Where is everything? Time to organize and centralize your documents

Getting It All Together for Retirement

Where is everything? Time to organize and centralize your documents.

 

Before retirement begins, gather what you need. Put as much documentation as you can in one place, for you and those you love. It could be a password-protected online vault; it could be a file cabinet; it could be a file folder. Regardless of what it is, by centralizing the location of important papers you are saving yourself from disorganization and headaches in the future.

What should go in the vault, cabinet or folder(s)? Crucial financial information and more. You will want to include…

Those quarterly/annual statements. Recent performance paperwork for IRAs, 401(k)s, funds, brokerage accounts and so forth. Include the statements from the latest quarter and the statements from the end of the previous calendar year (that is, the last Q4 statement you received). You don’t get paper statements anymore? Print out the equivalent, or if you really want to minimize clutter, just print out the links to the online statements. (Someone is going to need your passwords, of course.) These documents can also become handy in figuring out a retirement income distribution strategy.

 

Healthcare benefit info. Are you enrolled in Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan? Are you in a group health plan? Do you pay for your own health coverage? Own a long term care policy? Gather the policies together in your new retirement command center and include related literature so you can study their benefit summaries, coverage options, and rules and regulations. Contact info for insurers, HMOs, your doctor(s) and the insurance agent who sold you a particular policy should also go in here.

 

Life insurance info. Do you have a straight term insurance policy, no potential for cash value whatsoever? Keep a record of when the level premiums end. If you have a whole life policy, you want to keep paperwork communicating the death benefit, the present cash value in the policy and the required monthly premiums in your file.

Beneficiary designation forms. Few pre-retirees realize that beneficiary designations often take priority over requests made in a will when it comes to 401(k)s, 403(b)s and IRAs. Hopefully, you have retained copies of these forms. If not, you can request them from the account custodians and review the choices you have made. Are they choices you would still make today? By reviewing them in the company of a retirement planner or an attorney, you can gauge the tax efficiency of the eventual transfer of assets.1

Social Security basics. If you haven’t claimed benefits yet, put your Social Security card, last year’s W-2 form, certified copies of your birth certificate, marriage license or divorce papers in one place, and military discharge paperwork or and a copy of your W-2 form for last year (or Schedule SE and Schedule C plus 1040 form, if you work for yourself), and military discharge papers or proof of citizenship if applicable. Social Security no longer mails people paper statements tracking their accrued benefits, but e-statements are available via its website. Take a look at yours and print it out.2

 

Pension matters. Will you receive a bona fide pension in retirement? If so, you want to collect any special letters or bulletins from your employer. You want your Individual Benefit Statement telling you about the benefits you have earned and for which you may become eligible; you also want the Summary Plan Description and contact info for someone at the employee benefits department where you worked.

 

Real estate documents. Gather up your deed, mortgage docs, property tax statements and homeowner insurance policy. Also, make a list of the contents of your home and their estimated value – you may be away from your home more in retirement, so those items may be more vulnerable as a consequence.

Estate planning paperwork. Put copies of your estate plan and any trust paperwork within the collection, and of course a will. In case of a crisis of mind or body, your loved ones may need to find a durable power of attorney or health care directive, so include those documents if you have them and let them know where to find them.

 

Tax returns. Should you only keep last year’s 1040 and state return? How about those for the past 7 years? At the very least, you should have a copy of last year’s returns in this collection.

 

A list of your digital assets. We all have them now, and they are far from trivial – the contents of a cloud, a photo library, or a Facebook page may be vital to your image or your business. Passwords must be compiled too, of course.

     

This will take a little work, but you will be glad you did it someday. Consider this a Saturday morning or weekend project. It may lead to some discoveries and possibly prompt some alterations to your financial picture as you prepare for retirement.

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.

