Whether you are making investment decisions for yourself or working with a financial advisor, managing your finances is an ongoing, interactive process. That process requires you to be fully knowledgeable about, and involved in your decisions. It is important to create and maintain a plan that reflects your personal vision as well as your short and long term financial goals. By taking the time to understand your financial situation in depth and developing proactive solutions to meet your specific needs, our team of tenured professionals will assist you in making sound financial decisions today, to achieve success.
There are several steps in establishing and maintaining any sound financial plan:
Determining Your Needs
The first step in establishing a financial plan is creating a list of your short and long-term goals. Everyone who has aspirations for the future – such as buying a house or saving for a child’s education – needs a detailed plan to make those dreams a reality. Effective financial planning is a process that first requires you to answer several important questions:
- What are you saving money for (I.e. car, house, college education, retirement)
and how much do you want to save?
- What is your timeline for achieving these goals?
- What are your investment preferences?
- Do you consider yourself a conservative or an aggressive investor?
- How much control do you want to have over your investments?
- Are you comfortable delegating day-to-day investment decisions to a full-time manager?
Building Your Plan
After you have determined your needs, the next step in your investment strategy is building an investment plan. This involves choosing the specific investments that will help you best achieve your desired goals.
A variety of investment types, including stocks and bonds, life insurance and annuities, all have a place in your overall plan. It’s important to understand these options and how they can help you achieve success.
Before selecting the best mix of investments for your portfolio, you should consider several factors as you develop your overall investment strategy:
- The length of time you plan to invest your funds
- The availability of emergency cash
- Your preferred risk level for investment choices
- Your past experience investing in different financial options
- Your current federal income tax rate
The plan you develop, either on your own or with your Money Concepts Client Advisor, should provide the flexibility to meet your current goals and adapt to future changes.
Planning for Retirement
Retirement savings is an important consideration at every stage of your life. Whether you are just embarking on a career, moving up the corporate ladder or approaching your retirement.
This section provides an overview of important retirement considerations.
1. How much do you need to save?
You should be able to live comfortably on about 80% of your pre-retirement income. To calculate your retirement needs, you must consider the rate of inflation, rate of return and number of years until you retire.
2. Which investments will help you achieve your goals?
Two popular retirement vehicles are IRA’s and 401(k) plans. Both plans offer the opportunity for abundant savings, but you should consider their differences carefully before you invest.
- An IRA is self-directed and may be diversified and spread over a variety of investments (I.e. mutual funds, equities, and bonds). Money Concepts offers choices in Traditional IRAs to suit your needs as well as Roth IRA’s for investors who want to protect their savings for beneficiaries.
- A 401(k) is governed by your employer, with some self-direction allowed. Please speak with your benefits administrator to understand disbursement options.
3. How can you get the most from your savings after retirement?
A sound “withdrawal strategy” can help you minimize taxes and penalties on your retirement savings. When you start saving, choose your withdrawal options with care (you might not be able to change them later) . Early retirement, lump-sum payments from employer plans, and required minimum withdrawals associated with some financial plans require know-how and planning to ensure that you maximize your return.
A Money Concept Investment Broker can help you establish your goals, explore investment options to meet those goals, and discuss post-retirement finances.
Transferring Your Wealth
Your financial success gives you the opportunity to pass your wealth on to family members and favorite charities. That same success also requires you to pay close attention to the impact such “wealth transfers” can have on your own financial picture.
With extensive research, strategic analysis and thorough planning, your Advisor can help you achieve your wealth transfer goals while ensuring the integrity of your personal financial plan. Money Concepts Investment Brokers are knowledgeable in; family wealth transfer, including family mission and estate planning, as well as charitable giving and gifting strategies. Money Concepts offers products that help ensure your goals are met.
Contact a Money Concepts Investment Broker today to explore your wealth transfer goals and the strategies that can help you achieve them.
Making a Career Move
If you are thinking about changing jobs, or you have recently made a career move, it’s time to take a fresh look at your financial plan. Specifically, you should look at the funds in your employer-sponsored retirement plan account. Your decision about what to do with your money can have significant tax consequences.
Rolling over your money
You can transfer the money in your former employer’s plan to an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or possibly to your new employer’s plan. To ensure that the rollover from your retirement plan account remains tax-deferred, you must deposit the entire amount in a new IRA or plan account within 60 days. You can avoid tax withholding and penalties by asking for a direct transfer or trustee to trustee transfer of your retirement account balance.
Leaving your assets in your current retirement plan account
You might be able to leave the funds in your former employer’s plan where they can grow, tax-deferred. Generally, you will still be able to choose your investments, but you won’t be able to make additional contributions. Leaving your funds in the plan might be a good idea if you have significant assets invested and are comfortable with the investment choices offered.
Taking a lump sum
You can always take a lump-sum payout from your plan. However, not only would you owe taxes and possible penalties on the distribution, you would lose the future tax advantages of your retirement nest egg as well.
Contact a Money Concepts Client Advisor today to see which option works best with your financial goals.
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