Keeping Your Retirement On Track
Ernie Neve, CPA
September 15, 2020
Let’s face it, one of the single biggest stressors we face is watching the balances on our retirement accounts. A few dollars up, a few dollars down each week (or each day), and each of these collectively tiny swings feels like it’s taking years off our lives.
So what can you do if your retirement has taken a hit this year? First of all, take a deep breath. Retirement savings is a long trek, not a short one, so it is CRITICAL you keep that in mind.
At the same time, here are some other things to remember…
- If you’re over 50, remember, you can make “Catch-up” contributions of up to $6,500 more than your younger coworkers. IRAs have a similar benefit, but of course, the maximum contribution for the entire year is only $6,000 and the catch-up is limited to $1,000.
- Have a conversation about a conversion of your traditional retirement assets to Roth-based assets. ALL OF THEM! You can use the Roth guidelines in everything, from IRAs to 401(k)s, to Coverdells, to HSAs. Of course, this is not the cheapest option in the short term, but structured properly and documented correctly, this could allow you to own assets within the Roth entity that receive contributions outside of your own. Imagine a rental property in your kid’s college fund? Yes, it can be done with the right documentation and organization.
- Make sure that any loans you’ve taken from your 401(k) are paid off as soon as possible. Since these take priority, they can stimy your contributions. Ideally, you would redesign your 401(k) to a Roth/Self Directed entity and be able to take loans out, split any profits from those loans, and keep the contributions tax-free as they allowed you to buy and hold assets within the structure … but that’s the “Big Leagues…” Right now? Get those loans paid off!
- Don’t be scared to change jobs, either. More and more entrepreneurs and contractors are in the workforce and there is no reason to continue to work for the wrong company. This doesn’t mean you have no loyalty, but benefits, even as a 1099, are more and more common within certain fields and industries. Your research might reveal businesses that are looking to partner with yours and can also extend some “buying power” to you with healthcare, retirement, and other benefits traditionally not offered to contractors or small businesses.
- The last one – and surely the least favorite – is the most obvious one: Work longer than you have planned. Seriously, your Social Security benefits decrease dramatically (about 30%) if you take them at age 62 versus age 66 or beyond. Here’s where some of the advantages really lie – that’s four extra years of earning power and analysis added to your Social Security PLUS your retirement accounts. If various things have knocked you off track, then this might be the most logical way to really capitalize on retirement savings. Remember, too, that at this age, you’re knowledge often is far more critical than your physical ability to do the job, so your brain is what is making you the money. With remote and telecommuting jobs, you might find its easier than you ever believed to keep working AND living the lifestyle you envisioned, anyway.
In all these points, one key is to secure the right counsel and clearly understand your wants. That’s where my team and I can come in. With a Rolodex filled with experts, I know we can get you on the path you want.
But we can’t do it until YOU ask us. Quit worrying, call, and schedule a time to discuss how retirement can be everything you ever wanted!