Everyone looks forward to retirement, but not everyone looks forward to planning for it. A strong financial plan is aimed to take the hassle out of this process and secure a balance of investment products that may yield the retirement lifestyle everyone dreams of.
While most working Americans will receive Social Security benefits, in most cases, they will not be sufficient to provide a comfortable retirement income. Depending on personal circumstances, either a 401(k) retirement plan or an Individual Retirement Plan can help in accumulating a more sizeable retirement account.
401(k) Retirement Plans
Employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement plans offer several benefits, including potential employer contributions. Enjoy tax savings by setting aside a portion of pre-tax salary in a tax-deferred investment account, which can also generate compound interest. Depending on the type of plan selected, 401(k) plans can also offer yields from a variety of investment options.
Working together with a financial planner, decide the amount and frequency of 401(k) contributions while taking into consideration contribution limits and employer requirements. Some advantages include:
- Employer contributions in most cases
- Contributions taken from pre-tax salary allow for a reduced tax rate (Traditional 401K)
- Contributions taken from post-tax salary allow for tax free growth if taken in retirement (Roth 401K)
- Tax deferral of compounding income and growth
- The opportunity to select from a variety of investment products
Individual Retirement Plans
Another option for retirement planning is to contribute to an Individual Retirement Plan (IRA). IRAs allow a variety of investment options, including variable annuities, stocks, and government securities. There are several types of IRAs, including the Traditional IRA, Non-Deductible IRA, or Roth IRA.
A traditional IRA is funded through after-tax dollars, and can be contributed to even if a client holds another retirement plan, such as a 401(k). A traditional IRA has several tax advantages: all income tax is deferred until money is withdrawn, and the growth of contributions and earnings is generally tax-deferred. The non-deductible IRA is similar to the traditional IRA except that contributions are made with after-tax dollars, and there is no income tax deduction allowed. In contrast to those two options, contributions to a Roth IRA include income tax payments, but when money is withdrawn, it is distributed tax-free as long as it is considered qualified.
The Roth IRA offers tax deferral on any earnings in the account. Withdrawals from the account may be tax free, as long as they are considered qualified. Limitations and restrictions may apply. Withdrawals prior to age 59 ½ or prior to the account being opened for 5 years, whichever is later, may result in a 10% IRS penalty tax. Future tax laws can change at any time and may impact the benefits of Roth IRAs. Their tax treatment may change.
Other Retirement Planning Options
Depending on the nature of your employment, you may be eligible for other kinds of retirement planning options. For example, 457 plans are designed for independent contractors or employees of a state or local government or a tax-exempt organization. These plans allow participants to exclude certain specified types of salary from their gross income. Other options may include Deferred Compensation Plans and 403(b) plans, which are designed for employees of non-profit corporations.
Contact us today to discuss alternative retirement planning options.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.