A note about the Fiduciary Rule from Robin Weingast

Weingast Fiduciary RuleDear Friends,
You may have have seen the recent news about the Department of Labor’s Fiduciary rule. The Robin S. Weingast & Associates team has been closely involved in understanding this rule and we are keeping a close eye on what these changes mean for our clients. For over 30 years, we have made our clients’ benefits and retirement plans our priority, and we look forward to continuing that tradition. The rule goes into effect in April 2017, with full implementation due by January 2018. This will give us all time to work to make sure you understand the rule and feel comfortable about your retirement savings path.

As a fiduciary, I am already held to the highest standards when it comes to keeping fees to a minimum and ensuring that your retirement plan works for you. You can expect the same level of service and attention to your finances as the DOL’s new rule is implemented.

If you have any questions, concerns, or want to know more about this new rule, I invite you to contact me today.

I look forward to hearing from you and to our continued success.

Best,
Robin S. Weingast
President & Owner, Robin S. Weingast & Associates

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.

What you Need to Know in 2015

2014 is coming to an end and the Robin S. Weingast & Associates team has been busy preparing for 2015. We value working with our clients and want to give you the most current information on what you have to look forward to in the new year.

As we told you in October, the IRS issued information geared towards helping to increase the use of income annuities in 401(k) plans. Plan sponsors can now voluntarily include deferred income annuities in a target date fund used as a default investment, making it easier for employees to consider using lifetime income. We posted the full announcement and would be happy to speak with you about how to take advantage of these new important guidelines.

Beginning in 2015, the IRS increased retirement fund contribution limits. This change reflects cost-of-living increases and could have major implications for you and your employees. Click to expand this graphic and se what the new limits are.

Robin_Weingast_new_IRS_limits

New York-based businesses should know that on December 31, the statewide hourly minimum wage for non-exempt (i.e., hourly) employees will rise from $8.00 to $8.75 (and then to $9.00 on December 31, 2015). Just as significantly, the minimum weekly salary for certain exempt employees – executives and administrators – will also increase on December 31: from $600.00 to $656.25 (and then to $675.00 on December 31, 2015). The wage increase also affects those in the food service and hospitality industries. You can read more about it here (the post also contains information about minimum wage changes in other states).

There are some small changes to the Affordable Care Act that may impact your business. This site summarizes everything that will change in 2015, and we are happy to talk through what these changes mean for your benefits plans and for your business.

Earlier this year, we let you know that the IRS announced an 2016 deadline for pre-approved document restatements. Here’s a refresher on what that means for you. Remember that our team is here to help you with this process.

We hope you found our Need to Know Blog, monthly resources, and updated newsletters a valuable source of must-have information. If you have any suggestions for topics we should cover, please contact us and we’d be happy to cover them on our website.

The Robin Weingast team is ready to offer guidance and help you develop solutions and innovative approaches to respond to any new regulatory changes. We look forward to making 2015 a happy and successful year for you.

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

The Top 3 Retirement Myths: What you need to Know about the “R-Word”

Robin Weingast: Top 3 Retirement MythsDid you know that the National Institute on Retirement Security estimates that “Americans are at least $6.8 trillion short of what we need to fund comfortable retirements “? This is particularly true for Baby boomers. Every day, 10,000 Baby Boomers retire with a media of $120,000 saved—hardly enough to last for what will be a more than 30-year retirement.

The biggest obstacle to being prepared for retirement isn’t actually money; it’s misinformation. Here are the top 3 myths that prevent people from being properly prepared for retirement.

Myth 1: Retirement means the end of investing

Retirement does not mean that you have to stop investing. Your retirement can last up to 30 years, meaning that you have that many more years to enjoy the fruits of investing. Conversely, a long retirement means your money will be subject to inflation, making the need to keep investing even more essential.

Myth 2: Taxes decrease when you retire

While you may be earning less in retirement (and thus be in a lower tax bracket), you may also lose certain deductions and exemptions that you receive because of your employment. In addition, state and local taxes will rise. These factors mean that you may actually pay a larger percentage of your income in taxes.

Myth 3: I won’t need as much day-to-day living money when I retire

While there certainly will be opportunities for you to decrease your daily cost of living, retirement may mean increased opportunities to travel or the chance to take on a new costly hobby. If you underestimate your financial needs, your retirement planning will be incorrect.

These are just a few of the many myths about retirement that many people believe are true. Others include that you should make your savings priority paying for your child’s education or that Social Security and/or Medicare will be enough for your retirement years.

Why not plan for this important part of your life using facts? At Robin Weingast & Associates, we can help you plan based on retirement reality, not retirement myths. Contact us today to find out how to make your retirement plan work for you.

 

Need to Know: A Change to the Affordable Care Act Can Mean Big Things for Your Small Business

Robin Weingast on how changes to the Affordable Care Act impact your small business.In early June, President Obama signed into law the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act.” A portion of this new law essentially repeals a provision of the Affordable Care Act that was particularly burdensome for small businesses (those with less than 50 employees). This provision held that small groups were prohibited from offering health plans with deductibles higher than $2,000 for single coverage and $4,000 for family coverage.

This comes as very welcome news to small businesses, which often need the most flexibility and options in order to offer employees health insurance that is both comprehensive and affordable. Small companies will typically use higher deductibles and other cost-sharing strategies.

It’s also a positive change for any employers who want to offer their insurance plans in conjunction with health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs). Previously, federal agencies rejected HRAs as an allowable way to ease the $2,000/$4,000 provision.

The new law was effective immediately upon being signed and is just one example of the many ever-changing rules and regulations that impact your employee benefit plan.

Why not leave the planning to the capable Robin S. Weingast & Associates team, who stay on top of what these legislative changes mean for your business? Contact us today and we can discuss a custom, comprehensive plan that leverages these new small business allowances, incorporates HRAs, keeps your employees satisfied, and makes sense for your bottom line. We’ll even conduct a free evaluation of your current plan to ensure that your benefits are working for you. Reach out today.

Resource of the Month: Life Insurance in Qualified Plans

Welcome to our new Resource of the Month series!

At Robin S. Weingast and Associates, we strongly believe that our clients benefit both from having relevant knowledge readily available and from working closely with us to leverage this knowledge and achieve their goals. We make it our business to make sure that you are always in-the-know and on top of the latest trends and regulations. That’s why we’re so happy to introduce the Robin Weingast Resource of the Month.

Every month we will feature 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 always be available on our Resource of the Month page for you to download so that you can access all of our resources, whenever you need them. It’s the knowledge you need, right at your fingertips.

The Robin Weingast & Associates team is always available to discuss these resources in depth. We would be happy to walk you through what they mean for your business and how they can help you reach your business goals. We also welcome your feedback on Resource of the Month topics that would benefit you. Just email rsw@rswtpa.com with any feedback, and we’ll get right to work finding you the resources you need to stay on top of your game and ahead of the curve!

Our first Robin Weingast Resource of the Month is about the legal limitations of life insurance in qualified plans. It provides a detailed overview of

1) The legal limitations of personal and business plans, including IRAs, tax sheltered annuities, defined contribution plans, profit sharing plans, and defined benefit plans.

2) Advantages and disadvantages to employees.

3) Advantages to employers.

Download our April 2014 guide today.  Be sure to contact the Robin Weingast & Associates team if you have any questions about this resource guide and how it applies to your business. We look forward to hearing from you and hope you enjoy our Resource of the Month!

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.