Resource of the Month: What You Need to Know About IRAs

Weingast_IRALooking to help a recent graduate understand the nuts and bolts of saving for the future? Our May resource will tell you everything you need to know about individual retirement accounts (IRAs), which are a tax-savvy way to put aside money for retirement. While employer sponsored plans continue to be a widely used option, there are additional ways to help a recent graduate make sure he or she is on track to have an adequate nest egg. You may even learn a thing or two about saving for your own retirement!
 

Click here to download our May resource: What you Need to Know About IRAs.

What Robin’s Reading: May 2016

Robin Weingast Reading RecsWelcome to another installment of What Robin’s Reading — our regular feature that gives you an inside look at what the Robin S. Weingast & Associates team is focusing on to stay up-to-date with benefits and retirement planning news.

This month, we continue to monitor the impact of the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary Rule, but with graduation season upon us, we’re also reading up on the investment and benefit trends among the new crop of job seekers. A recent video by Tony Robbins caught our eye — it contains his opinion on a “must invest” for young professionals. Click here to hear what he has to say.

We also read “Millennials & Financial Literacy—The Struggle with Personal Finance,” a fascinating report on the personal finances of millennials. Based on research conducted by The Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC) at the George Washington University, the report uncovered eight key trends. When it comes to personal finance, millennials:

1. Have inadequate financial knowledge
When tested on financial concepts, only 24% demonstrated basic financial knowledge.

2. Aren’t happy with their current financial situation
When ranking satisfaction on a scale of 1-10, 34% were very unsatisfied.

3. Worry about student loans
When asked about their ability to repay their student loan debt, more than 54% of Millennials expressed concern.

4. Have debt across economic and educational lines
Among college-educated Millennials, a staggering 81% have at least one longterm debt.

5. Are financially fragile
Nearly 30% of Millennials are overdrawing on their checking accounts.

6. Are heavy users of Alternative Financial Services (AFS)
In the past five years, 42% of Millennials used an AFS product, such as payday loans, pawnshops, auto title loans, tax refund advances, and rent-to-own products.

7. Sacrifice retirement accounts
More than 20% of Millennials with retirement accounts took loans or hardship withdrawals in the past year.

8. Don’t seek professional financial help
Even with inadequate knowledge, only 27% of Millennials are seeking professional financial advice on saving and investment.

But the picture isn’t totally bleak for millennials. Another piece from CNBC outlines distinct advantages that the generation has when saving for retirement.

Whether you know a young professional who would benefit from advisement, or you want to make sure your own personal finances are in order, the Robin S. Weingast team is here for you. Contact us today for an appointment. Our team of experts is ready to make sure you and your loved ones are on track to meet your financial goals.

Need to Know: Women and Retirement

Weingast_startupSince March is Women’s History Month, we’re bringing you a special Need To Know post on women and retirement. The gender pay gap in the US and globally is well-documented and a frequent topic of conversation and advocacy. While there is work to be done to achieve compensation equality, women can —and should — take some key steps to ensure financial stable retirements for themselves.

The most important thing for women to do when it comes to retirement is to get informed. The Robin S. Weingast team believes when it comes to retirement planning, knowledge is more than just power — it’s peace of mind. The Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) has a helpful checklist that outlines what women need to know, what women should ask their employers, and what women should discuss with their spouses. Click here to look at their checklist.

Something important to note is that while retirement benefits are offered to more and more full-time employees, women are more likely than men to be working part-time, and so there may be fewer benefits available. The TransAmerican Center for Retirement Studies advises women to consider retirement benefits as part of overall compensation and to advocate for benefits if none are provided.

Once you’re informed about your benefits, it’s time to think big picture and come up with a long-term strategy. A 2015 survey by the TransAmerica Center for Retirement Studies found that almost 60% of all female respondents felt that they were “guessing” when they estimated their retirement needs. That same study found that women estimated their retirement financial needs to be much lower than men’s — even though women live longer than men. Guessing and incorrect estimations can have drastic consequences when it comes to retirement planning. This can mean the difference between being free to enjoy retirement or having to work longer than expected.

