save $2,270 per month.</li> <li>Start at age 50 and you'll have to save $5,600 per month.</li> </ul> <p>The saver who started at 20 saved only $245,000 (the rest of the balance is a result of compound investment earnings). The saver who starts at age 50, on the other hand, will save $1,008,000 to get to $2 million at retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-most-important-financial-lessons-people-learn-in-their-20s-did-you?ref=seealso">The 5 Most Important Financial Lessons People Learn in Their 20s (Did You?)</a>)</p> <h3>1. Take Advantage of Your 401(k) Match</h3> <p>Many employers offer some type of matching provision on their retirement plan. That match is part of your benefits, and if you're not taking advantage of it, you're essentially handing part of your salary back to your employer. If you don't know if your employer offers a match on your 401(k) (or other retirement plan offered by your employer), call your HR manager right away. Two common employer matching programs include a 100% match on the first 3% you contribute or a 50% match on the first 6% you contribute. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-the-most-of-your-401K?ref=seealso">How to Make the Most of Your 401(k)</a>)</p> <p>Here's how they work.</p> <ul> <li> <p>100% match on first 3% &mdash; This means that if you contribute 3% of your salary to your 401(k), your employer match the equivalent of 3% of your salary in your retirement plan. If you make $50,000 per year, that's $1,500 in free money.</p> </li> <li> <p>50% match on the first 6% &mdash; If you contribute 6% of your salary to your 401(k), your employer will match the equivalent of 3% of your salary in your retirement plan (fifty cents for every dollar you put in yourself). You're required to contribute for money in the plan, but it's still $1,500 in free money (assuming a $50,000 annual salary).</p> </li> </ul> <h3>2. Fund Your IRA (and Your Spouse's IRA, Too)</h3> <p>Once you've reached the max of your employer's matching contribution limit, stop contributing to your employer's retirement plan (at least for now &mdash; see below). The reason to switch to an IRA at this point is because you can open an IRA anywhere, meaning your investment options are unlimited. Investment experts overwhelmingly recommend a low-cost, diversified portfolio like the <a href="http://money.usnews.com/funds/mutual-funds/target-date">target date and life cycle funds</a> available through companies like Vanguard or TIAA-CREF. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k?ref=seealso">4 Reasons Why a Roth IRA May be Better Than Your 401(k)</a>)</p> <p>You can put up to $5,500 per year away in your IRA ($6,500 if you're age 50 or older). Traditional IRA contributions are tax deductible so long as you make less than $60,000 per year (96,000 if you're married, filing jointly). Roth IRA contributions are not deductible but all investment earnings accrue tax free, meaning you'll pay no taxes on your distributions once you retire. To contribute to a Roth IRA your income must be below $114,000 for the year ($181,000 if you're married, filing jointly).</p> <p>If you have a non-working spouse, you can open a separate IRA for him or her as well at the same annual limit of $5,500 ($6,500 if he or she is over age 50). Their account is subject to all the same income eligibility rules.</p> <h3>3. Max Out Your 401(k)</h3> <p>Once you've maxed out your IRA(s), it's time to head back to your 401(k) and contribute as much of your income as you can, up to the $17,500 annual cap. You won't get a company match on these additional contributions, but the tax benefit of contributing on a pre-tax basis can be more lucrative than parking your money in a taxable account.</p> <h2>What Can Be Done to Offset a Retirement Funding Shortage?</h2> <p>Okay, so what happens if you haven't started saving early enough and your retirement funds don't look like they'll be sufficient? You have a few options.</p> <h3>Plan to Work Longer</h3> <p>If you can't save as much as you'll need to retire comfortably at age 65, you can always plan to work a few years longer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-you-ever-be-able-to-retire?ref=seealso">Will You Ever Be Able to Retire?</a>)</p> <h3>Reconsider Your Retirement Lifestyle</h3> <p>Perhaps your retirement years will be more spartan than you originally expected or you'll retire in another, less expensive, part of the world. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-incredible-places-to-retire-abroad-that-anyone-can-afford">5 Incredible Places to Retire Abroad That Anyone Can Afford</a>)</p> <h3>Develop a Second Income Stream</h3> <p>Get a second job, freelance from home, sell your stuff on eBay, or whatever else you can think of to generate extra cash to pad your retirement account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-earn-more-money-heres-how?seealso">You Can Earn More Money. Here's How</a>)</p> <h3>Start Saving Creatively</h3> <p>Find creative ways to save more money like by regularly shopping your insurance plans, canceling your cable, or nixing the expensive cell phone plan.</p> <p><em>How are you planning for your retirement and what strategies have been most successful for you? Tell us about it in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-why-you-cant-postpone-planning-for-your-retirement-and-how-to-start">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-6"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-may-be-putting-your-retirement-money-in-the-wrong-place">You May Be Putting Your Retirement Money in the Wrong Place</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/optimize-your-ira-and-401k">Optimize Your IRA and 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-despair-over-small-retirement-savings">Don&#039;t Despair Over Small Retirement Savings</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/if-you-want-your-401k-to-grow-stop-doing-these-6-things">If You Want Your 401K to Grow, Stop Doing These 6 Things</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-ways-investing-sucks-and-why-you-should-do-it-anyway">7 Ways Investing Sucks (and Why You Should Do It Anyway)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401(k) investing IRA retirement saving savings Thu, 19 Jun 2014 11:00:03 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1145124 at http://www.wisebread.com