Showing posts with label Saving For Retirement. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saving For Retirement. Show all posts

Friday, December 2, 2022

How Does a Roth 401k Differ from a Traditional 401k?

If your employer offers a 401(k), investing in either a standard 401(k) or a Roth 401(k) is a wise choice when preparing for retirement.

They may be a better fit. Every variety has advantages and disadvantages of its own. Although the primary and most well-known difference between a traditional 401(k) and a Roth

  • 401(k) is the time at which your money is taxed.
  • Your employer's plans, employer matching contributions, state of residence, and savings capacity are also factors.

Everyone has better options; you must decide based on your unique situation.

  • A Roth 401(k) is among the two primary categories of 401(k) plans, and it provides considerable tax advantages to employees who save for retirement.
  • The regular 401(k) is another major plan that offers substantial but different tax advantages for retirement savings.

Here's everything you need to understand about Roth 401(k)s so you can decide if they're good for you.

What’s a Roth 401(k)?

A Roth 401(k) is a kind of employer-sponsored retirement savings plan allowing employees to contribute after deducting taxes. When that employee retires, they will be able to take tax-free withdrawals.

In 2006, the Roth 401(k) was introduced, combining characteristics from the standard 401(k) and the Roth IRA. Like a traditional 401(k), you can use a Roth account to take the benefits of an employer match on the contributions if your employer offers one.

Furthermore, the Roth feature of a Roth 401(k) allows you to make tax-free withdrawals.

The income tax is paid directly on the employee's money from every paycheck and deposited into the retirement account. Withdrawals from the retirement fund would be tax-free after the employee retires.

How does it work?

  • The person’s age determines a Roth 401(k) contribution limit.
  • Individual contribution limits in 2020 and 2021 are $19,500 annually. Individuals aged 50 and up are eligible for a catch-up payment of $6,500.
  • If your employer matches your contributions, you may contribute to a Roth 401(k). A Roth 401(k) deposits matched funds into a tax-deferred account.
  • The Roth 401(k) account should be held for a minimum of 5 years.
  • The account holder should only make withdrawals due to a disability if the account owner reaches the age of 59½ or after the account holder’s death.
  • Unless the employee is still working at the company holding the 401(k) and is not a 5% (or more) owner of the company sponsoring the plan, distributions are needed for employees who are at least 72 years old (70½ before January 1, 2020).
  • You can make tax-free withdrawals from a Roth 401(k) after retirement. Non-qualified withdrawals from a Roth 401(k) are pro-rated based on your contributions and income.

Additionally, you may be charged the 10% early withdrawal penalty on funds classified as gross income.

To avoid a penalty, you must begin collecting the required minimum distributions (RMDs) after you reach the age of 72 (70½ before January 1 or earlier). When you retire, you can avoid this obligation by rolling your Roth 401(k) into a Roth IRA, which does not require RMDs. This way, your funds can keep growing tax-free, and your heirs won’t have to pay taxes on distributions if you pass your IRA over to them.

Employer-sponsored Roth 401(k) plans are the only way to invest in a Roth 401(k). If your company only offers a regular 401(k) with matching contributions, you’ll be wasting money if you don’t participate.

What are the benefits of a Roth 401(k)?

  • Employees in a low tax bracket who intend to shift into a higher one upon retirement may benefit the most from a Roth 401(k).
  • Currently, contributions will be taxed at a reduced rate, while retirement withdrawals will be tax-free.
  • Tax-free distribution is the most significant benefit. The money in the fund will be tax-free throughout retirement, regardless of how much it grows over time.
  • There is a minor disadvantage to this retirement plan. Since contributions to a traditional 401(k) are not taxed immediately, they have a lower impact on your take-home pay and maximize your tax break for the year.

How are they different from traditional 401(k)s?

A Roth 401(k) may be a superior option when considering future advantages. You need to pay income tax on your contributions in current-dollar to build a tax-free retirement nest egg.

Significantly, the contributions and the income will be tax-free over time. On the other hand, a regular 401(k) account requires you to pay income tax on the total amount you withdraw.

