Retirement Planning & Purchasing & Selling Your Home The Right Way


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Purchasing & Selling your home the right way and Retirement Planning is essential in today’s economic environment. If you purchase and/or sell your home the right way you will have money to invest in your future for your Retirement years.


As mentioned throughout this site prior to purchasing your home you should have a six month emergency fund or other “compensating factors” at work that will have you in a strong financial position.


Be sure that you are fully covered INSURANCE wise (that means life, home, auto, umbrella liability, health, disability and long-term care have all been addressed at or before the time of your home purchase).


Your INVESTMENTS outside of RETIREMENT prior to purchasing your home is not critical at the time of your home purchase but you should have a solid amount of discretionary income left over after the purchase of your home.


You want to be in a positive financial position so that you can INVEST or Save in a manner that will benefit you and your family and your Retirement Accounts growth. 


However it is critical that you know your RETIREMENT situation and improve upon it prior to purchasing your home or soon after you purchase your home if at all possible.




That means you should be planning for your retirement years as soon as possible.


If you have kid’s and/or you anticipate having EDUCATIONAL expenses in the future for you and your spouse it is important that you take a look at saving for the expenses, however it may not be critical that you have a plan in place prior to purchasing your home.


It would really depend on the time horizon and the expected cost of the educational expenses in the future as well as in-state versus out-of-state tuition and a host of other specific factors unique to your situation.




As for your ESTATE PLANNING & WILLS you should analyze and update them on an annual basis if needed as life changes can have a positive or negative affect on your ESTATE PLANNING & WILLS.




If your NET WORTH or INCOME is not at a high level you may not need ESTATE PLANNING at this time but you and your spouse should have a separate WILL that spells out your intentions and wishes should one of you transition unexpectedly.


It is important that you do your retirement planning in a manner that will benefit you the most. The changing political, regulatory, economic, social, technological and legal environment must constantly be on your radar when you are in the process of trying to grow your "nest egg” for your retirement years.


In my years as a financial planner RETIREMENT PLANNING was one of the most improperly funded or often overlooked aspects of financial planning for many of my past clients. Many had an inadequate or worse yetno retirement plan in place. In today’s environment it is now more important than ever that you fund your retirement plan early. If you are a late starter you want to be as aggressive as possible in your retirement savings plan.




Pensions of the past are slowly becoming non-existent. Social Security Benefits will be inadequate for most people.




Therefore proper financial planning in ALL areas of your financial life is imperative. By approaching your retirement goals in the right manner you can help to ensure a prosperous retirement for you and your loved ones.


Personal Saving is now the key for many of today’s workforce as Social Security appears to look like it will only cover a fraction of your living conditions. 



Listed below are common retirement plans and options that are available to the employed and self-employed (Keoghany type of plan available to the self-employed).




Briefly take a look at them and we will explore the more common ones and those that are in existenceor those that you should aim to get as soon as practical to help maximize the enjoyment of your retirement years.




Qualified PlansPlans that are under ERISA Guidelines

Non-Qualified PlansPlans that are not under ERISA Guidelines


NQ Plans give up:


1) Immediate Deduction For Employer

2) Tax Deferral For Employee

3) Tax Forward Averaging and Roll-Overs to other plans and IRA’s.


NQ plans are still popular because they offer cost savings in discriminatory coverage, have design flexibility and lower administration costs and hassles.


Tangible Assetscan be sold and proceeds used during retirement years. Examples are Vintage Cars, Artwork, Rare Coins etc.


401kOne of the most popular plans


403btax sheltered annuity, mutual funds and insurance are the funding vehicleslimited investment options, used by many tax-exempt organizationshospitals, schools, churches etc.considered a non-qualified plan.


403b is a before tax contribution plan with high expenses401k or ROTH may be a better choice unless there is an employer contribution involved. TIAA-CREF is OK as they normally have lower fees than the other companies that manage 403b’s.


