Tag Archives: retirement

Retirement 101: Will I Ever Be Able to Retire?

Most of the people today are busy spending more time contemplating about the future hobbies, adventures, and travels that they would do during retirement. This is also the reason why they are saving and investing as early as today to support the lifestyle that they are envisioning when they already decided to stop working.

However, there is one question that remains in their minds, “Will I ever be able to retire?”. Even though they already have a vision of what is waiting for them in the future, there is still this hint of uncertainty. This is normal. Of course, we can never be so sure of the future, right? Read on and find the answer to your question about retirement.

While 2/3 of people are now investing and saving for their retirement, 15% of them are planning on winning the lottery and 1% of them expect that they would be money-gifted. There are really many factors that intervene when it comes to retirement. But there are ways for you to be sure if you will really be able to retire. Here are some:

  • Know Your Expenses – Knowing your expenses is very critical for your retirement. If you have not been tracking your expenses, now is the best time for you to start your expense analysis. If you understand where your money goes, you can assess how much you will be needing for you to live in comfort during retirement. Do this by:
  • Plan for changes in your retirement expenses
  • Consider downsizing
  • Consider changes in healthcare cost
  • Understand Your Income Sources – Understand what is your income source when you are already retired. Are you depending on annuities, pensions, Social Security, distributions, or your own retirement savings? If you have savings, know if you can convert them into income stream or investment account.
  • Generate extra income
  • Take some risk
  • Do not forget inflation
  • Save More Often – Your savings play a big role in your retirement. It is actually the top consideration during retirement because it is the amount that you can surely use when you stop working. You can use your savings to invest in anything that you would like to do when you reach the age of 60 and up. If you are saving now, save more often. It would really be great help on your retirement.

The answer to the question “Will I ever be able to retire?” will always depend on how you work on it before the time comes. Retirement is not something that people should ignore. It is hard to work and earn money. You would no want your effort to come to waste in the end.

As early as now, do something to remove the uncertainty in you. The above mentioned are tips on how you can guarantee your retirement soon. Doing these tips will significantly determine your future lifestyle and status when you reach the age of your retirement.

The Truth About Compound Interest

Saving money is one of the hardest things to get into the habit of doing. It is even harder to enjoy saving when interest rates are so low. However there is something to always check for when investing and saving, look out for compounding. Compound interest occurs when interest is added to the principle. This means that your initial principle grows and now this bigger amount earns interest. This is called compounding.

XKCD Investing Compound Interest

Compounding may seem small and futile like in the hilarious example above by XKCD but it can mean a noticeable difference in savings accounts where compounding occurs quarterly versus daily. Most common bank accounts will only offer quarterly or monthly compounding however some credit unions will offer daily compounding if offered a choice always chose the account with the most frequent compounding.

For example $100 earning 2% interest compounded Yearly, Quarterly, Monthly, and Daily will yield the following amounts after 10 years.

Yearly Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $21.90
Total Value: $121.90

Quarterly Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $22.09
Total Value: $122.09

Monthly Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $22.12
Total Value: $122.12

Daily Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $22.14
Total Value: $122.14

As you can see after ten years had you gone with the daily compounding interest account you would have $.20 extra cents. With interest rates so low these days it is hard to see the value you in compound interest but if instead we took a $100 which earned 10% a year over the next 100 years we see quite a different story.

Yearly Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $1,377,961.23
Total Value: $1,378,061.23

Quarterly Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $1,947,708.05
Total Value: $1,947,808.05

Monthly Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $2,113,141.46
Total Value: $2,113,241.46

Daily Compound Interest:
Interest Earned: $2,199,531.87
Total Value: $2,199,631.87

As you can see the value of daily compounded interest is extremely important as time goes on. The difference between the $100 yearly compounded and daily compounded is $821,570.64. In closing always be looking at how often your investment compounds when you are saving for the long haul and daily is always the best.

2013 Roth IRA Income Limits

2013 Roth IRA income limits are issued by the US government and are of particular interested to anyone who is looking to contribute a part of this year’s earnings to their retirement fund. This article describes the dynamic of changes in these limits over the years and the current situation, which is slightly different from the previous year.

2013 Roth IRA Income Limits

What is a Roth IRA?