However, the Roth 401(k) takes a bigger bite out of your annual income. If you’re nearing retirement, the immediate tax savings may be more appealing than the chance of future tax-free withdrawals. If you plan to be in a lower tax bracket after retirement, the typical tax advantage of a 401(k) may be more beneficial.

Pre-tax contributions are made in a standard 401(k), which lowers your current adjusted gross income.

Contributions to a Roth 401(K) are made after taxes without impacting the current AGI. Employer matching contributions are taxed when distributed and must be placed in a pre-tax account.

When would someone choose a Roth 401(k) over other options?

The advantages of a Roth 401k above other options cannot be overlooked. The most appealing factors for selecting this option are the financial benefits of reduced tax deductions and tax-free withdrawals.

Therefore, those with access to 401(k)s may benefit from a 401(k) and a personal IRA. Before creating a personal IRA, maximizing your 401(k) contributions will be advantageous to fully benefit from the 401(k) benefits mentioned above.

For instance, if your employer matches any 401(k) contributions you make, every $1 you put into the plan is now worth $2. Note that employer contributions are stored in a separate account and that any gains are fully taxable upon withdrawal.

The ability to invest in things that are not available in your 401(k) plan is one reason you might want to have an IRA before maximizing your 401(k) plan.

Most 401(k) plans only let you choose from a set of mutual funds selected by your employer.

Your investment scope may be widened by having an IRA to include individual equities or unconventional assets like real estate or cryptocurrencies.

The choice between a Roth and a traditional account hinges on your projected tax rate in retirement compared to your current speed and your requirement for current income. The conventional is preferred since it is often believed that your tax bracket will be lower after retirement.

Since it might be challenging to anticipate your tax rate decades in the future, most people base their choice between a Roth and a standard retirement account on their ability to contribute a certain amount from their current income.

A standard 401(k) plan will require less of your income to be maximized than a Roth 401(k), as contributions are made pre-tax (k). You can’t overlook the emotional agony of investing in alternative options. 

Imagine reaching retirement age and discovering your $2 million nest egg has been reduced to $1,600,000 after the tax deduction! You’ll miss $400,000 in retirement, far more than $250 in a paycheck. You’d rather pay taxes now.

You probably wouldn’t care about the amount you’re saving in taxes if you put 15% of every paycheck into your Roth 401(k). You’ll be delighted to notice that you don’t owe the government a single penny from your hard-earned savings when you retire.


Retirement savings can help you avoid debt during retirement. People in retirement use credit cards to mitigate emergencies and welcome credit card debt into retirement. 

If you have enough money saved in your retirement account, you can use the money and get a tax benefit. The important considerations are how you wish to deposit and withdraw money into the account.

Finally, keep in mind that, provided your plan permits, you can split the difference and contribute to both accounts, switching back and forth during your career or even throughout the year. Your tax situation in retirement will be diversified if you use both accounts, which is always positive. Let's start by investing money today!

Author Bio: Attorney Loretta Kilday has more than 36 years of litigation and transactional experience, specializing in business, collection, and family law. She frequently writes on various financial and legal matters. She is a graduate of DePaul University with a Juris Doctor degree and a spokesperson for Debt Consolidation Care (DebtCC) online debt relief forum. Please connect with her on LinkedIn for further information.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Steps You Can Take to Grow Your Savings Before Retirement

No one knows how long they will live, but most people want to ensure they have enough money saved to cover their retirement costs. There are many steps you can take to help make sure you have enough money saved when you retire.

Save Early and Often

It may seem like a no-brainer, but one of the best things you can do to ensure a comfortable retirement is to start saving as early as possible. 

The earlier you begin saving, the more time your money has to grow. For example, let’s say you start saving $200 per month at age 25. If you earn an annual return of 7%, by the time you retire at age 65, you will have nearly $500,000 saved. 

However, if you wait until age 35 to start saving, even investing the same amount each month, you would only have about $250,000 saved by retirement – half as much as if you had started 10 years earlier. 

Time is your friend when it comes to growing your savings! If you have questions about how much money you should personally be saving each year, work with a wealth management professional.

