Whether changing career paths or advancing at a new company, there is a certain excitement around changing jobs. In the midst of all of the planning, however, there is one important detail that should not be overlooked: what to do with an existing 401(k).

To help decide which option is best for you, we can work together to consider the following factors:

  • Your current situation.

Are you on pace to meet your financial and personal goals for retirement?

How long will your retirement savings need to last? How much may your retirement expenses be?

  • Your choices.

What are the pros and cons to preserving the tax-deferred status of your current retirement plan compared to taking a lump-sum distribution?

Is it more beneficial for you to do a direct rollover to a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA?

  • Your asset allocation.

Are your retirement savings diversified enough to help deliver the returns you will need to enjoy the retirement you envision? Should you look into adding new investments to your portfolio to help maintain balance?

If you are currently starting a new job, or are preparing to make a change, please call Asset Planning Group,LLC at 5814-5636-1040 to schedule an appointment to review your options and help you decide what solution will best suit your needs.

The average retirement savings for those between 32 and 61 years of age is $60,000. Retirement seems to be a lifetime away for millennials, but saving for retirement should begin early. Some studies even suggest that saving an amount that is double your salary by age 35 is the recommended start. This could be alarming to many millennials, who are still paying massive school loans and other debt. It leads to questions about how to prepare to invest and when to start.

When to start?

  • Start as early as possible.

Understanding the way compounding works over extended periods of time is useful for determining when to begin an investment. With average market growth, investing $100 per month ($1,200/year) for 40 years, can leave one with close to $1.1 million. The sooner a retirement fund starts, the larger the sum of money that builds over time.

  • You have 30 years in your 30s.

Those in their thirties have around 30 years to grow their nest egg for retirement. With a jump-start on a portfolio, you have time to invest more aggressively. The following chart shows the ideal amounts of money to be saved by each age.

35 40 50 60 65
2x salary 3x salary 4x salary 6x salary 8x salary

 

How do I get ready to invest?

  • Paying student loans.

Student loan payments can be a burden on savings. Paying the monthly balance while putting extra cash toward high interest loans can help finish off this debt.

  • Purchasing a starter home.

The median age to buy a home is 33. Taking time to gain financial footing before buying a home is becoming much more common, as the median age continues to rise. It is never too early to get ahead of the game and hold a home as an asset.

  • Save it before you ever see it.

Saving small amounts of paychecks before it ever reaches your hand is a great way to feel like you’re not coming up short. Living 10%-15% below your means, and investing that money before you see it, can enhance your preparedness for the future.

  • Learn your risk tolerance.

Having a plan and understanding your risk tolerance are essential parts of investing. Know if investing more aggressively or passively satisfies your risk tolerance better, and make a plan for retirement investments following that information.

With 28% of working adults claiming they have zero retirement savings, it is important to understand the fundamentals and opportunity of starting retirement investment early. Starting as soon as possible with a plan of action is essential, and can put you ahead of the crowd in savings. I encourage you to call Asset Planning Group, LLC at 814.536.1040 with any questions or concerns about retirement saving and the effects of not saving enough.

 

Between unexpected expenses like home repairs or car trouble and milestone expenses like college tuition or retirement, it can be difficult to know if you are using the best savings strategies. When it comes to saving wisely, a lot can be said for employing methods that help you retain more of your money and allocate it in tax-smart ways.

To help you save more wisely this year, consider trying one of the following strategies:

  • Contribute the maximum to your workplace savings plan.

Consider gradually increasing your annual contributions, and therefore those of your employer, to your 401(k), 403(b), or governmental 457(b) plan until you reach the maximum annual amount.

  • Open a health savings account.

A health savings account (HSA) can be a tax-efficient way to pay for medical expenses now and when you retire. Your elected contributions are made pre-tax, and many employers will offer a regular contribution to allow you to build your savings year after year.

  • Pay down high-interest debt.

When managing multiple debts, try using extra savings to first pay down the one with the highest interest rate while continuing to make the minimum payments on your other debts. Once the debt is paid, focus on the one with the second-highest interest rate, and so on.

  • Contribute to an IRA.

Whether a traditional IRA (earnings grow tax-deferred, but income taxes are charged on withdrawals) or a Roth IRA (earnings grow tax-free and qualified withdrawals can be taken tax free), opening one of these accounts can be a tax-smart way to save for retirement.

  • Open a 529 college savings account for a loved one.

If helping a child, grandchild, or other loved one pay for college, a tax-advantaged 529 savings account may be the best option.

Call our office at 814-536-1040 to schedule an appointment to discuss these and other saving strategies to ensure you’re on the best path for you and your family!

After months of one of the most highly-contested presidential elections in our country’s history, a president-elect has been named and we can now begin to process what changes may be coming our way.

Some of those changes may be financial. As we continue to learn the specifics regarding the Trump administration’s fiscal policy, we know the anticipated broad strokes of it will include lower tax rates, a targeted fiscal stimulus, and the deregulation of business. These actions, some financial experts say, have a solid chance of positively impacting our economy.

