IRA http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/3832/all en-US The Inventor of the 401K Has Second Thoughts About Your Retirement Plan — Now What? http://www.wisebread.com/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-171328267.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the early 1980s, the 401K plan was introduced as a potential supplement to the pension plans offered by employers. Now, they are a staple of retirement planning, while pensions are available to fewer workers than ever before.</p> <p>A 401K allows workers to set aside a certain amount of their salary and invest into a variety of mutual funds. Often, companies will match contributions up to a certain amount. These plans can be powerful vehicles for amassing great wealth in retirement, but the founders of these plans recently voiced concerns that the plans are inadequate for many people, and that they were never meant to <em>replace </em>pensions altogether.</p> <p>For sure, 401K plans place more of the savings burden and risk onto the individual than pensions do. And many plans are lousy, with high fees and poor investment choices. So, what to do? Here's how to build that big retirement fund even when you're at the mercy of the 401K.</p> <h2>1. Save Up to the Match, Regardless</h2> <p>You may be annoyed that a 401K is all your employer has to offer, but if the company is offering to match contributions, you'd be a fool not to participate. Even if the plan has lousy mutual funds with high fees, free money is still free money. Most good companies offer at least 50 cents for every dollar you contribute up to a certain amount, and that can add up to a lot of dough over time.</p> <h2>2. Get an IRA</h2> <p>A 401K is not the only vehicle for saving for retirement. Individual retirement accounts, or IRAs, offer some good tax advantages and better flexibility than a 401K. There's no company match for an IRA, but you have the ability to invest in just about anything. That's why many investors will put money in a 401K up to the company match, then put any additional savings in IRAs. Most people can contribute $5,500 annually into an IRA. With a traditional IRA, any money you contribute is deducted from your taxable income. With a Roth IRA, your money is taxed right away but you don't have to pay tax on any gains when you withdraw the money at retirement.</p> <h2>3. Start Early and Have a Long Time Horizon</h2> <p>Despite the flaws of a 401K, it's still very possible to amass a large sum for retirement if you begin investing when you are young and keep it up for a long time. If you enter the workforce when you're 18 and keep saving and investing until retirement age, that means you'll have 45 years to allow your nest egg to grow. In fact, under this scenario, it's possible to retire a millionaire by putting aside less than a few hundred dollars per month.</p> <h2>4. Find the Low-Cost Funds</h2> <p>Even if your 401K plan isn't perfect, you owe it to yourself not to make matters worse by investing in bad funds. Many 401K plans offer mutual funds with high management fees and other expenses, but most also offer low-cost options, including basic S&amp;P 500 Index funds. Find those funds with the lowest fees, so you get to keep more of your money. Look for funds with expense ratios below 0.5%, if possible.</p> <h2>5. Embrace the Power</h2> <p>When an employer offers a pension, it almost always contributes to a pension fund and then hopes that investment returns are enough to meet the obligations they have to employees. So in reality, the only significant difference between a pension and a 401K plan is who is in control. With a 401K plan, you have more control over how you invest. For some people, this is scary. But for others, it's just as scary to leave their financial future in the hands of others.</p> <h2>6. Make a Good 401K Part of Your Job Search</h2> <p>Think about the last time you searched for a job. When you applied and interviewed for positions, did you take the quality of the company's 401K plan into account? Chances are, this was far down the list of concerns, below salary, health benefits, and even vacation time. But imagine if more people turned down job offers because of a lousy 401K plan or a low company match. If more prospective employees voiced concerns about the quality of retirement plans during the hiring process, companies might be more likely to improve their plans.</p> <h2>7. Talk to Your Lawmakers</h2> <p>It's unlikely that the President or Congress can force companies to bring back pensions, but they are the ones who could change 401K plans to make them more attractive. Lawmakers could pass legislation that improves the tax benefits of plans or increases the amount investors are allowed to contribute. They could pressure companies to boost their matching contributions, and require more companies to offer plans to more employees. Lawmakers could also propose new kinds of savings plans managed by the government. At the very least, voicing your concerns about the quality of the 401K as a retirement option could start a conversation on Capitol Hill.</p> <h2>8. Join a Union, If You Can</h2> <p>Much of the erosion of defined benefit plans has coincided with the drop in influence of labor unions in America. According to the AFL-CIO, about 75% of union workers participate in defined benefit plans, compared to about 20% for nonunion workers. But far fewer people are part of unions these days.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know">15 Retirement Terms Every New Investor Needs to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses">Stop Making These 10 Bogus Retirement Savings Excuses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/403b-vs-401k-how-are-they-different">403B vs. 401K: How Are They Different?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k contributions employer match IRA nest egg pensions Roth savings Mon, 13 Feb 2017 10:30:33 +0000 Tim Lemke 1889313 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Reasons People Don't Retire Early — and How You Can http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-503452702.jpg" alt="Woman learning reasons people don&#039;t retire early" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Retirement is undeniably a time of drastic change in most people's lives. Typically, people have spent at least four decades in the workplace by the time they accept their gold watch. The average retirement age is 62 to 65, depending on where you live, according to a survey by SmartAsset.</p> <p>While work can provide routine and stability, as the years go by it can also grow to feel burdensome and stale. When to retire is a very personal question, linked to lifestyle and finances. Here are a few of the common reasons people feel they're not ready for retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-early-retirement-might-be-financially-risky?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Reasons Early Retirement Might be Financially Risky</a>)</p> <h2>Worried About Having Enough Money</h2> <p>It's probably not a surprise that monetary reasons are number one on this list. Having a regular paycheck affords a lot of comfort that can be hard to walk away from.</p> <p>One of the most common reasons most individuals won't consider an early retirement is fear that their savings will be insufficient to provide the lifestyle they've been used to in their working years.</p> <p>However, if you're serious about wanting to retire now, there are ways you can make your savings go further, such as <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security?ref=internal" target="_blank">retiring in a cheaper state</a>, or even a foreign country where the cost of living is lower. Also, using the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-an-extra-109486-a-year?ref=internal" target="_blank">right credit card can save you thousands</a> of dollars a year.</p> <p>Alternatively, the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-you-really-make-a-living-in-the-gig-economy?ref=internal" target="_blank">gig economy</a> affords a lot of ways for people who are officially retired to earn disposable income. For instance, you could <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/this-is-how-you-rent-your-place-on-airbnb-and-succeed?ref=internal" target="_blank">rent out a room on a site like Airbnb</a> to help pad your savings. Just make sure you check out local laws in your area for any restrictions on short-term rentals.</p> <h2>Hesitant to Lose Identity Tied to Work</h2> <p>In the Western world, one of the first questions we ask when meeting someone new is, &quot;What do you do?&quot; The meaning, of course, is what do you do for work. This question is a way of situating someone socioeconomically, understanding their background and education, and gaining a window into their lives.</p> <p>Of course, identity goes beyond what you do for work, and this is an important shift to be conscious of when considering retirement. Many individuals may feel that they are giving up a part of themselves when they decide to stop working.</p> <p>However, there are many other meaningful activities outside of work that have an equally important bearing on identity. These may include hobbies such as artwork, exercise, reading, writing, or travel.</p> <p>While a loss of identity is a common fear for people facing retirement, in reality, retirement can give you the time to explore other creative outlets that you wouldn't have been able to partake in with a busy work schedule.</p> <p>Instead of viewing the end of work as losing part of your identity, try to shift to viewing this as a time to explore different components of who you are. This will make early retirement meaningful, not boring.</p> <h2>Anxious Due to No Concrete Retirement Plan</h2> <p>According to a 2015 survey by the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, only 49% of consumers have a formal retirement plan. The problem of not having a plan for retirement is that it leaves fears and emotions to govern your decisions, as opposed to concrete numbers. Plus, by putting a plan in place, you can see very clearly what steps you need to follow to reach a certain goal, like retiring in five years, for example. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps for Late Starters</a>)</p> <h2>Afraid of Being Bored and Restless</h2> <p>Some people simply put off retirement because they are worried about being bored with all the extra time on their hands once they're not going to the office every day.</p> <p>However, retirement doesn't mean that you have to stop working entirely. Some individuals use this time to move from a decades-long career they've grown tired of to more fulfilling employment, or even their own business.</p> <p>If your new pursuit is something that gives you the chance to vary your work schedule, that can be very stimulating, too. Additionally, some universities offer free classes to those over 65 years of age.</p> <p>You can also take up countless hobbies like yoga, dance, snorkeling, scuba diving, golfing, hiking, or biking. To stimulate the mind, you can throw yourself into an artistic endeavor or learn a new language, the ideal activity for those who choose to retire overseas.</p> <p>Retirement is not just the end of one chapter, but also the beginning of a new one. Often, the biggest roadblocks to retiring are fear-based. It can help to re-evaluate the situation by looking at the facts, instead of just relying on emotions.</p> <p>Of course, the decision to retire is a personal one, and the right age to retire is different for everyone.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/amanda-gokee">Amanda Gokee</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-keys-to-an-early-retirement">4 Keys to an Early 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/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what">The Inventor of the 401K Has Second Thoughts About Your Retirement Plan — Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k early retirement IRA retirement planning saving Tue, 07 Feb 2017 10:30:37 +0000 Amanda Gokee 1885695 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Retirement Terms Every New Investor Needs to Know http://www.wisebread.com/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retirement_blocks_73115095.jpg" alt="New investor learning retirement terms" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Congratulations! By starting your retirement fund, you've taken one of the most important steps toward a comfortable retirement. But as a novice investor, you may feel a bit overwhelmed with all the available information, including contribution limits, early penalty fees, and Roth 401Ks. To help you make sense of it all, let's review 15 key terms you should know:</p> <h2>1. 401K</h2> <p>The 401K is the most popular qualified employer-sponsored retirement plan in the U.S. The two most common types of 401K plans are the traditional 401K, to which you contribute with pretax dollars, and the Roth 401K, which accepts contributions with after-tax dollars. Earnings in a traditional 401K grow on a tax-deferred basis (you'll pay taxes on the funds when you withdraw them during retirement) and those in a Roth 401K grow tax-free forever, since you've paid taxes upfront.</p> <h2>2. After-Tax Contributions</h2> <p>Only certain types of retirement accounts, such as Roth 401Ks and Roth IRAs, accept contributions with after-tax dollars. When you contribute to a retirement account with after-tax dollars, your retirement funds grow tax-free forever, since you've already paid Uncle Sam.