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!

 

Resource of the Month: IRA Rollover as a Qualified Plan Conduit

Weingast_IRAIn the spirit of new year’s resolutions, the start of the year often means that employees are putting plans in place to start new jobs. That’s why our January Resource of the Month is about Conduit IRA’s – which are special IRAs where funds are held until they are either transferred to a new plan or dispersed to the employee.

The resource provides an in-depth look at how these plans work, explains what your options are as either the plan provider or the employee, and goes over other considerations based on the latest legislation – including some new parameters that went into effect on January 1, 2015.

This is a can’t-miss resource – download it here today!

Countdown to New Year’s Eve

Robin Weingast Retirement SolutionsOn New Year’s Eve, most of us will be counting down until the stroke of midnight, when we can wish our friends and family a happy and healthy 2015. But December 31 is an important deadline in the world of retirement planning. As detailed in this article,  New Year’s Eve is the deadline for most 2014 required minimum distributions to be made. The RMD for 2014 is based on the taxpayer’s life expectancy on Dec. 31, 2014, and their account balance on Dec. 31, 2013.

There are some exceptions, particularly if you are still working or if you reached age 70 1/2 in 2014, but you should take note and be sure not to miss this important deadline!

If you have any questions about how to be compliant with this deadline or to explore if you are eligible for an exception, please contact the Robin Weingast and Associates team today.

 

 

Resource of the Month: Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business

Robin_Weingast_small_businessThere are over 27 million small businesses in the United States, and small businesses have accounted for 64% of the country’s job creation in the past 20 years. A small business is an independent company with fewer than 500 employees, and it’s becoming clear that small businesses are a vital part of the economic landscape.

The Robin S. Weingast & Associates team knows that small business owners are often so busy with the day-to-day realities of running their companies that it can be a challenge to find time to focus on other important areas – areas like employee benefits. That’s where we come in: using our 30 years of expertise, we work with small business owners to create custom plans that are tailored to each company’s specific goals and needs.

A key part of an employee benefit plan is a retirement savings plan. Retirement savings plans are not only beneficial as recruitment and retention tools, they also offer significant tax advantages to business owners. They are the cornerstone of a strong employee benefit plan, which is why this month’s resource is devoted exclusively to that topic. If you’re a small business owner, than download “Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business” today. This guide from the IRS offers a thorough look at the advantages and options that small business owners have for offering retirement plans.

Download “Choosing a Retirement Solution for Your Small Business” today.

If you’re a small business owner who wants to make sure you’re offering a competitive and financially advantageous benefits package to your employees, then download our resource and contact us today. Our team of experts will evaluate your current plan and recommend changes that work for you, your staff, and your bottom line.

The Robin S. Weingast & Associates “Resource of the Month” is a monthly feature that offers a resource guide about an important aspect of your business—including retirement plans, life insurance policies, and much, much more. Each resource guide that we feature will be available for you to download so that you can access our Resource of the Month whenever you need it. It’s the knowledge you need, right at your fingertips! Explore our Resource of the Month series.

Need to Know: Five Things You May Not Know About Your 401 (k)

Robin Weingast can help with 401 (k) planningAt Robin S. Weingast & Associates, we believe a large part of our work is keeping our clients well informed about the insights and trends that will help them achieve their business goals. We also believe that we have a responsibility to pass along tips and to help shatter myths that may be preventing our clients from succeeding. Our team of experts is constantly reading and staying up-to-date on what’s happening with the IRS, employee benefits, and more.

This month we’re talking 401 (k) plans, which are a well-known – but often not fully understood – retirement plan option that many employers offer. If you need a refresher on exactly what a 401 (k) is, we recommend this basic overview.

Now that you know the basics, here are five things you may not know about your 401 (k):

1) If you leave your job, you can roll your 401 (k) over to an individual plan with no tax penalty.
Many people think that any 401 (k) distribution will incur a penalty, but that simply isn’t the case. If you change employers, any plan will allow you to roll over to an established IRA. If you have multiple plans, it’s best to consolidate them.

