Retirement Planning: Most Popular Articles
Every 401K withdrawal affects your taxes and your future retirement planning. Make sure to consider these implications and others concerns whenever contemplating a 401K distribution from your 401K.
401(k) loans are available with no credit checks. Are they a good idea? Learn the advantages, disadvantages and limits of borrowing from your 401(k) plan.
Understand what a contingent beneficiary is before you choose one for your retirement account, life insurance policy or trust.
With spousal Social Security you can get retirement benefits through your spouse. Here's how it works.
There are limits to how much you can contribute to an IRA each year. Here are the 2014 maximums. out how much you can contribute to your IRA in 2014.
You can get Social Security retirement benefits while you are still working. But when you apply makes a difference. Here's how it works.
One of the most common questions among retirement planning overachievers is whether they can contribute to both a 401(k) and a Roth IRA. Most people can participate in both.
An IRA withdrawal is any distribution from your individual retirement account. It's critical to understand how your distribution will affect your financial future, both from tax and retirement planning perspectives.
At some point, you'll withdraw money from a retirement account. But when you do it and how you do it matter. Here are the rules for withdrawals in a 401(k) and IRA.
Find out how much you can contribute to a SEP IRA in 2014.
When you reach 70 1/2, IRS rules say you have to start required minimum distributions from your traditional IRAs or your 401(k)s. The tax bite for not obeying the rules can be major.
How much can you contribute to a SIMPLE IRA in 2014?
An explanation of how the Social Security Administration determines normal retirement age, sets the rules for monthly payments, and applies work penalties in certain circumstances.
Learn the two components of calculating your Social Security Benefits: your earnings history and the age you retire. Understand the impact your normal retirement age has on your retirement benefit too.
Can I withdraw money from my 401(k) before I retire? Yes, you can anytime, but you may have to pay a penalty.
Taking advantage of an employer's 401K match is a critical piece of proper retirement planning. This company match provides you with the opportunity to receive free money into your retirement plan.
Find out the contribution limits for Roth IRAs in 2014.
How much will the government let you contribute to your 401(k) in 2014? Here's where to find out.
At what age can you start receiving Social Security? Find out what happens if you start to receive benefits before or after your full retirement age.
Vesting schedules come in three types: immediate, cliff and graded. Even if your employer contributes to your retirement plan or to your stock option plan, you don't really own those benefits until you have complied with their vesting schedule.
Retirement plans can be confusing, this basic overview can help you understand how each one is different.
A simple overview of how to apply for Social Security retirement benefits.
What is a contingent beneficiary and why you should make sure yours is correct.
The death of a spouse is a dramatic event, emotionally and financially. Fortunately, the Social Security widow benefit paid to surviving spouse's takes some of the financial sting away. Learn more about the Social Security Survivor's Benefit.
If you are near retirement age, these five tips can help you develop a strategy for how and when to begin claiming benefits.
A definition of a qualified domestic relations order, or QDRO, that includes what retirement plans it can be applied to, how it works, and what is required in a QDRO.
Considering going back to work in retirement? A job could impact your expenses, taxes, and Social Security benefits. Here's what you need to know.
Due to certain income limits, not every worker is eligible to make a deductible contribution to a regular IRA. A subset of this group may be permitted to make a contribution to a Roth IRA. Still others will be prohibited from doing either. Enter the non-deductible regular IRA contribution. Learn the ins, outs, and implications of a non-deductible IRA contribution.
457(b) plan overview
Learn the basics of 401(k) accounts; what is a contribution percentage, contribution limitations, tax-deferred growth, required distributions, IRA contribution limits, and how you can profit from a 401(k) plan today.
When can you make withdrawals from your Roth IRA account? Roth IRA withdrawals are different than regular IRA withdrawals. Roth IRA withdrawals are tax-free, as along as certain conditions are met.
Have questions about how Social Security works? Here are the answers.
Modified Adjusted Gross Income, or MAGI, determines eligibility for numerous tax benefits. Here's how to calculate it.
Want to retire wealthy or at least comfortable? Avoid these retirement mistakes.
What diversification is and how to diversify your investments.
Definition of a Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) from a qualified retirement plan such as a 401(k) or IRA
An employer matching 401(k) contribution or employer match is a generous benefit that you should be taking advantage of. Here's why.
When it's time to retire, there are decisions to be made. How will you withdraw your savings? At what rate? How will you change your investments? Find out how to withdraw from a 401(k) at retirement.
Shortly after your 70th birthday, you will be forced to begin taking required minimum distributions (RMD). As such, you will need to begin withdrawing money from your 401K and regular IRA. Learn how to calculate your required minimum distributions (RMD) and view the Uniform Life Expectancy tables.
