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Retirement

Jan 07, 2021 From Oktoberfest to the Salzburg Summer Festival, Austria seems to have festivities year-round. This German-speaking nation of some 9 million has a rich cultural heritage and can boast of such fabled composers as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven, among others, as former residents. Citizens and visitors also come to Austria for the Alps, which offer some of the best snow skiing in the world. As you weigh whether to retire in Austria consider working with a financial planner to make sure you can afford it and handle your taxes in the most efficient way possible. Read More...

Jan 06, 2021 Singapore is a tiny country made up of 64 islands clustered around the end of the Malay Peninsula. Most of its population of nearly 6 million lives in Singapore City. Many locals speak English, and it is home to many human-made wonders, including a massive artificial waterfall, iconic skyscrapers and what is generally regarded as the world's best international airport. If you are considering the Lion City, as Singapore is sometimes called, as your retirement destination then it is wise to partner with a financial planner to help make your dream of retiring in Singapore a reality. Read More...

Dec 30, 2020 If you inherit an individual retirement account (IRA) from a spouse, you can treat it like your own IRA or roll it over into a traditional IRA you already have. If you are the beneficiary of an IRA inherited from someone other than your spouse, the options are different. You can’t roll it over into an existing IRA. However, you can transfer it into a new IRA, if you satisfy certain requirements. In either case, failing to follow the rules can result in the IRA being treated as a taxable distribution. A financial advisor can guide you as you deal with an inherited IRA so that you don't needlessly incur any tax liabilities. Read More...

Dec 30, 2020 Honduras is known for it’s beautiful beaches and low cost of living. The country is home to one of the largest cities in Central America, Tegucigalpa, and plenty of quaint mountain towns and a popular island called Roatan. In recent years, Americans have flocked to this Central American oasis of some 10 million people because their retirement savings can go much farther than in the U.S. A financial advisor can help you plan your retirement abroad and help you stretch your Social Security and other retirement funds while in Honduras. Read More...

Dec 29, 2020 The Republic of Taiwan is an attractive place to live due to its island setting and metropolitan feel. This island nation is known for having the highest concentration of mountains globally, and the food in Taiwan has made its way around the world. For example, bubble milk tea has become an international delight. If you are considering international retirement, there are a number of factors to consider so it's wise to work with a financial advisor. They will help you navigate the intricacies involved with moving abroad. Read More...

Dec 29, 2020 Sweden is one of the most sought-after countries in the world. It offers an excellent quality of life for retirees with beautiful landscapes and historic, walkable cities to enjoy. The archipelagoes on both the nation's East Coast and West Coast, famous smoked herring and classic meatballs plus vast, unspoiled forests offer something for just about any retiree. If you want to retire in this Scandinavian nation of just over 10 million people, this article will cover everything you need to know, from what costs you can anticipate to the quality of the healthcare system and more. Read More...

Dec 29, 2020 Do you dream of spending your retirement on a sunny Caribbean beach with a cool drink in hand? There are many alternatives, but one that you may want to consider is the Dominican Republic. From affordable housing to adventurous activities, this Caribbean island nation seems to have something for every retiree. Additionally, their expat laws favor Americans looking to retire there. Retiring abroad can help you extend your retirement savings, and a financial advisor can help you stretch your nest egg further. So, if you want to retire in the Dominican Republic, here is everything you need to know, from the cost of living to healthcare to immigration and visa laws. Read More...

Dec 29, 2020 Some people dream of spending their retirement on beaches, but others find joy in quaint villages, winter sports, snowy landscapes or dramatic views of glassy smooth fjords nestled between soaring mountain peaks. If the latter is more your style, you may want to consider retiring in Norway. If  are for you, this article lays out everything you need to know, from the cost of living to healthcare to immigration and visa laws. Read More...

Dec 09, 2020 Retiring in China, the world's most populous nation with some 1.4 billion residents, can offer financial benefits and geographic diversity but also significant challenges. It is generally less expensive to live in than the U.S. and the nation, which has the world's third-largest land mass, offers a vast array of landscapes and seascapes to choose from. However, the government has been rolling out a social credit system that could affect the quality of retirees' experience in the country. Here’s a rundown of the key things to know if you're considering retiring in China. Read More...

Dec 02, 2020 A qualified longevity annuity contract, or QLAC, is a type of annuity contract that you can use to create an additional stream of income in retirement. This type of annuity can offer guaranteed monthly payments beginning at a specific date and ending when you pass away. Like other annuities, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether it makes sense to include one in your financial plans. Read More...

Nov 19, 2020 Wondering whether you can collect Social Security and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) at the same time? The short answer is probably not. The long answer, however, is maybe. Social Security and SSDI serve similar purposes, but the requirements vary for each. Social Security is for those who've reached early or full retirement age, while disability insurance typically serves younger individuals who cannot work due to serious medical conditions. However, an exception may apply. We take a closer look in this guide. A financial advisor can provide professional insight into the world of retirement planning. Find a financial advisor today.  Read More...

Nov 19, 2020 If you've got a pension plan, such as a 401(k) or an IRA, and you'd like to access the vehicle's funds, you can typically choose between monthly distributions, a  lump sum payment or an annuity. The method you select should consider your short- and long-term savings goals so that your financial situation is in no way compromised. In this review, we explore how lump sum payments work. A financial advisor can help you navigate the complex world of retirement savings. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Nov 19, 2020 Retirement plan consulting services are used by companies to help oversee retirement savings options for employees. A retirement plan consultant can offer guidance on a variety of issues, from choosing which plan to implement to ensuring the plan meets tax and regulatory guidelines. Consulting services for retirement plans can be offered by individual financial professionals or by a consulting firm. If you participate in a 401(k) or similar plan at your job, a retirement plan consultant may play a part in how that plan is administered. A retirement calculator can tell you how much you will need to retire and an estimate of how close to that target you will come given your current savings and investment practices. Read More...

Nov 18, 2020 Many employers offer retirement benefits, and some will even match their employees' contributions. However, most people leave employers several times throughout their careers. In leaving one job and taking on another, some employees forget to take  their 401(k) or other retirement accounts with them. If there's a chance you have unclaimed retirement benefits but aren’t sure how to access them, here’s how to find your unclaimed retirement benefits. Keep in mind that getting help from  a financial advisor might save you a great deal of time in finding that money. Read More...

Nov 18, 2020 An annuity describes a contract between a policyholder and an insurance company. With this contract, policyholders give the insurance company a lump-sum payment in exchange for a series of payments made instantly or at a set time in the future. There are different types of annuities that people should both know about and understand. An ordinary annuity means you are paid at the end of your covered term; an annuity due pays you at the beginning of a covered term. If you have an annuity or are considering buying annuities, here's what you need to know about an ordinary annuity vs. an annuity due. Read More...

Nov 17, 2020 Retirement is an exciting time in many people's lives, but in evaluating which benefits to take when, those who leave the workforce may wonder whether they can get Medicare at 62? There's not a simple yes-or-no answer, but here's what you need to know so you can make a good decision about this benefit. As always, it may also behoove you to discuss your own particular situation with a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Oct 14, 2021 Deciding when to take Social Security retirement benefits is important because it can directly affect your benefit amount. While you can technically start taking benefits as early as 62, you'd receive them at a reduced amount. On the other hand, you could delay taking benefits up to age 70. Calculating your Social Security break-even age can help you decide when the best time is to begin taking benefits. You can do that using a Social Security break-even calculator. Additionally, it may behoove you to consult with a financial advisor about when it's best for your particular situation to begin receiving Social Security. Read More...

Nov 11, 2020 Saving for retirement is an important financial goal to have and the sooner you begin, the better. Finding the right asset allocation for your portfolio is important, but it's also helpful to consider asset location, meaning where you decide to keep your investments for retirement. A qualified retirement plan is one way to save for the future while enjoying some tax advantages. That can help you make the most of the money you're investing, both prior to and during retirement. Read More...

Nov 09, 2020 The Railroad Retirement Program is a federal program that extends retirement benefits to railroad employees. The program was established in the 1930s and in addition to retirement benefits, it also pays survivor, unemployment and sickness benefits to eligible railroad workers and their families. The Railroad Retirement Board is responsible for overseeing the program. If you're a railroad employee, here's more on how the program works and where it can fit into your retirement plans. Read More...

Feb 08, 2020 After spending years anticipating retirement, you've decided to figure out how to retire in 10 years. All of your hard work and savings are about to pay off. However, you’re unsure of what steps you need to take with your finances to achieve this goal. So, here's how to retire in 10 years with just a few steps. Read More...

Dec 09, 2019 The average cost of assisted living was $4,000 a month in 2018, according to Genworth Financial, which has been tracking costs since 2004. Across the country, though, the price of assisted living varies widely depending on such factors as location, facility size and amenities. If you're not sure whether or how you can afford this type of living arrangement, our free matching tool can connect you with a financial advisor. Here's what you need to know about the costs. Read More...

Sep 21, 2021 The vast majority of American workers pay in to the country's Social Security system through payroll taxes. These taxes provide retirement and disability income, as well as death and survivorship benefits. Still, not every worker is required to pay them. Let's break down who is exempt from Social Security taxes, and what not paying them can mean for your future retirement. If you need help planning out your retirement savings, a financial advisor could help you put a financial plan together for your needs and goals. Read More...

Nov 27, 2019 Fiduciary liability insurance protects companies from lawsuits if they makes errors or fails to act in employees' best interests. For example, if beneficiaries of a 401 (k) plan accuse administrators of charging excessive fees, the insurance pays the company's legal-defense costs, settlement, and damages. Here's how. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Individuals who are turning 65 have a 70% chance of needing some form of long-term care during their remaining years. While the majority of these care needs fall under a short-term care plan, about 25% of these individuals will need care for longer than a year. When applying for long-term care insurance, your provider will ask if you can perform certain tasks. They're commonly referred to as activities of daily living (ADLs). Your ability or inability to complete these tasks can determine whether you're eligible to receive care and assistance under your policy. Here's what you need to know about the activities of daily living. Read More...

Nov 26, 2019 Before your long-term care insurance or disability insurance coverage kicks in, you may be disabled or hospitalized for a length of time. This period is known as the elimination period. Read on discover how an elimination period can impact your insurance premium and what you need to know before selecting a policy. Read More...

Nov 23, 2019 Investing in both a 401(k) and  Roth IRA can be a powerful combo for any retirement savings plan. That is, if you're eligible. Here's what to know about qualifying for a Roth IRA and how opening one in addition to an employer-sponsored 401(k) plan can build up a sizable nest egg. Read More...

Sep 23, 2021 A Roth IRA is a smart way to grow your savings for the future. These investment accounts offer tax-free income when you retire. Of course, any return you see on a Roth IRA account depends on the investments you put into it. Here’s what you need to know about the average Roth IRA return and how it can help you maximize your retirement savings. If you're ready to save for retirement, a financial advisor could help you put a retirement plan together for your goals and needs.  Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 A multi-year guaranteed annuity, or MYGA, offers a predetermined and contractually guaranteed interest rate for a fixed period of time. A MYGA is just one way to create an additional savings bucket for retirement to supplement Social Security benefits or tax-advantaged investment accounts. Here's what you should know about how these annuities work and the benefits they can offer. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 Annuities can provide guaranteed income for retirement. But at some point, you may decide you no longer want or need an annuity you've purchased. If buyer's remorse has you wondering if it's possible to recover your investment, we've got news you can use: There are several ways to get out of an annuity if it is no longer a good fit for your financial plan. Read More...

Jan 13, 2020 Adding an annuity to your retirement plan could make sense if you're looking for a guaranteed stream of income. But the fees associated with one can be difficult to decode if you're not an insurance or investing expert. Here's what you need to know about the costs of different types of annuities, so you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 A single premium deferred annuity is a financial tool you can use to plan for retirement. It offers you guaranteed income, beginning at a date you specify, along with tax-deferred growth on your investment. If you're considering this annuity for your retirement plan, here are the most important things you need to know. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Though probably the most well-known, nursing homes are just one of many types of long-term care facilities available to seniors. Facilities vary by level of services. Assisted living residences and adult foster care homes are at the low end of needed assistance while nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities are at the high end. Facilities also vary in environment and cost. Read on to learn about each type of long-term care facility and how they’re different from each other. And for help figuring out how you’re going to pay for eldercare, use SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 Assisted living facilities and nursing homes differ in many ways, including the type of care provided, cost, and offerings for residents. You or a family member may need more help in retirement than family and friends can provide. Residential facilities, including assisted living and nursing homes that can provide it. Here's how (and how they differ). Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 If you're thinking of purchasing an annuity for retirement income, know that they're not all the same. A flexible premium deferred annuity offers a way to buy an annuity, without having to pay a large lump sum premium all at once. Consider the pros and cons as you weigh different annuity options. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 An annuity can provide predictable, guaranteed income in retirement. You can also use an annuity contract to schedule payments from a structured settlement or a financial windfall, such as a lottery payout. A period certain annuity lets you choose when and how long you'll receive payments. Here's how it works. Read More...

Nov 07, 2019 Annuities can generate income for retirement. However, most annuities also feature a standard death benefit. That lets you pass on assets from the annuity to an heir after your death. If you have an annuity of you're thinking of purchasing one, here's what you need to know about an annuity death benefit and how it works. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 More than 70 million aging adults will strain U.S. financial and medical institutions in the near future. Their Millennial children, struggling with student debt imposed by the Boomers' choice to defund higher education in favor of tuition increases, will be further taxed by elder care. Residential care will only add to the burden. Read More...

Apr 06, 2021 Annuities, which are insurance products, are an important part of many Americans'  retirement plans, especially for those who are looking for guaranteed payments. Insurance companies offer annuity contracts, which allow you to pay a premium in exchange for regular payments, and in some cases, investing opportunities. Depending on what stage of life you're in, payments can begin right away or at some date in the future. Regardless of the type of annuity you choose, though, there are a number of costs that go along with owning it. If you have questions about annuities or their fee schedules, consider speaking with a  financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Oct 31, 2019 Assisted living is one of the most difficult parts of elder care. Expensive, with costs driven by both residency and the skills involved with this care, assisted living leaves many seniors struggling to pay for it. Does Medicare pay for assisted living? For seniors and families on Medicare or Medicaid seeking answers, here’s what you need to know. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 When you purchase an annuity, you're buying an insurance contract to provide guaranteed income for yourself. You can purchase an annuity to benefit yourself but if you're married, you could choose a joint and survivor annuity instead. Learn more about how a joint and survivor annuity works and whether one belongs in your financial plan.  Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 Annuities can be a source of guaranteed income for retirement, as well as a way to schedule payments from a structured settlement. They may be categorized as qualified or non-qualified annuities. If you're thinking of adding an annuity to your financial plan, here's what you need to know about qualified vs. non-qualified annuities. Read More...

Oct 26, 2019 Nursing home cost may work their way into your retirement plan. You may have to help pay nursing care expenses for an aging parent, for example. Or long-term care may be necessary for your spouse or yourself as you grow older. Understanding  nursing home costs and how they may vary can help you prepare for the expense. Read More...

Oct 15, 2021 Employer-sponsored, tax-deferred retirement plans like 401(k)s and 403(b)s have rules about when you can access your funds. As a general rule, if you withdraw funds before age 59 ½, you’ll trigger an IRS tax penalty of 10%. The good news is that there’s a way to take your distributions a few years early without incurring this penalty. This is known as the rule of 55. If you're contemplating early retirement, you should know how the rule of 55 works. If you have retirement planning questions, consider talking to a financial advisor. Read More...

May 07, 2021 Inheriting a 401(k) on the death of the account owner isn't always as straightforward as inheriting other types of assets. The IRS has certain rules that 401(k) beneficiaries must follow that determine when and how much tax they'll pay to inherit someone else's retirement plan. If you're currently the beneficiary of a 401(k) or you've recently inherited one, here are the most important things you need to know. Read More...

Oct 22, 2019 An employer-sponsored 401(k) plan offers a tax-advantaged way to grow retirement savings, along with the potential for matching contributions. These plans come in two flavors: The traditional, tax-deferred kind, which lets you contribute pre-tax dollars, or a Roth 401(k), which is funded with after-tax dollars but lets you realize tax free growth and retirement income. So if you have both options available to you, which should you choose? Both choices can offer tax advantages, but before you invest, it's important to learn how they compare and how they serve your financial plan and tax situation. Read More...

Oct 21, 2019 Ireland is home to some of the most stunning landscapes and coastlines in the world. This, plus the pace of life and rich Irish culture, make it an ideal destination for Americans looking to retire abroad. Americans who go this route should be ready to spend more in Ireland, though, as housing and other costs are generally higher than in the U.S. Still, it's entirely possible to live on the Emerald Isle for a manageable price. Here's what you need to know about cost of living, visa rules, and more. Read More...

Oct 14, 2020 Although the future is unpredictable, there are some things we can generally say with confidence. One is that prices are likely to rise over time, meaning the cost of living will rise as well.  Inflation affects those in the workforce, and it particularly impacts anyone who's in retirement and living on a (relatively) fixed income. The good news for those relying on  Social Security is that the federal government uses cost of living adjustments (COLAs) in order to keep up with these increases. And employers will also consider increases in the cost of living as they adjust salaries.  Read More...

Jul 30, 2021 When saving for retirement, your employer may give you a hand by offering a tax-advantaged savings plan. Your options might include a 401(k) plan or a 457(b) plan. Both plans allow you to contribute money towards retirement on a tax-deferred basis. While there are similarities between a 457(b) and a 401(k), there are also key differences to keep in mind. Those variations can affect how a plan will work for you and your retirement. Read More...

Oct 27, 2020 There are two basic types of distributions you might take from your Roth IRA: qualified and non-qualified. The basic difference is this: qualified distributions are generally made after a person is 59.5 or when the owned of the Roth IRA has become permanently disabled or has passed away. Non-qualified distributions are made at any other time. Additionally, a Roth IRA must have been opened for at least five years for distributions to be qualified. A  Roth IRA and its 100% tax-free distributions can hold huge advantages for retirees. Additionally, Roth IRAs aren't subject to required minimum distributions the way traditional IRAs are. That allows you to grow your money without triggering a tax penalty. If you want help with Roth IRA distributions or any financial issue, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Oct 07, 2019 Nearly 19%, or 9 million, Americans ages 65 and over are working part- or full-time, according to a recent Pew Research Center analysis. This is consistent with a steady increase dating back to 2000. Whether you need additional income or not, you might be thinking about working in retirement too. But there are a few things to keep in mind, like what it means for your taxes, whether it could impact your  Social Security benefits and how you would continue to build savings. Weighing the pros and cons can help you decide if working in retirement is worth it. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 As you age, it’s important to make decisions that help you attain your desired lifestyle. Where you plan to live is among those important considerations. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities offer care and hands-on help, while independent living provides freedom and flexibility with the support of a community. Here's why senior independent living communities are gaining popularity among retirees. Read More...

Sep 27, 2019 Medicare helps many seniors pay for their medical expenses. But does Medicare cover long-term care costs? Before you reach retirement, it’s important to understand what costs you’ll be responsible for. Read on to discover what long-term care costs Medicare will cover. We will also outline options to help you pay for the costs that Medicare won’t cover. Read More...

Sep 26, 2019 Running a small business or being self-employed can offer flexibility, freedom and control over your earning potential. While the perks are plentiful, there's one thing that's usually missing when you own a small business: an employer-sponsored retirement plan. Self-employed people don't have 401(k)s, and small business owners tend not offer them, citing the time and cost to set up and administer them. The good news is there are several other retirement plan options available to small business owners. If you have yet to begin saving for retirement as an entrepreneur, here's how you can change that. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 If you're saving for just yourself, a single life annuity may be the perfect choice. Your beneficiaries won't see a payout, though, as payments end when you die. A single life annuity, or straight life annuity, can provide a retiree with a monthly payment for as long as he or she lives. When the annuity holder dies, the payments stop. There are advantages and drawbacks to that, so here's how a single life annuity works and what you need to know. Read More...

Sep 18, 2019 An individual retirement account (IRA) can be the foundation of a great retirement plan. However, it takes a skilled financial planner to match a client up with the right IRA for their retirement. The Certified IRA Services Professional (CISP) designation can help separate financial advisors who know IRAs from those who may be less familiar. Here's how the CISP works, what it means, and how to get it. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 Those nearing retirement age may be looking to supplement their income. If they've already maxed out their other retirement savings accounts, like their 401(k) or IRA, then an annuity might help. Annuities come in many variations, including fixed, variable, indexed, immediate and deferred. We break down the different types of annuities so you can decide if one is right for your financial situation. Read More...

Jan 11, 2021 Saving through a Roth 401(k) can help you grow a nest egg that you can then tap into in retirement without having to pay taxes. If you leave your job or you're ready to retire, you may be wondering what to do with the funds in your 401(k). Rolling your Roth 401(k) over to a Roth IRA is just one possibility. But make sure you know how this process works to avoid triggering an IRS tax penalty. A financial advisor can walk you through a rollover if you're new to it. Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 Whether you’re a seasoned investor or just getting your feet wet, there's a good chance that you’ve heard of an annuity. This financial product doles out regular payments for a set amount of time to purchasers who invest a lump sum upfront. However, there are many different types of annuities. A single premium immediate annuity (SPIA), takes your funds and turns them into guaranteed payments. Usually purchasers of these annuities do so to receive guaranteed payments for life, insuring them against outliving their money. Read on to learn more about SPIAs, including their pros and cons, before deciding if it's the right one for you and your financial situation. Read More...

Sep 17, 2019 Creating a last will and testament is a common way to share your wishes for how you want your assets and affairs handled after you die. While it’s easy to proclaim that everyone should have a will, first we should understand what it does. A last will and testament is a legally bound document detailing how your heirs will receive your assets and wealth. But it doesn’t come without its limitations. Here’s what last will and testaments do and how they play a part in your estate planning process. Read More...

Oct 21, 2021 Annuities come in many different forms, and fixed indexed annuities offer the chance to combine other annuities' benefits. Rather than rely solely on a fixed interest rate or the performance of a market index, this annuity combines both. While the insurance company itself determines fixed rates, annuitants will be able to choose the index they want their assets to follow. However, these dollars don't literally go into the index, which means you won't lose any money if the index loses value. If you have questions about whether or not a fixed indexed annuity is good for you, talk to a local financial advisor. Let's break down how a fixed indexed annuity works. Read More...

Sep 12, 2019 How do businesses and employees learn to trust the person running their retirement plan? Having a specialized certification from one of the top business schools in the nation doesn't hurt. A CEBS not only gets to place an acronym after their name, but they stand out among other financial professionals specializing in employer-sponsored retirement plans. Here's how it works and what it does. Read More...

Sep 06, 2019 If you’re of retirement age and want to supplement your income, you may want to consider a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). A HECM is a reverse mortgage through the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) that converts your home's equity into cash or a line of credit with no monthly payments. We explain how a HECM works, the pros and cons and when it might make sense for your finances. Read More...

Sep 06, 2019 For Americans who don’t have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans, such as a 401(k) or 403(b), there’s a retirement savings program known as the 26(f) investment program. The 26(f) plan is a retirement vehicle that's based on an investment in a life insurance policy. Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of this investment program, how it works and why some retirement experts advise against them. Read More...

May 17, 2021 While many Americans are exploring domestic retirement locations, others are also considering retiring abroad. Why? This is mainly because other countries, like Belize, often offer lower-cost living options and attractive weather conditions. And in some countries, a couple can live comfortably off a Social Security check alone. Not only that, but English is the main language in this country. But does that mean you should retire abroad? Below, we take a closer look at how much it costs to retire in Belize. And if you want some hands-on guidance as you think about retiring abroad, consider enlisting the help of a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 30, 2019 Medicare Supplement Insurance, also known as Medigap, is a policy designed to pay some of the extra healthcare expenses that traditional Medicare doesn't cover. Because of its comprehensive coverage, Medicare Supplement Plan F is one of the most popular policies among seniors using Medicare. However, for some, this policy may not be sold past 2019. Read on to discover if you should consider a Medicare Supplement Plan F before it's discontinued. Read More...

Aug 26, 2019 Generous company 401(k) matches are great. But if your retirement plan offers few investment options or has high fees, even the best 401(k) match may leave your retirement savings coming up short. That’s why it’s important to have an excellent plan as well as a high company match percentage. To give you a sense of what’s possible, SmartAsset conducted an in-depth study of companies across different sectors such as finance, tech and energy. If your 401(k) match and plan seem minor league in comparison to the ones profiled here, consider working with a financial advisor, who can help you optimize your investment returns. Read More...

Aug 22, 2019 Medicare is a government-run health insurance program. It's available to people age 65 and older, people with certain disabilities and people with End Stage Renal Disease (the last stage of chronic kidney disease). There are two parts that makeup Medicare: Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance). As you head into retirement, it’s important to understand what each component of Medicare entails. Read on to discover what Medicare Part A coverage includes and how much it may cost. Read More...

Aug 12, 2021 If you're interested in retiring abroad, New Zealand could be a great option for you. Geographically, the country offers a wide selection of landscapes. Whether you're into swimming, hiking or exploring, chances are you'll never run out of leisure activities. And if your native language is English, you won't have to learn another language to retire there. But while the country offers some notable perks, it has a higher cost of living than the U.S. and limited visa options for retirees. Here's what you need to know about retiring in New Zealand. And remember, a financial advisor can help you create a plan for retirement that meets your needs. Read More...

Oct 02, 2019 With rising retirement costs in the U.S., many Americans are looking for alternatives to living out the post-employment life they'd always dreamed of. Retirees are turning to other countries that offer low-cost retirement options. Ecuador is just one of the many countries that offer economically competitive conditions for U.S. retirees. With ideal weather conditions and favorable economic circumstances, an Ecuadorian retirement could be right for you. Below, we discuss the process of retiring in Ecuador. Read More...

Aug 22, 2019 Retiring from the 9 to 5 can open up new possibilities, but it may take some time to get used to. When heading to work isn't the primary focus of your days anymore, you may feel a little adrift and at a loss for how to spend your time. A post-retirement depression could set in that could leave you questioning your decision to retire. If retiring has you in a funk, there are some things you can do to combat it. These 10 tips can help you cope with -- and conquer -- post-retirement depression. Read More...

Oct 02, 2019 If you’re on the cusp of retirement or just looking for extra income, annuitization could help you. Annuitization converts an annuity investment into a stream of regular payments. With an annuity, a financial product that makes regular payouts after a specified amount of time, your investment can pay off quickly. We explain the math behind it and can help you decide if it might work for you. Read More...

Aug 16, 2019 If Social Security benefits figure into your retirement income plan, then reading your Social Security Statement is a must. This statement can help you estimate how much you'll receive from Social Security once you retire. That can be useful when setting investing and savings goals. Knowing how to find your statement and decode it is a must for retirement planning. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 Individual retirement accounts can offer a tax-advantaged way to save and grow your money for your later years. A  traditional IRA offers the benefit of tax-deductible contributions, while a Roth IRA allows for tax-free withdrawals in retirement. When deciding which type of IRA to contribute to, one question you might have is: how many IRAs should I open? Technically, it's possible to have multiple IRAs, but there are a few rules to know about using this strategy to save for retirement. If you think you might need more hands-on guidance as you navigate your IRA decisions, consider enlisting the help of a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Oct 14, 2020 The Social Security Administration (SSA) makes changes to Social Security programs every October that go into effect the following January. The biggest changes tend to concern Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA), which ensure that retirement, disability and survivors benefits keep pace with increases in the cost of living. Calculating your benefits amidst these regular changes can sometimes be challenging. To give you a better sense of how they’ll affect your situation, we’ve taken a closer look at the changes that will take effect in January 2021.    Read More...

Jan 22, 2021 A "nest egg" generally refers to retirement accounts. It's the money you save for the future so that you have something to fall back on when you retire. Oftentimes, growing your nest egg is the stated goal of a financial plan. And many people work with a financial advisor to optimize that plan for their financial goals. Let's take a look at how you can build and grow your nest egg. Read More...

Jul 31, 2019 The Pension Protection Act (PPA) of 2006 was signed by President George W. Bush on August 17, 2006. The PPA is the most significant legislation having to do with pension plans since the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The PPA looks to strengthen the traditional private pension system by offering incentives to employers, as well as providing to employees a more stable path to retirement. As you examine more details about the PPA and how it might fit into your overall financial picture, consider a financial advisor who can provide hands-on guidance. Read More...

Sep 15, 2021 In simple terms, planning for retirement is a numbers game. Many experts recommend  saving at least $1 million for retirement, but that doesn't take your individual goals, needs or spending habits into account. In turn, you may not need anywhere near $1 million to retire comfortably. For instance, if you have $500,000 in your nest egg, that could be plenty for your situation. In the end, the amount of funds you'll need for retirement is completely personal to you. If you have specific questions about your retirement plans, a financial advisor can help. Read More...

Jul 26, 2019 A retirement plan is a savings account you set up during your working years that helps you support yourself once you reach retirement. These savings plans come in many forms, including the  401(k), IRA and more. Usually, a retirement plan is set up to take advantage of an area of the tax code that grants special tax benefits for retirement savers. Using at least one retirement plan to build a nest egg is crucial element to saving for retirement. The type of retirement plan you want depends on what you're looking for. Do you want a plan that you can get through an employer, like a pension or 401(k)? If you are self-employed, you can look into the Solo 401(k), SEP IRA, or Simple IRA, each with its own pros and cons. Below, we discuss some of the more popular retirement plans and how they work. Read More...

Aug 23, 2019 Variable annuities are commonly used to save for retirement, as they combine investing and long-term income payments into one product. They also operate on a tax-deferred basis, meaning you won't have to pay income taxes until you begin withdrawing money in retirement. Insurance companies typically offer variable annuity contracts, so there are many different options available. Read More...

Jul 25, 2019 Roth IRAs are one of the many ways you can save for retirement. Their key benefit - you can withdraw funds in retirement without paying taxes on the distributions - has made them very popular among tax-savvy investors. Still, there are rules surrounding Roth IRA withdrawals that you need to know in order to avoid costly penalties. How your distributions are treated by the IRS depends on your age, how long you've held the account, and a number of other factors. Here's what you need to know. Read More...

