Mar 17

Three Key Retirement Income Considerations

 

 

Average life expectancy has risen steadily in the United States, so retirees and soon-to-be retirees need to ensure that they don’t tap their nest eggs too heavily.

 

Notice

There are two factors that can determine whether you’ll have a comfortable retirement: The amount of money you’ve saved and how quickly you spend that nest egg after you retire. 

 

The rate of annual withdrawals from personal savings and investments helps determine how long those assets will last and whether the assets may be able to generate a sustainable stream of income over the course of retirement. A number of factors will influence your choice of annual withdrawal rate.

 

The following are three key considerations.

 

Consideration 1: Your Age and Health

As you think about what your withdrawal rate should be, begin by considering your age and health. Although you can’t predict for certain how long you will live, you can make an estimate. However, it may not be wise to base your estimate on average life expectancy for your age and sex, particularly if you are healthy. The average life expectancy has risen steadily in the United States, reaching 78.2 years.¹

 

Consideration 2: Inflation

Inflation is the tendency for prices to increase over time. Keep in mind that inflation not only raises the future cost of goods and services, but also affects the value of assets set aside to meet those costs. To account for the impact of inflation, include an annual percentage increase in your retirement income plan.

 

How much inflation should you plan for? Although the rate varies from year to year, U.S. consumer price inflation has averaged under 3% over the past 30 years.2 So, for long-term planning purposes, you may want to assume that inflation would average in the range of 3% to 4% a year. If, however, inflation flares up after you have retired, you may need to adjust your withdrawal rate to reflect the impact of higher inflation on both your expenses and investment returns. Also, once you retire you should assess your investment portfolio regularly to ensure that it continues to generate income that will at least keep pace with inflation.

 

Consideration 3: Variability of Investment Returns

When considering how much your investments may earn over the course of your retirement, you might think you could base assumptions on historical stock market averages, as you may have done when projecting how many years you needed to reach your retirement savings goal. But once you start taking income from your portfolio, you no longer have the luxury of time to recover from possible market losses, as retirees and near-retirees during this latest market downturn have experienced firsthand.

 

For example, if a portfolio worth $250,000 incurred successive annual declines of 12% and 7%, its value would be reduced to $204,600, and it would require a gain of nearly 23% the next year to restore its value to $250,000.3 When a retiree’s need for annual withdrawals is added to poor performance, the result can be a much earlier depletion of assets than would have occurred if the portfolio returns had increased steadily. While it’s possible that your portfolio will not experience any losses and will even grow to generate more income than you expected, it’s safer to assume some setbacks will occur.

 

Your financial professional can help you determine a withdrawal strategy that can minimize the drain on your portfolio.

 

Source/Disclaimer:

1Source: Center for Disease Control, March 2012 (based on 2009 data, latest available).
2Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, January 2014.
3Example is hypothetical and for illustrative purposes only. Your results will vary.

 

The information in this article is not intended to be tax and/or legal advice and should not be treated as such. You should consult with your tax advisor and/or attorney to discuss your personal situation before making any decisions.

Additionally, If you are looking for additional help, seek help from a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional that can look at your individual situation holistically.

 

Required Attribution

Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by Wealth Management Systems Inc. or its sources, neither Wealth Management Systems Inc. nor its sources guarantees the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information. In no event shall Wealth Management Systems Inc. be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damages in connection with subscriber’s or others’ use of the content.

© 2014 Wealth Management Systems Inc. All rights reserved.

“United Capital and Wealth Management Systems Inc. are separate and unrelated companies.”

Mar 14

Planning for the Future — What Motivates You?

 

This article underscores the benefits of maintaining a financial plan to pursue your goals for the future and the truth is that there is ample motivation to make the most of retirement planning opportunities.

 

 

Important!

Reality Check

It used to be that Americans could count on a pension plus Social Security to get them through their Golden Years. But traditional pensions only account for an estimated 18% of the total aggregate income of today’s retirees, and Social Security accounts for only about 36%.1 Alas, the responsibility for the bulk of your nest egg now rests with you.