Invest in Yourself

Investing in yourself is one of the best investments you can make. When it comes to retirement savings, there are a few different ways to invest in yourself. 

One way is to contribute to a 401(k) or another employer-sponsored retirement plan. If your employer offers matching contributions, that’s even better! Another way to invest in yourself is to open an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). An IRA is a savings account that offers tax advantages for those saving for retirement. 

There are two types of IRAs – traditional and Roth – and which one is right for you depends on your current income and tax bracket.

Live Below Your Means

One important step you can take to grow your retirement savings is to live below your means. This means spending less than you earn and Investing the difference. 

When you live below your means, it frees up extra money that can be used to save for retirement or pay down debt. 

It may not be easy, but living below your means now will pay off later when you don’t have to worry about where your next paycheck is coming from.

There are a number of steps you can take to grow your savings before retirement. Save early and often, invest in yourself, and live below your means. By taking these steps now, you can enjoy a comfortable retirement later.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

The Dos and Don’ts of Cashing in Your Retirement Funds

The age of 65 is significant for many of us; it can signal it’s finally time for retirement or time to sign up for Medicare vs traditional health care insurance. But what are the rules about withdrawing money from your retirement funds when the time comes?

With the elation that comes with retirement, and the opportunity to start a new chapter in life, it can be easy to forget that retirement funds are finite. Yes, you’ve been dutifully paying into your accounts for years, but it’s important not to stay mindful of your spending habits.

Resist These Temptations in Retirement

Did you know that if you withdraw money from your retirement account before you reach age 60, the funds will be subjected to a 10% penalty in addition to income tax? However, there are some ways you can navigate early withdrawal without the 10% fee tacked on.

Ways to Avoid Early Withdrawal Penalty

  • Wait until age 59 ½ to withdraw money from your IRA
  • Use the money for medical expenses that exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income
  • If you’re unemployed, early withdrawals can be made to pay for insurance premiums
  • After 12 weeks of unemployment, penalty-free withdrawals can be approved
  • Early withdrawals can avoid the penalty if used for education (room and board, textbooks)
  • An individual can avoid the 10% fee when up to $10,000 is withdrawn early to build/purchase a first home
  • Up to $5,000 can be withdrawn after the birth or adoption of a child
  • Military service exemptions
  • Inherited IRAs are only subject to income tax, not a penalty fee, for early withdrawal

Obviously, it’s ideal if you can avoid dipping into your retirement early, but life sometimes throws unexpected surprises at us!

Treating Retirement Like a Windfall

If you’ve resisted the temptation to withdraw money from your retirement funds early, the next tip is to avoid treating your retirement money like an unexpected financial windfall. Yes, you’ve planned for this season of life, but you should still budget responsibility so the money lasts. 

It can be tempting to indulge in splurges such as gambling or new cars when you retire. Better use of your retirement might be to invest in yourself, your relationships, or ventures with the potential for future earnings.

There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself in your retirement, but remember that a car loses value as soon as you drive it off the lot, so if you need or want to upgrade after you retire, do so wisely. 

If you want to travel and spend money on your hobbies, do so responsibly. If you want to help out family members financially, consider setting up repayment plans and treat the financial support as a personal loan vs a gift.

Waiting Until 65 to Enroll in Medicare

Did you know that you need to enroll in Medicare before your 65th birthday? This is an oversight many people make due to myriad reasons. Often, if an individual is still working at age 65, they have insurance through their employer. 

In this case, they are eligible to enroll in Medicare after turning 65. It’s when a person is not currently employed that they run the risk of paying a penalty for enrolling in Medicare late.

To avoid paying a higher monthly premium for Medicare, be sure you know the window of time during which you need to apply. Even if you have supplemental coverage between the time of retirement and your 65th birthday, start the transition to Medicare. 

If you’re already claiming your Social Security benefits prior to turning 65, you should automatically receive notice from Medicare about coverage when you turn 65.

How to Enroll in Medicare

If you’re not already receiving Social Security benefits before your benchmark, 65th birthday, you will need to take the reigns of enrolling in Medicare. 

