Retirement Planning

Retirement planning today has taken on many new dimensions that never had to be considered by earlier generations.  For one, people are living longer. A person who turns 65 today could be expected to live as many as 20 years in retirement as compared to a retiree in 1950 who lived,  on average, an additional 15 years.  Longer life spans have created a number of new issues that need to be taken into consideration when planning for retirement.

Lifetime Income Need

There actually is a lifetime after retirement and the need to be able to provide for a steady stream of income that cannot be outlived is more important than ever.  With the prospect of paying for retirement needs for as many as 20 years, retirees need to be concerned with maintaining their cost-of-living.

Estate Protection

Planning for the transfer of assets at death is a critical element of retirement planning especially if there are survivors who are dependent upon the assets for their financial security.  Planning for estate transfer can be as simple as drafting a will, which is essential to ensure that assets are transferred according to the wishes of the decedent. Larger estates may be confronted with settlement costs and sizable death taxes which could force liquidation if the proper planning is not done.

Paying for Retirement

Retirees who have prepared for their retirement usually rely upon three main sources of income: Social Security, individual or employer-sponsored qualified retirement plans, and their own savings or investments.  A sound retirement plan will emphasize qualified plans and personal savings as the primary sources with Social Security as a safety net for steady income.

Social Security

Social Security was established in the 1930’s as a safety net for people who, after paying into the system from their earnings, could rely upon a steady stream of income for the rest of their lives.  The age of retirement, when the income benefit starts was, originally, age 65 which was referred to as the “normal retirement age”.  Now, for a person born after 1937, the normal retirement age is being increased gradually until it reaches age 67 for all people born in 1960 and beyond.  The amount paid in benefits is based upon the earnings of an individual while working.  If a person wanted to continue to work and delay receiving benefits, they could do so build up a larger benefit.  Conversely, early retirement benefits are available, at a reduced level, as early as age 62.

Employer-Sponsored Qualified Plans

Most employer-sponsored plans today are established as “defined contribution” plans whereby an employee contributes a percentage of his earnings into an account that will accumulate until retirement.  As a qualified plan, the contributions are deductible from the employee’s current income.  The amount of income received at retirement is based on the total amount of contributions, the returns earned, and the employee’s retirement time horizon.  As in all qualified plans, withdrawals made prior to age 59 ½ may be subject to a penalty of 10% on top of ordinary taxes that are due.

Depending on the size and type of the organization, they may offer a 401(k) Plan, a Simplified Employee Pension Plan or, in the case of a non-profit organization, a 403(b) plan.

Traditional and Roth IRAs

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) are tax qualified retirement plans that were established as way for individuals to save for retirement with the benefit of tax favored treatment. The traditional IRA allows for contributions to be made on a tax deductible basis and to accumulate without current taxation of earnings inside the account.  Distributions from a traditional IRA are taxable.  A Roth IRA is different in that the contributions are not tax deductible, however, the earnings growth is not currently taxable. To qualify for tax-free and penalty-free withdrawals of earnings, a Roth IRA must be in place for at least five tax years, and the distribution must take plance after age 59 ½ or due to death, disability, or a first-time home purchase (up to a $10,000 lifetime maximum).  Depending on state law, Roth IRA distributions may be subject to state taxes..

Distributions from traditional IRAs and employer-sponsored retirement plans are taxed as ordinary income and, if taken prior to reaching 59 ½ , may be subject to an additional 10% federal tax penalty.

For more information on retirement income needs and income sources, please contact us today.

Tax Planning

No one likes taxes. But through the advice of a professional financial advisor, you can access products and services that help ease the burden.  Working together, we will consider your personal situation and design a tax plan that fits your needs.

Contact us today to learn more about tax-planning products and services that are specifically tailored for your needs.

Succession Planning

Preparing for succession after death is a difficult issue to discuss, but it is also an important part of any comprehensive financial plan.

We can help you and your loved ones approach succession planning in a constructive manner that ensures they avoid problems and are well cared for in the event of your death. The process involves two main considerations: life insurance and preparing a will.

Financial Planning for Business Owners

Business owners face unique challenges—and opportunities—in terms of financial planning. You’ve worked hard to develop your ideas into a successful business, or perhaps you’re considering moving into self-employment. Regardless of your situation, choose a financial planning strategy that takes advantage of your unique situation.

If you are considering moving to self-employment, contact us to discuss how to revise your financial plan. Working together, we will help you adjust from a situation where a previous employer might have provided benefits, such as health or life insurance or a company pension. Life and disability insurance can be difficult to purchase at first, since many insurers want two years of tax results. As well, self-employed people can gain tax write-offs for some health insurance premiums.

Business Succession Planning

You worked hard to develop a business, and now is time to enjoy the results. Many entrepreneurs spend years of focused effort building up a business, but then fail to consider how to make the transition to retirement. A financial security advisor can offer expert advice in how to plan an effective business succession strategy.

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