Here is a good start to developing a successful retirement plan:
- At what age would you like to retire?
- How much do you currently have in retirement savings?
- What are your current living expenses?
- Based on an assumed inflation rate of 3-5%, what will your future living expenses be?
- Do you plan on working part time?
- What are your post retirement goals?
Once you have determined what sort of income you will need in the future, you’ll be able to make decisions about saving, investment and employer-sponsored or other retirement plans. You need to tailor your retirement plan to your own circumstances. Planning methods should be different for employees, executives and business owners. Familiarize yourself with the Social Security system, and look into post-retirement health care insurance coverage, including Medicare and long-term care insurance (LTCI.) Effective retirement planning will help you feel in control of your own future, and is possible whether you are financially comfortable or have limited means.
How Can I Determine My Income Needs and My Retirement Age?
You need to evaluate your present circumstances – your income, expenses, assets, and debts. Next, think about your future circumstances. Also, think about your future living expenses. Will you continue living in your current home or will you move to a condominium or retirement community? There are four main sources for retirement income: Social Security, pensions or other retirement vehicles, an investment portfolio or personal savings. If your employer provides early retirement packages to its employees, you’ll need to know how to evaluate such packages from a number of perspectives. If you think your current income will not provide you with your desired retirement lifestyle, there are steps you can take now to change your circumstances.
How Do I Save For Retirement?
There are many retirement vehicles available, including traditional and Roth IRAs, employer-sponsored retirement plans, non-qualified deferred compensation plans, stock plans, and commercial annuities. Proper retirement planning requires an understanding of the workings of these tools, and an understanding of how they may be taxed. This is especially important since the enactment of the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 which reduced the capital gains tax rates on certain dividends, making the decision to allocate assets inside or outside a retirement plan more crucial. Another thing to keep in mind is; if you plan to pay for your child’s education, you will need to learn how to balance two competing financial needs.
What should I know about distributions from IRAs and other retirement plans?
You should become familiar with the possible ramifications of distributions which may include a 10% premature distribution penalty tax if distributions are made before you reach the age of 59½. There are certain questions you will need to answer.
- Can you borrow money from your retirement plan?
- Would it be better to receive your retirement money as a lump sum or as monthly payments?
- Can you roll your retirement plan balance into an IRA?
- What are the tax implications of naming more than one beneficiary, if you are allowed to do so?
- What are the required minimum distributions, if any, from the plan after you reach age 70½?
Do business owners have special retirement concerns?
If you are a business owner, you may want to plan for the succession of your business to a family member or other chosen recipient. You should also find out what retirement plans are best suited to your type of business.
What retirement plans are most appropriate for the self-employed or small business owners?
If you’re self-employed or a small business owner, you know that your needs are different from those of large companies. Several types of retirement plans are specifically designed for your situation. Consider setting up one of the following types of plan; a payroll deduction IRA plan, a simplified employee pension (SEP) plan, a SIMPLE IRA plan, a SIMPLE 401(k) plan, or a Keogh plan which is a qualified retirement plan established by a self-employed individual or partnership.
What retirement plans are most appropriate for corporations?
If your business has multiple employees, one of your goals in choosing a retirement plan should be to balance their needs against the needs of your business. Consider the following retirement plan options; a payroll deduction IRA plan, a simplified
employee pension (SEP) plan, a SIMPLE IRA plan, a SIMPLE 401(k) plan, a 401(k) plan, a profit-sharing plan, a money purchase pension plan, an age-weighted profit-sharing plan, a new comparability plan, a thrift/savings plan, a defined benefit plan, an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), or a cash balance plan.
What retirement plans are available to tax-exempt organizations?
A tax-exempt organization has unique considerations for setting up a retirement plan because it is not subject to federal income tax. An employer tax deduction is of little value, for example. There are two types of plans which meet the needs of tax-exempt organizations; a 403(b) plan, or a 457(b) plan.
What is a non-qualified deferred compensation plan?
You should also consider setting up a non-qualified deferred compensation plan; a flexible plan which does not need to satisfy stringent requirements. You and your employees could also receive greater benefits under a non-qualified plan because there are no limits on employer contributions.
There are three disadvantages to nonqualified plans:
- They may not be as beneficial from a tax standpoint.
- They may only be available for a select group of employees.
- The assets within are not protected if the employer goes bankrupt.
For these reasons qualified plans usually appeal more to employers than employees. Also, if you are an owner and wish to be included under the plan, a non-qualified deferred compensation plan will only be suitable if your business is a regular or C corporation.
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