Since many people are not accessing SS benefits until age 67, it’s important to contact Social Security regarding Medicare during the enrollment window, which is typically the span of three months before the month you turn 65, and three months after you turn 65. 

This seven-month period has different deadlines for different types of coverage, so it’s best to contact Social Security in the three months leading up to your birthday to avoid any lapses.

If you’re not sure how or when to enroll in Medicare, and what coverage you need, there are services such as MedicareCU, which partners with credit unions to offer education about Medicare.

The Dos of Retirement Spending

We’ve talked about what to avoid, now let’s focus on what you should do with your retirement money.

Invest in Yourself

We mentioned before that you deserve to spend your retirement money on yourself and your loved ones. After all, you’ve spent decades working toward your Golden Years, and now it’s time to enjoy them!


No matter what formal learning you already have under your belt, it’s important to continue learning after retirement. You now have the time to dive deeper into your hobbies and interests, so take classes for your favorite language, to learn more about technology, or how to grow the garden you’ve always dreamed of.


Investing in your health is always money well-spent. In retirement, be sure you’re staying active not just for your physical health, but your mental health as well. 

Participating in group fitness classes, taking solo walks, or lifting weights at the gym is not only good for you but good for your wallet. Regular exercise can help prevent costly health expenses in the future.


If you’re not used to having the freedom to do what you want once you retire, you may find yourself feeling aimless or depressed. Use your time and savings to experience the things you didn’t have time for when you were working full-time. 

Travel to visit family and friends, purchase a membership to a museum, or get season tickets for your local sports team. Having trips, exhibits, and games on your calendar can help you find a new schedule to live by that offers a sense of purpose and fulfillment.

No matter how you decide to spend your retirement, or when you access it, seek financial advice from a trusted advisor to avoid fees and overspending. 

If you’d rather keep track of your budgeting yourself, there are retirement calculators and apps readily available, or you can simply call your credit union or bank for updates on your account balances.

Thursday, August 5, 2021

At Your 50s? Follow These Strategies to Save for Retirement

It is possible to build your retirement savings by following some proven strategies, even if you’re 50 or older. If you are worried about your financial future, it’s never too late to put together a solid financial strategy that aligns with your goals.

According to a 2019 survey of 2000 participants performed by, 64% of those Americans expected to retire with less than $10,000 in their retirement savings account.

Don’t worry if you’re a part of this group. It’s never too late to start saving, even if you’re approaching retirement. According to retired certified financial planner Dick Bellmer, a former president of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, people should regularly review their retirement plan a minimum of every three years.

Let’s assume you’re reaching 50 and have yet to put anything aside for retirement. So, what are your options?

Here’s how you can begin your retirement savings plan.

Set up automated savings and improve budgeting strategy

First, evaluate your budget and remove any overspending costs to free up cash. According to Nadine Marie Burns, a CFP in Ann Arbor, Michigan, food is one area where many people waste money.

By creating meal plans, you may save over $100 each month from wasted or unused food.

Come up with a realistic savings goal and how much you can save automatically. If that’s too much to take in at once, focus on tiny modifications to your retirement plans over time.

George Gagliardi, a certified financial planner in Lexington, Massachusetts, suggested that you plan to live a long life and adjust your retirement income projections accordingly.

You have no influence over how long you live, but according to the Social Security Administration, the average 50-year-old man may expect to live another 30 years to 80.

On the other hand, a 50-year-old woman can expect to live for 33 years, to 83.

Maintain your investments

Set up automatic investments if you have a non-retirement portfolio or if you’re self-employed, managing your retirement fund. You will enjoy the benefits of dollar-cost averaging.

Regular investments can help you acquire more shares when stock prices fall and get fewer stocks when they are high.

As a bonus, you won’t have to remember to write a check each month.

According to Sandra Adams, a CFP in Southfield, Michigan, you also need a mix of different investments. Having investments of at least 60% in stocks will help you attain your objective over time.

