An Overview Of The 401(k) Retirement Plan

IRS has devised several features and variations of the 401(k) plan for the past years. Today, the plan is helping millions of employees save for retirement. What exactly is 401(k) plan and how does it work?

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The 401(k) plan allows employees to designate a percentage to be deducted from their wages and placed into an individual account before taxes on their income are withheld. The contributions to a 401(k) plan are not taxable until they are withdrawn from the account during retirement years.

However, the Roth 401(k) plan allows employees to pay tax immediately on their contributions so that they do not have to pay the tax anymore when they withdraw the money in retirement. It all depends on the type of 401(k) plan that the employees choose. Since this is an employer sponsored retirement plan, the employer sets it up for the employees.

Since this plan is a defined-contribution type of plan, most companies match a designated percentage of their employees’ 401(k) contributions. The match is usually around 25-100 percent of the employees’ contributions. In most cases, the employer increases the match percentage based on the employee’s working years in the company.

IRS has designated a maximum amount that an employee can contribute to the plan. The limit was $17,500 in 2014 and for joint employee & employer contributions, the limit was set at $51,500 in 2013. The Economic Growth and Tax Reconciliation Act of 2001 provided employees over 50 to make catch-up contributions of up to $5,500 to give them a chance to save more for retirement.

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This is just a brief overview of the 401(k) retirement plan. Further information can be found here.

Aaron Novinger is a low-risk retirement consultant and investor from Arlington, TX. He has also written useful financial materials such as “The Estate Black Book” and “Client Profile Assessment.” Visit this website for more information about his career and accomplishments.

Making Sense of Retirement: The Importance of Retirement Planning Literacy

Retirement income planning becomes critical as older individuals approach retirement. However, not everyone knows what they will be doing upon retirement. Poor retirement literacy can contribute to the prevalence of common planning mistakes. Addressing this lack of knowledge is critical, particularly way before the event arrives.

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Social security, for instance, is far more important than investments as a factor in many retirement plans. Although the right investments will determine the size of the retirement fund, it is far more critical for older adults to ensure that their social security lasts as long as they can possibly have need for it. Deferring social security has a greater impact on long-term financial security past retirement than increasing contributions to investment accounts.

In addition, total lack of knowledge of the exact amount of retirement fund to be received from corporate sponsored retirement plans is a critical oversight that can have long-term repercussions. Finding out that one is receiving a lot less than previously thought can throw off income and expense strategies.

Tax efficiency is another aspect of retirement that should not be overlooked. Taxes can apply to investment funds set aside for retirement. Often, a person planning for retirement may choose to be tax efficient today to maximize the number of funds stored away in retirement, not knowing that taxes may apply to retirement income in the future. Thus, paying sooner rather than later may be the most tax efficient option.

Because what is truly tax efficient and what isn’t considerably varies, it pays to have an accountant on call for assistance in navigating through the complex world of taxes in retirement.

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Aaron Novinger is a low-risk retirement consultant, investor, and author based in Arlington, TX. For more information on him and his work, visit this website.

Starting Early: Encouraging Retirement Planning Literacy And Practice For Young People

Image source: investopedia.com
Image source: investopedia.com

Long-term investment, particularly those for retirement, can be simplified into a few basic principles. The most important of these is that a person who saves up early, even with less money, would end up with more funds in retirement than the one who sets aside a fund in larger increments much later in life.

Compounding is the investor’s greatest ally, and it always favors early starters. Young adults are often encouraged to set aside funds for retirement as soon as they are able to fully take advantage of compound interest. Meanwhile, encouraging young people to learn all they can about retirement planning has become an important part of financial literacy advocacies.

Some approaches to financial education and early retirement preparation go the extra mile and advocate teaching the advantages of retirement planning to adolescents, while encouraging parents to have teens make contributions to retirement plans themselves. Starting young takes on a new meaning when it comes to teens. Investment and retirement planning in one’s teens, such as making contributions to IRA accounts, opens up the full potential of compounding.

Investing for teenagers is a ball game different from that of their young adult counterparts. Young adults have on their side both the advantage of having larger salaries and a larger array of available tax advantaged investment channels. Teens, meanwhile, often only have minuscule part-time incomes that cannot always leverage the same tax advantages, and must resort to different strategies to jumpstart their growth.

Image source: thrivingfamily.com
Image source: thrivingfamily.com

Both groups are quite reluctant to consider retirement planning, for rather obvious reasons. Young adults and working teens alike are often more concerned with the here and now. The former are more keen on building careers and making improvements to their lives while minor teens are more concerned with earning for everyday luxuries. With the right encouragement, however, young adults and teens alike can be motivated to make the first small steps toward building a retirement fortune.

Aaron Novinger is a low-risk retirement consultant and investor based in Arlington, TX who has written two seminal works on modern investment strategies. Visit his website for more on him and his career.