Oct 15, 2021 Applying for Disability benefits has a reputation as a time-consuming and inefficient process. Consequently, many people entering their 60s who could potentially qualify for disability benefits may opt to just elect for Social Security a couple of years early to avoid the hassle. However, this strategy has the potential to cost you a lot of money in the long run. Whether opting for disability would be the more remunerative strategy will depend on your age. A financial advisor could help you weigh the best options for your retirement goals.  Read More...

Jan 07, 2021 So you've got a pension coming your way... and a divorce, too. These days, the divorce might be more common than the pension. According to a 2002 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the probability of a marriage ending in the first 5 years is 20%, and 33% of marriages end within 10 years. Meanwhile, only 18% of private sector workers have a pension, compared to 35% in the 1990s, information from the Economic Policy Institute shows. Read More...

Oct 09, 2019 Italy is one of the most popular vacation spots in Europe. It's also a great option if you're thinking about retiring abroad. The country is known for its delicious food, beautiful towns and mild weather, making it about as ideal a retirement destination as you'll find. In addition to this, the cost of living and rent in Italy are far lower than in the U.S. If retiring in Italy is your dream, talk to a financial advisor about building a financial plan that can cover your living expenses. Read More...

Jul 19, 2019 Retiring at 45 might sound impossible, but it could be a realistic goal so long as you have the right plan in place. An early retirement means more time to pursue hobbies or passion projects, travel the world, volunteer or simply connect with friends and family. It's what the Financial Independence / Retire Early movement is all about. But what does it actually take to retire at 45? This step-by-step guide can help you retire early without  planning for an early retirement. Read More...

Sep 19, 2019 Saving for your golden years may not seem like a priority compared to daily expenses, debt repayment and short-term savings goals. Yet the sooner you start, the better you can leverage compounding interest and the more your money will grow. Getting an early start on retirement planning also provides some flexibility if you decide to tweak your strategy. If it seems overwhelming, remember that you don't have to plan your retirement all on your own. A retirement advisor can help you navigate the course. Discover whether you need a retirement advisor and how to choose the right one for you below. Read More...

Jul 30, 2019 Puerto Rico is famous for its tropical climate and sunny beaches, which make it a particularly attractive vacation destination. But the island also boasts a number of financial perks for retirees looking for a place to settle down. Retiring here is an especially attainable dream for U.S. residents, as they won't have to go through the hassle of getting a visa. While it's smart to consult a  financial advisor on your retirement plans, we'll walk through the basics of retiring in Puerto Rico. Read More...

Jan 20, 2021 A supplemental retirement plan may be offered to a broad range of employees. But supplemental executive retirement plans (SERPs) are reserved for the company's elite. A SERP is a non-qualified deferred compensation plan offered to a company's key employees, including CEOs, CFOs and high-ranking officials. They are typically used to retain talent, but are tied to both employee and company performance. When taking a job, it's important to understand the complete compensation package and may even be a good idea to discuss with your financial advisor. Read More...

Nov 25, 2020 Naming a trust as the beneficiary of your individual retirement account ( IRA) is not terribly difficult -- once you've established your trust, you simply list it as the beneficiary in the paperwork or online portal for your IRA. That said, it is a big decision, so make sure you know everything about what listing a trust as the beneficiary for your IRA actually means before you do it. The strategy gives you maximum control over the distribution of your assets after you die, but it requires careful planning. For help with your IRA or any other investing questions, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jul 15, 2019 Planning for retirement can be a lifelong process and the sooner you begin, the longer your savings and investments have to grow. But retirement is more than just a numbers game. While it's important to have a clear financial goal to work towards, it's just as important to define what retirement means to you. The government has one standard for retirement, but your vision may look differently. Understanding what kind of lifestyle you'd like to enjoy in your later years can help you create a solid plan for reaching it. Read More...

Jan 20, 2021 There are many different ways to save for retirement. Roth IRAs and 403(b)s are among the more popular account types. The former has strong after-tax perks and is available to most savers below certain income limits, while the latter is reserved for public and nonprofit workers. So if you have both available to you, where should you put your money? A financial advisor can help with all sorts of retirement and financial questions. Read More...

Jul 25, 2019 When you need money to pay for college expenses, tapping your Roth IRA is one option you might consider. While a Roth IRA is designed to help you save for retirement on a tax-advantaged basis, it's possible to use money in your account to fund college costs for yourself, your spouse or your children. Before pulling money from your Roth IRA for college tuition or other education expenses, get to know the pros and cons.  Read More...

Oct 19, 2021 When it comes to  retirement savings, your age can have a major effect on things. Depending on which type of retirement account you have, your age may define both when you can access your funds and how much money you can contribute each year. For example, rules are individually different for IRAs and 401(k)s. These regulations can become incredibly important as you near retirement. If you have questions about retirement planning, a  financial advisor can help you get your plans in order. Read More...

Mar 12, 2020 Medicare is one of the most popular health care programs in America. Part of what sells the program is its simplicity: You turn 65, you get healthcare. But in reality, Medicare is a patchwork of several different programs, and figuring out what is and isn’t covered at any given time can be a challenge. For current and future enrollees looking to understand their health insurance, we go over what the various sections of Medicare cover. Read More...

Jan 20, 2021 When you're  self-employed, you're in charge of choosing and funding your own retirement plan. In place of an employer-provided retirement plan like a 401(k), you may consider making contributions to a SEP IRA or solo 401(k) plan. But which one is the better option when it comes to saving money for your retirement? Here are the ins and outs of both a SEP IRA and a solo 401(k), as well as the pros and cons of each so that you can pick the right plan for your retirement strategy. A financial advisor can help you create a retirement plan for your needs and goals. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Jul 08, 2019 Medicare coverage, specifically Part D, is rather complex. For years, the potential benefits of this program were overshadowed by the "donut hole." This refers to a large gap in Medicare drug coverage that would force enrollees to pay out-of-pocket for prescription drugs for some time. In 2019, federal law removed the donut hole. Read More...

Aug 23, 2019 When choosing investments for your retirement plan, you'll have a lot of options, including annuities and mutual funds. While both can play an important role in your retirement income plan, they are very different assets with unique characteristics. If you’re choosing between the two options, know the key characteristics and their pros and cons. Read More...

Sep 13, 2021 As a general rule, you have until tax day to make IRA contributions for the prior year. In 2021, that means you can contribute toward your 2020 tax year limit of $6,000 until May 17. And as of Jan. 1, 2021, you can also make contributions toward your 2021 tax year limit until tax day in 2022. If you need help figuring out how an IRA can help with your retirement goals, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 25, 2021 Unexpected expenses may compel you to tap your individual retirement account ahead of schedule. And with most plans, the government will impose a 10% penalty if you withdraw funds before you reach age 59 1/2. Many people work with financial advisors to help manage their retirement plans and grow their nest eggs. Let's take a look at a few instances where you can make a penalty-free IRA withdrawal before retiring. Read More...

Sep 13, 2021 If you're lucky enough to win the lottery or you have a pension plan, you may need to decide whether you want to take your earnings as a lump sum or an annuity. If your goal is to maximize your earnings, you may want to consider your projected lifespan, inflation rates and your personal spending and investing habits. We break down the differences between a lump sum payment and an annuity, plus offer examples to help you decide which one to take. If you have questions about managing your retirement money,  talk to a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Jan 25, 2021 A 401(k) is the most common type of employer-sponsored retirement plan, but certain employees may have access to a 414(h) plan instead. A 414(h) plan, also called a pick-up plan, offers people who hold government jobs a tax-advantaged way to grow their savings for retirement. If you work for a local, state or federal government agency, you may receive one of these plans as part of your benefits package. Do you have retirement planning questions? Talk to a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Dec 22, 2020 A Roth IRA affords some key tax benefits for savers, chiefly the ability to make 100% tax-free withdrawals in retirement. Typically, the scope of investments available through an IRA is determined by the company that holds your accounts. A self-directed Roth IRA, however, can offer more choices for building a portfolio. Investing in a self-directed Roth IRA isn't right for everyone and there are some important things to know before getting started. Specifically, investors need to be aware of the contribution limits for self-directed Roth IRAs, as well as who can contribute, what you can invest in and what rules govern your choice of investments. Read More...

Jan 11, 2021 A 401(k) hardship withdrawal is the action of taking money out of your workplace retirement plan early to deal with a life event that requires some money. A  401(k) is an employer-sponsored, tax-deferred retirement savings account. Contributing money to your 401(k) reduces your taxable income - effectively giving you an instant tax deduction. You can't take money from your account until you reach age 59.5 -- unless you need it for a specific event, in which case, a 401(k) hardship withdrawal, or hardship distribution, could help you get around some IRS penalties. These withdrawals are subject to strict conditions, however, and there are still some tax implications. If you're thinking of taking a hardship distribution, or just want help putting together a retirement plan, consider  finding a financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 06, 2019 We all know that saving for retirement is a good thing. We often think of retirement savings in terms of a percentage of our paychecks, but what about when someone doesn’t work? The IRS has a solution that allows a non-working member of a married couple to save for retirement in an IRA. It’s called, appropriately enough, a spousal IRA. Here’s how it works. Read More...

Jan 12, 2021 While your contributions to your retirement plan belong to you from the get-go, your employer's contributions need to vest first. Once they do, you will be fully vested and your company's contributions are 100% yours. Employers may follow an immediate vesting schedule, a cliff vesting schedule (where you are vested after a set number of years of service) or a graded schedule (where you are vested a set percentage with each work anniversary). For SEP-IRAs, SIMPLE IRAs and other IRAs, required employer contributions fully vest immediately. Companies may also use vesting schedules for stock or option bonuses. Read on for more about vesting in retirement plans, including 401(k)s and pensions. If you are approaching retirement, a  financial advisor can guide you through the transition from accumulating savings to turning them into an income. Find out now: How much do I need to save for retirement? Read More...

Oct 09, 2020 If you've been using a workplace retirement plan like a 401(k) -- and you should be, to take advantage of compound interest and any employer match available -- you may at some point find yourself looking at the stores of money and wondering if you should use some of it to deal with current financial issues rather than saving all of it for your retirement. Everyone deals with financial troubles at some point, and it is understandable to look at that pile of untouched money and think you should just dig in now. While there are certainly some situations where this may be a good idea, if its possible to avoid raiding your 401(k), it is better to let it sit, for a variety of reasons -- explained below. If you're struggling with financial issues and want help, consider finding a financial advisor.   Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 Want to invest your individual retirement account (IRA) in private placement securities, real estate or even Bitcoins? You can, but you'll need to find a custodian for what would be a self-directed IRA. These custodians, which tend to be trust companies and must be approved by the IRS, allow for alternative investments. There aren't many, though these kinds of custodians seem to be growing in number. That said, alternative investments have a higher risk for fraud. So even if you are an experienced and knowledgable investor, you probably should consult a financial advisor, who can help you find a trustworthy custodian. In the meantime, here's what you need to know about custodians for self-directed IRAs. Read More...

Jan 20, 2021 A 401(k) plan is one of the most flexible workplace retirement plan options available, while a SIMPLE IRA plan is less flexible but also less complex to use and administer. Each of these have their own distinct pros and cons, but which is best suited for you is dependent on your personal needs. A financial advisor can help you pick the best retirement plan for your needs. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Jun 17, 2019 For members of the U.S. military, housing assistance is one of the most significant benefits they can receive. Life on a base might not be for everyone. For servicemen and women who prefer it, though, this can offer a stable way of life surrounded by colleagues. When a base offers housing in remote stations, like the windswept missile bases of North Dakota, military housing provides the kind of stable community that civilian housing may not. In crowded regions like California, on the other hand, on-base housing can offer military personnel options that they otherwise couldn’t afford. But eventually the years of service end. For military retirees, does the Pentagon offer any housing options? The answer is a qualified yes. Here’s how it works. Read More...

Jul 09, 2019 Social Security benefits, when combined with savings from a 401(k) and  individual retirement account, can help you retire the way you want. Of course, not everyone earns the same amount from Uncle Sam. A Social Security calculator can help you estimate the payments you'll receive, but how do you ensure that you're not shortchanging your future self? Whether you have a few months or a few decades until retirement, here are 10 tips for maximizing your Social Security benefits. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 SEP IRAs and solo 401(k)s are tax-deferred retirement savings vehicles for small business owners. They're similar to each other but with one big difference. With a solo 401(k), a self-employed business owner can make contributions as both the employee and the employer.  We’ll explain everything you need to know to make the call between a SEP IRA and solo 401(k). If you don't know where to begin to set up the plan the best fits your needs, a  financial advisor can help. Read More...

Jan 20, 2021 If you want to move your individual retirement account (IRA) balance from one provider to another, simply call the current provider and request a “trustee-to-trustee” transfer. This moves money directly from one financial institution to another, and it won’t trigger taxes. However, you must follow some rules in order to do it right. We’ll walk you through the direct IRA transfer process. To make sure you're moving your savings to the right place, consult a  financial advisor who can carefully analyze your individual situation. Read More...

Jul 25, 2019 The IRS allows you to withdraw contributions from your Roth IRA penalty-free to buy your first home, plus up to $10,000 of earnings. But most financial advisors would recommend tapping into your retirement savings only as a last resort. Luckily, you have plenty of alternatives. Here's what you need to know to determine whether using your Roth IRA as a first-time homebuyer is the right move for you. Read More...

Jan 22, 2021 You can have a 401(k) plan and an individual retirement account (IRA) at the same time. In fact, you can contribute up to the annual limit to each account, thereby maximizing your retirement savings. However, your ability to take a tax deduction for your IRA may be limited, depending on factors like your income and whether your spouse is covered by an employer-sponsored retirement plan. A financial advisor can help you make the right retirement planning decisions utilizing both types of accounts. Let's take a look at the rules for both plans so you can make the most out of investing. Read More...

Sep 13, 2021 For an interest-only retirement, you’ll need to have a large nest egg. How big a nest egg depends on your target income and the interest rate. For example, an annual income of $48,000 would require a nest egg of $1.6 million, assuming a 3% interest rate. And that’s not even accounting for inflation. To make sure you have enough income when you retire, consider consulting with a  financial advisor. Read More...

Jun 12, 2019 For most, the advantages of 401(k) plans outweigh the disadvantages. But there are some people who would benefit from steering their retirement savings to other investment vehicles. Could you be one of them? This roundup of 401(k) disadvantages will help you decide. If you want more hands-on guidance while examining how a 401(k) could fit into your whole financial profile, this financial advisor finder tool can help you get professional advice. Read More...

Jan 20, 2021 A Roth 403(b) plan is one type of tax-advantaged, employer-sponsored retirement savings account that combines elements of a Roth IRA and a traditional 403(b). While these plans share some similarities with 401(k) plans, they have certain characteristics that set them apart. If you have the option to save for retirement in a Roth 403(b) through your employer, this guide can help you understand how they work and what tax benefits they offer. For more hands-on guidance as you navigate the ins and outs of a Roth 403(b) plan, consider finding a financial advisor. Read More...

Jul 17, 2019 For the most part, the money you place in your retirement accounts is untouchable during your working years. If you follow these rules, the IRS affords you various tax benefits for  saving for retirement. However, there may come a time when you need money and have no choice but to pull funds from your 401(k). Two viable options include 401(k) loans and hardship withdrawals. A 401(k) loan is generally more attainable than a hardship withdrawal, but the latter can come in handy during times of financial strife. Read More...

May 28, 2019 Deferred retirement option plans (DROPs) are of benefit to both employees and employers. In exchange for continuing to work past your eligible retirement age, an employer will set aside annual lump sum payments into an interest-bearing account. Upon retirement, the money that has grown in this account will be paid to you, on top of the rest of your accrued earnings. If you have more questions or want some help getting your retirement plans together, consider talking with a financial advisor. Read More...

May 20, 2019 From a retiree’s perspective, the biggest risk with defined benefit retirement is that you are at the mercy of your former employer. That could put your retirement at risk if the employer or its pension fund runs into trouble. The solution: The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), which was founded in 1974 and protects retirees if a pension plan becomes insolvent. As of 2019, the PBGC covers more than 26,000 individual pension plans. In turn, around 40 million American workers have insurance protection for their pension earnings. Read More...

May 16, 2019 Pension plans are becoming less and less common in the private sector. But if you have a pension, you’ll likely have to make a decision whether to opt for monthly pension payouts or one lump sum payment. Both options have their pros and cons, and there are several important factors to consider before making your choice. These considerations include your financial situation, other retirement savings, expected retirement costs and more. Read More...

May 15, 2019 If you work for a small business (one with 100 or fewer employees) you may not think much of your retirement savings options. In fact, a recent study from LIMRA found that only 42% of small businesses offered retirement benefits. There are, however, a few retirement savings vehicles intended just for small businesses: SIMPLE IRAs and SIMPLE 401(k)s. These were born out of the Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees (SIMPLE) program, and they are both tax-advantaged. While the two plan choices are similar, there are a few subtle differences worth noting. Read More...

May 14, 2019 If you're ready to start taking income from your retirement accounts or investment portfolio, you might consider setting up a Systematic Withdrawal Plan (SWP). SWPs are a way to set up regular payouts from your investments, either monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually.  They are commonly used during retirement but can also be utilized at other points throughout your life. Most brokerages allow you to set up an SWP yourself, though you may also wish to find a financial advisor who can walk you through the process. Read More...

Aug 23, 2019 Medicare and Medicaid are two health insurance programs run by the government. Despite their similar names, they differ in some key respects. Medicare is available to most Americans over the age of 65, whereas Medicaid is exclusive to lower-income individuals and some disabled people. Another big difference is that the specifics of Medicaid vary from state-to-state, whereas Medicare is the same nationwide. Your usage of both, one or neither of these programs could have a big impact on your retirement budget, so it pays to know how each works. Read More...

Jul 17, 2019 Getting the timing right for retirement matters for your financial well-being. While many people relish the idea of starting their retirement ahead of schedule, retiring too early could leave you without enough savings to maintain your lifestyle over the long-term. Retiring early can also heavily impact your Social Security benefits. But what constitutes early retirement? Read More...

Dec 11, 2019 Most retirement experts recommend you contribute 10% to 15% of your income toward your 401(k) each year. The most you can contribute in 2019 is $19,000, and those age 50 or older can contribute an extra $6,000. In 2020, you can contribute a maximum of $19,500. Those age 50 or older will be able to contribute an additional $6,500. However, you can use our 401(k) calculator to figure out how much you can expect to earn based on any contribution amount you choose. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 The sole proprietor 401(k) is a retirement plan designed for small-business owners who don’t have any employees or only a spouse as their sole employee. It allows participants to invest more money than they could through a traditional 401(k). As you explore the benefits of the sole proprietor 401(k) to see if it’s the right choice for you. We can also help you find a financial advisor who can guide you through making the right retirement planning decisions. Read More...

Jan 21, 2021 Catch-up contributions allow people age 50 or older to save more in their 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts (IRAs) than the usual annual contribution limits set by the IRS. The idea is to make up for the years you didn't save enough, probably when you were young. Generally people earn more as they advance in years and in their career, which is why catch-up contributions start at age 50. If you have the extra money, it makes sense to make catch-up contributions - caps depend on the kind of retirement account. But how to allocate the money in your portfolio is not so obvious, particularly if you are near retirement age. For help figuring out the best retirement strategy for your needs, talk to a  financial advisor. Read More...

Oct 15, 2021 Protecting your retirement savings after a divorce may not be at the top of your mind when you are going through the process of splitting up with your spouse. The emotional toll on you and your family, after all, likely takes precedence. Still, your financial well-being matters, and that includes making sure that your retirement savings, including any money you have in a 401(k) or other retirement savings plan, are protected. There are some financial advisors who are certified divorce financial analysts (CDFAs) and can help you through this process. If you need an advisor, find one with SmartAsset's free financial advisor matching tool. Read More...

Oct 12, 2021 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 could help you create a financial plan for your retirement and tax needs. Read More...

Oct 23, 2020 A 457(b) plan is an employer-sponsored, tax-deferred  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 their retirement account. This provides an immediate tax break by reducing participants' taxable income. There are a number of rules associated with 457(b) plans, though. These include contribution limits, rollover rules, withdrawal rules and more. A financial advisor can help you build and manage your retirement plan. Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Dec 13, 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...

Jan 20, 2021 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...

Mar 18, 2020 A gold IRA is one way to  save for retirement. As its name suggests, instead of stocks or bonds, it holds gold in the form of bars, coins and bullion. It can also hold other precious metals like platinum and silver. Typically, people who have a gold IRA are looking to diversify their assets and hedge against inflation. But given that gold has no earnings while sitting in your custodian's safe, there is little advantage in putting it in an IRA, whose main feature is tax deferral on earnings. Also, when you reach 70.5 or 72 (depending on when you were born), you'll have to take a required minimum distribution ( RMD) from the gold IRA, which will involve selling the gold if it's your only IRA. It may make more sense to diversify your portfolio and hedge against inflation with other holdings. A financial advisor can help you strategize and implement a plan. Read More...

Oct 22, 2021 Regardless of when you do it, making a withdrawal from your 401(k) involves following a handful of rules. That's because you're tapping your tax-deferred retirement savings, which means the IRS keeps a close eye on it. During retirement, these withdrawals are also known as distributions. Perhaps the most important age when it comes to 401(k) withdrawals is 59.5. That's because withdrawals made before that age come with a steep 10% penalty. For more hands-on guidance with your situation, consider enlisting the help of a financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 23, 2021 A non-deductible IRA is a retirement plan you fund with after-tax dollars. 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. A financial advisor can also help guide you in making retirement planning decisions for your situation. 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...

Feb 12, 2021 In exchange for paying premiums, life insurance provides beneficiaries with a large payment upon the insured's death. It's a way to protect your family after you pass, especially if that happens when they still depend on you financially. But there are many varieties of life insurance, including indexed universal life (IUL) insurance. This allows the cash value of your policy to grow when certain stock market indexes are doing well, while protecting you from losses. Choosing the right insurance policy takes some planning. Find a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Jan 12, 2021 Not to be confused with a divorce decree or property settlement, a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) specifically recognizes an ex-spouse's or soon-to-be-ex-spouse's interest in the other spouse's qualified retirement plan. A QDRO can also recognize the rights of the plan participant's children or other dependents. A state court or authority issues a QDRO, but a retirement plan administrator can reject it if its requirements do not agree with the plan's rules. This is why it's important to submit a QDRO to a retirement plan administrator as soon as possible - and ideally before a divorce is final. A financial advisor who specializes in divorce can help you with a QDRO. In the meantime, here's what you need to know. Read More...

Sep 29, 2021 Variable annuities offer strong growth potential and considerable risk all at once. Because the returns you earn through a variable annuity are based on the performance of an investment portfolio, you stand the chance of losing money. However, there are few limitations on how much you can earn with a variable annuity, which makes them undoubtedly enticing. Whether a variable annuity is a good idea for you is a deeply personal decision, as it completely depends on your needs. If you have specific questions about annuities or retirement planning, reach out to a local financial advisor. Read More...

Mar 18, 2020 For many older Americans, their Social Security check is their only source of income. Without it, nearly 15 million retirees would be below the poverty level, according to the Center on Budget and and Policy Priorities. Established in 1935 as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal, Social Security provides a progressive benefit. This means it's weighted so that it replaces a larger percentage of earnings for workers who were on the low end of the income scale than on the high end. Still, how much you get depends on a formula that uses your earnings. In January 2020, the average Social Security check was $1,503, while the maximum check for someone who retired at full retirement age (currently 66) was $3,011. As a result, most Americans who want to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement need to save - and grow their nest egg. If you're not sure how to do this, especially the growing part, a financial advisor can help. In the meantime, read on for more about one of the federal government's most successful entitlement program.  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...

Dec 22, 2020 If you miss the required minimum distribution (RMD) for your retirement account, you'll essentially have two choices: pay a substantial fine or apply for a waiver. Either way, you'll have a bit of paperwork to fill out, and of course you'll have to fix your mistake and take the required distributions. 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 could consider  talking to a financial advisor. Read More...

Dec 13, 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...

Oct 14, 2020 The most you will have to pay in Social Security taxes for 2021 will be $8,853.60. That's what you will pay if you earn $142,800 or more. As its name suggests, the  Social Security tax goes to the Social Security program. For 2021 it amounts to 6.2% on all income up to $142,800. Employers deduct the tax from paychecks and match it, so that 12.4% goes to the program for each employee. If you're self-employed, you'll pay the total 12.4%, though you can deduct half on your tax return. The earnings limit is called the Social Security Wage Base, and it typically goes up every year. The annual rise began in 1972, when the wage base was $9,000.   Read More...

Dec 09, 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 service. Read More...

Feb 05, 2020 If you've worked in the U.S. for at least a decade, you can expect to receive some Social Security retirement benefits once you retire. The idea is that if you pay into the system throughout your career via  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. If you have questions about retirement planning or Social Security, consider meeting with a  financial advisor in your area. 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...

Jun 28, 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...

Nov 25, 2020 While there are a lot of questions about the future of Social Security, the fact is that it is highly unlikely the program will ever actually run out of money. 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 provides most of the funds in the program. Today's retirees use money today's workers are paying; tomorrow's retirees use money tomorrow's workers will pay. For more help with Social Security and any other financial questions, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Oct 19, 2021 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. This retirement 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. Consider  talking to a financial advisor if you have specific questions about your situation. 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 for you based on your finances and preferences. 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...

Jan 21, 2021 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...

Dec 12, 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...

Dec 13, 2019 The main benefit of 401(k) plans is that they allow retirement savings to grow tax deferred. But there are more advantages, especially in comparison to individual retirement accounts (IRAs). Read on for these less-known 401(k) benefits - plus for info about the newer Roth 401(k). Wish you were more retirement-ready? A financial advisor can help. Read More...

Jan 12, 2021 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...

Oct 23, 2020 Under normal circumstances, you cannot withdraw money from your traditional individual retirement account (IRA) without facing a penalty tax until you reach age 59.5. You can, however, avoid this sanction if you make an IRA hardship withdrawal. The IRS typically allows this when you need the money to cover certain expenses, like substantial medical bills or education debt. SmartAsset can also help you find a local financial advisor to guide you through all of your options. Read More...

Aug 23, 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...

Aug 01, 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...

Jan 25, 2021 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. Let's go through all the necessary documents you'll need to have. If you need help setting and reaching retirement goals, consider working with a financial advisor to help you build a smart retirement plan.  Read More...

Jul 24, 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...

Nov 08, 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...

Jul 25, 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 free financial advisor matching service. 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...

Jan 13, 2020 Financial Independence / Retire Early, aka FIRE, has come to connote the idea of saving and growing enough money so that you can stop working for a living at a younger age than your folks did. Followers call it a movement. Critics call it a fad. Millennials are typically identified with it, though any generation can take up its main tenets of living more frugally and investing their savings smartly. Read on to learn more about FIRE - and for common strategies that will help you gain financial independence. Of course, a financial advisor can provide hands-on, professional guidance, too. 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...

Dec 12, 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...

Feb 06, 2020 With a mySocialSecurity account, you can manage your benefits online. For example, you can set up the direct deposit of your check or notify the Social Security Administration of your address change. But people who aren't yet receiving benefits may want to set up their account now, too. The reason: you can access your Social Security statement, which the government stopped annually mailing in 2011 to save money. It's important to check this report regularly to make sure your annual earnings history is correct (your benefits are based on it) and to see your future estimated benefits (to calculate how much more you need to save for retirement). Opening an account takes just minutes, and it's free. Read More...

Dec 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...

Dec 13, 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. As you navigate this process, it can also be helpful to enlist the help of a trusted financial advisor. Read More...

Jul 25, 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...

Sep 01, 2020 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 outpatient services that are not covered by Part A, which is what typically covers inpatient hospital stays. This coverage is best suited for those who are in retirement. If you have questions as to how Medicare Part B will fit into your financial plans, consider consulting with a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Feb 18, 2020 There's plenty to consider when it comes to deciding where you want to  retire. Some factors that typically come into play include cost of living, access to hospitals and medical care, retirement taxes and entertainment. In many cases, though, the best place to retire will be different for every retiree. Therefore, you'll need to consider what's most important to you to get the most out of your golden years. To help you settle on a place to retire, our experts go over nine distinct places that span four continents. Consider meeting with a financial advisor in your area if you still have questions about where the best place to retire for you and your spouse is. Read More...

Jul 26, 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...

Jan 21, 2021 Of the different kinds of employer-sponsored retirement savings plans,  401(k) plans are the most common. Indeed, an estimated 80 million Americans actively participate in defined contribution plans such as 401(k)s. But you can expect to see this number rise, thanks to the SECURE Act, which was signed into law at the end of 2019. The act requires companies that offer 401(k) plans to extend the benefit to part-time workers (who work 500 hours per year for three consecutive years). A financial advisor could help you create a financial plan to reach your retirement goals. Let's break down how 401(k) plans work and how to get the most out of your retirement savings account. Read More...

Nov 25, 2019 With a traditional individual retirement account (IRA), you contribute tax-deductible dollars to an investment account, where they grow tax deferred. How much you can contribute per tax year is set by Congress. (For 2019, it's $6,000, plus a catch-up $1,000 for people 50 and older.) There are other rules about how much is tax-deductible if your employer offers a 401(k) plan, when you can start making penalty-free withdrawals and more. Though fairly straightforward, you'll want to be fully educated on traditional IRAs before you decide to use one to save for your retirement. Read More...

Sep 24, 2021 If you’re building your retirement saving, 401(k) plans are a great option. These employer-sponsored plans allow you to contribute up to $19,500 in pre-tax money in 2021. 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.  For help with all retirement issues, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 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...

Oct 22, 2021 Rolling over your  401(k) plan to a  Roth IRA is a taxable event. You'll have to pay income tax on your contributions, your employer-match contributions and all earnings. Depending on the size of your account, this could push you into a much higher tax bracket, so you shouldn't proceed before you've done the math. You may also want to consult a financial advisor to make sure this move is the right one for you. Read More...

