Investments can play a key role in any financial plan. For individuals, a mix of investment products, income and pension plans can potentially help achieve short- and long-term goals.
For employers, I can offer advice on savings and pension plans.
- 401 (k) retirement plans and Individual Retirement Accounts
- 529 qualified tuition plans
- Certificates of Deposit
- U.S. Treasuries Securities
- Group retirement and savings plans
401 (k) Retirement Plans and Individual Retirement Plans TOP
Everyone looks forward to retirement, but not everyone looks forward to planning for it. A strong financial plan can help take the hassle out of this process and secure a balance of investment products that may help 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 desirable retirement income. Depending on personal circumstances, either a 401(k) retirement plan or an Individual Retirement Plan can help in accumulating a 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. Considerations include:
- Employer contributions in most cases
- Contributions taken from pre-tax salary allow for a reduced tax rate
- 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 A traditional IRA has several tax advantages: all income tax is deferred until money is withdrawn, and the growth of contributions and earnings is generally tax-deferred.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.
Withdrawals from the IRA 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 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.
529 Qualified Tuition Plans TOP
A college education is expensive – and prices for tuition and living expenses are only getting higher. Families with children might consider planning how to finance an education as early as possible, so as to take advantage of tax and investment opportunities and contribute to pre-paid tuition rates.
Many states and educational institutions offer a 529 Qualified Tuition Plan (529) to help finance a college education. The specifics vary between states and institutions: some guarantee a minimum rate of return, while others offer tax incentives. Even if your state does not offer a 529 plan, many allow non-residents to contribute to their plans, and private plans are available.
There are two main types of 529 plan: a pre-paid tuition plan, and a college savings plan. Pre-paid tuition plans involve purchasing units or credits at participating educational institutions that can applied to tuition and, in some cases, living expenses. Most are sponsored by state governments and have residency requirements. College savings plans establish an account for a student that can be used to pay eligible college expenses, and allow contributors to choose among several investment options.
It is important to carefully consider how to invest in a 529 plan, since it can impact a student’s eligibility to participate in need-based financial aid programs. A financial planner can help balance assets held in college savings plans against financial aid requirements.
Considerations of 529 Plans include:
- Depending on the state, the ability to deduct 529 contributions from state income tax returns
- Federal and state tax deferral of compounding income and growth, if contributions are used for eligible college expenses
- Matching grants in many states
- Some pre-paid 529 qualified tuition plans sponsored by a state government are guaranteed
- College savings plans allow the option to invest in a variety of investment products
- When money is withdrawn from a 529 plan, the student typically pays little tax, due to a low income tax rate
Working together, we can examine college investment options to build a customized portfolio that takes into consideration your financial goals, tolerance to risk and timeline. Contact us today to find out more.
Prior to investing in a 529 Plan investors should consider whether the investor's or designated beneficiary's home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state's qualified tuition program. Withdrawals used for qualified expenses are federally tax free. Tax treatment at the state level may vary. Please consult with your tax advisor before investing.
Certificates of Deposit TOP
Many investors are careful when choosing where to invest their hard-earned money, particularly given the recent economic downturn.
For this reason, Certificates of Deposit (CDs) are a popular low-risk investment, since they can feature federal deposit insurance. A CD is a deposit account that generally offers a higher rate of interest than a regular savings account. Investors put a fixed sum of money into a CD for a fixed period of time, and when the CD is redeemed, gain the accrued interest, plus the principal amount invested. Several different kinds of CDs are available, including variable rate and long-term CDs.
If a CD is redeemed before it matures, the issuing institutional may enforce an “early withdrawal” penalty or forfeit a portion of the interest.
CD’s are FDIC Insured and offer a fixed rate of return if held to maturity.
Contact us today to learn about how Certificates of Deposit can benefit your investment portfolio.
U.S. Treasuries Securities TOP
In today’s uncertain investment environment, U.S. Treasuries Securities offer a more conservative, government-guaranteed option for investors worried about the impact of the recent economic downturn on their savings.
The federal government issues U.S. Treasury securities to raise funds and help pay off its debt. The U.S. government guarantees that interest and principal payments will be paid on time, making securities a source of dependable cash flow.
There are several different kinds of Treasuries Securities, which range from short- to long-term investments. Securities are sold at Treasury auctions, and include treasury bills, notes, bonds, TIPS, and U.S. Savings Bonds.
- Treasury Bills mature in a year or less, and are sold at below par (face) value. When matured, owners can sell them and receive their par value.
- Treasury Notes and Bonds pay a fixed rate of interest on a semi-annual basis until they mature. Treasury notes mature between two to 10 years, while longer-term bonds mature in 30 years.
- Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) pay interest on a semi-annual basis, and their principal value is adjusted twice a year to reflect inflation rates.
Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the US government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.
Treasury inflation-protected securities (TIPS) help eliminate inflation risk to your portfolio as the principal is adjusted semiannually for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index – while providing a real rate of return guaranteed by the U.S. Government. TIPS are subject to market risk and significant interest rate risk as their longer duration makes them more sensitive to price declines associated with higher interest rates.
Contact us today to learn about how U.S. Treasuries Securities can benefit your investment portfolio.
Group retirement and savings plans TOP
Business owners can use group retirement and savings plans to help attract and retain quality employees.
Both business owners and their dedicated employees are working towards an independent future. Either provided independently or paired with group benefits, a group savings plan is a convenient, flexible and affordable way for employers to help employees pursue their long-term financial goals.
Employees gain instant tax savings for their retirement plan contributions, since they are made using pre-tax payroll deductions. They also receive the confidence that comes from knowing every month they are building towards retirement.
A financial planner can help business owners and their valued employees choose group retirement and savings products. Choose from products like:
- 401(k) Plans
- Simplified Employee Pension Plans
- Qualified Retirement Plans
- Other retirement savings plans designed specifically for employee groups
Contact us today to learn about how group retirement and savings plans can benefit your business.