Women should make it a point to sit down and articulate their financial goals — including a realistic picture of how much money is needed for retirement — and then determine a savings plan to help achieve those goals. The plan should include your knowledge of your benefits, and should also take into consideration that women are more likely to take time away from the workforce to act as caregivers to children or elder relatives. This will have an impact on your retirement savings and may necessitate some catch-up retirement planning. Revisit our post on making up for lost time with retirement planning to see how you can offset any delays in planning.

Something else women should consider doing when it comes to retirement? Asking for help from a professional. Only 36% of all women polled in the TransAmerica study used a financial advisor, and of that 36%, 77% talked retirement planning with their advisors. A financial advisor is well-versed in the many avenues available when it comes to retirement planning and can help get you up-to-speed on how to maximize your benefits and other savings opportunities available to you.

If you’re ready to have a discussion about your retirement, it’s time to contact the Robin S. Weingast & Associates team. We’ve worked with clients for over 30 years to craft customized retirement and financial plans that will help you do more than just save money, they’ll help give you peace of mind. Contact us today to learn how we can help.

Need to Know: Three Tips to Keep Calm During Market Volatility

Robin Weingast Market FluctuationThe end of the summer certainly wasn’t dull, as overseas market fluctuations impacted US markets and had people panicking. Beyond worrying about short-term investments, you may be one of the many people who is wondering if you need to dramatically overhaul your retirement plans. We understand, and we’re here to help. Here are three things to keep in mind during market volatility:

1) Stay Calm

This may seem counterintuitive, and maybe even impossible, but resist the temptation to panic and start moving your retirement money around during volatile times. In fact, sometimes the smartest move is to sit back, watch, and see what develops.

Remember that changes in the market don’t impact regulations and rules about retirement plan distributions and remember that changing the age at which you begin withdrawing your retirement savings will have long-term consequences. A moment of panic might not just impact your short-term future, it might impact your long-term goals. Staying calm will help you asses what steps you need to take based upon what’s actually happening.

2) Avoid change for the sake of change but don’t be afraid to change if you need to.

We know, this is really two tips, but they go hand-in-hand. A common next step after panic is to take action — and it’s usually sudden and non-strategic. Another temptation is to “stay the course” and not act at all, because you fear more change. Don’t be tempted to make a change in your retirement plans just because the market is changing or because you’re worried about what volatility means for your future. In the same vein, if the reality is that fluctuations really are impacting your long-term goals, you need to be prepared to take the necessary steps to correct your course.

The first step is to assess where you are relative to your goals. This piece offers a really simple way to assess if you actually need to change or if you will be ok to proceed as you have been. The answer will be different based upon your age, your goals, and what you have done to save for retirement so far. We also like this piece because it makes recommendations about what to do if you’ve not even begun retirement planning. 

Whatever situation you find yourself in, there will be steps you can take if you need to — and reassurances that not doing anything may be exactly in line with your long-term goals.

3) Use your Resources

Let’s face it — you’re busy running your business and don’t have time to suddenly become a financial or retirement planning expert. And that’s ok. You have a team of people who are here to help you navigate uncertainty and volatility, and Robin S. Weingast & Associates is part of that equation. We know it can be overwhelming to figure out how to balance your business goals with your retirement planning, and that market fluctuations only add to the challenge. Our number one goal is to make sure that you have retirement peace of mind, and we’re here to do whatever we can to help you achieve that. 

If recent events have you concerned, now is the time to contact us. We’re here to make sure you feel confident and satisfied with your plans for the future. Contact us today to see how we can help.

Resource of the Month: Do You Have Retirement Peace of Mind?

Robin Weingast retirement planning peace of mindPlanning for retirement isn’t just about having money, it’s about having peace of mind. Just a few years ago, a landmark study was conducted with more than 6,000 Americans over the age of 45. The study aimed to get a large-scale understanding of our retirement concerns and questions and to find out what factors made it more likely for people to have “retirement peace of mind.” Our latest Resource of the Month compiles the results and explores what they mean for YOUR retirement. From asking pointed questions about your goals to giving you tangible tips to increase your peace of mind, this is a resource that will truly help everyone.

Download our April 2015 Resource of the Month.