</p> <h2>3. Catch-Up Contribution</h2> <p>Retirement investors who are 50 and older at the end of the calendar year can make extra annual &quot;catch-up&quot; contributions to qualifying retirement accounts. Catch-up contributions allow older savers to make up for lower contributions to their retirement accounts in earlier years. In 2016 and 2017, catch-up contributions of <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-catch-up-contributions">up to $6,000</a> (on top of traditional annual contribution limits) are allowed for 401Ks and up to $1,000 for IRAs.</p> <h2>4. Contribution Limits</h2> <p>Every year, the IRS sets a limit as to how much you can contribute to your retirement accounts. In 2016, you can <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-ira-contribution-limits">contribute up to $5,500</a> ($6,500 if age 50 or over) to traditional and Roth IRAs and <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-contributions">up to $18,000</a> ($24,000 if age 50 or over) to a traditional or Roth 401K. These annual contribution limits to retirement accounts remain unchanged for 2017. If you exceed your contribution limit, you'll receive a penalty fee from the IRS, unless you take out excess moneys by a certain date.</p> <h2>5. Early Distribution Penalty</h2> <p>To discourage retirement savers from withdrawing funds before retirement age, the IRS imposes an additional 10% penalty on distributions before age 59 &frac12; on certain retirement plans. Keep in mind that you're always liable for applicable income taxes whether you take a distribution from your retirement plan before or after age 59 &frac12;. Under certain circumstances, you're allowed to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account">withdraw money early</a> from a retirement account without the penalty.</p> <h2>6. Fee</h2> <p>You've heard that there is no such thing as a free lunch and no retirement plan is exempt from this rule. There's always a cost for the employer or employee, or both. Always check the prospectus from any fund for its annual expense ratio and any other applicable fee. An annual expense ratio of 0.75% means that for every $1,000 in your retirement account, you're charged $7.50 in fees. And that's assuming that you don't trigger any other fees! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/watch-out-for-these-5-sneaky-401k-fees?ref=seealso">Watch Out for These 5 Sneaky 401K Fees</a>)</p> <h2>7. Index Fund</h2> <p>An index fund is a type of mutual fund that tracks of a basket of securities (generally a market index, such as the Standard &amp; Poor's 500 or the Russell 2000). An index fund is a passively managed mutual fund that provides broad market exposure, low investment cost, and low portfolio turnover. Due to its low annual expense ratios, such as 0.16% for the Vanguard 500 Index Investor Shares [Nasdaq: <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/vfinx">VFINX</a>], index funds have become a popular way to save for retirement. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-steps-to-getting-started-in-the-stock-market-with-index-funds?Ref=seealso">3 Steps to Getting Started in the Stock Market With Index Funds</a>)</p> <h2>8. IRA</h2> <p>Unlike a 401K, an individual retirement account (IRA) is held by custodians, including commercial banks and retail brokers. The financial institutions place the IRA funds in a variety of investments following the instructions of the plan holders. A traditional IRA accepts contributions with pretax dollars, and a Roth IRA accepts contributions with after-tax dollars. An advantage of using a Roth IRA is that it provides several exemptions to the early distribution penalty.</p> <h2>9. 401K Loan</h2> <p>Some retirement plans allow you to take a loan on a portion of your available balance &mdash; generally, 50% of your vested account balance, or <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/retirement-plans-faqs-regarding-loans">up to $50,000</a>, whichever is less. While the loan balance is generally due within five years, it becomes fully due within 60 days from separating from your employer. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso">5 Questions to Ask Before You Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <h2>10. Mutual Fund</h2> <p>By pooling funds from several investors, money managers are able to invest in a wide variety of securities, ranging from money market instruments to equities. Investing in a mutual fund enables an individual retirement investor to gain access to a wide variety of investments that she wouldn't necessarily have access to on her own. Depending on its investment strategy, mutual funds can have a wide variety of fees. So, make sure to read the fine print. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-sneaky-investment-fees-to-watch-for?ref=seealso">4 Sneaky Investment Fees to Watch For</a>)</p> <h2>11. Pretax Contribution</h2> <p>When you contribute to your employer-sponsored retirement account with pretax dollars, you're allowed to reduce your taxable income. For example, if you were to make $50,000 per year and contribute $5,000 to your 401K with pretax dollars, then you would only have to pay applicable income taxes on $45,000! You delay taxation until retirement age when you're more likely to be in a lower tax bracket.</p> <h2>12. Required Minimum Distribution (RMD)</h2> <p>You can't keep moneys in your retirement account forever. At age 70 &frac12;, you generally have to start taking withdrawals from an IRA, SIMPLE IRA, SEP IRA, or 401K. An RMD is the minimum amount required by law that you have take out from your retirement account each year to avoid a penalty from the IRS. You can use of one of these <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/required-minimum-distribution-worksheets">requirement minimum distribution work sheets</a> to calculate your RMD.</p> <h2>13. Rollover</h2> <p>When you separate from your employer, you generally have up to 60 days to transfer moneys in your previous retirement account to a new retirement account accepting those moneys. This process is known as a rollover. In a direct rollover, the process is automatic; in an indirect rollover, you receive a cash-out check from your previous employer to rollover the moneys to a new qualifying retirement account. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras?ref=seealso">A Simple Guide to Rolling Over All of Your 401Ks and IRAs</a>)</p> <h2>14. Target-Date Fund</h2> <p>A target-date fund is a retirement investment fund that seeks to provide higher returns to young investors and gradually reduce risk exposure as they get closer to retirement age. Since the Pension Protection Act granted target-date funds the status of qualified default investment alternative in 2006, these type of funds have gained popularity. About half of 401K participants <a href="https://www.ebri.org/publications/ib/index.cfm?fa=ibDisp&amp;content_id=3347">hold a target-date fund</a>.</p> <h2>15. Vesting</h2> <p>In any retirement account, only money that is fully vested truly belongs to you. While all of your contributions and the matching contributions from your employer to your retirement account are always fully vested, some employer contributions, such as company stock, may follow a vesting schedule. In <em>cliff vesting</em>, you only become fully vested after a certain period of time. In <em>graded vesting</em>, you gradually gain ownership of those employer contributions.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what">The Inventor of the 401K Has Second Thoughts About Your Retirement Plan — Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/optimize-your-ira-and-401k">Optimize Your IRA and 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-penalty-free-way-to-withdraw-retirement-money-early">The Penalty-Free Way to Withdraw Retirement Money Early</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-choose-a-roth-401k-or-a-regular-401k">Should You Choose a Roth 401k or a Regular 401k?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k contributions employer-sponsored retirement index funds IRA new investors Roth savings target date funds taxes terms Thu, 17 Nov 2016 11:00:14 +0000 Damian Davila 1834559 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_retired_happy_62784562.jpg" alt="Retired couple shortchanging their retirement savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether retirement is decades away or if it is knocking on your door, there are some key mistakes that couples sometimes make when planning for their retirement. It's not too late to fix them, and addressing these problems now can potentially stave off issues in the future.</p> <p>Are you and your spouse making these retirement mistakes?</p> <h2>Relying on One's Spouse's Retirement</h2> <p>One common mistake that couples make is that they only rely on <em>one </em>spouse's income and retirement savings. While you might be able to live comfortably off one spouse's income now, when you are healthy, you have to calculate just how much you and your spouse will both need in retirement. Hopefully you will both be healthy well into your last years, but plan for the &quot;what ifs.&quot; Have both partners contribute to separate retirement accounts, if you both are working. If one spouse is self-employed or a freelancer, there are still retirement options for them.</p> <p>Even if one spouse does not work, they can still contribute to an IRA account. Carol Berger, CFP&reg;, of Berger Wealth Management, says that spousal IRA accounts are available for married couples who file taxes jointly. Berger says, &quot;This allows a contribution to be made for the nonworking spouse and helps his or her retirement nest egg grow. For example, in 2016, a nonworking spouse can contribute up to $5,500 to an IRA in their name ($6,500 if age 50 or older).&quot;</p> <h2>Putting Your Kids First</h2> <p>There is no doubt that you love your children and that it is easy to put their needs above retirement needs. However, don't delay on saving for retirement for your kids' sake. Saving for retirement should always trump saving for college education. Furthermore, retirement savings should not be dipped into to pay for college.</p> <p>The simple reason is that your children will have access to scholarships, loans, and work to help support them through college. Even if they graduate with a heavy load of debt, they have a long time to pay it off. There are no scholarships for retirement, and I am guessing the last thing you want to do is return to work.</p> <p>&quot;Time does not favor waiting because you lose the benefits of compounding,&quot; says Good Life Wealth Management president, Scott Stratton, CFP&reg;, CFA. &quot;If you put $5,000 into an IRA and earn 8% for 25 years, you'd have $34,242. Invest the same $5,000 10 years before retirement, and you'd only have $10,794. Or to put it another way, if you waited until 10 years before retirement, you'd have to invest $15,860 &mdash; instead of $5,000 &mdash; to reach $34,242.&quot;</p> <h2>Avoiding the Issue</h2> <p>Money is not always the easiest thing to talk about, however, if you avoid the issue, then you will only cause the problem to grow. Sit down with your spouse and talk about your present financial situation. Talk about where you want to be financially in the next year, in five years, and in retirement.</p> <p>If you both agree that you want to spend your retirement traveling and not tied to credit card debt or a mortgage payment, then you need to put in place the right money habits now.</p> <p>You should develop realistic action steps that will help you reach your financial goals a year from now, five years from now, and most importantly, in retirement. That means you might have to tighten your budget and pay more toward debt. Having clear financial goals will also help you stand firm as a couple when it is tempting to refinance the house to redo the backyard. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>Not Planning for Medical Costs</h2> <p>As discussed briefly above, many couples forget to financially plan for medical costs. It is easy to think, &quot;We won't need that much money in retirement because we won't buy anything or have to care for kids.&quot; However, medical expenses can add up quickly, especially in the last years of life. The cost of caretakers, regular doctor's visits, special medications, and even residency at a hospice can drain retirement savings in a matter of a few years.</p> <p>The worst thing is that many adult children are stuck with the financial burden of their parents' medical costs. Nearly one in 10 people over 40 are considered in the &quot;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-the-sandwich-generation-can-get-ahead">sandwich generation</a>.&quot; This means they are caring for their own children while also caring for aging parents. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research reports that Medicare doesn't cover the most common types of long-term care and that a nursing home can cost as much as <a href="http://www.apnorc.org/news-media/Pages/News+Media/Poll-Sandwich-generation-worried-about-own-long-term-care-.aspx">$90,000 per year</a>. If retirement funds don't cover the necessary care for aging parents, their children will either have to foot the bill or try to take care of their parents themselves.</p> <p>Jody Dietel, Chief Compliance Officer at WageWorks says that there is a retirement tool that is often overlooked. A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money">health savings account</a> (HSA) can help cover medical costs. Dietel says, &quot;It's important to understand that there's a place for both a 401K and an HSA. Establishing an HSA gives you the ability to amass savings to be used exclusively for health care expenses and preventing the need to dip into 401K funds for medical-related costs in retirement.