Category: Retirement Planning

COVID 19

Since the turn of the millennium, the market's negative response to health crises has been relatively short-lived. As this table shows, approximately six months after early reports of a major outbreak, the S&P 500 bounced back by an average of 10.47%. After 12 months, it rebounded by an average...
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How to Tap Retirement Savings during a Financial Crisis

If your work-based retirement plan allows loans, you typically can borrow up to the lesser of 50% of your vested balance or $50,000. Most loans must be repaid within five years, but if the money is used to purchase a primary residence, the repayment period may be longer. The...
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You are going to retire when?

Just how wealthy are you? You'll want to figure that out before you make any major life decisions. Your first impulse may be to go out and buy things, but that may not be in your best interest. Even if you're used to handling your own finances, now's the...
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Money after Marriage

Merging Your Money When You Marry Getting married is exciting, but it brings many challenges. One such challenge that you and your spouse will have to face is how to merge your finances. Planning carefully and communicating are important because the financial decisions that you make now can have...
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IRA Distributions, What Is It?

Distributions from Traditional IRAs: Between Ages 59 1/2 and 70 1/2 What is an IRA distribution? A withdrawal from an IRA is referred to as a distribution. Distributions can come in the form of several payment patterns, from a one-time (lump-sum) payment to a series of distributions over several...
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IRA’s What you DON’T know

What are my options if I inherit an IRA or an employer retirement savings plan account? If you don’t want the money, you can always disclaim (refuse to accept) the inherited IRA or plan funds. But if you’re like most people, you will want the money. Your first thought...
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Little Known IRA Facts You Can Use

Little Known IRA Facts You Can Use When it comes to IRAs, the tax rules get pretty complicated, to say the least. Here are five unusual IRA facts:   Military death benefits can be contributed to a Roth IRA: Help families of veterans with this one because it can...
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Working In Retirement

Working During Retirement Planning on working during retirement? If so, you’re not alone. An increasing number of employees nearing retirement plan to work at least some period of time during their retirement years. Why work during retirement? Obviously, if you work during retirement, you’ll be earning money and relying...
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Portfolio Performance

Assessing Portfolio Performance: Choose Your Benchmarks Wisely You can’t help but hear about the frequent ups and downs of the Dow Jones Industrial Average or the S&P 500 index. The performance of both major indexes is widely reported and analyzed in detail by financial news outlets around the nation....
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Financial Stress

Five Steps to Tame Financial Stress Do you sometimes lie awake at night thinking about bills that need to be paid? Does it feel as though you’re drowning in debt? If this describes you, you might take solace in the fact that you’re not alone. A recent report released...
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Indexed Annuities

If you want to limit potential losses while participating in the potentially attractive returns of a market-driven investment but would also like a guaranteed return, an indexed annuity might be worth checking out. The performance of indexed annuities, also referred to as equity-indexed or fixed-indexed annuities, is tied to...
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Getting Help from a Financial Professional

Are you suddenly on your own or forced to assume greater responsibility for your financial future? Unsure about whether you’re on the right track with your savings and investments? Finding yourself with new responsibilities, such as the care of a child or an aging parent? Facing other life events,...
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Medicaid Planning Basics

The best time to plan for the possibility of nursing home care is when you’re still healthy. By doing so, you may be able to pay for your long-term care and preserve assets for your loved ones. How? Through Medicaid planning. Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that provides...
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I need money: can I take funds from my IRA?

Answer: Yes, but the taxable portion of your distribution may be subject to a 10 percent penalty for early withdrawal if you’re not yet age 59½. If you are 59½ or older and take money from your traditional IRA, you will not be assessed a penalty, though you may...
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Opps I forgot

Don’t Forget to Include Memory Loss When Planning for Retirement When planning for retirement, an important factor that is often overlooked is the potential for declining cognitive skills associated with aging. Cognitive impairment (CI), often attributable to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, can have profound implications for your overall health...
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Can the IRS waive the 60-day IRA rollover deadline?