Roth IRA is a retirement plan that allows you to redistribute a part of your income into a non-taxable retirement fund. Unlike most other tax advantaged retirement plans, it grants tax breaks when withdrawing from the fund, not upon your contribution.

This allows non-taxable growth and relieves all worries about future tax rates. Due to these extremely attractive terms, the US Congress has also placed various Roth IRA income limits in place to prevent high-income taxpayers from sheltering their income from taxes this way.

What Are Roth IRA Limits?

That’s why you can only contribute money to Roth IRA if your gross income for the year is under a certain government-issued threshold. In addition, the size of the contribution cannot exceed a certain amount.

The particular terms change from one year to another, so you need to be aware of the latest Roth IRA income limits in 2013 to see if you are still eligible and know how to go about your contributions.

The New Roth IRA Income Limits in 2013

So, what are the Roth IRA income limits in 2013, compared to the previous year? The eligibility threshold has increased from its 2012 value both for married couples and singles, allowing more people to take advantage of the unique tax advantages offered by Roth IRA.

The cut-off point is now $178,000 to $188,000 for married couples and $112,000 to $127,000 for individuals. This means that if you file individually and your gross income in that year exceeds $127,000, you won’t be given access to the terms of a Roth IRA plan.

Roth IRA Income Limits for Contributions

When it comes to your contributions, the Roth IRA plan specifies different limits for people aged 49 or less and those who are 50 years or older.

If your age is 50 years or more, the 2013 Roth IRA income limit in your case is $6,500. People who are younger than that will only be able to contribute $5,500 this year.

Both values have also moved up $500 since last year, making the contributions slightly more appealing in 2013.

You should be aware that the terms for 401K and other retirement plans have also gone through some changes. If you are interested in any of them and would like to see how they relate to the 2013 Roth IRA income limits, you should look up their updated values as well.

Other Terms

Please note that the deadline for making your contribution to Roth IRA for the year 2013 is in April 15th of 2014. You can only put money into your retirement fund until that date.

Now that you know the 2013 Roth IRA income limits, you can evaluate whether this retirement plan is going to work in your situation or you should look into other options, such as 401K.

The Six Best Websites for Retirement Help

It is now possible for retirees to find help on various topics using retirement tools available online. Six of the best places to find retirement help are below. Some are common like the AARP’s homepage and some are not places you would commonly look like the New York Times. Check out the list below and please share any of your favorites in the comments below.

retirement help

AARP.ORG

The first place for many retirees in aarp.org. This website has various tools including calculators, videos and articles that are intended to better the lives of people who are 50 year olds or more. Some of the online resources include information on social security and Medicare, housing, food and nutrition, care giving and more.

MyMoney.Gov

This website created by the U.S. government is geared towards helping Americans of all ages to correctly handle their finances. Already, 20 federal agencies and bureaus provide information on this website so that you can make smart financial choices. Specifically, the website gives enough information on how to plan for retirement. Information available includes how to apply for social security retirement, how to take advantage of work and social security benefits at the same time and how to detect and avoid fraud and protect oneself from victimization.

MyMoney.gov provides various links to different government websites allowing retirees access to information they need to apply for social security and learn the various laws that protect retiree benefits in the event of a job loss.

Fidelity

Fidelity helps many to plan for their path to retirement. Despite the age one starts planning fidelity provides information divided into the initial stage of planning, getting ready to retire and planning on how to live through retirement. As the initial step in planning for retirement, Fidelity guides you through the prioritization process. Specifically targeting how to spend less than you earn, pay off debt, invest and choose the right investments.

Vanguard

Vanguard provide educative resources that assist people in planning for their retirement. Included in their live webcasts, opinions and information from experts can quickly guide retirees in the right direction when it comes to choosing the right plans. Also included on their website are a retirement income calculator and educational and news information.

NY Times

The New York time provides useful tips including how to protect accounts from creditors, how to plan for retirement in regard to spending and investing and other how-to articles.

T.Rowe Price

T.Rowe Price is a global financial firm that offers retirees investment management and guidance. As a retirement planning advisor, T.Rowe Price can help retirees get a sure footing into their retirement through a commendable investment approach.