2) Your 401 (k) is creditor-protected by law
The great thing about this is that your 401 (k) funds are protected – no matter what. That’s why we advise our clients never to use their 401 (k) funds to pay off a debt or avoid bankruptcy. Your funds will be protected, and you should only use them for retirement.

3) Age 55 is important
Most people assume that age 59 1/2 is the point at which they can begin receiving distributions from their 401 (k) without the standard 10% early withdrawal penalty. However, there are certain instances when you can receive distributions beginning at age 55, particularly if you leave your employer after 55 but before 59 1/2. Make sure you discuss these provisions with your plan provider.

4) Using an automated portfolio is a smart strategy
As much as we might want to pick-and-choose our own investments, most plans offer incredibly valuable automated resources. In some instances you simply select a year that aligns most closely with your anticipated retirement date and your plan will allocate your assets across many platforms and the plan will adapt over time as you near your retirement date. In other cases, you may need to articulate how aggressive or conservative you wish to be with your investments, and the plan will compile an appropriately aligned portfolio of investments. Whatever is available, an automated plan makes sense and makes life much easier.

5) Consider Stable Value Funds
If you are close to your retirement (or even if you’re not), consider allocating some of your 401 (k) assets to a Stable Value Fund, which is a special class of fund that most plans offer. The value won’t vary with the market nor will it be impacted by adjustments to interest rates the way bond funds do. As you get closer to retirement, it may make sense to move a few years’ worth of anticipated funds into a Stable Value Fund, so that you can at least have the peace of mind knowing that your first few years of retirement income will not be impacted by market variables.

Need additional assistance managing your 401 (k)? The Robin Weingast & Associates Team is always available. Contact us today. We’re happy to help and happy to answer any questions!

Source: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the-smarter-mutual-fund-investor/2014/05/19/7-things-i-wish-people-knew-about-401k-plans

A Special Series from Robin Weingast & Associates, TPA: Cash Balance Plans

Robin Weingast has all the information you need about Cash Balance PlansCash balance plans have enjoyed a recent resurgence in popularity. However, these plans, which can provide tax-deductible benefits as much as five times greater than 401(k) profit sharing plans, have actually existed for more than 30 years. When the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) resolved much of the legal uncertainty of these plans, small and large companies alike showed a renewed interest. According to a recent research report, the number of cash balance plans increased by more than 23% from 2006 to 2007 and more than 75% of existing cash balance plans are sponsored by companies with fewer than 50 employees.

In our special “Need to Know” Series on Cash Balance Plans, the Robin Weingast & Associates team will walk you through everything you need to know about these popular plans.

As always, the Robin Weingast & Associates team is here to help. If you have any questions about cash balance plans, please contact us and we’ll be happy to help. 

Need to Know: October 1 and Obamacare

Robin Weingast and her team will keep you compliant with the Obamacare regulations.
The Affordable Care Act’s “healthcare marketplace” officially opens for business on October 1. Small companies with less than 50 employees will not need to offer insurance, while any company with more than 50 employees will have a one-year grace period from any penalties if they fail to offer insurance. ‘
One thing is absolutely required by October 1: companies must inform their employees about the healthcare exchange available as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

What is the healthcare exchange?

 


On the new healthcare exchange websites, individuals and small companies can select and purchase health plans.
Most companies are not prepared to inform their employees about these websites, and could face potential fines of up to $100 per worker per day.

Online Resources

The U.S. Department of Labor’s website has guidelines on what is required under the Affordable Care Act. In addition, they have resources for companies that currently offer insurance and those that currently do not.
These resources can be used or modified to serve as compliant notification to employees.

Want to make sure you’re prepared?

The Affordable Care Act will impact business owners across the nation. The Robin Weingast team is ready to assist you and to make sure your healthcare plan is compliant, up-to-date, and still a powerful tool for attracting the most talented staff. Contact us today and we can help you navigate Obamacare.