If you take a distribution from your IRA intending to make a 60-day rollover, but for some reason the funds don’t get to the new IRA trustee in time, the tax impact can be significant. In general, the rollover is invalid, the distribution becomes a taxable event, and you’re...
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401(k) Withdrawals: Beware the Penalty Tax

You’ve probably heard that if you withdraw taxable amounts from your 401(k) or 403(b) plan before age 59½, you may be socked with a 10% early distribution penalty tax on top of the federal income taxes you’ll be required to pay. But did you know that the Internal Revenue...
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Should I contribute to my 401(k) plan at work?

Answer: Yes. Unless you absolutely cannot afford to set aside any dollars whatsoever, you should contribute to your employer’s 401(k) plan. A 401(k) plan is one of the most powerful tools you can use to save for your retirement. The first benefit is that your pre-tax contributions to a...
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Determining Your Retirement Income Needs

Determining your retirement income needs is a process that helps you identify your retirement planning needs based on your desired standard of living and the resources you’ll have available. Today, you can typically no longer rely on Social Security benefits and a company pension check to fulfill all your...
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Understanding Defined Benefit Plans

You may be counting on funds from a defined benefit plan to help you achieve a comfortable retirement. Often referred to as traditional pension plans, defined benefit plans promise to pay you a specified amount at retirement. To help you understand the role a defined benefit plan might play...
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Retirement Plans: The Employee Perspective

Qualified employer-sponsored retirement plans can provide a number of tax and nontax benefits to employees. The employee perspective on these plans should certainly consider the obvious tax deferral and retirement savings benefits. Additionally, however, employees should consider various strategies to optimize their benefits. For example, employees will approach their...
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Roth Rollover Guide

Required distributions and non-spousal death benefits can’t be rolled over. Required distributions, certain periodic payments, hardship distributions, corrective distributions, and certain other payments can’t be rolled over. Spouse beneficiaries generally have the same rollover rights as the plan participant, and in addition may roll over Roth 401(k) and 403(b)...
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Rollover Guide

Required distributions and nonspousal death benefits can’t be rolled over. You can make only one tax-free, 60-day, rollover from one IRA to another IRA in any one-year period no matter how many IRAs (traditional, Roth, SEP, and SIMPLE) you own. This does not apply to direct (trustee-to-trustee) transfers, or...
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What are catch-up contributions?

Answer: If you are 50 or older, or you will reach age 50 by the end of the year, you may be able to make contributions to your IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plan above the normal contribution limit. Catch-up contributions are designed to help you make up any retirement...
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Investing for Major Financial Goals

Go out into your yard and dig a big hole. Every month, throw $50 into it, but don’t take any money out until you’re ready to buy a house, send your child to college, or retire. It sounds a little crazy, doesn’t it? But that’s what investing without setting...
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Inheriting an IRA or Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plan

What is it? When the account owner of a traditional individual retirement account (IRA) or employer-sponsored retirement plan dies, the remaining funds in the account pass to the named beneficiary (or beneficiaries). Unlike many other inherited assets, these IRA or plan funds typically pass directly to the beneficiary without...
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Working During Retirement

Working During Retirement Planning on working during retirement? If so, you’re not alone. An increasing number of employees nearing retirement plan to work at least some period of time during their retirement years. Why work during retirement? Obviously, if you work during retirement, you’ll be earning money and relying...
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Distributions from Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans

Introduction A withdrawal of money from an employer-sponsored retirement plan is generally referred to as a distribution. When you have money in a plan maintained by your current or former employer, you need to be aware of your distribution options for several reasons. First, not every option may be...
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What is an IRA distribution?

  Distributions from Traditional IRAs: Between Ages 59½ and 70½ A withdrawal from an IRA is referred to as a distribution. Distributions can come in the form of several payment patterns, from a one-time (lump-sum) payment to a series of distributions over a number of years. Depending on how...
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What is the benefit of an employer match?