One interesting note from the study is that people who worked with advisers were significantly more likely to have retirement peace of mind. The Robin S. Weingast & Associates team provides more than just valuable retirement planning advice and administration – we provide all of our clients with the peace of mind they need to both prepare for and enjoy their retirement. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

Need to Know: Making up for Lost Time With Retirement Planning

Robin Weingast retirement planning Congratulations on making it through April and the ever-busy tax season! It’s hard to believe that 2015 is almost half over, but in a few months we’ll be talking year-end wrap ups and 2016 planning. Before the year gets away from us, the Robin Weingast & Associates team wants to focus on an important, time-sensitive topic that impacts everyone: timely retirement planning.

The general rule of thumb is that earlier is better when it comes to retirement planning. But that’s not always an easy rule to follow. Just last month, expert testimony to the US Senate’s Special Committee on Aging revealed that “nearly half (45%) of Americans have no retirement savings…[and] the median retirement-account balance is only $3,000 for working-age households and only $12,000 for households approaching retirement. In two-thirds of working households with earners between ages 55 and 64 years, at least one earner has saved less than one year’s income for retirement.”

If you suspect that you – or your employees – are unprepared for retirement, there are things you can take to get on track. Before you can properly plan, you need to understand where you actually stand. This is the most important step you can take, because it will determine what comes next for your retirement planning. Use this tool from the AARP; it compiles information about you, your spouse, and your current savings and projects what you will need for retirement and if you’re prepared.

Based on what you find out, it’s time to make some potentially tough decisions. Think about where you can trim expenses and how you can cut down on more significant costs – are you at the stage in life where you can downsize your home or apartment? If you need to make significant decreases to your monthly expenses, try using a tool like this, which walks through standard monthly expenses and gives you tips on how to cut costs. Also consider if you’re maximizing your earning potential. Are there part-time or freelance opportunities that can help you close the gap?

A key part of catching up is making sure you understand your current retirement plan and making sure you’re taking full advantage of what’s available to you. Whether you’re an employee who isn’t fully aware of what retirement benefits your company offers, or a manager who wants to make sure your team understands the full details of a retirement plan, it’s wise to keep the lines of communication open. Schedule regular meetings with HR to make sure that you’re making the most beneficial choices.

Having a team always helps. You can count on the Robin S. Weingast & Associates team for the most effective retirement planning strategies at any stage. Contact us today to see how we can help achieve your goals.

Need to Know: When Should I Start Receiving Retirement Benefits?

Many Robin Weingast & Associates, Inc. clients want to know the best time to start receiving retirement benefits.  Not only do our clients have to make this decision for themselves, their employees often ask for advice on how to maximize the benefits of their retirement plans.  In fact, this is such a common question that the Social Security Administration has prepared a short publication as a guideline.

Some highlights from their recommendations:

1) This decision is personal and involves a careful consideration of many factors:

– Do you want a smaller amount of money each month, sooner or a larger monthly payment for a shorter duration?
– What are your current cash needs (both personally and for your family)?
– Do you have additional income sources?
– What is your current state of health?
-Do you plan to keep working? This will impact your monthly benefits if you elect to receive them before your full retirement age.

2) Life expectancy is longer than it used to be. This is great news that also means your retirement may be much longer than you think.  Approximately one-third of all people who are 65-years-old today will live to be 90. It’s important to consider this when determining a timeline for receiving benefits.

3) Your decision may impact your family—both your spouse and your children who may be eligible to receive benefits.

4) While your total overall benefit distributions will not change, your monthly payments will differ significantly based on when you opt to receive benefits.

Robin Weingast Retirement planning

Credit: www.socialsecurity.gov

This chart is from the Social Security Administration’s article and gives you a breakdown on how your benefits differ based on the age at which you opt to begin receiving benefits. It assumes a benefit of $1,000 at a full retirement age of 66. Notice that receiving benefits at 70 versus 62 results in a 32% monthly increase.

The article explores each of these points in depth. If you would like to read more, you can download the full article here.

Have questions?
The Social Security Administration offers several resources on their site, most notably an online benefits planner and an online Retirement Estimator.

Need to talk?
Online resources are great, but as always, the Robin Weingast & Associates, Inc. team would be happy to discuss a plan that works for you. We would also be happy to help you provide your employees with resources to help them make the best decision about when to receive retirement benefits. Contact us today to ensure that your retirement is personally and financially fulfilling.