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IRS Announces Higher 2020 Retirement Plan Contribution Limits For 401(k)s And More

How much can you save for retirement in 2020? The Treasury Department has announced inflation-adjusted figures for retirement account savings for 2020: 401(k) contribution limits are up; traditional IRA contribution limits stay the same; almost all the other numbers are up.

The amount you can contribute to your 401(k) or similar workplace retirement plan goes up from $19,000 in 2019 to $19,500 in 2020. The 401(k) catch-up contribution limit—if you’re 50 or older in 2020—will be $6,500 for workplace plans, up from $6,000. But the amount you can contribute to an Individual Retirement Account stays the same for 2020: $6,000, with a $1,000 catch-up limit if you’re 50 or older.

So super-savers age 50-plus can sock away $33,000 in these tax-advantaged accounts for 2020. If your employer allows aftertax contributions or you’re self-employed, you can save even more. The overall defined contribution plan limit moves up to $57,000, from $56,000.

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Sounds unreachable? During 2018, 13% of employees with retirement plans at work saved the then maximum of $18,500/$24,500, according to Vanguard’s How America Saves. In plans offering catch-up contributions, 15% of those age 50 or older took advantage of the extra savings opportunity. High earners are really saving: 6 out of 10 folks earning $150,000+ contributed the maximum allowed, including catch-ups.

Want to join in? We outline the numbers below; see IRS Notice 2019-59 for technical guidance. For more on 2020 tax numbers: Forbes contributor Kelly Phillips Erb has all the details on 2020 tax brackets, standard deduction amounts and more. We have all the details on the new higher 2020 retirement account limits too.

401(k)s. The annual contribution limit for employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan is $19,500 for 2020—a $500 boost over 2019. Note, you can make changes to your 401(k) election at any time during the year, not just during open enrollment season when most employers send you a reminder to update your elections for the next plan year.

The 401(k) Catch-Up. The catch-up contribution limit for employees age 50 or older in these plans is $6,500 for 2020. That’s the first increase since 2015 when the limit rose to $6,000. Even if you don’t turn 50 until December 31, 2020, you can make the additional $6,500 catch-up contribution for the year.

SEP IRAs and Solo 401(k)s. For the self-employed and small business owners, the amount they can save in a SEP IRA or a solo 401(k) goes up from $56,000 in 2019 to $57,000 in 2020. That’s based on the amount they can contribute as an employer, as a percentage of their salary; the compensation limit used in the savings calculation also goes up from $280,000 in 2019 to $285,000 in 2020.

Aftertax 401(k) contributions. If your employer allows aftertax contributions to your 401(k), you also get the advantage of the $57,000 limit for 2020. It’s an overall cap, including your $19,500 (pretax or Roth in any combination) salary deferrals plus any employer contributions (but not catch-up contributions).

The SIMPLE. The limit on SIMPLE retirement accounts goes up from $13,000 in 2019 to $13,500 in 2020. The SIMPLE catch-up limit is still $3,000.

Defined Benefit Plans. The limitation on the annual benefit of a defined benefit plan goes up from $225,000 in 2019 to $230,000 in 2020. These are powerful pension plans (an individual version of the kind that used to be more common in the corporate world before 401(k)s took over) for high-earning self-employed folks.

Individual Retirement Accounts. The limit on annual contributions to an Individual Retirement Account (pretax or Roth or a combination) remains at $6,000 for 2020, the same as in 2019. The catch-up contribution limit, which is not subject to inflation adjustments, remains at $1,000. (Remember that 2020 IRA contributions can be made until April 15, 2021.)

Deductible IRA Phase-Outs. You can earn a little more in 2020 and get to deduct your contributions to a traditional pretax IRA. Note: Even if you earn too much to get a deduction for contributing to an IRA, you can still contribute—it’s just nondeductible.

In 2020, the deduction for taxpayers making contributions to a traditional IRA is phased out for singles and heads of household who are covered by a workplace retirement plan and have modified adjusted gross incomes (AGI) between $65,000 and $75,000, up from $64,000 and $74,000 in 2019. For married couples filing jointly, in which the spouse who makes the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the income phase-out range is $104,000 to $124,000 for 2020, up from $103,000 to $123,000.