However, don’t take too much of a chance when the market falls. Hopping in and out of the investment market might create severe problems in your plan, and you can’t manage those obstacles if you’re already behind schedule.

Pay off your debts

Do you have credit card debt, medical debt, or any other unsecured debts?

Pay them off as early as possible to free up money for savings. If you have a mortgage, create a plan to pay it off before you retire. Malcolm Ethridge, a CFP in Rockville, Maryland, suggested that removing housing expenses such as mortgage payments can lower the amount of annual expenses.

As a result, it will also reduce the amount of annual income you actually need to save for retirement.

Natalie Pine, a CFP in College Station, Texas, recommends avoiding future debt such as car loan debt. Instead, she recommends putting your income into a new account for buying a new car.

This will help you pay for a car in cash and spend less overall. Avoid taking out high-interest loans such as payday loans

Save for emergencies

Also, keep an emergency fund separate from your retirement savings to handle unexpected needs.

You can build one by putting money into it from bonuses or job promotions.

Consider insurance, especially disability insurance. It will be challenging to recover from any financial crisis if you can’t work anymore at 50 and haven’t saved.

Make absolutely sure you have sufficient home, auto, and umbrella coverage. Make sure you’re covered by health insurance.

Maximize your contributions if possible

According to James Shagawat, a CFP in Paramus, New Jersey, if your company offers a retirement plan, make sure you invest enough to receive the full match. If you’re 50 or older, you can contribute up to $26,000 annually.

You should also ask for any other retirement savings plans offered by your organization.

If your employer matches your contribution with offering corporate stocks, you may face “concentration risk.”

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute research, 401(k) participants who receive corporate stocks as their employer match might end up investing more than half of their entire account balances in those stocks.

If this happens, if your organization performs poorly, it may impact your returns.

Contributions to a Roth IRA with diversified investments might help offset this issue.

Since Roth contributions are deposited with after-tax dollars, your withdrawals can’t be taxed once you reach retirement age.

If you’re 50 or older, you can contribute up to $7,000 every year. In 2021, if you’re single, eligibility will be phased out between $125,000 and $140,000 of your MAGI [modified adjusted gross income], and if you are married and filing jointly with your spouse, it will be $198,000 to $208,000.

Justin Meinhart, a CFP in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, suggests making these investments early in the tax year rather than waiting until the April 15 tax-filing deadline.

Work as long as possible

According to Sean Pearson, a CFP in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, those days are gone when people used to retire at 60 or 62.

Now, people are working beyond the age of 60 or 65. They prefer investing their time in something less stressful than a high-stress job, which involves 40-to-50-hour work per week.

Following this strategy, people can continue to contribute to traditional IRAs even when they reach the 70s, as per the SECURE (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement) Act of 2019.

Work on side hustles or search for 'found money'

Do you still need more retirement income? Then look for a part-time job you’ll enjoy or sell items you don’t need at an auction.

According to CFP Benjamin Offit of Towson, Maryland, you might consider selling your property and downsizing or moving to a smaller area with lower housing rates.

Downsizing can result in significant savings that can be used for retirement.

Finally, Sarah Carlson, a CFP in Spokane, Washington, recommends checking your state’s lost asset site for any old accounts. If you’ve worked for other companies, you may have accounts that have been turned over to the state.

Look for these accounts and reconnect with them to collect the money you forgot to withdraw or have lost track of.

Open a Health Savings Account (HSA)

Before you retire, you need to consider how you will manage unforeseen medical bills. Large medical expenses can suddenly exhaust a lifetime’s worth of money.

According to a 2019 Fidelity Investments estimate, a couple in their mid-60s will need $285,000 in retirement to meet health care costs.

Apart from that, people reaching their 50s can’t ignore the exorbitant cost of long-term care in nursing homes. According to a Genworth research, the typical annual cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home in 2018 was $89,292.

Considering these facts, people must plan retirement after including future medical expenses.

Long-term health insurance is one option that covers extended medical care such as nursing and assisted living. If you meet the requirements, you should start a health savings account immediately.

