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Melissa Phipps

Retirement Planning

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Thanks But No Thanks

Thursday April 17, 2014

I love a good retirement calculation, but the latest bit from Matt Kranz at US Today that says you need to save more than $82 a day to have a good retirement is not it. Could you come up with a more daunting daily amount if you tried? A little math and it's easy to discover that adds up to more than $2,500 a month. That's even more than the $17,500 you can contribute to a 401(k) in 2014. You could put in as much as $23,000 in 2014 if you are older than age 50, but that would still less than the $82.28 average this advocate.

Sure, saving that much would be great. But if it's impossible (and for most of us, let's face it...), it may keep some individuals from saving anything at all. Do me a favor and forget this number. Instead, aim to contribute 6% of pre-tax income to your 401(k), and eventually increase that to 10%. You'll be on your way for much less per day.

 

 

10 Questions to Ask About 401(k) Fees

Sunday April 13, 2014

If you have a 401(k) plan or are thinking of getting one, you need to understand what you are paying for it. Start with these 10 questions, which can help you make sense of plan fees. and make the most of your earnings.

See:

10 Questions to Ask About 401(k) Fees

What to Look for in a Retirement Home

Sunday April 13, 2014

The Wall St. Journal ran an interesting piece this week about what to look for in a retirement home. The home-buying checklist includes practical things like transportation, space, bathrooms and zoning.

For some retirees, there are bigger-picture considerations, such as whether you want relocate to another part of the country in retirement, or even another part of the world. Whatever your retirement dream, it helps to have your own personal checklist to help you find your perfect spot.

Related:

Best Places to Retire Abroad

10 Tips for Happy Retirement Living

Hey, Tax Procrastinators!

Friday April 11, 2014

Quick! Fund an IRA for 2013. That's right, if you have not yet filed your 2013 income taxes, there is still time to open and fund a tax-deductible individual retirement account or IRA for 2013. You may qualify for a deduction that decreases your overall tax bill. Find out more about IRA contribution limits for 2013 and self-employment IRA contribution limits for 2013.

Do You Qualify for the Saver's Credit?

Thursday April 3, 2014

If you still have not filed 2013 taxes, there is still time and opportunity for potential deductions. Those who have a traditional IRA or self-employed IRA still have time to make a contribution for last year. You may also qualify for the Saver's Credit, a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax liabilities, for certain individuals who save for retirement in a qualified plan (such as a 401k, IRA, SEP, etc.). Find out more about the Saver's Credit and whether you qualify in 2013 or 2014.

What Is the Tax Saver's Credit?

Jump the Hurdles

Monday March 31, 2014

If you are within one, five, even 10 years until retirement, you know the feeling of unease that occurs when you think of all of the things that might go wrong. Yes, there will be hurdles on the way to retirement. But if you plan ahead and prepare yourself to jump any potential hurdles, nothing can stand in the way of your dream retirement. Here are 5 pre-retirement obstacles to avoid.

Further Focus on Fees

Monday March 31, 2014

Pardon my little alliteration to get your attention this Monday morning. I want to discuss investment fees. First, I've brought together some of the basic information on 401(k) retirement plan fees and investment fees into a single article. I've also included a new piece, adapted from a list of 10 fee questions to ask your 401(k) plan provider from the Department of Labor. I've also included some advice for what you should do with the 10 answers you get after asking these questions.

An Education

Monday March 31, 2014

Does your 401(k) plan offer investor education? If you aren't sure about the answer, get to know a little bit more about investor education offered by nearly 90% of all workplace plans. If your plan is one of the few that does not offer investor education, I have some ideas on how to educate yourself.

Getting to Know Gold IRAs

Sunday March 30, 2014

I have to admit, I know very little about gold IRAs. So I asked guest author David Packman, who writes for the site American Bullion, to explain how they work. American Bullion administers gold IRAs, so the company knows more about the topic than probably anyone else. They also stand to gain from people investing in them, so keep that in mind when you read Gold Investing for Your Golden Years.

After reading the piece, I'm not sure if I'd personally need a gold IRA. Remember, you can get access to gold and other precious metals and commodities through exchange traded funds and mutual funds through any run-of-the-mill traditional IRA. And these investments are probably cheaper and better diversified. Still, if you are the type that needs the surety of owning the actual elements, a gold IRA is a way to own them for retirement.

The Ups and Downs of 401(k) Loans

Sunday March 16, 2014

Should you take a 401(k) loan? Definitely not before you understand the advantages and disadvantages of such a move. Access to this type of loan is nice to have when one is out of options... but I really mean only if you have exhausted every other possible option. Money troubles come and go, but a 401(k) should be constant until retirement. A 401(k) loan gets in the way of and could jeopardize that. And if there's any chance that your company may face layoffs or you may be looking for a new gig, it's a bad time to think about a 401(k) loan. Find out more about when and why you should consider or rule out a 401(k) loan.

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