&quot;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/dont-despair-over-small-retirement-savings">Don&#039;t Despair Over Small Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico">How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can">4 Reasons People Don&#039;t Retire Early — and How You Can</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what">The Inventor of the 401K Has Second Thoughts About Your Retirement Plan — Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k couples expenses health care health savings accounts HSA income IRA marriages medical costs Mon, 14 Nov 2016 10:00:06 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1830892 at http://www.wisebread.com New Job? Don't Make These 7 Mistakes With Your Benefits http://www.wisebread.com/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_shaking_hands_77096849.jpg" alt="Woman making mistakes with new job benefits" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In September 2016, total nonfarm payroll employment in the U.S. <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm">rose by 156,000</a>. If you were among those Americans who recently landed a new gig &mdash; or plan on landing one within the near future &mdash; congratulations! But as you get your benefits and retirement planning set up at your new workplace, don't make these seven mistakes.</p> <h2>1. Not Setting Up Your New Retirement Account Before December 31st</h2> <p>Make to sure to set up your new employer-sponsored retirement account before December 31st. Otherwise, you won't be able to reduce your 2016 taxable income by making contributions before Tax Day (April 17th, 2017) or the day you file your federal tax return, whichever is earlier. If you wait until the new year to set up your retirement account, any contributions made before Tax Day will reduce your 2017 taxable income &mdash; and you'll lose the opportunity to reduce your 2016 AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) by any contributed amount.</p> <h2>2. Not Completing a 401K or IRA Indirect Rollover</h2> <p>If you had a balance of less than $5,000 in your previous job's 401K or IRA plan, there is a good chance that you received an automatic cashout with a 20% withholding from your employer for applicable taxes. From the last day of your employment, you have 60 days to put the entire balance of the previous retirement account (including the mentioned 20% withholding!) into a new employer-sponsored retirement account that accepts rollovers. This process is known as an indirect rollover.</p> <p>You'll get that 20% withholding money back from the IRS in next year's tax return. In the event that your new employer's retirement account doesn't accept a rollover from your previous account, consider opening an IRA with a local financial institution before the 60-day deadline. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras?ref=seealso">A Simple Guide to Rolling Over All of Your 401Ks and IRAs</a>)</p> <h2>3. Leaving W-4 Forms Alone</h2> <p>Depending on a variety of factors, your old W-4 tax withholdings may not cut it at your new gig. To figure out whether you're withholding too much (or too little), grab all of your latest pay stubs, find a copy of last year's tax return, and visit the online <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator">IRS Withholding Calculator</a>.</p> <p>After punching in your data, this tool will provide recommendations on how to adjust your W-4 with your new employer to make sure that you meet your tax liability and minimize your refund. There's no sense in over-withholding and expecting a large refund, since the IRS doesn't pay interest while it sits on excess withholdings. That's money better kept in a savings or retirement account, where it can gain interest and compound over time.</p> <h2>4. Missing the Deadline to Make an Additional Estimated Tax Payment</h2> <p>If the IRS Withholding Calculator were to tell you that you're seriously behind your tax liability, you'll probably need to make amends <em>pronto, </em>lest you end up owing Uncle Sam at tax time. It's to your benefit to make an additional estimated tax payment to reduce or eliminate such a liability. For example, in the event that you know that there is an end-of-year bonus or commission check arriving before January 17, 2017, you have the option to use part of that check to make an estimated tax payment with <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040es.pdf">Form 1040-ES</a>.</p> <p>Make sure to use the IRS Withholding Calculator to estimate the right amount to mail to the IRS with Form 1040-ES and keep a photocopy of both the form and check for your own records.</p> <h2>5. Not Enrolling in a New FSA Plan Within 30 Days</h2> <p>You have up to 30 days from your hire date to enroll in an employer's flexible spending account (FSA). If you miss that deadline, you'll have to wait until your company renews its FSA plan, your plan administrator announces an open enrollment period, or you have a qualifying life event, such as changing marital status or having a baby.</p> <h2>6. Forgetting About Balances in Previous FSA Accounts</h2> <p>You may be so busy training at your new job and completing paperwork that you forget about remaining benefits at your previous employer. Check the rules from your previous FSA account regarding the expiration date of available money once you separate from your old employer. Most FSA plans provide a grace period to use the money, but some of those deadlines may be as early as the end of the month in which you separate from your employer. Unless you use your FSA funds in full by the applicable deadline, you'll lose them all.</p> <h2>7. Going More Than Two Months Without Health Coverage</h2> <p>As you're transitioning from one job to the other, keep an eye on the start and end dates of previous and current health plans. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare, you owe a fee for any period greater than two months in which you, your spouse, or your tax dependents don't have qualifying health coverage. In most cases, the penalty fee is 1/12 per month of <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/fees/fee-for-not-being-covered/">2.5% of your household income</a> or $695 per adult, whichever is higher.</p> <p>Being uncovered for only one to two months, qualifies you for a <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions-tool/#/results/2015/details/short-gap">short gap exemption</a> and you're not liable for the fee. Find out whether or not you're able to claim a health coverage exemption with <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/exemptions-tool/#/">HealthCare.gov's Exemption Screener</a>.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/new-job-dont-make-these-7-mistakes-with-your-benefits">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/still-without-health-insurance-here-s-how-much-the-penalties-will-cost-you">Still Without Health Insurance? Here’s How Much the Penalties Will Cost You</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-health-insurance-benefits-youre-probably-not-using">6 Health Insurance Benefits You&#039;re Probably Not Using</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/left-a-job-do-a-rollover">Left a job? Do a rollover.</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/going-without-health-insurance-in-2015-heres-what-itll-cost-you">Going Without Health Insurance in 2015? Here&#039;s What It&#039;ll Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-vital-things-to-remember-when-buying-health-insurance">5 Vital Things to Remember When Buying Health Insurance</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career Building Insurance Retirement 401 k affordable care act benefits employers flexible spending health care IRA medical insurance new job obamacare rollovers taxes Mon, 31 Oct 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Damian Davila 1822947 at http://www.wisebread.com The Penalty-Free Way to Withdraw Retirement Money Early http://www.wisebread.com/the-penalty-free-way-to-withdraw-retirement-money-early <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-penalty-free-way-to-withdraw-retirement-money-early" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/saving_money_retirement_85578577.jpg" alt="Withdrawing retirement early without any penalties" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's widely know that for most retirement plans, including an IRA and 401K, there is a cost to withdrawing money before you reach 59-&frac12; years of age. Take money out of a traditional IRA or 401K early and you're stuck paying taxes plus a 10% early withdrawal fee. If you withdraw money from a Roth IRA early, you'll have to pay tax on any withdrawn gains.</p> <p>There are some ways to avoid this penalty, including one mechanism that may be unknown to many investors.</p> <p>It's called a SEPP (stands for Substantially Equal Periodic Payment), and it may help some investors access their money early without a cost. The basic idea behind a SEPP is that you can receive regular payments (usually annually) from your retirement account, as long as they are a consistent amount and you do so for a certain length of time.</p> <p>Here are some key things you need to know.</p> <h2>1. You Must Take Withdrawals for at Least Five Years</h2> <p>Once you begin a SEPP program, you are required to make regular withdrawals for five years or until you are 59-1/2, whichever comes last (with some exceptions for disability or market decline). So for example, a person who is 56 must make withdrawals until they are 61. A person who is 45 must continue to make withdrawals for the next 14-1/2 years. Thus, it's generally not a good idea to embark on a SEPP program if you are young. If you stop the program before the required time is up, you must pay the IRS all of the waived penalties, plus interest.</p> <h2>2. Calculating Your Payments Is, Well, Complicated</h2> <p>Okay, so you're required to make regular withdrawals of the same amount of money. But how much should you be withdrawing? There are three main methods of determining this.</p> <h3>The Required Minimum Distribution Method</h3> <p>In simple terms, divide your total account balance by your life expectancy. (The IRS has a table to help you determine this.) Under this method, the amount you withdraw must be recalculated each year and could change.</p> <h3>The Fixed Amortization Method</h3> <p>Under this system, payments are based on the life expectancy of the account holder and a chosen interest rate.</p> <h3>The Annuity Method</h3> <p>To determine payments under this system, divide your account balance by an annuity factor that is based on your age.</p> <p>Generally speaking, the Required Minimum Distribution method is the most straightforward and will result in the smallest payments. This makes it a better choice for investors who do not want to deplete their accounts as quickly. However, payments must be recalculated each year, whereas the other two options only require calculations to be made once.</p> <h2>3. It's Not a Good Idea for an Emergency</h2> <p>There may be times when you are tempted to withdraw from your retirement account to take care of a financial emergency. But a SEPP isn't designed to help you with that. The five-year requirement makes it impossible to make a single withdrawal or even a small series of withdrawals. If you have a one-time emergency, you're better off find other methods to get cash quickly.</p> <h2>4. It Won't Always Work for a 401K</h2> <p>If you're considering using a SEPP to withdraw money from a 401K plan, the IRS requires you to first separate from the employer that maintains the plan. So once again, this is not a decision to make lightly. That said, 401K plans from previous employers are acceptable, as are any rollover IRAs you created from past plans.</p> <h2>5. It Is Not Easily Adjustable</h2> <p>Once you sign up for a SEPP program, there's no way to cancel it before the required time. If you find that your payments are too much, you can change your calculation method to the Required Minimum Distribution method. But this change is only allowed once.</p> <h2>6. You Must Stop Contributing</h2> <p>Once you decide to use a SEPP program, you can't adjust the balance of the retirement account. That means no more adding money to the account and no separate withdrawals. Any change to the account balance could lead to the SEPP being disqualified, in which case you're on the hook for all of the penalties and taxes, plus interest.</p> <h2>7. Withdrawing Money Early Means You Will Have Less Later</h2> <p>It's important to remember that a retirement account is called a <em>retirement </em>account for a reason. Your goal should be to ensure that money in the account lasts for the entire time after you are done working. That could mean decades. So if you are withdrawing money early, understand that you are reducing the amount that will be available to you later in life.</p> <h2>8. You Probably Need Professional Help</h2> <p>A SEPP is not an easy thing to understand or set up yourself. A tax and investment adviser will help you understand if a program is right for your particular situation, and walk you through the steps to determine the proper payments.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-penalty-free-way-to-withdraw-retirement-money-early">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account">7 Penalty-Free Ways to Withdraw Money From Your Retirement Account</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know">15 Retirement Terms Every New Investor Needs to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account">5 Questions to Ask Before You Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-choose-a-roth-401k-or-a-regular-401k">Should You Choose a Roth 401k or a Regular 401k?