Understanding your vesting schedule is a crucial and often underestimated part of retirement planning. The risk of forfeiting your employer's matching contribution is real and often preventable. Learn about the different types of vesting schedules and what they may mean to your financial future.
Learn how an unusual quirk in Social Security allows retirees to take an interest-free loan from Social Security.
A look at what an early distribution is, what taxes and penalties are involved, and the potential financial ramifications to a retirement plan.
How do you designate a beneficiary? Most retirement plans, annuities and life insurance policies let you decide what should become of your assets after your death through the naming of beneficiaries. Deciding which beneficiaries to name entails a whole set of considerations.
Roth 401(k)s bring together the tax-free growth of a Roth IRA and the higher contribution limits of a 401(k). Yet a Roth IRA contribution lowers your net pay in a way a regular 401(k) does not. Learn what to consider when evaluating a Roth 401(k).
Find out how much you can contribute to a SEP IRA in 2013.
Leaving your job and not sure what to do with your 401(k) or other retirement account? You have plenty of options to choose from.
For individuals who have spent their careers working for the US railroads, Railroad Retirement Plans offer benefits beyond Social Security.
What is the real safe withdrawal rate? Many experts feel withdrawing 4% of your initial retirement account balance, then adjusting annually for inflation is the right amount. But such a straightforward approach does leave us with some pretty illogical conclusions. Learn what to consider when contemplating what you can afford to spend in retirement.
Taking a 401k loan may seem tempting in the short term, but be sure to consider the consequences and penalties carefully first.
If your spouse has assets in a retirement account, a QDRO is necessary to share them equitably after divorce
Learn the basics of Roth Individual Retirement Accounts (Roth IRAs): where and how to open an account, Roth IRA contribution limits, income limitations, what is an IRA, who's eligible, when they're called for, and how you can profit from a Roth IRA today.
A Roth Conversion means entering retirement with tax-free income. However, a Roth IRA conversion also comes at an upfront cost of paying taxes now. Converting your qualified retirement account (like a traditional IRA or old 401(k) plan) to a Roth IRA may be a great idea. But since your tax may be significant, make sure to learn the key considerations.
There are some exceptions to the penalties for withdrawing money from an individual retirement account, 401(k) plan or other qualified distribution plan. Find out what the IRA withdrawal exemptions are and who qualifies.
Should you take Social Security at age 62 or 70, or somewhere in between? There's no one right answer, but there is an answer that's right for you.
Long-term care and nursing home can be extremely expensive, and only if the patient falls below a certain level of wealth is it covered by Medicaid. Regardless of age or health status, as long as you have assets and an income that can be counted as your own, the options may be limited when it comes to securing long-term care.
Get to know the SEP IRA, a great retirement savings vehicle for small-business owners and self-employed people.
Your normal retirement age, or your Social Security Retirement age is based on your year of birth. Learn the importance of your retirement age and how it might affect your retirement plans.
Find out how 457(b) plans can help you save for retirement, and why a 457(b) plan is even better than a 401(k).
Retirement plans for the self-employed are among the most generous in terms of annual contribution limits. They get even more generous in 2013.
Learn how a tax deferred plan can lower your current and future taxes.
Health care inflation is rising faster than the cost of living, and most of us haven't saved enough to cover it. Find out how to prepare for the rising cost of healthcare in retirement.
Find out how much you can contribute to your 457(b) plan in 2014.
Find out how much you can contribute to your 403(b) plan in 2014.
How much can you put in a Roth IRA in 2013? Find out the contribution limits for Roth IRAs.
What do you do with your 401(k) after you leave a job? Roll it over into a special account called a Rollover IRA as you plan your retirement.
As your parents near retirement age, they may be looking for help with their finances. Here is how to guide your parents to a successful retirement.
Find out how much you can put into a SIMPLE IRA in 2013, and why small business owners may or may not want to consider one.
Should you take a 401k loan or apply for a 401k hardship loan to help with short-term cash needs? The answer, in almost all cases, is absolutely not. However, there are numerous things to consider, not to mention the need to consult with a qualified professional to get an opinion of whether or not a 401k loan makes sense based upon your own alternatives and situation. This resource was designed to explain the process and provide information that might help you.
You know how and when you want to retire, but have you considered where you want to retire? Here is how to choose the best place to retire.
Some individuals can maximize their IRA savings by contributing to both Regular IRA and Roth IRA plans. Find out if you qualify.
Find out how much you can contribute to your IRA in 2013.
