Showing posts with label 401k. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 401k. Show all posts

Saturday, April 9, 2022

3 Alternatives To Investing In A 401K

If you work for an employer that offers a 401K plan as part of your benefits package, this can be a great way for you to build up quite a nest egg while you are working.

In most situations, employers will match an employee's 401K contributions, allowing wealth to accumulate much faster. However, there are also plenty of alternatives to a 401K.

If you're wanting to explore additional ways to make your money grow, here are three alternatives to consider.

Roth IRA

One of the most popular investment tools available today, a Roth IRA can be a great alternative to a 401K. First, it allows your money to grow tax-free, which could save you thousands of dollars over the years. 

Also, when you retire, a Roth IRA lets you withdraw any or all of your money tax-free as well. If you want to use your contributions for qualifying expenses such as college tuition or to buy a home, you can do this with a Roth IRA. As for annual contribution limits, these range from $6,000 if you are under age 50 to $7,000 if you are age 50 or older. 

It is ideal to work with a financial advisor who can look at your needs and income to provide you with the right amount to invest for your goals. Additionally, they can help you look at your income and current debt to recommend that the right percent of your income should be put into the investment. 

Additionally, they can provide you with recommendations for what percent of your portfolio should be used in other types of investments, not just a Roth IRA.

Real Estate

Always considered to be one of the best and safest investment options by many in the industry, investing in real estate may put you well ahead of others who are relying on a 401K. 

When you invest in real estate, you can do so for either short-term cash flow or long-term appreciation, depending upon your financial needs. Once you own investment property, you can build equity in the property, sell it whenever you wish, or keep it and pass it on to your children or others when you die.

Invest in a Business

If you have an eye for business, you may want to take that money you would have put into a 401K and instead invest it in a startup business. 

Since new businesses are started every day, many entrepreneurs are always seeking financing to get started. Once you've looked over the business plan and have confidence it will be a success, invest your money. 

If all goes well, you could find yourself making more money at this investment than you ever thought possible.

While there is certainly nothing wrong with investing in a 401K, there's also nothing wrong with exploring other investment opportunities. 

Once you do so and learn more about a Roth IRA, real estate, or startup businesses, you may find the money you would have put into a 401K will grow more rapidly in these other options.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Focus in on Your 401k: 4 Retirement Planning Tips for Today

Retirement is a time in your life to spend time with loved ones, enjoy hobbies and traveling, and live stress-free. That isn’t always how it works out, though. The ability—or inability— to retire with financial security is a real concern that looms over the heads of many people. However, with some simple planning, you can be sure to enjoy the golden years of your life without worry.

Limit Extra Expenses

While you may think of large purchases getting as in the way of your retirement, little purchases can hurt too. Expenses that cost under ten dollars are often ignored as inconsequential, but they build up and can hamper your retirement goals. Daily coffee runs, eating out for lunch, leaving the lights on, and data charges on your cell phone are little charges that add up quickly.

Keep a detailed journal to see where all of your money goes. You’ll be surprised by how much you waste at the end of each month. Set a limit on how much extra money you can spend, and stick to it.

Contribute to your 401k

Take full advantage of the 401k option your employer offers. Enroll in your company’s 401k program and meet your employer’s match. You can also get advice from a 401k advisor to ensure you’re making the most out of this benefit. 

It’s also wise to increase your contribution by one to two percent each year. If you start early, the amount you contribute to your retirement will hardly be noticeable on each paycheck.

Plan your Living Situation

Hopefully, by retirement age, your home is paid off or within striking distance. A hefty mortgage can be difficult to pay with your retirement income. If you’re going to be empty-nesters, it may not make sense to keep that huge home. You and your partner should decide if downsizing is a better option. 

The equity from your home can be used to pay for a significant portion or all of your new living quarters. Renting is also an option if you can find an affordable community. A lot of retirees move to states such as Florida or Texas because they have no state income tax.

Automate Savings

Set up your monthly contributions to your 401k and other retirement funds as automatic deductions from your bank account. Although you may feel the sting of these funds being withdrawn, the investment is well worth it. These monthly “bills” will pay for themselves many times over when you are ready to retire.

Retirement may be far in your future, but the earlier you start saving and investing, the more secure you will be. Even if you’ve had little financial awareness, it is never too late to start saving for retirement.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Your Quick Guide To Going For Growth In 2018

There’s no doubt about it, this last year has been one of the strangest of all with a new President, unrest in the world and the continuing saga of the UK’s plans to leave the EU.