1 – fpanet.org/ToolsResources/ArticlesBooksChecklists/Articles/Retirement/10EssentialDocumentsforRetirement/ [9/12/11]

2 – cbsnews.com/8301-505146_162-57573910/planning-for-retirement-take-inventory/ [3/18/13]

The Retirement Group is not affiliated with nor endorsed by fidelity.com, netbenefits.fidelity.com, hewitt.com, resources.hewitt.com, access.att.com, ING Retirement, Northrop Grumman, AT&T, Qwest, Chevron, Hughes,  Raytheon, ExxonMobil, Glaxosmithkline, Merck, Pfizer, Verizon, Bank of America, Alcatel-Lucent or by your employer. We are an independent financial advisory group that specializes in transition planning and lump sum distribution. Please call our office at 800-900-5867 if you have additional questions or need help in the retirement planning process.

This material was prepared by Peter Montoya Inc, and does not necessarily represent the views of Albert Aizin, and The Retirement Group or FSC Financial Corp. This information should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representatives nor Broker/Dealer gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information or call 800-900-5867.

Albert Aizin is a Representative with FSC Securities and maybe reached at http://www.theretirementgroup.com.

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Why You Should Keep Contributing to Your 401k

Save for retirement consistently, regardless of how the market behaves.  

There is seldom a dull moment on Wall Street. Stocks may rise or fall dramatically over the course of a year or a decade. Sometimes, breaking news may tempt you to pull money out of your 401(k) or greatly reduce your contributions. If you’re considering such a move, think twice.

Don’t stop saving for retirement. Even if you think you’re wealthy enough to forego putting money in your 401(k) for a while, you could end up seriously shortchanging your retirement savings potential by reducing your retirement plan balance or elective salary deferrals.

A 401(k) plan is a terrific retirement savings vehicle – but many Americans have not saved enough for their retirement years. On top of that, if you withdraw money from a 401(k) plan before age 59½, you’ll face a 10% tax penalty (with few exceptions) and you may end up spending money today that could have enjoyed tax-deferred compounding in the future.1

Don’t lose out on the power of tax deferral & compounding. Together, these factors have the potential to exponentially grow your retirement savings. As an example, let’s say you enroll in a 401(k) plan at age 25 and contribute $2,000 a year for 40 years with an annual return of 10%. At age 65, your $80,000 of contributions will be worth $973,684 thanks to compounding and a consistent inflow of new money.2

Contributions to a traditional 401(k) also reduce the amount of taxable income listed on your W-2 form. They may lower your initial tax hit on your state return as well; most states exempt traditional 401(k) contributions from tax. Self-employed individuals can actually deduct 401(k) plan contributions.2,3

The 2013 401(k) contribution limit is $17,500, with $5,500 in additional “catch-up” contributions permitted for workers 50 and older. These limits may rise slightly in 2014.4

Don’t lose out on a match. Will your employer match your contributions – say, a dollar-for-dollar match on the first 3% of salary? If you make $60,000 per year, 3% is $1,800. Would you throw away $1,800 worth of free money each year? You shouldn’t, especially given that this money will grow tax-deferred.

Do keep contributing steadily. It’s a good idea to keep up the dollar cost averaging and continue to make steady month-to-month or paycheck-to-paycheck salary deferrals. In all probability, this is central to your financial plan – and how will you amass the retirement savings you need if you stop contributing? Sure, there are other ways to build retirement savings, but dollar-cost-averaged contributions to a 401(k) represent a consistent, recurring way to get that job done.

If you contribute to your 401(k) plan through a dollar cost averaging approach, your investment dollar buys shares at a lower price in a bear market – and it also buys more shares for your money. So when a bull market cycle resumes, you may end up in a really good position.

It’s a good idea to keep contributing even if you are falling behind financially. Should you pay down debts with your 401(k) assets? Only as a last resort. In fact, if you are looking at a bankruptcy you should know that 401(k) assets are protected in Chapter 7 bankruptcies under federal law.5

Do review your goals with your financial advisor. Look at your time horizon. Look at your overall financial plan. Whether you are nearing retirement or far away from it, you will see that your 401(k) is a vital tool for pursuing your financial objectives. Whatever this or that website may proclaim, don’t be discouraged by short-term headlines; abide by the long-term plan created personally for you.