Oct 02, 2020 Unclaimed money is cash you are owed from a variety of source that you've not gone through the proper channels to get for yourself. It 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. There are many places you can look for unclaimed property and funds. This article details some of the places you should look for an unexpected payday. If you need help understanding the tax implication of claiming these funds or help determine how best to invest them, consider getting hands-on guidance from a financial advisor. Read More...

Dec 13, 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...

Aug 23, 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...

Apr 03, 2020 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. A f inancial adivsor can help you prepare so that a retirement in The Last Frontier is financially feasible for you. 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...

Jul 23, 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...

Aug 21, 2019 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 21, 2021 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 narrowed them down to the best eight. They 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...

Jan 21, 2020 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...

Aug 23, 2019 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...

Sep 02, 2021 They say it’s better to give than to receive. But when you’re the one doing the giving, there are some extra things that you'll have to take into account besides the packaging - like the gift tax and the lifetime gift tax exemption. When giving sizable gifts, it’s important to know about the laws surrounding the gift tax so that you don’t end up with any surprising tax bills or other difficulties. The lifetime gift tax exemption looks at how your gifts accumulate over the course of your lifetime. A financial advisor can help with gift taxes and any other financial issues you may have. 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...

Sep 29, 2021 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. When comparing SIMPLE IRA vs. SEP-IRA, there are both similarities and key differences to keep in mind. Knowing what each of them offers can help you decide which is right for you, or which to offer your employees if you're a small business owner. A financial advisor can help you create a financial plan to reach your retirement goals. Read More...

Dec 16, 2019 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...

Dec 03, 2019 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 measures the time it will take for you to receive back a bond's price from the cash flows it produces. 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...

Dec 13, 2019 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...

Aug 23, 2019 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 19, 2020 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...

Dec 12, 2019 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 12, 2019 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...

Dec 13, 2019 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...

Jan 14, 2020 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...

Aug 20, 2020 Retirement means different things to different people. For some, it’s all about lounging on a beach, hitting the links or taking the boat out on the lake. Others are focused on finding a place that balances safety, affordability and healthcare access. And some people will plan to keep working in retirement, at least part time: A 2019 study from the AARP found that more than 20% of people 65 and older are working or looking for work, compared with just 10% in 1985. With these priorities in mind, SmartAsset set out to find the best places in America for retirees to live and work. To do so, we compared 525 cities (each with at least 65,000 in population) across a wide range of metrics: population above the age of 65, unemployment rate for seniors, housing costs as a percentage of retirement income, estimated tax burden for seniors, crime rates, and access to important amenities like retirement communities and medical centers. Here's what we found. Key Findings Florida Sunshine. Florida dominates the top 10 of this study, with five of the 10 best places for retirees to live and work in the Sunshine State. Low tax rates are a major reason for this, as are low costs of living: Housing costs in these five Florida cities average about 27.9% of retirement income, compared to the average of about 32.5% across all cities in our study. Housing is expensive. The affordability of housing may be one of the biggest concerns for retirees. In many of the cities we analyzed, median housing costs were more than 30% of the median retirement income, which means the average person is housing cost-burdened. 1. Fort Myers, FL Located on the Gulf Coast of Florida, Fort Myers is the best place in America for retirees to live and work. It is especially strong in the tax department, with a senior tax burden of just 13.59%. (This number estimates the total sales tax and income tax the average senior will pay.) In terms of activities for seniors, there are many museums and science centers in the city. It's also a good baseball town: The Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins hold their spring training in Fort Myers, and the city is also home to the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels Class-A minor league team. Fort Myers is fairly affordable in terms of housing: Housing costs are just 22.44% of average retirement income, 25th on this list. The city does have fairly high unemployment for seniors, at 5.6%, so that is something to be mindful of if you want to work in retirement. 2. Scottsdale, AZ Scottsdale, Arizona is known for having a large older population -- 23.42% of the population is at least 65, the seventh-highest rate in this study -- so as a retiree, you’ll have plenty of peers with whom to socialize. Scottsdale is located near Phoenix, so you’ll also have access to all the attractions a big city offers, including cultural institutions and teams playing in all four of North America’s major sports leagues. Also near Scottsdale is a casino for your entertainment, found at the Talking Stick Resort. Just don’t gamble away your retirement savings: You’ll need it to pay for the expensive housing, which comes in at 29.07% of average retirement income, towards the bottom of the cities in the top 10. The unemployment rate for seniors is 4.1%. 3. Medford, OR Medford, Oregon, the first West Coast city on this list, has an average tax rate of just 12.18% for seniors, and there are more than five retirement centers per 10,000 residents -- both in the top 10 rankings for those metrics in this study. Medford is not far from Crater Lake National Park, so retirees who want the chance to explore the great outdoors will have plenty of opportunities to do so. There also seems to be plenty of employment options for retirees in Medford: The senior unemployment rate is just 1.6%. 4. Melbourne, FL Melbourne, Florida is the next Sunshine State locale on this list. Located on the Space Coast of Florida, Melbourne is a good spot for anyone who wants access to medical options, as there are more than 46 medical centers per 10,000 residents, a top-25 ranking for that metric on this list. Melbourne is also a great option for seniors who want to convince their grandchildren to visit them -- it’s just 60 miles from Orlando, home of Disney World and Universal Studios. Melbourne has a senior unemployment rate of 2.1%. The tax burden for seniors is 14.51%, among the 50-lowest in this study. 5. Walnut Creek, CA Walnut Creek is the first of two California cities to make this top 10. More than 29% of the population in Walnut Creek is 65 or older, the second-highest percentage in this study. Walnut Creek is in the East Bay area, not far from Berkeley and Oakland. That proximity to culture - from sports, to art, to music - will be a major plus for anyone who chooses to retire in Walnut Creek. Walnut Creek is a safe place to live, too. There were just 154 incidents of violent crime per 100,000 residents, a rate that puts it safely and squarely within the top 100 of this study for that metric. 6. Boca Raton, FL More than 26% of the population in Boca Raton, Florida is 65 or older, the fourth-highest rate on this list, so you’ll have friends in your demographic around. Among the biggest attractions in the city are the beaches, so if you’re the type to set out a chair and relax with your toes in the sand, Boca may be the choice for you. Equipped with great medical infrastructure, Boca Raton has 83 medical centers per 10,000 residents, the second-most in this study. The unemployment rate for seniors in Boca is fairly high, though, at 4.9%. 7. Clearwater, FL Clearwater, Florida has a lot of retirement communities, more than two per 10,000 residents, so if it’s important for you to live in a place that caters to your specific lifestyle, this may be a good place to look. The high number of retirement communities naturally means there is a fairly high population of seniors: 21.86% of the people living in Clearwater are 65 or over. Clearwater is located on the Tampa Bay, so you’ll have access to all the culture and entertainment options in Tampa and St. Petersburg, including a large gallery of blown glass by legendary artist Dale Chihuly. If you're from the Philadelphia area, it is worth noting that the Phillies play their spring training games right in Clearwater. 8. Newport Beach, CA The second California town on this list is Newport Beach. It places in the top 20% of this list for the lowest violent crime rates -- just 144 per 10,000 residents. As the name suggests, Newport Beach is right on the water in Orange County, in the heart of SoCal. One popular destination is Balboa Island, where you can take a ferry to shops and restaurants. Newport Beach is another city where you’ll have no problem finding fellow retirees to befriend, as 22.69% of the population is at least 65. 9. Delray Beach, FL The final Florida city to make the top 10 is Delray Beach, where nearly 25% of the population is 65 or older, the sixth-highest rate on this list. Any Japanophiles looking for a place to retire should consider Delray Beach: The Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens has tea ceremonies and calligraphy workshops. Delray is also a good choice for those who care about access to medical care: There are nearly 58 per 100,000 residents, a top 10 ranking. 10. Greenville, SC The estimated tax burden for seniors in Greenville, South Carolina is just 14.13%, in the top 50 for this study. Both sports fans and art lovers have plenty to do here. There is a Single A baseball team, the Greenville Drive, and the Greenville County Museum of Art has a large collection of American art. Housing costs represent 24.72% of retirement income in Greenville, the 87th-lowest percentage in this study. Top Five Cities With More than 200,000 People Many of the cities on the above list are on the smaller side. If you’re looking for a slightly more urban experience, consider these locations: 1. Scottsdale, AZ Scottsdale is the only city with more than 200,000 people to make our overall top-10 list, so you know this desert locale is a good choice. Seniors make up 23.42% of the population here. 2. Miami, FL Miami is a bustling cultural metropolis, so be prepared to be surrounded by plenty of people on your way to get a Cuban sandwich. Miami has strong health-care access: It has more than 81 medical centers per 10,000 residents, the third-highest rate on our list. 3. Portland, OR Portland is great for those who like the tranquil forests of Cascadia and who want to be on the front line for the latest hipster food trend. It’s also a financially palatable locale for retirees: Seniors in Portland can expect to pay taxes of 12.18%, the fifth-lowest among cities in our study. 4. Boise, ID Boise is remote, but it’s a fairly big city. Boise State University is there, so there are plenty of cultural and sporting options for entertainment. Boise has a senior unemployment rate of 2.4% and housing costs make up just 25.98% of retirement income, safely below the threshold of being housing cost-burdened. 5. Tampa, FL The center of the Tampa Bay area, Tampa is located right on the water and has all the amenities of a big city. The tax burden for Tampa seniors is just 14.51%, and the senior unemployment rate is a moderate 4.1%. Data and Methodology SmartAsset found the best cities to retire in the U.S. by looking at data on 525 cities - all with populations of 65,000 or more. We compared cities across eight metrics: Percentage of the population that is 65 and older. Data comes from the Census Bureau's 5-year American Community Survey. Unemployment rate for seniors. This is the unemployment rate for individuals who are 65 and older. Data comes from the Census Bureau's 5-year American Community Survey. Note that the most recent numbers available for senior unemployment are from 2018, so this does not take into account areas that were particularly impacted by job losses due to COVID-19. Housing costs as a percentage of average retirement income. Average retirement income includes private retirement income from savings, IRAs, 401(k)s or pensions along with Social Security income. Data comes from the Census Bureau's 5-year American Community Survey. Estimated senior tax burden. This estimates the income and sales tax burden for seniors. Specifically, we calculated effective income tax rates based on a retiree earning $35,000 annually (from retirement savings, Social Security and part-time employment). We subtracted income taxes paid from gross income to determine disposable income. From there, we factored in sales taxes, assuming disposable income was spent on taxable goods. Data comes from SmartAsset's tax calculators. Retirement communities per 10,000 residents. Data comes from the Census Bureau's 2018 Zip Codes Business Patterns Survey. Medical centers per 10,000 residents. Medical centers include physicians' offices and other health offices. Data comes from the Census Bureau's 2018 Zip Codes Business Patterns Survey. Violent crime rate. This is the number of violent crimes per 100,000 residents. Data comes from the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program and is for 2018. We used data from Neighborhood Scout for cities where FBI data was not available. Property crime rate. This is the number of violent crimes per 100,000 residents. Data comes from the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting Program and is for 2018. We used data from Neighborhood Scout for cities where FBI data was not available. We found the mean for each metric and how each city fell comparatively (i.e. how many standard deviations above or below the mean). From there, we calculated an overall score, giving a single weighting to all metrics except violent and property crime rates, both of which were half weighted. The city ranking as the best place to retire received a score of 100 while the city ranking worst received a score of 0. Retirement Tips Wherever you want to retire, a financial advisor can help you prepare. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool connects you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors, get started now. A workplace retirement plan is often the simplest way to save for retirement. If you have access to a 401(k), make sure you’re taking advantage of it. Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Nastco,  ©iStock.com/SilverV Read More...

Dec 13, 2019 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...

Apr 05, 2021 An annuity is good way to supplement your retirement savings to ensure your golden years are as smooth as possible. By locking in a fixed monthly income in exchange for an upfront payment, you can make sure that you’ll be able to handle all of your bills and expenses when you are no longer working. If you decide to buy an annuity for your retirement, you'll likely want to know what the future value of annuity is — or, in other words, what the total value of your annuity payments will be at any given point in the future. Luckily, there's a future value of annuity formula to figure that out. Read More...

Jul 31, 2019 The best retirement communities in Tennessee offer a range of amenities to backdrops like breathtaking mountains. You can also reside in luxurious homes with most maintenance costs covered by homeowners association (HOA) fees. Below, we cover the best retirement communities in the Volunteer State along with everything you can expect. This includes the price tag. But to make the most out of these great communities, you need careful financial planning. A financial advisor can provide expert guidance. You can use our free SmartAsset financial advisor matching service to find one. Advisors can also help with all financial issues, including things like estate tax. Read More...

Nov 13, 2018 If you're considering a move to California, you might be wondering how much you can expect to earn and what the average salary in California is. A lot of factors go into determining how much money you'll make no matter which state you live in, of course. Your chosen field and level of experience both play into how much you can expect to earn from your job. The area of the state in which you live will also impact your paycheck. You should take all of these factors into account when figuring out how much you can expect to earn in the Golden State. Read More...

Dec 13, 2019 Your Social Security number is an essential piece of information, used for everything from getting  Social Security benefits to opening a bank account. You'll find your number on your Social Security card, which can also be used as proof of your identity. While most parents get a Social Security card for their children at birth, you might find yourself needing to apply for one - either because it needs to be replaced, or because you never received one in the first place. To do this, you'll need to fill out Form SS-5.  Read More...

Jul 20, 2021 The best retirement communities in Maryland provide their residents with several options to stay active while at the same time enjoying a laid-back lifestyle. Large clubhouses feature state-of-the-art gyms, spas and plenty of meeting rooms to spend quality time with your new friends. This article will cover everything you can expect at Maryland's retirement communities from amenities to scenery and price tags. However, you can always find a financial advisor to help you make the best retirement planning decisions. Read More...

Nov 12, 2018 When you retire, you’ll probably want nothing more than to sit in the sun, sipping lemonade and watching time pass from the comfort of your porch. There is no better place to do that than the South. Where in Dixie, though, do you want to spend your retirement? To help you decide, we’ve assembled a list of the top 10 best places to retire in the South and laid out what makes each location so appealing. If you want to live in one of these sun-kissed locales, you should start planning now. A financial advisor can help you achieve your retirement goals, and SmartAsset can help you find a financial advisor with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Oct 05, 2021 Retirement communities in Florida have plenty to offer. From luxury homes to state-of-the-art fitness centers and amenities, you can spend your golden years in style while staying in the Sunshine State. Read on to learn more about the best retirement communities and what you can expect to find. Each community is listed based on general home prices, from low to high. You can also find a financial advisor to help you make a decision on where you want to retire. Read More...

Nov 12, 2018 Retirement is the time in your life when you can finally forget the stress of work and just relax. You may find yourself wondering, though, where exactly you want to spend your golden years. If you know you want to settle somewhere near the Atlantic but aren't quite sure where, this guide will walk you through the best places to retire on the East Coast. Making your dream retirement a reality takes money, though, and saving enough money takes planning. You might want to consider hiring a financial advisor to help you. SmartAsset can help you find a financial advisor who is right for you with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Dec 12, 2019 When you reach a certain age, you might want to find a place to live where you can relax and engage with other people who have lived a life as full as yours. Retirement communities can be perfect for this. You’ll find haven from the outside world as you gain access to amenities and entertainment options and shed the burden of some home upkeep responsibilities in your retirement. Read More...

Nov 09, 2018 If spending your retirement surrounded by other active adults in a community with plenty of options for fun sounds ideal, you may want to consider a retirement community. There are numerous retirement communities in Texas. This guide will walk you through some of the best options in the Lone Star State, many of which are near the best places to retire in Texas. We provide the information you’ll need to decide which retirement community is going to check all of your boxes, whether that’s easy access to the golf course or a deluxe indoor pool. Read More...

Nov 09, 2018 Do you want to live in the crisp Rocky Mountain West in retirement, but you don’t want to deal with shoveling snow in the winter? A retirement community in Colorado may be the perfect place for you to hang your hat in your golden years. You can take advantage of all the amenities that these places have to offer and be part of a community of like-minded retirees. Plus, almost all of these retirement communities handle lawn care and snow removal for you, so your back will absolutely thank you. This guide lists some of the best retirement communities in Colorado for you to consider. Read More...

Jul 31, 2019 Retirement can be a grand part of your life. This is especially true if you surround yourself with other folks whose working days are behind them and who want to wile away the days with some cards and maybe a cold glass of lemonade. You can find that life in the Keystone State at any of the retirement communities in Pennsylvania. We’ll give you a glimpse of what each one has to offer, from floor plans to entertainment options. If you want help planning for a retirement in one of these locations, consider finding a financial advisor with our free financial advisor matching service. If you're already living in Pennsylvania, we also have lists of the top financial advisor firms in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh that you can check out. Read More...

Feb 25, 2021 The best retirement communities in Arizona have a lot to offer. Given that the state has everything from golf courses and resort-style pools to vast hiking trails surrounded by beautiful mountain tops, it's hard to get bored here. Read on to learn more about the best retirement communities in Arizona. Each place is listed based on general home prices, from low to high. Still, you can find a financial advisor to help you make a choice based on your individual circumstances. Read More...

Nov 07, 2019 A big part of your financial health relies on saving enough for retirement, from maximizing your 401(k) contributions to growing your other investment portfolios. But what happens to your investments once you reach retirement? Of course, finally reaching your golden years doesn’t mean you have to close all your investment accounts. Instead, you’ll need to make some changes to your portfolio to reflect the life change. For those who want hands-on help from an expert, consider enlisting the help of a financial advisor. Read More...

Nov 01, 2018 The best retirement communities in South Carolina are definitely a sight to see. From pristine beaches and palm trees to miles of hiking trails, South Carolina offers several opportunities to relax and stay active as you settle in a community of your contemporaries during your golden years. In this article, we’ll explore what you can expect at the best retirement communities in South Carolina. The area offers something in everyone’s price range. We list different retirement communities in order of home prices, from lowest to highest. Of course, consulting with a  financial advisor can always help as you arrange your financial strategy in your post-work life. Read More...

Nov 01, 2018 The best retirement communities in North Carolina offer plenty of amenities and the backdrop of rolling hills, mountains and pristine waterways. And you can make new friends at large clubhouses and country clubs. So you think the Tar Heel State may be the place you'd like to spend your golden years, read on for our coverage of the best retirement communities in North Carolina. We cover entertainment and recreation options as well as access to medical centers and major attractions. These retirement communities in North Carolina are listed based on general home prices, ranging from low to high. But it’s always a good idea to find a financial advisor whenever you’re looking up affordable retirement communities or planning your retirement. Read More...

Oct 30, 2018 Retirement communities in Virginia offer a range of amenities and plenty of opportunities to stay active well into your golden years. You can enjoy championship golf courses designed by the likes of Arnold Palmer. Or you can relax at spas and heated indoor pools. This article will cover everything you can expect from the luxurious retirement communities in Virginia as well as the price tag, as you decide from among the best places to retire in Virginia. We break down our list based on general home price ranges, from smallest to largest. But a finding a financial advisor can always help you in your planning process, especially when you're closest to retirement and ready to enter a bright, new chapter of your life. Read More...

Oct 18, 2021 When you walk down the aisle, you probably assume the union that you are about to enter into will last a lifetime. The statistics tell us, though, that many don’t. Unfortunately, sometimes marriages end in divorce, which on top of personal turmoil can bring a host of legal and financial issues. If you live in Pennsylvania, this guide will explain everything you need to know about divorce in the Keystone State, from child support to retirement plan division. If you are in the midst of a divorce or about to file for one, it might make sense to work with a financial advisor to help you through the process. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Newlyweds usually think that their love is going to last a lifetime. Unfortunately, that isn’t always true. As statistics show, some unions end in divorce. This is obviously difficult on an emotional level, but it can also cause legal and financial troubles. If you live in Florida, this guide will take you through what you need to know about ending a marriage in the Sunshine State. You’ll learn how to handle everything from your retirement plan to child support so that your divorce doesn’t cause any more issues than it needs to. Finding a financial advisor can also make a divorce easier. SmartAsset can help you find an advisor who is a good fit for you with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Mar 24, 2021 Thailand receives a lot of attention as a retirement destination -- and for good reason. The cost of living is low, which means you can stretch your retirement savings further. The country has a rich culture with delicious cuisine and friendly people. The weather is sunny and hot, and there are plenty of beaches to kick back on. For more active retirees, you can visit beautiful temples or go for a hike. Interested? It’s good to get an expert opinion from a financial advisor, but this guide will help you answer what you need to know about spending your golden years in Thailand. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 No one thinks that their marriage is going to end in divorce, but unfortunately it does happen. This is obviously difficult on a personal level, but it also raises a number of legal and financial issues that you’ll have to solve. For those who live in North Carolina, this guide will walk you through the divorce process in the Tar Heel State. Here’s how you’ll handle everything from child support to 401(k) plans during your divorce so your financial life doesn’t go up in flames just because your marriage is ending. If you are going through a divorce, it might make sense to find a financial advisor. SmartAsset can help with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Oct 22, 2021 One of the benefits that makes tax-deferred retirement accounts like 401(k) plans so attractive is their high contribution limits. This becomes especially appealing when your company offers a 401(k) employer match. However, some plans restrict highly compensated employees (HCEs) from making the maximum contribution. Nonetheless, you can avoid these restrictions and find ways to maximize your retirement savings regardless. But first, determine if you are a highly compensated employee in the first place. For help with any retirement questions, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Oct 26, 2018 Going through a divorce is never easy. But if you live in Illinois, it’s important to be aware of Illinois divorce laws before going deep into the proceedings. There are certain eligibility requirements one must meet to even file for divorce. In most cases, you’d need grounds for divorce such as adultery or felony conviction. Furthermore, Illinois courts divide marital property as it deems fair. But this doesn’t always mean an even split. Divorce can mean a period of great mental anguish, but it doesn't need to be hard on your bank account. This article will cover how Illinois divorce laws apply to all possible situations and allow you to be better informed so you can plan accordingly. And if you want extra guidance, consider linking up with a financial advisor in your area to help advise you about divorce laws in Illinois. Read More...

Dec 12, 2019 One of the easiest ways to save for retirement is to contribute to your 401(k). Set up through your employer, a 401(k) allows you to set aside a certain amount of each paycheck before income taxes apply. Sometimes, your employer can also contribute to your 401(k) through an employer match program. This program can significantly boost your retirement savings, and if your employer offers matching, there’s very little extra work you need to do to snag this perk. How Does 401(k) Match Work? It’s important to note that employer matching usually doesn’t mean that your employer will match 100% of your contributions. Rather, your employer typically has a cap to how much they’ll contribute. This amount can be expressed as a dollar amount, a percentage of your salary or a percentage of your own contribution. Your contributions could be capped at 6% of your salary, for example. One way your employer could contribute to your 401(k) is by matching 100% of your contribution up to the cap. If we stick to the original example above, your employer match will max out at 6%. So if you, for example, contribute 5% of your salary to your 401(k), your employer will contribute the same amount. As employer matching is effectively free money, most experts will tell you to make sure you contribute enough to max out the match. In this instance, that means contributing at least 6% to take full advantage of your employer’s match program. However, you should only increase your contribution if you’re safely able to do so without hurting your current financial situation. Of course, not all employers will match your contribution dollar for dollar. Some may “match,” say, 25% of your contribution. If you contribute that same 5% of your salary, your employer will only be contributing 1.25% of your salary to your 401(k). Here, too, there’s likely to be a cap on contributions. Check out the table below for to see what your 401(k) match contributions could look like based on a $40,000 salary. Employer Match with a $40,000 Salary (Example) Employer Match Plan Employer Match Maximum Your Contribution Employer Match Contribution Contribution Needed to Meet Employer Match Maximum 100% 6% of Salary ($2,400) $1,200 $1,200 $2,400 50% 6% of Salary ($2,400) $1,200 $600 $4,800 25% 6% of Salary ($2,400) $1,200 $300 $9,600 Do I Qualify for 401(k) Employer Match? Your eligibility for employer 401(k) matching depends entirely on your employer. Not all employers offer a match program. According to statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2015 (the most recent statistics available) around 51% of companies with a 401(k) offer some sort of match. It’s important not to assume your employer has automatically enrolled you for contribution matches. Be sure to ask when your matches will take effect. If you’re unsure whether your employer offers a match program at all, don’t be afraid to ask your boss or human resources representative about the company policy. Be sure to ask about the guaranteed match amount and what the match limits are. Some firms may also have a vesting period for their contributions. This means that while the company may match 5% of your contributions, those contributions aren’t permanently yours until you’ve been at the company for a predetermined amount of time. If you leave before that time is up, you lose that money from your account. Vesting schedules vary. Some companies have no vesting period, meaning all matching contributions are yours right away. Others have a vesting cliff at which point all of your matching contributions become permanently yours. Others have a schedule where a certain amount of your vested matches -- say 20% -- become permanently yours each year. 401(k) Matching Average and Contribution Limits On average, companies that offer matching will match up to around 3% of an individual employee’s pay. Regardless of your employer’s match, however, you should still do your best to contribute some of your pay to your 401(k). Not only will that lower your tax liability, it will give you a source of income once you hit retirement. Experts recommend saving between 10% and 20% of your gross salary toward retirement. The total amount can be split between your 401(k) and other retirement accounts you may have, or you might keep all of that in your 401(k). Be sure to keep yourself on track throughout the work years, checking whether you’re meeting your age group’s average 401(k) contribution numbers or not. Also always keep in mind that the IRS does put limits on how much you can contribute to your 401(k) each year. For 2019, you’re allowed to contribute a maximum of $19,000. If you’re 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $6,000 a year for a total of $25,000. However, your employer’s match does not count toward that 401(k) limit. The combination of contributions from all sources can reach up to $56,000 for 2019 ($62,000 including catchup contributions). You're allowed to contribute a maximum of $19,500 in 2020, and those age 50 and older can contribute an additional $6,500 for a total of $26,000. The combined employer and employee contribution maximum is $57,000. Bottom Line Employer 401(k) matching is essentially free money that you can easily benefit from. There are typically no extra hoops you need to jump through to qualify. Be sure to check with your company to see whether it offers a match. Also see whether you need to enroll manually,how much you need to contribute to max out the match and what kind of vesting schedule applies. Employer matching can provide a great boost to your retirement savings, so make sure you’re informed on the details and taking full advantage. Tips on Saving for Retirement If navigating 401(k) rules and other retirement topics sounds complicated, a financial advisor can help guide you. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. To branch out a bit more in your retirement savings, you can open an IRA. An IRA, or individual retirement account, isn’t sponsored by your employer. You have to open and fund it entirely yourself, but the upside is that you have more investment options. Of course, you can get an advisor to manage your accounts for you, as well. Photo credit: ©iStock.com/AndreyPopov, ©iStock.com/pixelfit, ©iStock.com/M_a_y_a Read More...

Oct 26, 2018 Virginia divorce laws can be complex. Individuals must meet certain eligibility requirements even before filing for divorce. And unless a couple agrees on how to split property and assets, a judge will divide these as fairly as the court sees fit. Child support and alimony may also play a role. But as emotionally straining as divorce can be, it doesn't have to be a financial nightmare. This article will explore how to file for divorce in Virginia and what you can do to protect your finances, whether you’re the plaintiff (person filing) or defendant. As always, finding a financial advisor can serve as a valuable asset to either party going through divorce in Virginia. Read More...

Oct 26, 2018 When love does not end up being until death do you part, you’ll have a maze of legal and financial challenges to work through as part of your divorce. If you live in California, you’ll need to know about the specifics of how divorce works in the Golden State. This guide will take you through the steps and specifics of divorce in California so you can  keep your finances intact even though your marriage is ending. If you are going through a divorce, you might want to find a financial advisor. SmartAsset can help you find a suitable advisor in your area with our free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Oct 25, 2018 Sometimes, it just doesn’t work out. While you’d like to think that your marriage will last forever, there may come a time when you and your spouse want to call it quits. That scenario brings with it a series of legal and financial challenges that you’ll have to work your way through. If you’re living in Texas, this guide will walk you through all of the intricacies of severing a marriage in the Lone Star State so that you can hopefully avoid having a Texas-sized mess on your hands. Finding a financial advisor can be a good idea during a divorce — try finding one using SmartAsset's free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Sep 23, 2021 If you dream of retiring in Europe, Portugal should be on your list of possible new homes. It's one of the most affordable European countries and many people speak English, especially in the main cities and on the coast. There are sunny beaches in Algarve, wine in Porto and a historic metropolis in Lisbon. What’s more, in recent years the Portuguese government has eased residency requirements and taxes to make the country more appealing to tourists and expatriates. You may be eligible to receive up to 10 years of tax benefits, which will certainly help you extend your retirement savings. A financial advisor can also help you stretch your nest egg and help you decide if Portugal is where you should spend your golden years. Read More...

Oct 24, 2018 It isn’t always entirely clear when we’re supposed to retire. The reality is that everyone’s situation is different. Some people have the means to retire early while others have to work their whole lives. To know exactly when you’ll be ready to retire, you’ll need to do some calculations. This will include looking at your salary, set expenses, savings, projected spending and more. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 When choosing a place to retire, you may want to look for an affordable locale that’s full of things to do and sights to enjoy. If you’re interested in retiring abroad, Argentina is an attractive country to consider. In addition to the low cost of living, it showcases a number of diverse cultures and has varied landscapes to explore - the Andes Mountains, glacial lakes and the Pampas in addition to Buenos Aires. But before making any moves, it’s a good idea to talk with a financial advisor - an expert who can help you understand the best way to make your retirement savings last. If you’re just researching why Argentina could be a good retirement destination and how you might go about moving there, this guide should help you. Read More...

Dec 05, 2018 Retiring in Idaho is a great option for those seeking an active retirement. Because many of the cities given below lie along the Snake River or rest near a National Park, they offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities. There’s still lots to do in Idaho even if the active lifestyle isn’t for you. Plus, the best places to retire aren’t just about fun activities. We also took into account taxes and the presence of medical centers to find the best places to retire in Idaho. Read More...

