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Retirement

Apr 16, 2019 Around half of American households have no retirement savings at all. No 401(k)s, no IRAs, nothing. Perhaps, you think, they're expecting pension income to support them in retirement? In fact, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), around 29% of households age 55 and older have neither retirement savings nor a pension. It doesn't paint a pretty picture. Read More...

Feb 13, 2019 A lot of people spend their adult lives working and saving to prepare for  retirement. But once you hang up your hat, you shouldn't necessarily stop thinking about saving and investing. The question of what should retirees invest in, though, isn’t necessarily simple to answer. There are a number of possible investments and strategies that retirees can use to help extend their savings and allow them to enjoy their retirement and maintain their lifestyle. A financial advisor can help you ensure you're optimizing your investment strategy, and SmartAsset can help you find one with our free financial advisor matching tool. Read More...

Jan 04, 2019 Choosing the right way to save for retirement based on your personal needs is easier said than done. There is a plethora of options available, with annuities and 401(k) plans being some of the most prominent. While these two popular retirement savings vehicles are similar in some ways, they also have important differences, as well as times you can best utilize them. Below, we detail what should make or break your  annuity vs. 401(k) decision. Read More...

Feb 13, 2019 The question of how much money you need for a comfortable retirement is an ancient one. That’s not really true. In fact, the concept of retirement is a thoroughly modern invention. Before the Industrial Revolution, people worked until they died of injury or old age. Now we have the idea of a retirement age and an end to the working years. (At least for some among us.) However, retirement is a fact of modern life that comes with a host of questions. It's important to begin answering those questions long before our retirement is in sight. Read More...

Apr 25, 2019 Separating from your spouse can mean suffering a heavy emotional and financial toll. You may be wondering how to protect your 401(k) in a divorce. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can protect your retirement savings during a divorce. As you explore your options, you might also want to  find a financial advisor who can guide you through protecting your assets a divorce. Read More...

Apr 25, 2019 A nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) plan is an arrangement that an employer and employee agree to where the employer accepts to pay the employee sometime in the future. Executives often utilize NQDC plans to defer income taxes on their earnings. They differ drastically from qualified plans, like 401(k)s. As you explore how NQDC plans work and how they compare to qualified ones, you may also consider finding a financial advisor who can give you hands-on attention throughout the process. Read More...

Apr 25, 2019 A 457(b) plan (also referred to as a 457 plan) is a retirement savings vehicle available to some state and local government employees. It works like a 401(k) in that employees can divert a portion of their pay to the retirement account. This provides an immediate tax break by reducing participants' taxable income. We go over what 457(b) plans are, the contribution limits associated with them, how to roll them over into other retirement accounts and more. Read More...

Apr 24, 2019 The best IRAs offer robust investment menus, low fees and a wealth of tools to help you save for retirement. SmartAsset gathered data on the best IRA providers to help you find the one that’s right for you. We also broke down our list based on which providers would be best for do-it-yourself investors or those who want some guidance. But first, we’ll give you a quick overview of IRAs and their benefits. A financial advisor can also help you invest in one like a pro. Read More...

Apr 22, 2019 The first step in planning for retirement involves forming a clear vision of the lifestyle you want to enjoy in retirement. Often that means pulling up stakes and moving to another location in the United States or abroad - choosing your new home based on tax-friendliness and other factors. But other retirees choose a very different lifestyle: traveling around the world permanently aboard a cruise ship. If you're considering this option for retirement, there are some important financial implications to keep in mind. Read More...

Apr 16, 2019 When you're ready to take withdrawals from your IRA, you'll find there are plenty of rules to follow. Failure to stick to these guidelines could have serious ramifications. The most notable among these is a 10% penalty tax on IRA withdrawals made before age 59.5. Beware, though, as traditional and Roth IRAs have two distinct sets of requirements. As always when making nuanced financial decisions, it can be helpful to consult a financial advisor. Read More...

Apr 16, 2019 There are many different routes you can take when you're trying to  save for retirement. Some of the most popular options include 401(k)s, traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. A lesser-known choice is the gold IRA, which allows you to invest in gold and other metals, like platinum and silver, in the form of bars, coins and bullion. By contrast, a regular IRA would consist of stocks, bonds and other investments. Gold IRAs come in both Roth and traditional variations. Read More...

Apr 12, 2019 The idea behind a 401(k) is to provide tax-deferred retirement savings that can grow, untouched by you or the government, until you reach old age. As a result, if you can wait until age 59.5 to take withdrawals from your 401(k), every dollar will be yours. But though your money grows tax free, you will need to pay taxes on your distributions. When it comes time to pull from your 401(k), be sure you know all the rules surrounding withdrawals. If you don't, you run the risk of incurring large penalties levied by the IRS. Read More...