 

As you begin thinking about a comfortable retirement, consider that by most estimates you’ll need at least 60% to 80% of your final working year’s income to maintain your lifestyle after retiring. And don’t forget that your annual income will need to increase each year — even during retirement — in order to keep up with inflation. At an average annual inflation rate of more than 3%, your cost of living would double every 24 years.

You’ll also have to consider the likelihood of increased medical costs and health insurance premiums as you grow older. The average cost of a year’s stay in a semi-private room in a nursing home, for instance, is now over $80,000 a year and could rise more than $130,000 per year by 2030, assuming an annual inflation rate of 3%.2

 

Getting a Leg Up

If this dose of reality makes you glum, cheer up — you have some allies. Investment vehicles, such as your employer-sponsored retirement plan and individual retirement accounts (IRAs), allow you to put off paying taxes on your earnings until you begin taking withdrawals, typically during retirement when you may be in a lower tax bracket.

Additionally, time can be an ally — or an enemy. Delaying the process of investing can significantly reduce your results. Consider this example: Jane begins investing $100 a month in her employer-sponsored retirement plan when she’s 25. Mark begins investing the same amount when he’s 35. Assuming an 8% annual rate of return compounded monthly, when Mark retires at 65, he’ll have $150,030. Jane will have $351,428.3

While this is only a hypothetical scenario and there are no guarantees any investment will provide the same results, you can see the remarkable difference starting early may make. But no matter what your age, contributing the maximum amount to your employer-sponsored retirement plan and IRA each year could help you achieve the comfortable retirement that each of us desires.

 

Source/Disclaimer:

1Source: Social Security Administration, Fast Facts & Figures About Social Security, 2013.

2Source: Genworth Financial, Inc. and National Eldercare Referral Systems, LLC, Cost of Care Survey, 2013.

3Example is hypothetical and for illustrative purposes only. The hypothetical rates of return used do not reflect the deduction of fees and charges inherent to investing and the example does not represent the return of any actual investment. Your results will vary.

 

The information in this article is not intended to be tax and/or legal advice and should not be treated as such. You should consult with your tax advisor and/or attorney to discuss your personal situation before making any decisions.

Additionally, If you are looking for additional help, seek help from a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional that can look at your individual situation holistically.

 

Required Attribution

Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by Wealth Management Systems Inc. or its sources, neither Wealth Management Systems Inc. nor its sources guarantees the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information. In no event shall Wealth Management Systems Inc. be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damages in connection with subscriber’s or others’ use of the content.

© 2014 Wealth Management Systems Inc. All rights reserved.

“United Capital and Wealth Management Systems Inc. are separate and unrelated companies.”

Mar 10

What’s the Best Way to Give Money to Children and Grandchildren?

Read this article to learn about financial gifting strategies that can benefit the giver and the recipient at the same time.

 

In 2014, the IRS allows you to give up to $14,000 annually (or $28,000 if you give jointly with your spouse) to each of as many people as you’d like in cash, investments, and/or property without triggering gift taxes. (This limit may be adjusted for inflation in future years.)

If you’re thinking about giving money to minor children, such as a new grandchild, it might make sense to take advantage of The Uniform Gifts to Minors Act or The Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UGMA/UTMA) depending on your state. An UGMA/UTMA account allows you to establish a savings or investment account in a child’s name, with one adult named as custodian. Each parent or grandparent can contribute up to $14,000 annually without triggering a gift tax.

With an UGMA/UTMA strategy, the first $1,000 per year of unearned (investment) income is tax free. For children under 18, anything between that amount and $2,000 is taxed at the child’s rate. Any income exceeding $2,000 for children under 18 is taxed at the parent’s rate. For children over age 18, all income is taxed at the child’s rate.