So now it’s time to start questioning what 2018 holds in store for us and how we can all start to make our hard-earned cash work even harder for us. A good place to start would be to look at what we can say about the way the economy will be headed in 2018, or what we may be able to predict.

The first thing to say would be that already the Federal Reserve has indicated that interest rates may be raised up to four times over the next 12 months. While it’s all but impossible to predict what this will mean in actual terms it is fairly safe to say that, for many, this will place an extra burden on their finances while also making savings rates a little more favourable.

It’s also important to look at exactly why rates may have to rise and the reasons are far from bad. In fact, it’s that the economy is on the up, unemployment’s going down and even globally there are the early stirrings of other countries’ economies coming back to life. So it all adds up to the fact that we’ll be going into 2018 on a strong economic wave.

We also know the stock market will start 2018 at near historic highs as the S&P 500 is currently running a Shiller price-to-earnings ratio of 32, which is nearly double the long-term. average. What this means is that to really maximise your returns and take full advantage of the situation, you’ll have to be extra vigilant about where you invest.

It’s also worth noting that it seems like neither pronouncements from President Trump or the risk of conflict in North Korea have had any effect on the markets over 2017, but that’s not to say that these factors won’t come into play in 2018.

So let’s take a look at some of the investments that could pay off for you over the next year. It’s in no way intended to be definite guidance but it should certainly give you plenty to think about.

Your 401(k) Plan is a great investment - especially for the over 50s

If you thought that tax shelters were only for the super-rich it might be a big surprise for you to learn that you’re sitting on one right now, whatever the level of your wealth, and it’s called the 401(k).

Now you may also have thought that the 401(k) plan is, at best, some far from impressive mutual funds which also have high fees attached to them. But, in fact, it’s a very good and tax-efficient place for your money.

For example, if you currently pay 25% tax then for every dollar you invest it’s an extra 25 cents of your investment that’s compounding, and this, over time, is of huge benefit to you. The fact that next year the IRS is going to increase the annual contribution limit on 401(k) plans to $18,500, excluding employer matching, is good news PLUS if you’re 50 or older, you can add another $6,000 per year making $24,500.

So, even if you’re nervous about where the market may be heading, you really should try to maximize your 401(k) plan, especially as there are money market and stable value funds to invest in with minimal risks.

Consider alternative investments too

While there is plenty to recommend the stock market both as a tried and trusted method of increasing wealth, at least during the good times, as well as being a way to own a stake in the US economy, it’s not necessarily always the very best place to invest.

You only have to look at the 13 years between 1968 to 1981 when the Dow Jones Industrial Average actually lost money when inflation was taken into account. But over the same period commodities and gold did far better, especially in the case of the latter whose value rocketed by 2,000% between 1971 to 1980. So the moral of this story is not just to buy gold to think about diversifying in order to not be just relying on the market.

A word of caution, though. When you’re thinking about investing in alternatives you need to be aware that it’s far less regulated than the stocks and bonds markets so a little more diligence is needed. You should also never invest in something you never fully understand. We only have to look back as far as 2008/9 to see exactly where that can lead.

The Bitcoin bubble?

One example of understanding what you’re getting into before you make the leap is the Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Throughout the year Bitcoin has been hitting the headlines as its value has gradually increased, finally hitting the symbolic $10,000 mark in November. There are also many stories about the people who got in at the earliest days and now are finding that they are multi-millionaires, on paper at least. But, even in the light of these huge gains in value, there’s also increasing disquiet amongst banks and economists that this is showing all the signs of a classic bubble, and we all know what happens when they burst.

The fact is that Bitcoin’s key strength and point of difference in the eyes of some – its independence from governments and financial institutions – is also its biggest weakness. The facts behind this expressed very succinctly by Rodney Johnson, the head of the highly respected economic forecasting firm Dent Research who has pronounced that “If a company or commodity has no assets, no returns and no backing, what’s it worth? In a word, ‘priceless.’ Some will see zero value, others infinite value”. So it very much depends on how you stand on this point which will dictate your attitude to jumping on the Bitcoin bandwagon.

When asked more precisely about his attitudes to investing in a cryptocurrency Johnson was also quoted as saying. “I wouldn’t risk any significant portion of my wealth on such a thing. But I might put a few dollars in, like buying an investment lottery ticket.”

So, in terms of gambles, you might well be better off trying your luck at any of the many online casinos that offer you the chance to take up free spins and bonuses and play without putting up a single cent of your own money, in a fiat currency, of course!

