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Baby Boomer, Gen X Retirement Saving Inadequate, Study Says

When it comes to retirement saving, the Baby Boomer generation is in trouble.

Despite many of them now entering retirement, the majority of those born between 1946 and 1964 report having less than $250,000 in retirement assets. Only about 1 in 3 Boomers has that much saved up – leading to a retirement income shortfall of between $3,864 and $12,072, according to research from the Insured Retirement Institute.

And things are not looking too great for Gen Xers, either. According to the Insured Retirement Institute’s (IRI) fourth biennial report on Generation X, about 4 in 10 members of this generational cohort do not have money saved for their retirement. Despite an overall improvement in the economy, this represents a deterioration of about 5 percentage points from two years ago.

Of those with retirement savings, about 6 in 10 have saved less than $250,000. On the other hand, the percentage of those who have saved at least $250,000 or more has nearly doubled over the same time frame, rising from 12 percent in early 2016 to 23 percent in 2018.

According to the IRI, about 60 percent of Generation X respondents report being generally confident they will have enough money saved for retirement. Their top three economic concerns are changes in Social Security (66 percent), higher than expected health care expenses (64 percent) in retirement and running out of money (59 percent).

Ultimately, people across the generations need to get serious about putting money away.

Use “Catch-Up Contribution Limits”

The Baby Boomers and the oldest of the Generation Xers can both take advantage of “catch-up contribution” limits, available to those ages 50 and older. Congress anticipated the need for older Americans to sock more money away as they enter their peak earning years and their children have reached adulthood.

For Self-Directed IRAs, individuals age 50 and older can put an additional $1,000 away each year in combined Roth IRA and Traditional IRA contributions – over and above the normal $6,500 annual limit. Some limitations apply for those at higher income levels.

Older Self-Directed 401(k) beneficiaries can also increase salary deferral contributions. As of 2018, those ages 50 and older can contribute an additional $6,000 per year to employer-sponsored Self-Directed 401(k) plans, on top of the generally applicable $18,500 contributions, for a total potential employee contribution of $24,500 per year.

Similar provisions also apply to 403(b) plans, the federal Thrift Savings Plan and many Section 457 deferred compensation plans for public employees. They also apply to Self-Directed 401(k)s and small business Self-Directed 401(k)s.

Those turning 50 and older this year should consider taking full advantage of these more generous tax-advantaged compensation limits.

Working longer

Many Americans will have little choice but to stay in the work force longer and put off retirement. This means more years of earning an income, and more years of potential retirement contributions and compounding within retirement accounts. It also means higher monthly Social Security benefits, if you can put off collecting Social Security until you reach full retirement age.

Staying in the work force also means you do not have to stretch your retirement income over as many years. With today’s advances in health care and nutrition, it has grown commonplace for Americans to live into their late 80s and 90s. Taking income out of your portfolio for 10 years rather than 20 years can make a big difference in the sustainability of your retirement income.

For more information on getting started with Self-Directed IRA investing, call American IRA today at 866-7500-IRA (472).

5 Factors of the Self-Directed Roth IRA Conversion Decision Process

Traditional IRA | Roth IRADeciding whether one should convert assets from a traditional retirement account to a Self-Directed Roth IRA is an important task, and in order to make a reasonable and educated decision, many factors must be taken into consideration. Still it is well worth the consideration since the account will grow tax-free forever after it is converted to a Roth IRA.

The following are only five of the many factors that should be taken into consideration.

1.     Current vs. Future Tax Rates

Many economists and tax professionals who have analyzed factors such as the historical changes in tax rates, the events that either cause or predict increases in tax rates, and the national debt, agree that significant increases in tax rates in future years is inevitable. Individuals who agree with these experts may feel that it is a smart tax move to convert to a Self-Directed Roth IRA now when tax rates are lower, rather than keeping assets in a Traditional IRA where they would be taxed at a higher rate when withdrawn later.

2.     Retirement Horizon

One of the factors to consider when deciding about whether a Self-Directed Roth IRA makes good tax sense is whether you will have sufficient time to accrue enough tax-free earnings that would, at a minimum, offset the tax-related cost of converting amounts to a Roth IRA.

Example: Assume that you convert $100,000 in pre-tax amounts from your Traditional IRA to your Roth IRA, and you owe income tax of $28,000 on the amount. This $28,000 will have to be taken from your retirement account or other sources, which means $28,000 that is no longer available for investing in your retirement nest egg.

A Roth conversion analysis would take the number of years you have until retirement into consideration, so as to determine whether the tax-free earnings that could be accrued during that time is sufficient to make the conversion worthwhile.

3.     Your Beneficiaries and Who You Want to Pay The Income Tax

If you will be leaving your retirement savings to a charity, a Traditional IRA may be a better choice since the charity will not owe income tax on the amount. On the other hand, if your beneficiary is someone like your spouse or child, converting the amount to a Self-Directed Roth IRA could allow him or her to inherit the amount tax-free.

4.     Source of Income Tax Payment

Generally, you are required to pay the income due on a Roth conversion by your tax filing deadline. If you do not have the amount available in non-retirement saving accounts, then the income tax can be paid from the conversion amount. If you choose to pay the income tax from the conversion amount, only the net amount would be converted, which means the income tax amount would not be available for tax-free growth in the Roth IRA.

Example: Assume you convert $100,000 and elect to have $20,000 withheld for federal income tax. Only $80,000 would be converted to your Roth IRA, with $20,000 remitted to the IRS as an income tax payment on your behalf.

A Roth conversion analysis would help to make a reasonable determination of whether a conversion would make sense in such cases.

5.    Investment Vehicles and Rate of Return

A critical component of a Self-Directed Roth IRA conversion analysis is the rate of return on your investments. If your investment portfolio includes stocks, bonds, mutual funds and other investments that do not offer a guaranteed rate of return, then the rate of return is based on assumptions and speculations. On the other hand, if your conversion amount is invested in a product that provides a guaranteed rate of return (such as an annuity), you might get a more realistic determination of the comparison between converting and not converting to a Roth IRA.

These are just a few of the many factors that should be taken into consideration, and what might apply to one person might not apply to another. As such, the Self-Directed Roth IRA conversion decision is often based on a customized Roth profile. Further, whether an outcome is considered favorable can be a matter of personal preference.

 

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