Mar 24, 2021 If you dream of retiring on a sunny island with delicious food and a thriving local culture, it may be time to look at Greece. The country offers hot summers and mild winters. You can live in a metropolis, like Athens, or a picturesque town on Santorini. Greece has a long history with centuries of fine architecture, delicious foods and a thriving culture. So is Greece the right retirement destination for you? It’s good to get an expert opinion, like from a financial advisor, but this guide will help you answer some basic questions about whether you could afford to live in Greece and whether or not it would be a feasible option for you. Read More...

Oct 17, 2018 Pennsylvania is filled with great places to retire. All 10 of the communities on this list perform well nationally as well. Only Florida and Oregon have 10 communities that all rank higher in our national index. Major cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh provide plentiful resources, but the state is also filled to the brim with small-town charm and space to spread out. If you are considering moving for retirement or you just want help developing your general retirement plan, finding a financial advisor could be a big help. Thankfully, SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool has made the process as easy as filling out a short survey. You can also check out our list of the top financial advisor firms in both Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Read More...

Jul 26, 2019 Saving for retirement is one of the most important financial steps you can take. If you don’t, you could end up entering what should be your golden years struggling to make ends meet. One of the most common ways to save for retirement is to use a workplace retirement plan. While most people use a 401(k), there are other workplace retirement plans you might have access to, such as a 401(a) plan. Read More...

Nov 12, 2018 If retirement in Florida seems a little too overwhelming for you, consider a retirement in Georgia instead. As Florida’s northern neighbor, Georgia offers easy access to the popular beaches and attractions that draw so many other retirees while maintaining enough distance. Plus, Georgia contains a number of its own cities that will set you up for a retirement that's just peachy. You can find the top 10 of those cities, all within close proximity to Atlanta, below. Read More...

Jan 02, 2019 If your dream retirement involves small town living and wide open spaces, then you may be very interested in a Wyoming retirement. The ten communities listed below are our best places to retire in Wyoming, and all performed fairly well in our national ranking of the best places to retire, ranking between 74th and 528th in the country. Wyoming may lack a sprawling urban metropolis or a sandy beach. However, the state is filled with interesting history and plenty of room to spread out. The low cost of living and favorable taxes aren’t bad either; Wyoming ranked 49th in our study of where it costs the most to be rich. Read More...

Nov 30, 2018 If you’re looking to spend retirement abroad and strengthen both your faith and your Jewish identity, then you may want to retire in Israel. Moving to Israel is generally referred to as "making Aliyah." While the process can get a bit complex, there are plenty of resources available to help you along the way. Israel certainly isn't thought of as a retirement destination as quickly as somewhere like Mexico, but it has everything that makes for pleasant golden years. Read on to learn all the essentials for an Israeli retirement. Read More...

Oct 12, 2018 Most people envision retirement as relaxing on a bright beach without a care in the world. But if retiring along sunny shores isn’t quite your thing, consider a retirement in Washington state. Many of the best cities to retire in Washington give you access to beautiful bay views with the cooler weather of the Pacific Northwest. Plus, Washington is tax-friendly toward retirees, ensuring a more affordable retirement option. Read More...

Oct 12, 2018 If scenic New England towns and access to fresh seafood seems like a great way to spend your retirement, Maine may be the perfect place for you to spend your golden years. There are a lot of places in the Pine Tree State to choose from though. This guide takes you through the top 10 best places to retire in Maine and explains exactly why each city is a good place for retirees to live. If you want to retire in Maine, it may be a good idea to hire a financial planner to help you get ready. SmartAsset can help you find the right advisor for you with our free financial advisor matching service. We also have a list of the top 10 financial advisor firms in Maine. Read More...

Oct 12, 2018 The Great Lakes, access to several great cities and a lot of great scenery are just a few of the perks waiting for you if you choose a retirement in Michigan. Where exactly in the Wolverine State should you settle down though? This list lays out the top 10 best places to retire in Michigan and walks you through what makes each of them a worthwhile spot to spend your golden years. If a Michigan retirement is of interest to you, consider finding a financial advisor to help you make it happen. Finding the right financial advisor is key to achieving your retirement goals, and you can do that with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Nov 30, 2018 Many Americans are looking to spend their post-work lives abroad these days, and Switzerland is an attractive destination for a number of reasons. While it may not be as exotic as somewhere like Costa Rica, the beautiful scenery, high standard of living and plentiful English speakers make it a great spot all the same. However, retiring in Switzerland can get pretty pricey, and there are several details you’ll want to have nailed down before you buy plane tickets. Read on to learn all the essentials for a proper Swiss retirement. Read More...

Dec 05, 2018 Between the mountains, the scenery and the relatively easy access to the beaches and other attractions of the West Coast, a retirement in a Mountain West state like Utah certainly has its appeal. But where in the Beehive State should you hang your hat? There are a number of good options. This guide will take you through the top 10 best places to retire in Utah, and tell you what makes each city a great place to spend your golden years. If retiring in Utah is your goal, financial planning can make it a reality. SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service makes it easy to find a financial advisor who can help you achieve your retirement goals and plan for things like the estate tax. Read More...

Jan 08, 2019 Many retirees are traveling abroad to live out their post-work lives these days, and the island of Iceland is becoming an increasingly popular locale. While it’s not as cost-effective as somewhere like Mexico or South America, Iceland’s mythic natural beauty, rich history and plentiful English speakers make it an attractive destination. However, retiring in Iceland or any foreign country can be a bit complex, and you’ll want to have all the logistics settled before you jet off. Read on to learn all the essentials for a proper Icelandic retirement. Read More...

Dec 21, 2018 Do you want to spend your retirement nestled in a quaint New England town? If so, New Hampshire may be the state for you. The question is, where in the Granite State do you want to settle down? This list lays out the top 10 best places to retire in New Hampshire and walks you through what makes each of them such a great place to spend your golden years. If you are planning a New Hampshire retirement but aren’t sure how to make it financially feasible, you should find a financial advisor. SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service makes it easy to find an advisor near you who meets your needs. Read More...

Dec 21, 2018 If you want to spend your retirement someplace warm and with a unique culture, you can’t go wrong with New Mexico. The Land of Enchantment has a lot of great places where you can spend your golden years, but some do shine brighter than the rest. This list identifies the top 10 best places to retire in New Mexico and explains why each town is a great place for retirees to live. If you want help getting ready for your New Mexico retirement, you might want to find a financial advisor to work with using SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Jun 16, 2021 An annuity can be a useful tool when planning for retirement. After you’ve stopped working, you’ll be relying on your savings and Social Security payments to support yourself and enjoy your golden years. Purchasing an annuity creates an additional income stream, which can make things easier. Many people work with a financial advisor to optimize a plan for their retirement goals. Let's take a look at how the present value of your annuity is calculated and how it could impact your retirement. Read More...

Oct 05, 2018 Arizona, the land of cacti and dry heat, is understandably a popular place to retire, especially if you lived in a cold-weather place during your career and you’re eager to escape the snow. Certain cities in The Grand Canyon State, though, are even more appealing to retirees than others. This guide will walk you through the 10 best places to retire in Arizona. Whether you want to retire in Arizona or have another destination in mind, a financial advisor can help you prepare. You can use SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service to get paired with advisors in your area or take a look at SmartAsset’s list of the top financial advisor firms in Arizona. Read More...

Oct 05, 2018 California, here we come... There’s certainly an allure to retiring on the left coast and living out your days under the California sun. The Golden State has more than just great surfing, though, and you can surely find a city to retire there that will fit all your needs. This guide will take you through the top 10 best places to retire in California, explaining what each city has to offer. No matter where you are thinking of retiring, you may want to find a financial advisor to work with using SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Oct 05, 2018 Looking to retire deep in the heart of Texas? To be sure, the Lone Star State has plenty to offer those who have left the working world behind and are looking for somewhere to spend their retirement. Some Texas cities, though, have more to offer retirees than others. This guide will show you the 10 best places to retire in Texas and explain what makes them so good for retirees. Whether a Texas retirement is imminent or just a distant dream, finding a financial advisor can help you get prepared. SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service makes it easier to find a financial advisor to work with who meets your needs. Read More...

Oct 05, 2018 North Carolina has a lot going for it when it comes to retirement: good weather, access to great beaches and a whole lot of barbecue, if that’s the type of thing that floats your boat. There are a lot of cities where you can hang your hat after you retire in the Tar Heel State. This guide will take you through the top 10 best places to retire in North Carolina, explaining what makes each of them so great for retirees. If you are thinking about retirement, you might want to find a financial advisor to work with using SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Jul 17, 2020 Florida is famous for being the premier destination for retirees looking to enjoy their golden years in a sunny, tropical climate. But within this  retirement mecca, there are certain places that come out on top as the best places to retire in Florida. If you are thinking about retiring in Florida or just want a better idea of how to get ready for retirement overall, finding a financial advisor may be a good idea. Read More...

Jan 20, 2021 An individual retirement account, more commonly referred to as an IRA, is a good place to save for your retirement. Once you reach a certain age, though, you’ll have to start taking a minimum amount out of your account each year, called a required minimum distribution (RMD). The RMD table the IRS provides can help you figure out how much you should be withdrawing. This guide will take you through how to use the RMD table, explain what it means for your retirement and discuss what happens if you don't hit the required minimum distribution for a given year. Do you have questions about managing your money in retirement? Talk to a financial advisor today. Read More...

Oct 12, 2018 Retirees flocking to the Volunteer State for their golden years are in for a treat. The best places to retire in Tennessee offer everything from scenic mountain landscapes and hiking trails that will keep you active to historic museums where you can keep your brain stimulated. And in terms of Tennessee tax friendliness, the state ranks quite well overall. It doesn’t tax retirement plan income or Social Security tax benefits. So a 401(k) plan can go further here than in states that will tax it. Plus, Tennessee property taxes are low. But despite these advantages, preparing for retirement can be challenging anywhere. So if you’d like access to professional advice, you can use our financial advisor matching platform, which can connect you with local financial advisors. Read More...

Oct 12, 2018 The best places to retire in South Carolina have plenty to offer from pristine lakes and mountains to historic sites that date back to the Revolutionary War. So it’s no wonder so many nature lovers, outdoors enthusiasts and history buffs come to spend their golden years here. And it also has some of the lowest property taxes in the nation. Despite these advantages, retirement planning can still be a challenge and the cost of living in South Carolina can vary sharply depending on where you lay your nest egg. So if you’d like some professional guidance, you can use our financial advisor matching platform. This free tool connects you with up to three local financial advisors who can help. Read More...

Jan 23, 2020 If you love the outdoors and want to stay active, you may consider spending your golden years among the pristine landscapes of Virginia. To help you narrow down your choices, we compiled a list of the top 10 best places to retire in Virginia. These locations offer great leisure activities for those in their post-work life with offer easy access to nature, as the state is home to plenty of national parks. And you have miles upon miles to hike, the Blue Ridge mountains to climb and numerous luxury golf courses. As the site of several Civil War battles and the birthplace of George Washington, Virginia can also suit all you history buffs out there with its museums and monuments. In addition, the state offers plenty of financial advantages to help you preserve your nest egg. Read More...

Oct 12, 2018 If you’re a fan of the great outdoors, maritime communities and the arts, you may want to retire in the Beaver state. The best places to retire in Oregon offer plenty of opportunities to stay active well into your golden years with activities including hiking, mountaineering and water sports. But picking the spot that’s just right for you can be a challenge. So the retirement experts at SmartAsset did the homework for you and devised a list of the top 10 best places to retire in Oregon. Of course, strategizing your own retirement once you're there is a challenge of its own. But if you’d like some professional guidance, you can use our free financial advisor connection service. It links you with up to three financial advisors in your area who can help. You can also check out our list of the top financial advisory firms in Oregon. Read More...

Oct 12, 2018 The high mountains and pristine lakes in Colorado can serve as aesthetic backdrops for those who want to spend their retirement years close to nature. And the best places to retire in Colorado offer plenty of that. The state can also serve as a fine retirement ground for those who still want adventure in their life. Common activities among the best places to retire in Colorado include white water rafting, kayaking and horseback riding. You also have miles of trails  to hike. And to stay healthy enough to enjoy these tasks to the fullest, these locations also offer easy access to healthcare facilities. And if you’d like professional guidance in planning your retirement in Colorado, you can use our financial advisor matching platform to get connected with local advisors right away. You can also check out our report on the top financial advisor firms in Colorado. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 No matter how carefully you plan for retirement, you're bound to wonder how long your money will actually last. Factors like where you want to live, healthcare costs, retirement savings balances, whether or not you work in retirement and more can affect this calculation. Additionally, you'll also need to take inflation into account.  DIY retirement planning is difficult, so it might be worth consulting with a financial advisor in your area if you have questions about it. Read More...

Sep 28, 2018 Everyone has heard of Social Security, and everyone knows the basic concept. If you pay into it while you work, then you benefit from it when you retire. However, there are some lesser known features of Social Security that can make a big difference for your retirement. Social Security spousal benefits are just one of these features. Intended for married couples with a sole or primary breadwinner, spousal benefits can significantly increase the amount of money you have coming in during retirement. They can even provide a nice supplement to your  401(k) or IRA distributions. Read on to learn how you can become eligible for spousal benefits, how to calculate your benefit and how your benefit will be affected if you retire early or if your spouse passes away. Read More...

Dec 12, 2019 Looking to invest in your child’s future or teach him or her about the power of compound interest? A great way to do so is through a custodial account. With a custodial account, you can transfer funds to a minor easily while keeping the money safe until the minor is of age. You can even get some tax benefits along the way. Custodial accounts come in a few different shapes and sizes. And each kind has its own upsides and drawbacks. Read on to learn what a custodial account is, how it works and if it’s the right option for you and your child. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Raising a family has never been a walk in the park. But today’s parents may face a steeper uphill climb, financially speaking, than those in the past. The cost of raising a child has risen to $233,610. according to the United States Department of Agriculture. Meanwhile the need for, and price of, a college education has never been higher. It is no surprise, then, that conquering all of those financial feats may leave parents feeling like they missed their chance to save for retirement. But while saving for retirement is best done while young, it is never too late to start planning. With a little hard work, diligence and expert advice from a financial advisor, even someone starting with little savings at age 50 can save for retirement in a substantial fashion. Read More...

Sep 04, 2018 A retirement system is a network of pension plans that states use to help public employees save for retirement. Each state has at least one retirement system and an organization that administers the program. The systems vary greatly from state to state both in terms of size and number. In Hawaii, there is one system: the Employees’ Retirement System (ERS). The ERS has a Board of Trustees governing it. Read on to learn more about how this plan works. (And should you want more guidance in your own planning, SmartAsset's  free financial advisor matching tool can pair you with a knowledegable advisor in your area.) Read More...

Aug 31, 2018 A retirement system is a pension plan that a state or other local government uses to help its public employees save for retirement. The systems requires members to contribute during their careers so that when they retire, there is a large enough fund for them to receive monthly benefits. This works similarly to Social Security benefits. There is a retirement system in each state but they vary in size and scope. The system in Maine is called the Maine Public Employees Retirement System, or MainePERS. Read on to learn about how this system works and who it covers. You can also jump start your retirement planning with  SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool. It pairs you with financial advisors near you so that you get the guidance you need.  Read More...

Aug 31, 2018 Illinois state employees may be eligible to take part in the state’s retirement system. A retirement system is a pension plan that a state uses to help public employees save for retirement. Public employees become members in the system and then have to contribute a certain amount of their salary. Those contributions grow to cover employee retirement benefits. Each state has at least one retirement system, but they vary in both size and scope. Illinois has the State Retirement Systems (SRS) of Illinois. Continue reading to learn more about how the SRS works and who it covers. If you want more hands-on help in your own retirement planning, also check out SmartAsset's  free financial advisor matching tool, which can quickly pair you with a financial advisor near you. Read More...

Dec 21, 2018 Saving for retirement is certainly a financial priority for everyone. For Nevada state employees, it’s comforting to know that your retirement savings are automatic. Once you start working for the state, you’ll begin making contributions to your pension through the Nevada retirement systems. Most employees are covered by the Public Employees' Retirement System of Nevada (PERS). Below, we outline the different retirement systems and each one’s eligible employees. And if you want personalized help navigating the Nevada retirement system, check out SmartAsset's free  financial advisor matching tool to linked up with an expert in your area. Read More...

Aug 30, 2018 Pennsylvania manages its state government employees’ pensions through two different systems: Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) and Public School Employees’ Retirement System (PSERS). SERS manages the public pension system for most state employees while PSERS serves state employees in the field of education. If you want extra guidance navigate the Pennsylvania retirement system, use SmartAsset's free financial advisor match tool to get paired up with an expert in your area. Read More...

Nov 28, 2018 Established in 1957, the Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System (APERS) provides pension, retirement and disability benefits for employees who meet its eligibility requirements. While APERS functions as the state’s primary system for public employees, it also offers additional pension and retirement systems. Below we take you through the ins and outs of the Arkansas retirement system. But if you want extra guidance from an expert, use SmartAsset’s matching tool to get paired with a financial advisor in your area who can best meet your needs. Read More...

Aug 29, 2018 The Employees Retirement System of Georgia (ERSGA) provides a range of pension plans that mostly come with lengthy eligibility requirements. While each of its systems and plans serve different employees, some systems consist of more components than others. In addition, for users who aren’t sure which plan applies to them, ERSGA’s website provides a useful “account summary” option that details each. Eligible members also receive death and disability retirement benefits. If you want an expert to help you navigate the Georgia retirement system, check out SmartAsset's free financial advisor matching tool. Read More...

Mar 19, 2020 Though Michigan’s pension fund is only the 18th-largest in U.S., that doesn’t stop it from offering its employees an array of retirement plans from which to select. The state of Michigan’s Office of Retirement Services (ORS) administers a variety of retirement programs that serve eligible employees. These include closed defined benefit (DB) plans, open DB plans, defined contribution (DC) plans, hybrid plans and deferred compensation plans. When it comes to funding, the system’s DB plan funding comes from both member and employer contributions and investment earnings. All plans, however, come with death and disability benefits, life and health insurance and long-term care insurance. If you don't want to navigate the complexities of the Michigan retirement system alone, consider using SmartAsset's advisor matching tool to get paired with a financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 31, 2018 Each state has its own retirement system. This is an organization that helps state and local employees save for retirement. The individual pension plans that these organizations administer (also called retirement systems) vary in size and complexity by state. Some states have five plans that cater to different types of public employees. Other states, like Oregon, have one main plan that applies to all state and local employees. Read More...

Dec 19, 2018 The state retirement system of Missouri covers the multiple types of employees working on behalf of the state. The Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System (MOSERS) was established in 1957. Under the management of a board of trustees, it currently provides retirement benefits to most state public employees. MOSERS delivers those retirement benefits through pension trust funds. And per its 2017 annual report, MOSERS serves more than 49,000 active employees. In addition, it pays benefits to more than 47,000 benefit recipients. If you would value some extra assistance navigating the complex Missouri retirement system, considering consulting an expert. SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can pair you with financial advisors who will best meet your needs. Read More...

Dec 19, 2018 The state retirement system of Mississippi consists of seven different retirement plans to account for the multiple types of employees working for the state. If you’re new to pensions, and would value some extra assistance navigating the complex system, SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can pair you with financial advisors in your area and your price range, for free. Read More...

Jan 02, 2019 The state retirement system of South Dakota covers the multiple types of employees working on behalf of the state. The South Dakota Retirement System (SDRS) is a cost-sharing, multi-employer retirement system for public employees, and it supports over 200,000 participants. SDRS excels in providing retirement, disability and survivor benefits for state employees and political subdivisions. If you’re new to pensions and would value some extra assistance navigating the complex system, SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can pair you with financial advisors who will best meet your needs. Read More...

Nov 28, 2018 A retirement system is an organization that helps government workers save for retirement. It then helps distribute the money, in the form of a pension, to retirees. Each state has a retirement system, but they vary in size and complexity. The organization that runs the systems in Alabama is called the Retirement Systems of Alabama. According to a 2017 report, there are more than 300,000 people participating in the state’s retirement plans and they earned about $3 billion worth of benefits in 2017. Read on to learn more about the ins and outs of the Alabama retirement system. And if you want hands-on guidance in your own planning, check out SmartAsset's free matching tool to pair up with a financial advisor.  Read More...

Aug 24, 2018 The state retirement system of Maryland consists of seven different retirement plans to cover the multiple types of state employees. Before we dive deep into the intricacies of each system, take the time to brush up on pensions. If you would value some extra help navigating the complex pension system, SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can help pair you with advisors  in your area who will best meet your needs. Read More...

Dec 05, 2018 The state retirement system of Indiana comprises several different retirement plans to cover the wide range of public employees working on behalf of the state. As pension systems can be complex, you may value some extra assistance understanding the Indiana retirement system. SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching tool can pair you with financial advisors in your area who can best cater to your financial needs and goals. Read More...

Aug 28, 2018 Under its Minnesota State Retirement System (MSRS), Teachers Retirement Association and Public Employees Retirement Association, Minnesota offers retirement benefits through several different pension plans. A key fact to consider, however, is that all of Minnesota’s plans come with retirement benefits. But the state taxes all forms of retirement income. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure your pension plan’s eligibility requirements and the state’s tax law align with your savings goals. If you could use some additional retirement planning help , the SmartAsset financial advisor matching tool can help you find financial advisors in your area. Read More...

Oct 31, 2018 The investments that Utah has made with its public employee pension funds have paid off handsomely in recent years. However, its state income taxes can be a bit heavy at a 5% rate. There are also a number retirement systems in Utah, which the state divides between Tier 1 and Tier 2 systems. SmartAsset's free  financial advisor matching tool can set you up with financial advisors in your area if you want some help navigating the sometimes complex structure of Utah’s retirement systems. Read More...

Oct 31, 2018 With around a million public retirement system participants in North Carolina, the state has plenty of residents to take care of. But although the number of retirees in the state and the subsequent costs are increasing, the fund currently boasts about $90 billion in assets. There are also many different programs to take advantage of in the Tar Heel State, so make sure you know all your options. Many financial advisors have the capabilities to handle this type of retirement planning, and SmartAsset's free  financial advisor matching tool can pair you with up to three experts in your area. Read More...

May 21, 2019 Wisconsin boasts one of the least complicated retirement systems in the country, as essentially all state and local employees fall under the umbrella of the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS). It has experienced plenty of financial growth over the last few years, which should make participants feel increasingly confident in their retirement. Although your pension will drastically aid you in retirement, you should have separate funds set up to help you stay afloat. SmartAsset's  matching tool can pair you with financial advisors in your area who are equipped to help you plan for your specific needs. Read More...

Aug 17, 2018 The retirement system of Ohio is in good shape, especially after experiencing a major financial boost entering 2017. Whereas many states will convolute its offerings by having many base and supplemental programs, Ohio keeps things simple and logical. SmartAsset's free matching tool can pair you up with as many as three financial advisors in your area, if you feel that you want some professional help in fleshing out your retirement plans beyond just pensions. Read More...

Aug 28, 2020 Simply put, a perpetuity in the financial world is the present value of a stream of cash that goes on into the future, forever. Though cash payments are infinite, it's possible to calculate their present total value because the value of each payment incrementally decreases with each year to the point that it approximates zero. Analysts use this calculation to determine the value of stocks that pay fixed dividends, real estate that earns rent and annuity insurance products, which all have cash streams (in or out) theoretically forever. If you have more questions about perpetuities, consider meeting with a local financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 12, 2018 When it comes to robo-advisors, both SigFig and Betterment offer a range of products and features to help you build your investment portfolio. The company you choose should ultimately align with your current financial situation, along with your  retirement and investment goals. Because the account balance minimums, features and management fees vary for each, it's important to understand how the two companies compare. Below, we analyze the SigFig vs. Betterment match-up and assess how they differ. Read More...

Jan 25, 2021 Contributing to your 401(k) is a great way to prepare for retirement, allowing for tax-deferred growth and, in some cases, employer matching contributions. If you really want to boost your savings, you might even contribute the maximum to the account. For 2021, the 401(k) annual contribution limit will remain unchanged from 2020 at $19,500. For employees over 50, there are also catch-up contributions. The limits for these will also remain unchanged from 2020 at $6,500. Note that the IRS also has rules surrounding 401(k) employer matching. Many taxpayers work with a financial advisor to maximize their retirement strategy. Let's take a look at the contribution limits and rules for 2021. Read More...

Oct 31, 2018 South Carolina has six different iterations of its base retirement system for different types of local and state employees. It even has a National Guard-centric plan, which not many states offer. The state also recently signed into law new stipulations that guide the structure of the pension fund. And so far things are progressing rapidly. Should feel as though you want some professional help navigating these systems, SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool can pair you with up to three financial advisors near you. Read More...

Mar 20, 2020 Arizona state and local employees should feel confident about the quality of the state’s retirement system, as well as each of its subcategories. It also boasts a simple set of retirement systems that are particularly inclusive. This makes it extremely easy to differentiate between plans and understand the benefits for which you’ll be eligible. Retirement planning includes many factors, though, and many financial advisors have experience dealing with these situations. SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool can pair you with up to three such professionals in your area. Read More...

Sep 23, 2021 If you're looking to get ahead on planning for retirement, individual retirement accounts, or IRAs are great tool. An IRA is a tax-advantaged vehicle that helps you grow your retirement savings over time. Roth IRAs are particularly attractive, because you don't pay taxes on withdrawals in retirement. There's one problem: you can't contribute to a Roth IRA directly if you make above a certain income. A backdoor Roth IRA, though, can solve your problem by allowing you to convert a traditional IRA into a Roth. If you need help maximizing your retirement savings, a financial advisor can help. Read More...

Sep 28, 2021 When it comes to accounting, you may get easily confused amid the sea of acronyms. But a solid understanding of certain accreditations is key if you're looking for a licensed tax professional to guide you through your financial needs intelligently. When making your decision about whom to work with, you may wonder about the differences between an enrolled agent (EA) and a certified public accountant (CPA). A financial advisor can help you maximize the tax efficiency of your investments and assist you in creating and carrying out a financial plan. Read More...

Dec 21, 2018 The New Hampshire retirement system is fairly straightforward. Members are split into two broad categorizations, and a large majority is in the first category. Since your pension benefits will likely be only one part of your retirement savings, you may still find it beneficial to talk to a financial advisor, in which case the SmartAdvisor tool can match you with up to three advisors in your area. Read More...

Dec 13, 2019 The Washington Retirement System, managed by the Department of Retirement Systems (DRS), is a somewhat sprawling collection of retirement plans. While all systems are primarily defined benefit plans, many plans introduced a defined contribution portion for members hired more recently in order to supplement what the employers and pension fund will have to pay out. As you’ll see, things can get complicated in Washington. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the different plans and what’s actually applicable to you. SmartAsset’s SmartAdvisor tool will connect you with up to three financial advisors in your area who can talk you through the ins and outs of what’s best for your retirement strategy. Read More...

Jul 31, 2018 The Tennessee Retirement System, known also as RetireReadyTN, is one of the best-run state retirement systems in the country. Employees are split into a few intuitive categories, and understanding what you can expect to receive in retirement is fairly straightforward. If you want to consult an expert to discuss how to supplement your pension, SmartAsset’s SmartAdvisor tool could come in handy. Just answer a few questions, and you’ll be matched with up to three financial advisors in your area suited to your financial goals and preferences. Read More...

Jul 31, 2018 With around 1.4 million members, the California Public Employees Retirement System, known as CalPERS, is the largest defined-benefit pension system in the country. Public employees ranging from state and local government employees to teachers and firefighters are enrolled in the system, paying into the pension fund throughout their careers and then receiving monthly payouts during retirement. Membership in the California retirement system isn’t designed to provide you with all the retirement savings you’ll need, so you may still be interested in finding a financial advisor to walk you through all your options. SmartAsset’s SmartAdvisor tool can match you with up to three advisors in your area. Read More...

Jul 31, 2018 The Wyoming Retirement System (WRS) is a collection of seven different pension plans with around 35,000 active members and 27,000 people receiving benefits. Like all defined benefit plans, active members contribute throughout their careers and then receive monthly payments for life in retirement. If you’d like to speak to an expert about how your pension can fit into your retirement strategy, SmartAsset’s SmartAdvisor tool can match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. Read More...

Apr 05, 2021 Rolling over a 401(k) plan into a traditional or Roth IRA is a fairly common practice. You'll often do this when you've left your former employer and want to keep your retirement savings all in one place. But you may also be looking to diversify your retirement savings with assets that aren't as closely tied to the economy. If that's the case, you might considering executing a 401(k) to gold IRA rollover. Read More...

Mar 19, 2020 The Florida Retirement System (FRS) offers two retirement plans for state employees: a pension plan for long-term workers and a defined contribution plan for shorter-service workers (or people who do not plan on working for the state for more than six years). The FRS also oversees the retirement plans for state university and community colleges and for local police and firefighters. With so many plans and employee accounts under its management, FRS is the fourth largest public system in the country. If you are overwhelmed trying to sort out your retirement options, a financial advisor can help you with both your employer-sponsored plan and your personal investments. Read More...

Aug 01, 2018 Texas believes all residents should have the “three-legged stool” of retirement income. This trio consists of Social Security benefits, personal retirement savings and state retirement. The Texas retirement system is fairly straightforward for public employees, so you should be able to differentiate between which plan you should belong to. But if you still feel like you’d prefer the help of a financial advisor, the SmartAsset SmartAdvisor tool can match you with advisors in your area. Read More...

Dec 19, 2018 The state retirement system of Kentucky had been in deep crisis for some time. But the recently developed “Keeping the Promise” plan that Governor Matt Bevin introduced looks to fix this long-running issue. Aside from this, the state’s pension plan is fairly complex and consists of eight different retirement plans for the multiple types of employees the state has. You may prefer to have some help navigating the complexities of the Kentucky retirement system. If so, the SmartAsset SmartAdvisor tool can match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. Read More...