Your taxable income will be reduced once you get this insurance. Your investments will grow tax-free. Once you reach the age of 65, you can withdraw funds without penalty or tax (it will be taxable if used for anything besides qualified medical expenses).

You should do some homework and choose the best features for you, such as low fees and low minimum balance requirements.

Boost your Social Security benefits

The earliest you can begin receiving Social Security benefits is at the age of 62. However, at age 50, it’s a good idea to start thinking about how you’ll collect benefits. You may estimate your benefits using this Social Security calculator.

According to experts, most people claim Social Security benefits too soon.

That’s so unwise. People can earn more from Social Security benefits if they postpone retirement.

According to Elijah Kovar, co-founder of Great Waters Financial in Minneapolis, taking Social Security at 70 instead of 62 increases your monthly payout by around 76%.

Waiting to receive Social Security is also a great idea to make more money if you’re married. The surviving spouse gets the bigger Social Security payout if one spouse outlives the other.

You’ll have a larger pot to draw in retirement if the primary breadwinner waits to claim benefits.

Your tax situation is another crucial factor to consider while taking Social Security benefits. It’s the best source of income we have outside of Roth IRAs, from a tax point of view.

Implementing techniques that reduce taxable income, such as donation, charity, etc., can help you maximize your Social Security income.

Use income from traditional pensions

If you get a defined-benefit pension plan through your current or past employer, you should receive an individual benefit statement once every three years.

Once a year, you can also ask for a copy of the statement from your plan’s administrator. The statement should indicate the advantages you’ve gained as well as when they’ll become fully available to you.

It’s also a good idea to understand how your retirement benefits are calculated. Many programs use formulas depending on your income and years of service.

So, you might be able to make more money by working longer.

Don't ignore taxes

Finally, keep in mind that not all the money you save for retirement is yours to enjoy.

When you take money out of a regular 401(k) or traditional IRA, the IRS taxes you at your ordinary income rate.

So, if you’re in the 22 percent tax bracket, each $1,000 you take will only bring you $780.

So you must plan ahead to keep as much of your retirement money as possible. Relocating to a tax-friendly state might be a wise option.

Author Bio: Lyle David Solomon is a licensed attorney in California. He has been affiliated with law firms in California, Nevada, and Arizona since 1991. As the principal attorney of Oak View Law Group, he gives advice and writes articles to help people solve their debt problems.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

What Can You Do if You Started Saving for Retirement Late?

Despite your best intentions, you might not have been able to save much toward retirement yet, and you might be realizing that it will be here before you know it. Fortunately, there are ways you can begin saving more for your golden years by making some fairly simple budgeting and lifestyle changes right now.

Save More

If you have a Roth IRA or another investment account for retirement, find out if you can have more deducted from your paycheck and put it into the retirement fund. If you don't already have one, it’s time to start a retirement account now. You can open a low-risk investment account that can begin building equity toward your senior years.

Additionally, review your monthly or annual budget to find expenditures that can be cut or eliminated. Then, add those funds to your retirement savings. 

For example, you can cut that morning coffee run by making coffee at home or cut a gym membership by exercising in your house or neighborhood. Then, take the money you saved and invest it. You’ll be surprised how quickly those seemingly small costs add up.

Spend Less

While reviewing your budget, look for ways to trim non-negotiable items. For example, reduce energy costs by turning down the thermostat a couple of degrees in winter and raising it slightly during the summer months. 

Use online coupons or store discounts to save money on groceries or shoes. Consider buying wholesale instead of resale when you can get quality brands. You can also find great deals on housewares and clothing at thrift stores and yard sales.

Earn Extra

If your kids are grown and you have some free time, get a second job for a few hours a week and apply that income to your retirement fund. A financial advisor can explain the amount of added income you can afford to make without negatively impacting your tax bracket. 

You don't have to give up your lifestyle pleasures and leisure time activities, but doing something you enjoy to earn an extra paycheck can be both meaningful and profitable.

Plan Ahead

Start thinking about the kind of lifestyle you want to enjoy when you retire. When you decide where and how you want to live, you can develop a tentative budget. 

