Atlantic Capital Management

Atlantic Capital Management (92)

Tuesday, 28 July 2015 00:00

Behind on Your Retirement Savings?

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What steps could you take to catch up?

If life has not allowed you to build substantial retirement savings, what can you do to improve your retirement prospects? Here are some suggestions.

Play catch-up. If at all possible, take advantage of the catch-up contributions the IRS allows you to make to IRAs and other retirement accounts starting in the year in which you turn 50. For example, this year a worker age 50 or older can put $24,000 into a 401(k) account compared with $18,000 for someone younger.1

Get the match. If your employer matches your retirement plan contributions to some degree when you contribute to a workplace retirement plan at a certain level, you should make every effort to get the match and take advantage of what amounts to an offer of free money. 

Work a little longer. More years contributing to retirement accounts means additional inflows into those accounts, and additional growth and compounding for those assets. It means you claim Social Security later, resulting in a larger monthly benefit. It also leaves you with fewer years of retirement that you must fund. 

Alternately, think about working a little early in retirement. It is true, your Social Security benefits could be docked as a result – but the tradeoff might be worthwhile.

If you are a Social Security recipient and younger than full retirement age in 2015, Social Security will withhold $1 in benefits for every $2 you earn over $15,720. This is called the Social Security earnings test. Social Security essentially balances this penalty out, however, by boosting your benefit as you reach full retirement age – and for that matter, you can earn as much as you want at full retirement age or later with no reduction to your benefits.2 

If you retire at 62 and make $25,000 a year through a part-time job you hold during the first five years of your retirement, you are putting a dent in any Social Security income you receive until age 67 – but that $25,000 yearly income can represent $25,000 you do not have to withdraw annually from your retirement savings. You could also invest some of that income, and the annual yield on your investment could exceed annual consumer inflation. Not a bad move in many eyes.

Think about long-run growth investing. One of the biggest risks retirees face is the erosion of purchasing power. Some seniors invest in such a risk-averse way that they lose ground versus even minor inflation. Keeping a foot (or both feet) in the market may be essential if your retirement nest egg is small – not just because it needs to grow, but because it will need to grow faster than inflation.    

Whittle down your debt. As Ben Franklin wrote in the 1758 edition of Poor Richard’s Almanac, “A penny saved is a penny got” (he never actually said “a penny saved is a penny earned”). While you may be thinking “mortgage,” reducing your credit card debt can produce the savings you want now. So can eliminating certain household expenses. Speaking of family expenses...3

Tell your adult children that you will not be supporting them. If you desperately need to catch up on your retirement savings effort, the last thing you want to do is provide your kids with a financial lifeline. You have 15 years or less until retirement; they may have 40 or 45. Helping them pay off their college loans may feel like the right thing to do for them, but it is not the right thing to do on behalf of your retirement.

Take one crucial step before you pursue any of these options. Turn to a financial professional to see what kind of retirement income you may need to live comfortably. (Any such consultation should include a Social Security analysis.) When you retire, having adequate income becomes just as important as having adequate savings.

 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. 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 - money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2014/12/01/how-to-max-out-your-retirement-accounts-in-2015 [12/1/14]

2 - ssa.gov/retire2/whileworking2.htm [7/2/15]

3 - forbes.com/sites/realspin/2014/08/18/a-penny-saved-was-never-a-penny-earned/ [8/18/14]

Friday, 05 June 2015 00:00

Are Your Kids Delaying Your Retirement?

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Some baby boomers are supporting their “boomerang” children.

Are you providing some financial support to your adult children? Has that hurt your retirement prospects?

It seems that the wealthier you are, the greater your chances of lending a helping hand to your kids. Pew Research Center data compiled in late 2014 revealed that 38% of American parents had given financial assistance to their grown children in the past 12 months, including 73% of higher-income parents.1

The latest Bank of America/USA Today Better Money Habits Millennial Report shows that 22% of 30- to 34-year-olds get financial help from their moms and dads. Twenty percent of married or cohabiting millennials receive such help as well.2

Do these households feel burdened? According to the Pew survey, no: 89% of parents who had helped their grown children financially said it was emotionally rewarding to do so. Just 30% said it was stressful.1

Other surveys paint a different picture. Earlier this year, the financial research firm Hearts & Wallets presented a poll of 5,500 U.S. households headed by baby boomers. The major finding: boomers who were not supporting their adult children were nearly 2½ times more likely to be fully retired than their peers (52% versus 21%).3

In TD Ameritrade’s 2015 Financial Disruptions Survey, 66% of Americans said their long-term saving and retirement plans had been disrupted by external circumstances; 24% cited “supporting others” as the reason. In addition, the Hearts & Wallets researchers told MarketWatch that boomers who lent financial assistance to their grown children were 25% more likely to report “heightened financial anxiety” than other boomers; 52% were ill at ease about assuming investment risk.3,4 

Economic factors pressure young adults to turn to the bank of Mom & Dad. Thirty or forty years ago, it was entirely possible in many areas of the U.S. for a young couple to buy a home, raise a couple of kids and save 5-10% percent of their incomes. For millennials, that is sheer fantasy. In fact, the savings rate for Americans younger than 35 now stands at -1.8%.5 

Housing costs are impossibly high; so are tuition costs. The jobs they accept frequently pay too little and lack the kind of employee benefits preceding generations could count on. The Bank of America/USA Today survey found that 20% of millennials carrying education debt had put off starting a family because of it; 20% had taken jobs for which they were overqualified. The average monthly student loan payment for a millennial was $201.2

Since 2007, the inflation-adjusted median wage for Americans aged 25-34 has declined in nearly every major industry (health care being the exception). Wage growth for younger workers is 60% of what it is for older workers. The real shocker, according to Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco data: while overall U.S. wages rose 15% between 2007-14, wages for entry-level business and finance jobs only rose 2.6% in that period.5,6

It is wonderful to help, but not if it hurts your retirement. When a couple in their fifties or sixties assumes additional household expenses, the risk to their retirement savings increases. Additionally, their retirement vision risks being amended and compromised. 

The bottom line is that a couple should not offer long-run financial help. That will not do a young college graduate any favors. Setting expectations is only reasonable: establishing a deadline when the support ends is another step toward instilling financial responsibility in your son or daughter. A contract, a rental agreement, an encouragement to find a place with a good friend – these are not harsh measures, just rational ones. 

With no ground rules and the bank of Mom and Dad providing financial assistance without end, a “boomerang” son or daughter may stay in the bedroom or basement for years and a boomer couple may end up retiring years later than they previously imagined. Putting a foot down is not mean – younger and older adults face economic challenges alike, and couples in their fifties and sixties need to stand up for their retirement dreams.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. 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 - pewsocialtrends.org/2015/05/21/5-helping-adult-children/ [5/21/15]

2 - newsroom.bankofamerica.com/press-releases/consumer-banking/parents-great-recession-influence-millennial-money-views-and-habits/ [4/21/15]

3 - marketwatch.com/story/are-your-kids-ruining-your-retirement-2015-05-05 [5/5/15]

4 - amtd.com/newsroom/press-releases/press-release-details/2015/Financial-Disruptions-Cost-Americans-25-Trillion-in-Lost-Retirement-Savings/default.aspx [2/17/15]

5 - theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/12/millennials-arent-saving-money-because-theyre-not-making-money/383338/ [12/3/14]

6 - theatlantic.com/business/archive/2014/07/millennial-entry-level-wages-terrible-horrible-just-really-bad/374884/ [7/23/14]

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