Have you used an IRA to accumulate assets for retirement? The IRA is one of the most popular retirement savings vehicles. There are a few different IRA variations, but the Roth has become increasingly popular in recent years. Roth IRA balances grew 51 percent from 2010 to 2013, while traditional IRA balances grew 28 percent over that same period. In 2013 more than $6 billion was contributed to Roth accounts, while only $4.61 billion was contributed to traditional IRAs.1
One reason for the Roth’s popularity is its unique tax treatment. You make after-tax contributions to a Roth. However, your funds grow tax-deferred inside the Roth, and your withdrawals are tax-free as long as you wait until age 59½. That means you can use a Roth to create a tax-free income stream in retirement.
Fortunately, even if you’ve used a traditional IRA to accumulate assets, you can use a strategy known as a Roth conversion and still take advantage of the Roth’s unique tax structure. This strategy isn’t right for everyone, but it can be effective in the right situation. A financial professional can help you determine whether it’s right for you.
Are you self-employed? If so, you may be living your dream. You set your schedule, run your business the way you like and answer to yourself. You may even get to earn income doing what you love. While self-employment can be challenging, it can also be greatly fulfilling.
Self-employment can present unique challenges, however, especially when it comes to retirement planning. While traditional employees can participate in their employer’s 401(k) plan or pension, self-employed individuals have to do it on their own. That can be a significant burden.
Since you work for yourself, you may believe that you can delay retirement as long as possible. However, that assumption may be incorrect. There’s always the risk that you could be forced into retirement at some point because of illness or injury. Or you may simply decide you want to pursue other activities. Should that time arrive, you’ll be far more prepared if you have a plan in place.
Will you receive a pension payment when you retire? If so, you’re one of a fortunate few. Defined Benefit Pensions are quickly disappearing from employer benefit menus. In 1998, 58 percent of Fortune 500 companies offered defined benefit pensions, also known as “pensions”. By 2015 that figure was down to 20 percent.1
Many employers have eliminated their defined benefit plan in favor of defined contribution plans, such as the 401(k). In a pension, the employer funds the plan and is responsible for providing plan participants with retirement benefits. In a 401(k) and similar defined contribution plans, the employer may make some contributions, but the funding responsibility largely lies with the employee.
Pensions are helpful in retirement because they provide a guaranteed, predictable source of lifetime income. Even if you haven’t put much money away for retirement, you can still count on your reliable pension income after you leave the working world.