Apr 11, 2019 A non-deductible IRA is a retirement plan you fund with after-tax dollars. So you can’t deduct contributions from your income taxes as you would with a traditional IRA. However, your non-deductible contributions grow tax free. Many people turn to these options because their income is too high for the IRS to let them make tax-deductible contributions to a regular IRA. This article will explain all you need to know about a non-deductible IRA and whether one is right for you. We can also help you find a financial advisor who would guide you through making the retirement planning decisions that are right for you. Read More...

Apr 10, 2019 Retirement planning is a lifelong process that takes ample organization, forethought and effort to do successfully. The easiest way to manage this sometimes overwhelming venture is to split your retirement planning into different sections. Lucky for you, there are already five main stages to retirement that you can reference if you're unsure of where you stand or what you should be doing. Read More...

Apr 09, 2019 Life insurance is a fairly simple concept: In exchange for paying premiums, your family may receive money upon your death. It's a way to financially protect your family after you pass, especially if that happens when they still depend on you financially. But there are many varieties of insurance, some of which are considerably more complex. One popular option is indexed universal life (IUL) insurance, which allows the cash value of your policy to grow when certain market indexes are doing well. Read More...

Apr 24, 2019 A qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) is a court order, judgment or decree that splits the contents of a retirement fund among divorcing couples. A QDRO can address three significant claims that a former spouse can have in a divorce: marital property rights, alimony and child support. In a QDRO, a spouse might lay claim to a retirement account in order to pay such claims. Establishing a Qualified Domestic Relations Order When a couple divorces they split up the marital assets. That includes any and all retirement funds. But unlike cash on hand or salable assets such as a house or car, retirement funds have certain protections by law. The court cannot simply order that the parties empty out their 401(k)s and divide the result in half - not least because doing so would end up harming both… Read More...

Apr 05, 2019 When saving for retirement, it's common to have overlapping goals. Most of us want to save enough to generate a comfortable monthly income, avoid outliving our savings and leave something for our heirs. A variable annuity is one product marketed at people balancing these objectives. But do the costs outweigh the benefits? Here's a run-down of the pros and cons of the variable annuity. Read More...

Apr 05, 2019 For many Americans, Social Security benefits represent one of their only sources of retirement income. Established in 1935 thanks to Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Social Security works as a forced savings mechanism and provides a basic income for American retirees. Social Security benefits alone aren't enough to provide a luxurious retirement, though. For that, you'll have to save on your own. Though the system is well known, many still may wonder: What is Social Security? We explore the details of this government entitlement program below.  Read More...

Apr 05, 2019 A Roth 401(k) brings many of the benefits of a traditional employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement savings vehicle. But with a traditional 401(k), you save for retirement with pre-tax dollars and write off your contributions from your taxes. With a Roth 401(k), you contribute after-tax dollars. That means you pay taxes now on your contributions but not when you take withdrawals from your account in retirement. Not all employees have access to Roth 401(k) plans, though, but those who do may be well served to enroll in one. Read More...

Apr 10, 2019 There's more than $1 trillion in client assets invested in target-date funds (TDFs), according to a 2018 report from Morningstar. In fact, it’s likely your 401(k) or IRA offers a target-date fund as an investment option. This makes TDFs extremely accessible retirement savings options. The beauty of these funds is that there's a plethora of different investing strategies available, allowing you to pick which one you prefer. But, like anything else in finance, these investments don't come without their pitfalls. Here's a breakdown of what you need to know about target-date funds. Read More...

Apr 02, 2019 Retirement is on many people's minds, whether they are approaching it or still early in their careers and just hoping they won't have to work until they're nearly 100. Those contemplating retirement may envision a recliner or deck chair. A three-legged stool, though, is the preferred seat for retirement metaphors. Read More...

Apr 02, 2019 So you're the proud owner of a retirement account and you're in or approaching your 70s. This is about the time that required minimum distributions, or RMDs, will come into play. But what happens when you miss taking your RMD, and what are the consequences? In this guide, we provide an overview of RMDs, the taxes surrounding them, IRS Form 5329 and more. If you remain unsure of what to do next even after going through this article, perhaps you should talk to a financial advisor. Read More...

Apr 01, 2019 You may have visions of spending your retirement on a sun-soaked vineyard in wine country. But according to a September 2018 report by the National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS), more than 100 million working-age Americans (57%) do not have retirement account assets. And even if you do save, the same study found that a whopping 68% of individuals between the ages of 55-64 have only less than one year's worth of their annual income tucked away for retirement. If you find that you're one of these individuals, it might be time to reassess. Here's how you can live a frugal retirement. Read More...

Apr 01, 2019 Most of us are familiar with the  Social Security tax, since we see it right on our paychecks. There is a payroll tax of 6.20% that goes directly toward funding the program; if you're self-employed, you'll pay twice that (though you can deduct half). That money is your way of paying into the system so you can collect Social Security benefits come retirement. There is, however, an income limit beyond which the 6.20% tax does not apply. This threshold is known as the Social Security Wage Base, and it typically goes up every year.  Read More...