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.

1 – irs.gov/taxtopics/tc424.html [4/1/13]

2 – womensfinance.com/wf/401k/taxes.asp [12/12]

3 – finance.zacks.com/tax-deductions-contributions-401k-plans-1852.html [10/15/13]

4 – irs.gov/uac/2013-Pension-Plan-Limitations [9/27/13]

5 – boston.com/business/personalfinance/managingyourmoney/archives/2010/05/bankruptcy_prot.html [5/17/10]

This material was prepared by Peter Montoya Inc, and does not necessarily represent the views of Albert Aizin and The Retirement Group or FSC Financial Corp. This information should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representatives nor Broker/Dealer gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information or call 800-900-5867.

Albert Aizin is a Representative with FSC Securities and may be reached at http://www.theretirementgroup.com.

The Retirement Group is not affiliated with nor endorsed by fidelity.com, netbenefits.fidelity.com, hewitt.com, resources.hewitt.com, access.att.com, ING Retirement , Qwest, Hughes, Pfizer, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Chevron, Merck, Verizon, ExxonMobil, AT&T, Glaxosmithkline, Bank of America, Alcatel-Lucent or by your employer. We are an independent financial advisory group that specializes in transition planning and lump sum distribution. Please call our office at 800-900-5867 if you have additional questions or need help in the retirement planning process.

 

 

 

Weekly Economic Update 11/11/13

SHUTDOWN DOESN’T DETER HIRING

The Labor Department’s delayed October employment report showed the economy adding 204,000 new jobs last month. Analysts polled by Reuters had only expected a gain of 125,000. The unemployment rate actually rose to 7.3%, as those analysts had predicted. This was a nice Friday surprise for Wall Street, and it also made investors wonder if the tapering of QE3 could come before the end of the year. A solid November employment report could offer further grounds for that move.1

FIRST Q3 GDP ESTIMATE TOPS EXPECTATIONS

In another nice surprise for Wall Street, the Bureau of Economic Analysis put third quarter growth at 2.8%, whereas economists surveyed by MarketWatch had projected a reading of 2.3%. In related news, a federal report showed factory orders up 1.7% in September, and the Institute for Supply Management’s service sector PMI rose a full point in October to 55.4.2,3

HOUSEHOLD INCOMES OUTPACE SPENDING

The September consumer spending report was a bit of a disappointment. Personal spending increased 0.2% (economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 0.3% rise) while personal incomes rose 0.5%, suggesting that households saved more and spent less of what they earned. November’s initial University of Michigan consumer sentiment index came in at 72.0, down from the final October mark of 73.2.3

DOW CLOSES AT NEW PEAK

Rising 1.08% on the day and 0.94% on the week, the DJIA settled at a new all-time peak of 15,761.78 Friday. The S&P 500 rose 0.51% across five days to settle at 1,770.61 at week’s end, while the tech-heavy NASDAQ lost 0.07% in the same stretch, closing Friday at 3,919.23. Incidentally, the S&P is now riding a 5-week win streak, its longest since mid-February.1,4

THIS WEEK: Earnings season is winding down, but it should still take center stage this week with light data coming out of Washington. Monday is Veterans Day, a federal holiday; bond markets are closed, but the stock market is open and NewsCorp, American Apparel, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Trend Micro will present Q3 results. Tuesday brings earnings from Dish Network, DR Horton, Dean Foods and Pandora. Wednesday offers Q3 results from Cisco and Macy’s. On Thursday, earnings reports from Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Williams Sonoma, Vodafone, Viacom and Agilent arrive along with new initial claims figures. Reports on October industrial output and September wholesale inventories appear Friday.

