Working in Retirement Often is More a Dream Than Reality

Many workers are staying on the job longer or plan to before going into their golden years.

More retirees said they retired at ages 66-69, rising from 11% in 2021 to 14% in 2022, according to the latest annual survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) and Greenwald Research.

And 7 in 10 workers expect to work for pay as a source of their retirement income, and 1 in 5 are counting on it as a major source, according to the EBRI poll. A growing percentage of workers say they will never retire – 15% in 2022, up from 10% in 2021, according to the EBRI survey.

Unfortunately, expectations of working in retirement can backfire. For workers who plan to work in some fashion for pay after they retire, that desire still appears to be more of a nice notion than a reality. Only 27% of retirees have employment income, according to the EBRI poll.

‘Sad commentary that health insurance has to be such a big factor’

That desire to remain employed is backed up by other recent surveys. More than half of workers (57%) plan to work in retirement citing a variety of reasons ranging from the income to keeping their brains alert, or the social connection, according to the most recent study by the nonprofit Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

The specter of soaring medical costs alone is stomach-churning. The average couple age 65 retiring this year and enrolled in Medicare may need approximately $315,000 saved (after tax) to cover healthcare expenses in retirement, according to the Fidelity Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate.

That’s what motivated Russ Eanes, an author, to get back in the workforce after retiring five years ago from his job as chief executive at MennoMedia, a book publisher. A year ago, he went back to work at GetSetUp, an interactive website that delivers virtual education to older adults.

The impetus: A steady paycheck and access to a health insurance plan.

“It’s a sad commentary that health insurance has to be such a big factor in these decisions,” Eanes told Yahoo Money.. “I’m on Medicare as of February, but my wife is a year behind, so we have to scramble to figure out how to have her covered for another year. While I was making out okay as a freelancer, it can be feast or famine.”

Older workers are not always ‘proactive’

But getting back to work or staying employed is not always easy, and in some cases, it can be the workers themselves who short-change their ability to stay on the job longer.

“Many 50+ workers are not proactive about taking steps to help ensure they can work as long as they want and need,” Catherine Collinson, CEO and president of nonprofit Transamerica Institute and Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, told Yahoo Money. “Among those employed by for-profit companies, our research showed that only 62 % are focused on staying healthy so they can continue working and just 44% are keeping their job skills up to date.”

Only a small percentage are networking and meeting new people (16%), taking classes to learn new skills (12%), scoping out the employment market and opportunities available (10 %), attending virtual conferences and webinars (9%), or obtaining a new degree, certification, or professional designation (5 %), Collinson said.

Meantime, more than 2 in 5 workers expect a gradual transition to retirement, according to the EBRI survey.

In reality, “only a fraction of companies offer employees the option of a phased retirement,” Collinson said. “Our most recent employer survey finds 27% of employers offer a formal phased retirement program.”

Forced retirements

Even more troubling– nearly half of retirees retired earlier than they planned.

“Back-to-work plans can be upended by unexpected health challenges and caregiving demands,” Nancy Collamer, a retirement coach and author of “Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement,” told Yahoo Money.

The median expected retirement age for workers — age 65 — and the reported retirement age of retirees —age 62, according to the EBRI survey. Two-thirds said their early retirement was for a reason out of their control, such as a health problem or disability, company downsizing or reorganizations, or caregiving for a loved one.

Some of those reasons were amplified by the pandemic.

Since March 2020, 1.1 million more Americans between the ages of 55 and 74 retired earlier than what would have been expected during normal times, according to a recent report from The New School’s Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis. The number of those who retired involuntarily a year after losing a job was 10 times higher than pre-pandemic times, the report found.

‘Beginning to feel the impact of inflation’

This trend may be shifting. As of March 2022, 3.2% of workers who were retired just one year ago are now employed again, according to research by Nick Bunker, the director of economic research at Indeed Hiring Lab.

One caveat: while the EBRI Retirement Confidence Survey was conducted as the inflation rate had already begun its rapid rise, and at that time, the majority of workers and retirees reported being confident that they had enough money to keep up with inflation in retirement, the economic picture is grimmer now.

With the inflation rate at 8.3% in April of 2022, down slightly from 8.5% in March, which was the highest since December of 1981, and the S&P 500 index off its January peak by 16.6%, that exuberance may be fading.

“Some workers are beginning to feel the impact of inflation, and the number is likely to grow,” Copeland said. “How the economy evolves over the next few months is likely to result in workers reconsidering where they stand regarding retirement. If inflation continues at historic rates and the stock market continues falling, more workers will be reevaluating their retirement plans.”