Go for value stocks

So now we’ve covered off these areas, it’s time to take a look at the sorts of stocks that could prove to be a good investment throughout 2018 and beyond.

There’s a simple reason why we’ve left this to last and that’s because your first priority should always to be making your definite savings decisions first before seeing what cash is left over for more speculative investments.

Assuming you go have a pot to invest, it could well be worth following the advice given by many market observers who have been advising that we should be looking for value rather than growth. Now this may sound counterintuitive at the end of a year in which the Russell 1000 Growth Index outgunned the Russell 1000 Value Index by showing returns of over 100% more but the tide may be beginning to turn. So talk to your financial advisor and keep a close eye on the financial pages to spot the value opportunities as and when they arise.

As to what all of our financial situations will be at this point next year, only time will tell. But what is certain is that we’ll all be a year older - but hopefully also a little wiser and richer too - and ready to take on all of the challenges that 2019 may have in store for us.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

7 Late-Stage Retirement Techniques That Allow you to Play Catch Up

If you’re fast approaching the retirement stage of your life with minimal savings, you may have cause for worry. But taking the necessary precautions now with the following 7 retirement techniques can help increase your nest egg and without a lot of sacrifice. 

Work Your 401(k)

Benefits such as an employer matching retirement program equate to a valuable perk when looking for a job. If your employer offers a 401(k) program through work, you need to fund it to the highest level you can afford. 

After paying your mortgage, utilities and other household expenses, place the remainder of your funds into this account. If you’re 40 years-of-age and put away close to $17,000 each year, you could accumulate over $1 million by the time you reach 65.

Know Your Healthcare Options

Healthcare coverage is integral at any age as it covers important health services such as doctor, emergency and hospital visits. With the right plan, you also won’t have to use your retirement savings to pay for medical expenses incurred as you age. 

 During your employment, your employer may pay the majority of the premium and leave the responsibility of the deductible to the employee. If you’re 65 and older or you receive social security disability insurance or end-stage renal disease, you’re eligible for Medicare.

Re-Tool Your Budget

Savings can add up quickly if you re-tool your household budget. Take a look at your spending for the previous month to determine the areas where you can tweak. If you normally enjoy a latte at your local cafe, skip the coffee run and make your own blend at home. 

Dining out can be another major household expense. Instead of going out to eat regularly, whittle it down to once each month or on special occasions.

Bank Additional Money

The rewards of working hard at your job are usually shown through a holiday bonus and raise. While you may want to spend the additional income on frivolous things such as a T.V., bank the additional money instead. You’ve never had this amount of money before, so you won’t miss it. 

The same advice can used if you get a tax refund from Uncle Sam. As long as you can live comfortably and pay your loans and bills on time, putting the money away for your future will help boost your retirement nest egg.

Eliminate Debt

Debt placed on credit cards quickly can add up. If you can’t afford the items that you’re placing on your charge cards, don’t make any new purchases. If you’re looking to pay down debt, begin by paying off cards with the highest interest rates. 

You may also be able to take advantage of transfer balance cards with zero interest. The sooner that you stop overspending and pay down the amounts on your credit cards, the sooner you’ll have more money to save for your retirement. 

If you feel like your debt is at the point where you will never be able to catch up, you can look at benefits of Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Although this type of bankruptcy discharges most debt, typically, there are income limitations. 

It’s imperative you look at all your options before you lean towards a bankruptcy. Some people even look into getting a 0% APR credit card to give them more time to pay off their credit card debts.


As parents age, their lives change. While you were once consumed with raising your family, you may now see yourself as empty nesters. As your children leave the home to go off to college or get married, you don’t need as big a dwelling as before. 

This is the ideal time to downsize your living arrangements. From a condo and townhome to a smaller house, the possibilities are endless. If your home is paid off, use the funds to pay for your new dwelling. Additional money left from the sale will all go toward your retirement account.

Convert Assets

Assets such as jewelry, antiques and other collectible items may be worth a lot of money. This type of collection could be converted into a proper retirement investment. 

Make a list of the items that you have such as a boat you no longer use, vacation home that’s too far or expensive hobby that’s collecting dust. Do your homework to determine fair market value for the items. Once sold, you can boost your retirement savings significantly.

Whether you were a procrastinator or you had other outlets for your money such as putting your kids through college, your retirement account may have taken a hit. The good news is that with the above techniques, it’s never too late to play catch up.

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