For an IRA contributor who is not covered by a workplace retirement plan and is married to someone who is covered, the deduction is phased out if the couple’s income is between $196,000 and $206,000 in 2020, up from $193,000 and $203,000 in 2019.

Roth IRA Phase-Outs. The inflation adjustment helps Roth IRA savers too. In 2020, the AGI phase-out range for taxpayers making contributions to a Roth IRA is $196,000 to $206,000 for married couples filing jointly, up from $193,000 to $203,000 in 2019. For singles and heads of household, the income phase-out range is $124,000 to $139,000, up from $122,000 to $137,000 in 2019.

If you earn too much to open a Roth IRA, you can open a nondeductible IRA and convert it to a Roth IRA as Congress lifted any income restrictions for Roth IRA conversions. To learn more about the backdoor Roth, see Congress Blesses Roth IRAs For Everyone, Even The Well-Paid.

Saver’s Credit. The income limit for the saver’s credit for low- and moderate-income workers is $65,000 for married couples filing jointly for 2020, up from $64,000; $48,750 for heads of household, up from $48,000; and $32,500 for singles and married filing separately, up from $32,000. See Grab The Saver’s Credit for details on how it can pay off.

QLACs. The dollar limit on the amount of your IRA or 401(k) you can invest in a qualified longevity annuity contract is increased to $135,000 from $130,000. See Make Your Retirement Money Last For Life for how QLACs work.

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I’m an associate editor on the Money team at Forbes based in Fairfield County, Connecticut, leading Forbes’ retirement coverage. I manage contributors who cover retirement and wealth management. Since I joined Forbes in 1997, my favorite stories have been on how people fuel their passions (historic preservation, open space, art, for example) by exploiting the tax code. I also get into the nitty-gritty of retirement account rules, estate planning and strategic charitable giving. My favorite Forbes business trip: to Plano, Ill. to report on the restoration of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, then owned by a British baron. Live well. Follow me on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ashleaebeling Send me an email: aebeling@forbes.com

Source: IRS Announces Higher 2020 Retirement Plan Contribution Limits For 401(k)s And More

The IRS announced changes to contribution and benefit limits for 2019. CSIG’s Alison Bettonville, CFA highlights the limit changes that affect various qualified retirement plans. Highlights include: -402(g) limit increased to $19,000 -415 or the Total Annual Additions limit increased to $56,000 -Catch up contributions limit remained at $6,000 -Compensation limit increased $280,000 -Highly Compensated Employee definition increased to $125,000 To the extent that any portion of the information submitted by CSIG contains material that is copyrighted, the recipient shall observe the protection of such material as provided under applicable copyright laws. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Diversification does not guarantee investment returns and does not eliminate risk of loss. We believe the information provided here is reliable, but do not warrant its accuracy or completeness. Opinions and estimates offered constitute our judgment and are subject to change without notice, as are statements of financial market trends, which are based on current market conditions. This material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument. The views and strategies described may not be suitable for all investors. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, accounting, legal, or tax advice. References to future returns are not promises or even estimates of actual returns a client portfolio may achieve. Any forecasts contained herein are for illustrative purposes only and are not to be relied upon as advice or interpreted as a recommendation. The price of equity securities may rise or fall because of changes in the broad market or changes in a company’s financial condition, sometimes rapidly or unpredictably. International investing involves a greater degree of risk and increased volatility. There is no guarantee that companies that can issue dividends will declare, continue to pay, or increase dividends.

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What Is The Average Retirement Savings in 2019?

It costs over $1 million to retire at age 65. Are you expecting to be a millionaire in your mid-60s?

If you’re like the average American, the answer is absolutely not.

The Emptiness of the Average American Retirement Account

The first thing to know is that the average American has nothing saved for retirement, or so little it won’t help. By far the most common retirement account has nothing in it.

Download Now: To be a profitable investor you first need to know the rules. Get Jim Cramer’s 25 Rules for Investing Special Report

Sources differ, but the story remains the same. According to a 2018 study by Northwestern Mutual, 21% of Americans have no retirement savings and an additional 10% have less than $5,000 in savings. A third of Baby Boomers currently in, or approaching, retirement age have between nothing and $25,000 set aside.