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k annuity IRA penalties sepp substantially equal periodic payment taxes withdrawals Tue, 18 Oct 2016 10:30:09 +0000 Tim Lemke 1815050 at http://www.wisebread.com Rich People Spend $350K+ to Park Their Cars — Here's How We'd Spend it Instead http://www.wisebread.com/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/fancy_sports_car_91447401.jpg" alt="Spend $350K on this instead of parking fancy cars" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I came across a news report recently about the construction of a <a href="http://money.cnn.com/2016/09/14/luxury/autohouse-car-condo-miami/index.html">luxury condominium for cars</a>. It will allow people with fancy cars to park their vehicles in a secure environment, at the reasonable cost of just $350,000.</p> <p>Yes, $350,000 for a place to park.</p> <p>Suffice it to say, we can think of smarter things to do with $350,000. If you are lucky enough to have this kind of cash available to you, consider these alternative and sensible ways to spend your money.</p> <h2>1. Bolster That Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Before you shell out thousands of dollars for that custom-made personal watercraft, ask yourself if you'd have enough cash left to pay for a major medical bill if you got hurt. Or a hot water heater if it leaked all over your basement. Ask yourself how long you could get by if you lost your job. It's bad to blow money on unnecessary things. It's even worse to blow that money when you have nothing saved for a rainy day. Make sure you have <em>at least</em> three months of living expenses in liquid savings before you make any crazy purchases.</p> <h2>2. Pay Off High-Interest Debt</h2> <p>If you have money, there's no real excuse for carrying high-interest debt, such as that from credit cards. Interest from debt can erode your net worth, so pay off as much as you can. Focus on paying down the debts with the highest interest rates and go from there.</p> <h2>3. Contribute Maximum Toward Retirement</h2> <p>If you have a high income, there's no reason to hold back on putting as much into your retirement funds as possible. Those with 401K accounts can contribute up to $18,000 per year, and anyone with earned income can contribute $5,500 annually into an individual retirement account. Both of these accounts allow you to invest and see your money grow in a tax advantaged way. Focus on investments that mirror the overall performance of the stock market, and you'll see your money grow without much stress. Maxing out retirement funds may very well be the least frivolous thing to do with your money.</p> <h2>4. Invest Even More</h2> <p>Okay, so you've maxed out the amount you can place in retirement accounts. That doesn't mean you can't continue to invest! If you have the funds, consider buying stocks, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds in a traditional brokerage account. You will have to pay taxes on any gains, but if you're investing for the long haul, you'll still come out well ahead in most cases.</p> <h2>5. Go to College</h2> <p>The best kind of investment is an investment in yourself. If you have enough money to pay for college, go for it! A typical person with a bachelor's degree <a href="https://trends.collegeboard.org/education-pays/figures-tables/lifetime-earnings-education-level">earns 66% more</a> over the course of their lifetime than someone who does not got to college, according to the College Board. And the earnings get even higher for those with advanced degrees. If you've already been to college, consider opening a college savings account for your children or another relative who's college-bound. Most states offer 529 plans that allow you to invest money without paying tax on the gains, provided that the money is later used for education expenses.</p> <h2>6. Buy a Home (Or a Second One)</h2> <p>If you're sitting on a sizable sum of money, it might make sense to put some toward a down payment on a house or other piece of real estate. It's better than renting, because you're building equity and may be able to even sell the real estate later at a profit. If you already own a home, consider buying a second and renting it out. This way, you not only get the benefits of real estate ownership, but an additional income stream as well. This sure beats cars or other material items that don't accrue in value.</p> <h2>7. Do Some Home Maintenance and Upgrades</h2> <p>Maybe it's time for a new roof, or your furnace has been on the fritz. Maybe you've always wanted to turn the basement into a nice family room. If you invest a little money into your home, you can stave off expensive repairs later, and any upgrades you make could increase your home value.</p> <h2>8. Give Some Away</h2> <p>$350,000 is a fair chunk of change, so why not give some away to a cause that you support? Remember that all charitable donations are tax deductible, so there's a financial benefit to giving away cash rather than spending it on something silly.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-your-financial-habits-just-bad">Are Your Financial Habits Just Bad?</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-times-its-okay-to-delay-retirement-savings">5 Times It&#039;s Okay to Delay Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-increase-your-net-worth-this-year">10 Ways to Increase Your Net Worth This Year</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know">The Only 6 Rules of Frugal Living You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting 401k charity debt emergency funds investing IRA luxury money retirement spending Thu, 13 Oct 2016 09:30:20 +0000 Tim Lemke 1811799 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_saving_retirement_33504544.jpg" alt="Couple making retirement planning steps late" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most Americans aren't saving enough for retirement &mdash; and worse, many are off to a late start. Since 2011, the annual percentage of U.S. workers with less than $1,000 in savings and investments for retirement has ranged from <a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/EBRI_IB_422.Mar16.RCS.pdf">26% to 36%</a>.</p> <p>These low savings levels are taking a toll on nest eggs. One estimate puts the ideal retirement savings for an individual at <a href="http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/10/03/the-average-americans-retirement-savings-by-ageand.aspx">age 45 at $162,000</a> and calculates that, in reality, most Americans are about $100,000 short of that goal by the time they reach age 45. Let's review what late-starters should do to give their savings a necessary boost and learn some tips for those who are 15, 10, or five years away from retirement.</p> <h2>15 Years Away From Retirement</h2> <p>Assuming that your target retirement age is 65, you're now 50 years old and are likely to be part of the Generation X. About half of members of Generation X have <a href="http://time.com/money/4258451/retirement-savings-survey/">less than $10,000</a> in retirement savings.</p> <h3>Step 1: Take Advantage of Catch-Up Contributions</h3> <p>Starting at age 50, you're now legally allowed to start making annual catch-up contributions on top of the regular contribution limits to your qualifying retirement accounts. In 2016, individuals age 50 and over could contribute an extra:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-catch-up-contributions">$6,000</a> on top of the $18,000 limit to 401K (other than a SIMPLE 401K), 403b, SARSEP, and governmental 457b plans;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>$3,000 in catch-up contributions to SIMPLE IRA or SIMPLE 401K plans; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>$1,000 on top of the $5,500 limit to traditional or Roth IRAs.</li> </ul> <p>Additionally, individuals with at least 15 years of employment can make additional contributions to their 403b plans on top of the regular $6,000 in catch-up contributions. For more details, review the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-403b-contribution-limits">IRS rules for 403b contribution limits</a>.</p> <h3>Step 2: Chase Lower Investment Fees</h3> <p>When choosing funds for your 401K, you may think that there's little difference between a fund with an annual expense ratio of 0.16% and a fund with one of 0.25%. However, when you're 15 years away from retirement, those differences compound over time. A $30,000 investment would cost $48 per year on the first fund and $75 per year on the second fund.</p> <p>By investing in the fund with the higher annual expense ratio, and assuming that both funds have an annual return of 7%, you would miss out on an extra $703.94 in retirement savings by the time you reach age 65. Not to mention on the additional gains on those moneys that you would have during your retirement years.</p> <p>Several studies have shown that expense ratios are the only reliable predictor of future fund performance. For example, research from rating agency Morningstar has found that <a href="http://news.morningstar.com/articlenet/article.aspx?id=347327">low-cost funds consistently outperform high-cost funds</a>.</p> <h2>10 Years Away From Retirement</h2> <p>At this point, you're now 55 years old and you're supposed to be wiser. Still, about <a href="http://time.com/money/4258451/retirement-savings-survey/">33% of Americans</a> age 55 and over have no retirement savings and 26% have retirement accounts with balances under $50,000. On top of taking advantage of catch-up contributions and chasing lower-cost funds, here are some additional steps to give your retirement strategy a much-needed boost.</p> <h3>Step 3: Consider Cities Where You Can Retire on Just Social Security</h3> <p>It can be a humbling experience to have to tighten your belt after having worked so hard for many decades. If you're going to become part of the <a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/EBRI_IB_422.Mar16.RCS.pdf">62% of U.S. retirees</a> that expect Social Security to be a major source of income during retirement, start investigating what U.S. cities are better suited to live on your expected check from the Social Security Administration (SSA).</p> <p>Here are three list of cities to start your search:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-american-cities-where-you-can-retire-on-just-social-security">5 American Cities Where You Can Retire On Just Social Security <p> </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-exciting-affordable-american-cities-to-retire-in">4 Exciting, Affordable American Cities to Retire In <p> </a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-more-exciting-affordable-american-cities-to-retire-in">4 More Exciting, Affordable American Cities to Retire In</a></li> </ul> <p>Thinking about your budget during your retirement years is a good idea so you can plan withdrawals from your retirement account, figure out your necessary contributions for the next decade, and figure out ways to rein in expenses.</p> <h3>Step 4: Dial Down Your Investment Risk</h3> <p>Desperate times often call for desperate measures. However, playing part-time stock trader with your retirement funds or allocating more moneys to investment vehicles promising higher returns &mdash; and more risk! &mdash; isn't a good idea. Remember that only <a href="http://us.spindices.com/documents/spiva/spiva-us-mid-year-2014.pdf">20% to 25%</a> of actively managed funds beat their benchmark.</p> <p>Talk with your plan administrator about income investing, which focuses on picking financial vehicles that provide a steady stream of income. While you may think that bonds are your only option, there many other securities to choose from. For example, there are stocks that consistently pay dividends.</p> <h2>5 Years Away From Retirement</h2> <p>It's the final countdown to retirement age and now you're age 60. With a retirement savings benchmark of $260,494, <a href="http://time.com/money/4258451/retirement-savings-survey/">about 74% of Americans</a> are behind on their retirement savings. Here are three additional planning steps.</p> <h3>Step 5: Accumulate Delayed Retirement Credits</h3> <p>It's time to get the most accurate picture of your expected retirement benefit from the SSA. To do this, you can use the <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/OACT/anypia/anypia.html">Social Security Detailed Calculator</a>, which lets you estimate your retirement benefit by accessing your actual earnings record through a secure interface. If you find that monthly benefit check to be too low, one way to boost is delaying your SSA benefit past your full retirement age.</p> <p>Depending on the year that you were born, your full retirement age will fall somewhere between <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/retirechart.html">age 65 and 67</a>. For every year that you delay your retirement benefit past your full retirement age, you can get <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/delayret.html">up to an 8% increase</a> on your total annual benefit. The benefit increase no longer applies when you reach age 70, even if you continue to delay taking benefits.</p> <h3>Step 6: Delay Required Minimum Distributions</h3> <p>Generally, holders of traditional and Roth 401K plans must start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) once they reach age 70-1/2.