Of course, asset gifts are not limited to young children or newborns. You can also give to as many adults as you’d like up to $14,000 a year. Keep in mind, however, that the IRS considers the value of the gift its cost basis for purposes of computing gift tax to be its value at the time that it’s given, not when you originally purchased or invested in it. By making a tax-smart financial gift to an adult-aged child, you could help him or her fund a down payment for a home or afford to maximize contributions to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

If you’re thinking about starting a gifting program, a qualified financial professional can help you evaluate which strategies might be appropriate for your situation.

 

The information in this article is not intended to be tax and/or legal advice and should not be treated as such. You should consult with your tax advisor and/or attorney to discuss your personal situation before making any decisions.

Additionally, If you are looking for additional help, seek help from a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional that can look at your individual situation holistically.

 

Required Attribution

Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by Wealth Management Systems Inc. or its sources, neither Wealth Management Systems Inc. nor its sources guarantees the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information. In no event shall Wealth Management Systems Inc. be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damages in connection with subscriber’s or others’ use of the content.

© 2014 Wealth Management Systems Inc. All rights reserved.

“United Capital and Wealth Management Systems Inc. are separate and unrelated companies.”

Mar 03

Four Tips for Tax-Savvy Investors

 

A century ago, author Mark Twain wrote that the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector is that the taxidermist only takes your skin.

 

Today, the IRS isn’t any more popular. Why not see if any of the following strategies could allow you to keep more of what your investments earn?

 

  1. Look into tax-managed mutual funds. Portfolio managers of tax-managed funds can use a number of strategies to help reduce the tax bite shareholders suffer. For example, they may strive to keep portfolio turnover low to help minimize taxable gains, or they may actively use losses to offset taxable gains.
  2. Consider municipal bonds and bond funds. Because the interest on a municipal bond is usually exempt from federal taxes, and sometimes state and local taxes, it may actually produce a better yield than a taxable bond with a comparable interest rate. The higher your income tax bracket, the more you may benefit from owning “munis.”1
  3. Contribute to tax-advantaged retirement vehicles. You can now contribute up to $5,500 annually to an IRA plus an additional $1,000 per year if you’re over age 50 (for the 2014 tax year). Traditional IRAs offer tax deferral — you pay no taxes on earnings until withdrawal — and may provide tax deductions. Roth IRAs offer tax deferral and qualified withdrawals are tax free, but no tax deductions.2
  4. Use gains — and losses — to your advantage. If you have an investment and hold it for at least one year before selling, you’ll pay a maximum federal tax of 20% on capital gains. The same rate applies for dividend income.3 Keep it for less than one year and you’ll pay regular income taxes — up to 39.6%. Also keep in mind that if you intend to sell investments that have lost money, you can do so by December 31 and deduct up to $3,000 in investment losses from that year’s tax return. Additional losses can be carried over and used to offset future capital gains.

 

There are other tax strategies you can use, but be sure to consult your tax professional and investment professional before acting.

 

Source/Disclaimer:

1Income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Capital gains, if any, are subject to taxes.
2Withdrawals before age 59½ are subject to a penalty tax. Each type of IRA has respective income limits as well as deductibility rules.
3Lower rates apply for long-term capital gains and dividends for taxpayers who are in lower tax brackets. An additional 3.8% Medicare tax may also apply.

The information in this article is not intended to be tax and/or legal advice and should not be treated as such. You should consult with your tax advisor and/or attorney to discuss your personal situation before making any decisions.

Additionally, If you are looking for additional help, seek help from a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional that can look at your individual situation holistically.
Required Attribution

Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by Wealth Management Systems Inc. or its sources, neither Wealth Management Systems Inc. nor its sources guarantees the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information. In no event shall Wealth Management Systems Inc. be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damages in connection with subscriber’s or others’ use of the content.

 

© 2014 Wealth Management Systems Inc. All rights reserved.

“United Capital and Wealth Management Systems Inc. are separate and unrelated companies.”

 

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