Are you one of the more than 58 million Americans who use a 401(k) plan to save for retirement? As of the end of 2019, 401(k) plans held more than $6.2 trillion, which accounts for nearly 20% of all retirement assets in the United States.1
A 401(k) can be an effective savings vehicle for a few reasons. First, all growth is tax deferred. You don’t pay taxes on your gains until you start taking distributions from the account. You also may receive employer contributions, which could significantly increase your savings.
While a 401(k) can be an effective savings vehicle, you may need other options in your strategy. In 2020, you can contribute up to $19,500 to a 401(k). That number is increased to $26,000 if you’re age 50 or older.2 If you hit the contribution limit and still want to contribute more money for retirement, you may need to find another vehicle to do so.
Below are three savings vehicles that could be good options if you hit the max on your 401(k) this year:
Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA)
In addition to your 401(k), you can also contribute up to $6,000 to an IRA in 2020. If you are 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $1,000 to an IRA, bringing your total potential contribution to $7,000.3.
There are a few different types of IRAs, but the two most popular are the traditional and the Roth. In a traditional IRA, you make upfront contributions that are potentially tax-deductible. Your assets can then grow on a tax-deferred basis, just as they would in a 401(k). All future withdrawals are taxed as income.
In a Roth, your contributions aren’t deductible, but your withdrawals in the future are potentially tax-free. Unfortunately, not everyone can contribute to a Roth IRA. If you are single and your income is more than $139,000 or a joint-filing couple with income of more than $206,000, you cannot contribute to a Roth IRA.3
A financial professional can help you determine which type of IRA is right for you.
Another option is to simply open a taxable brokerage account. With these, you don’t get tax-deferred growth, deductible contributions, or any of the other tax benefits you might find with an IRA or a 401(k).
However, you do get a great deal of flexibility. In most qualified accounts, you can’t take a withdrawal before age 59 ½ without facing an early-distribution penalty. That’s not the case with a brokerage account. You can take withdrawals anytime you like, which could come in handy if you’re forced to retire early or have a costly emergency.
Again, a financial professional can help you determine if this is the right path for you and help you implement an investment strategy.
Insurance may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think about saving for retirement. However, there are insurance-based vehicles that can make effective retirement savings tools.
Annuities are insurance-based products that allow you the opportunity for growth while also benefiting from some risk-protection features. Some annuities offer guaranteed* minimum values, so you won’t lose money due to market declines. Others offer guarantees* of future income, so you can protect your cash flow in retirement.
Ready to compliment your 401(k) with other savings vehicles? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at Carstens Financial Group. We can help you develop and implement a strategy. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
*Guarantees provided by annuities are subject to the financial strength of the issuing insurance company; not guaranteed by any bank or the FDIC. Guaranteed lifetime income available through annuitization or the purchase of an optional lifetime income rider, a benefit for which an annual premium is charged. The information contained herein is based on our understanding of current tax law. The tax and legislative information may be subject to change and different interpretations. We recommend that you seek professional legal advice for applicability to your personal situation.
Licensed Insurance Professional. This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting or specific advice for your situation. By providing your information, you give consent to be contacted about the possible sale of an insurance or annuity product. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and is not sponsored or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency. 20040 - 2020/4/28
The stock market crash of 1987. The tech bubble in the early-2000s. The financial crisis of 2008. And now, the coronavirus pandemic.
What do all of these things have in common? They all involve sharp market downturns that end a bull market and trigger a bear market. For many investors, these events create anxiety and worry about the long-term ramifications.
These events all share something else in common. They offer potential opportunities.
In a difficult time like this, it can be hard to see opportunities, but they do exist. Of course, not all opportunities are right for everyone. Your strategy and decisions should be based on your specific needs, goals, and risks.
However, it’s possible that you could take action today to improve your financial future. Below are three examples of potential opportunities. A financial professional can help you determine the right course of action for your long-term strategy.
If you have seen your portfolio suffer since late February, you are not alone. As recently as early February, we were still enjoying a strong economy. Between Friday, February 21, and Tuesday, March 16, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) dropped by 35.87%. Since that low point, the market has recovered somewhat. However, the DJIA is still down 16.4% year-to-date.¹
If you are considering a change in strategy, you also may be able to take advantage of a potential tax deduction. A change in allocation may require you to sell assets that have declined in value. While realizing a loss is never a good outcome, you could qualify for a tax-loss deduction.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should realize losses simply for the tax deduction. Your decision should be guided by your long-term goals. A financial professional can help you determine how best to move forward.
Roth IRA Conversion
Do you hold a significant amount of retirement assets in a traditional IRA? One of the benefits of a traditional IRA is that you realize an upfront deduction for contributions. However, that also means that your future distributions are taxable as income.
You may prefer to use a Roth IRA, which allows you to take tax-free withdrawals in retirement, assuming you are 59 ½ or older, and the account is at least five years old. You can convert your traditional IRA into a Roth, and now could be the time to do so.
When you convert a traditional IRA to a Roth, you pay income taxes on the converted amount. If you have seen a decline in your IRA over the past couple of months, you now have a reduced balance. That means the tax exposure from conversion would be lower today than it was two months ago.
It’s also possible that, like millions of Americans, you have been laid off, furloughed, or that you have accepted a pay cut. It’s possible that your income for 2020 will be lower than it has been in years past, which means you may be in a lower tax rate. Again, this could reduce your tax exposure in a Roth conversion.
Roth conversions aren’t right for everyone. However, if you have been considering one, this may be the right time.
Investing at Discounted Prices
It’s never a good idea to try and predict the market’s direction, especially in the short-term. Investment decisions should always be guided by long-term strategy and specific goals and needs.
However, there is no denying the fact that many assets are currently trading at prices substantially reduced from two months ago. If you have cash available to invest and have the risk tolerance to withstand potential volatility, this could be a good time to revisit your strategy.
It’s always wise to hold six to twelve months in liquid, risk-free emergency reserves, even if those accounts pay very little in interest. However, if you have other funds that aren’t needed for emergency reserves, you may want to consider how best to use them in the long-term. Investing at discounted prices may allow you to more fully participate in a future recovery.
As always, your decisions should be based on your unique needs, not generalized advice. Let’s talk about it and implement the right strategy for your goals. Contact us today at Carstens Financial Group. We can help you analyze your needs and goals and find the right opportunities. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
Licensed Insurance Professional. This information is designed to provide a general overview with regard to the subject matter covered and is not state specific. The authors, publisher and host are not providing legal, accounting or specific advice for your situation. By providing your information, you give consent to be contacted about the possible sale of an insurance or annuity product. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional. The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice. This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and is not sponsored or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency. 20050 - 2020/4/29
Carstens Financial Group focuses on providing comprehensive asset management, estate planning and life insurance solutions. Allow us to help you secure your financial future.