Jan 24, 2020 The Virginia Retirement System, or VRS, is the state agency that administers the pension fund for state employees. The pension fund is the 19th largest in the U.S., and paid out roughly $5 billion in benefits to about 214,000 retirees and their beneficiaries in 2019. VRS also manages life insurance benefits, long-term care programs, severance benefits, military leave benefits and the 457 deferred compensation plan. If you are nearing retirement and need help planning your finances, our  SmartAdvisor tool can match you with up to three financial advisors. Read More...

Aug 01, 2018 The pension fund of New York is one of the three largest in the nation and serves well over one million plan participants. This success has put the state in a great spot for the health of its employees’ retirements. The New York retirement system is one of the simplest in the U.S., though there are still some nuances to be wary of. For those who want some extra help, the SmartAdvisor tool can pair you with financial advisors in your area that have experience working with such clientele. Read More...

Nov 19, 2018 Betterment and FutureAdvisor both operate as two of the most popular robo-advisors in online investing. Each company offers similar products to help you reach your investment goals, but the costs and online features vary for both. In weighing the Betterment vs. FutureAdvisor decision, you should make sure your final choice aligns with your investment and retirement savings goals. Read on as we compare the services and products each robo-advisor offers. Read More...

Jan 12, 2021 First and foremost, indexed annuities, also called fixed indexed annuities, are products. Insurance companies design them to appeal to savers who are worried about stock market volatility but still crave market growth. That's why you'll often hear that indexed annuities have no downside and only upside - which isn't always true. Or insurance agents will tout how fixed annuities combine the best of two worlds: the safety of  fixed annuities and the return of variable annuities. Read on to learn what an indexed annuity is, how it differs from other annuities and whether it’s right for your retirement plan. Read More...

Jul 09, 2018 If you are an employee of a public school or a nonprofit, you are likely familiar with 403(b) retirement plans. Like a 401(k) , these plans allow participants to contribute pre-tax dollars throughout their careers in order to save up enough for retirement. But you can't just stash as much cash as you'd like in these savings vehicles. There are 403(b) contribution limits. Read More...

Jun 09, 2021 As life expectancies continue to grow, many people are looking to supplement their existing financial strategies when determining how to save for retirement for longer periods. A deferred annuity is one tool that can serve just such a purpose. If you have several years until retirement then a deferred annuity, sales of which rose from late 2020 into the summer of 2021, could make sense for you. Read on to learn more about how a deferred annuity works, how it differs from other types of annuities and whether or not it's right for you. Read More...

Dec 10, 2019 It’s never too early to start saving for retirement. Whether you’ve just started working for a company or have been employed for a while, you should take advantage of retirement savings options as early in your career as possible. One of the ways to do this is through employer-sponsored and tax-favored retirement savings plans. Employers offer these contribution plans which allow you to defer a percentage of your salary toward retirement. Two plan types are the 403(b) and the 457(b). Read More...

Sep 14, 2018 Pensions and annuities are two common sources of retirement income. However, they are quite different with their own advantages and disadvantages. Which one is better for you will depend on your individual circumstances. For example, some people may choose a pension because they already have good retirement savings and just want the steady pay. Other people may prefer the flexibility that comes with annuities. In this guide to the pension vs. annuity decision, we discuss the difference between taking your pension payments and taking your pension as a lump-sum and using it to open an annuity. Read More...

Jul 19, 2019 As you sit down with your financial advisor to create an estate plan, one option that may arise is a testamentary trust. A testamentary trust is a type of trust that's created in a last will and testament. Also known as a will trust or a trust under will, a testamentary trust provides for the distribution of an estate into a trust when the person who created the trust dies. In this guide, we dive deeper into what exactly a testamentary trust is, how to create one and who can create one. Read More...

Jun 27, 2018 The average American can expect to live nearly 79 years. That is a full 14 years after the typical retirement age of 65. While many Americans perhaps imagine themselves filling those 14 years of retirement in blissful leisure, many others decide to spend part of it working. If you are the type of retiree who knows they will be spending some time in retirement doing some extra work, you will want to make sure you settle down in a place with plenty of working opportunity for seniors. Read More...

Jan 25, 2021 Interested in investing in your retirement? You know you should be socking money away for your golden years, but you need to understand the savings vehicle your employer offers. The 401(k) plan, which for-profit employers offer, is a popular way to save by directing a portion of every paycheck into this retirement fund. Some companies will even match your contributions up to a certain percentage of your salary. But there's also the 401(a) plan to consider. Government employers and non-profits typically provide this retirement plan. While the two plans are similar in their goals, they differ in significant ways.  To understand the difference between 401(a) vs. 401(k) plans, read on to get the information you need to be informed about your retirement savings plan. For help with your own retirement goals, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Dec 10, 2019 There's a lot you have to plan and save for when thinking about your future. Saving for retirement should be at the top of your list. But if you're planning on buying a home or having a family at some point, you'll need to start saving for those costs as soon as possible, too. It may sound crazy to a non-parent, but the average cost of raising a child in the U.S. surpasses $200,000. Read More...

Aug 23, 2019 When it comes to retirement, Social Security and your 401(k) plan don't always cover you throughout your retirement. If you're planning for retirement, you might want to also consider opening an annuity. Annuities are long-term investments that help protect you in retirement should you outlive your income. You can open an annuity with an insurance company or nonprofit agency, which distributes payments back to you. Read More...

Oct 18, 2021 Since pensions have become less common, many Americans now rely on employer-sponsored, defined contribution plans like 401(k)s or 403(b)s to cover their retirement needs. In fact, the Investment Company Institute says that 401(k) plans held roughly $6.9 trillion in assets as of March 31, 2021, which represented almost one-fifth of the $35.4 trillion US retirement market. For a comparison, 401(k) assets in 2011 added up to only $3.1 trillion. Unfortunately, participants don’t always know exactly how the plans work – or how much they cost. A 2021 study from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that almost 40% of  401(k) plan participants don’t understand what type of fees they are paying. Meanwhile, 41% don’t even know that they are paying any fees at all. If you're saving for retirement, a financial advisor can help you understand and create a financial plan. Read More...

Mar 12, 2020 Everyone has to plan for retirement, but most retirement conversations revolve around 401(k) plans. While ideal for retirement savings, you can only have a 401(k) plan as an employee of a private company. This does not include government or military employees. However, thanks to the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS), federal and military employees can build savings for retirement with a Thrift Savings Plan, or TSP. Read More...

Aug 27, 2021 There are many ways to set up a financially secure future for your loved ones. Trust funds are a strong way to set your children or grandchildren up for future financial success. Also, they aren't necessarily just for the very wealthy. In fact, you can open a trust fund to ensure your loved ones manage and distribute your assets in a specific way, regardless of your net worth. For help with trust funds or any other estate planning issues, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jul 06, 2018 Across America seniors are putting off retirement and staying in the workforce longer. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the percent of Americans age 65 and over who are still in the labor force has nearly doubled in the past two decades. In 1996, only 12% of Americans 65 and over were still in the workforce, while in 2016 that number rose to over 19%. In order to shed more light on this issue, SmartAsset analyzed local data to find the places in America where seniors are staying in the work force. Read More...

Dec 12, 2019 Per stirpes is a legal term of Latin origin (translated as "by roots" or "by branch") that has to do with the transfer of your assets after you pass away. Specifically, it comes into play when the beneficiaries you name in your will die before you do. As you build your  estate plan, you should understand what the per stirpes designation means and how it can impact your loved ones. Read More...

Oct 18, 2018 Investing isn’t always easy. The decision to buy or sell a specific security requires research, time and the knowledge on how to make a trade. That’s why some people are happy to pass off the work to a wealth manager or financial advisor who is an investing expert. A type of investing where an advisor makes decisions on a client’s behalf is called discretionary investment management. Removing yourself from the management of your account is a big decision, though. So before you find a financial advisor to invest with, let’s see if discretionary investment management is something you should consider. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Often, we think about writing a last will and testament to place our belongings and assets properly after death. While that's an important document to have, you shouldn't overlook having a living will, as well. A living will is a written statement that states your wishes for medical treatment in cases where you cannot provide consent. Other names for a living will include a declaration regarding life-prolonging procedures, an advance directive or a declaration. Read More...

Sep 17, 2021 When you work with a financial advisor, advanced certifications tell you that he or she has put in the work and has the qualifications to do advisory work. Two common certifications are the certified public accountant, or CPA, and certified financial planner, or CFP. There is overlap in what a financial advisor with these certifications can do, but individuals tend to do specific types of work. The CPA vs. CFP question of separates these certifications is actually fairly complex. Whether you’re looking to get certified or you’re trying to find a financial advisor, this comparison will help. Read More...

Dec 09, 2019 About one in five people in the United States collects Social Security benefits each month, according to the National Academy of Social Insurance. Though Social Security benefits provide some income to employees after they leave the workforce, you'll probably need additional funds to lead a comfortable retirement. That's where defined contribution plans come in. Read More...

Sep 13, 2021 For 2021, the annual gift tax exemption will stay at $15,000 per recipient. This means you can give up to $15,000 to as many people as you want during the coming year without any of it being subject to a gift tax. The gift tax is imposed by the IRS if you transfer money or property to another person without receiving at least equal value in return. This could apply to parents giving money to their children, the gifting of property such as a house or a car, or any other transfer. There is also a lifetime exclusion of $11.7 million. For help with the gift tax or any other personal finance issues you may have, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Sep 13, 2021 As you get older, there are two major things that you should consider. One is retirement. Having the necessary retirement savings and a financial plan will allow you to live the kind of life you want to live during your golden years. The second thing to account for is what will happen to your estate, and estate planning is not just for rich people. And having a strategy in place to pass on your assets will make it smoother for you and your loved ones later in life. A local financial advisor can help you with living trusts and other estate planning issues. Read More...

Jan 20, 2021 It you’re hitting the big 5-0 and your starting to think about retirement, you might be worried that you don’t have enough saved to ever stop working, let alone to actually enjoy yourself in retirement. But even if you’re a bit behind on your savings goals, don't worry. This guide will tell you what you need to know about how to invest for retirement at age 50. Alternatively, you can consider enlisting the help of a financial advisor who specializes in retirement planning. Either way now is the time to get serious about your financial future, so you are ready for your senior years. Read More...

Oct 15, 2021 There are many reasons why you may have decided to make a 401(k)-to-IRA rollover. You may have left your job for a position at a new company, you may have been laid off or you may have decided to take your career in a new direction. Regardless, if you’ve been contributing diligently to your employer-sponsored retirement plan for a number of years, you could have a decent stash of cash in your account. If you want help managing your retirement accounts after your rollover, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Dec 12, 2019 If you’re at or near your 40th birthday, retirement is probably still a couple decades away for you. That said, if you haven't started saving for retirement yet, it can seem too close for comfort. Don't panic though. There is still plenty of time to get ready for retirement, provided you take the time now to plan and commit to saving. With that in mind, here is a guide for how to invest for retirement at age 40. Read More...

Jun 24, 2019 There are a lot of options to choose from when it comes to planning for retirement, including  401(k) plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and annuities. While saving in any way is great, each of these offer different benefits and drawbacks. One type of plan, though, should be approached with special caution: The 702(j) “retirement” plan. While it might sound like yet another retirement plan named after a section of the tax code, a 702(j) plan isn’t really a retirement plan at all. Rather, it is a type of life insurance frequently sold to consumers as a retirement plan. If you’re serious about saving for retirement, this guide explains whether a 702(j) plan makes sense for you and your finances. Read More...

Aug 14, 2018 Some cities are more famous for their creative histories than others. For example, Nashville and New Orleans are practically synonymous with their rich musical traditions. Los Angeles is known as the place to be to work on movies and New York has a long history as a place where writers congregate. But are those cultural centers the best places for creatives today? In many of those cities, rising costs of living mean creatives struggle to meet financial milestones like buying a home or saving up for a secure retirement. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 Despite no longer working, retirees are an important part of a local economy. They number in the millions and make up a large amount of consumer demand. As one example of their purchasing power, the Social Security Administration estimates that in 2018 it will pay out approximately $1 trillion in Social Security benefits, 72% of which will go to retirees. With that sort of money on the line where retirees decide to move for their retirement is an important consideration for cities across the country.  Read More...

Mar 04, 2020 By the time your 30s arrive, you’ve probably settled into an adult life. But you haven’t really fully embraced “adulting” unless you’ve started saving for retirement. Whether it’s through an employer-sponsored retirement plan or some other financial product, the time to start planning for the end of your working days is now. Even if it seems like retirement is just a distant dream, you’ll want to get started now to make sure you and your family are secure when you’re ready to stop working. With that in mind, here is a guide for how to invest for retirement at age 30. No matter your age, consider working with a financial advisor to help you plan your future.  Read More...

Oct 10, 2019 In order to know how much you need to save for retirement you need to have a good estimate for how much you will be spending. But predicting how much you are going to be spending in retirement is difficult. Some retirees downsize their homes or move to a city with lower costs of living. But how much will that save? Your healthcare spending will likely increase in retirement, so that's a higher expense you'll need to account for. SmartAsset takes a look at these and other categories to find how spending changes in retirement. Read More...

Dec 13, 2019 In March 2018, the unemployment rate was a low 4.1%, with about 6.6 million Americans unemployed. This is good news for job seekers, as it's the lowest U.S. unemployment has been since 2000. Different types of jobs are available in different parts of the country, and it can be immensely valuable for workers today to get ahead of tomorrow's employment trends. It can mean the difference between a secure retirement and a working retirement.  Read More...

Jul 16, 2018 If you’re starting a new job, there’s a good chance you’re going to have the option to join an employer-sponsored retirement plan, and it’ll probably be one of two types of plans: a 403(b) or a 401(k). Both are defined contribution plans. Employees who participate in the plans choose how much to put into their account each month, and the payout in retirement is determined based on how much they save during their careers. This article will take a look at both plans, comparing 403(b) vs. 401(k). Read More...

Oct 12, 2021 Required minimum distributions (RMDs) are withdrawals you have to make from most retirement plans (excluding Roth IRAs) when you reach the age of 72 (or 70.5 if you were born before July 1, 1949). The amount you must withdraw depends on the balance in your account and your life expectancy as defined by the IRS. If you have more than one retirement account, you can take a distribution from each account or you can total your RMD amounts and take the distribution from one or more of the accounts. RMDs for a given year must be taken by December 31 of that year, though you get more time the first year you are required to take an RMD. If you're not sure whether to return the RMD or you need help with other retirement decisions, a financial advisor could help you figure out the best choices for your needs and goals. Read More...

Oct 22, 2021 You've worked hard for decades and now the time has come to enjoy yourself. Regardless of what you do in your retirement, you should always be aware of how much you have left in savings. There isn't just the dangerous issue of running out of savings, but you can also hurt yourself by not spacing out your spending. This is where a retirement budget really helps, as it will account for all of your income and expenses in a comprehensive and long-term manner. Do you need professional help with your retirement budget? Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

May 03, 2018 When you’re counting down to retirement, it’s easy to get caught up in fantasies of your future work-free life. Maybe it’s RV trips to Florida, days on the golf course or quality time spent with family. Whatever your dream retirement looks like, you can be sure you’ll need money to fund it. Unfortunately, if you’re like most Americans, you don’t have nearly enough saved for retirement. But you can help change that with a few key fixes. Read on to find out how with these five easy tips. Read More...

Sep 16, 2021 Regardless of your age, making sure you have enough money for  retirement takes strategic planning. The hope is that you've been actively saving money for years. Garnering $1 million in your retirement nest egg might seem like a far-fetched idea. If you start early and manage the money correctly, you might surprise yourself. But once you leave the workforce, you also have to make sure that money can get you through the rest of your life. Below, we detail some different steps you can take to make sure what you save for retirement lasts. Those looking for even more help planning for retirement can work with a financial advisorRead More...

Jun 06, 2018 No matter your age, you’ve probably dreamed of retiring on a sandy beach somewhere at some point. Perhaps you’ve started planning your retirement in Florida or San Diego. But have you ever thought about retiring abroad to Costa Rica? We bet you are now! Retiring to Costa Rica has proven to be incredibly affordable for Americans. Let’s take a closer look at the costs of retiring in Costa Rica. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 The gender pay gap has slowly been closing over the past decade. The Census Bureau estimates that in 2016 the average full-time employed woman earned 80.3% of what her male counterpart earned. In 2005, that number was 76.7%. But the gender pay gap does still exist and is more than just a number. When women earn less that affects their long-term earning potential and their ability to  save for retirement, whether on their own or with the help of a financial advisor. The gender wage gap issue is also not uniformly spread across the workforce. Read More...

Oct 18, 2021 The Social Security Administration defines full retirement age between 65 and 67, depending on your year of birth. Your employer may say something different. Deciding when to retire is one of the hardest decisions you’ll have to make. Retire too late and you may not have the energy to enjoy it. But if you retire too early, you could end up in financial trouble. A financial advisor could help you put a financial plan together for your retirement needs and goals. Here's a checklist with eight things that you should consider before retiring. Read More...

May 02, 2019 Many people dream of spending their retirement in a sunny and warm locale, often heading to Arizona or Florida. But perhaps you’re interested in retiring abroad instead of stateside. In fact, heading south of the border to Mexico has become increasingly popular for American retirees. This is largely due to the warmer weather and lower cost of living. Before you hop on a plane, it’s important to know how to retire in Mexico. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 We all know that we should save for retirement, but actually doing that is a challenge. There are a few basic rules to follow, though, that can help you figure out what your goal should be and how to meet it. A financial advisor can also help make saving for retirement easier. Find one to help you with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Mar 13, 2018 Financial advisors can be a great resource for helping people hit their financial goals, whether they are saving up to buy a home or preparing for retirement. In some cities across the U.S., there are young populations who have high earnings after  housing costs who can benefit from professional financial advice. Below we look at these and other factors to rank the cities that are best placed for financial advice. Read More...

Feb 28, 2018 Before the recent tax bill was passed, there was some discussion around lowering contribution limits on retirement accounts. While no changes on contribution limits made it to the final version of the bill it does lead us to wonder which congressional districts would have been affected the most. Below we look at data on retirement income other economic indicators for seniors to see where they are in the best position to enjoy their golden years. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 The average financial advisor makes $123,100 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That is about 2.5 times more than the average U.S. worker. But being a financial advisor is about more than just pay. It can also be a rewarding profession. Financial advisors can be some of the most trusted people in their clients' lives, as they help them reach life goals like saving for a secure retirement. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Saving for retirement is tough. Between paying rent or a mortgage, combined with credit card debt, or maybe student loans, finding a few spare dollars to contribute to a retirement fund is difficult. In fact, almost one in 10 seniors have an income which puts them below the poverty line, according to Census Bureau data. But there are some places where seniors are set up for a financially secure retirement thanks to diligent financial planning. Below we look at the top 10 places where seniors are best positioned for retirement. Read More...

Jan 24, 2018 The best way to prepare for retirement is to get a head start by saving early and often, letting your 401(k) accrue interest as you head toward your golden years. But even the best-laid plans may go awry, and sometimes it's difficult to save for retirement. This can leave seniors relying on Social Security to make ends meet during their retirement.  Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 Beth Kobliner has achieved success in journalism and finance over the past few decades. Her work has featured in a number of financial publications and she's made the rounds on TV and radio. She served on financial advisory councils for President Obama and created a teaching tool, Money as You Grow, that was later adopted by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau. Through it all, Kobliner has worked to share what she thinks are the essential money lessons that every one should know. Let's take a look at some of her biggest lessons. Read More...

Jan 25, 2021 As you get older, you start thinking more about retirement distributions than contributions. One of the biggest questions that near-retirees have is, "What is the best age to start collecting Social Security benefits? Most take the benefits right away, but that isn't always the best option. A financial advisor can help you optimize a plan for your retirement needs. You can start collecting Social Security benefits any time between ages 62 and 70. Let's take a look at how Social Security works, and what you need to know when deciding the best age for your retirement.  Read More...

Sep 13, 2021 Putting away money for retirement can be an arduous process. Once you figure out how much you need to save to retire, the real planning begins. There are a number of retirement savings options available, though, such as a 401(k) through your employer, an individual retirement account (IRA) or an annuity. Annuities can help you supplement your retirement income, but they aren’t necessarily right for everyone. Speak with a financial advisor in your area to determine if an annuity is right for you. Read More...

Dec 20, 2017 Any money that you put into your 401(k) is yours. But when it comes to employer match contributions, things work a little differently. To own any portion of your employer's contributions, you'll need to vest in your employer's match contributions. Only once you're fully vested in your employer's retirement plan will you have full ownership of your company's match. Here's what you need to know about 401(k) vesting, and what it means for your retirement saving. Read More...

Apr 09, 2021 Investment management refers to the professional handling of a portfolio of securities, like stocks, bonds, options and more. It's also known as asset management, money management or portfolio management. Investment managers typically buy and sell securities and other assets to achieve specified investment goals for a client. Both individual and institutional investors use investment management services to simplify and maximize the management of their portfolio. If you need help finding and choosing a financial advisor in your area, check out SmartAsset's free matching tool. Read More...

Dec 10, 2019 Between Netflix dramas and bad press, working in Congress might seem like a walk in the park. Filibusters and government shutdowns tend to dominate the headlines. In 2017, the House of Representatives was scheduled to work just 145 out of 261 work days. Some might even wonder: Are senators paid for life? The answer is no. While congressmen receive generous pension plans, they're not raking in their full salary after leaving office. Read More...

Dec 13, 2019 Taking money out of a 401(k) is a big decision. The specifics of how to take money out of a 401(k) plan depend on your age, employer plan, whether you're still working for the company that sponsors your 401(k) plan and the type of withdrawal you’re making. If you’ve reached retirement age and are no longer working, it will be very a different process than if you’re still with a company, are taking money out early or need a loan. You'll likely have to check your plan’s fine print to see which types of withdrawals are allowed. Read More...

Jul 17, 2019 The first cohort of millennials entered the workforce around the time of the Great Recession, when the economy was sputtering. Combine that fact with the constantly changing make-up of the modern economy and you have a uniquely difficult employment situation for working millennials. Below we look at the data to see how millennials have responded and to find the most popular jobs for millennials. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Imagine a world where you don’t have to constantly stress about money. You have enough to cover your bills and regular expenses. More than that, how would you like to know that you can afford to live the lifestyle you want to live? These things are all possible when you are financially stable. So what is financial stability and how can you get there? Let's take a look. Read More...

Jan 20, 2021 According to a recent Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) Retirement Confidence Survey, many people don't think that they are doing a good job financially preparing for retirement. EBRI found that only 28% of workers were confident in their retirement planning. Another 28% of people said that they were either not too confident or not confident at all. Working with a financial advisor could help you create a retirement plan for your needs and goals. Let's take a look at what you can do to prepare for your retirement. Read More...

Jan 20, 2021 A SIMPLE IRA is an excellent tool for small business owners to help their employees save up for retirement. This type of retirement account combines features of both the traditional IRA and the 401(k). Like both of these plans, the SIMPLE IRA is subject to annual contribution limits. In 2021, employees can contribute up to $13,500 to a SIMPLE IRA account, significantly more than the $6,000 limit of traditional and Roth IRAs, but less than the 2021 $19,500 401(k) limit. A financial advisor can help you create a retirement plan for your needs and goals. Find a financial advisor today. Read More...

Sep 12, 2018 Ramit Sethi built himself up from humble beginnings to become a millionaire entrepreneur and best-selling author. The advice on his blog isn't groundbreaking, but it's his approach that sets him apart. He doesn't hold back and tries to tell people what they actually need to hear in order to be successful. If other financial experts haven't been helping you, Sethi might just be your guy. Read More...

Mar 10, 2020 Estate planning is the process of setting up how your assets and property will be distributed upon your death. Through these plans, you can ensure your assets are given to the people and organizations you care about. Additionally, estate plans can minimize the amount of taxes your estate and family will incur once you're gone. Estate planning is a necessary venture even for those who aren't particularly wealthy, but it's also a complicated one. Consider working with a  financial advisor if you need help setting up an estate plan or managing inherited money. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Patrice Washington had her fair share of financial troubles when she was younger. Now she helps others take control of their finances with honest and direct advice. She isn't just going to drone on about building a budget though. Washington prefers to help people understand why they struggle with money so that they can build a solid foundation that will help them build wealth for the rest of their lives.  Read More...

Jan 20, 2021 When it comes to saving for retirement, you have a ton of options to choose from. Do you open a traditional IRA or a open a Roth IRA? Both can help you save for retirement, but while a 401(k) is a tax-deferred plan offered through a workplace, a Roth IRA is an individual plan where you pay taxes on money before it goes in. A good place to start is simply to familiarize yourself with the retirement options you have. For more help with retirement planning and other financial issues, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Nov 28, 2017 It's hard to overstate the value of an education. An education can boost long-term earnings and open up new career paths. But it can be tricky to measure the precise impact of pursuing higher degrees. Is a high school diploma enough? Should you pursue a master’s degree? The answers to those questions may differ based on where you live. Below we analyzed the cities where earning more education pays off the most. Read More...

Mar 26, 2020 Personal finance is not something that's typically taught in school. Alexa von Tobel understands this and has dedicated her life to teaching people the financial lessons they need. Once the CEO of financial planning firm  LearnVest, von Tobel has helped people gain control of their spending. Also, with her book she has brought awareness and financial knowledge to college-aged readers. Have questions about how to manage your money? Speak with a financial advisor today. Read More...

Oct 02, 2020 It can be hard to know if your retirement savings are on track, but comparing your balance to others can help. In particular, taking a look at the average 401(k) balance by age is a good place to start. Because an employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement account allows you to grow your assets tax-deferred, their long-term savings potential is quite high. But while you should take full advantage of your 401(k), you'll also need a retirement plan beyond it. If you're unsure of where to start, try  working with a local financial advisor. Read More...

Oct 19, 2018 Wes Moss has spent his career helping people to retire as soon as possible and as happily as possible. As a certified financial planner, Moss has experience showing people ways to reach their financial goals. He has also worked with people of all levels to help create them create retirement plans. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Nicole Lapin is a financial expert and successful entrepreneur who learned everything the hard way. She never studied finance or business. Instead she worked hard and tried to learn as much about money as she could. Now she shares the financial lessons she has learned so that others can take control of their finances. If you're looking for some help reaching financial stability, Nicole Lapin's advice could be the right place to start. Read More...

Dec 11, 2019 In short, yes, your inheritance is taxable. However, the full story is more complicated than a simple yes or no answer. Whether you'll pay inheritance tax and how much you'll pay depends on a variety of factors, including which state the deceased lived in and what your relationship to the deceased was. You could pay nothing -- or you could pay as much as 18% of the value of the inheritance. Read on for a full primer on the taxes related to inheritance. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Many people dream about retirement as a time to relax, have fun or just do whatever they want. To have the retirement of your dreams, you'll need savings. How much you need depends on multiple factors so let's take a look at the answer to the question "how much money should I have saved by 30?" Read More...

Jul 10, 2018 The term fiduciary is a good thing to hear if you're searching for a financial advisor. If a financial advisor is a fiduciary, he or she holds a relationship of trust with a client and abides by fiduciary duty. Fiduciary duty is the ethical obligation to act solely in someone else's best interest, which in theory should minimize conflicts of interest and make a financial advisor more trustworthy. Read on to learn more about what a fiduciary is and what fiduciary duty entails, as well as how to find a fiduciary to work with. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Farnoosh Torabi has spent years working in finance. She's written about topics ranging from saving money on groceries to investing your money more wisely. She's also the host of the award-winning podcast, "So Money," where she interviews successful people about the things that helped them find success in life. If you're a young professional who has ever had questions about money, check out Torabi's advice. Read More...

Jul 31, 2019 You found a new job and can no longer contribute to your previous employer’s 401(k) or 403(b). If your new employer offers an equivalent retirement account, you can directly transfer the money from one account to the other. You can also move the money from your employer’s account into your own individual retirement account (IRA). Either way, you’ll need to do something called an IRA rollover. Read More...

Feb 26, 2020 When deciding how to invest your money, you'll likely run into two types of funds: exchange-traded funds (EFTs) and mutual funds. But you may be wondering, ETF vs. mutual fund? What's the difference? The two funds have a lot in common, but they are different in key ways. If you don't have a financial advisor guiding you through the process, here's what you need to know to figure out which fund is right for you. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 One of the most important considerations when evaluating your portfolio is figuring out what the return on investment (ROI) is for all the investing choices you make. Return on investment is a ratio that represents your earnings in comparison to the costs of your investment. This number can gauge the bottom line return of an investment, whether it’s in real estate, stocks or bonds. After you get a grasp on what is ROI, learn how it can help with not just investment evaluation, but also with investment and retirement planning. Read More...

Mar 10, 2021 Aa  401(k) is an employer-sponsored, tax-advantaged retirement plan. You fund this account by contributing a set percentage of your paycheck into the account. One of the biggest perks of a 401(k) plan is that employers have the option to match your contributions to your account up to a certain point. While the IRS places annual contribution limits on 401(k) contributions, employer matches do not count towards that limit. However, there is a higher annual limit for overall contributions, which does include employer matching. A financial advisor can help you work though any and all questions about how your 401(k) works. Read More...

Jul 24, 2019 A SEP-IRA is a tax-deferred retirement plan for self-employed people and small business owners. It can be a useful tool for saving for retirement. Like all retirement savings programs, though, there are limits, rules and regulations you need to know about to get the most out of your savings. While a good financial advisor can help you navigate the finer points of retirement account rules, we’ll walk you through the most important limits and rules you need to know. Read More...

Nov 09, 2017 One of the most pressing concerns for the economy today is the gender pay gap. Different sources will give different figures, but almost all data shows that on average women get paid less than men. This is true across occupations, education levels and age. The good news is that data also shows that this gender pay gap is shrinking. In fact, in some cities the gender pay gap has almost disappeared. Below we look at the cities where the gender pay gap has closed the fastest. Read More...