By:

Kerry is a Senior Columnist and Senior Reporter at Yahoo Money. Follow her on Twitter @kerryhannon

Source: Working in retirement often is more a dream than reality

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A New Idea To Reduce Wealth Inequality: Tax Capital Gains At Death At A Higher Rate Than During Life

Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) have proposed different ways to tax unrealized capital gains every year. Their shared goal is understandable, with trillions of dollars escaping income tax under current law. But each plan raises serious administrative and legal problems. My colleague, Rob McClelland, and I suggest a simpler, more effective approach: Tax unrealized gains of the wealthy at death at a higher rate than if assets are sold or given as gifts during life.

An unrealized gain is the increase in the value of an asset, like stock, which has not yet been sold. Taxing these gains is important because unrealized gains now account for more than half of the staggering amount of wealth of the very richest Americans, those with at least $100 million of net worth.

Current law encourages the wealthy to hold their assets until death, when those gains escape income tax permanently. This happens for two reasons. First, current law does not treat a bequest as a sale so no income tax is due at death. And, second, heirs are allowed a “stepped-up basis” where they never pay tax on any increase in the value of property during a decedent’s lifetime.

The results: Government loses a massive amount of revenue, wealth inequality is perpetuated through generations, and investors are encouraged to retain (or “lock-in”) poorly balanced, and less productive, portfolios. More than fifty years ago, two leading tax experts described the failure to tax gains of property transferred at death as “the most serious defect in our federal tax system.”

To fix this longstanding flaw, our plan would tax unrealized gains at death for the very rich (couples with more than $100 million and singles with more than $50 million) at the tax rate for ordinary income—currently 37 percent. But profits from sales or gifts of assets during life would still be taxed at 23.8 percent. Transfers to spouses would be tax exempt. And the very rich would be allowed to deduct their income taxes at death from their estate taxes.

Our proposal turns the existing incentive for appreciated assets on its head. Instead of encouraging people to hold their appreciated assets until death to avoid income taxes, our proposal encourages them to sell these assets before they die.

For example, imagine an entrepreneur who owns $100 billion of his company stock, for which he paid nothing when he founded the firm. Under our proposal, if he holds his stock until death, he’d owe $37 billion in income tax. But if he sells during life, he would owe $23.8 billion. And, if he wants to transfer his stock to his children without paying the $37 billion, he could give his stock to them during his life and pay $23.8 billion.

To determine the reach of our proposal, Rob reviewed data from the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances, which he combined with Forbes 400 information (which is excluded from the survey). He estimated that taxpayers subject to our proposal have unrealized gains totaling about $7.5 trillion in 2022.

If these households realize $6 trillion of their $7.5 trillion of that gain during their lifetimes, and the remaining $1.5 trillion at death, our proposal would raise almost $2 trillion over time. Over the next 10 years alone, our plan could raise several hundred billion dollars, just like Biden’s and Wyden’s plan. (Our plan could raise more than theirs eventually, as our tax rate at death is higher than Biden’s and Wyden’s.)

For simplicity, we assumed the unrealized gains don’t grow over time, which likely makes our estimates conservative.

Taxing the wealthiest households on their unrealized gains at death is much easier to administer than Biden’s or Wyden’s plans to tax them annually. Our plan would rely on existing estate tax returns, and valuations, which the rich already file, while Biden’s and Wyden’s plans would require new annual filings for taxpayers during their lifetimes.

While few taxpayers would pay Biden’s or Wyden’s tax, many more would need to value all their assets annually, as taxpayers close to the line might move in and out of the regimes over time. How would the IRS determine whether all these taxpayers filed properly?

Finally, our proposal to collect taxes on transfers by gift or bequests is well -established under the US Constitution, but collecting taxes outside of transfers during their lifetimes raises unresolved legal issues.

Today, older, wealthier taxpayers often hang on to appreciated assets during their lifetimes, waiting to transfer them at death. Our plan encourages them to realize gains during life, which could lead to better balanced portfolios, broaden ownership of these assets, and generate much-needed tax revenue.