Retirement Investing

Most people do not think of their retirement for a long time. While you may not find it important enough when you are young, it is something to consider doing heavily. Once you have retired, you are going to need that money to live a happy and full life. Depending on the government is not stable nor is it enough, and working when you are elderly is not a great position to find yourself. Retirement investing gives you the chance to save for the rest of your life. As long as you do it properly, you will have enough money in the bank to last you for as long as you need it. This will allow you the opportunity to live comfortably and peacefully, not worrying about your financial status.

retirement investing

You need to start this investment early. This is not something to ignore for years until you are right at the age, not if you want it to work. Begin putting a small amount of money into an IRA or something similar regularly and early so that you can see the biggest result in the end. If you find it hard to do this when strapped for cash, just try to do it whenever you can. Spending wisely and making this investment is important if you want to avoid dangerous financial problems in the future.

When you do begin to invest, you might look into multiple accounts. It is normal to do this, but you might also want to rollover one account into another. Doing this is not too difficult, but you need to familiarize yourself with the rules. You cannot do this often and you have a certain period to do it once you withdraw money, along with several other rules. Looking into all of them so that you know what is current and what is important. This will help you to avoid costly mistakes that lose you a lot of money. You should also make sure that you avoid common mistakes that people make so that you do not end up losing money.

Pay attention to your account and all activity, including mail you may receive about it. If something is not right, look into it immediately. Sometimes, problems occur and people make mistakes. In these situations, it is vital that you take action as soon as possible lest you pay more than you should. With a retirement savings, you cannot let problems occur at all. This will put your financial future in jeopardy, causing you to face possible troubles when you retire.

If you go about this properly and familiarize yourself with everything, it is easier to make the most out of your investment. With how important investing is, you cannot put anything less than your best into this. If you want to be sure that you are financially secure from the moment that you retire and that your money is safely tucked away, know the rules, possible mistakes to avoid, and all activity on your account or accounts. When you take the necessary steps and approach this informed, you can make the most out of every cent.

How Much do I Need to Save for Retirement?

A 45 year old man working a typical 9-5 job might be thinking more intensely about saving for retirement than a 21 year old that just landed his first full time job with benefits. At the age of 21, he might start contributing 4% of his income to his 401k with a more aggressive market approach. His 45 year old neighbor is struggling tirelessly to contribute 10% of his pay with a much more conservative approach. They both share one common interest: saving for retirement.
retirment saving
How much should an individual really save for retirement, and what is the ideal contribution to a company match plan? Many people have relied on and researched retirement planning calculators on the internet for years. The majority of these will calculate a percentage of income that one should be saving and deliver a figure that will support his/her lifestyle in 40 years. The calculator doesn’t take into consideration what everyone’s standard of living will amount to then. The sum of money that an individual should save for retirement doesn’t rely on income; it relies on money spent. A man could make $60,000 a year, but his current lifestyle requires an annual spending figure of $80,000. Another might bring home $80,000 a year, and his current lifestyle requires only $40,000. Should they both contribute the same amount to their 401k? Not likely.

Calculating a substantial amount of savings for retirement relies on evaluating an individual’s current spending and determining the standard of living he/she wishes to uphold at retirement. The retirement calculators that are based on income are not completely worthless. They provide a valuable resource for determining a figure of funds that will be saved after a number of years. Before utilizing these calculators, the individual must determine the ideal amount to save. This number will be derived from deciding how much to spend at retirement. Will they live lavishly, or will they live comfortably? Once a decision has been made on how much they want to spend in 40 years, then they can decide what to save. If the current budget does not allow for that level of spending, then they must discover other ways to save.

Here are a few frugal tips on saving money now for the future:

Stay healthy. One of the leading money guzzlers in retirement are health expenses. Prescription medications, knee replacements, high cholesterol, and cancer all come with a hefty bill. Regular physical activity and proactive health precautions may reduce these expenses.

Make friends with the neighbors. Retirees benefit from friends and family. Several people are willing to lend a helping hand to a senior citizen; a solid relationship will open this door.

Weatherproof the home. Energy costs are rising every year, and they might only increase in 20-40 years. Visit a local home improvement shop to find sealant for windows to prevent cold winter drafts. Ask about clearance items during the contrary weather season.

