Need to Know: When Should You Adjust Your Retirement Plan?

Planning for retirement isn’t a one-time event. Like going to the gym, eating right, or anything else we do to take care of ourselves, retirement planning is a process. At every step of the way, it’s vital to evaluate your goals, track your progress, and make the adjustments you need to secure your financial future. Making a plan once and then assuming everything will work out once it’s time to retire may bring you some unpleasant surprises. In fact, recent research from Legg Mason indicates that “baby boomers between the ages of 53 and 71…are falling short on their retirement savings goals due to an overly conservative investment approach.” Regular reviews of your retirement plan

At the same time, you don’t want to adjust your retirement planning tactics just for the sake of change. It’s important to find a balance between being nimble enough to adapt to change and stable enough to allow time for your strategies to show results.

Want some guidances on when to adjust your retirement plan? Here’s are some tips on good times to make adjustments:

Write down your retirement plan and set a reminder to review it on a regular basis. As per a 2015 study of Harvard MBA students, writing down goals increases your chance of achieving them. Write down your retirement plan and revisit it at least annually. Set a reminder for yourself on your phone, write it down in your planner — whatever you have to do to make it a regular habit.

Use major life events as a signal to shift strategies. While an annual review is likely sufficient, there are events that serve as natural times to evaluate where you are and where you’re going. Have you moved recently? Gotten a new job or lost your current job? Had a baby? Gotten married or divorced? Inherited money or assets from a relative? All of these milestones have definitive financial implications, which means they may affect your retirement planning progress. For life events that you have planned, make sure to incorporate a final step to evaluate your retirement picture. For unexpected events, be sure to take time to review your plan after you’ve gotten through the immediate items you need to address.

Remember that retirement tactics involve more than your employer sponsored plan. A 401(k) is just one piece of the retirement picture. Reviewing your retirement plan also includes reviewing your insurance coverage and regularly updating your will to ensure that everything in your portfolio is supporting your financial goals.

Need a partner in making sure you stay on top of your retirement plan? The Robin S. Weingast & Associate Team is here to make sure you don’t lose track of your goals and that you’re on track for the retirement you want. Contact us today to find out how we can help!

 

Podcast of the Month: The Longest Vacation of Your Life

Robin Weingast Retirement

How much time and effort did you spend on planning your last big vacation – days, weeks, months? What about your 30+ year vacation (retirement), how much time have you spent planning that? Tune in to our Podcast of the Month as Financial Professional Eszylfie Taylor shares some great tips on how to pinpoint your retirement goals, and what and who you might need to get there.

Resource of the Month: Individual Disability Income Insurance

The one thing that can have a big impact on our future is our health. While most of us may be prepared to take care of our families in the event of our death, many are not prepared for a future if they become injured or unexpectedly disabled. A disability can affect your ability to work, which will then affect your income. What plans do you have in place?

This month, we’re focusing on preparing for the unexpected, and our resource of the month gives a detailed overview of insurance options if you become disabled.

Want help exploring your options? Contact the Robin S. Weingast & Associates team. We’re here to help make sure you’re ready for the unexpected.

What Robin’s Reading: Planning for the Unexpected

Robin Weingast Reading RecsThis month’s podcast got us thinking about how we can best advise our clients to prepare for what they don’t know might be coming down the road. While we don’t have a crystal ball, the Robin S. Weingast & Associates team has the next best thing: knowledge and know-how. This month we’ve been catching up with the latest news on some typical events that may throw even the most careful planners for a loop.

This piece from Kiplingers outlines some of the more common issues that may pop up unexpectedly, including the often unconsidered aspects of longer life spans, tax concerns, gaps in healthcare coverage, social security uncertainty, and the best ways to draw from our retirement income sources.

The Motley Fool brings up topics most of us likely aren’t thinking about when we consider the future. While most of us imagine a retirement filled with travel, new hobbies, and relaxation, we are likely not considering how to make sure we know what kind of financial situation those pursuits require.

But beyond budgeting for the “fun” side of retirement, what catches many people off guard is their failure to plan for the logistical costs associated with retirement. Healthcare is a big one, and one that everyone must consider carefully. Another often undiscussed area is how where you will live affects the retirement savings you need. Will you move to be close to your children or family? If so, how does cost of living differ from where you are now, and where will you live? Do you plan to move to an assisted living facility? Costs are high, so it’s vital to have your options discussed well in advance. If you would rather stay in your home, what adjustments might you need to make so that your home is more suitable to your lifestyle when you are older?

While no one can predict every single thing that will happen to them in life, the best way to prepare for the unexpected is to simply prepare. Taking the time to think about every angle of your retirement will save you time and money in the future.

We know it can be daunting to consider the future by yourself. That’s why the Robin S. Weingast & Associates team is here to help. Our job is to make sure your financial plans are in place so that the unexpected events don’t throw you off track. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Podcast of the Month: Planning for the Unexpected

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You may be healthy today, but what about tomorrow? When Mark’s mother was 84 she seemed perfectly healthy, but that all changed in the blink of an eye. Tune in as Financial Professional Mark Wutt shares the obstacles he faced when handling his mother’s long-term care arrangements, what he wishes he had done differently, and how you can plan for the unexpected.

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Podcast of the Month: What if you couldn’t go to work tomorrow?