Then talk to a financial advisor about how much you’ll likely need to save to enjoy that lifestyle and stick to the budget. They might recommend downsizing your current home or other cost saving measures, depending on your projected income and expenses. 

They can also help you invest and make wise money decisions as you prepare for the years ahead.

You don't need to be wealthy to enjoy retirement. But it does help to prepare now for that special time in your life. Use your current income wisely to be ready when you step down from full-time employment and begin to enjoy the full fruits of your labor.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

How Your Finances and Expenses Might Change as You Get Older

If there’s one constant during a modern adult life, it’s the need to stay on top of your finances. Paying bills, filing taxes, and setting a budget is as important at eighty-five as they were in your early twenties. 

But while the importance of personal finance is always the same, the exact way to handle your money changes as you age. There are certain things a retiree has to think about that would never cross a younger person’s mind. Here are four ways that your finances and expenses will evolve as you grow older.

Planning for a Limited Income

When you’re in the prime of your career, you might always sense that there’s more money out there to be made. Whatever happens in the long run, you can always pick up extra shifts or get involved with a side gig in order to make ends meet. 

When you’re older, you no longer have these possibilities. A person’s retirement income is relatively fixed, and you’ll have to make sure you are living within your means. That’s why budgeting is absolutely essential.

Increase in Medical Expenses

Older bodies aren’t as resilient as their younger counterparts, meaning you’ll likely spend a decent portion of your later years at a doctor’s office. You need to take this into account as you think about your finances. 

Eschewing insurance is risky when you’re young, but it’s downright foolish when you’re getting on in years. Make sure you’re properly insured, then set aside some extra funds for copays and medications.

Medicare Comes Into Play

Once you’ve turned sixty-five, you’ll have access to health insurance through Medicare. The system can be frustratingly complex, but you need to navigate it if you want to receive the health care you deserve. You can make the process more manageable by investing in Medicare advantage solution software.

Receiving Benefits From the Government

As you get older, it becomes more likely that you’ll be eligible for a number of government benefits. In addition to Social Security, you could also qualify for disability or survival benefits. 

Familiarize yourself with the law so you know exactly what you’re entitled to. After a life of hard work, you owe it to yourself to claim the payments you deserve.

Getting older changes the personal finance playbook. Keep these tips in mind as you steer your finances through your retirement years.

Monday, April 6, 2020

5 Ways It’s Not Too Late to Boost Your Retirement Savings

With all of the expert advice out there pushing us to start investing in our 20s and 30s, you might be tempted to think that, if you’re over the age of 50, your retirement savings are a lost cause.

You could not be more wrong about this.

There are plenty of strategic steps that you can take to boost your retirement savings and ensure a comfortable lifestyle. Here we highlight five simple ones available to everyone.

1. Check in with your plan.

Where are you at in your savings goals? Consider how much money you have, and from what sources you’ll draw income: any distributions, Social Security, and any other sources you may have. Estimate how much you’ll have to pay for taxes. Gauge how any investments are performing. Figure out what you can expect your monthly after-tax income to be.

Now is a great time to take the temperature of your retirement portfolio and then consider consulting with an expert to determine if there are any steps you should take to adjust course. There may be options available to you now that you either didn’t have before or don’t know about, and so some expert perspective tailored to your situation might come in handy.

2. Leverage catch-up contributions

Most retirement accounts offer some degree of catch-up contributions once accountholders reach the age of 50. The IRS is actually the main driver determining the limits behind catch-up contributions. These are actually specifically intended to help you ‘catch up’ on the contributions you couldn’t make when you were younger, for whatever reason.

Hand-in-hand with this is the idea of leaving your retirement accounts alone. Resist any temptation to take early withdrawals or otherwise tamper with the money you have already put away; unless, of course you are facing a major emergency, although even then you may want to consider first exhausting all other options.

3. Diversify your assets

Sticking to the usual blend of mutual funds and stocks might only get you so far. Consider diversifying the assets in your retirement accounts to help hedge against risk from any one asset performing poorly.