Being frugal will allow the individual to contribute much more to their company match plan for retirement.

How a Target-Date Fund Works

A “target-date” fund is a mutual fund consisting of typical assets such as stocks, bonds, cash or cash equivalents. The percentage mix of assets is reshuffled automatically by the fund to meet the objective of the investor by a certain future date, such as retirement.

The main advantages to a target-date fund are: low minimum investment which provides for greater diversification of outside investments, the fund is managed by a professional fund manager, and there is low investor maintenance or monitoring once the initial investment has been made.

As the preselected date approaches, a target-date fund will shift assets towards more conservative investments to avoid or attempt to mitigate any downturns in the economy. This re-allocation is done with no direction or input of the investor but by the mechanics of the fund itself.

When selecting a target-date fund, it is important to examine the initial composition of the fund assets. All funds typically have different percentage allocations based in equities or stocks, bonds, and cash. The difference between the funds rests in the make up of the allocations. One fund may be made up strictly of domestic equities and treasury bonds, while another fund may have a portion of the equities and bonds based internationally. There can be other differences among funds, such as what type of equities are in the asset mix, whether they are large, small or mid-cap stocks, or if the equities are from emerging markets, or the type of bonds and cash equivalents that make up a portion of the fund.

A disadvantage of a target-date fund is that they are not independent. The target-date fund is usually a compilation fund made from the offering company’s other funds. This compilation of other funds can lead to higher expense fees depending upon how a fund company computes their charges, the fee for managing the target-date fund may include all or part of the fees charged for the component funds. Hence the investor in the target-date fund is paying a fee for the cost of managing the component fund as well as the target-date fund.

Whether an investor should or should not invest in target-date funds depends upon how much the investor wants to be actively involved in the management of his or her retirement fund. If the investor wants to be an active participant continuously until retirement, then a target-date fund is not the best investment choice. Conversely, if an investor does not want to be involved in the direction or management then a target-date fund offers that convenience, however, the more passive investor will need to investigate, compare, and analyze the target-date fund before committing to invest in the fund in order to assure that the retirement goals will be met.

An investor must perform due diligence with any fund. With a target-date fund the diligence and investigation must be in depth and up front. With a more traditional self-directed fund the investor must continually monitor during the entire investment in the fund.

What is a Pension?

A pension plan is a specific type of retirement plan in which the employer will make a contribution to funds that have been put aside for the employee’s future benefit. This money is then invested on behalf of the employee permitting benefits to be received at retirement. As a general rule, a pension plan is tax exempt, is built up over numerous years, and consists of money that was contributed by both the employer and the employee.

retirement

How Do I Get a Pension Plan?

A pension plan comes with the job. All you have to do is show up to work and work. When you become an employee, you are enrolled in the pension plan with your employer automatically. However, some companies do require that you are employed for a full year before you are officially enrolled in the pension. And just because the pension is yours does not mean that you have any say so in the investment decisions.

When Can I Have Access to My Pension?

You cannot obtain early access to your pension plan. You will be unable to gain access to the funds from your pension until you have retired from the company. As a general rule, retirement age is 65; however, some companies may allow you to begin payments at 55 for early retirement. If you choose to begin receiving early retirement benefits from your pension, you won’t receive as large of a monthly payment as you would if you were at full retirement age.

Upon retirement, you will begin receiving monthly installments of the same amount each month until the funds have been depleted. The payout will generally depend on your length of time with the company as well as your salary.

What to Know About Pension Payouts

When you do begin receiving payments from your pension plan, you will be responsible for paying taxes on the funds received throughout the tax year. Because of this, a pension plan is considered as a form of a retirement plan.

Now, while most individuals opt for the monthly installments, those with a pension plan do have the option to choose a lump sum payment upon retirement. However, by choosing the lump sum option, you are given all the funds at once meaning that taxes must be paid on the entire amount at the end of the tax year. In addition, you could leave yourself with no money in the long-term by spending too much upfront. The wiser option is the monthly installments; however, the choice is ultimately yours to make.

Don’t Rely on a Pension Alone

When it comes to planning your retirement, you should never rely on one individual retirement plan to carry you through your retirement years. This is extremely true with pension plans since a pension is not going to be enough to carry you through.