On average, Americans are living longer than ever before. This reality has complicated the planning and saving stage of retirement as we struggle to secure enough income to cover our needs for the duration of our lifetime. One increasingly critical tool of financial planners for retirees is the use of Roth IRA conversions. A Roth conversion refers to taking all or part of the balance of a pre-tax traditional IRA and moving it into a Roth (after-tax) IRA.
The primary benefit of a Roth IRA over a traditional IRA is to enjoy tax-free withdrawals. With a traditional IRA, as well as with 401(k)s, 403(b)s, simple IRAs, and/or any other pre-tax qualified plan, taxes must be paid on any distributions from your investment and are treated as ordinary income. With a Roth IRA, within certain requirements, all withdrawals are tax-free—allowing for a more reliable and robust income stream during retirement.
After extensive polling, the number one concern for most retirees is outliving their income. Much of today’s workforce do not have enough to guarantee success in retirement, and a recent study found that the average median savings of millennials is only $8,000—promising that adequate saving for retirement will be a problem for a long time to come. For this reason, and for the struggle I see and work I do on behalf of my clients every day, I wanted to discuss a few factors that can erode retirement designated wealth, as well as pose some solutions.
In 2018, Massachusetts signed into law a statute that provides paid family and medical leave (PFML) benefits to workers. Massachusetts becomes only the sixth state, along with the District of Columbia, to require paid leave. The state has yet to issue final regulations, but they did provide updated draft regulations at the end of March. Although benefits will not be paid until January 2021, employers have obligations to notify employees of this law now. The withholding and reporting obligations begin on July 1st, 2019.
Employers must notify their workforce about the law including the benefits and protections that apply to them. This is a two-part requirement and includes a workplace poster and a written notice to employees.
On March 22, 2018, the city of Atlanta’s website was hit by a ransomware cyberattack. Residents couldn’t access online applications or pay water bills and parking tickets. Court proceedings were cancelled. An estimated ten years’ worth of documents, including police dash cam recordings, were lost. It was five days before city government employees could turn on their computers. The city may spend more than $10 million to fully recover.
Cristie Hanaway, Senior Vice President of Property & Casualty at the Hilb Group of New England, part of the Sapers & Wallack organization, answers questions about our April blog, “Cyber Security: It’s a Nightmare Scenario“.
There’s a lot to like about investing in a Roth IRA, Roth 401(k) or Roth 403(b), especially if you’re young or expect to be in the same (or higher) income tax bracket when you retire. Any money you invest in a Roth grows tax-free—even when you cash out in retirement—and it can be invested in a number of ways, from stocks and bonds to mutual funds. Another plus: the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), makes Roth IRAs even more attractive because they can protect your investment from future tax rate increases.
Retirement distribution planning is not what it used to be. People are living longer, cost of living expenses are on the rise, and healthcare costs are easily outpacing wage increases and the market. Now, more than ever, creating and sticking to a thorough retirement savings plan is necessary to ensure that your latter years and legacy are what you intend them to be.