Apr 01, 2019 Almost 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day. The famed generation, defined as those born between 1946 and 1964, is causing something of a stir as they reach retirement age in droves. In 2031, the U.S. population over the age of 65 will number 75 million, almost double what it was just 23 years prior in 2008. A generation of this size transitioning out of the workforce will naturally affect the economy in many ways. Read More...

Apr 01, 2019 If you plan correctly, retirement can be one of the great adventures of your life. What is more adventurous than packing your bags, leaving America behind and spending your golden years immersed in a completely new culture? One option to consider is Panama, a central American country with a number of perks for retirees. Just make sure, though, that you know everything you need to know so your retirement in Panama is not only possible, but easy. A financial advisor will help you plan for your retirement wherever it is you want to hang your hat. Find one with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching… Read More...

Mar 29, 2019 If you've worked in the US for at least a decade, you can probably expect to receive some  Social Security retirement benefits once you retire. The idea is that if you pay into the system throughout your career (in the form of FICA payroll taxes), then you reap the benefits during your golden years. Determining whether you’re eligible for benefits, and specifically when you can begin receiving them, isn’t quite as simple as it was back when the program began. Here's how to know if you're eligible, when you can start receiving benefits, and how to maximize your benefits. Read More...

Mar 28, 2019 Saving for retirement is one of the most important financial decisions you can make. Proper planning can mean the difference between a retirement of travel and time with loved ones and one spent working a new job to make ends meet. If you work someplace that offers a workplace retirement savings option like a 401(k), that’s great. If you’re self-employed, though, you’ll need to be the one to take the steps to set up a plan to save for your retirement. There are a number of options, so make sure to do all the research to make the right choice for you and your situation. Read More...

Mar 27, 2019 Social Security benefits may be an integral part of your financial picture in retirement. In fact, 55% of retirees and pre-retirees aged 50 or older say Social Security will be their main source of retirement income, according to a 2018 survey from the Nationwide Retirement Institute. Read More...

Mar 27, 2019 The federal government founded the Social Security program during the Great Depression. The program provides money to people after they’ve retired. A tax that everyone pays while they are working funds the program. Today's workers fund payments for today's retirees. Tomorrow's workers will eventually pay for the current generation of workers. But will  Social Security run out of money at any point in the future? For years, there have been rumors and questions. The short answer is that it is highly unlikely that the program will ever run out of money. Read More...

Mar 26, 2019 Your employer may allow you to make after-tax 401(k) contributions. These are not tax deductible like your regular 401(k) contributions. But you can make after-tax deferrals beyond the annual 401(k) contribution limit. Plus, the earnings from these extra contributions grow tax-free. The strategy also opens the door for rollover opportunities that will provide you with even more tax breaks. However, making after-tax 401(k) contributions may not be the best decision for everyone. This article explains all you need to know about after-tax 401(k) contributions, so you can decide if it's right for you. We can also help you find a financial advisor who can work with you to… Read More...

Mar 25, 2019 A Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees, or SIMPLE plan, can come in the form of an IRA or a 401(k). While both SIMPLE plans are a lot alike, the 401(k) plan is a little easier to understand and put into place for employers. So if you’re a small business owner, you may want to consider setting up a SIMPLE 401(k) plan for your company and employees. Below, we go over the pros and cons of SIMPLE 401(k) plans, as well as other important characteristics and alternatives. Read More...

Mar 27, 2019 If you picture living in a planned community full of amenities and happy neighbors, you’re probably asking yourself: How much are homeowners association fee (HOA fee)? Some studies suggest that you can expect to pay HOA monthly fees between $200 and $300. But the real answer is: It depends. Some HOA fees can drop to $100 a month and some can climb to more than $3,000. The general rule of thumb is the more amenities you have, the more you have to shell out in HOA fees. But there’s more to it than that. This article will explore how HOA fees work, so you know what to expect. We can also help you find a financial advisor who will work with you to find the most affordable and livable options… Read More...

Mar 21, 2019 If you’re thinking about opening a traditional individual retirement account (IRA) or Roth IRA, you have some major tax benefits to look forward too. However, these aren’t one-size-fits-all accounts. This article will explain the benefits and disadvantages of traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs to help you make the right retirement planning decisions. We can also help you find a financial advisor who can help you create a retirement savings plan based on your individual needs. Read More...

Mar 20, 2019 Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) often get lumped together or confused for each other, despite being two distinct government programs. This is understandable: They are both government disability assistance programs with very similar acronyms. That said, the two programs have some key differences, including the requirements for eligibility. If you’re experiencing a disability (be it temporary or permanent), you’ll want to know how each program functions. Read More...