I am a Senior Fellow in the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. I research, speak, and write on a range of federal income tax issues, with a focus on business

Source: A New Idea To Reduce Wealth Inequality: Tax Capital Gains At Death At A Higher Rate Than During Life

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Where Not To Die In 2022: The Greediest Death Tax States

Should death be taxing? Amid budget surpluses, states started slashing income taxes last year. But only two have made significant changes to their estate or inheritance taxes so far. Last year Iowa legislators decided to phase out the state’s inheritance tax by January 1, 2025. And this year Nebraska legislators made pro-taxpayer tweaks to its inheritance tax for deaths occurring on or after January 1, 2023.

Other jurisdictions have lessened the tax bite for dying in 2022—through previously scheduled changes or inflation adjustments. But some, without inflation adjustments, are still taxing estates at levels that haven’t budged for years, meaning more families are getting surprise death tax bills. In one of those states—Massachusetts—Democratic legislators are pushing for changes to spare more estates from the tax as part of a broader tax reform package this summer.

In all, 17 states and the District of Columbia levy estate and/or inheritance taxes. Maryland is the outlier that levies both. If you live in one of these states—or might retire to one—pay attention.

These taxes operate separately from the federal estate tax, which applies only to a couple thousand estates a year valued at over $12.06 million per person. (That number is set to drop roughly in half on January 1, 2026, when the Trump tax cuts that temporarily doubled the base exemption from $5 million to $10 million expire.) While few individuals need to plan around the federal estate tax, the state levies all kick in at much lower dollar levels, often making it a middle class problem.

Consider the current state estate tax in Massachusetts. The $1 million estate tax exemption hasn’t been adjusted for inflation since 2006, so it can hit the heirs of middle class folks who have seen their houses and retirement accounts appreciate.

“You can be real estate rich with a modest home, and your estate could be subject to this,” says Scott Cashman, a tax manager with Bowditch & Dewey in Worcester, Massachusetts. “It’s becoming more of an issue every year.” If the $1 million exemption amount set in 2006 had been adjusted for inflation, it would be closer to $1.5 million today.

Say a widow or widower died with a house worth $535,000, a $200,000 bank account, a $350,000 retirement account, and a $15,000 car, for a $1.1 million gross estate. Assuming $50,000 in deductions, the estate tax would be $20,500, he calculates.

(There’s no estate tax when assets are left to a spouse, but in this case the heirs are children.) If the house is worth $1 million, however, the tax would be $65,360— one third of the cash in the bank. Adding to the pain is what’s known as the cliff: Once the $1 million mark is crossed, the estate tax applies to everything over $40,000. “I don’t know if most legislators understand that,” he says.

A bill introduced by Democratic state senators would double the Massachusetts exemption amount to $2 million and only levy tax above that amount, removing the dreaded cliff. “We have such a surplus now, this is the time to do it,” says Cashman. “There’s broad-based support for reform.”

Inheritance taxes—levied in 6 states—can kick in at far lower levels, with the exemption and tax rate depending on the heir’s relationship to the deceased. In New Jersey, for example, if you leave your estate to a Class D beneficiary—including a nephew or non-civil-union partner—they’re taxed at 15% on assets up to $700,000 and 16% on assets above $700,000.

In Nebraska, lawmakers this year fell short of inheritance tax repeal but succeeded in chipping away at the state’s inheritance tax. The new law, effective Jan. 1, 2023, cuts the top tax rates (from 18% to 15%, for example) and increases the exemption amounts (from $10,000 to $25,000, for example). It also eliminates inheritance taxes for heirs under 22, and it makes unadopted step-relatives taxed at the lower rate for nearer family members and not the higher rate for unrelated heirs.

“Lawmakers wouldn’t agree to a general phase-down of the tax at this point that would apply to everyone, but they were willing to accept that if a younger person were to inherit property or cash (and we can use a lot more young residents and entrepreneurs in Nebraska) that it’s not in the state’s economic interest to take any of it away from them,” says Adam Weinberg, communications director with the Platte Institute, which is continuing its effort to repeal the inheritance tax in Nebraska.

Meanwhile, Connecticut, the least taxing of the estate tax states, is on schedule to increase its exemption to $9.1 million in 2022, and then to match the federal exemption for deaths on or after January 1, 2023. In an unusual nod designed to keep the richest taxpayers in the state, Connecticut has a $15 million cap on state estate and gift taxes (which represents the tax due on an estate of approximately $129 million).

Other states with 2022 changes: Washington, D.C. reduced its estate tax exemption amount to $4 million in 2021, but then adjusted that amount for inflation beginning this year, bringing the 2022 exemption amount to $4,254,800. Several states, which all have set their exemption amounts at different base levels, also see inflation adjustments for 2022. Maine’s is $6,010,000, while New York’s is $6,110,000. In Rhode Island, the 2022 exemption amount is $1,648,611.