&nbsp;</p> <p>However, there is one way to delay RMDs. If you were to take a part-time job offering a retirement plan that allows you to rollover your old 401K plan, then you can continue to contribute to the new plan and delay your first RMD until April 1st of the year after you retire.</p> <p>Keep in mind that:</p> <ul> <li>Your old traditional 401K must go into a new 401K;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Your old Roth 401K must go into a new Roth IRA;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Your new plan must accept rollovers; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>You can't hold more than 5% of the company sponsoring the old plan to be able to do a rollover past age 70-1/2.</li> </ul> <p>Before you attempt a rollover past age 70-1/2, consult the plan administrator of your current retirement plan, the one from your potential new employer, and your tax accountant or financial planner, if you have one. This is one of those times that may warrant <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-to-hire-a-financial-planner-or-a-financial-adviser">hiring the right type of financial adviser</a> to prevent any tax penalties.</p> <h3>Step 7: Consider Retiring Abroad</h3> <p>Last but not least, one way to further stretch your nest egg is to retire in a city abroad to live better on a smaller budget, have access to generous tax breaks, and enjoy beautiful locales and ideal weather conditions.</p> <p>Several countries, including Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua, offer retirement programs that provide U.S. retirees several benefits and require a minimum monthly SSA benefit ranging from $600 to $1,000 to qualify. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/x-exciting-world-cities-you-can-afford-to-retire-in">4 Exciting World Cities You Can Afford to Retire In</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can">4 Reasons People Don&#039;t Retire Early — and How You Can</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/403b-vs-401k-how-are-they-different">403B vs. 401K: How Are They Different?</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-keys-to-an-early-retirement">4 Keys to an Early Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k 403b catch contributions IRA retirement planning saving Tue, 04 Oct 2016 10:30:13 +0000 Damian Davila 1805038 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Times It's Okay to Delay Retirement Savings http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-its-okay-to-delay-retirement-savings <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-times-its-okay-to-delay-retirement-savings" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hand_coin_piggybank_75172163.jpg" alt="Woman learning times it&#039;s okay to delay retirement savings" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>About one in five Americans isn't confident about <a href="https://www.ebri.org/publications/ib/index.cfm?fa=ibDisp&amp;content_id=3328">having enough money</a> for a comfortable retirement. If you're among them (or even if you aren't), putting off retirement savings seems like terrible advice. But if you're handling an ever-growing debt monster or an imminent threat of past contributions becoming taxable income &mdash; it may be okay to temporarily put a hold on retirement savings.</p> <p>Here are some of the very few instances you should ever consider temporarily delaying saving for retirement.</p> <h2>1. Paying Back a Loan From Your 401K</h2> <p>According to a study from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, 20% of Americans <a href="http://www.pensionresearchcouncil.org/publications/document.php?file=1271">take out a loan</a> from their 401K plans. Even worse, there is evidence that treating your nest egg like a credit card can quickly become a bad habit: 25% of 401K borrowers take out a <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/17/your-money/one-dip-into-401-k-savings-often-leads-to-another.html?_r=0">third or fourth loan</a> and 20% of them take out five or more loans!</p> <p>While the full loan balance is generally due within five years, it becomes due within 60 days when terminating employment or failing to meet the established repayment schedule. Any outstanding balances become taxable income, triggering not only applicable income taxes but also additional tax penalties.</p> <p>Letting a 401K loan become taxable income will leave you with an unexpected, large tax bill next year and make you miss out on all the interest gains until retirement age. If you need to put retirement savings temporarily on hold to pay a 401K loan back ASAP, it's an understandable choice.</p> <h2>2. Dealing With Major Medical Expenses</h2> <p>If you're facing a major medical expense, you'll probably need all the help you can get. If your medical and dental expenses for the year are more than <a href="https://www.irs.gov/publications/p502/ar02.html">10% of your adjusted gross income</a> (7.5% if you or your spouse are over 65 or turned age 65 in 2016), you may qualify for hardship withdrawals from your retirement accounts. But a better option might just be to adjust the withholding on your paycheck using the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator">IRS Withholding Calculator</a>. This might allow you to pay for the expenses out of pocket by giving your budget more breathing room for the rest of the year. Sure, your retirement savings rate might temporarily slow, but at least you won't actively dip into them, either.</p> <h2>3. Eliminating High-Interest Credit Card Debt</h2> <p>In 2015, 21% of Americans believed that they would be in debt forever, up from 9% in 2013 and 18% in 2014. And high interest debt &mdash; such as credit card balances &mdash; are a big culprit.</p> <p>Instead of mortgaging your future to high-interest debt, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fastest-way-to-pay-off-10000-in-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=internal&amp;utm_campaign=article">pay it off quickly</a>, and commit to putting the savings on interest payments toward retirement contributions. You'll probably even end up saving more toward retirement in the long run than if you kept making minimum credit card payments and wasting money on interest and fees. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-to-do-a-balance-transfer-to-pay-off-credit-card-debt?utm_source=wisebread&amp;utm_medium=seealso&amp;utm_campaign=article">When to Use a Balance Transfer Offer</a>)</p> <h2>4. Building an Emergency Fund</h2> <p>Thinking that your 401K is already your emergency fund is one of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-emergency-fund-myths-you-should-stop-believing">emergency fund myths</a> you should stop believing. Taking a loan from your 401K is very often a bad idea because of the reasons explained earlier. Instead, take a couple of months to build an emergency fund that meets your unique financial situation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/figuring-the-size-of-your-emergency-fund?ref=seealso">Figuring the Size of Your Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>5. Being Stuck in a Bad Forced-Transfer IRA</h2> <p>If a recent job change resulted in your previous 401K being forcefully transferred to an IRA, you might temporarily reconsider your retirement savings.</p> <p>If your forced-transfer IRA charges outrageous fees, you're better off holding off on your contributions until you qualify for your new employer's qualified plan. In the meantime, you could put the money that you would contribute to the IRA in an investment or saving account with a better return or pay down high-interest credit card debt.</p> <p>Once you set up your 401K with your new employer, roll over the entire balance from the forced-transfer IRA to the new account to improve the performance of your nest egg.</p> <p><em>What are other times it's okay to put off retirement?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-times-its-okay-to-delay-retirement-savings">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-strengthen-your-finances-before-retirement">5 Ways to Strengthen Your Finances Before Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-questions-to-ask-before-you-borrow-from-your-retirement-account">5 Questions to Ask Before You Borrow From Your Retirement Account</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead">Rich People Spend $350K+ to Park Their Cars — Here&#039;s How We&#039;d Spend it Instead</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can">4 Reasons People Don&#039;t Retire Early — and How You Can</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k borrowing money debt emergency funds IRA loans medical expenses Thu, 11 Aug 2016 09:30:31 +0000 Damian Davila 1769335 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_happy_sunset_79384959.jpg" alt="Woman making moves after conquering debt" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Congratulations &mdash; you're debt free! Now what?</p> <p>The road to debt elimination was long and treacherous, but just because the black cloud of lingering bills is no longer hanging over your head, that doesn't mean your financial house is in order. It's in better shape, sure, but you've still got a ways to go. To continue working toward that goal, here are a few smart moves you should make as soon as you get out of the red:</p> <h2>1. Rearrange and Trim Your Budget</h2> <p>Your top priority when getting out of debt is to not get back into debt. To accomplish that, you'll need to make changes to your spending and savings habits. You'll also need to revisit your budget and rearrange your priorities. Now that you don't have credit card or loan payments bleeding you dry every month, you'll have more disposable income &mdash; and you need to decide what you'll do with it to improve your quality of life and set yourself up for the future. Cut out anything that's unnecessary: Maybe it's the cable that you don't watch much of, the gym membership you don't use, or subscriptions to services you can live without. Whatever is it, cut the fat and don't look back.</p> <h2>2. Get Back to Building Your Emergency Fund</h2> <p>If you've been digging yourself out of a negative-money pit, chances are you don't have much of an emergency fund &mdash; and that needs to change ASAP. Building an emergency fund is the best way to avoid a potential debt scenario in the future. You'll be able to draw from that account to pay off life's little surprises in full, so you're not constantly treading water every time something unexpected happens.</p> <p>&quot;I recommend having an emergency fund saved up equal to six months' worth of expenses,&quot; says financial planner Russell Robertson of Alidade Wealth Partners in Atlanta, GA. &quot;This will give you time to get back on your feet if something unforeseen happens without completely disrupting everything in your life.&quot;</p> <h2>3. Check in on Your Credit Situation</h2> <p>Brace yourself. If you've been battling debt for an extended period of time &mdash; especially if you've only being sending in minimum payments &mdash; your credit situation is likely less than ideal. The good news, however, is that you're in the clear now (debt-wise, anyway), and this is the best time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-does-your-credit-score-mean-good-bad-or-excellent?ref=internal">start rebuilding your credit</a>.</p> <p>Having a solid credit score puts you in a strong position when you need to finance a purchase, like a house or car, or apply for a new line of credit. It's always a good idea to know where you stand with credit and take steps to improve it.</p> <h2>4. Max Out Your Matching-Dollar Opportunities for Retirement</h2> <p>Like your emergency fund, contributions to your 401K and IRA were probably low (or perhaps even nonexistent) while you concentrated on paying down your debt. With more funds freed up now, it's important to start concentrating on your future &mdash; especially your retirement goals &mdash; and that includes maxing out dollar-matching opportunities to take full advantage of free money.</p> <p>&quot;401K plans in 2016 have a contribution limit of $18,000 a year, plus an extra $6,000 for people over 50, so with no debt to pay, you might have the opportunity to reach that limit now,&quot; says financial planner and investment adviser Jaycob Arbogast of Arbogast Advisers. &quot;Similarly, an IRA has a $5,500 limit for people under 50 and a $6,500 limit for people 50-plus, so maxing out those plans might be a good idea too. For example, with a 6% return, adding an extra $5,000 each year to your retirement savings from age 50 to 60 could add an additional $65,000 to your retirement savings. That's a great boost that someone in debt might not be able to maintain.&quot;</p> <h2>5. Start Investing With Long-Term Returns in Mind</h2> <p>Personally, I recommend investing in real estate, but what you invest in is up to you, so long as you're investing. Outside of your emergency fund, your money should never sit in a savings account earning fractions of pennies. Instead, you'll be better off putting that money in places that promise bigger returns over the long term, so you can meet your savings goals sooner and continue making more investments for (hopefully) a more prosperous life.</p> <p>Alternatively, Robertson recommends the stock market.</p> <p>&quot;If your budget still has room for more saving, put that money to work by investing in the markets,&quot; he advises. &quot;Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are a great way to get diversified, low-cost exposure, and many online brokerages will offer commission-free ETF options as well.