Mar 18, 2019 Many retirement planners suggest the typical 401(k) portfolio generates an average annual return of 5% to 8% based on market conditions. But your 401(k) return depends on different factors like your contributions, investment selection and fees. This article will explain these points in-depth so you can aim for the best returns from your 401(k). We can also assist you in finding a financial advisor. This professional can help you create a personalized retirement planning strategy. Read More...

Mar 18, 2019 If you’re trapped under a pile of debt, bankruptcy may be your last resort. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common form. It can wipe out your debt and give you a fresh start. This article will explain how to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy and everything you need to know to go through the process. A financial advisor can also help you stay on track during and after the proceedings. Read More...

Mar 15, 2019 After working hard and saving diligently for retirement, you may find that your nest egg won’t take you far in the U.S. But don’t fret. You may be able to stretch your dollar further outside the country. And it won’t mean retiring in a collapsing country. To assist you in figuring out where you should consider retiring, we compiled a list of the best countries where you can retire cheaply and peacefully. We can also help you find a financial advisor who can guide you to the right destination on the right budget. Read More...

Mar 15, 2019 If your company offers a 401(k) plan, you’re in luck. These savings vehicles help you save for retirement as you enjoy some tax breaks. This article will explain how they work and all you need to know to start investing in your Golden Years. We can also help you find a financial advisor to help you invest on a 401(k) plan the right way. Read More...

Mar 15, 2019 Once you reach age 59.5, you may withdraw money from your 401(k) penalty-free. If you tap into it beforehand, you may face a 10% penalty tax on the withdrawal in addition to income tax that you’d owe on any type of withdrawal from a traditional 401(k). But in some cases, your plan may allow you to take a penalty-free early withdrawal. We’ll cover the 401(k) early withdrawal rules and alternatives to dipping into your retirement savings. We can also help you find a financial advisor who can guide you through your options based on your individual needs. Read More...

Mar 14, 2019 Normally, you can’t withdraw money from your traditional individual retirement account ( IRA) until you reach age 59.5 without facing a penalty tax. But you can avoid this sanction if you make an IRA hardship withdrawal. The IRS typically allows this when you need it to cover expenses like substantial medical bills or higher education debt. We’ll explain IRA hardship withdrawal rules in depth. We can also help you find a financial advisor to guide you through all your options. Read More...

Mar 13, 2019 Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage, is one of four parts of the Medicare Program. While Part A covers in-hospital services,  Part B covers outpatient and preventative services. Part D covers the cost of prescription drugs. Part C, meanwhile, is an alternative that ties together all of the other parts into a single plan known as a Medicare Advantage Plan. It may also offer coverage for other things, including vision, hearing, dental and wellness programs. There are pros and cons to using Medicare Part C, so make sure you know the details before making a decision about how to proceed with planning your retirement healthcare. Read More...

Mar 12, 2019 When you first embarked on your retirement planning journey, your goal was probably to save as much as possible and generate the biggest returns you could through a diversified portfolio. But as you get closer to your golden years, you need to protect your nest egg like never before. That’s where a good retirement income planning strategy comes in. Our guide will cover some steps you can take to make one. We can also help you find a financial advisor to guide you in building a strategy that's specific to your individual goals and needs. Read More...

Mar 12, 2019 Applying for your Social Security benefits is less of a daunting process than it may seem, especially since the Social Security Administration (SSA) allows you to apply online. Once you've determined the best age to apply for your situation, the actual application is fairly straightforward. The SSA will need a few documents and some supplementary information from you in order to begin sending you your benefits. We'll go through all the necessary documents you'll need to have. Read More...

Mar 12, 2019 If you’re like many people with an individual retirement account, the money in your IRA likely represents one of your largest assets. And if you find yourself in a tight financial spot, you may want to be able to borrow from that IRA before you reach retirement age. If that describes you, there is good news and bad news. Read More...

Mar 12, 2019 If you want to spend your retirement in year-round warmth with the backdrop of rain forests or beaches, the Philippines may be your ideal option. The cost of living in the Philippines dips significantly lower than it does in the U.S., and the government takes steps to make it especially welcoming to expats. But there are some pitfalls you’d want to avoid. This article provides an in-depth guide to what it's like to retire in the Philippines. We’ll cover topics like costs, taxes, access to healthcare and safety. We can also help you find a financial advisor to guide you through the process of strategizing your retirement abroad. Read More...

Mar 11, 2019 Annuities can help you plan for your retirement by providing a guaranteed source of income for you and your family when you reach your golden years. They aren’t the simplest of investments, though, and sometimes it can be difficult to know exactly how much your annuity is worth. An annuity table can help with that by allowing you to easily calculate the present value of your annuity. This information allows you to make informed decisions about what steps to take to plan for your retirement. If you need assistance with annuities or retirement planning more generally, find a financial advisor to work with using SmartAsset’s Read More...