Aug 16, 2019 If you’ve thought about investing any time over the past decade, you might have heard people talking about robo-advisors. The first big robo-advisor popped around the time of the Great Recession. Since then, hundreds more have opened. Betterment, which is one of the biggest robo-advisors, has assets under management that total about $10 billion. So what are these companies that people are now investing billions of dollars with? Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 Do you want to retire early? Starting your golden years sooner may sound enticing but it's a difficult proposition. You'll probably need to earn a lot, and you'll definitely need to save aggressively and budget carefully. There are some states in the U.S. that are better suited for retirees, where your retirement savings would go further. Below SmartAsset finds the best states for an early retirement in 2017. Read More...

Apr 17, 2019 While most estate plans focus on leaving wealth to your heirs, some people also wish to provide for a charitable cause with their estate. A charitable remainder trust allows you to do both. This type of trust lets you set up an income stream for you and your beneficiaries and then give the remainder to a charity. Charitable remainder trusts come with many benefits, especially when it comes to taxes. But they also come with some rules and restrictions you should know before setting one up. Read More...

Mar 15, 2021 If you're looking to accrue more for your retirement savings, a Roth IRA might just be the place to put it. Roth IRAs allow the money you contribute to the account to grow tax-free, since you will have already paid taxes on the money you put into it. These accounts also offers tons of flexibility in how you manage your money. In fact, they provide a wide range of investment opportunities, and they're available to be opened at many different institutions. If you have questions about how to manage your retirement funds, consider speaking with a local financial advisor. Read More...

Oct 15, 2021 Retiring at an age as young as 55 is a dream of many Americans. However, turning this vision into reality involves some significant financial planning and maneuvering. For example, you'll need to build significant savings, invest your money, account for early withdrawal taxes and more. Consider letting a financial advisor help you plan your early retirement, regardless of whether you're looking to travel the world, spend more time with your family or relax in the sun. Read More...

Jan 20, 2021 Start with giving yourself a pat on the back. Whether you saved $50,000 by diligently setting aside a portion of your paycheck, or you came into money through an inheritance, you now have a tidy sum to grow. Investing is one of the smartest choices to make when you have money to spare. Of course, with that comes the dilemma of how to invest $50,000. A financial advisor can help you create a financial plan for your investing goals. Let's take a look at some of the best ways to invest $50,000.  Read More...

Sep 13, 2021 One of the most attractive features of a 401(k) plan is that you can contribute pre-tax dollars throughout your career. This reduces your taxable income and allows you to contribute more to your retirement with each paycheck. That said, you're only postponing taxation, not avoiding it entirely. You'll still have to pay taxes on that money once you start withdrawing it. If you need to plan your 401(k) withdrawals, you should consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Jan 10, 2020 The will and knack to get into investing doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Just one look at the stock market can scare anyone away! It's true that  investing in stocks comes with potential risks. But at the same time, you can also see some real monetary benefits when you invest in stocks. Of course to start, you’ll need to know at least the basics of how to invest in stocks. Read More...

Oct 24, 2017 People often think of buying stocks as a high-stress situation. And in many scenarios, that may be the case. When you get into short-term investing, you’re constantly buying and selling your stocks to get the best prices. But this isn’t the only way to go about investing. Long-term investing, while requiring attention and strategy, eliminates much of the high stress of short-term investing. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 You’ve worked hard for decades of your life, putting in hours of work and paying taxes like the upstanding citizen you are. You’re ready for retirement - who isn’t? You can’t wait to sit back and relax and never worry about taxes ever again. Except sadly, that’s not how it works. True, you don’t have to pay taxes on every bit of money you have in retirement. But you will need to pay taxes on some of that income. Read More...

Jan 22, 2021 Inheriting an IRA, whether a traditional or Roth account, comes with certain responsibilities. The rules for an inherited IRA depend on the specifics of your situation, as well as the deceased's age and other circumstances. Unfortunately, you might have to make financial decisions about the account while dealing with your grief. Financial advisors work with beneficiaries to develop the best strategies. Let's take a look at the government's rules, and the number of potential tax penalties or benefits that can apply to you and the IRA. Read More...

Jul 16, 2018 Jim Cramer ran a successful hedge fund for 14 years. He regularly made over $10 million annually. Then he retired from that life to focus on writing and media. He started a successful TV show in 2005 and has since reached an almost cult following. Many know him simply as Cramer and he addresses his fans as "Cramerica." It’s great that he gets so many people excited about stock picking, but what advice can we gain from this financial guru? Let’s see what Cramer has to say about building wealth for your future. Read More...

Jul 07, 2021 Passive income is money you earn without actively working for it -- as opposed to earned income from a job. In general, passive income comes from putting something you own -- property, money, expertise that you share, say, in a Youtube video -- to work. The revenue you collect in rent, dividends or ad sales are all forms of passive income. Of course, as these examples demonstrate, passive income still requires some effort or labor at least initially. In that sense, the "passive" in passive income is not really the opposite of active. Rather, passive income is meant in contrast to earned income, as defined by the IRS. Whether your income is passive or earned really only matters when you're filing your tax returns (e.g., you can't claim passive income losses against earned income). That said, the IRS differentiates investment income from passive income, though they are both taxed at capital gains rates. For a better understanding of passive income and ways to make it, continue reading. If you're looking to increase your investment income, a financial advisor can help.  Read More...

Oct 22, 2021 Investing provides a great opportunity to grow your money for future goals, like retirement. But getting into the stock market isn’t a one-and-done deal. It requires research and upkeep to make sure your investments continue to perform well. Investing in stocks can be particularly tricky too, as they're fairly risky investments. You can also  work with a financial advisor to create an investment plan for yourself. Read More...

Jan 12, 2021 Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help people save more and spend less. He offers his financial advice through a nationally syndicated radio show and also makes regular TV appearances in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. If you struggle to save money, Howard could be the guy that helps you to finally kick that overspending habit. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 The financial gap between men and women is decreasing but there is still a big divide. That's part of why Amanda Steinberg founded DailyWorth in 2009. She felt women needed a dedicated, financial advice outlet. DailyWorth empowers women to take control of their personal finances by providing the necessary knowledge, advice and tools. Steinberg's advice comes from personal experience, too. She once found herself deep in debt and had to change her habits to dig her way out. Read More...

Feb 27, 2020 Once dubbed the“CEO Whisperer" by Fortune Magazine, Tony Robbins is yet another big name to be caught up in the #MeToo movement. The best-selling author and personal-growth guru to the stars (including Serena Williams and Maria Menounos, according to his site) has had some setbacks since BuzzFeed News reported on allegations of his sexual misconduct and other inappropriate behavior. In May 2019, publisher Simon & Schuster announced it was cancelling "The Path: Accelerating Your Journey to Financial Freedom," which Robbins had contributed two chapters to, according to co-author Peter Mallouk. Then, Mallouk, CEO of Creative Planning, made public that Robbins' role as chief of investor psychology at the wealth management firm had been eliminated. In November 2019, Robbins wrote in an op-ed on Medium that he was suing BuzzFeed for defamation. Read on for more about the motivational speaker, who's reportedly worth $500 million. Read More...

Aug 21, 2019 Rachel Cruze is in the unique position of having learned about money since she was a child. Her father, financial expert Dave Ramsey, taught her how to stay out of debt and live within her means. Now Cruze is a successful speaker in her own right. She offers similar advice to Ramsey's but also draws on her own experiences as young professional and recent mother. Read More...

Jan 30, 2020 Formerly a money coach with Dave Ramsey's organization, Chris Hogan is now a recognized personal finance expert with his own following. His first book, "Retire Inspired: It's Not an Age; It's a Financial Number," came out in 2016, followed three years later by "Everyday Millionaires: How Ordinary People Built Extraordinary Wealth - and How You Can Too." (Ramsey Press published both books.) Hogan also has a blog called ChrisHogan360 and a weekly podcast called "The Chris Hogan Show." An engaging speaker who's passionate about helping people, Hogan makes saving and investing accessible to the masses. Read More...

Sep 12, 2018 J. Money is a professional blogger who's risen to fame over the past decade for his personal finance blog, Budgets Are Sexy. He has helped people understand their finances by talking openly about his own. He's received numerous awards along the way and his blog posts have been featured in several publications. So let's find out if J. Money can help you to take more control of your own personal finances. Read More...

Oct 19, 2018 Suze Orman was once a waitress making $400 per month. Today she's built a successful career as a personal finance guru through hard work and dedication. Orman has published several books and hosted her own TV show. Her advice is simple but sound. If you could use some help with your finances, read on. Read More...

Mar 18, 2020 Author and entrepreneur Robert Kiyosaki hit it big in 1997 with "Rich Dad Poor Dad." Originally self-published before being picked up by Warner Books, the money advice book was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than six years. In 2000, Oprah featured the self-proclaimed financial guru on her show, bringing his message of ownership and passive income to even more people. Kiyosaki went on to write 26 books, including two with Donald Trump, "Why We Want You to Be Rich" and "Midas Touch." The two met while giving motivational talks for the Learning Annex. Like his co-author, Kiyosaki has filed for bankruptcy several times, most recently in 2012.  Much of his advice has come under criticism - and his bankruptcy brings his business acumen into question. Read on for more about Robert Kiyosaki, who is reportedly worth $80 million. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Dave Ramsey has made a career of giving financial advice to the people who need it most. Most of the callers on his radio show are trying to dig themselves out of deep debt. His advice to them is actually quite simple. So if you're someone who struggles with your finances, is Dave Ramsey the guy to help you figure things out? Read More...

Oct 12, 2021 Technically, you don't actually need any training or certifications to call yourself a financial advisor. So the fact that someone has undertaken the coursework, exams and expense that the certified financial planner (CFP) designation requires says something positive about the advisor. The same goes for chartered financial consultants (ChFCs). Of course, to the issuing organizations, the differences between the two designations are huge. To clients, though, the differences may not seem so significant when considering  financial advisors. Read More...

Aug 29, 2017 Plenty of Americans continue to work after hitting retirement age. Data from the Census Bureau shows that in 2015, 12% of Americans over the age of 70 admitted to doing some work in the previous 12 months. Maybe you're the type of retiree who wants to stay busy during retirement by working, or you want to supplement your retirement savings. But how do you decide where to settle down? Below we rank the best places for a worktirement. Read More...

Sep 12, 2018 Are you interested in investing in mutual funds, but find them complex and overwhelming? If this is the case, it may be time to turn to an expert. A chartered mutual fund counselor - or CMFC - is a financial advisor who has earned a certification in mutual funds. Her expertise helps her to make educated recommendations for investing your money. Read More...

Jan 12, 2021 If you are looking to invest money with a brokerage firm or an individual stockbroker, it is important to do your research first. Other wise, you could end up being a victim of fraud. One of the first places you should check is the Central Registration Depository, or CRD. That is the database of brokerage and securities firms, and it allows you to make sure that the person or firm you are doing business with is legitimate. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Each year millions of Americans put away their work clothes for the final time and call it a career. But many of these retirees don't just retire and stay put. Many venture off to the warmer climes of Arizona or Florida to take advantage of year-round heat and relatively low costs of living. These retirees bring with them hard earned, and carefully saved, retirement income. This makes retirees an important part of any local economy in which they arrive. Read More...

Dec 09, 2019 The title of certified financial planner® (CFP) carries a lot of weight. It indicates that the bearer has put the time and work into obtaining CFP certification. Anyone can say they can help you with your finances, but only a select group of financial advisors obtains CFP certification. How does CFP certification work? Let's take a closer look. Read More...

Dec 12, 2019 Looking for a financial advisor can be a tricky task. It's hard to know what kind of financial advice you need, and how much you should pay for that advice. One important distinction to understand is the difference between financial counselors and financial planners. Let us explain.  Read More...

Jan 14, 2020 Private wealth management is an investment advisory practice focused on serving the unique needs of wealthy individuals. The practice incorporates a wide range of services, including financial planning and investment management, to manage significant amounts of wealth in a comprehensive fashion. Private wealth managers at small boutique firms and big-name firms like Goldman Sachs help high-net-worth individuals, couples, families and small foundations to grow and protect their assets and plan for the future. So what distinguishes private wealth management from other financial services? Let’s take a closer look. Read More...

Oct 15, 2021 Self-employment or working for a small business may sound like a dream. However, one downside is that you likely won’t have access to a workplace retirement plan like a 401(k). Sure, you could max out the $6,000 annual IRA contribution limit, but that might not be enough to reach your savings goals. That’s where the Keogh (pronounced KEY-oh) plan can come in. A Keogh plan is a tax-deferred retirement plan for self-employed people and small businesses. If you have questions about planning for your retirement, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Apr 01, 2019 Update: As of January 1, 2018, recharacterization of Roth IRAs is no longer possible due to the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. Once you convert a traditional IRA to a Roth, you no longer have the option of changing back to a traditional. The below article describes how the process worked before this change. -- Many people choose to convert their traditional IRAs into Roth IRAs. This means paying taxes now in exchange for enjoying tax-free growth and withdrawals down the road. If you regretted that decision, you could undo it through a process known as recharacterization. However, this is no longer allowed under current tax law. Read More...

Oct 15, 2020 For just about everyone, the Medicare eligibility age is 65. At that point, you'll have access to Medicare Part A and are able to purchase Medicare Part B. For some with disabilities or End Stage Renal Disease, though, eligibility may come at a younger age. Most people are eligible to receive part A without having to pay for it, but there are a few exceptions, which we'll note in further detail below. For help with healthcare planning and other questions about finances and retirement, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

May 04, 2017 The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.5% as of March 2017, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But in many states the jobs that are currently available and growing are not necessarily the ones that have traditionally been available. With the economy doing relatively well, SmartAsset took a look at the fastest-growing jobs in different parts of the country.  Read More...

Oct 05, 2020 Qualified charitable distributions (QCD) are money taken directly out of your individual retirement account (IRA) and given to an eligible charity. Giving to charity can be a benefit in many ways. Not only does it help people and make you feel good, it may help you with your taxes. Make sure you know everything about QCDs before making the decision to take this path, and talk to a financial advisor if you need help. Find a financial advisor with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Jan 15, 2020 At some point, older adults may need help completing basic activities like getting dressed and taking baths. Unfortunately, health insurance plans don't exactly cover this kind of care. This is where long-term care insurance comes into play. If you're not sure how it works, here's everything you need to know about the best time to apply for long-term care insurance and why you might need coverage. Read More...

Aug 23, 2019 Many Americans are expected to sign up for health insurance during the open enrollment period that falls between the beginning of November and the end of January. But that's not the case for everyone. If you're applying for Medicaid or insurance through CHIP, for example, you can sign up for coverage anytime. And if you're eligible for Medicare, you'll have a different enrollment period from everyone else. Here's the lowdown on when you should apply for Medicare. Read More...

Mar 29, 2017 There's a reason that annuities are appealing financial products. They take the uncertainty out of retirement income by guaranteeing an annual sum. But do the costs outweigh the benefits? Let's take a closer look at indexed annuities and what experts say about them. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 Planning to spend your golden years catching up on sleep? That might not be a good idea. A recent study from the National Institutes of Health found that physical activity may increase one's life expectancy by as many as four-and-a-half years. Of course, your ability to remain physically active in retirement may depend, in part, on your environment. Some cities simply make it easier for retirees to live active lifestyles. Read More...

Aug 23, 2019 Planning for retirement can be challenging. Figuring out exactly how much you need to sock away can be tricky, even if you use a retirement calculator. And many retirees are concerned about running out of savings. If thinking about your financial future makes you nervous, you may want to purchase an annuity. Here's a look at what an immediate annuity is and what to consider before buying one. Read More...

Jan 12, 2021 Your full retirement age is the point at which you're able to earn the full amount of benefits that you've earned throughout your career, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). However, that doesn't mean it's the age at which you can receive your maximum benefit.  Determining the best time for you to begin receiving Social Security benefits has become a more complex endeavor in recent decades. Technically, you can elect for these benefits as soon as you reach age 62, or you could wait all the way until you're 70. If you want help planning for retirement, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 The last Social Security privatization proposal with legs came in 2005. Former President George W. Bush proposed a system of voluntary investment accounts. These accounts would contain money from workers' payroll taxes. Since that failed, no other privatization proposal has gotten as far. But could that change? Let's talk about what privatized Social Security could look like.  Read More...

Sep 23, 2021 Many adults look forward to retirement. And some wouldn't mind leaving the workforce ahead of schedule. But few people think about the drawbacks of retiring early. Few realize that an early retirement might affect their long-term financial plan and their access to certain benefits. A financial advisor can help you figure out all of your retirement and social security issues. Read More...

Mar 09, 2020 Based on the most recent U.S. Census Bureau data, the average salary for a millennial is $47,034 a year, or $905 a week. If you fit into this generation, it probably won't shock you to learn that the average salary of a millennial today is an estimated 20% lower, in real terms, than the average salary that a baby boomer had at the same age. What's more, today's millennials are in deeper debt than their parents were at their age. A financial advisor can be a great resource for millennials looking to put together a financial plan. Read More...

Oct 19, 2020 An initial public offering, or IPO, is when a private company first takes its stock shares public. IPO investing can be risky, as the company's shares have yet to perform on the open market. On the other hand, investing in an IPO can be extremely rewarding if you can manage to get in on the ground floor of an up-and-coming company. If you qualify for IPO investing, you can typically do so through your brokerage. If you have questions about IPOs or investing in general, perhaps a local financial advisor can help you out. Read More...

Dec 24, 2020 For tax year 2020, you can invest up to $6,000 in your IRA if you're younger than 50, or $7,000 if you're 50 or older. The IRS limits how much you can contribute to your retirement accounts each year, as they are tax-advantaged accounts. In some cases, there are also stipulations on who can contribute to these accounts. However, these rules aren't dictated by age, but rather by your income and whether you're covered by a workplace retirement plan. Do you need help planning for retirement? Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

May 15, 2018 We all know that it's hard to become a high-earner in this country without a college degree. This can make it hard to save for retirement or meet other financial goals. Access to the middle class is increasingly reserved for those with some higher education under their belts. Let's take a closer look at the average salary by education level to see what dividends education pays.  Read More...

Feb 24, 2017 You may have heard talk of "block granting" Medicaid in the news or in House Majority Leader Paul Ryan's outline for a replacement to the Affordable Care Act. What exactly does "block granting" mean and how does it work? How would it affect healthcare access for the low-income and elderly Americans who currently rely on Medicaid for health insurance? Let's take a closer look.  Read More...

Dec 15, 2020 How are you doing, earnings-wise, compared to other people the same age? Of course, the answer largely depends on where you live and what you do. But knowing the median salary of people the same age can tell you if you're generally keeping up, pacing ahead or lagging behind your peers. And knowing what older generations earn can give you a sense of what to aim for - and look forward to. Are you under-earning for your age group? Read on for a closer look at the median salary by age for full-time workers in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2020. (With the higher unemployment rate of lower-income sectors, these numbers are slightly higher than before the pandemic.) We got this data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which tracks Americans' earnings by several demographic factors, including age. However you compare to other people your age, remember that what you save is more important than what you earn - and how you invest it can be even more significant. For help growing your savings, talk to a financial advisorRead More...

Mar 02, 2017 Does retirement sometimes seem like a pipe dream? It’s true that incomes and jobs aren't what they once were. Plus, planning for something 20, 30 or 40 years in the future can be difficult. But with careful planning and financial management, it's possible to save enough to enjoy retirement. Depending on where you hope to live, early retirement may even be possible. We looked at data on the 15 largest cities to help you figure out how early can you retire? Read More...

Feb 20, 2017 Retirement is supposed to be the time when seniors finally get a chance to relax after working for decades. But sometimes, having no job at all doesn’t work out for retirees. Some may need extra income, while others may simply want to remain productive. If you're looking for a temporary gig or side hustle, here are 12 part-time job opportunities for retirees. Read More...

Jul 09, 2019 The median pay for a flight attendant was $56,000 in 2018, according to the latest data by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). That figure climbs above the national average. You’d likely need just a high school diploma to become a flight attendant. But you need to meet certain requirements before you become one. We’ll cover all you need to know about entering the field and how much you can expect to earn. And as you think of navigating the friendly skies and your finances, consider getting a financial advisor to help. Read More...

Sep 25, 2017 The Fed’s decision to raise rates at the end of 2016 sparked much speculation about what that would mean for everyday Americans. While the rate hike will benefit savers by boosting their interest rates, it'll hurt borrowers by making it more expensive to take out a loan. But the rate hike may have a much larger impact on retirees who rely on savings and investments to live. Let's look at how rising interest rates could affect seniors across the country. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 While preparing for retirement is a good idea, having a plan in place for how to withdraw your savings is equally important. Without considering how you'll use the funds in your accounts, you could run out of money or lose most of your savings to taxes. Here's how to develop a strategy that'll allow you to withdraw your retirement assets as efficiently as possible. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 The official unemployment rate is considered to be a good indicator of where the economy stands, but there's still a lot that it won't tell you. Looking at the unemployment rate won't tell you how long people without jobs haven't been able to find work, for instance. And it doesn't reveal anything about the number of people who are underemployed. Underemployment is a fairly broad term that can help us understand who is currently satisfied with their level of employment and who isn't. Currently, different institutions have divergent methods of quantifying the underemployment rate. Read More...

Jul 16, 2018 Many of us often dream (or stress) about the day when we can finally leave our full-time jobs behind and treat every day like it's a Saturday. Some of us, though, are thinking about ditching our 9-to-5 routine sooner rather than later. What does it take to retire early? Let’s take a look. Read More...

Oct 08, 2020 The average police officer salary is higher than you might expect. The median annual salary of a police officer is $65,400. Being a police officer comes with risks, but it can also be a financially rewarding career. Let's take a closer look at the average salary of a police officer and where officers make the most. No matter what your job and salary, a financial advisor can help you make the most of your money, so consider finding one with SmartAsset's free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Feb 07, 2017 You’ve worked hard for 40-odd years and now you are ready to ready to enjoy a long relaxing retirement. But where should you live? You probably want to be somewhere affordable to get the most out of your retirement savings, but you may also want to be somewhere with warm weather and relaxing activities. It may also be important that you retire to a place where the stress of potential crime is far from your mind. Below, we used these and other metrics to determine the best places for a relaxing retirement. Read More...

Jan 26, 2017 Folks at all income levels dream of the chance to retire with enough money to live comfortably. And retiring early, when you're young enough to fully enjoy it, is an especially enticing prospect. In order to live that dream, early retirees need to track their money carefully making sure no dollar is wasted. But money isn't early retirees' only concern. Access to medical care and general quality of life are also important. We looked at these and other factors to see which were the best cities for an early retirement. Read More...

Sep 28, 2021 An individual retirement account, or IRA, is a popular tool that's used to help build your retirement savings. IRAs are tax-advantaged accounts, and they offer direct access to investments. There are four important steps to follow when opening an IRA. These include figuring out what type of IRA is best for your situation, where to open your account, how to fund it and what to invest your money in. If you have specific questions about IRAs or retirement planning, consider meeting with a financial advisor in your areaRead More...

Sep 20, 2018 Many people look forward to the day they can hang up their work clothes for good and enjoy their golden years. For most people, retirement occurs sometime in their late 60s or even their 70s. However, with careful planning and prudent financial management, it is possible to retire even earlier. There are many factors at play when determining whether a place is suitable for an early retirement. First and foremost are financial concerns.  Read More...

Nov 09, 2017 In 2016, Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Trust Act into law. This legislation would create a state-sponsored retirement savings program with the goal of improving savings options for private sector workers. It’s an ambitious plan and faces many challenges before it can go into effect.  Read More...

Mar 14, 2017 You may be planning to spend your retirement playing golf or traveling the world. But if a financial disaster strikes, you'll have to find a way to bounce back from it. While you can't necessarily prevent an emergency from happening, there are ways to prepare yourself for a rainy day. Let's look at some situations that can derail your retirement plans and the steps you can take to deal with them. Read More...

Jul 16, 2018 Your credit score can affect many different aspects of your financial life. If you're hoping to buy a home, refinance your student debt or get a new credit card, your credit is going to come into play. One thing you may not automatically connect your credit score with, however, is your retirement plan. You may be surprised to learn that your score can influence how financially sound you are after you stop working. Read More...

Jul 24, 2019 The so-called gig economy is reshaping the way companies sell products and services, and it's having an impact on how its workers plan their financial futures. While freelancers and independent contractors may have more flexibility, their jobs typically don't come with built-in retirement plans. If you're part of the gig economy, here's how you can plan for retirement. Read More...

Mar 29, 2017 Not everyone leaves the workforce at age 65. Some people decide to retire before they reach full retirement age, even if they have to miss out on some of the Social Security benefits they're entitled to receive. Others try to keep working for as long as they can because retiring early isn't possible or they're afraid of outliving their retirement savings. For the second year in a row, SmartAsset took a look at how the average retirement age varies across the country. Read More...

Jul 16, 2018 Part of planning for retirement is deciding when to leave your job behind. But sometimes plans go awry. If a sickness prevents you from working or your company downsizes, you could be forced to retire months or years ahead of schedule. If you haven't saved enough money, there's no need to panic. Here are five steps to take when you're forced into an early retirement. Read More...

Sep 26, 2016 Saving for retirement can be a daunting task and it's hard to do it without a road map. Maxing out your employer-sponsored plan (such as your 401(k) account) can be a great starting point. But there's more than one way to pad your retirement accounts. If you're looking for creative ways to boost your savings, here are some ideas that you can begin to implement. Read More...

May 06, 2019 SEPP, which stands for substantially equal periodic payments, is a little-known program that can enable you to withdraw money from your IRA or 401(k) before age 59.5 without facing an early withdrawal penalty. Doing so is permanent, so it may not be the best course of action if you need a short-term cash infusion. Before you commit to a SEPP plan, make sure you’ve considered all the ins and outs and concluded that it’s the best option for your situation. Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 Knowing that you should save for retirement and actually doing it are two different things. If you never got around to building a nest egg, you run the risk of going broke in retirement. That could be a problem if you have a lot of unpaid debt and financial obligations. But luckily, there are ways to stay afloat when you run out of savings. Here are three ways to cope when you come up short. Read More...

Mar 09, 2017 By the time you turn 60, you may be ready to leave the workforce for good. But some seniors aren't in the financial position to quit their jobs. While working in retirement won't prevent you from claiming your Social Security benefits, it could affect your benefit amount. If you're planning to work after you retire, here's what you'll need to consider before taking Social Security. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 Worrying about having enough retirement savings can keep you up at night. If you've barely put anything away, it's easy to panic or give up on saving altogether. But there's a third option: You can find ways to funnel a few extra bucks into your 401(k) account or your IRA. If you're ready to put more effort into saving, here are seven easy ways to fill your retirement accounts. Read More...

Aug 23, 2019 If you're young, your retirement healthcare needs are probably the last thing on your mind. But even if your golden years are decades away, it might be a good idea to start thinking about how you're going to pay for your medical bills and medications. The average 65-year-old couple who retired in 2015 can expect to spend a total of $394,954 on premiums, co-pays and out-of-pocket healthcare expenses by the time they turn 85, according to a recent report. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 If you're thinking about retiring, you may want to consider how leaving the workforce might affect your adult children. Many millennials live at home with their parents. And a large percentage of those who live on their own rely on their parents for financial support. Before you give up your career, check out some of the factors you'll need to discuss with your kids first. Read More...

Aug 23, 2019 An emergency fund can go a long way in keeping you from running out of cash when you lose your job or you're forced to cover the cost of an emergency expense. Once you retire, you may think that you no longer need a rainy day fund, but that's not necessarily the case. Here are five reasons why having an emergency fund can come in handy after you decide to leave the workforce. Read More...

Jun 11, 2018 There are lots of reasons why you might consider buying a home overseas. Perhaps you've found the ultimate vacation spot and you want a permanent place to park your stuff. Or maybe the idea of spending your golden years someplace warm and sunny appeals to you. Either way, buying property in a foreign country is going to be a different experience than buying a place on your home turf. Before you fall in love with that Italian villa or a Mexican hacienda, here are five things to take into account. Read More...

Jul 30, 2019 One million dollars is often cited as the amount that most people should use as their benchmark when trying to figure out how much they need to save for retirement. But you may be able to retire on less than $1 million, depending on your financial situation. While having a lot of money in the bank is always a plus, you don't have to be rolling in dough in order to retire comfortably. Read More...

Jul 16, 2018 Retirement is supposed to be a time when you can sit back and relax. But for some seniors, their golden years aren't as bright as they anticipated. According to a recent report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), the number of retirees who say their retirement is "very satisfying" declined by nearly 12% within a 15-year period, while the number of those who say it's not satisfying at all has increased by nearly 3%. Read More...

Aug 06, 2018 Most people assume that once you hit retirement, it's time to pack up and move someplace sunny. But surprisingly, many American seniors aren't interested in straying too far from home. A survey from The American College of Financial Services found that 83% of retirees or near retirees had no plans to relocate in their later years. Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 Full retirement age is now 66 or 67, depending on the year you were born. But a recent survey revealed that one in four workers don't plan to retire until after their 70th birthday. While some people may choose to work longer out of a desire to stay active, others may have to do so in order to keep up with their expenses. If you're thinking about putting off your retirement, here's a look at some of the pros and cons of working until age 70. Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 Cutting the apron strings is an important rite of passage for many parents but one thing that many of them fail to do is cut the purse strings while they're at it. According to a recent survey, 6 in 10 Americans provide financial support to their adult children and in doing so, they may be putting their retirement security at risk. Read More...

Jun 28, 2019 Getting married means more than merging your lives - it's also about joining your finances together. Handling money as a married couple can be challenging at any age but it can be especially tricky for retirees who are concerned about keeping their nest egg secure. If you're a senior who's planning on walking down the aisle again or for the first time, here are some important rules to keep in mind. Read More...

Sep 24, 2018 Planning for retirement involves more than just mapping out your savings strategy. You'll need to know how much you can afford to spend once you leave the workforce. In the past, some financial experts recommended that retirees stick with the 4% rule when making retirement withdrawals. But it may not be the best guideline for everyone. Here's what you need to know about the rule. Read More...