&quot;</p> <h2>6. Put Money Back Into the Investments You Already Have &mdash; Like Your Home</h2> <p>For many people, their homes are their biggest investments. To ensure that investment pays off the way you want and need it to, you have to maintain it. Thus, when you've paid off your debt, start thinking about home improvement projects that will increase value. Just be careful that you're not taking on projects that cost more than the house is worth. The last thing you need is to dump your savings into your home if the project doesn't enhance the house enough to make it worthwhile in the long run.</p> <h2>7. Open a Money Market Account for Higher Interest on Savings</h2> <p>If you have a substantial amount of savings in your emergency fund &mdash; and you should &mdash; that money shouldn't be in a traditional savings account. Contact your bank, or research others, to find savings accounts that offer the best interest rates, like money market accounts or high yield savings. Bottom line, there's absolutely no reason you shouldn't be getting the most bank for your buck, especially where savings are concerned.</p> <p>Robertson agrees, and in this particular case, rescinds his recommendation to invest in stocks.</p> <p>&quot;If there is something specific you are saving up for &mdash; a celebratory trip to Europe? A wedding? &mdash; within the next two to three years, I would recommend keeping that money out of the stock market,&quot; he says. &quot;Instead, consider a money market account or CD from an online bank. In many cases you can get close to 1% interest right now on cash that is still guaranteed up to FDIC limits (currently $250,000). In fact, this is a good idea for that emergency fund as well &mdash; something that earns interest and is separate from your everyday checking account.&quot;</p> <p><em>What else should the newly debt-free do with their money?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-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-money-moves-to-make-before-you-start-investing">8 Money Moves to Make Before You Start Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead">Rich People Spend $350K+ to Park Their Cars — Here&#039;s How We&#039;d Spend it Instead</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-biggest-myths-about-investing">The 10 Biggest Myths About Investing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-3-rules-every-mediocre-investor-must-know">The 3 Rules Every Mediocre Investor Must Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-invest-when-youre-in-debt">6 Ways to Invest When You&#039;re In Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management Investment 401k advice credit score emergency funds ETFs home improvements IRA money moves retirement stock market Fri, 15 Jul 2016 09:00:17 +0000 Mikey Rox 1752364 at http://www.wisebread.com 401K or IRA? You Need Both http://www.wisebread.com/401k-or-ira-you-need-both <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/401k-or-ira-you-need-both" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/IRA_cash_401k_27036895.jpg" alt="Here&#039;s why you need a 401K and a Roth IRA" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are two primary tax-advantaged ways to save for retirement. You could contribute to a workplace retirement plan, such as a 401K plan, or open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).</p> <p>But which one should you use? In some cases, the answer may be &quot;both.&quot; Here are three considerations as you decide which plan(s) works for you:</p> <h2>1. Does Your Employer Provide Matching Money?</h2> <p>If your employer offers a 401K plan and matches some of the money you contribute, start your retirement savings there. That's the easiest money you'll ever make.</p> <p>Under a typical arrangement, your employer may contribute 50 cents to one dollar for every dollar you contribute, up to 6% of your salary. Even at the low end, that's a guaranteed 50% return on your money. So, at very least, contribute the full amount that's eligible to be matched.</p> <p>At that point, you'll probably have an important decision to make. You very likely need to contribute more than 6% of your salary in order to save enough for retirement. (Do you know <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/one-smart-thing-you-can-do-for-your-retirement-today">how much <em>you </em>should save</a>?)</p> <p>If so, should you simply contribute more to your workplace plan? Or, would you be better off investing those additional dollars through an IRA? Questions two and three will help you decide.</p> <h2>2. Does Your Plan Have What You Need?</h2> <p>Does your workplace plan offer the right investment choices in order for you to follow your strategy of choice? This is especially important if your employer doesn't match contributions, since it means selecting low-cost investments likely to generate strong returns is even more important.</p> <p>If you're keeping it simple by using a target-date fund, it <em>may</em> be fine to use your 401K exclusively for your retirement savings.</p> <p>But what if you're following a more involved strategy &mdash; one that includes the use of a gold fund, for example &mdash; but your 401K plan doesn't offer the necessary investment choices?</p> <p>This would be one good reason make use of an IRA, where you'll have access to a wide range of investment options.</p> <h2>3. How Much Do the Investments in Your Plan Cost?</h2> <p>Even if you're keeping things simple by using a target-date fund offered through your 401K, check on that fund's fees. In particular, find out what its <em>expense ratio</em> is. That's the percentage of the fund's assets deducted each year to cover fund expenses, such as management and administrative costs. If your fund has an expense ratio of .5%, that means for every $1,000 you have invested, $5 is going toward these expenses.</p> <p>Expense ratios vary quite a bit from fund to fund. For example, Vanguard's target-date fund for people planning to retire in 2050 charges just .16%, whereas American Funds' 2050 target-date fund charges .76%.</p> <p>That may not sound like a big deal, but let's say you now have $25,000 in your 401K plan, contribute $500 per month, and earn an average annual return of 7% before expenses, no matter which fund you choose.</p> <p>After 35 years, if you had used the fund charging .16%, you'd end up with more than $1,080,000. If you had used the fund charging .76%, you'd end up with about $150,000 less.</p> <p>So, if the type of fund you'd like to invest in is available for a lower cost outside your 401K plan, that would be another reason to consider an IRA.</p> <h2>Final Factors</h2> <p>Keep in mind that IRA annual contribution limits are much lower than 401K plan limits &mdash; $5,500 vs. $18,000 (or $6,500 versus $24,000 for people age 50 and older). If you contribute 6% of your salary to your 401K in order to take full advantage of your employer's match and then max out an IRA, it's possible you'll still need to invest more. So, head back to your 401K plan and finish out your retirement plan investing there.</p> <p>Also, while a high income will not make you ineligible for your employer's 401K plan, there <em>are&nbsp;</em><a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/newsroom/irs-announces-2016-pension-plan-limitations-401-k-contribution-limit-remains-unchanged-at-18-000-for-2016">income-based eligibility restrictions for IRAs</a>.</p> <p>There's much to be said for simplicity, but depending on how you answered the questions above, using your workplace plan <em>and </em>an IRA may turn out to be more profitable. Yes, it'll involve a little more work than investing in your workplace plan alone. But being able to follow your strategy of choice and avail yourself of investments with lower fees could pay significant dividends down the road.</p> <p><em>So, which is it for you? 401K or IRA?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/matt-bell">Matt Bell</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/401k-or-ira-you-need-both">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-important-things-to-know-about-your-401k-and-ira-in-2016">5 Important Things to Know About Your 401K and IRA in 2016</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/403b-vs-401k-how-are-they-different">403B vs. 401K: How Are They Different?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what">The Inventor of the 401K Has Second Thoughts About Your Retirement Plan — Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-retirement-terms-every-new-investor-needs-to-know">15 Retirement Terms Every New Investor Needs to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-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> Investment Retirement 401k contributions employer matching individual retirement account IRA Thu, 07 Jul 2016 09:01:07 +0000 Matt Bell 1746129 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Money Moves to Make When a Layoff Is Coming http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-to-make-when-a-layoff-is-coming <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-money-moves-to-make-when-a-layoff-is-coming" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_suffering_headache_23825868.jpg" alt="Woman making money moves with coming layoff" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The signs are right there:</p> <ul> <li>All departmental budgets are cut way back;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Several key senior managers suddenly resign;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Entire divisions are consolidated, outsourced, or cut; and<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Many meetings that were previously open to everybody are now held behind closed doors.</li> </ul> <p>You haven't been laid off (or fired!) yet &mdash; but the company isn't doing so hot, and you strongly suspect you'll be on the chopping block soon. What should you do to prepare? Here is your checklist of 10 money moves for when a layoff is coming. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-re-fired-20-signs-that-a-pink-slip-is-coming?ref=seealso">20 Signs That a Pink Slip is Coming</a>)</p> <h2>Health Care Coverage</h2> <p>Whether you're single or have several dependents, you need to plan how to pay for scheduled and unexpected health care related expenses.</p> <h3>1. Inquire About COBRA Continuation Health Coverage</h3> <p>The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) requires group health plans to provide a temporary continuation of group health coverage that otherwise might be terminated. Generally, this legislation applies to all private group health plans from employers with 20 or more employees. Some states have similar laws for employers with less than 20 employees.</p> <p>Inquire through your health plan administrator whether you're eligible for COBRA coverage, what coverage is available for you and your dependents, and how much it costs. If you're entitled to COBRA coverage, you'll have an election period of at least 60 days to choose whether to accept continuation coverage.</p> <h3>2. Gather Quotes From HealthCare.gov</h3> <p>While COBRA may be an option, it's often quite expensive. At <a href="http://www.healthcare.gov">HealthCare.gov</a>, you can shop around for health plans available in your Health Insurance Marketplace, check whether or not you qualify for Medicaid, and determine if your children are eligible for the <a href="https://www.healthcare.gov/medicaid-chip/childrens-health-insurance-program/">Children's Health Insurance Program</a> (CHIP).</p> <p>By comparing how much it'd cost to maintain your existing coverage through COBRA vs. alternative options, you can make an informed decision about health plan choices.</p> <h3>3. Update Your Mailing Address With Your Current Health Carrier</h3> <p>This is key so that you receive any plan cards, bills, and forms, such as the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-prior/f1095a--2015.pdf">Form 1095-A, Health Insurance Marketplace Statement</a>. The Form 1095-A enables you to take the premium tax credit, reconcile the credit on returns with advance payments of the premium tax credit (advance credit payments), and file an accurate tax return.</p> <h2>Retirement Planning</h2> <p>Times may be tough, but continue building up your nest egg. Your future self will be glad you did.</p> <h3>4. Pay Down Any 401K Loans</h3> <p>If you're part of the <a href="http://www.pensionresearchcouncil.org/publications/document.php?file=1271">20% of 401K holders</a> that took a loan from their plan, plan to pay back as much as you can, as <em>soon</em> as you can. When you're laid off or fired, you have only up to 60 days to pay back outstanding balances &mdash; or those funds become <em>taxable </em>income. Also, you would have to pay a 10% early distribution penalty if you're under age 59 1/2 and may be subject to additional incomes taxes and penalties from your state.</p> <h3>5. Check Vesting Period of Employer Contributions</h3> <p>Your employer may require you to work for a specific timeframe before vesting the employer contributions in your retirement account. Contact your retirement plan administrator to understand your fully vested balance.