Getting the instruments of your retirement to work in concert may go far in realizing the retirement you imagine.

An orchestra is merely a collection of instruments, each creating a unique sound. It is only when a conductor leads them that they produce the beautiful music imagined by the composer.

The same can be said about your retirement strategy.

The typical retirement strategy is built on the pillars of your 401(k) plan, your Traditional IRA, and taxable savings. Getting the instruments of your retirement to work in concert has the potential to help you realize the retirement you imagine.1

Hierarchy of Savings

Maximizing the effectiveness of your retirement strategy begins with understanding the hierarchy of savings.

If you’re like most Americans, the amount you can save for retirement is not unlimited. Consequently, you may want to make sure that your savings are directed to the highest priority retirement funding options first. For many, that hierarchy begins with the 401(k), is followed by a Traditional IRA and, after that, put toward taxable savings.

You will then want to consider how to invest each of these savings pools. One strategy is to simply mirror your desired asset allocation in all retirement accounts.2

Another approach is to put the income-generating portion of the allocation, such as bonds, into tax-deferred accounts, while using taxable accounts to invest in assets whose gains come from capital appreciation, like stocks.3

Withdrawal Strategy

When it comes to living off your savings, you’ll want to coordinate your withdrawals. One school of thought recommends that you tap your taxable accounts first so that your tax-deferred savings will be afforded more time for potential growth.

Another school of thought suggests taking distributions first from your poorer performing retirement accounts, since this money is not working as hard for you.

Finally, because many individuals have both traditional and Roth IRA accounts, your expectations about future tax rates may affect what account you withdraw from first. (If you think tax rates are going higher, then you might want to withdraw from the traditional before the Roth). If you’re uncertain, you may want to consider withdrawing from the traditional up to the lowest tax bracket, then withdrawing from the Roth after that.4

In any case, each person’s circumstances are unique and any strategy ought to reflect your particular risk tolerance, time horizon, and goals.

1. “Under the SECURE Act, in most circumstances, you must begin taking required minimum distributions from your 401(k), Traditional IRA, or other defined contribution plan in the year you turn 73. Withdrawals from your 401(k), Traditional IRA or other defined contribution plans are taxed as ordinary income, and if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. 401(k) plans and IRAs have exceptions to avoid the 10% withdrawal penalty, including death and disability. Contributions to a traditional IRA may be fully or partially deductible, depending on your individual circumstances.
2. Asset allocation is an approach to help manage investment risk. Asset allocation does not guarantee against investment loss.
3. The market value of a bond will fluctuate with changes in interest rates. As rates rise, the value of existing bonds typically falls. If an investor sells a bond before maturity, it may be worth more or less than the initial purchase price. By holding a bond to maturity an investor will receive the interest payments due plus his or her original principal, barring default by the issuer. Investments seeking to achieve higher yields also involve a higher degree of risk. The return and principal value of stock prices will fluctuate as market conditions change. And shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost.
4. Roth IRA contributions cannot be made by taxpayers with high incomes. To qualify for the tax-free and penalty-free withdrawal of earnings, Roth IRA distributions must meet a five-year holding requirement and occur after age 59½. Tax-free and penalty-free withdrawal can also be taken under certain other circumstances, such as a result of the owner’s death. The original Roth IRA owner is not required to take minimum annual withdrawals.
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

It can be difficult for clients to imagine how much they’ll spend in retirement.

New retirees sometimes worry that they are spending too much, too soon. Should they scale back? Are they at risk of outliving their money? This concern may be legitimate. Some households “live it up” and spend more than they anticipate as retirement starts to unfold. In 10 or 20 years, though, they may not spend nearly as much.

By The Numbers

The initial stage of retirement can be expensive. The Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show average spending of $70,570 per year for households headed by pre-retirees, Americans age 55-64. That figure drops to $52,141 for households headed by people age 65 and older. For people age 75 and older, that number drops even further to $45,820.1

Spending Pattern

Some suggest that retirement spending is best depicted by a U-shaped graph — It rises, then falls, then increases quickly due to medical expenses.