Jun 15, 2016 More and more seniors are staying in the workforce in their 60s and beyond. Some keep working out of financial necessity. Others want to wait to retire until age 70, when they'll receive the maximum in Social Security income. Still others stay in the labor force because they derive satisfaction and enjoyment from their jobs. Here are the best cities for a "worktirement" in 2016. Read More...

Apr 11, 2017 Saving for retirement is a common financial goal, but it's often easier said than done. A new survey suggests that despite the pressure to plan for the future, retirement savings rates have dropped. Meanwhile, concerns about not having enough money in retirement have risen. If you haven't saved much for your golden years, keep reading to see how you compare to the rest of the country. Read More...

Feb 07, 2017 Traveling and volunteering are both great ways to spend your golden years. But some seniors are more interested in starting the businesses they've always dreamed of founding. Donning a small business owner's hat later in life can be rewarding, but it comes with a certain degree of risk. Before you get started, it's a good idea to consider the following financial tips. Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 Social Security benefits supplement existing savings in retirement and while they're valuable to many seniors, they're often misunderstood. In a recent survey, only 28% of participants earned a passing grade when quizzed on their knowledge about Social Security. Here's a look at the most common things seniors get wrong when it comes to Social Security. Read More...

May 18, 2016 One of the most challenging aspects of raising teenagers is helping them develop good money management skills. Teaching them how to budget and save can help them build a solid financial foundation. Setting up a custodial IRA can help them start preparing for retirement. Basically, it's a traditional or Roth IRA that you'll maintain control of until your child becomes an adult. If your teen doesn't have one, here are three reasons to consider opening a custodial IRA. Read More...

May 10, 2016 Tying the knot means making a commitment to share every aspect of your life with your significant other. As you begin merging your money, one area that requires special attention is your retirement planning strategy. Building a nest egg as a team can be easier than doing it alone if you know which steps to take. Here are four retirement planning moves for newlyweds. Read More...

May 09, 2016 Everyone wants to be able to retire comfortably, but making that dream a reality is easier said than done. Even if you're socking money away here and there, there's no guarantee that you'll have enough cash for your golden years. In fact, you could be sabotaging your long-term financial goals without even realizing it. Here are five mistakes that can leave you feeling the pinch in retirement. Read More...

Feb 20, 2020 As the baby boomer generation ages into their 60s and 70s, the number of retirees in the United States is going to increase. So too will their economic sway. Many retirees, no longer anchored to a city or region by their job, choose to pack up and leave. Some seek a lower cost of living. Others want beautiful scenery, warm weather or both. Some are looking for lower taxes on their retirement income. Read More...

Feb 19, 2020 Generally, people who convert their individual retirement accounts (IRAs) to  annuities are near retirement. They're worried about outliving their money. Or maybe they're trying to protect their nest egg from a future bear market - or worse. If this describes you, an annuity that offers a consistent stream of income for life may be right for you. There are tradeoffs though. The biggest one: if you start receiving payments but die early, the insurance company will keep your premium unless you paid extra for payouts to last for, say, two lifetimes (yours and a spouse's). So you'll want to do your homework before using your IRA to buy an annuity. To get you started, here are the main pros and cons you should know about. A qualified financial advisor can help you weigh them in light of your particular situation.  Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 Retirement planning is a hot topic and the research suggests that Americans are overwhelmingly unprepared. According to the Employee Benefits Research Institute, only 22% of workers say they're very confident about their ability to save enough for a comfortable retirement. Seventeen percent said they're not too sure they'll be able to meet their basic expenses once they retire. Read More...

Mar 29, 2017 What’s your ideal retirement? For the couch potatoes among us, it probably involves lots of big books, television shows and classic movies. Beach bums might envision a spot in the sand with a cool drink and a bit of shade. Others prefer the purpose (and income) provided by entrepreneurship or a part-time job. For many, however, the perfect retirement isn’t about relaxation or economic productivity. It’s about staying active, staying fit and getting some fresh air in the process. Read More...

Nov 04, 2016 In the final stretch of his presidency, Obama has made it his mission to encourage states to make it easier for workers to save for retirement. Currently, there are almost 70 million Americans without employer-sponsored retirement plans. While many states are making an effort to develop new savings vehicles, five of them are ahead of the curve. Read on to find out which ones have already created their own retirement savings programs for their residents. Read More...

Jul 24, 2019 If retiring rich is one of your financial goals, one of the best ways to make that happen is to study the habits of wealthy savers. When it comes to money, the rich know a thing or two about growing it and making it last, both of which are evident in the way they build their nest eggs. If you want to enjoy a lavish post-work lifestyle, here are three retirement planning rules you can put into practice. Read More...

Jul 16, 2018 You probably understand that saving for retirement is important, but you might not know exactly how to get started. Whether you're able to participate in an employer-sponsored plan or not, contributing to an individual retirement account (IRA) can be a great way to prepare yourself for the future. Check out our beginner’s guide to getting started with an IRA. Read More...

Sep 06, 2018 Participating in a 401(k) plan is one of the simplest ways to start planning for retirement. Unfortunately, not all employers offer this tax-advantaged savings plan. If you don't have the opportunity to invest in a 401(k), you may need to convince your employer to provide this benefit. Check out three tips that can improve your odds of getting the retirement support you need for your future. Read More...

Jan 07, 2021 For many people, turning 50 signals a shift in the way they approach their finances. If you have kids, they're probably preparing to leave the nest and you may just be hitting your stride in terms of your earning power. With retirement looming, now's the time to amp up your efforts to save. Whether you're a late bloomer or you've been socking money away steadily over the years, here's what you can do to enjoy a rich retirement. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 Saving for the future can be intimidating. But you don’t want to put it off or settle for strategies that save you very little. There are plenty of ways to take charge of your finances now in order to enjoy a big payoff later in retirement. So whether you've recently started your career or you're counting the months to freedom, here are three simple ways to grow your nest egg. Read More...

Jan 25, 2021 As you head into your 60s, you reach the point where retirement is very much a reality. Just because you're close to leaving your job behind for good, however, doesn't mean you can slack off when it comes to getting your financial ducks in a row. In fact, the years leading up to retirement can be crucial to your long-term outlook. A financial advisor can help you set up a plan to reach your retirement goals. If you want to enjoy your golden years, here are the retirement planning mistakes you'll want to avoid in your 60s. Read More...

Jan 25, 2016 A 401(k) account is one of the most powerful tools you can have when it comes to saving for retirement. If you're not using yours wisely, however, you could be putting your savings in jeopardy. When you're focused on creating sustainable, long-term wealth through your 401(k), there are certain pitfalls that you need to watch out for along the way. Read More...

Jan 18, 2016 It's best to have a solid grip on your retirement planning strategy by the time you reach your 50s. If you've been saving steadily throughout your 30s and 40s, the next decade or so will hopefully be a cakewalk. But you can't afford to leave room for error. As you get closer to retirement age, it's important to make sure you're avoiding these potentially costly mistakes. Read More...

Jan 22, 2021 Maxing out your individual retirement account (IRA) each year is a smart move when you're focused on growing your retirement fund. But contributing too much money can result in a tax penalty. Many taxpayers work with a financial advisor to avoid excess contributions and optimize their retirement strategies. If you have too much money in your IRA, here's what you can do about it. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 Building wealth takes time. Your approach will depend in part on the stage of life you're in. The way you handle your money as a 40-something is likely a bit different than the way you managed your finances in your 20s and your 30s. If retiring rich is your ultimate goal, here are three ways to work toward making that happen as you hit your midlife stride. Read More...

Dec 20, 2016 While you're making your New Year's resolutions, it might be a good idea to set aside time to map out your retirement strategy for the year. And that includes taking a look at where you currently stand with your 401(k) contributions. January is the start of a new contribution year. So if you want to make the most of your 401(k) retirement account this year, here are five steps you can take. Read More...

Jul 16, 2018 Once you enter your 50s, the pressure to make sure you're ready for retirement starts to increase. If you've been saving diligently up to this point, you might not be feeling too stressed. But if you haven't put much effort into building your nest egg, there's no time to waste. Check out some steps you should consider taking now to make sure your golden years look bright. Read More...

Nov 05, 2015 Saying goodbye to your 20s and hello to your 30s might mean making some slight adjustments to how you manage your money on a daily basis. That can include putting saving for retirement on your financial to-do list. If you're a 30-something saver, there are several retirement planning mistakes you'll likely want to steer clear of when you're in the process of building your nest egg. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 Choosing the right retirement age is as difficult as it is important. A premature retirement can also cost you a chunk of your annual Social Security income. Retiring too early could leave you short on savings years into your retirement. Regardless of when you retire, you'll want to stick to a retirement budget to ensure your spending stays in line with your savings. Read More...

Oct 26, 2015 Your 40s are a transitional period financially. Instead of attacking student loan debt, you might be looking for ways to pay down your mortgage faster. If you've got kids who are planning to go to college, saving for their tuition might also be on your radar. As far as retirement goes, you still have time to save but the countdown clock is likely ticking a little more loudly. If you haven't squirreled away as much as you would like or you haven't started saving yet, here's what to focus on. Read More...

Aug 16, 2018 When you think "golf" do you think executives doing business on the links or wealthy retirees? If so, you might have a good reason for associating golf with money. The sport is big business, from the manicured courses to the televised competitions. Want to know more about the economics of golf? You're in the right place.  Read More...

Aug 10, 2018 Thinking about an early retirement? If so, you’ll need to plan carefully. There are a number of financial challenges for early retirees that those who wait until 65 or later don’t need to worry about. Read More...

Oct 16, 2015 It's natural for your financial priorities to shift once you reach your 30s. Instead of living on a broke college student's budget, you're likely earning more. And if you haven't done it already, now is the time to start building your nest egg. Even though your retirement is still decades away, there are some steps you'll need to take to plan for your golden years. Read More...

Oct 12, 2015 Making mistakes in your 20s is natural. The ones that involve your money, though, can come back to haunt you for years to come. That's especially true when it comes to socking away money for your retirement. Some mistakes tend to be more expensive than others, so if you're a 20-something who's just starting to save, here's what you don't want to do. Read More...

Sep 16, 2015 If your retirement strategy involves putting money into a 401(k), you want to make sure you're getting the most out of what you're saving. Choosing low-fee investments is a step in the right direction, but there's a faster way to grow your money. Bumping up your contribution amount so you qualify for the company match can yield a big payoff when you're ready to retire. Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 Having access to a 401(k) can be a blessing or a curse depending on how it's structured. If you're forking out big bucks for fees or the match is minimal or nonexistent, you may be wondering whether it's even worth keeping. If your 401(k) isn't helping you save, it can be difficult to keep your retirement planning on track. But it's not impossible if you know how to deal with it. Read More...

Aug 28, 2015 Landing a big-time job comes with lots of perks and a retirement plan is one of the best parts of the package. The only problem is that some employers require newcomers to wait a few months or even a year before they can start chipping into their 401(k)s. While you're waiting for your contributions to kick in, here are three smart ways to put your extra money to good use. Read More...

Dec 12, 2019 A stretch IRA is a way to limit required distributions on an inherited IRA, avoiding a sizable tax bill in the process. Instead of naming his or her spouse as the IRA's beneficiary, an account holder can name children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren. This stretches the lifespan of the IRA, extending its tax-deferred growth for years or decades beyond the life of the original accountholder. Let us explain:  Read More...

Jul 11, 2019 Saving for retirement is important, and if you don’t have access to a workplace savings account an individual retirement account (IRA) might be your best option. You may be considering, though, how to choose between traditional IRA vs. Roth IRA. This is not an easy decision, and it will have a big influence on your future. Make sure you know everything you need to know about the differences between traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs before making the decision. If you want help planning your retirement, consider finding a financial advisor to help using SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. Read More...

Jul 28, 2020 Thinking of converting your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA? There are several reasons this might make sense. While you'll have to pay income tax on the converted amount, a Roth IRA allows your money to grow tax-free and then be withdrawn in retirement without income taxes. That's especially appealing to retirement savers who think they'll pay a higher income tax rate in retirement than they do now. And if you make too much money to contribute directly to a Roth IRA, a conversion allows you to sidestep those income limits (a process known as a backdoor IRA). Whatever your reason, here's what you need to know about converting to a Roth IRA. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Whether your dream is taking early retirement or working through your eighties, you should know why your retirement age matters. Choosing when to retire is one of the biggest financial decisions you'll make, right up there with buying a home. Retire too early and you risk outliving your retirement savings. Wait too long to retire and you might be robbing yourself of hard-earned leisure time. Read More...

Mar 01, 2018 It’s called a worktirement and it’s becoming increasingly common. Instead of leaving the workforce entirely sometime in their 60s, many seniors are continuing to work (at least part-time) well into their 70s and 80s. Read More...

Dec 13, 2019 Self-directed 401(k) plans let savers decide how to invest their pre-tax retirement contributions. Rather than being limited to the pre-approved funds typically offered by traditional 401(k) plans, self-directed 401(k) plans allow you to choose exactly where you’ll invest your money. For many Americans the 401(k) is their main – if not their only – retirement account. Given the important role the 401(k) plays in Americans’ retirement plans, it’s natural to want a high degree of control over how one’s 401(k) performs. Here’s a full rundown on self-directed 401(k)s so you can decide if it’s the right option for your retirement savings. Read More...

Mar 13, 2018 In the showdown of IRA vs.  401(k), which wins? That depends on your retirement savings needs. Just because you have access to a 401(k) through work doesn't mean you should necessarily max it out. Consider what a 401(k) and an IRA can do for you before investing your hard-earned dollars in one or the other. Let us walk you through the important differences between 401(k)s and IRAs.  Read More...

Oct 14, 2021 Robo-advisors are quite popular due to their low fees and simple, hands-off investment approach. But as more robo-advisors come about, the harder it becomes to figure out which one you should go with. To help you decide, SmartAsset created this list of the top robo-advisors for 2021. Look through each company's fees, minimum initial investments and other services to help you decide which is best suited to your needs. Would you prefer more hands-on help with your investments? Talk to a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Oct 21, 2021 One of the most difficult aspects of ending a relationship is often figuring out how to divide your assets. While splitting up a checking or savings account may be fairly straightforward, figuring out who gets what with regard to a 401(k) usually isn't so simple. If your marriage is drawing to a close, there are some basic rules to apply when dividing retirement accounts during a divorce. A financial advisor could help you create a financial plan for life after divorce. Here are four things you need to know about splitting up a 401(k) in divorce. Read More...

Dec 13, 2019 Saving in your employer's 401(k) could be a wise financial move. But believe it or not, it's not your only avenue for growing a healthy retirement nest egg. If you're approaching the annual contribution limit to your plan, there are three other accounts you can consider if you're looking for places to park some extra cash for your golden years. Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 Millennials consistently hear that they should be saving for retirement. Recent studies show 70% of 20-somethings are already socking away money for the future so it seems like the lesson is being heeded. But there are plenty of young adults still stuck at square one. If you're launching a career and have yet to jump on the retirement savings bandwagon, we've got tips on the tools you need to do it right. Read More...

Jan 12, 2016 Funneling money into your retirement accounts is an important link in the wealth-building chain. When it comes to your future, you can't afford to make the wrong move, but that doesn't mean you always have to follow the rules. In fact, there are some scenarios where deviating off the tried-and-true savings path might actually be good for your retirement strategy. Read More...

Jan 12, 2016 High fees can undermine your retirement savings strategy by eating into your earnings. But the Supreme Court is stepping in to protect workers' benefits. In a recently issued decision, the court put plan administrators on notice when it comes to high fees. If you're saving in a 401(k) or another employer-sponsored plan, here's what you need to know. Read More...

Nov 15, 2019 Do you have a cool million dollars sitting in your retirement account? If not, you probably need to keep saving if you’re planning on retiring in one of America’s largest cities. Thanks to the rising cost of living in urban areas across the country, retiring in a big city is more expensive than ever. In places like New York and Los Angeles, many retirees are forced to either work during retirement, find a new home or live frugally on a strict retirement budget. None of those may appeal to you, but unless you’re a millionaire they may be your only options. Read More...

Mar 25, 2017 Are you factoring Social Security benefits in to your retirement planning? If so, you should know the basics of Social Security eligibility and payments. That way, you won't get any unpleasant surprises when it comes time to claim your benefits after decades of hard work. Don't worry - we've got you covered with our guide to Social Security and how retirement benefits work. Read More...

Nov 18, 2016 Paying down your mortgage ahead of schedule can be a smart way to save yourself some serious dough on interest. That doesn't mean, however, that it's always the right move financially. In some cases, it might make better sense to use the extra money you're paying toward your mortgage to fatten up your nest egg. Here are some reasons to make retirement a priority over paying off your home. Read More...

Dec 13, 2019 A profit-sharing plan is a form of Defined Contribution (DC) plan that relies on employer contributions to employees' accounts. A business owner who wants to set up a profit-sharing plan for the benefit of herself and her employees may make generous contributions that are tax-deductible and enjoy tax-deferred growth. Does that sound too good to be true? It's not. Read More...

Dec 11, 2019 A cash balance plan is a twist on the traditional pension plan. Like a traditional pension, a cash balance plan provides workers with the option of a lifetime annuity. However, unlike pensions, cash balance plans create an individual account for each covered employee, complete with a specified lump sum. Establishing a cash balance plan offers potential savings for employers.  Read More...

Dec 09, 2019 If you're working on building up a nice nest egg for yourself, it's important to make sure that it's going to last through retirement. One of the ways you can stretch your savings further is by structuring your retirement account withdrawals to minimize your tax burden. Read More...

Oct 14, 2021 A Roth IRA can be a great way to stash away money for your retirement. Like all tax-advantaged retirement plans, however, the IRS has rules and requirements governing how they can be used. These include rules regarding the taxation of contributions and withdrawals. There are also limits on how much you can contribute in a given year, as well as income limits for participating in these plans. Understanding how these rules impact your retirement savings can have a major impact on your retirement plans. Make sure your retirement plan is as comprehensive as it needs to be. Speak with a financial advisor today. Read More...

Nov 17, 2016 Early retirement isn't the norm for most workers, but with some careful planning, it's possible to quit the 9-to-5 grind 10, 15 or even 20 years ahead of schedule. Whether you plan to spend your golden years sunning on the beach or traveling the world, it's important to be prepared for how leaving the workforce early will impact your finances. Aside from not having enough money saved to last for the long haul, there are a few other issues that could negatively affect your bottom line. Read More...

Jan 12, 2021 A pension plan is a type of retirement plan where employers promise to pay a defined benefit to employees for life after they retire. It's different from a defined contribution plan, like a 401(k), where employees put their own money in an employer-sponsored  investment program. Pensions grew in popularity during World War II and became mainstays in benefit packages for government and unionized workers. While they remain common in the public sector, they've largely been supplanted by defined contribution plans in the private sector. Do you have questions about planning for retirement? Consult with a financial advisor in your area. Read More...

Feb 28, 2018 You've worked hard for decades and you've decided it's time to retire. Now how do you apply for Social Security benefits? The good news is that applying for Social Security is a fairly straightforward process. The bad news is that maximizing your Social Security benefits is complicated - and requires some delayed gratification on your part. Ready to learn more? Read More...

Sep 13, 2021 The simplest answer is yes: Social Security income is generally taxable at the federal level, though whether or not you have to pay taxes on your Social Security benefits depends on your income level. If you have other sources of retirement income, such as a 401(k) or a part-time job, then you should expect to pay income taxes on your Social Security benefits. If you rely exclusively on your Social Security checks, though, you probably won't pay taxes on your benefits. State laws vary on taxing Social Security. Regardless, it's a good idea to work with a financial advisor to help you understand how different sources of retirement income are taxed. Read More...

Jul 17, 2019 A SIMPLE IRA is a retirement savings option for the owners and employees of small business. True to its name, the SIMPLE IRA is easy to set up and administer. If you're a business owner, a SIMPLE IRA lets you save for both yourself and your employees. People who work with their spouses can even double their retirement savings by using a SIMPLE IRA. Read More...

Jan 12, 2016 Americans are living longer, which means seniors spend more time in retirement. For some, a lengthy retirement is a dream come true. More years of water aerobics and cruises - what's not to like? But for others, the prospect of decades of idleness is not appealing. That's why some seniors choose to work, at least part-time, to fill their days and their bank accounts. Read More...

Jul 17, 2019 A Self-Directed IRA is a tax-deferred investment option for those who like a little more control than a regular IRA affords. It's an approach that comes with higher risk and greater potential rewards than your standard index fund. If you don't have the time, expertise or inclination to chase high returns, it's probably not for you. But if you're intrigued, read on for more about this retirement vehicle.  Read More...

Dec 09, 2019 If you imagined spending your retirement like Smaug the dragon, sitting atop a pile of gold (by which we mean retirement savings), think again. The IRS wants you to start taking money out of your retirement accounts beginning around age 70.5. This money goes by the name required minimum distributions (RMDs). Want to learn more? You're in the right place. Read More...

Jan 21, 2021 Wondering how your retirement savings stack up to other Americans' nest eggs? Or whether your income in your post-work years will be enough to keep you afloat? It's normal to be curious about the average retirement income in the U.S. Just remember that you need enough in your retiree days to meet your own needs, not to keep up with the Joneses. A financial advisor could help you create a financial plan to reach your retirement goals. Read More...

Jan 22, 2021 A Roth IRA is an individual retirement account funded with after-tax dollars. You can't deduct contributions to a Roth IRA at tax time, but you can withdraw your money tax-free in retirement. A Roth IRA is a popular choice for young people just starting out in their careers. Many work with a financial advisor to optimize their retirement strategy. Let's take a look at the Roth IRA and break down how it could fit into your retirement goals. Read More...

Mar 10, 2020 A 401(k) is a common tax-advantaged retirement savings plan that's available to employees through their employer. These accounts come in traditional and Roth variations, with each having their own tax benefits according to IRS tax laws. Because 401(k)s are integrated through an employer, you can easily contribute to your 401(k) account directly through your paycheck. While valuable, a 401(k) should only be a part of your overall retirement savings plan. A financial advisor in your area can help you expand your plans based on your personal needs. Read More...

Jun 24, 2019 A 403(b) is a tax-advantaged retirement plan available to many of America’s public employees, employees of universities and hospitals, religious leaders and workers at non-governmental organizations. Like a 401(k), a 403(b) comprises contributions that aren’t taxed right away. The contributions grow in a tax-deferred plan, with taxes paid upon withdrawal. Read More...

Mar 09, 2021 The term "IRA" stands for individual retirement account, and its purpose is to help you save for retirement. IRAs are widely available at many financial institutions, and they don't require the presence of an employer, like a 401(k) does. However, IRAs share many of the tax benefits of a 401(k), and they come in a few different variations: Roth, traditional and IRA CD. Additionally, the IRS sets annual limits on how much you can contribute to an IRA. Along with your personal IRA, a  financial advisor in your area can help you build a strong financial plan for reaching retirement. Read More...

Jul 29, 2015 It’s never too late or too early to start saving for retirement. Obviously the earlier you start, the more of a nest egg you’ll be able to grow and the more comfortable your retirement will likely be. If you have no idea how to go about increasing your retirement fund, there are many unexpected ways you can start saving. Read More...

Oct 23, 2020 A defined benefit plan is a retirement plan in which employers provide guaranteed retirement benefits to employees based on a set formula. These plans, often referred to as pension plans, have become less and less common over the last few decades. This decline is especially pronounced in the private sector, where more and more employers have shifted to defined contribution plans, like a 401(k). There are still employers offering defined benefit plans, though they mostly exist in the public sector. Do you have retirement planning questions?  Speak with a local financial advisor today. Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 Want your retirement to be about travel and relaxation, not bills and stress? We feel you. The best way to ensure your peace of mind in your post-work years is to a) save for retirement and b) pay off debt before retirement starts. We've got plenty of resources to help you get started with retirement planning. As for living debt-free in retirement, here are our top tips: Read More...

Aug 23, 2019 Once upon a time you worked at a job for 40 years or so. Then they gave you a cake, a gold watch and a pat on the back and sent you on your way, never to be seen or heard from again. They called it retirement and it usually happened at age 65. It was considered your just reward for a lifetime spent working. You could expect to spend five to seven years reading the newspaper and yelling at the neighbor's kids to keep off your lawn before you moved on to your final reward. Now that we've started living longer and healthier lives, the prospect of being idle for 20 or 30 years is less appealing. There are a number of practical reasons to consider postponing retirement beyond the fear of boredom. Read More...

Oct 20, 2021 On March 15, 2018, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the fiduciary rule. Former President Barrack Obama had initially called on the Department of Labor three years earlier to revise the rules and requirements for retirement advisors to " put the best interests of their clients above their own financial interests." Fiduciary advisors already uphold this standard by avoiding conflicts of interest from commissions, referral fees, kickbacks and other hidden sources of payment. However, this begged many clients to ask: "Can you trust your financial advisor?" Let's break down the history of the fiduciary rule and what you should look out for when working with an advisor. If you are looking for a fiduciary advisor, SmartAsset's free tool could match you with three local advisors and you can interview the candidates to see which one meets your needs. Read More...

Jul 26, 2019 It’s best to begin saving for retirement sooner rather than later to ensure that your 65-year-old self is as financially secure as possible. But all the jargon associated with retirement plans can make them almost impossible to comprehend. It’s time for some clarity. Here are 10 retirement terms we’ve made easy for you to understand. Read More...

Jun 28, 2019 Think your Social Security decisions are a personal matter? Think again. When approaching retirement age, it's a good idea for married couples to work together to plan a Social Security strategy (or better yet, start even earlier!). Read on to find out why. Read More...

Aug 30, 2021 Just because Tax Day might be on the horizon doesn't mean it's too late to dig up some extra savings on your taxes. Contributing to a traditional IRA for the current tax year is an easy way to score an additional deduction or a credit, both of which can cut your tax bill or pump up your refund, while also increasing your retirement savings. If you're thinking of opening an IRA ahead of the filing deadline, there are a few things to keep in mind. For more help with retirement planning, consider working with a local financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 It's easy to get lost in the midst of complications surrounding inherited IRAs. Unfortunately, the decisions beneficiaries make in the months after inheriting retirement accounts can mean the difference between a reliable income source and a hefty IRS bill. Let us walk you through the top four mistakes heirs make with inherited IRAs and share our tips. Read More...

Jul 18, 2019 As a freelancer, it can be easy to live from project to project and put off retirement savings for another day. But without the built-in savings mechanism that is the employer-sponsored 401(k), you'll need to take responsibility for your savings trajectory. That's where these three options come in.  Read More...

Mar 01, 2018 For the third year in a row, the Social Security Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) is coming in under 2%. America's tens of millions of Social Security recipients will get a 1.7% boost to their benefit checks in 2015. Some analysts say Social Security COLA should be doing more to help seniors keep up with inflation. Read More...

Jul 16, 2018 Is retirement on your mind? If so, you may be wondering where to settle in your golden years. This choice can have a big impact on your happiness. Whether you're living in a big city now or considering moving to one in retirement, it's important to know the pros and cons of retiring in a booming metropolis. We've got a list of three of each for you to check out before making any decisions. Read More...

Mar 01, 2018 From the time you started working and got on a payroll, you’ve been paying into the Social Security system. It’s a bit like the American government trust fund that you’ve been expecting to tap into once you retire. Over the past decade, there have been a number of reports that the so-called "trust fund" is diminishing, and those who are paying into it won’t be able to reap any of its benefits once they retire. Here are the top 5 social security facts anyone nearing retirement must know. Read More...

May 27, 2015 Maybe your 401(k) is invested in a target date fund, or you're considering a target date fund for your IRA. You should know about the growing debate around an important question: How well do these funds work as retirement savings vehicles? Read on for the pros and cons of these popular funds.  Read More...

Apr 11, 2017 Mike and Lauren plan to retire early. Like super early. The couple, married since 2008, plan to have saved enough money to be financially independent by the time they are thirty. Sound crazy? They explain for us in this edition of SmartAsset Talks. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 What happens when the car breaks down or your refrigerator conks out or you end up missing a week of work because you're sick? If you're prepared, you just tap your emergency fund instead of relying on credit cards or short-term loans to see you through. Whether it's a few hundred dollars or several thousand, everybody needs to have a few extra bucks set aside for rainy days. But the question is, where do you put it?  Read More...

Jan 21, 2021 Funneling money into a tax-advantaged account, such as an IRA or a 401(k) is a must if you're banking on enjoying a comfortable retirement. These kinds of accounts offer a much higher rate of growth compared to a regular savings account. However, there's a catch when it comes to how much you can save each year. The IRS routinely adjusts the annual retirement contribution limits for qualified retirement accounts. A financial advisor can help create a retirement strategy for your needs. Here are the latest contribution limits for the 2021 tax year. Read More...

Jan 08, 2015 If social security were a person, 2015 would mark its 15 th year receiving benefits. In other words, the most significant social benefits program in history turns 80 shortly. The program looks remarkably good for its age and shows no signs of slowing down or going away anytime soon. That is, unless you believe the rumors and innuendo that regularly make the rounds of news hounds, social media mavens and government gossip columnists. Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 Making the transition from working 40+ hours a week to suddenly having tons of free time can be mentally jarring for some retirees, not to mention the impact it can have on your finances. Without something to occupy their time and a regular paycheck coming in, many older workers may feel adrift. For some, a phased retirement simply makes more sense. Offered by some private companies and now the federal government, the trend of letting workers cut back gradually is catching on. But it may not be right for everyone. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 As 2014 winds down, it's time to start getting your financial house in order for the new year. One of the things you want to take a closer look at is where you are with your retirement savings. If it's been a while since you looked over your account statements, or you haven't actually gotten around to making a contribution yet, you can't afford to waste another minute. How you approach your retirement strategy can directly impact your tax filing, so there are a few things you should be doing to make the most of your nest egg. Read More...

