If you own your own business, the thought of retirement might be just a fleeting one, and you may wonder if you will ever retire, whether that be because you are financially able or mentally willing. It is easy to be entrenched in the business and foresee yourself working well past the typical retirement age. Interestingly, family businesses make up approximately 90% of all businesses in America, yet, for those who own their own business, planning for succession and retirement may not be as high of a priority as you may think. An article from MarketWatch, “Can Self-Employed People Ever Actually Retire?”, offers some interesting insight regarding the self-employed retiring.
Earlier this year we talked about the FIRE (financial independence, early retirement) movement that some millennials have grabbed onto. Yet, this mindset is not necessarily unique to millennials. The idea of saving aggressively in order to retire early is not a new concept, many are on the path to early retirement. The underlying desirability of early retirement has to do with the idea of control: taking control of your financial dependence so you are not tied to a paycheck. Yet for everyone pursuing financial independence and early retirement, the one question that many wrestle with is, “when do I know I’m ready?” There is no black and white answer, but we want to share some food for thought as well as some testimonies from individuals in an article from Market Watch, “How Do Super Savers Know When They Can Quit Their Jobs?”.
For retirees in a financial tight spot, a home equity line of credit or borrowing against an existing home equity line of credit can provide a short-term solution. If you are at least 62 with a home that is not heavily mortgaged, a reverse mortgage is another option.
A reverse mortgage gives you tax-free cash. No repayments are due, until you die or move out of the house.
However, these loans are expensive. In addition, reverse mortgages aren’t for those people who want to give their home to heirs, because most or all of the home’s equity may be eaten up by the loan principal and interest.
Fed Week’s recent article entitled “Considerations for Borrowing in Retirement” explains that reverse mortgages work best for seniors who need cash, who want to stay in their homes and who have few other options.
These HECM reverse mortgage loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). They let homeowners convert their home equity into cash with no monthly mortgage payments.
The option to roll over a 401(k) into an annuity sounds like a good idea to some. However, there are risks to consider. For one thing, many annuities do not allow funds remaining in the account to go to beneficiaries after the owner dies. The money goes to the insurance company. There are also fees that need to be evaluated carefully.
Investopedia’s recent article asks “What Are the Risks of Rolling My 401(k) Into an Annuity?” The article says many insurance companies advertise the tax benefits of annuities, but a traditional 401(k) is already tax sheltered. A delayed rollover could mean more taxes.
Extra Fees. The big benefit of annuities is that they give you guaranteed income. However, there are some important differences between the income generated by fixed compared to variable annuities. Most annuity investments are made by people looking to ensure that they are provided for in later life. However, you’re likely to see some major expenses if you own an annuity, in addition to your capital investment. The types of fees from your insurance company will vary, depending on the type of investment you select.
59 ½ is around the time that people wake up to the idea that hey, they really are getting older. With that realization, they need to embrace the financial benefits of their age and there are more than a few, according to the article “What Should You Do When You Turn 59½?” from Kiplinger. Here are some of the advantages, and also a few to-do items.
Review Your 401(k). At age 59½, you reach the magic age when you can start taking money out of your retirement accounts without penalty. That’s not to say it’s time to drain your accounts, but it does give you more options.
Create a Safety Net. Hopefully you know about the benefits of having an emergency fund. Having a “rainy day” fund, can give you peace of mind.
Most of us think about life insurance as income replacement for a breadwinner’s salary. That is certainly true. However, life insurance doesn’t stop being useful during the later years, says Kiplinger in a recent article, “Don’t Overlook Advantages of Making Insurance Part of Your Retirement Plan.”
The income replacement function doesn’t go away during retirement. It might even be more important.
When a spouse passes away during retirement, the surviving spouse frequently struggles financially. Some living expenses might be less when there’s just one person in a household, but the reduction in costs rarely makes up for the drop in income. One of the two Social Security checks the couple was getting goes away, and a pension payment may also be lost or reduced 50% or 75%. Life insurance can be leveraged to make certain there’s sufficient cash to compensate for that missing income. This lets the surviving spouse maintain his or her standard of living in retirement.
Part of retirement planning is making sure that you have enough assets to protect yourself against the ever-rising costs of healthcare. We talk about this and we plan for it. However, one topic that is often overlooked, is the impact that a serious auto accident can have on investments, retirement savings and your economic future. A plan for risk management, is something everyone needs to do.
It’s estimated that 3.14 million Americans were involved in an auto accident in 2016, according to the National Highway Safety Administration. This shows how common they are.
A loan from your 401(k) could very easily become the single most expensive loan you’ve ever had in your life—even if you remember when credit cards and mortgages were at 20% or higher. It’s never a good idea. Wealth Advisor’s recent article, “Why You Shouldn’t Take A 401(k) Loan,” lists some of the reasons why.
Many people who borrow from their 401(k)s, wind up lowering or completely stopping their contributions while they’re paying back the loans. This can mean the loss of 401(k) matching contributions when their contribution rates fall below the maximum matched percentage.
Most people thinking about changing jobs don’t know that their outstanding 401(k) loan balance becomes due when they leave their employer. Whether a job change is voluntary or involuntary, who among us has the financial resources available to pay back a 401(k) loan right away if we leave our employer? As a result, many individuals default.
However, the new tax law gives a little cushion, and you have until your tax return due date the next year. Plan balances that leave 401(k) plans due to loan defaults, are rarely ever made up. That makes it less likely that loan defaulters will build sufficient retirement savings.
If you’re fortunate enough to work for a company that has a matching plan, congratulations–not everyone does! A matching plan means that the company you work for contributes a certain amount of money to your retirement savings plan. How much it contributes will depend on the 401(k) plan, how much you contribute to your 401(k) and how generous your company is. Many will match a percentage of employee contributions, with a cap on a portion of the total salary, while others match up to a certain dollar amount, regardless of the salary.
Investopedia published an article, “How 401(k) Matching Works,” that explains the mysteries of employer match contributions.
Members of Generation X, who straddle a fairly wide age range, from late 30s to early 50s, are feeling the crunch of being responsible for their children and their parent’s needs. How will they ever get a handle on their savings for retirement?
U.S. News & World Report reminds us in its article “Essential Strategies for Generation X” that with the right strategies, Gen Xers can find a money-life balance.
Keep in mind that Gen X has been financially devastated twice: when the tech bubble burst and again during the financial crisis. This makes these individuals dubious about the future.