Disabled person at home

May is Disability Insurance Awareness Month! This special 2-in-1 episode features the incredible story of Rosemarie Rossetti’s terrible accident, and how she managed to stay financially stable during her recovery. Next, Disability Insurance Specialist Corey Anderson breaks down this highly-misunderstood coverage, so you can find out how it really works.

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TPAs: Making Retirement Plans Better

Retirement On Calculator Shows Pensioner Retired DecisionThe German chemical company, BASF, once advertised its value as the ability to improve upon the products created by others.

“At BASF, we don’t make the cooler, we make it cooler. We don’t make the jeans, we make them bluer,” one of the company’s TV commercials famously stated. “At BASF, we don’t make a lot of the products you buy. We make a lot of the products you buy better.”

The retirement plans marketplace has its own BASF that improves upon the work of others: Third Party Administrators or TPAs – like Robin S. Weingast & Associates. Increasingly, financial advisors are partnering with local TPA firms to help sell, design, administer and support defined contribution retirement plans. Some believe it’s a marriage made in heaven.

As a TPA, the Robin S. Weingast & Associates team works with financial advisors deliver a more comprehensive package of services to retirement plan sponsors. These services are becoming increasingly essential in an environment where the designs for retirement plans and the regulations that govern them are becoming ever more complex.

So just how can a TPA make a retirement plan better? TPAs can help guide plan sponsors on regulatory and administrative issues and consult on retirement plan designs, services, and features. Financial advisors may deliver such complementary services as objectively evaluating plan needs, providing information about investment choices, helping educate plan participants, assisting with plan design, and helping select the plan provider.

The relationship often starts with assistance from a TPA in analyzing the plan sponsor’s needs. One of the most important aspects of a successful retirement plan is its design, which can be created to achieve any number of goals. The right retirement plan design may help employees prepare to retire on time, help the business owner save more, reward key employees, give a boost to older employees or achieve a combination of goals.

Understanding what options are available and how they work can be complex and, admittedly, more than a little esoteric. That’s where an assist from a TPA may be especially valuable.

A TPA may help advisors and plan sponsors view how a specific retirement plan design is intended to work, provide options and a cost-value analysis, and provide a hypothetical projection on performance. The insights and analysis may help advisors and their clients make the right choice based on goals, budget and regulatory requirements.

For instance, if the owner of a small business is deferring $18,000 (the maximum) to a salary deferral 401(k) plan but wants to significantly boost her retirement savings, a TPA might recommend adding a Cross-Tested design. This design may allow the client’s business to enhance contributions on her behalf, minimize contributions for non-owner employees, and allow for the maximum total contribution of $54,000 for her. In addition, if the business owner is age 50 or older, she can also contribute an additional $6,000, bringing the total amount of contributions by the owner and the business to $60,000.

But what happens after the plan is in place? Many small, and even medium-sized, employers lack a dedicated, in-house specialist to administer retirement plans. Working with a local TPA may fill the need to have a retirement expert on hand, adding value to your client relationship.

Then there is the ever-changing regulatory environment. As we’ve seen in the past year, government rules and regulations often shift like the sand on a wind-swept beach. What is an advisor to do when those sands create a new dune to climb or maneuver around?

An effective TPA may help an advisor stay up to speed on regulatory changes. More important, a TPA may help advisors understand the implications of new rules and regulations and, in turn, what they mean to sponsors and participants.

That’s critical as 84 percent of sponsors say they value advisors who are proactive, MassMutual’s 2015 Winning Combination study shows*. The study also reports that it’s far better if an advisor informs a client about a new regulations and what it means than if the client has to reach out to the advisor about something that has just been introduced.

Advisors who are newer to the retirement plans marketplace may also learn more about marketing from TPAs, who often partner for prospecting and finals presentations. Working with a local TPA potentially extends an advisor’s contact network for referrals and presents opportunities to jointly market services and host local seminars.

In the past year, the percentage of retirement plans in the small-business market that engage TPAs increase to 85 percent. TPA firms are becoming an important pillar of support, especially for smaller businesses that lack the specialized resources or expertise to successfully administer a retirement plan.

At the end of the day, a The Robin S. Weingast & Associates TPA firm has the potential to help make your retirement plan service and support better.

*2016 Winning Combination Study, What retirement plan sponsors value most from financial advisors, January 2016, https://www.massmutual.com/~/media/files/rs7153_brochure.pdf

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Podcast of the Month: Nest Eggs Beware!

Saving, male hand putting a coin into piggy bank, Robin Weingast

You’ve worked hard, you’ve saved well, and now you have an impressive Nest Egg for retirement. But do you also have a contingency plan in place if you become ill and need extended care? Tune in as Dr. Bob Pokorski explains how easily your Nest Egg could be drained if you don’t have all your bases covered!

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Monthly Podcast: Saving and Spending: Secrets of Centenarians

100-birthday_weingastDid you know that centenarians are the fastest growing segment of the American population? The odds of living a long and vivacious life are increasing all the time, so how do we make the most out of our years? This month on our podcast, author Steve Franklin traveled the country interviewing centenarians, and he shares their wisdom with you!

>>>Click here to listen to this month’s podcast!<<<

 

Resource of the Month: 2017 Open Enrollment Deadlines

robinweingast-health-insuranceThe open enrollment period for Obamacare starts on November 1, 2016 and runs through January 31, 2017. Not enrolling in health insurance comes with financial penalties, so to help you keep track of what you need to know about getting covered, our October Resource of the Month breaks down critical dates and provides you with key information on this important deadline.

Click here to download.