Mar 11, 2019 The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program offered by the Social Security Administration helps older and disabled people who have a low income and limited resources. While it is oftentimes thought of in conjunction with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), it is actually a wholly different program. It isn’t difficult to apply for SSI, but the bar for entry to the program is fairly high. Make sure you know how you can qualify and what your benefit level may be before you apply. Read More...

Mar 08, 2019 Financial Independence / Retire Early (FIRE) is a movement driven mostly by optimistic millennials who pledge to cut back on expenses and boost savings in order to retire as comfortably and as early as possible. But is it as hot as it sounds? Or is it just going to fade away like the last fad? This article will explore the movement and give you tips on how you can follow FIRE. We can also point you to the right financial advisor if you want some hands-on, professional guidance. Read More...

Mar 08, 2019 An annuity is a contract to guarantee a series of structured payments over time. It starts at a predetermined date and lasts for a predetermined time. There are two main forms of annuity: the ordinary annuity and the annuity due. Read More...

Mar 08, 2019 Is the thought of losing your employer-sponsored health plan keeping you from retiring early? Don’t stress. There are plenty of ways you can kick off your golden years early while still having affordable health insurance to fall back on when you need it. This guide will walk you through all your options so you can pick the right one and leave the 9-to-5 life for good. And if you want some personalized attention, try our free financial advisor matching tool to get linked to an expert in your area who can best create a strategy for you. Read More...

Mar 07, 2019 The Social Security Administration offers a number of programs that Americans may end up using at some point in their lives. Besides the usual  Social Security retirement payments, there is also  Social Security disability for those who can’t work due to a disability. For all this and more, you’ll need a mySocialSecurity account, effectively the digital entry to the world of Social Security. Even if you aren’t using any of these programs just yet, you may find use from a mySocialSecurity account of your own. Read More...

Mar 13, 2019 Whether you’re in your 20s and just embarking on your career path or you’re a seasoned professional ready to step into the golden years, it helps to know the top retirement planning strategies. In this article, we’ll walk you through important money moves, some of which you may not have even considered. Read through these tips closely, and if you want some hands-on advice from an expert, check out our free financial advisor matching tool to connect with up to three financial advisors in your area who are best suited to your needs. Read More...

Mar 04, 2019 Life is expensive in San Francisco. Arguably the current hub of innovation in America, some of the richest companies in the world call San Francisco home. These companies have brought high-paid engineers and wealthy executives to the area, driving up the cost of living in the City by the Bay. Although San Francisco's median income is above the national average, it doesn't necessarily make up for the higher cost of living there. Read More...

Mar 04, 2019 If you're seriously thinking about New York City as a place to live, you'll want to be sure that you can do so within your means. A wide range of salaries exists in the Big Apple, so it's important to know what to expect. Many factors will eventually determine your ability to balance your expenses with your paycheck. To start you off, here's an introduction to the average salary in New York City. Read More...

Apr 17, 2019 We designed our guide to health insurance for retirees to help you explore your options quickly and efficiently. After all your hard work, you deserve to enjoy your retirement without worrying about paying for healthcare expenses. Despite rising healthcare costs, there are several ways you can slash the price tag of staying healthy. We will help you understand what’s on the table. Read More...

Feb 28, 2019 Opening a Roth IRA for kids is easier than you may think. You can open one at several brokerage firms and banks. And you can manage the investments on behalf of your child. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of opening a Roth IRA for your kid and how to get the process started. If you want hands-on guidance to manage this account, check out our free financial advisor matching tool to link up with an expert in your area. Read More...

Feb 28, 2019 “Annuity due” is a financial term that you may encounter when you are borrowing money, paying rent, saving for retirement or purchasing an annuity. Annuity due means that a payment is due at the beginning of the time period in question. That distinguishes it from ordinary annuity, which means the payment is due at the end of the period rather than at the beginning.  Read More...

Feb 28, 2019 If you’ve served your country honorably or are considering doing so, you deserve to retire with dignity. But navigating the terrain of the active duty retirement system can be tough. Ultimately, the rules depend on when you joined the service. You may be eligible to collect a monthly pension check, contribute toward a thrift savings plan, earn a bonus or all of the above. This article will break down the military retirement system to help you make the best retirement decisions. Read More...

Mar 01, 2019 Roth IRAs and Roth 401(k)s are retirement savings vehicles that can protect your earnings from Uncle Sam when you withdraw your money in retirement. But one may be better for you depending on your needs. We’ll explain the pros and cons of each to help you decide which plan is right for you. If you want further hands-on investment advice, consider enlisting the help of a train expert by using our financial advisor matching tool. Read More...

Feb 27, 2019 Medicare is a government program that provides  health insurance to senior citizens throughout the United States. There are four basic parts to Medicare, designated by letters A through D. Medicare Part B is an optional program for some services that are not covered by Part A, the coverage bucket for inpatient hospital stays. Medicare Part B covers a number of outpatient services. It can be a good option for those who are in retirement, so make sure you know exactly how much it costs and what services you’ll get when you sign up for Medicare Part B. Read More...