457 PlansNon Qualified Plans for governmental units and tax exempt organizations except Churches. It is a salary reduction plan similar to a 401k. There are contribution limits and catch-up provisions, however deductibility is not an issue because it is available only to Tax-Exempt Employer’s.


TSPGovernment Retirement Plan


Railroad PlanBetter retirement plan than that of SSA


An IRA can be set up at a bank., savings and loan, credit union, investment companies or other organizations approved by the IRS.


It is considered a “custodial” or “trust” account because it is in the hands of someone else.


IRA AnnuityAnnuity Contract issued by an insurance company and are non-transferableproceeds must be received by the taxpayer or beneficiary—and may not have fixed annual premiums.


It is really just an annuitized IRA meaning you would get equal payments over your lifetime when the annuity would start to pay out. You have assurance that you would not outlive your IRA if it was invested in a life payout annuity.


If you are not able to live off the interest from your IRA and other savings the life annuity within an IRA is worth considering.





SIMPLE & SEP IRA’sIRA’s are used to fund SIMPLE & SEP Plansthe rules are similar to those mentioned on this page, however the contribution limits are higher.





In a SIMPLE IRA each employee would have a special IRA called a SIMPLE IRA (25% withdrawal penalty in first two years). ” As an employer you must have fewer than 100 employees to set up this plan.


No vesting requirement and the SIMPLE is mostly funded through Employee contributions, whereas the SEP is funded through Employer contributions. 59 ½ and 70 ½ rules applies on distributions.


SIMPLE stands for Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees and the employer is required to provide one of the following two types of benefits:


1) Provide a dollar for dollar match up to 3% of the employees compensation, or


2) Make a 2% of compensation contribution for each eligible employee without regard to the employee’s contribution. In a SEP IRA each employee has an individual IRA. SEP’s require almost no filing requirements.


The funding by the employer is “discretionary”. No vesting requirement. The key advantage over an IRA is that the funding can be much higher than an IRA.


Again, funding is at the “discretion” of the employer so that gives employer flexibility. The plan is uncomplicated and low cost and part-time workers must be covered. You can establish a SEP up until the due date of the income tax return including extensions whereas, IRA’s the deadline is usually April 15th following the tax year.




IRA’s are permitted to invest in life insurance, precious metals—as long as trustee has possession of the bullion, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, partnerships etcetera.




They are not allowed to be invested in collectibles—including art and borrowing from the account, or using the account as security on a loan is considered a distribution in effect.


As you might expect IRA’s cannot be invested in prohibited transactions.




Roth IRAOne of the most highly recommended plans for those who qualify in which you contribute after-tax dollars and your distributions are tax free.





Contributions can be made after age 70.5 with earned income in order to contribute. Income limits apply so you may or may not be eligible to participate. There is not a mandatory withdrawal age.


Withdrawals are tax free if made 5 years after contributions and after age 59.5 or if used for first-time home purchase, higher education or disability. The basis of your contributions are based on first in and first out.


The earnings and not contributions are taxable, therefore you could theoretically withdraw your contributions and not the earnings and avoid taxation. Check with your CPA or Tax Attorney.


Distributions are income tax free subject to 5 year rule. If you withdraw prior to age 59 ½ you will be taxed at your ordinary income tax rate plus 10% penalty for early withdrawal (possible exception for death, disability, education or home-buying expenses).


Taxed on growth in a non-deductible IRA and beneficiaries of non-deductible IRA’s are taxed at ordinary income rates on the growth at distribution. Contributions are tax free at any time that you withdraw, however growth (earnings) are taxed at ordinary income at the time of distribution.





Traditional IRAVery popular NQ plan that is a TAX FAVORED savings plan that encourages savings for retirement and the earnings are tax deferred.





Your contributions (pre-tax effect) are deductible on your tax return for the tax year that you file and also for the current year of your individual filing deadline if you chose to contribute and deduct in that year.


The idea is that at retirement you would be in a lower tax bracket andtherefore your distributions (earnings growth) that are taxed at ordinary income rates would be taxed at a lower rate.


