Chances are that you have several different types of retirement accounts from different companies you’ve worked for along the way. This is not necessarily a bad thing but can be frustrating to try and keep track of them.
What is the most common question asked when planning retirement investments?
Should I consolidate all my accounts or keep them separate?
Combining these funds can be a rather tricky endeavor as many of them are designed to only mate with like accounts. For this reason most 401 (k) plans can only be combined with another 401 (k) the same holds true for many other common retirement accounts including a 403 (b). The one type of account that can accept them all and consolidate them together is a rollover IRA.
Having only one account can simply so many aspects of your retirement that most people wonder why on earth they didn’t do this from the very beginning. There are many more benefits than mere ease that goes along with consolidating your accounts and eliminating those extraneous accounts. One of which is the fees that are often charged simply for having the account. These fees can add up over the course of several different accounts and consolidating them into one lone account will eliminate the fees of all the others.
One misconception that people have when it comes to rolling over their accounts is that they will lose their investment options. This is especially a misconception when it comes to a 401 (k) program as if you own a particular investment while it is a 401(k) you will still own the same investment when its within your IRA account.
In other words a rollover IRA account offers the ultimate flexibility when it comes to your financial retirement needs. You can consolidate all your accounts into one, have all the information in one location and still enjoy the freedom that all the different accounts allowed you to experience in your investing. Diversity is a key ingredient when it comes to successful financial investing procedures.
If you are looking for the best when it comes to financial freedom for your retirement investments you should take the first available opportunity to consolidate your investments into a rollover IRA. Of course you should discuss this with your financial advisor first in order to see if there is a better situation for your unique and personal needs however in many cases the convenience factor of this process is far too tempting to overlook unless there is a very big and specific reason for doing so.
In other words consolidation by and large is very much the way to go when it comes to your retirement funds. You do not however want to sacrifice the diversity of your plan in the process. You should keep your actual investments as diverse as possible in order to insure a well-balanced portfolio that is designed to maximize your profit potential while minimizing your risks.
The decision of whether or not to consolidate your many retirement accounts is as personal as your decision to wear brightly colored socks and ties. There is no absolute right or wrong answer and it quite literally comes down to a matter of preference. If you thrive in chaos then by all means keep five or six accounts going at any given time. But maybe consolidation is the best option for your retirement fund.
Consider Roth IRAs for Financing your Retirement Fund
This is entirely an opinion based on the facts that I have available and should be viewed as nothing more than that. However, I feel I would be remiss in not pointing out the incredible value that Roth IRAs can bring to the table for savvy people who are planning their retirements. There are actually advisors that straddle the fence on this particular issue and I can honestly see the validity of both sides. For me, a Roth IRA is preferable to the Traditional IRA for one reason and one reason only. I would much rather face the evil that I know and pay taxes on that money now than the evil that I don’t know by paying taxes not only on the investment but also the earnings later.
I know what tax bracket I am relegated to at the moment. I know about how much I’m going to pay in taxes on the income I’ve labored to receive about 65% of. I know these things in terms of what a dollar means today and would much rather pay that price now than later when I have no idea what tax bracket I’ll be in or how much money I will actually see of my retirement earnings.
Many point out that the laws regarding the Roth IRA could change between now and then. This is very true. At the same time the laws in regards to the 401 (k) could quite possibly change in time as well. In the art form of complication the IRS could put out next years tax code in Greek and the average citizen would not be able to tell the difference, I for one think they already do this in the ultimate practical joke on the people. Bottom line is I would much rather retain the maximum allowable control over my money when I need that money rather than trying to write off the taxes I will gladly pay today.
Putting Off Taxes Until Later
Putting the taxes off until a later date is like getting a credit card with 0% interest for 12 months. What they don’t put in the big bold print is that after the one year period or the ‘honeymoon’ so to speak is over that number goes up to well over 20%. At this point in time I have no magic crystal ball that can in anyway indicate what my tax bracket will be nor can it indicate that percentage of taxes I will owe five years from now much less 35 when retirement comes knocking on my door. The peace of mind that goes with not wondering if it will be enough after taxes is well worth the inconvenience of paying taxes on those funds today.
If you’re looking for some even better news, try this on for size. By not paying taxes on the final amount you are actually adding hundreds of thousands of dollars to your income if you invest the full amount allowable over the course of the next 50 years. You will still save a huge amount of money if you only make the maximum investment over the course of the next 30 years. But make sure whatever you do, you minimize tax payments on your retirement fund.