Feb 25, 2019 There's plenty to consider when it comes to deciding where to retire. You'll want an acceptable cost of living, access to hospitals and medical care, a tax burden that isn't too severe and enough to do to keep you entertained after you stash your briefcase for good. Thankfully, there are countless locales across the globe that satisfy all these requirements and more - though that only makes the choice harder. Read More...

Feb 21, 2019 Unless you want to work until the day you die, planning for your retirement is a must. There are a number of ways to get ready to retire, but you’ll generally need to open a retirement account to save the money you need. That way you can spend your golden years traveling, relaxing and enjoying your family instead of stuck behind a desk or starting a second career as a retail greeter. Here are some of the retirement account options you may have the ability to use and why each of them may or may not make sense for you. Read More...

Feb 21, 2019 A 401(k) plan is a widely used type of employer-sponsored retirement plan that allows employees to set aside pre-tax dollars for their retirement. Safe harbor 401(k) plans are a special type of 401(k) plan that small businesses use. Though there are trade-offs, safe harbor 401(k) plans provide small business owners who want to offer a retirement savings plan to their employees a way around specific IRS tests. Read More...

Feb 20, 2019 As of 2018, around 55 million American workers were active  401(k) participants and assets in 401(k) plans totaled $5.60 trillion. Still, many people are in the dark about how exactly 401(k) plans work and how to maximize their accounts to prepare for retirement. There are a lot of moving parts that you should understand so you can ensure you’re getting the most out of your retirement savings account. Read More...

Feb 20, 2019 Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) are important vehicles for Americans to prepare for the day they stop working. This is especially true for those without access to a workplace retirement plan like a 401(k), though you also can use an IRA in conjunction with an employer-sponsored plan. A traditional IRA allows you to contribute pre-tax dollars. Your investments can then grow tax-deferred until you withdraw your money in retirement. Though fairly straightforward, you'll want to make sure you're fully educated on traditional IRAs before you decide to use one to save for your retirement. Read More...

Feb 19, 2019 If you’re building your retirement saving, 401(k) plans are a great option. These employer-sponsored plans allow you to contribute up to $19,000 in pre-tax money per year. Some employers will also match some of your contributions, which means free money for you. Come retirement, though, your withdrawals are subject to income taxes and other rules. Here's what you need to know about how 401(k) contributions and withdrawals are taxed.   Read More...

Feb 19, 2019 401(k) plans are one of the most popular retirement plans in the U.S., having blown past  pensions as the primary employer-sponsored plan. And unlike pensions, 401(k)s require participants to choose where to invest their savings. While the options in most 401(k)s are significantly limited compared to your typical brokerage account, they can still have a big impact on your finances. You’ll want to choose a fund or funds that reflect your risk tolerance and time to retirement. Read More...

Feb 25, 2019 Both pensions and 401(k) plans have at one time held the distinction of most popular employer-sponsored retirement plan in the country. However, due to the much higher cost on employers, pensions are becoming less and less popular, especially for non-government employees. In their place, more employers are offering 401(ks). Typically employers will offer either a pension or a 401(k), but not both. So it’s unlikely you’ll ever have to choose between the two. However, odds are that you or someone close to you will enroll in one of these plans at some point in your career, so it’s helpful to understand how they’re similar and how they differ. Read More...

Apr 10, 2019 When you leave a job where you had a  401(k) plan, you might choose to roll over that plan an individual retirement account (IRA). Such rollovers are fairly straightforward; the transfer of assets isn't a taxable event, and your savings will continue to grow tax-deferred. But some might take this opportunity to roll over some or all of their funds to a  Roth IRA instead. Read More...

Feb 25, 2019 Believe it or not, a hefty amount of your money could be sitting at a government agency without your knowledge. Unclaimed money can come in the form of inactive financial accounts, unclaimed retirement assets and tax refunds, lost insurance policy benefits and more. The National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA) states that about $2 billion in unclaimed property is transferred back to owners each year. This in-depth article will guide you through the places you can find unclaimed money and how to retrieve it. Read More...

Feb 05, 2019 Individual retirement accounts ( IRAs) first came along in the mid-70s. This means that the first Americans to make use of these retirement savings vehicles throughout their careers are now headed into their golden years. The result is that more and more individuals will start inheriting IRAs from spouses or older family members. Read More...

Jan 09, 2019 If you have looked into products like annuities, you’ve probably seen the term “exclusion ratio” floating around. It’s one of the most important factors you need to consider when planning your investments. The exclusion ratio is the portion of an investment’s return that is not taxed. It’s a percentage of the total investment payout equal to the amount of money you originally invested. This initial principal comes back to you tax-free, after which you pay taxes on the remainder, which make up the profits earned from your investment. Exclusion ratios show up mainly in annuities, although not entirely. Read More...