</p> <h3>6. Update Your Mailing Address With Current Plan Administrator</h3> <p>This is important for everybody, but is critical for individuals with a retirement account balance under $5,000. According to a Plan Sponsor Council of America survey, <a href="http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/planning-to-retire/2015/01/13/how-to-avoid-being-forced-out-of-your-401-k">57% of 401K plans</a> mail a cash-out check to individuals with balances under $1,000 and transfer accounts to an IRA for those with balances between $1,000 and $5,000. If you would like to prevent these events from happening, contact your plan administrator within a period usually of 60 days from the date of termination. Still, having the correct address on file prevents that a check, form, or notice is lost in the mail. (Yes, rolling over a retirement account is still mostly a paper-based process!)</p> <h3>7. Explore All of Your Rollover Options</h3> <p>Besides cashing out and rolling over to an IRA, there are many other options available for you. To find out all of them, review <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras">A Simple Guide to Rolling Over All of Your 401Ks and IRAs</a>.</p> <h2>Emergency Fund Planning</h2> <p>Since a rainy day may be coming soon, establish how you'll make ends meet in case it takes longer than expected to find a new job.</p> <h3>8. Strengthen (or Start) an Emergency Fund</h3> <p>Sock away more into your emergency fund than you usually do. One way to strengthen or start your emergency fund is to use the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/individuals/irs-withholding-calculator">IRS Withholding Calculator</a> to estimate your current tax bill (or return) for next year's return. Since about three in every four Americans get a refund every year, chances are that you'll be able to take home more with you for the next couple of paychecks. Follow the recommendations from the IRS Withholding Calculator to adjust your Form W-4 and put the extra monies from your next paychecks into your emergency fund. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/figuring-the-size-of-your-emergency-fund?ref=seealso">Figuring the Size of Your Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h3>9. Shop Around for Financing</h3> <p>Now, while you still have a job, is the time to look for financing, not once you're laid off. Select a financing option that would act as a last resort fund in case your emergency fund or saving account runs out. Besides a credit card, take a look at a personal line of credit, peer-to-peer lending account, and home equity line of credit (HELOC). Remember you're securing financing but you don't have to use it unless you really have to.</p> <h3>10. Learn the Process for Unemployment Benefits</h3> <p>Once you're laid off, you'll be worried about too many things. Buy yourself some time and contact your <a href="http://www.servicelocator.org/OWSLinks.asp">State Unemployment Insurance agency</a> ahead of time to learn how to file a claim by telephone or over the Internet. Each state administers a separate unemployment insurance program, so find out your state's eligibility requirements, steps to file a claim, and reporting guidelines for continued eligibility.</p> <p>In most states, unemployment benefits (a percentage of an individual's earnings over a recent 52-week period up to a maximum set by the state) are paid up to 26 weeks. Having this support can provide you much need peace of mind during your search for the next job.</p> <p><em>How should you prepare for a layoff?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-moves-to-make-when-a-layoff-is-coming">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-long-can-you-really-live-on-unemployment">How Long Can You Really Live on Unemployment?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead">Rich People Spend $350K+ to Park Their Cars — Here&#039;s How We&#039;d Spend it Instead</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-couples-are-shortchanging-their-retirement-savings">4 Ways Couples Are Shortchanging Their Retirement Savings</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-money-moves-to-make-as-soon-as-you-conquer-debt">7 Money Moves to Make as Soon as You Conquer Debt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Career and Income 401k downsizing emergency funds going out of business health care IRA laid off layoffs unemployment Wed, 08 Jun 2016 09:00:06 +0000 Damian Davila 1726484 at http://www.wisebread.com 10 Signs You Aren't Saving Enough for Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_frown_broke_000026428663.jpg" alt="Man learning signs he&#039;s not saving enough for retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you concerned that you aren't saving enough for retirement? Well, you're not alone. In fact, more than one third of Americans haven't started investing for retirement yet. About 75% of Americans over the age of 40 are also behind on their retirement savings, so it's time to break the statistic. We've come up with some common warning signs that you may not be saving enough and need to increase what you're investing.</p> <h2>1. You Don't Have Specific Goals in Mind</h2> <p>First, you need to figure out what the minimum is that you'll need to retire. This will allow you to properly plan your retirement and ensure you are meeting your benchmark goals. Work on determining a target retirement age and goal amount so that you can develop a savings plan on your own or with a skilled professional.</p> <p>It's also important that you know what you'll get from Social Security so that you can plan what you need to save above that. Lastly, work on an estimated monthly financial plan so that you have some idea what you'll be spending on monthly bills and debt payments.</p> <h2>2. You Don't Know How Much to Save</h2> <p>Most professionals recommend saving at least 10% of your gross salary, if you've been saving since your 20s. However, if you don't start saving until your 30s, Schwab recommends upping that contribution to 15%&ndash;25%. If you start in your 40s or later, you would want to save 35% of your income, which is a rather hefty amount. This is all thanks to the power of compounding interest, so it's never too early to start saving.</p> <h2>3. You Aren't Matching Your Employer's Contribution</h2> <p>If your employer is matching your 401K contribution, that is basically free money invested in your future. That's why it's crucial to at least match your employer's contribution, so that they can help you prepare for your retirement as much as possible.</p> <h2>4. You've Borrowed From Your 401K</h2> <p>Borrowing against your 401K is never a good idea. It may help in the short-run, but in the long-run, it can affect your savings goals and financial health during retirement. You would also need to save more aggressively going forward just to catch up with your original savings goals.</p> <h2>5. You Aren't Prioritizing Your Future</h2> <p>One of the first things you should always think about is building savings for yourself so you have the money you need in case of an emergency or unexpected expense. Short of that savings account, you shouldn't be prioritizing anything over your retirement savings. Your retirement and your future should be your first priority, even over your children's education, because nobody will be saving for your retirement except for you.</p> <h2>6. You're Only Investing in a 401K</h2> <p>Contributing to a 401K is a great start to your retirement savings, but it usually isn't enough. Your best bet is to diversify your portfolio, investing in both a 401K and an IRA or Roth IRA. This will ensure you are well prepared for your golden years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-retirement-account-is-right-for-you?ref=seealso">Which Retirement Account Is Right for You?</a>)</p> <h2>7. You Aren't Accounting for Inflation</h2> <p>On average, inflation rates linger around 3%, which means that your expenses will double in less than 25 years. You will need to account for this, as it's one of the biggest retirement planning mistakes anyone makes.</p> <h2>8. You Haven't Sought Advice</h2> <p>You may not necessarily need a financial planner, but that doesn't mean that you shouldn't seek advice on your retirement portfolio from time to time. For instance, have you diversified properly? Are you investing in the right types of investment products? Have you adjusted your portfolio to match the appropriate level of risk and reward for your age range and lifestyle? These are some of the many questions you need to ask yourself (and/or a professional) to ensure you are saving and planning correctly. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-you-need-a-financial-planner?ref=seealso">Do You Need a Financial Planner?</a>)</p> <h2>9. You Haven't Started Saving Yet</h2> <p>The sooner you start investing in your future, the more you'll have by retirement, thanks to compound interest. This also means that the sooner you start saving, the less you'll need to save every month to have enough in your retirement years. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses?ref=seealso">Stop Making These 10 Bogus Retirement Savings Excuses</a>)</p> <h2>10. You're Worried About Retirement</h2> <p>Possibly the most obvious sign that you aren't saving enough is that you feel very nervous about retirement. If you don't think you're saving enough, then you probably aren't.</p> <p><em>Do you know of other signs that a person isn't saving enough for retirement? Please share your thoughts in the comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-cannon">Andrea Cannon</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-moves-that-guarantee-a-great-retirement">4 Moves That Guarantee a Great Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what">The Inventor of the 401K Has Second Thoughts About Your Retirement Plan — Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stop-making-these-10-bogus-retirement-savings-excuses">Stop Making These 10 Bogus Retirement Savings Excuses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-warning-signs-youre-sabotaging-your-nest-egg">6 Warning Signs You&#039;re Sabotaging Your Nest Egg</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can">4 Reasons People Don&#039;t Retire Early — and How You Can</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k compound interest goals golden years IRA nest egg not saving enough Thu, 02 Jun 2016 10:30:03 +0000 Andrea Cannon 1721735 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Moves That Guarantee a Great Retirement http://www.wisebread.com/4-moves-that-guarantee-a-great-retirement <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-moves-that-guarantee-a-great-retirement" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_sun_roadtrip_000087905209.jpg" alt="Couple making moves to guarantee a great retirement" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Times have changed. Retirement is no exception.</p> <p>Back in 1998, 60.5% of Americans said they were <a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/PR1160.Ret-Sat.26Apr16.pdf">very satisfied with their retirement</a> in a study conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Fast forward 14 years later, that percentage dropped to 48.6%. Even worse, the percentage of Americans not satisfied at all with their retirement situation went up from 7.9% to 10.5%.</p> <p>But you can avoid that fate. Here are four ways to turn this period into the best time of your life.</p> <h2>1. Semi-Retire</h2> <p>An old retirement adage goes, &quot;When you retire, think and act as if you were still working; when you're still working, think and act a bit as if you were already retired.&quot; There are three good reasons why this is true.</p> <p>First, putting off retirement may help stave off certain maladies of aging, such as Alzheimer's disease. According to French researchers, there is a correlation between higher retirement age and <a href="http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/07/15/putting-off-retirement-may-help-stave-off-alzheimers">lower dementia risk</a>.</p> <p>Second, later retirement allows you to make the most out of your nest egg:</p> <ul> <li>While you can start receiving Social Security retirement benefits at age 62, you can wait until full retirement age to receive <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/delayret.html">delayed retirement credits</a>.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Roll over a former employer's 401K plan after you turn 70 1/2 into another plan with a current employer, and you aren't required to take required minimum distributions (RMDs) starting the second year after the rollover.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>By continuing to work part-time, you can continue to contribute to a Roth IRA (up to $6,500 in 2016) after you reach <a href="http://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/roth-iras">age 70 1/2</a>.</li> </ul> <p>Third, 83% of U.S. retirees cited &quot;<a href="https://www.ebri.org/pdf/briefspdf/EBRI_IB_397_Mar14.RCS.pdf">enjoying working</a>&quot; as a major reason to work for pay after retirement. Among current workers who expect to work in retirement, 79% of them cite &quot;wanting to stay active and involved&quot; as a major reason to work for pay in retirement.</p> <h2>2. Take Advantage of Catch-Up Contributions</h2> <p>Starting age 50, you can make additional contributions on top of the regular limit to eligible plans.</p> <ul> <li>Catch-up contributions of <a href="https://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/Plan-Participant,-Employee/Retirement-Topics-Catch-Up-Contributions">up to $6,000</a>: 401K (other than a SIMPLE 401K), 403(b), SARSEP, and governmental 457(b).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Catch-up contributions of up to $3,000: SIMPLE IRA and SIMPLE 401K.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Catch-up contributions of up to $1,000: Traditional or Roth IRA.