In today’s economic environment that is not really certain so a ROTH IRA should also be given a strong look at for those who qualify. If you are an active participant in a retirement plan your deduction may be limited or eliminated.


Must be under age 70.5 with earned income in order to contribute. Income limits apply so you may or may not be eligible to participate. Mandatory withdrawals are mandated after age 70.5.


If you withdraw prior to age 59 ½ you will be taxed at your ordinary income tax rate plus 10% penalty for early withdrawal. (possible exception for death, disability, education or home-buying expenses).


Your beneficiaries would be subject to Income Tax (Income In Respect To A Decedent). 


If the Tax Rate is significantly higher now than the expected retirement tax rate the deductible IRA may be more to your advantage than the ROTH IRA. Since we don’t know the future with certainty the reverse could also be true.




Tax Free Roth Distributions could help with:


  • Minimizing taxable withdrawals from other taxable plans and IRA’s
  • minimizing taxable income and keep you in lower tax bracket
  • provide you with liquidity for your estate taxes
  • minimize you liquidating “step up” funds


Split-Dollar Life InsuranceEmployer pays premium and is beneficiary of policy up to the amount of premiums paid up to the date of deathEmployee names beneficiary for the remaining balance of the proceedsessentially an interest free loan to employee with no tax advantage for employer—NQ plan.


Salary Deduction or Salary DeferralNQ


ESOP (Employee Stock Option Plan)NQ 



Retirement Planning Is A Continuum & Should Include The Following:





It is in your best interest to take a hard look at your EMPLOYEE PROVIDED PLANS and contribute—especially if there is an employer match. You should also consider IRA’s and other retirement savings plans that are not offered by your employer.


Your future SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS should also be factored in and your HOUSE SHOULD BE PAID FOR or SOLD in the right manner if you are considering moving to another area.


Your TAX, INSURANCE, INVESTMENT and EDUCATIONAL funding for you and your family must be seriously analyzed at the time your are formalizing your RETIREMENT PLANS. Don’t forget to make your HEALTH a priority otherwise you might not be around to enjoy your RETIREMENT nest egg.



Have you considered your LTC needs and ESTATE PLANNING/WILLS ? Be sure that your current LIFESTYLE will keep you healthy and provide a savings opportunity for you to reach your retirement goals and objectives.




Make it a goal to be able to sustain yourself and your loved ones when you enter into your golden years. By properly purchasing your home you should not have a house payment when you reach your retirement years and/or if you are in position to sell during your retirement years you should be able to sell with a free and clear title and use the proceeds to move to another location and purchase for cash or have a minimal monthly payment where you are in total control of your finances and living arrangement.


The lack of retirement planning at this time has forced many in there golden years to “have to work” as opposed to working because they enjoy what they are doing. It is my hope that by comprehending and applying information and advice on this page you will not find yourself in a position where you are “forced out of necessity” to work in your golden years.


We feel that if you analyze and address all areas of your finances and apply yourself you will enjoy a prosperous and bountiful retirement. If you on the other hand you are like me (will work until you die or no longer have the mental capacity due to loving what you do) and totally love what you are doingplanning for your golden years will still pay dividends.


Start saving and investing NOW so that you can have a fruitful and rewarding retirement so that you will be able to do the things in life that you have aspired to do but never had the time and/or money to do.




Types of Rollovers:




  • IRA to IRAmust re-invest within 60 days


  • Qualified Plan to IRAIf direct transfer to IRA no tax withholdingIf made to participant 20% withholding and you must reinvest in new IRA within 60 days to avoid taxation.
  • Conduit Rollover: If you Transfer to IRA which is then held to be turned over to new plan or you can do a trustee to trustee transfer and there would be no withholding. It is in your best interest to have conduit IRA separate from other IRA’s. A conduit IRA may only consist of assets transferred from a qualified plan.  
  • You may want the options available in a qualified plan so you set up a conduit IRA but keep your plan account open. Options in a qualified plan are the ability to borrow from the plan, invest in life insurance etc.