Dec 14, 2018 It’s easy to understand why a Jamaican retirement would be attractive to many people. Anyone who's enjoyed Jamaica's beaches, lush greenery and beautiful weather could see the appeal of living out their golden years in the country. There’s no denying, though, that Jamaica lacks many of the amenities and resources of a more developed country like Spain or Switzerland. If you have your heart set on a Caribbean retirement, here's what you need to know. Read More...

Dec 12, 2018 Perhaps the generic portrait of a retiree lounging on a beach isn’t quite your thing. Instead, you might be considering going in the opposite direction and  living in Alaska for retirement. In addition to the state's abundant natural beauty, you'll also enjoy a relatively low tax burden. We crunched the numbers to figure out the best cities and towns in the state for retirees. Read More...

Dec 11, 2018 Thinking of retiring in Ohio? Many cities in the Buckeye State are ideal for retirees, with low tax burdens, a high percentage of senior residents and plenty of access to recreation and a healthcare. We crunched the numbers to figure out the best places to retire in Ohio. Read More...

Dec 11, 2018 A retirement in the Empire State doesn’t have to mean shelling out all your retirement savings for a tiny apartment. You’ll find all the best places to retire in New York in Long Island, north of the city or way upstate. And while you do have to watch out for New York taxes, the upside is you’ll generally have great access to medical care. Read More...

Jan 07, 2019 Germany has become a popular destination for American retirees due to its reasonable costs, excellent healthcare system and well-kept infrastructure. The weather may not be on the level of Thailand or Portugal, but if you don’t mind some chilly winters, Germany could be the retirement destination you’re looking for. Read More...

Dec 10, 2018 Thinking of retiring in Maryland? You'll find plenty of company in the following cities and towns, which generally have large populations of senior citizens living there. You'll also have the peace of mind of being near ample medical facilities. Where Maryland falls short, however, is its relatively high tax burden rates. This means you might need to save a little more for retirement and perhaps work with a financial advisor to make sure your nest egg will last through retirement. Read More...

Dec 21, 2018 If you’re looking for a tax-friendly retirement, Nevada is one of the places to be. It’s very tax-friendly toward retirees, with no state taxes on income or Social Security benefits. Withdrawals from retirement accounts and public and private pension income are also not taxed. This can leave a lot of extra cash to live a comfortable retirement - or to take to Las Vegas and try your luck! If you'd like to retire in Nevada, you might find the following cities particularly appealing. Read More...

Jan 07, 2019 The best Roth IRAs offer a range of funds, low fees and digital tools to help you plan for retirement. We gathered data on the entire Roth IRA universe and found the best ones. These can suit a range of investors, from the more independent to those who want to leave the investment decisions to a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 07, 2019 The best IRAs offer robust investment menus, low fees and a wealth of tools to help you save for retirement. SmartAsset gathered data on the best IRA providers to help you find the one that’s right for you. We also broke down our list based on which providers would be best for do-it-yourself investors or those who want some guidance. But first, we’ll give you a quick overview of IRAs and their benefits. A financial advisor can also help you invest in one like a pro. Read More...

Dec 04, 2018 A division of Regal Securities, Inc., eOption was created in 2007, designed to offer a more affordable way to trade options. You’ll find the lowest options commission charges here. You’ll also find a convenient trading platform, eOption Trader, with various tools and interactive features to help you trade smarter and faster. Read More...

Nov 29, 2018 Americans look forward to their golden years, but saving for retirement can be an intimidating undertaking. The long-term nature of this type of financial planning calls for good decision-making, so simplifying it is of the utmost importance. In this article, we delve into two of the most prominent retirement investment vehicles: annuities and IRAs. Read on to determine which is best for you. Read More...

Nov 30, 2018 They say it’s better to give than to receive. But when you’re the one doing the giving, there are some things that you'll have to take into account, like the gift tax and the lifetime gift tax exemption. It’s important to know how the laws surrounding the gift tax work so that you don’t end up with any surprising tax bills or other issues. When giving sizable gifts, it's important know about the lifetime gift tax exemption. This looks at how your gifts accumulate over the course of your lifetime. Read More...

Nov 28, 2018   The Social Security Administration (SSA) is an enormous organization, and the decisions it makes regarding your benefits can have a big impact on your finances. It’s not unusual to feel overwhelmed when you’re applying for benefits or appealing a decision. In some circumstances, you can benefit from having a qualified individual such as an attorney represent you before the SSA. To establish this kind of representation, you’ll need to complete Social Security Form SSA-1696-U4. Read More...

Nov 27, 2018 Most people have heard of traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. Both are vehicles for saving money for your retirement, separated only by their tax treatment. There are two other types of individual retirement accounts, though, that aren't as common: the SIMPLE IRA and the SEP-IRA. Read More...