And if you’ve considered moving away from fiat currency into buying assets like gold or crypto, consider doing so within a self-directed IRA. Doing so can offer you significant tax benefits over a regular purchase, from tax-deferred contributions through tax-free growth.

4. Take on side gigs

Some money coming in is better than no money coming in, and diversifying your sources of income reduces the likelihood of your bringing in no money at any particular point in time. Maybe you start monetizing a hobby you enjoy, or find some part-time work helping people or a business that you love. In today’s gig economy, there are also a ton of work-from-home remote options, many of which could leverage any professional training or work experience that you have.

While many people want to stop working when they retire, it can also be good for your long-term mental health to continue doing something and staying connected.

5. De-bloat your lifestyle

This is applicable to any age, but it might be easier to implement now as your life will depend more closely on you and perhaps your partner, as opposed to children and other surprises that can pop up along the way. If you’re brutally honest with yourself, what do you actually need in order to live in a way that you find fulfilling? And, in parallel, what do you want to achieve in order to have lived a fulfilling life?

For example, many people want to travel, but many don’t know where to start. Instead, they are engulfed by fearfulness regarding how much it may cost, and they never get started in planning out a trip. They spend money somewhat mindlessly on items for their home that they don’t really need or really want, but the habit brings them some immediate novelty. 

What if, instead, they confronted the thing they actually want to do–travel–and mapped out a plan of action to make it happen? What if they moved into an RV and spent their days traveling around the country?

At the end of the day, the single best thing you can do for your retirement is to get clarity on what you want, and to be deliberate about your actions—and where you place the money you have. This will help you reach not just your financial goals, but also your retirement and life goals.

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.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Building Retirement Savings After 50

Financial advisors recommend saving money for retirement during every phase of life, but it's not uncommon for couples and individuals to reach their 50s without enough money saved for their eventual retirement. 

The average citizen spends the majority of his or her income on food, shelter, and transportation, as well as small amounts on healthcare, education, recreation, and general household purchases. 

Regularly saving money for retirement isn't always part of the monthly budget. Families, couples, and individuals can begin saving money for retirement in any decade of life but doing so after the age of fifty does require a different strategy than doing so as a twenty-something or thirty-something worker.

Maximize Contributions to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan

Contributions to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) reduces taxable income each year, and investment income made from the bonds, shares, Guaranteed Investment Certificates, and other investment types within the RRSP isn't taxed either. 

Speaking with an investment professional can help individuals and couples who haven't yet begun saving for retirement choose the best investment path. However, it's not necessary to create an official investment account to begin saving. Putting some money aside in a run-of-the-mill savings account is an excellent first step for anyone who hasn't started saving. 

Other investment options include Voluntary Retirement Savings Plans (VRSP) and Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA), but it's important to note that contributions should only reach a point where borrowing from the accounts doesn't become necessary unless an emergency occurs. 

While it's possible to borrow money from retirement accounts, those loans are taxed as income at the end of the year.

Modify the Monthly Budget to Accommodate Retirement Savings

Living life to the fullest at every age can help couples maintain their health throughout the decades before retirement, but it's important to consider building some savings over time. 

Those living on tight budgets may need to rearrange certain facets of their monthly budget to establish a savings account. Future retirees do have some radical options for building retirement savings if they own their own home or other valuable items. 

Moving from a large house to a small residence where there is no mortgage payment can allow the family to send the money that would otherwise pay the mortgage into a retirement account. 

Less drastic options also exist where couples can rearrange facets of the monthly budget to ensure some money exists each month for savings accounts, retirement accounts, and other investments. 

Researching better prices on necessary goods and services can also help. For example, it's beneficial to shop around to compare life insurance quotes, car insurance, as well as examine monthly bills for cell phones, gym memberships, and cable television services. 

Modifying habits like eating out at restaurants and buying unnecessary clothing or furnishings can also help increase the amount of money available for placement in retirement accounts.

Retirement Planning is Possible at Any Age

The cost of living will only increase as time passes, and actively saving money for retirement is a beneficial and necessary step in every person's life. Future retirees have many options for building retirement savings and may wish to explore all available options to determine the best path toward a comfortable retirement.

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