Retirement Planning: Investing for Your Retirement Goals

Planning for retirement has never been more important.

Everyone has different circumstances. Fortunately, a diverse array of options is available to address your individual needs and aspirations. A skilled financial consultant can help you navigate these options and assess their suitability for your unique situation. 

Whatever your goals in life may be, you've planned ahead and worked every step of the way to achieve them. Finding the right balance of asset allocation and distribution structure is essential to ensuring your assets last as long as they're needed.

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Americans are living longer, healthier, and more active lives than past generations, and they want to ensure their healthcare and domestic needs are met. That means saving for a longer retirement is critical.

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs)

Traditional, Roth, and rollover IRAs each have their own advantages as well as certain restrictions. While traditional IRAs often allow tax-deductible contributions and offer tax-deferred earnings, Roth IRAs are funded with after-tax dollars and allow earnings to be withdrawn tax free after age 591/2, provided the account has been open for at least five years. Both allow annual contributions of $6,000 ($7,000 if 50 or older) and make available a broad range of investment vehicle choices.

Plus, both traditional and Roth IRAs offer a certain degree of flexibility in case you need to interrupt your savings for specified expenses, such as purchasing a first home or funding a child's education. Roth IRAs must be open for at least five years prior to withdrawals begin taken, and normal tax rates will apply for withdrawals from traditional IRAs.* 

A more specialized option, rollover accounts are used strictly to convert funds from qualified retirement or pension plans without assuming current tax liability. With so many choices, choosing the right IRA for your needs takes careful research and consideration.

Employer-Sponsored Plans

Whether it's a simplified employee pension (SEP) or savings incentive match plan for employees (SIMPLE) IRA, a 401(k), 403(b), or a defined benefit plan, many employers offer a qualified retirement plan. Contributing to these plans can be a great way to set aside pre-tax dollars for retirement. Even if you're the sole proprietor in your own business, an Individual(k) is a cost-effective 401(k)/profit sharing plan for small business owners that may be a useful way to save for the future while taking advantage of tax benefits today.

Although you may not have a choice about the type of retirement plan your employer offers, you can choose whether or not to invest in these plans and how to do so. Each plan has a range of investment options and distribution considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right plan for you. Because selecting the proper investments, wisely allocating your assets, making decisions about withdrawals and required minimum distributions, and choosing what to do with plan assets when you change jobs can be daunting, consider undertaking these tasks with professional guidance.

Additional Vehicles

A broad array of additional investment products are also available to you, such as mutual funds, annuities, individual stocks and bonds, or separately managed accounts from independent money managers. These may be used to provide additional balance and goal-specific options to your retirement plans.

Your financial consultant can offer guidance on potential benefits and limitations of the choices available to fit your circumstances.

*Unless certain criteria are met, IRS penalties (usually 10%) will apply on withdrawals taken from traditional IRA accounts prior to age 591/2, in addition to income taxes. Withdrawals after 591/2 are subject to income tax. Required minimum distributions (RMDs) must generally be taken by the account holder within the year after turning 70.

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How would you like to live? When should you retire? How much should you save? Start thinking about retirement by assessing what you think you'll need and what you want.

An oft-cited estimated is that you'll need 85% of your pre-retirement annual income when you enter retirement, but there are many factors to consider in determining how much you should save and how much you'll spend. 

  • At what age do you hope to retire?

  • Will you have mortgage or rent payments?

  • Do you plan to move somewhere that's either more or less expensive than your current standard of living?

  • How much would you like to spend on hobbies, activities, or bucket-list items?

  • Do you anticipate having any large expenses between now and retirement, such as buying a home or funding a child's education?

  • Do you want to leave assets to your children?
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Secure your financial future.

The benefits and limitations of various investment vehicles--such as tax implications, distribution requirements, and the amount of risk entailed--should all be assessed when deciding how to construct your retirement foundation.

However, not everyone may feel they have the time or self-assurance to navigate their retirement options and make those choices.

Your financial advisor can help you determine which vehicle or combination of investments is most appropriate for your unique goals and circumstances. Even when investing through your employer, the advice of a financial consultant can be invaluable in making crucial plan decisions, and ensuring these investments and your other retirement savings match your broader goals while minimizing portfolio overlap and achieving optimal diversification.

Beyond these services, your financial consultant can also help make certain the amounts you're contributing to the savings vehicles you choose are appropriate for both your current financial situation and your long-term goals.

The most important thing you can do to help secure a financial future that aligns with your goals is to begin planning today. 

Get started planning with your personal financial website and schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with one of our advisors today.

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Helpful Retirement Resources

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