But a study by the investment firm BlackRock found that retiree spending declined very slightly over time. Also, medical expenses only spiked for a small percentage of retirees in the last two years of their lives.2

What’s the best course for you? Your spending pattern will depend on your personal choices as you enter retirement. A carefully designed strategy can help you be prepared and enjoy your retirement years.

1. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2023
2. BlackRock.com, 2023. (Based on a 2017 landmark study that looked at retirement spending.)
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

How Medicare can address health care needs in your retirement strategy.

Medicare takes a little time to understand.

As you approach age 65, familiarize yourself with its coverage options, costs, and limitations.

Certain features of Medicare can affect health care costs and coverage.

Some retirees may do okay with original Medicare (Parts A and B), others might find it lacking and decide to supplement original Medicare with Part C, Part D, or Medigap coverage. In some cases, that may mean paying more for health care than you initially figured.

How much do Medicare Part A and Part B cost, and what do they cover?

Part A is usually provided with no charge; Part B is not. Part A is hospital insurance and covers up to 100 days of hospital care, home health care, nursing home care, and hospice care. Part B covers doctor visits, outpatient procedures, and lab work. You pay for Part B with monthly premiums.1

It’s best to prepare for the copays and deductibles linked to original Medicare. In addition, original Medicare does not cover dental, vision, or hearing care, nor prescription medicines or health care services outside the U.S. It pays for no more than 100 consecutive days of skilled nursing home care. These out-of-pocket costs may lead you to look for supplemental Medicare coverage as a way of paying for extended care.2,3

Medigap policies help Medicare recipients with some of these copays and deductibles.

Sold by private companies, these health care policies can pay a share of certain out-of-pocket medical costs (i.e., costs greater than what original Medicare covers for you). You must have original Medicare coverage in place to purchase one. The Medigap policies being sold today do not offer prescription drug coverage.4

Part D plans cover some (but certainly, not all) prescription drug expenses.

Monthly premiums are averaging $55.50 this year for these standalone plans, which are offered by private insurers. Part D plans currently have yearly deductibles of no more than $545.5
Creating a Medicare strategy is integral to your retirement preparation.

Should you try original Medicare for a while? Should you enroll in a Part C HMO with the goal of managing your overall out-of-pocket health care expenses? There is also the matter of eldercare and the potential need for interim coverage if you retire prior to 65. Discuss your concerns about Medicare in your next conversation with your financial professional.

1. Medicare.gov, 2023
2. Medicare.gov, 2023
3. Medicare.gov, 2023
4. Medicare.gov, 2023
5. NCOA.org, October 13, 2023
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG, LLC, is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

One or the other? Perhaps both traditional and Roth IRAs can play a part in your retirement plans.

Traditional Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), which were created in 1974, are owned by roughly 41 million U.S. households. And Roth IRAs, created as part of the Taxpayer Relief Act in 1997, are owned by nearly 32 million households.1

Both are IRAs. And yet, each is quite different.

Up to certain limits, traditional IRAs allow individuals to make tax-deductible contributions to their account(s). Distributions from traditional IRAs are taxed as ordinary income, and if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. Generally, once you reach age 73, you must begin taking required minimum distributions.2,3

For individuals covered by a retirement plan at work, the deduction for a traditional IRA in 2024 is phased out for incomes between $123,000 and $143,000 for married couples filing jointly and between $77,000 and $87,000 for single filers.4

Also, within certain limits, individuals can make contributions to a Roth IRA with after-tax dollars. To qualify for a tax-free and penalty-free withdrawal of earnings, Roth IRA distributions must meet a five-year holding requirement and occur after age 59½.

Like a traditional IRA, contributions to a Roth IRA are limited based on income. For 2024, contributions to a Roth IRA are phased out between $230,000 and $240,000 for married couples filing jointly and between $146,000 and $161,000 for single filers.4

In addition to contribution and distribution rules, there are limits on how much can be contributed each year to either IRA. In fact, these limits apply to any combination of IRAs; that is, workers cannot put more than $7,000 per year into their Roth and traditional IRAs combined. So, if a worker contributed $4,000 in a given year into a traditional IRA, contributions to a Roth IRA would be limited to $3,000 in that same year.4

Individuals who reach age 50 or older by the end of the tax year can qualify for “catch-up” contributions. The combined limit for these is $8,000.4

Both traditional and Roth IRAs can play a part in your retirement plans. And once you’ve figured out which will work better for you, only one task remains: open an account.5

Features of Traditional and Roth IRAs

Traditional v Roth IRA

* Up to certain limits
** Distributions from traditional IRAs are taxed as ordinary income, and if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. Generally, once you reach age 73, you must begin taking required minimum distributions.
*** To qualify, Roth IRA distributions must meet a five-year holding requirement and occur after age 59½.