Consider a 401(k) Investment Plan for Retirement
Have you started planning financial security for your retirement? It is estimated that somewhere in the neighborhood of 30% of employees who are offered a 401(k) through their employers fail to sign up for them. There have been instances in the past when unscrupulous administrators have taken advantage of the temptation that having access to those funds provided as well as many, many cases where the worst enemy when it came to 401(k) investing was the investor.
The good news is that like many things around the world we are learning from our mistakes and working to create a new and improved 401(k) for employees across the country. With this in mind and the advances that have been made very few people can honestly state that they are worried about the security of their money as a reason not to participate in their company offered 401(k) programs. The problem remains that far too many people believe in the sanctity of a now dieing system for retirement funds.
The truth of the matter is that no matter what, chances are very slim that social security will provide any sort of security for those that are retiring and relying on this as their ‘golden’ years. There have been mistakes along the way and will continue to be. Not only do the administrators of these plans make the mistakes but also by those receiving the benefit of these plans, which can be so very important when, it comes to establishing some degree of security for your financial retirement planning.
Along the way we’ve learned that the penalties for borrowing against your funds can be much more harsh than a mere slap on the wrist. We’ve also learned the cashing out is very rarely a wise decision in the grand scheme of things when it comes to your 401(k) plan. These lessons are hard learned in many cases and cost years if not decades of your retirement plan. Do not make these mistakes unless the stakes truly merit the costs involved.
Don’t be afraid to actually make the investments you feel are necessary in order to maximize the potential of your 401(k). This is your retirement after all and the new rules regarding your 401(k) are putting you in the driver’s seat so to speak. Don’t let yourself and your investment down by not doing the necessary research. If you plan to invest in stocks make sure that you are diversifying your stock holdings and that you have thoroughly researched the stocks in which you are investing.
You should also take the time to research the differences in a traditional 401(k) and a Roth 401(k) and see which one you feel will best suit your needs as a consumer and as an investor. There are marked advantages and disadvantages associated with each and ultimately which is better comes down to a matter of preference as there really is no absolute right or wrong answer to this question.
I strongly encourage you to seek the services of a competent financial planner in order to help you properly diversify your portfolio for long-term investing with maximum potential. Getting good financial advice will give you a worry free retirement.
There are many pitfalls when it comes to investing for your retirement. Unfortunately a good many of these mistakes center around the 401(k), which can be a tremendous boost to your retirement plans when used properly in order to build your portfolio. The problem is that the mistakes are often the only things we hear when it comes to retirement plans and investing. I suggest begin with the mistakes so that we can move along to better information and advice in the near future.
The first and perhaps largest mistakes that people make when it comes to 401 (k) plans is not signing up. Yes you heard that right. What people do not understand is that this is something your employer offers so that you can have some security for your future. It is a manner of saving money for your future that shouldn’t be overlooked or taken for granted. Even a bad 401 (k) plan is better than no 401 (k) and with strict regulations those are few and far between. More importantly, if your company offers to match the funds in your 401 (k) plan not taking them up on that offer is literally tossing money in the garbage can.
The next big mistake when it comes to your 401 (k) is risking too little. Rewards come with risk. If you aren’t taking any risks with your investment then you are by and large throwing money down the drain. In addition to that, it is nearly impossible to meet your retirement goals without taking some risks, and some hits along the way. This doesn’t mean you should be reckless but along the way you are going to need to take some calculated risks in order to receive the bigger payouts that most of us hope for when investing in their retirement funds.
Risking too much. There are many risks involved when investing in the stock market. There are a few that deserve a little more mention than others. First of all, stocks present a fairly large risk, particularly to the uninitiated. While it is true that great rewards are most often the product of great risks you do not want to risk the bulk of your retirement by investing it all in stocks. Another thing you want to avoid doing if at all possible is investing in your company stock. We’ve seen too many lives destroyed when companies go under taking the financial stability of their employees along with them. Many companies offer incentives to employees for investing in their stock, which may be tempting but I recommend investing as little as possible in your company stock whenever possible as this could lead to problems down the road.
Finally, the worst thing you can do for the health of your 401 (k) is borrow against it. There are so many ways in which this could go wrong and the penalties for this are more than a little prohibitive. They are designed to be that way so that you will use the funds for their intended purpose. If you absolutely have no other option is the only way I would recommend borrowing against your 401 (k) and I would seriously consider selling a kidney before doing that.
When it comes to your financial retirement, 401 (k) mistakes can be far more costly than you may realize. Avoid the common mistakes and you will have a wonderful retirement.