Conversions to ROTH IRA:





AGI income limits apply, subject to the 60 day rule mentioned above, not subject to 10% premature distribution rule, subject to income tax at ordinary income rates and must be held at least 5 years before subject to tax free distributionseven if over age 59 ½. First In First Out rules do not apply to converted ROTH IRA’s.


IRA Annuity


SIMPLE (IRA) Profit-Sharing Plan% of profits or % of salary


Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOP)profit sharing plan that invests in your employer’s stocklacks retirement diversity of portfolio


ESOP & Life InsuranceESOP purchases life insurance on key employees so that in the case of death the life insurance proceeds are used to” buy back” stock from the estate.


Life InsuranceCan be used to protect against economic downturn(revenue losses) from the death of a key employeecan set up Trust with Trust paying premiums and Trust is the beneficiary. 



Life Insurance
can be used as a savings vehicle for your retirement years (whole, variable, universal), however purchasing term insurance and increasing your retirement contributions may be a better option.


At any rate, Life Insurance should never be used as your only retirement plan.


Executive Bonus Life Insurance PlanThe company pays a bonus for purposes of purchasing cash value life insurancecompany takes deduction and employee is taxed the premium amount.


Corporate owned life insurance is the most popular vehicle for funding non-qualified plans. No tax deferral in NQ plans and COLI protects against premature death of an executive.

If the policy is owned by the company, premiums would be paid by the company and the company would be the beneficiary, therefore there would be no taxable event to the executive. The employer would have flexibility over the use of the cash value and the death benefits would be income tax free.


Large companies normally have group life plans whereas small companies have individual plans that are set up.


Rabbi Trustan unfunded plan (according to IRS) used by some (tax-exempt organizations) to avoid taxes when funding a retirement plan.


Other Trusts


AnnuitiesOften used as a method of distributing funds to retirees and in some cases for those who are un-insurable at some companies.


Immediate Annuities are often purchased by those in their retirement years to provide a guaranteed lifetime stream of income for themselves and their spouse.


Non-qualified Plans:


Plans to keep Top Executives Happy


A non qualified planincentive stock option planincentive pay or salary increaseexecutive bonusesother perks such as company car or country club membership


1) Incentive stock option

2) Phantom stock plan

3) Restricted stock plan

4) Golden handshake

5) Golden parachute

6) Incentive pay


Salary Reduction plans to avoid taxes


Supplemental Executive Retirement Plans (SERPs)


Self-Employed:


Keogh plans must be established by December 31st but contributions can be made up to tax filing deadline.

IRA’s may contain CD’s, MMMF’s, Money Market Accounts, Stocks, Bonds, Real estate Etc.

Simplified Employee Pensions (SEP)Not a “Qualified Plan”uses IRA’s as a funding vehicle (no investments in life insurance or collectibles and you can’t get any loans from SEP. Low cost and easy administration.


SEP-IRA


Savings Incentive Match Program For Employees (SIMPLE)Funded with IRA accounts, can’t invest in Life Insurance or Collectibles, immediate 100% vesting and employer match required on a certain percent of employee’s contribution.


Plan must be funded yearly and plan has low cost and easy administration.


Guaranteed Investment Contracts (GICs)similar to CD’s but for a longer termguarantee principal and interest.


Investment Guarantee Contract (IGC)similar to GIC but payments made over a period of time rather than 1 bullet payment or 1 year window. Individually rated and pooled whereas GIC is pooled and rated.


Target Date Retirement Funds


Pensions


Social Security


Mutual FundsFront End Load—Back End Load or Redemption Fee, 12b-1 FeesMgt. FeesExpense Ratio


Load versus No Load Mutual Funds


MMMF (Money Market Mutual Fund)


Fixed Income or Bond Mutual Funds


Equity Mutual Funds





Retirement Planning Success Tips





Let’s assume you are currently age 29 and your spouse is age 27 and you have two kids age 5 and 7 and you are saving 20% annually with a 5% match on your 401k and $10,000 per year on ROTH IRA’S for you and your spouse and you currently have a balance of $110,000 in total in all of your retirement accounts.