% CHANGE

Y-T-D

1-YR CHG

5-YR AVG

10-YR AVG

DJIA

+20.28

+23.03

+15.25

+6.07

NASDAQ

+29.80

+35.35

+27.58

+9.89

S&P 500

+24.15

+28.54

+18.04

+6.81

REAL YIELD

11/8 RATE

1 YR AGO

5 YRS AGO

10 YRS AGO

10 YR TIPS

0.59%

-0.85%

2.86%

2.10%

Sources: USATODAY.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov – 11/8/135,6,7,8

Indices are unmanaged, do not incur fees or expenses, and cannot be invested into directly.

These returns do not include dividends.

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. Marketing Library.Net Inc. is not affiliated with any broker or brokerage firm that may be providing this information to you. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted index of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The NASDAQ Composite Index is an unmanaged, market-weighted index of all over-the-counter common stocks traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers Automated Quotation System. The Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) is an unmanaged group of securities considered to be representative of the stock market in general. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. NYSE Group, Inc. (NYSE:NYX) operates two securities exchanges: the New York Stock Exchange (the “NYSE”) and NYSE Arca (formerly known as the Archipelago Exchange, or ArcaEx®, and the Pacific Exchange). NYSE Group is a leading provider of securities listing, trading and market data products and services. The New York Mercantile Exchange, Inc. (NYMEX) is the world’s largest physical commodity futures exchange and the preeminent trading forum for energy and precious metals, with trading conducted through two divisions – the NYMEX Division, home to the energy, platinum, and palladium markets, and the COMEX Division, on which all other metals trade. Additional risks are associated with international investing, such as currency fluctuations, political and economic instability and differences in accounting standards. This material represents an assessment of the market environment at a specific point in time and is not intended to be a forecast of future events, or a guarantee of future results. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.  Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. Market indices discussed are unmanaged. Investors cannot invest in unmanaged indices. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional.

Citations.

1 – tinyurl.com/kvl7fbr [11/8/13]

2 – usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/11/07/third-quarter-gdp-report/3452547/ [11/7/13]

3 – marketwatch.com/Economy-Politics/Calendars/Economic [11/8/13]

4 – google.com/finance?q=INDEXDJX%3A.DJI&ei=oHF9Usj8IoOeiQLiKA [11/8/13]

5 – usatoday.com/money/markets/overview/ [11/8/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F8%2F12&x=0&y=0 [11/8/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F8%2F12&x=0&y=0 [11/8/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F8%2F12&x=0&y=0 [11/8/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F7%2F08&x=0&y=0 [11/8/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F7%2F08&x=0&y=0 [11/8/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F7%2F08&x=0&y=0 [11/8/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=11%2F7%2F03&x=0&y=0 [11/8/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=11%2F7%2F03&x=0&y=0 [11/8/13]

6 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=11%2F7%2F03&x=0&y=0 [11/8/13]

7 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyield [11/8/13]

8 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyieldAll [11/8/13]

 

 

The Retirement Group is not affiliated with nor endorsed by fidelity.com, netbenefits.fidelity.com, hewitt.com, resources.hewitt.com, access.att.com, Northrop Grumman, Pfizer, Verizon, AT&T, Hughes, Glaxosmithkline, Bank of America, ExxonMobil, Merck, ING Retirement, Raytheon, Chevron, Qwest, Alcatel-Lucent or by your employer. We are an independent financial advisory group that specializes in transition planning and lump sum distribution. Please call our office at 800-900-5867 if you have additional questions or need help in the retirement planning process.

This material was prepared by Peter Montoya Inc, and does not necessarily represent the views of Albert Aizin and The Retirement Group or FSC Financial Corp. This information should not be construed as investment advice. Neither the named Representatives nor Broker/Dealer gives tax or legal advice. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If other expert assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. Please consult your Financial Advisor for further information or call 800-900-5867.

Albert Aizin is a Representative with FSC Securities and may be reached at http://www.theretirementgroup.com.