Retirement Planning Blog

Annuity Expert Advice — Finding the Right Guide to a Secure Retirement

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Annuities are a great solution for guaranteed lifetime income and other contractual guarantees, but you want the right one for your situation. How do you navigate an annuity market with thousands of annuity products – and sometimes inferior choices, at that?

It starts with finding the right annuity expert advice – or in other words, professional guidance for your situation to locate the best-fitting annuity just for you. In this article, we will go over different things to keep in mind as you search for expert annuity advice that is right for your circumstances.

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Where Is the Safest Place to Put Your Retirement Money?

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The ‘safest’ places to put your money are in low-risk investments and savings vehicles that provide guaranteed growth. These low-risk options include fixed annuities, CDs, Treasury securities, corporate bonds, savings accounts, and money market accounts.

You usually get the highest interest rates with fixed-type annuities of this bunch. There are other fixed-type annuities that can give higher growth potential than guaranteed-rate annuities, if that is something that appeals to you.

Retirement can be an uncertain stage in life. Markets go up and down, inflation rises and falls, and no one knows how long their retirement might last. You can explore options to grow your retirement savings with guaranteed interest earnings and then turn those funds into predictable income streams for retirement.

In this article, we will look at some of the more popular low-risk places to put your retirement money – and what each of those options can involve.

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567 Ways to Claim Social Security

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Have you heard that there are over 560 ways to claim Social Security? Some experts peg it at 567 ways to take Social Security, to be specific. With so many options, how can you be sure that you have chosen the right Social Security claiming strategy for your situation?

To be clear, those are just numbers. Paul Simon knew 50 ways to leave your lover. Most sources cite somewhere between 567 ways, nine ways (for a single person), and 81 ways (for a couple).

However many ways there really are, and even the Social Security Administration doesn’t seem to offer a straightforward answer, the important thing is that you claim in the most productive way for you and your spouse if you are married.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you explore different options for when and how you will collect Social Security. These factors can help you make the most of your benefits, whether claiming early or delaying past your age of full benefit eligibility to let your benefit grow more.

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The SECURE Act and Inherited Accounts: A Quick Overview

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The SECURE Act was passed in 2019, and it had a big impact on the U.S. retirement landscape. Changes ranged from expanding workplace retirement plans for employees to changing required minimum distributions and much more. It also created some confusion as to how it affected stretch IRAs, and how and when beneficiaries were supposed to handle distributions.

In this article, we will look at how the SECURE Act affects inherited IRAs as well as other inherited qualified accounts — and some things to keep in mind about these changes in your retirement planning as well as estate planning.

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Common Financial Issues for Surviving Spouses

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Surviving spouses have a lot to deal with when their significant other passes away. There is much emotional grief. Many financial and life issues arise, requiring their attention. All of this can be even more burdensome in times when economic uncertainty is strong.   

For many people in retirement, this situation applies now. The cost of living is going up. Healthcare costs are often an ever-growing area of spending for many retirees, as their need for healthcare usually increases in later years. What’s more, surviving spouses are often left in a harder situation, as their expenses may not go down proportionately with their incomes.

Here we will look at some of the issues that surviving spouses can expect to face after their spouse is gone.

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Social Security Benefits COLA 2023: What You Should Know

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The news for the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2023 is out. There will be a significant COLA for recipients in 2023, and it will be the largest boost in four decades. This is good news for retirees and others receiving Social Security benefits, as it means that their benefits will increase next year to keep up with the rising cost of living.

The COLA for 2023 will be a historic 8.7%, according to the Social Security Administration. This will be the largest COLA since the 11.2% boost in benefits that took place in 1982. To put things in perspective, last year Social Security had a 5.9% increase in benefit payments.

Keep reading to learn more about how the COLA is calculated and what it means for you, especially in this period of inflation.

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What Happens to My 401(k) When I Leave My Job?

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At some point or another, you may have wondered about what happens to your 401(k) when you leave your current job. When the time comes for you to either retire or start a new job, you will have to decide on what to do with your retirement plan.

You may have accumulated a sizable amount of money in this plan over the years. The 401(k) plan’s investments may be performing well overall.

But does this mean that you should just leave your money in your 401(k) plan with your old employer? What else can you do with it? Here we will examine the different alternatives that you can choose from when it comes to managing your retirement plan at an old employer.

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Understanding the Annuity Aggregation Rule

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Annuities provide tax-deferred growth and pay guaranteed income during retirement. If you own an annuity, then it’s good to know how to pay taxes on your withdrawals.

Of course, your annuity carrier will send you a statement at the end of the year showing how much you need to report as taxable income. Nevertheless, knowing what to expect can save you from an unpleasant surprise when you file your tax return. That is especially the case for non-qualified annuities, in which your funds aren’t subject to required minimum distributions. For that reason, tax hits on your non-qualified annuity withdrawals may be a little less familiar territory.

This article on annuities and taxes is a great starting point for understanding the fundamentals of how annuities are treated under different parts of tax law. In this article, we will focus on more on a breakdown of the tax rules for non-qualified annuity withdrawals.

There is one little-known rule that affects you if you own more than one non-qualified annuity, and that is called the “aggregation tax rule.” Let’s get more into that in a little bit.

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How to Retire Effectively at 62 (Tips for a Secure Future)

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Many of us consider retiring at 62 for many different reasons. Sometimes, it’s your health or maybe your spouse’s. You may have reached all your retirement savings goals and want to take advantage of the opportunity. You may just no longer enjoy working.

Whatever your reasons for considering retirement at 62, you should consider several different issues before taking any irrevocable steps. This guide will look at some of those issues and help you get to the point where you can retire at age 62 with a comfortable lifestyle. Remember, these are starting points, and it’s not a bad idea to consult with a financial professional before finalizing your plans.

In the end, the biggest problem you will face retiring at 62 is the gap between 62 and 65 when the most significant retirement benefits – like Medicare – kick in. Cover the gap and make sure you won’t run out of funds, and retirement can be fun!

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Using a 72(t) Distribution for Early Retirement

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Have you heard of Rule 72(t) at some point in your retirement planning? Sometimes you need early access to your retirement accounts; that is, you need to make withdrawals before you reach 59.5.

You can avoid the 10% early withdrawal penalty, even if you don’t meet one of the exceptions, by taking substantially equal period payments under IRS Rule 72(t). To avoid the penalty, you must:

• Follow all the rules and use the funds for any purpose
• Adhere to the strict IRS guidelines
• Not adjust distributions for inflation or any other reason
• Pay taxes on withdrawals from accounts funded with pre-tax dollars

In this article, we will go over more of how IRS Rule 72(t) works, in what situations it might be an option to consider, and what to think about if you are considering it.

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Next Steps to Consider

  • Start a Conversation About Your Retirement What-Ifs

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    Start a Conversation About Your Retirement What-Ifs

    Already working with someone or thinking about getting help? Ask us about what is on your mind. Learn More

  • What Independent Guidance
    Does for You

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    What Independent Guidance
    Does for You

    See how the crucial differences between independent and captive financial professionals add up. Learn More

  • Stories from Others
    Just Like You

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    Stories from Others
    Just Like You

    Hear from others who had financial challenges, were looking for answers, and how we helped them find solutions. Learn More

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