I cover personal finance, with a focus on retirement planning, trusts and estates strategies, and taxwise charitable giving. I’ve written for Forbes since 1997.

Source: Where Not To Die In 2022: The Greediest Death Tax States

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Should You Buy BP Shares? The Oil Giant Looks Cheap, But Approach With Caution

A lot has changed over the past year and a half. Oil demand has spiked and supply is struggling to catch up. The war in Ukraine has only added fuel to the fire, igniting what has to be one of the biggest ever U-turns in global energy policy.

Only a couple of months ago, policymakers were setting out plans to reduce global hydrocarbon production for good, but now they’re rushing to drive up supply. US president Joe Biden has recently reversed his decision to ban drilling for oil and gas on federal land while here in the UK, the government’s flagship energy policy contains new targets for drilling in the North Sea.

It is going to take months if not years for supply to match the world’s seemingly insatiable demand for hydrocarbons. Even major swing producers – namely the Opec cartel – are struggling to ramp up output despite higher production targets.

The supply and demand imbalance has sent prices surging

Global oil and gas markets have responded the only way free markets know how when demand outweighs supply – prices have spiked.

The Brent crude oil benchmark has jumped by 70% in just a few months, returning to levels not seen since 2014. Meanwhile, natural gas prices in the US are up by nearly 200% in the past 12 months (while in the UK and European markets prices have risen by 230% and 340% respectively – gas is not a global market).

In this environment it is not surprising that BP and its Big Oil peers are minting cash. Last year, the firm announced its highest profit in eight years and Factset broker projections are currently estimating a 42% jump in income for 2022. Shell’s (LSE: SHEL) earnings look likely to rise by about a third this year.

However, despite BP’s outstanding fundamentals, the stock’s performance on any timeline longer than 12 months leaves a lot to be desired. The shares have charged higher by 37% on a total return basis over the past year, but over the past decade, they’ve yielded a miserly total return of 3.9% per annum compared to 7.1% for the FTSE All-Share.

Investors should not overlook BP’s progress

BP is not the organisation it was the last time the price of Brent crude was above $100 a barrel. Its return on average capital employed (ROACE) – the company’s preferred measure of operating performance – hit 12.1% in 2021 compared to 9.9% eight years ago.

The company has also moved on from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico disaster, reduced its debt and outlined a plan to reduce its exposure to oil and gas by boosting renewable energy output.

Still, at face value, the stock does not seem to reflect the company’s improving trading performance. Shares in BP are selling at a forward price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) of 7.2 while shares in Shell command a valuation of just 6.5.

However, these figures need to be put into perspective. Both companies are generating bumper profits, and there is no guarantee this will last. From a different perspective, BP is trading at a trailing 12-month p/e of 14.1, roughly inline with its five-year average. Shell’s historical valuation is similar.

They’re making money today, but investors shouldn’t forget the fact that these two businesses jointly announced some of the largest losses in British corporate history in 2020 after the price of oil briefly turned negative. And these hefty losses forced both companies to reduce their shareholder payouts, underlining the fragile nature of oil company dividends.

A constant struggle to maintain output and maintain profits

Oil and gas producers face a constant struggle to maintain production. An oil well requires continual investment to maintain production, and sooner or later, the well will run dry. BP and its peers are always looking for new prospects and this costs huge amounts of money.

Last year, BP’s capital spending totalled $13bn and in 2020, the company had to spend $14bn, far more than the earnings generated from selling oil and gas in the first place. These figures illustrate the biggest issue these operators face: the need to keep investing and keep spending even if oil prices collapse.

BP and its peers are also having to invest large sums of money in developing green energy projects. These projects are not going to produce returns immediately, and could prove to be a drag on profits for years to come, only adding to the uncertainty for these enterprises.

As such, while shares in Shell and BP do look cheap at first glance, investors need to carefully consider where these businesses are heading and the challenges they may face going forward.

Windfall oil profits may only be temporary, while capital spending obligations are forever. These businesses might have a central role to play in the global economy, but that does not mean they should have a central role in investors’ portfolios.

Source: Should you buy BP shares? The oil giant looks cheap, but approach with caution | MoneyWeek

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How to Avoid Capital Gains Tax

Saving for retirement is all about investing, and no matter how you go about it, you’re going to end up paying taxes on what you save and earn. Taxes on capital gains can eat up a significant portion of your earnings each year.

