Want to Retire Early? Be Aware of These 5 Financial Risks.

early retirement

Many people want to take early retirement. If you’ve saved up enough money then why not? Well, first of all, you have to be sure that you’ve saved up enough money. Many people think that they have planned accordingly only to realize that there are a lot of financial downsides to early retirement.

Here are five of the biggest money problems that people tend to face in early retirement:

1. Failing to Plan Properly for Taxes

Did you know that many people are in a higher tax bracket at retirement than for much of their working career? This means that you’re likely to owe more at tax time than you’re accustomed to. Moreover, once you start taking out your 401K money, you’ll have to pay taxes on that.

Therefore, taxes in retirement can be pricey. If you haven’t planned ahead, then you’re going to have to readjust for that reality. If you retire early, then you’ll have to start figuring that out years ahead of your peers.

2. Years and Years of Spending Ahead

That brings us to the next key point. If you retire early then chances are that you’ll have more years of retirement. Therefore, you’ll have to make your retirement income stretch. If you retire at 55 instead of 65, that’s ten less years of earning and ten more years relying on retirement income.

3. Where Will Your Money Come From?

You won’t even be able to access some of your retirement funds, such as your 401K, until you hit a certain age. Therefore, you’ll have to figure out where you’re money is going to come from prior to that. If you haven’t planned in advance, then you can easily find yourself overspending in those early years. If you tap into your savings or refinance your home to cover those costs then you’ll have to find some way to make up for it later.

4. What About Healthcare?

Just because you retire early doesn’t mean that you can access Medicaid early. Therefore, you’re going to have to figure out how to pay for health insurance until you reach regular retirement age. If you’re not working anymore then you can’t count on employer rates. Your health insurance could get very expensive very quickly.

Even though you’ve retired early, you’re old enough that you can’t risk going without healthcare. If anything were to happen, your care costs would be exorbitant. Therefore, you do have to pay out of pocket for health insurance. How are you planning to do that if you’ve retired early?

5. You Don’t Maximize Your Retirement Benefits

If you take early retirement then you may not make as much money post-retirement as you could have. For example, if you have a job that pays a pension, the pension amount might be significantly lower if you retire early. Likewise, if you start access Social Security early (“early” currently means age 62) then you won’t get as much as if you’d waited. So, you start using the money sooner and yet you’re getting less of it than you could have. Waiting to retire could be well worth it.

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401K Drawbacks: Don’t Forget That Money Is Taxed When You Use It

401k drawbacks

More and more people are focused on growing their 401K retirement savings. That’s a great thing. You need to have money when you retire. You want to have a diverse array of retirement income options. Maxing out your 401k contributions is a wise thing to do. However, there are 401K drawbacks. You shouldn’t forget about those as you plan for your future.

401K Money Is Taxed When You Withdraw It

People frequently seem to forget that one of the biggest 401K drawbacks is that you have to pay taxes on that money. You don’t pay taxes when you deposit it. People love that part. In fact, contributing to your 401K plan is a great tax benefit when you’re still working.

However, when you reach your retirement and start using that money, you’ll have to pay taxes. That can be a huge shock if you haven’t planned for it in advance. The money is taxed as though relative to your income. Therefore, if you’ve done a great job of setting yourself up with a high level of retirement income, you could find that you have to pay more than a third of your 401K withdrawal money to taxes.

On the plus side, if you’re in a lower income bracket post-retirement than you were before you retired, then you may have set yourself up for some success. You’ll still need to pay taxes on that money, of course, but the hit might not be as big as it would have been if you didn’t set that money aside. There are clearly pros and cons.

Plan Ahead for Withdrawing Your 401K Money

The big question isn’t whether or not to set aside money in your 401K. If you have the option, the benefits outweigh 401K drawbacks. The issue is that you simply have to plan ahead. Make sure that you’re fully aware of how much money you’re going to have to pay to taxes when the time comes.

The biggest problem is if you fail to think about taxes when you mentally plan for your retirement years. If you just look at what’s in your 401K and assume that’s how much money you’ll have when you retire then you’re going to be in for a shock. Make sure that you’re thinking realistically about how you’ll use that money each year and what amount of it will go to taxes.

Other Tips for Minimizing 401K Drawbacks

You might want to look now to see if you should have a Roth 401K instead of or in addition to your traditional 401K. That money gets taxed ahead of time, which means that you won’t have to worry about paying taxes on it once you’re in retirement. If you have the ability to maximize contributions to both types of accounts now then you’ll set yourself up well for financial success in retirement.

Then, once you’re in retirement, make sure that you use the Roth 401K money first. Or for that matter, use any money that isn’t taxable in retirement. You want to withdraw as little money as possible that will require you to pay taxes. Pay attention to your tax bracket and the impact that withdrawals will have on that. As long as you plan in advance, you can minimize 401K drawbacks and make the most of your money.

