The varieties of instruments that can be used to create an investment portfolio are as vast as the night sky has stars. The possibilities range from tangible assets like a home, physical possession of gold bars, to creation of a wine collection that you bet your future on. Some of these investments are much more speculative than others.
If the pandemic proved anything, it's that life tends to get in the way of our plans — including retirement plans. Over the course of the pandemic, many people were forced to retire early, others decided they wanted to retire and still others opted to change their planned retirement date. The number of people affected is high; a recent survey found that more than 80% of Americans say their retirement plans were impacted by the pandemic.
Both individuals and the companies they work for continue to explore new ways to address the finances of retirement. One option is the cash balance plan. It works like a pension plan in that workers can get a lifetime annuity. However, unlike a pension plan, a cash balance plan creates an individual account for each covered employee, complete with a specified lump sum. And it offers potential savings for employers.
You did it. You made it to retirement. That light at the end of the career tunnel is within your reach now, and it's no bad days ahead. Sure, you're ready, you have trips planned in between days of no alarm clocks, and life is good. Before you slice the au revoir cake, here are a few last-minute retirement items to consider before the work party concludes.
With age, the focus often turns from planning for the purchase of a bigger home to planning to have enough income to live well after retirement. Many factors contribute to this calculation, but following are four common considerations:
Maybe your job, even your entire sector, has disappeared in 2020's economic turmoil. Or perhaps you are just reaching a point at which you are ready to take the next step in your life. It's possible you want to leave your corporate job for something more creative where you can make your own hours. Or you'd like to focus only on non-income-producing hobbies. Another option is focusing on working in spurts and traveling in between. If you're thinking that early retirement is something that can happen now — or within a few years but before the "magic" age of 65 — consider your options.
Despite all the gridlock in Washington, as well as an impeachment, the SECURE Act has passed. It changes a number of important retirement plan rules. The act runs over 120 pages, so the experts will be poring over it for some time. Meanwhile, a number of sources have weighed in on what they think are the key provisions. (Note that last-minute alterations and more detailed analysis may lead to additional changes in the coming weeks.)
According to U.S. Department of Labor statistics, well over half of all employees in midsized and large companies can take advantage of an employment-based retirement plan. But with small companies, barely a third of employees are covered. Many small-business owners say a reason for not creating a retirement plan is the cost. However, the federal government is offering a tax break for small companies that meet certain IRS guidelines.
Annuities are financial products sold by insurance companies that allow you to put aside money, have it increase each year without paying taxes and then trigger a stream of future payments on a timetable you can control. Unlike IRAs, there's no income limit on how much you can place in an annuity.
Sadly, a large percentage of people — most notably, the baby-boom generation (1946-1964) — have made some monumental retirement mistakes. If they had come to us earlier, seeking retirement advice, we could have helped them avoid many classic retirement blunders.
Here are six of them:
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