When you’re building wealth and planning for retirement, it’s important to not leave any money on the table. That’s why it’s important to point out that a fiduciary financial advisor can help you optimize a tax strategy and identify savings opportunities to lower your tax liability.

An advisor can also help you manage assets and plan for retirement, so you can worry less about meeting your financial goals. According to a 2021 Fidelity study, financial advice can add between 1.5% and 4% to account growth over extended periods.1

Handing over a chunk of your profit can be painful. Thankfully, there are a few ways that you can reduce the amount of capital gains taxes you will pay after selling an asset.

Investing involves risk and no situation is the same. This is in no way intended as a personal recommendation and investment decisions are solely those of the reader.

1.

Choose Long-Term Investments

Capital gains can be classified as either short-term or long-term, each of which has its own tax rates.

Assets you have held for less than a year are considered short-term. When it comes to earning short-term gains, expect to be taxed at your ordinary tax rate. This can be as high as 37%, depending on your total taxable income.

If you want to avoid that, you should consider choosing long-term investments instead. By holding an investment for a year or more, you will qualify for long-term capital gains tax rates.

Most long-term capital gains will see a tax rate of no more than 15%, though certain assets (like coins and art) can be taxed at a rate up to 28%. Depending on your income, you may even qualify for capital gains tax rates as low as 0%.

2.

Take Advantage of Tax-Deferred Retirement Plans

Your retirement accounts likely make up a bulk of your savings and future assets. It’s wise to optimize these as best you can by utilizing tax-deferred (and tax-exempt) plans, to save yourself from added capital gains taxes.

When contributing to a tax-deferred retirement plan, such as a 401(k) or traditional IRA, you’ll receive a tax deduction on your contributions in the current tax year. This can save you money on your income taxes today, as well as help you save even more toward the future.

Your money will also continue to grow over time. When you’re finally ready to sell your investments and withdraw, any growth in the account is taxed at your ordinary income rate, rather than being subject to capital gains like other investment accounts.

A tax-exempt account, such as a Roth IRA, doesn’t offer any tax benefits today, but grows tax-free until retirement. When you’re ready to use the money, your funds (and growth) can also be withdrawn tax-free, helping you avoid capital gains yet again.

3.

Offset Your Gains

If you hold a number of different assets, you may be able to offset some of your gains with any applicable losses, allowing you to avoid a portion of your capital gains taxes.

For instance, if you have one investment that is down by $3,000 and another up by $5,000, selling both will help you reduce your gains. You would only be subject to capital gains taxes on the difference – or $2,000 – rather than the full $5,000 gain of the second investment.

Another offset strategy is tax-loss harvesting. With this method, you can carry over losses from one tax year into the next, to help offset future gains. Tax loss harvesting only applies if your losses in a given year exceed your total gains.

Take Retirement Quiz

If you’re looking for a way to decrease your tax burden, we recommend finding a financial advisor. They can help you understand your options and look for ways to save money on your tax bill, make smart investments and plan for retirement.

If you need help finding a financial advisor, we created a free quiz to help Americans find and vet qualified financial advisors who serve their area.

This quiz asks you a few questions, then matches you with up to three fiduciary financial advisors. You can compare your advisor matches based on their specialty, pricing, and more. You even earn 3 free consultations with each of our matches, so you can compare them and be fully prepared to pick a financial advisor.

The hypothetical study discussed above assumes that professional financial advice can add between 1.5% and 4% to portfolio returns over the long term, depending on the time period and how returns are calculated and is based on the Fidelity Whitepaper “Why work with a financial advisor, November, 2021”. Please carefully review the methodologies employed in the Fidelity Whitepaper.

The value of professional investment advice is only an illustrative estimate and varies with each unique client’s individual circumstances and portfolio composition. Carefully consider your investment objectives, risk factors, and perform your own due diligence before choosing an investment adviser..1

Helping people make smart financial decisions

When you own an investment or other asset – such as real estate, land, a business or stocks, for example – and later sell that asset for a profit, you have realized capital gains. The tax that is then levied on the profit portion of your sale is called capital gains tax.

Depending on how your gains are classified, and your total taxable income for the year, your capital gains tax rate can vary. This percentage could be as low as 0% or as high as your ordinary tax rate. Consider consulting a financial advisor to determine how your gains will be classified so you can know what to expect when taxes are due. Click here to get matched with up to three advisors who serve your area.

Source: How to Avoid Capital Gains Tax

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