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) paints an even bleaker picture. Their data from 2013 reports that “nearly half of families have no retirement account savings at all.” For most age groups, the group found, “median account balances in 2013 were less than half their pre-recession peak and lower than at the start of the new millennium.”

The EPI further found these numbers even worse for millennials. Nearly six in 10 have no retirement savings whatsoever.

But financial experts advise that the average 65 year old have between $1 million and $1.5 million set aside for retirement.

What Is the Average Retirement Account?

For workers who have some savings, the amounts differ (appropriately) by generation. The older you are, the more you will have set aside. However there are two ways to present this data, and we’ll use both.

Workers With Savings

Following are the mean and median retirement accounts for people who have one. That is to say, this data only shows what a representative account looks like without factoring in figures for accounts that don’t exist. This data comes per the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances. (Numbers rounded to the nearest hundred.)

• Under age 35:

Average retirement account: $32,500

Median retirement account: $12,300

• Age 35 – 44:

Average retirement account: $100,000

Median retirement account: $37,000

• Age 45 – 55:

Average retirement account: $215,800

Median retirement account: $82,600

• Age 55 – 64:

Average retirement account: $374,000

Median retirement account: $120,000

• Age 65 – 74:

Average retirement account: $358,000

Median retirement account: $126,000

For households older than 65 years, retirement accounts begin to decline as these individuals leave the workforce and begin spending their savings.

Including Workers Without Savings

When accounting for people who have no retirement savings the picture looks considerably worse. Following are the median retirement accounts when including the figures for people with no retirement savings. The following do not include mean retirement accounts, as this would be statistically less informative than median data.

• Age 32 – 37: $480

• Age 38 – 43: $4,200

• Age 44 – 49: $6,200

• Age 50 – 55: $8,000

• Age 56 – 61: $17,000

How Much Should You Have Saved For Retirement?

So that’s how much people have saved for retirement, or more often don’t. Now for the more useful question: How much should you have saved for retirement?

The truth is that there’s no hard and fast rule. It varies widely by your age, standard of living and (perhaps most importantly) location. Someone who rents an apartment in San Francisco needs a whole heck of a lot more set aside than a homeowner in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The rule of thumb is to estimate by income. Decide the income you want to live on once you retire, then picture your life as a series of benchmarks set by age. At each age you want a multiple of this retirement income saved up. Your goal is to have 10 to 11 times your desired income in savings by retirement.

• By age 30: between half and the desired income in savings

• By age 35: between the desired amount and double the desired income in savings

• By age 40: between double and triple the desired income in savings

• By age 45: between triple and quadruple the desired income in savings

• By age 50: between five times and six times desired income in savings

• By age 55: between six times and seven times desired income in savings

• By age 60: between seven times and nine times desired income in savings

• By age 65: between eight times and 11 times desired income in savings

So, if you earn $50,000 per year, by age 40 you will want to have between $100,000 and $150,000 in retirement savings set aside. The formula grows later in life for two reasons. First, as your savings accumulate they will grow faster. Second, as you approach retirement it is often wise to accelerate your savings plan.

What You Should Do Next for Your Retirement Savings

Retirement is approaching a crisis. In the coming decades millions of Americans will get too old to continue working without the means to stop. Millennials, crippled by debt from graduation, will turn this crisis into a catastrophe in about 40 years. And Social Security, designed to prevent exactly this problem, covers less than half of an average retiree’s costs of living.

It’s beyond the scope of this article to discuss exactly how this happened, but if you’re one of the many people who have fallen behind on retirement savings, don’t panic. There’s plenty you can do. But… it might not necessarily be easy.

The key is to think about retirement savings like a debt. This is money you owe to yourself and it charges reverse interest. Every day you go without adding money to your retirement account is a day you lose investment income. That’s money that you’ll need someday and won’t have.

Next, take stock of where you are. How much will you want to live on in retirement and how much do you have saved today? Use our chart above. That will tell you how far behind you are compared to where you need to be. Are you a 40 year old with $25,000 in savings who will want to live on $50,000 per year in retirement? Then you’ve got $75,000 you need to make up for.