If you participated in the SIMPLE IRA for at least two years, you may roll over the plan into another qualified plan, such as a 401(k) or IRA.
A Health Savings Account (HSA) can be an important part of your retirement planning. Coupled with a High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP), an HSA can provide you with tax-free growth on qualified medical expenses and tax-deferred growth on the excess. Learn more about how an HSA might help you achieve your retirement goals.
Find out how much you can contribute to a Spousal IRA in 2013.
Can you withdraw money from your Roth IR before you retire? Yes, but you could be penalized on the growth of your original investment.
Should you convert your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA? Ask yourself these questions before you decide to convert to a Roth.
Investing is not instinctual and most of us don't know what we're doing. But with a little bit of understanding and discipline, you can make the most of your retirement investments. Here's how to become a better retirement investor.
You have a solo business, so why not get yourself a solo 401(k) or individual 401(k)? Here's how much you can contribute to a solo 401(k) in 2014.
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An overview of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), including how it is financed, who it protects, ans where to get more information.
401K to IRA rollovers are a fairly straightforward process as long as you make it clear of your intentions. However, if you take a distribution and then decide to do an IRA rollover, your job just got harder thanks to mandatory withholding. Learn how to avoid the 20% mandatory withholding on IRA rollovers.
SEP-IRAs (Simplified Employee Pensions) are an excellent retirement planning opportunity for the self-employed. With high contribution limits and late deadlines, they provide for great flexibility and savings.
What are normal distributions from retirement plans? This definition includes taxable and tax-free plans, as well as associated penalties and exemptions.
A primary beneficiary is a person or entity designated as the first in line to inherit an asset.
Ever thought about retiring outside your own country? Here's a list of the 10 best places in the world to retire outside of the U.S.
Make sure to regularly check your 401(k) plan beneficiary designations, especially if any major family changes have occurred.
If you are age 50 or older, you can stash a little bit more away each year in your retirement account. It's called a catch-up contribution. Here's how it works.
Find out how much you can put into your defined contribution plan (aka Keogh) in 2014.
Almost half of our readers think saving $1,000,000 is necessary for a comfortable retirement. How much money do you think you need to retire?
When you choose early retirement and take Social Security benefits before your normal retirement age, your benefit is reduced. Understand how the Social Security Administration figures this benefit reduction.
An executor is a job with little training and a lot of trust. Not everyone's cut out for it. If you take on the job of executor, know what's expected.
Are you and your spouse planning for the same retirement? Discussing retirement as a couple can help you plan for a shared ideal future.
Some benefits of a converting to a Roth IRA are unavailable through a traditional IRA. But the Roth IRA also has its own set of limitations. Here's how Roth IRAs stack up compared to traditional IRAs.
Making tax-deductible contributions to a traditional IRA is more flexible than many retirement investors think.
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Before you consider borrowing from your 401(k) or other employer-sponsored retirement account, make sure you have considered these four reasons to take a 401(k) loan.
If you can read this, it's not too early to start saving for retirement. The sooner you start, the wealthier you can be.
A contingent beneficiary stands second-in-line to inherit assets such as a life insurance policy, a retirement plan or an annuity.
Savings accounts may not be as popular as they once were, but can be a great emergency fund.
A Keogh plan is a once-popular retirement plan option for self-employed individuals. For a certain type of professional, a Keogh could be a great choice for amassing retirement savings. Find out if a Keogh is right for you.
Lean the basics of Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs): where and how to open an account, IRA contribution limits, income limitations, what is an IRA, who's eligible, when they're called for, and how you can profit from an IRA today.
An irrevocable life insurance trust (ILIT) is an important estate planning document for individuals meeting certain criteria. Learn the relative advantages and disadvantages of an irrevocable life insurance trust including potential estate tax savings and the forfeiture of future flexibility.
5 reasons to avoid taking a 401(k) loan.
So you've inherited an IRA or 401(k)? Here's what spouses and non-spouses need to know to make the most of an IRA or 401(k) inheritance.
Despite its name, the Simple IRA does not provide for a simple rollover. Make sure you know what you need to do if you decide to rollover your Simple IRA.
If you pull money out of your qualified retirement plan before retirement age of 59 1/2, you will owe taxes and penalties. But there are circumstances under
Index mutual funds offer a low-cost, tax-efficient way to invest in broad segments of the market. They also tend to outperform the competition. Here's why.
An adult child moving home is not necessarily a retirement killer. But you must establish clear guidelines so that your retirement savings and retirement plan remain in tact.
Can you figure out exactly how much you will need to live on for retirement? You can at least come close. Here's how to calculate a retirement savings goal.