Nov 27, 2018 When you enroll in Medicare part B, the premiums you pay are partially dependent on your income. If your income is above a certain threshold, you'll have to pay higher premiums; this higher premium amount is known as your income-related monthly adjustment amount (IRMAA). However, incomes can change from year to year, so you need a way of notifying the Social Security Administration (SSA) if your income changes. The way to do this is with Social Security Form SSA-44. Read More...

Nov 26, 2018 Whether you take an aggressive or conservative approach to investing, your asset allocation is likely to include some bonds. When reading about or researching bonds, you’ll hear about duration, an important metric that investors use when deciding whether or not to invest in certain bonds. Here's what duration tells you about a bond and its suitability as an investment. Read More...

Nov 26, 2018 Applying for Social Security disability benefits can be a long process. It can involve interviews, multiple applications and sometimes rejections and appeals. The Social Security Administration (SSA) needs to determine both that your injuries or conditions are actively preventing you from working and that they’ll continue to do so for some time. To determine this, the SSA needs a lot of information from you. One way you provide this information is through Form SSA-3373-BK. Read More...

Nov 21, 2018 When you seek assistance from the Social Security Administration (SSA), it will make a decision on whether you’re eligible to receive that assistance. The SSA may also make decisions about any assistance you’re already receiving. If there’s ever a point where you disagree with one of these decisions, you can attempt to appeal it. To do that, you'll use Social Security Form SSA-561-U2. Read More...

Nov 21, 2018 Most Americans enroll in Medicare part A when they turn 65. Since it comes at no cost to you (provided you've paid Medicare taxes), there’s little reason not to. However, not everyone chooses to enroll in part B, as it comes with monthly premiums. If you decide to enroll in part B after already being enrolled in part A, you’ll need to apply with form CMS-40b. Read More...

Dec 03, 2018 If you work for a public school or some kind of non-profit organization, you may have access to a 401(a) or a 403(b) plan. Both are retirement savings vehicles that offer major tax breaks. However, they are structured a bit differently. We’ll define both plans, as well as explain the pros and cons of each. We can also help you find a financial advisor to help you create a personalized retirement-planning roadmap. Read More...

Nov 20, 2018 The process of applying for Medicare benefits is more complicated than it may initially seem. If you want to apply for a portion of Medicare insurance called Medicare Part B, you can only do so during certain parts of the year. If you plan to apply during what’s called a Special Enrollment Period (SEP), then you’ll need to fill out and send in a Form CMS-L654 as part of your application. Read More...

Dec 03, 2018 Going through a divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences you'll ever experience. But it doesn’t have to ruin your financial future. There are certain steps you can take to protect your nest egg during divorce proceedings, and we’ll cover each one. A financial advisor can also serve as a valuable asset as you split property and financials in a divorce. So let’s start by examining how 401(k) assets are split from a legal standpoint in a divorce. Read More...

Nov 20, 2018 If you’re self-employed, you may be weighing the SEP IRA vs. Roth IRA decision. Both are tax-advantaged savings vehicles that provide particular benefits. But before we explore those and compare them, it's necessary to unpack who can invest in each and what the contribution limits are so you can make the best choice for your needs. Of course, you can always find a financial advisor to help you invest in a retirement plan that’s right for you. Read More...

Nov 19, 2018   From time to time, you need to provide information or records about yourself to another party - for instance, a doctor or insurance company. When this happens, you’ll need to ensure that all the information is accurate. You can request that the Social Security Administration (SSA) send your information or records directly to the third party by consenting for its release with Form SSA-3288. Read More...

Nov 20, 2018 Perhaps you lived your 20s without a care in the world. But once you reach your 30s, it’s time to start building wealth and getting serious about money. That can including everything from ramping up your  retirement saving and planning to grappling with your debt and credit issues. Following these tips can help you get on track with your finances and build wealth in your 30s. Read More...

Nov 16, 2018 The best places to retire in the U.S. are scattered across the country from coast to coast, and though they vary in climate and geography, they all tend to excel in particular areas. Cities with low tax burdens, easy access to health facilities, a high percentage of senior citizen residents and entertainment opportunities pepper the top of this list. Whether you want to spend retirement on sandy beaches or with the wilderness as your backyard, you can find what fits your lifestyle for your golden years. Below, you can discover which locations are best for retirees, how they'll affect your finances and how they stack up in terms of the healthcare and recreational offerings. You can also Read More...

Nov 15, 2018 Since electronic funds transfers (EFTs) have become commonplace, direct deposit has overtaken the mailing of paper checks as the most popular way to receive recurring payments.  Before you can get direct deposit payments, though, you'll need to fill out a form providing the payer with your personal and banking information. If the party sending you direct deposit payments is a government agency, the form you need to fill out is SF-1199a. Read More...

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