Now, begin catching up. Chip away at that debt every week and every month. Pay into your 401k and IRA the same way you would whittle down a credit card. By thinking about it this way, as a specific goal, you can take away some of the fear of saving for retirement and turn it into an achievable (if large) amount. It’s not just some big, black hole you can never fill. It’s a number, and numbers can go down.

It won’t necessarily be fun. You might have to cut back on luxuries or take on some extra work, but even if you start late in life you can catch up on your retirement.

Now’s the right time to start.

By:

Source: What Is The Average Retirement Savings in 2019?

Dimensional Vice President Marlena Lee, PhD, explains how her research on replacement rates can help you prepare for a better retirement outcome. See more here: https://us.dimensional.com/perspectiv…

How Does Sequence Of Returns Risk Impact Your Retirement?

For many investors, a long bull market like the one we’re in is leading to some frayed nerves.

When will there be a downturn? The “when” question is especially relevant to investors nearing or at retirement age. While it’s true that returns have historically evened out — for the 93-year period between 1926 to 2018, large cap stocks have gained a 10% compounded rate of return — what happens if your retirement happens to occur during a year the market suffers a loss over 20%?

After all, if this sort of downturn occurs in your twenties or thirties, it’s a setback, but time and earnings potential are on your side, explains Roger G. Ibbotson, Chairman and CIO at Zebra Capital Management and professor in the practice emeritus of finance at the Yale School of Management. If the same downturn occurs during retirement, would your portfolio be able to weather the downturn?

Implementing safeguards against this possibility can protect your portfolio from sequence of returns risk — the potential that years of bad returns early in your retirement could deplete your retirement savings for the future. Ibbotson advises that conservative withdrawals in early retirement, several streams of cash flow and a diverse portfolio including bonds and annuities can all be tools to help ensure your retirement savings won’t freefall even if the market does.

Scroll down for a guide to sequence of returns risk and how to protect your portfolio from a potential market downturn.

Consider De-risking Before Retirement, Even In A Bull Market

While some camps stay true to a buy-and-hold strategy, Ibbotson recommends de-risking your portfolio as you approach retirement, regardless of how the market is performing. According to Ibbotson, “twenty-percent proofing” your portfolio — or safeguarding your portfolio from historic losses in early retirement — can help ensure your retirement savings are able to survive a substantial market dip.

“When you’re young, you’re in what’s called an accumulation phase,” explains Ibbotson. You have high human capital (the value of future earnings, like income) but low financial capital (investments in stocks and bonds). Early on in your career, when you’re primarily dependent on human capital, you can afford to take more risk with your financial capital. But as you evolve toward the “pre-retirement phase,” when you might not be earning a steady income and are more reliant on the financial capital you’ve grown over time, it may be a good idea to de-risk your portfolio.

Rethink A Standard Annual Withdrawal

While a retirement plan based on a standard yearly withdrawal rate can give you a good ballpark of your returns and cash-flow expectations, this model doesn’t account for large market fluctuations at a key moment: early in retirement, when you begin taking withdrawals. Even if the market eventually evened out to an average that’s not far from your expected return, being dependent on those withdrawals through a bear market could hurt your savings for decades to come because so much of your portfolio would have been depleted by market losses in early retirement.

Of course, you may be required to take required minimum distributions (RMDs), and you may also depend on retirement withdrawals to fund your expenses. But following the popular 4% rule of thumb — plan on withdrawing 4% of your retirement savings each year — in early retirement could leave your money vulnerable during a bear market, Ibbotson argues. “Since you can’t predict when a downswing will occur, it’s best to be conservative during early retirement, when you don’t have the luxury of time and human capital potential to make up the difference,” he says.

Consider Alternate Retirement Income Streams To Ride Out A Market Downturn

In addition to de-risking your portfolio, it may be smart to consider alternate income streams that won’t make you overly dependent on portfolio withdrawals in early retirement, says Ibbotson. “There’s a longevity risk to consider as well, which means that you may need money to last for thirty plus years,” he says.