Have you ever considered opening a retirement account for your kid? In some cases, you can. Here's how to open an IRA for your child.
What happens to your 401(k) and IRA money if you don't get to spend it? It goes to the people you named when you first signed up for the account. If you can't recall who that is, it's time to review and update your beneficiaries.
Answers to the most common 401(k) loan questions.
The use of Roth IRA distributions as an emergency fund is a noteworthy concept. Nonetheless, it is fraught with significant disadvantages including negative tax and retirement planning consequences. Learn what to consider whenever you take a Roth IRA distribution, be it before or during retirement.
Answers to frequently asked questions about hardship distributions or hardship withdrawals that allow you to take money out early from a 401(k), 403(b) or 457(b) retirement plan.
Find out why employer matching programs are the best retirement investment.
Should you even consider saving for retirement if you have credit card debt? Get the answer to a frequently asked question: Save or get out of debt?
A financial planner can be a helpful guide, but you should be able to do your own retirement planning. Here's a look at what to expect and the DIY alternative.
How much do you need to have saved before retirement? The short answer is: as much as you can.
Defining what it means when assets are correlated or noncorrelated.
The lure of a mortgage-free retirement is attractive. Learn the considerations for eliminating what's likely to be your largest bill in retirement.
A definition of lifecycle funds, also known as target date or target retirement funds, that includes both the benefits as well as the drawbacks of such investments.
A SIMPLE IRA is an employer-sponsored retirement plan offered to small-business employees. Find out how a SIMPLE IRA works, and how much you can contribute to the plan this year.
Find out how much you can contribute to your 401(k) in 2013.
Taking part in an employer matching program, if you're lucky enough to work at a place that offers one, is like receiving free money. Here's how it works.
Although gift tax is very straightforward, those with high asset levels need to follow the rules or risk paying tax unnecessarily.
An introduction to 401(k)s, IRAs, Roth IRAS and the importance of early saving to a successful retirement plan.
Mutual funds are the primary workhorses of most investors' retirement plans. Investing in mutual funds can be a quick and relatively inexpensive way to build a diverse portfolio of stocks and bonds, with the added benefit of professional management.
Profit sharing plans are retirement plans that allow employers to determine how much they will contribute to an employee's retirement. Here's how profit-sharing works.
The intermediate-term bond is among the most common options offered in employer-sponsored 401(k)s. What are intermediate-term bonds and what makes these funds so popular?
To benefit from the tax-free growth of a Roth IRA, you must keep your assets in your account for five years after your initial contribution. Like with other fun tax rules, five years can actually go by a lot quicker. Learn how.
A 403(b) plan is a retirement plan for nonprofit workers. Find out exactly how 403(b) plans work and how much you can contribute to your 403(b) in 2014.
One of the most valuable parts of your Social Security benefit is your cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA). It is the Social Security COLA that allows for protection from inflation over the long-term.
Learn how a tax deduction plan can lower your current taxes.
The pros, cons and facts you need to know before considering a 401(k) loan.
The benefits of diversification: how investing in a variety of sectors can boost your portfolio and prevent you from losing money in riskier options.
If you are a self-employed small business owner, you can have access to a 401(k). Find out what about the benefits of the solo 401(k) and the solo Roth 401(k).
Are you the executor type? Before agreeing to be an executor or executrix for a friend or relative, consider these four executor facts.
The promises of a retirement annuity such as guaranteed lifetime income and tax-deferred growth are tempting, but be sure to consider the taxes and expenses involved as well.
While it's important to have a will, a revocable living trust is often more meaningful in assuring that your affairs go smoothly and as you planned after you pass on. Learn about the advantages of a revocable living trust.
If you want to invest tax-efficiently, get to know which types of investments to buy in a taxable account and which to buy in a tax-deferred account.
The pros and cons of various retirement plans for the self-employed.
Find out how much you can contribute to a Spousal IRA in 2013.
Learn how a tax free plan can lower your future taxes, potentially significantly.
Definition of tax-deferred growth available through many qualified retirement plans
An investment portfolio is a collection of assets owned by an individual or by an institution.
When does it make sense to name a trust as a primary or contingent beneficiary of your IRA or 401(k)?
An IRA rollover is an effective way to simplify your retirement planning while giving you more investment choices and extending your tax deferral.
An overview of 401k eligibility including time limits on delaying eligibility, as well as age requirement and monetary limitations.
An overview of Substantially Equal Periodic Payments, or SEPPs, that includes the rules for withdrawals, how to calculate withdrawals and the benefits of SEPP.
Medicare is government health insurance for seniors age 65 and older. Here's how it works.