Jun 28, 2017 Mapping out your retirement strategy involves more than just tossing money into a tax-advantaged account; you also have to pay attention to what the guidelines are for pulling the cash back out. Certain types of qualified savings plans, including 401(k)s and traditional IRAs require you to start making withdrawals once you reach age 70 1/2. Navigating the rules for required minimum distributions can be tricky, though, so it's to your advantage to understand how they work. Read More...

Dec 16, 2014 Transitioning into retirement sometimes means making some financial adjustments, and one of the things that's likely to change most is your tax situation. If your income fluctuates once you leave the workforce, it could affect how much you owe Uncle Sam when April 15th arrives. Knowing what the biggest shifts are that you can expect makes planning ahead for your filing easier. If you recently retired, check out these tips to make tax time less stressful. Read More...

Jul 23, 2019 Ideally, by the time you reach retirement age, you'll have accumulated enough savings to sustain a comfortable standard of living. Unfortunately, that's not always the case for seniors who find themselves entering their golden years saddled with debt. Faced with mounting medical bills or staggering credit card balances, retirees are increasingly turning to filing bankruptcy in retirement to remedy their financial woes. While it can provide some relief to cash-strapped seniors, there are some potential downsides. Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 When it comes to retirement savings and the readiness of the current workforce, most of us are nowhere near where we should or would like to be. In the case of minorities in the United States, however, the retirement situation is even more dire. Although every racial group is facing setbacks and feels the retirement savings struggle, when it comes to race and retirement, many minorities simply aren’t ready. Read More...

Nov 27, 2014 Retirement was originally intended to be a period at the end of your life when you were too tired or weak to do much of anything. Many able-minded people are now opting out of traditional retirement, however, because they are healthy and, frankly, bored. Starting and building second careers is becoming more popular every year, not necessarily because we're living dramatically longer lives (we are living longer), but because we're living decidedly healthier lives. To that end, what makes second careers so exciting and rewarding is the same thing that's supposed to make retirement appealing: freedom. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 Unless you win the lottery or inherit a fat stack of cash, early retirement isn't a possibility without some careful planning. When you're trying to leave the rat race ahead of schedule, there are inevitably going to be some obstacles that stand in your way. Knowing how to navigate your way around them can improve the odds of reaching your goal. If retiring early is part of your plan, here are five things that can potentially slow you down. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 I'm a little biased when it comes to the ideas of owning a business and retiring as late as possible, as I come from a long line of entrepreneurs. Both of my parents operated side businesses in addition to their regular jobs, and both of my grandfathers operated small businesses. My parents and grandfathers may not have been pioneers, but they were on to something: as baby boomers are living longer and the job market continues to frown on older workers, more and more people of a certain age are turning retirement into a business opportunity--ones that have all the challenges, risks and rewards as those started by twenty-somethings. Read More...

Jan 21, 2020 An annuity is a financial contract you can sign with an insurance company, wherein you pay a premium in exchange for guaranteed payments at a later date. Annuities can be a useful tool to help you fund your retirement. If you’re worried that you might outlive the savings you’ve built with your 401(k) or IRA won’t quite cover the cost of your lifestyle, an annuity might be a good idea. They come in many varieties, though, and not every type will be right for you. As such, it’s crucial to understand how they work. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 Education debt is skyrocketing as grads are increasingly relying on loans to finance their education. On average, students are leaving school with roughly $30,000 in debt, which doesn't include other liabilities like credit cards or car loans. The burden has become so great for some young adults that it's led them to put financial goals like buying a home or saving for retirement on hold. Here are some things to consider when you're weighing the value of saving against getting rid of student loan debt. Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 When the clock is ticking down to your retirement date, your focus should be on getting your financial ducks in a row. And if cutting back on expenses is a priority, a refinance may be one of the moves you're considering. Refinancing may makes sense if you're trying to snag a lower interest rate or reduce your monthly payments, but like anything else, timing is everything. If you've only got a few years left until you hit your golden years, you'll want to weigh the pros and cons carefully before pulling the trigger. Read More...

Feb 03, 2017 Earlier this year, when MLB slugger Miguel Cabrera signed an eight year contract worth $248 million, much was made of one astounding aspect of that deal: on average, over the course of the coming decade, Mr. Cabrera will earn nearly $50,000 every time he steps to the plate. That’s an absurd number, and it got us thinking. How does Miggy’s 50-grand per at-bat compare to the equivalent number for the highest paid football players? Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 Rolling over retirement money from one qualified account to another is a pretty straightforward move, but the IRS is about to make things a little more complicated. Starting in January 2015, new guidelines take effect that determine how often you can shift your nest egg funds around. If you've got multiple IRAs and you're planning to transfer money from one account to the other in the near future, here's what you need to know about the upcoming changes. Read More...

Apr 20, 2015 For years, studies have linked being in debt to conditions like increased blood pressure, higher anxiety levels, increased rates of depression and, most recently, a decreased sense of physical, mental and financial well-being. While the research focuses on different types of debt, the results all seem to show that owing money to creditors can have an adverse effect on your health. So what effect, if any, does saving money have? Read More...

Nov 05, 2014 Saving for retirement can be confusing and arduous. This is especially true if you're in your twenties or thirties and have decades ahead before you can even seriously consider retiring. However, thinking about and saving for retirement is a major burden that we all have to deal with. To that end, there are constant threats and risks that can severely affect your retirement fund, which means they can have a major impact on your quality of life during retirement. The more you know about these risks and educate yourself on how to minimize them, the better chance you have of securing a sizeable retirement fund that will last you long into your golden years.  Read More...

Nov 07, 2017 The cost of retirement is steep. A retirement calculator can give you a more exact estimate of how much you’ll personally need to save to be able to retire, but, on average, a person needs to have $1.5 million saved to live comfortably in retirement. As you push through contributing to your 401(k) plan each month, costly fees could be setting you back - and you might not even know you’re paying them. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 Student loan debt is on the rise, and much of the focus surrounding the crisis has been on how it's affecting the current wave of college grads, as students are leaving school with around $30,000 in education debt. While young adults have become the poster children for student loan debt, though, there are plenty of seniors who are still paying the price for their degree. In fact, the total debt load for Americans 65 and up ballooned from $2.8 billion in 2005 to $18.2 billion, as of 2013. The result is that many seniors are seeing their financial outlook become a little less rosy in retirement. Read More...

Oct 20, 2014 When it comes to retirement, people who choose to live in inter-generational communities are doing anything but retiring. Also known as co-housing or intentional communities, these planned developments are communities by design, in every sense of the word. Their intent is to foster interaction between multiple generations for the benefit and enrichment of all involved. The concept succeeds because it appeals to seniors and young families alike. Read More...

Nov 12, 2020 Investing in a 401(k) is a fairly hassle-free way to build your retirement savings -- but there are certain times when you should forego investing in a 401(k), like if you have more pressing financial problems, such as debt. While you will eventually be able to save for retirement, if you have issues that need addressing right away, it might make sense to put that off. For help figuring out how to prioritize 401(k) savings and other financial issues, consider working with a financial advisor. Read More...

Aug 01, 2019 In the wake of the housing market collapse and the ensuing recession, millennials found themselves facing unique challenges when it comes to how they handle their finances. Record-high levels of student loan debt have made it harder to save and many young adults are putting off major milestones like buying a home. How you manage your money in your 20s can have a long-lasting impact on your bottom line for decades to come. If you're a member of the millennial generation, here are four financial missteps you need to stop making now. Read More...

May 27, 2015 We begin life as helpless newborns completely dependent upon others for every aspect of our well-being. The 'others' are most often our parents. We then spend a couple of decades leaning on them while learning to be independent. This sometimes continues well into our adulthood. Read More...

Dec 17, 2014 To many, an imminent retirement can seem like a prison sentence. They feel they will be cut off from the world and locked away, enjoying only the occasional weekend visit by family and friends. For those who want a little more out of their retirement, there are alternatives: second careers, volunteerism, part-time employment, etc. For some the dream of being in business offers the greatest allure. Going into business later in life can be challenging and not all businesses may be ideally suited to seniors, but for every business opportunity that is not appropriate there exists another that is. Read More...

Sep 12, 2018 Raising children is one of life's biggest challenges and it's even more so when you're going it alone. Many single parents become so focused on providing for their kids that they tend to overlook their own financial priorities. In fact, a new study shows that an overwhelming number of solo moms and dads put saving for college ahead of saving for their retirement. Trying to find the right balance between building a nest egg and planning for your child's education often proves difficult in households with two parents, which begs the question: is it even possible for a single parent do both? Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 For many people, retirement is all about slowing down and enjoying the things that you didn't have time for you when you were punching a time clock every day. For others, it means finally having the opportunity to explore entrepreneurial dreams. Starting a business in retirement is becoming an increasingly popular choice among seniors who are looking to supplement their income. According to a hearing by the Senate Special Committee on Aging held earlier this year, there are currently around 34 million senior entrepreneurs and counting in the U.S. Read More...

Aug 12, 2014 It's a sad fact that many Americans are vastly unprepared for retirement but if you're still relatively young, it's not too late to work on beefing up your savings. Building your financial safety net can put you in a good position when it's time to quit the workforce but you may also need to make some lifestyle adjustments. If you're worried about having a comfortable standard of living once you retire, looking for ways to minimize your expenses can help you further stretch your dollar. We've come up with things that you can do to keep your cost down so you don't deplete your nest egg too quickly. Read More...

Jan 25, 2021 When you're contemplating a career change, one of the most important decisions you'll have to make is what to do with the retirement savings you've accumulated. If you contributed to a 401(k), 403(b) or a similar employer-sponsored plan, transferring it to another qualified account is the easiest way to take it with you. Rolling your account over is fairly straightforward but there are a few basic rules to keep in mind. A financial advisor can help you create a plan to reach your retirement goals. Here are a few potentially costly rollover missteps you'll want to avoid. Read More...

Jul 29, 2014 Leaving the 9 to 5 behind for good usually brings a welcome change of pace and for many retirees, it also means a change of address. Deciding where to spend your golden years isn't something you want to do on a whim. It takes some careful research and planning to find a place that fits your lifestyle, needs and budget. If you know that you'll most likely be moving once you retire, here are six things to look at when choosing your final destination. Read More...

May 03, 2018 The sooner you can start saving for your retirement, the better. Plus, saving for your retirement is often made a lot easier with the help of an employer savings plan. However, not everyone has access to a 401(k), 403(b) or other employer savings account. If you’re self employed or work for a small business, chances are a retirement savings plan won’t be included in your benefits. Don’t worry, though! There are a number of ways you can save for retirement. Read More...

Jan 20, 2021 When you're trying to build your nest egg, it's best to start setting money aside as soon as possible. The longer you put it off, the less time your assets have to grow. If you wait too long, you risk not having enough cash to see you through your golden years. Getting a late start isn't ideal, but it's still possible to build a comfortable retirement if you're savvy about planning. Here are a few tips to get your financial future on the right track when you're behind the eight ball. Also, consider finding a financial advisor to help you follow through on all of these tips. Read More...

Jan 07, 2020 Summer is in full swing and next year's tax filing deadline is probably one of the last things on your mind. Even though the 2015 tax season is still several months away, now's a good time to go over your financials and fine tune your tax planning strategy. The more prepared you are the better off you'll be, especially if you're worried about owing money to Uncle Sam. Here are a few midyear tax must-dos that can help you hang on to as much of your hard-earned cash as possible. Read More...

Feb 19, 2016 Getting ahead financially requires determining your priorities and setting goals. When you're focused on paying down debt, it's tempting to put things like saving for retirement on the back-burner. Dumping your debt as quickly as possible can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest but you have to figure out whether it's worth it to delay building your nest egg. If you're torn between saving for retirement and getting rid of those lingering credit cards or student loans, here are some tips to help you strike the right balance. Read More...

Jul 16, 2018 Where you plan to live in retirement can have a major impact on your finances, especially if a change of address is in the cards. When you're looking for a new place to put down roots one of the questions you'll have to ask yourself is whether to rent or buy. Buying may seem like a no-brainer when you're used to being a homeowner but there are plenty of good reasons to rent instead. If you're struggling with whether you should rent or buy a home in retirement here are a few things to consider when making your decision. Read More...

Dec 10, 2019 If you've already maxed out your retirement contributions through your employer's plan or you're not eligible to participate in a plan at work, an individual retirement account (IRA) may be your best bet. IRAs are typically categorized as traditional or Roth accounts but there's also a third option in the form of an IRA CD. This particular savings vehicle combines certain features of an IRA with a certificate of deposit. There are advantages and disadvantages associated with each option so it's important to understand how they work when making your choice. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 Leaving the stability of a 9 to 5 job behind in order to go into business for yourself takes a certain amount of determination, patience and courage. Owning a business or freelancing full-time offers more flexibility and control over your career but it also means missing out on certain perks including saving for retirement using your employer's plan. When you're self-employed, the options for building your nest egg are a little different. If you currently work for yourself or you're thinking of striking out on your own, here's a rundown of the different ways to save for your future. Read More...

Jan 12, 2016 There's a lot of variability when it comes to planning for retirement. If you're a 20, 30 or even 40-something plugging away at your day job, you've probably entered your information into a retirement calculator once or twice just to see what came up. It's always fun to think about retirement no matter how far away it might seem. But tools like this are useful for more than just day dreaming. Read More...

Aug 18, 2015 The Golden Years are meant to be a time for enjoying the things you may have missed out on during your working years. If your nest egg isn't as large as you hoped it would be, it may require some careful planning to stretch your dollars. Moving to a city with a lower cost of living can help your savings last longer and it's also a good way to reduce your tax burden. If you're looking for an affordable place to call home, check out our list of the best cities to retire on a budget. Read More...

Apr 11, 2017 Retirement saving should be a top priority for anyone but it's especially important for women. Compared to men, women tend to live longer and earn less making a comfortable retirement that much more difficult to achieve. A recent AARP Public Policy Institute analysis suggests that women are nearly twice as likely to live in poverty as men past the age of 65. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 When the lazy days of summer come calling it's easy to adopt a more relaxed approach, especially when it comes to your finances. Going on vacation, buying new clothes or socializing with friends can eat away at your bottom line if you're not careful. Taking some time to do a midyear money checkup can help you stay on track and see how much progress you've made towards your goals. Here's a quick rundown of what you should look for to make sure you're fiscally fit. Read More...

May 29, 2014 Retiring abroad has become an increasingly popular trend over the past few years as more and more Americans are seeking greener, and less expensive, places to spend their golden years. The U.S. State Department estimates that there are as many as six million retirees living overseas worldwide. Relocating to a foreign destination may seem appealing if you're looking to cut your cost of living or see the sights, but it's not a move you can afford to make without some careful planning. Before you pick up roots, you need to understand the financial ramifications of retiring overseas full-time. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 Smart savers know that contributing money to your employer's 401(k) and taking advantage of the company match is a no-brainer when it comes to planning for retirement. What you may not know is exactly how your 401(k) works or that hidden fees could steadily be chipping away at your nest egg. According to a recent study from the Center for American Progress, workers could be losing up to $70,000 over the course of their career due to high 401(k) management fees. If you're worried about fees putting your retirement in danger, here's what you need to know. Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 I come from a long line of retired people, my parents, my grandparents and my great grandparents all retired. In fact in my family retirement is a sort of a tradition. All of my aunts and uncles are now retired and I even have cousin or two who are getting quite close to their golden years so to speak. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 When you're fresh out of college and just getting started on the path towards a career, retirement savings may fall fairly low on your list of priorities. Many of today's twenty-somethings are too busy struggling to find their place in an ultra-competitive job market and dealing with overwhelming student loan debt to give their golden years a second thought. While retirement is still decades away for the millions of millennials out there, it's never too soon to start planning ahead. If you're a member of Generation Y, here's what you need to do now to get a jump start on your building your nest egg. Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 Leaving the workforce behind for good means making some important decisions that impact both your lifestyle and your finances. One of the biggest questions for many retirees is where they'll live once they reach the golden years. Buying a home for retirement is a major financial commitment and you can't afford to make the decision lightly. Whether you're looking to downsize in your current area or pick up stakes and head someplace new here are a few things you need to consider before taking the leap. Read More...

May 09, 2014 So we all know that the key to retiring is saving your money and investing well. But there are a few other helpful tips you may not know that can help you retire the way you want. Read More...

Feb 11, 2020 In today's economy, retirement has become an elusive goal for many Americans who were hit particularly hard by the fallout from the housing market collapse. Some older workers are even facing the possibility of having to continue working long past retirement age. The concept of retiring early may seem foreign to a large part of the population but if you're diligent about saving, it could become a reality. Here are some tips: Read More...

Apr 28, 2015 You know how important it is to save for your retirement years. Problem is, you don't make a lot of money. Maybe you're pulling down $40,000 a year. Maybe your annual salary is even under $30,000. It might seem impossible to put anything away for retirement if your yearly salary is so low. Read More...

Sep 20, 2018 A computer is only as good as the information that’s fed into it. That’s one of the truisms of programming that has held for as long as computers have existed, and ever since Charles Babbage and Ada Byron Lovelace designed the first “difference engine” in 1822, there has been a need for professionals to program them. Read More...

Feb 13, 2020 Planning for your financial future can seem like a daunting task, but it does not have to be. Finances can be confusing and there is a bit of a learning curve, but there are a few key things you should do if you are trying to secure your financial future. You do not have to be rich or extremely wealthy to have a secure financial future. However, you do need to pay attention to your finances and be willing to make changes when needed. Here are four things you should have to help ensure a secure financial future. Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 Over the last few years, the way Americans view retirement has changed significantly. Although millions of baby boomers are nearing retirement age, whether or not they'll be able to leave the 9 to 5 behind any time soon remains to be seen. For younger workers, the need to rev up their retirement savings has never been greater but a recent survey shows that nearly a third of employees have less than $1,000 saved. Whether you're already saving or you have yet to get started, avoiding these common missteps can help you get closer to your goal. Read More...

Feb 13, 2020 Winning the lottery or inheriting a fat stack of cash are two ways to get rich quick but if you're like most people, the odds are against you. This means most of us will have to focus on hard work, discipline and smart decision-making to build wealth. Whether you make a lot or a little, what you do with it that has a big impact on your financial outlook. If getting rich is your goal, avoiding these common money missteps can help you move from the red to the black. Read More...

Jul 05, 2019 Saving for retirement should always be a top financial priority but it can be difficult to get started if you're not sure what your options are. If you're not able to participate in an employer-sponsored plan, like a 401(k) or 403(b), an individual retirement account or IRA may be the answer to your retirement quandaries. Here's a breakdown of how each type of IRA works. Read More...

Nov 13, 2020 For some time now, there's been a national debate that's centered around whether or not to raise the federal minimum wage. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, while some states are raising that to $15. On the other hand, former President Barack Obama advocated for gradually raising the minimum wage to about $10 an hour. A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report shows that both sides of the debate hold some merit. No matter what your income is, you should have a financial plan for the future. Talk to a local financial advisor about your plans today. Read More...

Feb 14, 2020 Stashing money in a 401(k) is one of the best ways to fatten up your retirement nest egg. These employer-sponsored plans offer a tax-advantaged way to save and you may be able to grow your money faster through company matching contributions. Making the most of your savings plan means understanding how it works and what the benefits are. You can improve the odds of reaching your retirement goals by avoiding these common 401(k) mistakes. Read More...

Apr 11, 2014 The 60’s rock band The Byrds had a huge hit that opens with “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” which is lifted straight out of the book of Ecclesiastes and as far as I know they have never been sued for plagiarism. Lyric litigation aside, The Byrds and the Bible were both offering some of the most sound retirement planning advice ever. Read More...

May 27, 2015 It may seem like retirement is something far away from your reality or something you can't be concerned about now. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Although it is getting harder and harder to retire around the age our grandparents were able to, you need to make financial decisions now toward that far off retirement goal. In order to reach that goal, you'll want to avoid some costly mistakes. Read More...

May 03, 2018 The U.S. government has calculated that less than half of all Americans have a plan for their retirement. That statistic is shocking, given that at some point the majority of Americans would like to actually retire. The earlier you create a plan for your eventual retirement, the better chance you’ll have to be able to retire and live comfortably before the age of 80. Thinking about your retirement in your 20’s is one of the most important financial decision you can make to plan for your future. Read More...

Jan 31, 2019 Saving money in a 401(k) or an individual retirement account (IRA) is a smart way to build retirement savings. Not only will your money grow over time, but you won't have to pay taxes on that money as it grows. You will only pay taxes when you withdraw the money in your retirement. In addition to deferring taxes on your contributions, you may be eligible for a tax credit just for making contributions. That tax credit is called the Saver's Credit. Let's see if you're eligible to use this credit in order to save yourself some money on your federal income taxes. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 The unfortunate truth is that most people do not feel prepared financially for their retirement years. A 2013 survey by American Consumer Credit Counseling found that 75 percent of people agreed that they were not financially ready for their post-work years. But what about if retirement comes earlier than expected... and not by your choice? Read More...

Dec 22, 2016 New research shows what you already know - your family affects your finances. But specifically, your family dynamics play a big part in your retirement plans. Read More...

Jun 27, 2019 Saving regularly in a 401(k) account and leaving it untouched is a great way to build your nest egg. That said, unforeseen situations happen to all of us at some point in our lives. If you're desperate for cash and your emergency fund isn't enough to cover your expenses, you can borrow against your 401(k). Here's when a 401(k) loan makes sense - and how to do it. Read More...

Dec 30, 2014 What are your beliefs on saving for retirement? Well, according to a recent study, for many Americans saving for retirement is a trick of mind over matter. We all should be well aware by now that the bulk of our retirement savings falls on our own shoulders. Long gone are the days of having a secure pension plan by your employer. Read More...

Oct 20, 2017 In his 2015 State of the Union Address, former President Barack Obama introduced a new way to help Americans save for retirement: myRA, or My Retirement Account. Obama billed this new type of retirement account as having “a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in.” MyRA didn’t last long. In July 2017, the Trump administration announced that it was ending the Obama-era program.  Read More...

Aug 23, 2019 When it comes to retirement there are a number of things that need to be considered. One of the most important is where you are planning to live during your golden years. For many North Americans, retiring abroad is becoming popular. Read More...

Dec 29, 2014 If you're working on your retirement savings strategy for 2014 you need to know exactly how much you can sock away. The Internal Revenue Service routinely adjusts the annual contribution limits for different types of retirement plans, including 401(k)s and IRAs. For 2014, most limits will stay the same. But there are a few key changes that take effect. Here's a rundown of what you can expect if you're looking to max out your retirement plan this year. Read More...

Jul 16, 2018 When you sign the dotted line on that 30-year mortgage, you're probably thinking how great it will be to have that house paid off right around the time you retire.  But most people don't live in the same house for 30 years like they used to.  Plus some choose to take on second mortgages through the years.  Read More...

Dec 29, 2014 Many of us have been taught to look at the purchase of a home as a good investment. When we purchase a home, we are investing in a neighborhood, a school system, and hopefully a safe community to raise our families and spend a large portion of our lives. Buying a home is also a major financial investment, and some of us may be banking on that financial investment when the time comes for retirement. Read More...

Dec 12, 2016 Wanting a financially sound retirement and actually achieving it are two different things. Without a solid plan for reaching your retirement goals, your golden years could end up being somewhat tarnished. Securing your financial future is all about making the right choices. If you find yourself doing any of the following, you could be sabotaging your retirement dreams without even realizing it. Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 < It’s a great feeling to receive your first paycheck after you graduate from college. You can rent a better apartment, pay off those student loans and have more freedom to spend your money than you did before. However, one mistake that many people make is that they don’t realize how important it is to focus on saving money instead of spending it all. Once you have begun a career in your field ,whether it is business, education, health services, or another area, when and how should you save your money for retirement? Read More...

Dec 24, 2014 With shrinking savings, and retirement incomes failing to keep pace with inflation, older Americans are looking for alternative ways to save money and increase their cash flow. In many cases, they are also looking for ways to simplify their lives. One common strategy for older homeowners is to move into a smaller home. Read More...

Aug 20, 2018 Getting older means making some important decisions with regard to your lifestyle. This includes where you plan to live. Retirement homes and assisted living facilities offer seniors a measure of independence while providing certain care and amenities. But they're not right for everyone. Senior housing cooperatives are quickly gaining popularity as an alternative for retirees who are looking for housing with a community feel. Read More...

Feb 12, 2020 Have you found a new job? Are you starting a new career? What are you going to do with the 401(k) retirement plan that you left in the care of your previous employer? Here's what you should do: rollover your old 401(k) retirement plan into your new employer’s plan right away. Don't pass go. Don't have the check sent to you because you might forget to roll over your funds.  Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 Discussing your retirement strategy may not be your idea of a dream date but it's not something married couples can afford to put off. According to a 2013 study from Hearts & Wallets, just 38 percent of couples actively work on their retirement strategy together. If you and your spouse aren't on the same page when it comes to retirement planning, here are a few tips to get the conversation off to a good start. Read More...

Aug 18, 2015 Retirement sounds like a dream - no work and all play. The good life. But the good life may actually mean more life. A new study shows when you retire early, you may live longer. It's enough to leave us wondering how to retire at 50. Many people derive great satisfaction from their work, but there are health benefits to leaving work behind.  Read More...

Dec 23, 2014 When you are first starting out in your career, you tend to think of retirement as something far off.  In the days of our grandparents, and even some of our parents, retirement savings wasn't even an issue - many employers took care of that with company pension plans. Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 Americans are switching from one job to the next as they bounce from one career to another. But, what is happening to your 401(k) retirement plan in the process? There are four options for investors. You can leave your 401(k) with your old employer, roll it over to your new employer’s 401(k) plan, roll it over into an IRA, or simply cash it out. Read More...

May 29, 2019 Elite professional athletes regularly draw salaries reaching into the millions. The minimum annual salary for players in the four major sports leagues is well into the six-figure range, and it's not uncommon for star players to receive multi-year contracts worth more than $100 million. If you're a college athlete, though, you don't make a dime. Read More...

Aug 15, 2019 This is a guest post from Bo Lu, CEO of FutureAdvisor, a fee-only registered investment advisor Believe it or not, the government actually wants you to save money for retirement.  Sometimes the rules for contributing or not contributing can seem a bit complex but at the end of the day, the government uses tax-sheltered accounts like 401(k)'s and IRA's to encourage you to save for retirement. Read More...

Jan 02, 2015 The past few months have been very exciting for same sex-couples. One of the most exciting occurrences was the Supreme Court’s striking down of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, also known as DOMA. The Supreme Court’s decision made way for a number of significant advancements for same-sex couples when it comes to taxes and nursing homes or living arrangements for elderly same-sex couples. One of the main arguments for same-sex couples who were championing the legalization of marriage had to do with tax and other benefits that heterosexual married couples enjoy. According to an article published by Slate by J Bryan Lowder, the U.S. Treasury announced that given the strike down of DOMA, same-sex couples will be recognized for federal tax purposes. The press release from the Treasury states, in part: Read More...

Jul 25, 2019 A Roth IRA is one of the best types of retirement accounts that you can own. A Roth IRA is not its own type of investment class like a stock, mutual fund, or bonds. Instead, a Roth IRA is a type of tax and accounting classification that you can designate an investment. So, why would you want to establish your mutual fund or brokerage account as a Roth IRA? It is because of the taxes of course! Your contributions to your investment in a Roth IRA type of account is made with after-tax dollars. Your money has already been taxed by the government and withheld by your employer in your paycheck. Read More...

Oct 11, 2019 After you retire, your cost of living will likely decrease. This is a good think for most people. While everyone's situation is different, in many cases, there is a noticeable decrease in how much you spend when you enter retirement. Read More...

Jan 08, 2020 What may be good for the economy may not have been good for retirees. When the markets crashed and the economy tanked the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates. Then they lowered them some more and then lowered them still further until they shattered previous records settled just above zero. The Fed’s goal was to stimulate the economy by promoting borrowing and in turn inspiring investment. Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 Have you thought about what type of lifestyle you want to have during retirement? It’s time to start thinking about it, and what type of financial decisions need to be made to help you lead the life you want while retired. A recent study, published on Market Watch of over 15,000 consumers found that the average American will run out of retirement funds, other than state and occupational pensions, around 14 years into retirement. Read More...

May 21, 2018 Despite all of its traditions and connections to spirituality, yoga is a very physical activity that can produce fantastic results. Prolonged and consistent practice of yoga has proven to increase muscle mass and flexibility. Similar to anything else that can produce tangible results, a very large and lucrative industry has sprung up to feed the demand for yoga related products and services. Read More...

Oct 07, 2021 The maximum Social Security benefit in 2021 is $3,895 per month or $46,740 for the year. Most people do not get that much, though. In order to receive the maximum amount, you would have had to postpone receiving benefits until age 70. You also would need to have earned the maximum taxable amount ($142,800 in 2021) for at least 35 years. For people who start receiving benefits at full retirement age (currently 66), the maximum amount is $3,113. That said, the average Social Security check as of 2021 is $1,543, according to Forbes. To make sure you have enough in retirement to maintain your current lifestyle, consider talking to a financial advisor. Read More...

Jul 24, 2018 For many young Americans, thinking about what life will be like during their retirement years is almost inconceivable.  Retirement is still decades away, and while they know their 401k or IRA is (hopefully) growing, the benefits they will receive from Social Security don’t even register on their radar.  So, for those Generation X & Y-ers unsure about social security, here’s a breakdown of what is going on. Read More...

Sep 14, 2018 Seniors aged 65 years and older are racking up debt, according to a news release recently issued by the U.S. Census Bureau.  Not only is this age group more likely to attach debt to their homes, they are also borrowing more. Read More...

Sep 17, 2018 If you’re visiting SmartAsset, chances are you’re here because you’re interested in making smart personal finance decisions. Whether you're looking for tips so you can save up to buy a home or are contemplating your financial future and saving for retirement, we have a few tips for you. But we know you may want to read from a different perspective now and then. If in the course of your browsing you decide you want some one-on-one help from a financial expert, head on over to SmartAsset's financial advisor matching tool, which will pair you with a professional best suited for your particular needs. Read More...

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