At this time we are making the assumption that you have properly” assessed your financial situation” and have a six to twelve month emergency fund, you are adequately insured, your tax situation is at a level that benefits you the most, you have an educational savings plan in place and you and your spouse have updated your will and you are now ready to invest outside of your retirement accounts (you save 20% annually with a 5% match on your 401k and 10k per year on ROTH IRA’S for you and your spouse).


You are currently renting a home at $1,500 per month. You and your spouse have saved $60,000 for the down payment on your home and still have a 12 month emergency fund based on your current monthly bills. Your income is $80,000 per year and your spouse’s income is 40k. You have no outstanding credit card or revolving debt nor do you have any outstanding car loans or installment debt.


Let’s say you take withdrawals after 30 years of contributions of $5,000 per year for you and your spouse (total of $10,000 per year) at age 59 ½. Your contributions ($150,000 or $300,000 total) would be tax free at age 59 ½ and since IRA withdrawals are based on (FIFO) first in first out your first 150,000 of withdrawals would be” tax free.”  After that all of your earnings would be” taxable.”


Let’s say you withdraw $10,000 per year from your account for 15 years. If you began taking the withdrawal at age 59 ½ you would be age 75 and at that point your earnings would be taxable because you would have withdrawn all of your contributions (FIFO) and the remaining balance would be taxable and if a traditional IRA there would be mandatory withdrawals (must start at age 70 ½) that you would have to make.


Likewise on a Roth IRA you pay taxes before you contribute and your contributions would be tax free when you withdrew and those withdrawals would also be on a FIFO (first in first out) basis meaning if you contributed $5,000 per year for 30 years and you decide to start withdrawals your first $150,000 in withdrawals would be “tax free” and all withdrawals after that would be taxable.


The “key difference” is that there are no mandatory withdrawals so you could possibly use a Roth IRA as a wealth building and estate planning tool as you can continue contributing after age 70 ½ and not receive any withdrawals or distributions. There are income phase out limits however.


In addition any “contributions” you make can be withdrawn at any time. It is the earnings that can not be touched otherwise they will be taxed.


If you only have Social Security and other improperly funded pensions and/or IRA’s that could be problematic for your retirement years. That is why it is imperative that you analyze your personal financial situation when you are young.


By analyzing and taking action early you will maximize the power of compounding, know the targeted amount that you will need to maintain or improve your lifestyle and pass on wealth to your heirs if those are some of your goals. By analyzing your personal financial position early and often it can help in preventing you from getting into a difficult financial situation, thereby making your retirement years more enjoyable.


Your IRA’s may be tax deductible, depending on whether you are covered by a qualified retirement plan or SEP. There are also income limits (AGI or adjusted gross income) that must be considered.





Sale of Residence and Retirement Planning





Sale of Residence and Retirement Planning should be done in the proper manner. There are tax benefits as well as other non-monetary benefits if you do it the right way.


To exclude the gain you must consider your sales price and the proceeds from the sale that you receive as there are limits to what you can exclude from taxation.


You must also meet other (time of residency) requirements to totally exclude the gain. If you plan on relocating to another area it may be wiser to rent prior to purchasing just to be sure the area is right for you and your spouse.


If you are very familiar with the new location it may make sense to purchase rather than rent. Also take into consideration market conditions when you decide to sell as well as when you decide to purchase. Be sure to consider life care facilities and medical facilities in the area and know whether you will be restricted financially if you anticipate possibly having a need for those facilities.


If you can’t quite retire and live the lifestyle that you aimed for you might want to do Post-Retirement Work in a field that you enjoy, thereby—delaying or reducing the withdrawals from your retirement accounts.





What is the best time to plan for my retirement?