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Investment Strategies For Recent College Grads

Investment strategies for recent college grads.

Investment strategies for recent college grads.

Investment strategies should be one of your top priorities upon graduating college.

For those preparing to graduate from college this month, this post is for you.

If you have been following us, you may have read last week’s post regarding financial mistakes to avoid upon leaving your past four years of sanctuary. This week, we would like to discuss wise investment strategies for you as you (hopefully) begin interviewing more and potentially accepting promising job offers.

If you did not study finance or economics in your undergrad and you have never consulted with a financial planner, investing may seem like a foreign concept to you.

In addition to what we discussed last week, here are some ways you can set yourself up for a promising financial future:

Create a personal spending budget.

By not having a budget for yourself, you are more likely to spend more than you make each month as you begin to see an increase in your bank account thanks to your new job. However, holding yourself accountable will prevent any slip –ups as well as promoting positive spending and saving habits for your future. When everyone tells you to start now, they really are not kidding.

Set up your Individual Retirement Account (IRA).

If you’re lucky enough to land a job that offers a 401K, be sure to always add to it to help increase its value, even if your employer matches. The more you add in now, the better for your future. If you are among the many who do not receive this as a benefit with their place of employment, open an IRA now. A summary of what to look for in a retirement savings account includes:

  • First, there are two types: the Traditional and the Roth. Contributions to Traditional IRAs are tax deductible, but withdrawals during retirement are taxed. Roth IRAs are not tax deductible, but withdrawals are generally tax-free. In other terms, you avoid taxes when you put money in to Traditional IRAs, and you avoid taxes when you take money out in Roth IRAs during retirement.
  • No-fee IRA’s. Some charge you for simply holding an account with them known as a “custodial fee.” You will want to ask your institution if they charge any fees for hosting the IRA.
  • Additional charges. Another question you will want to ask your custodian is whether or not they charge any kind of transaction fee. These are typically charged when you go through a financial adviser to purchase your mutual fund. Be sure to also inquire about other fees that may be associated like contract charges.

It’s often recommended for those starting out their investment portfolio with limited funds to begin with a Traditional IRA. A concern is that individual tax fees for Traditional IRAs could be higher but is not guaranteed. You will want to weigh out all your options with both in order to determine what is best for you.

Ignore Get-Rich-Quick Schemes.

If something seems extremely complicated, it probably is. As a newbie to the world of investing follow the K.I.S.S. rule (“Keep It Simple Stupid”). Choose one source and keep it simple. Over time, you can grow your net worth, but it will be hard to accomplish if you don’t understand what’s happening to your money.

Don’t be afraid to purchase used items first.

The goal and purpose of growing your investment portfolio is to decrease debt. As a college graduate, you will already have loans unfortunately accumulated on your shoulders upon stepping foot off that campus for the last time as a student. So, buy used items and live below your means. You will work your way to having those nicer items much faster by choosing to spend less now.

Know your assets.

In this previous post, we discussed what comprises of an asset and what does not. In summary, an asset is something that puts money in your pocket; not removes it. Consider this as you make big purchases over the next few years.

Choose the right savings account.

If you are already excellent at saving money, that’s awesome! But, did you know you can make it a little more worth your while? Have your savings pay you back by choosing the right type of account to increase your investment will waive some worries for you in the future. Some to consider are:

  • Online Savings Account: Earning potential is higher.
  • Money Market Deposit Accounts: Despite minimum balance requirements and monthly fees, the interest paid is typically higher than that of traditional savings accounts.
  • Certificates of Deposit (CDs): Another opportunity for higher interest rates paid, but limitations do apply for withdrawals.
  • Automatic Savings Plans: Can help you obtain lower banking fees.

As always, and with any choices you make, be sure to do your research and ask a lot of questions to see what fits you best.

Invest in an emergency fund.

This may not seem important, but with the economy so up and down, you will want to be prepared for the worst. I’ve heard of several stories of companies going under or downsizing, leaving individuals back on a job hunt in an increasingly competitive market. In fact, the company I did my undergraduate internship with closed down several offices, leaving no opportunities for me upon graduating. I watched co-workers one by one receive the unfortunate talk. There is also the possibility of being fired, which I have also heard of from individuals who seemingly held a strong position in their occupation. It happens, and you need to be prepared. The recommended strategy is to save six months of savings to keep you afloat in case of an emergency.

Invest in higher payments to your student loans.

Only paying the minimum on your student loans will keep them hanging over your head longer, and thus, keeping more debt in your life longer. The average time it takes for a college grads pay off student loan debt is 21 years. It doesn’t have to be this way though.


 

Make your future better and financially more stable through these tactics and tips.

Do you already have an investment strategy in place for when you graduate?