Other positive changes that might be on the horizon include:

  • New growth opportunities. From the steepening of the U.S. Treasury yield curve to the positive performance of commodities, the new policies may offer new revenue streams to clients.
  • Market effects. Historically, the S&P 500 index has produced a positive total return in presidential election years.
  • Tax reform. To help stimulate the economy, new tax strategies might ensure significant cuts in taxes, particularly for higher-earning Americans.

As a valued client, please know that our commitment to your financial success, and that of your family, supersedes the changing tides of politics. As you save and invest for your goals, remember that market disruptions are not the norm, but the exception. Please call our office at 814-536-1040 if you have concerns or questions about how things are going with your investments.

Ahead of each presidential election, uncertainty leads many to worry about the stock market and the possible effects on their own earnings. But in spite of this cyclical anxiety, you may be surprised to learn that, historically, elections have little effect on the market.

Since 1833, according to The Stock Trader’s Almanac, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has gained an average of 10.4% in the year before a presidential election and gained an average of nearly 6% during an election year. The first and second years of a presidential term, however, see average gains of 2.5% and 4.2%, respectively. These are modest but positive results.

That’s not the only surprising thing about the market during an election season:

  • The winning party may not matter. Regardless of politics, the market tends to experience greater returns due to normal variations rather than which party wins the White House.
  • Government gridlock may not lead to market growth. InvesTech research has shown the S&P 500 stock index gains an average of 16.9% when one party controls the White House and both houses of Congress. By contrast, the stock index historically only gains an average of 5.5% when the houses of Congress are divided.
  • The market may predict election results. As evidenced by election trends since 1928, if the stock market is up during the three months before an election, the incumbent party will typically remain in power. But if the market is down during that time period, the other party will typically take control.

Call our office at 814-536-1040 to schedule an appointment to review your current performance and help ensure your plans are ready for the future!

 

If you are holding individual stocks in a retirement account as well as in a regular non-retirement account, it is important to be aware of having the correct stock in the right account.

For example, stocks paying high dividends should go into your retirement account, since those dividends would otherwise be taxed right away at the regular income tax rate. If they were in your regular account, they would lose the benefit of tax-free growth.

Also, aggressive growth stocks should largely be left in the regular account for two reasons. One, they usually don’t pay big dividends and two, stocks sold in the regular account are taxed at the capital-gains rate while those sold in a retirement account are taxed at the higher income tax rate.

Always remember that in no matter what account you hold your equity investments they should be well diversified so as not to expose yourself to too a high a risk.

As always these tips are general in nature, and are intended to give you some ideas and guidelines as to things you should be aware of.

Please don’t take any actions without consulting us, or other appropriate professionals!

People in retirement often wonder what to do when you need money to live on, or to make a major purchase or go on vacation; or before retirement, for buying a house or to pay for college, or whatever.

Some people say that you should look at taking money out of a tax deferred vehicle for things like this while others say you should take tax deferred money out last. We’ve heard advisors say things like “you’ll be in a lower tax bracket in retirement, so you should keep socking away money into tax deferred accounts. Others say the exact opposite, and you shouldn’t put money into tax deferred accounts.

What’s the right answer?

 FIGURE IT OUT BY CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS!

We just had a client come in to see us who moved here from out of state, and had been told to accumulate money in certain accounts because she would be in a “lower bracket” in retirement. Well, because she hadn’t done the math, she found out that by doing what she did, she pushed herself into a HIGHER bracket in retirement, and cost herself a bundle in needless taxes!

Another client was told NOT to accumulate money in tax deferred accounts because he’d end up paying the same or more in taxes when he took the money out. When he came in to see us, we had the unpleasant task of telling him he had overpaid his taxes for years and years based on his advisor’s advice given without the benefit of CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS!

So, the tip is to never go by rules of thumb or people’s guesses when it comes to making big decisions with your money! You have to plan in a careful and thoughtful manner, and be sure to CRUNCH THE NUMBERS!

As always, these tips are general in nature, and are intended to give you some ideas and guidelines as to things you should be aware of. Please don’t take any actions without consulting us, or other appropriate professionals!

Income Solver Brochurehttps://www.facebook.com/AssetPlanning/photos/pb.162916080404800.-2207520000.1472811701./1317850064911390/?type=3&theater

 

 

One of the hardest factors in planning for retirement is trying to accurately judge how much money you will need to live on in the future. Because of inflation, what you can afford today you might not be able to afford when you retire. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict what inflation rates will be in the future.

A good rule of thumb in figuring out your future purchasing power is to use the “Rule of 72”. This is a formula that will help you calculate what you can expect to spend on consumer goods in the future. Here’s how it works.

Divide 72 by the inflation rate to see how many years it will take for the cost of something to double. So, 72 divided by 4 (we’ll use 4% for the inflation rate, even though it’s averaged about 3.5% over the last several decades) equals 18. So, in 18 years the price of goods would be expected to double. For example, say you are buying a pair of shoes today for $50, according to the “Rule of 72” the same pair of shoes will cost you $100 in 18 years.

Take a few moments and calculate what some of your expenses would be sown the road. It can be a real eye-opener as to what your retirement picture will look like.