1. ICI.org, February 2023
2. IRS.gov, 2024. In most circumstances, once you reach age 73, you must begin taking required minimum distributions from a Traditional Individual Retirement Account (IRA). You may continue to contribute to a Traditional IRA past age 70½ as long as you meet the earned-income requirement.
3. Up to certain limits, traditional IRAs allow individuals to make tax-deductible contributions into their account(s). Distributions from traditional IRAs are taxed as ordinary income, and if taken before age 59½, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. Generally, once you reach age 73, you must begin taking required minimum distributions.
4. IRS.gov, 2024
5. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 eliminated the ability to “undo” a Roth conversion.
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

Reasons to retain your coverage into your retirement years.

Do you need a life insurance policy in retirement? One school of thought questions this decision. Perhaps your kids have grown, and the need to help protect the household against the loss of an income-earner has passed.

If you are thinking about dropping your coverage for either or both of those reasons, you may want to ask yourself a few additional questions before moving forward.

Remember that several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.

Does your policy have a cash value? If you have a whole life policy, it may have built a cash value over time. Whole life insurance is designed to remain in force for your whole life, as long as you remain current with your premiums. Before surrendering a whole-life policy, be certain you understand the policy’s features and limitations.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a replacement for real-life advice, so you may want to consider asking for guidance from a financial professional before modifying your life insurance strategy. Life insurance is not insured by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). It is not insured by any federal government agency, bank, or savings association.

Do you anticipate paying estate taxes? If the value of your estate exceeds federal or state estate tax thresholds, you may owe estate taxes. Life insurance proceeds may help your heirs manage the tax situation, and could prevent the need to sell other assets. Estate tax laws are constantly changing, so you may want to consider speaking with a legal professional, who can provide information on potential legislative changes.

Are you carrying a mortgage? If you borrowed to purchase your home or have refinanced and are carrying a mortgage, the proceeds for a life insurance policy may help your heirs manage the mortgage payments.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

Monthly Social Security payments differ substantially depending on when you start receiving benefits.

The Social Security program allows you to start receiving benefits as soon as you reach age 62. The question is, should you?

Monthly payments differ substantially depending on when you start receiving benefits. The longer you wait (up to age 70), the larger each monthly check will be. The sooner you start receiving benefits, the smaller the check.

From the Social Security Administration’s point of view, it’s simple: if a person lives to the average life expectancy, the person will eventually receive roughly the same amount in lifetime benefits, no matter when they choose to start receiving them. In actual practice, it’s not quite that straightforward, but the principle holds.

The key phrase is “if the person lives to average life expectancy.” If a person exceeds the average life expectancy and has opted to wait to receive benefits, they will start to accumulate more from Social Security.

The chart shows how Social Security benefits accumulate for individuals who started to receive at ages 62, 67, and 70. The person who started to receive benefits at age 62 would accumulate $384,451 by the age of 85. Conversely, the person who started to receive benefits at age 70 would accumulate $454,019 by the age of 85. The example assumes a retirement benefit of $1,907 at age 67. It does not assume COLA.

Source: Social Security Administration, 2024

There is no single “right” answer to the question of when to start benefits. Many base their decision on family considerations, economic circumstances, and personal preferences.

If you have a spouse, the decision about when to start benefits gets more complicated – particularly if one person’s earnings are considerably higher than the other’s. The timing of spousal benefits should be factored into your decision.

When considering at what age to start Social Security benefits, it may be a good idea to review all the assets you have gathered for retirement. Some may want the money sooner based on how assets are positioned, while others may benefit by waiting. So, as you near a decision point, it may be best to consider all your options before moving forward.

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.
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