</li> </ul> <p>Let's take a look at the power of catch-up contributions: Let's imagine that you have a 401K and you make $6,000 in catch-up contributions for 15 years. Here is how much more you would have at the end of 15 years, assuming different rates of return, in your 401K:</p> <ul> <li>3% return compounded annually: $113,398.69</li> <li>4% return compounded annually: $122,728.99</li> <li>5% return compounded annually: $132,951.76</li> <li>6% return compounded annually: $144,154.23</li> <li>7% return compounded annually: $156,431.90</li> </ul> <h2>3. Research Adequate Health Coverage and Disability Insurance</h2> <p>Despite the best-laid plans, chances are circumstances will require you to make some changes along the way. Nearly one out of two Americans reported retiring earlier than expected. While some individuals have good reasons, such as accumulating sufficient financial resources or wanting to do something else, many had negative reasons. Of those that retire early, 61% of cited health reasons or disabilities, and 18% cited the need to care for a spouse or family member.</p> <p>This is why getting the right health coverage and disability insurance now for your spouse and yourself is a key way to make retirement enjoyable. Plan ahead so that you don't become part of the 24% of Americans who aren't confident about paying for medical expenses in retirement. Disability insurance is essential for the main breadwinner of the household. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-these-7-money-moves-now-or-youll-regret-it-in-20-years?ref=seealso">Make These 7 Money Moves Now or You'll Regret It in 20 Years</a>)</p> <p>If you have to retire early due to health problems, the Social Security Administration suggests applying for <a href="http://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10035.pdf">Social Security disability benefits</a>, which are full, unreduced retirement benefits.</p> <h2>4. Consider Retiring Abroad</h2> <p>According to a study from a Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, 71% of Americans say travel has <a href="http://www.transamericacenter.org/docs/default-source/resources/travel-survey/tcrs2013_op_travel_and_aging_executive_summary.pdf">helped them enjoy retired life</a>. That's why one way to turn retirement into the best time of your life is to move abroad. Additionally, living abroad can enable you to reduce your living expenses during retirement, without forsaking quality of life. Several cities around the world offer visa pension programs, such as Malaysia's <em>My Second Home</em> and Panama's &quot;pensionado&quot; program, that offer U.S. retirees generous tax breaks and high-quality medical services at reduced costs. Of course, beautiful locales and ideal weather conditions don't hurt either! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/x-exciting-world-cities-you-can-afford-to-retire-in?ref=seealso">4 Exciting World Cities You Can Afford to Retire In</a>)</p> <p><em>How do you plan turn retirement into the best time of your life?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-moves-that-guarantee-a-great-retirement">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-signs-you-arent-saving-enough-for-retirement">10 Signs You Aren&#039;t Saving Enough for Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what">The Inventor of the 401K Has Second Thoughts About Your Retirement Plan — Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-warning-signs-youre-sabotaging-your-nest-egg">6 Warning Signs You&#039;re Sabotaging Your Nest Egg</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/403b-vs-401k-how-are-they-different">403B vs. 401K: How Are They Different?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can">4 Reasons People Don&#039;t Retire Early — and How You Can</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k disability golden years healthcare insurance IRA moving abroad nest egg work in retirement Fri, 27 May 2016 10:00:12 +0000 Damian Davila 1717321 at http://www.wisebread.com A Simple Guide to Rolling Over All of Your 401Ks and IRAs http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/retirement_fund_jar_000061741674.jpg" alt="How to roll over all of your 401ks and IRAs" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The median number of years that U.S. workers <a href="http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/tenure_09182014.htm">stick with their current employer</a> is 4.6 years, according to U.S. Department of Labor. This means that sooner or later you're bound to quit, get fired, or get laid off from your current job. To avoid steep transaction fees, early distribution taxes, or losing retirement account contributions, you need to be ready to roll over your hard-earned nest egg when the time comes.</p> <h2>Establish How Much You Really Have</h2> <p>The first step is to determine the current balance of your 401K or IRA. While you'll eventually receive a separation from employment notice from your previous employer stating your total vested account balance, you can save time by researching your vested balance, net of any 401K loan balances you may owe.</p> <h3>Take Care of Any Outstanding Loans From Your 401K</h3> <p>Unlike IRAs, many 401K plans offer the option to take loans from your retirement account. As long as you keep up with your payment schedule, you generally have up to five years to pay back your loan in full. However, when you change jobs, the unpaid loan balance becomes due within 60 days.</p> <p>Any unpaid loan monies by the deadline or transaction date of your rollover are subject to federal income tax, a 10% early distribution penalty for those age 59 1/2 and under, and state income tax or penalty, if applicable. You can't roll over unpaid 401K loans.</p> <h3>Know the Vesting Schedule</h3> <p>Your own contributions to your 401K or IRA are always fully vested. However, contributions from your employer to your retirement account may be subject to a vesting schedule. Trying to retain top talent as long as possible, employers may require a minimum period of employment before employees gain full control on part of their retirement accounts. The two most common vesting schedules are <em>cliff vesting</em> (100% vesting is only provided after a set number of years) and <em>graded vesting</em> (a vested percentage is provided every year).</p> <p>When you separate from your employer, you forgo any non-vested contributions to your retirement account.</p> <p>Once you know your outstanding loan balance and vesting schedule, you have a clear idea of how much you can rollover.</p> <h2>Choose Rollover Options</h2> <p>Under most scenarios, you have six options for your total vested account balance:</p> <ol> <li>Keep your account;</li> <li>Rollover account into a new or existing IRA;</li> <li>Rollover account into a new or existing qualified plan;</li> <li>Do an indirect rollover;</li> <li>Request a full cash-out of your account; or</li> <li>Do a mix of the above five options.</li> </ol> <p>Let's analyze each one of these scenarios, because some of them may trigger taxes.</p> <h3>1. Keep Your Account</h3> <p>All retirement accounts stipulate a minimum amount required to remain in your old employer's plan, usually ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. If you're happy with your current financial provider, you can choose to keep the account.</p> <p>Make sure to read the fine print because some providers may strip away some services (such as certain investment options or coverage of fees) and gain the right to convert your 401K into an IRA without your input. According to a Plan Sponsor Council of America survey of 613 plans with eight million participants, 57% of 401K plans transfer balances between $1,000 and $5,000 to an IRA when the participant leaves the employer.</p> <p>While such forced-transfer IRAs don't trigger early withdrawal penalties or income taxes, they are often subject to high fees and low investment returns. A November 2014 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that forced-transfer IRAs <a href="http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667151.pdf">have administrative fees</a>, ranging from $0 to $100 or more to open the account, and $0 to $115 annually to retain the account.</p> <h3>2. Rollover Account Into a New or Existing IRA</h3> <p>Whether you have a 401K or IRA, your current provider will provide you the option to request a rollover to an existing IRA, or open a new one through any of their partner institutions. Either option triggers no income taxes or distribution penalties. Under this scenario, keep in mind that you're not bound to the offerings from your old employer's financial institution and have the option to shop around for a new IRA with other financial institutions, as well.</p> <p>There are two types of IRAs: traditional IRA and Roth IRA. The main difference between them is that you pay taxes up front with the Roth IRA, and that you pay taxes at withdrawal with the traditional IRA. One of the advantages of owning an IRA is that there are many penalty-free ways to withdraw money from your retirement account before age 59 1/2. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-penalty-free-ways-to-withdraw-money-from-your-retirement-account?ref=seealso">7 Penalty-Free Ways to Withdraw Money From Your Retirement Account</a>)</p> <h3>3. Rollover Account Into a New or Existing Qualified Plan</h3> <p>Besides an IRA, you can also rollover your retirement account into a 401K, 403(b), 457, Federal Thrift Savings Plan, or employer qualified plan, as long as the target plan allows those funds. Rollovers into new or existing qualified plans trigger no income taxes or early distribution fees.</p> <p>The IRS provides a useful <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/rollover_chart.pdf">rollover chart</a> to determine to which accounts you can rollover retirement contributions. However, the most surefire way to find out is by contacting your plan's customer service center.</p> <h3>4. Do an Indirect Rollover</h3> <p>Direct rollovers are only possible if you already have a retirement account with a previous or new employer or are able to open a new plan on your own. In the event that you think that you can find a new job offering a retirement account within 60 days, then you could try to do an indirect rollover.</p> <p>Your old employer would cut you a check, withholding the necessary 20% for income tax purposes. Once you have a qualified plan with your new employer, you would deposit the check in full and add the 20% withholding out of pocket. The IRS will return you the 20% withholding when you file your tax return. Make sure to deposit the full amount because any gap is subject to applicable income taxes and penalties for those age 59 1/2 and under.</p> <h3>5. Request a Full Cash-Out of Your Account</h3> <p>This is the least desirable of all options because not only do you pay incomes taxes and trigger early distribution fees, but also forgo investment returns. At age 20, a $600 balance on a 401K may not seem like much. However, assuming an investment return of 6% compounded annually and a target retirement age of 65, you would be saying goodbye to an extra $8,258.77 for your nest egg.</p> <p>Every year you have a ceiling on how you much contribute to your 401K or IRA. By cashing out that past contribution, you'll never be able to make it up.</p> <h3>6. Do a Mix of the Previous Options</h3> <p>Depending on your unique situation and set of rules from your old and new retirement accounts, you could use portions of your old account for different purposes. For example, you could cash out 10% of your vested account balance, subject to income taxes and early distribution penalties when age 59 1/2 and under, and rollover 90% of vested account balance to an IRA.</p> <p>Doing a mix of rollover options requires careful planning and plenty of legwork, but it may provide the solution that is better suited to your financial goals.</p> <h2>The Bottom Line</h2> <p>Knowing how to rollover your 401K or IRA is a skill that you'll use many times throughout your work years. The process is relatively simple but requires many steps. Before rolling over funds, make sure to plan ahead by minimizing loans from your 401K and maximizing total vested balance. Contact your old and new plan managers so that you are aware of all applicable rules and can make an informed decision. Keep an eye on the deadline for a rollover so that you're not forced to take a cash-out or forced to transfer to a high-fee IRA.</p> <p><em>Have you ever rolled over your 401K or IRA? How did you do it?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-simple-guide-to-rolling-over-all-of-your-401ks-and-iras">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-why-a-roth-ira-may-be-better-than-your-401k">4 Reasons Why a Roth IRA May be Better Than Your 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-warning-signs-youre-sabotaging-your-nest-egg">6 Warning Signs You&#039;re Sabotaging Your Nest Egg</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-401k-in-2017-heres-whats-new-for-you">Your 401K in 2017: Here&#039;s What&#039;s New for You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-inventor-of-the-401k-has-second-thoughts-about-your-retirement-plan-now-what">The Inventor of the 401K Has Second Thoughts About Your Retirement Plan — Now What?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-people-dont-retire-early-and-how-you-can">4 Reasons People Don&#039;t Retire Early — and How You Can</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement 401k cash out employers IRA outstanding loans rolling over Roth IRA vesting schedule Wed, 18 May 2016 09:00:08 +0000 Damian Davila 1709866 at http://www.wisebread.com