Some ways to mitigate longevity risk — and put yourself in a stronger position to ride out a potential bear market — include working into retirement to provide a source of cash flow (which may also eliminate the need to take out RMDs on your 401(k)), making sure you’re maximizing Social Security benefits or downshifting and earmarking that money as funds for your early retirement, giving your nest egg more time to grow. Depending on your circumstances, a HELOC or second mortgage taken in early retirement can also help safeguard your retirement savings, says Ibbotson. Even lowering your withdrawal rate slightly in the first years of retirement can protect your savings from a market downturn during those early years.

Consider “Laddering” Bonds And Annuities

While bonds may have lower rates of return than stocks, their low risk and guaranteed principal return can be one way to de-risk your portfolio. One strategy to consider is called a bond ladder, says Ibbotson. This is a set of bonds purchased specifically to mature in different years, so instead of investing in a single $100,000 bond, you might invest in ten $10,000 bonds. One might mature in one year, another in three, another in five and so on, diversifying cash flow and protecting against market dips.

The same is true for annuities. Annuities can be purchased over a period of years and purchased from an array of insurance companies, which can minimize the risks of market fluctuations or the underperformance of one insurer. Annuities can be purchased as a fixed, variable or hybrid product, with aspects of both fixed and variable annuities. One popular example of a hybrid annuity product is a fixed-indexed annuity (FIA). Fixed annuities guarantee both an interest rate — around 2.5 to 3.5% as of publication date — as well as the principal. Variable annuities are typically riskier, as neither the interest nor the principal is guaranteed. Meanwhile, a product such as an FIA guarantees a stated return on the investment along with an investment return based on market performance. As the annuity reaches the annuitization stage, this money can then be used as income.

Keep Plans Flexible

Strategy exists so you can change course if necessary. Having several options for how to weather a stock market slump can help ensure you won’t run out of savings. As with any retirement planning options, speaking with a financial advisor can help you navigate the best course of action for you, your money and your retirement goals.

This content was brought to you by Impact PartnersVoice. Certain opinions expressed herein are those of Professor Roger Ibbotson and/or others acting in an academic and/or research-related capacity and not as a representative or on behalf of Zebra Capital Management, LLC (“Zebra Capital”). Roger Ibbotson is Professor in the Practice Emeritus of Finance at the Yale School of Management and the Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Zebra Capital.  

Annuities have limitations. They are long-term vehicles designed for retirement purposes. They are not intended to replace emergency funds, be used as income for day-to-day expenses or fund short-term savings goals. All guarantees and protections are subject to the claims-paying ability of the insurer. You should read the contract for complete details.

This material is not a recommendation to buy, sell, hold or roll over any asset, adopt a financial strategy or purchase an annuity policy. It does not take into account the specific objectives, tax and financial conditions or particular needs of any specific person. You should work with a financial professional to discuss your specific situation. 

The content herein includes the results of academic research conducted by Professor Ibbotson and others outside of the services provided by Zebra Capital and which may have been funded, in whole or in part, by parties unaffiliated with Zebra Capital. The results of that research should not be considered as having any relevant or material financial bearing on the services provided by Zebra Capital.

Zebra Capital is entitled to receive certain compensation in consideration for, among other things, the granting of certain license rights and/or sub-licensing rights of certain of its intellectual and other property rights to one or more third parties for the creation, sponsorship, compilation, maintenance and calculation, among other things, of one or more indices to which certain fixed indexed annuities make reference.

Revolutionizing retirement for baby boomers with relevant tips, tricks, and strategies for a new age in retirement preparation.

 

Source: How Does Sequence Of Returns Risk Impact Your Retire

ment?

Retirement Savings By Age: How Does Your 401K Balance Stack Up – Personal Capital

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401ks are one of the most common investment vehicles that Americans use to save for retirement. The 401k is an employer-sponsored plan that allows you to save for retirement in a tax-sheltered way (up to $18,500 per year in 2018, with a $6,000 catch-up contribution limit) to help maximize your retirement dollars. According to a Personal Capital-sponsored study conducted by ORC International, a majority of Americans (63%) with full-time or part-time employment participate in an employer-sponsored retirement program, yet just 21% max it out…..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/personalcapital/2018/10/16/retirement-savings-by-age-how-does-your-401k-balance-stack-up/#1d3009f047c1

 

 

 

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