Ideally Early in your career even if you are single and don’t have a clue if you will get married or have kids. By starting early you give yourself and your loved ones and possibly your future spouse the best chance for success.


With many of the socially funded plans underfunded it is now more important than ever that you start your retirement planning at an early age. As soon as you begin your working years you should set up an IRA and contribute to it annuallyeven if you can’t contribute to the maximum amount.


If you are in the Middle of your career you might be in a better position to anticipate your retirement needs as your family situation and financial picture becomes clearer. Your plan will still have to be adjusted as you age but not as much as if you were early in your career and your financial picture at retirement was relatively unclear.


If you are Late in your career you will have to play catch-up if you do not have a solid retirement savings plan in place at this point. If you want to maintain your current living conditions you will have to be as aggressive as possible in your savings in an attempt to enhance your retirement years.


By being so close to your retirement years aggressive and consistent savings would be mandatory at this point if your goal was to maintain your current standard of living.





In some cases you may have to do someor a combination of the following:





* postpone retirement

* work after retirement

* move to a lower cost of living area

* alter your retirement goals and expectations to a more realistic level.





Social Security




Basic test is 40 credits: 10 years of work to be fully insured.


• Calculators at www.ssa.gov

• SSA has a record of annual earnings (not to exceed Social Security Wage Base)

• Adjusted by an index

• Top 35 years and then averaged

• Formula determines PIA (Primary Insurance Amount & Worker’s benefit at full retirement))

• Family maximum if spouse/children (for all benefits (150-180% of PIA)

Types of Benefits

• Disability

• Retirement Benefits

• Survivor’s Benefits

To determine your "Retirement & Social Security " needsClick Here... 



Medicare



Part A covers hospitalization, skilled nursing after hospital stay, hospices and home health care

Part B covers physicians’ & surgeons fees, diagnostic tests, physical therapy, medical equipment and ambulance

Medicaid

SNAP-Federal Food Program





Goal Setting:





The foundation can be the most difficult and time consuming to establish, however it is surely one of the most important. Without a proper foundation your credit and financial life could be difficult because just as a building is only as good as it’s foundationso too is your financial future.


A proper financial foundation of establishing and maintaining your credit and proper goal setting at the proper time will help ensure that you stand strong when unfortunate” financial winds” (emergency or unplanned events) blow your way.





Your retirement plan should ideally consist of:





* Social Security

* Private Pensions

* Personal Savings(CDs, Mutual Funds, 401k's etc.)





Do your best to avoid the following Pitfalls:





* Saving too late in life

* Saving too little

* Making bad investment choices

* Getting poor investment returns

* Not factoring in inflation




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About This Article:

 

The above article was written by Thomas (TJ) UnderwoodThomas (TJ) Underwood is a former fee-only financial planner, a former top producing loan processor and is currently a licensed real estate broker in the state of Georgia. 


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He is the writer behind The Real Estate & Finance 360 Degrees Series of Books that include The Wealth Increaser, Home Buyer 411, Home Seller 411, and  Managing & Improving Your Credit & Finances for this MILLENNIUM.  

In addition he is also the writer who created The 3 Step Structured Approach to Managing Your Finances, and CREDIT & FINANCE IMPROVEMENT MADE EASY—NEW GUIDE that you can download right now "(at MIMIMAL cost $3.95)" to learn more about his writing style.

He is the creator of TheWealthIncreaser.com where he regularly blogs about helping consumers improve their credit, finance and real estate pursuits in an intelligent, consistent and proactive manner. 

He’s always looking for ways to make intelligent finance improvement happen for those who “sincerely desire” success in their future. He was the first financial planner to coin the phrase "financially alert mind"  and he consistently writes in a style that is designed to provide consumers the ability to take control of their lives and achieve great results.

You can contact him from a number of sources but the most direct way is to contact him through the contact us block that can be found at the bottom of this page.  You can also get highly relevant tips on "living your life more abundantly" and link to TheWealthIncreaser.com and possibly earn revenue by logging on to TheWealthIncreaser.com.


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