Answer: The more you save for retirement, the better your chances are of retiring comfortably. One way to help accomplish this is by taking advantage of an employer match. Many employers offer matching contributions as part of their employer-sponsored retirement plan benefit package. With an employer match, your employer...
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Understanding Investment Terms and Concepts

Below are summaries of some basic principles you should understand when evaluating an investment opportunity or making an investment decision. Rest assured, this is not rocket science. In fact, you’ll see that the most important principle on which to base your investment education is simply good common sense. You’ve...
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Time Can Be a Strong Ally in Saving for Retirement

Father Time doesn’t always have a good reputation, particularly when it comes to birthdays. But when it comes to saving for retirement, time might be one of your strongest allies. Why? When time teams up with the growth potential of compounding, the results can be powerful. The premise behind...
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Deciding When to Retire: When Timing Becomes Critical

Deciding when to retire may not be one decision but a series of decisions and calculations. For example, you’ll need to estimate not only your anticipated expenses, but also what sources of retirement income you’ll have and how long you’ll need your retirement savings to last. You’ll need to...
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Retirement Plan Considerations at Different Stages of Life

Throughout your career, retirement planning will likely be one of the most important components of your overall financial plan. Whether you have just graduated and taken your first job, are starting a family, are enjoying your peak earning years, or are preparing to retire, your employer-sponsored retirement plan can...
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Paying the Bills: Potential Sources of Retirement Income

Planning your retirement income is like putting together a puzzle with many different pieces. One of the first steps in the process is to identify all potential income sources and estimate how much you can expect each one to provide. Social Security According to the Social Security Administration (SSA),...
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401(k) Plan Fees

If you direct your own 401(k) plan investments, you’ll need to consider the investment objectives, the risk and return characteristics, and the performance over time of each investment option offered by your plan in order to make sound investment decisions. Fees and expenses are factors that may affect your...
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When I die, what will happen to my retirement plan benefits?

In general, your retirement plan benefits pass to the beneficiaries you designate on the plan beneficiary designation form. It is generally recommended that you designate beneficiaries, the percentage of the total that each will receive, and any backup beneficiaries on the plan beneficiary form. However, if you are married...
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Should I be investing more aggressively?

Answer: There’s no way to know the answer to that without reviewing your individual circumstances and financial goals. However, if you are investing too conservatively, it can have a profound effect on your long-term financial security. That’s particularly true for women. According to a U.S. Department of Labor study...
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Choosing a Beneficiary for Your IRA or 401(k)

Selecting beneficiaries for retirement benefits is different from choosing beneficiaries for other assets such as life insurance. With retirement benefits, you need to know the impact of income tax and estate tax laws in order to select the right beneficiaries. Although taxes shouldn’t be the sole determining factor in...
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How can I gauge my risk tolerance?

Answer: Risk tolerance is an investment term that refers to your ability to endure market volatility. All investments come with some level of risk, and if you’re planning to invest your money, it’s important to be aware of how much volatility you can endure. Your tolerance for risk affects...
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What is a mutual fund prospectus and how do I read it?

Answer: A mutual fund prospectus is a pamphlet or brochure that provides information about a mutual fund. Mutual fund companies must give potential investors a prospectus, free of charge, before they invest. You can get a prospectus by calling the mutual fund company directly or by visiting the fund’s...
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What does the term “qualified plan” mean?

Answer: A qualified plan is an employer-sponsored retirement plan that qualifies for special tax treatment under Section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code. There are many different types of qualified plans, but they all fall into two categories. A defined benefit plan (e.g., a traditional pension plan) is generally...
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Retirement Plan Is Key to Confidence, Survey Finds

Retirement confidence is highest among workers who say they or their spouse have a retirement plan, such as a work-sponsored plan or an individual retirement account (IRA), reports the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). In its 2015 Retirement Confidence Survey, EBRI found that 28% of those with a retirement...
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Estitame your Savings

Estimate Your Retirement Savings Goal How much might you need to retire? Use this worksheet to help target a total accumulation goal. Example You 1. How much is your current income? $50,000 2. Multiply this amount by .80. This is an estimated annual income in retirement, in today’s dollars,...
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