When Should I Apply
It is best if you apply in advance of when youd like to start receiving CPP payments. Most people know when they are set to retire. Therefore, you should apply well in advance of that date to ensure you start receiving your payments right at retirement.
The standard age to begin receiving CPP payments is 65. However, you can start receiving your payments as early as 60 or as late as age 70. If you go on the plan earlier, your payment will be smaller. But if you go on the plan later, your payment will be larger.
Income And Percent Of Income To Save
Deciding what percentage of your annual income to save for retirement is one of the big decisions you need to make when planning. If youre just starting out on your retirement planning journey, saving any amount is a great way to begin. Just keep in mind that youll need to keep increasing your contributions as you grow older.
So how much is enough? Financial services giant Fidelity suggests you should be saving at least 15% of your pre-tax salary for retirement. Many financial advisors recommend a similar rate for retirement planning purposes.
But even then, the 15% rule of thumb assumes that you begin saving early. It also assumes youd be comfortable replacing 55% to 80% of your pre-retirement income. If you start later or expect youll need to replace more than those percentages, you may want to contribute a greater percentage of your income.
Roll Your 401 Into An Ira
The IRS has relatively strict rules on rollovers and how they need to be accomplished, and running afoul of them is costly. Typically, the financial institution that is in line to receive the money will be more than happy to help with the process and avoid any missteps.
Funds withdrawn from your 401 must be rolled over to another retirement account within 60 days to avoid taxes and penalties.
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Contributing To Both A Traditional And Roth 401
If their employer offers both types of 401 plans, employees can split their contributions, putting some money into a traditional 401 and some into a Roth 401.
However, their total contribution to the two types of accounts can’t exceed the limit for one account .
Employer contributions can only go into a traditional 401 account where they will be subject to tax upon withdrawal, not into a Roth.
Move Your 401 Into Your New Employers Plan
In some cases you can roll your old 401 balance over into your new employers plan, although not all plans allow this. Find out from your new employer whether they accept a trustee-to-trustee transfer of funds and how to handle the move. Make sure you understand the tax treatment of your 401 balances. Make sure that traditional 401 funds are rolled into a traditional 401 and Roth funds end up in a Roth account.
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Withdraw A Lump Sum From Your 401
You have the option of withdrawing all or a portion of your 401 balance after retirement. Keep in mind that withdrawals from your traditional 401 contributions will be taxable as income. If you are under the age of 59½ at the time of withdrawal, you’ll generally owe a 10% early withdrawal penalty, regardless of the contribution type. However, once you reach age 55, if you retire, the 10% early withdrawal tax does not apply.
These Accounts Can Be A Great Way To Save For Retirement While Giving You A Tax Break Now But Beware Of The Fees Plan Providers Charge For 401s
When you start a new job, one of the first decisions you’ll likely make is whether to participate in the company’s 401 plan. The earlier you start saving in a 401, the better. But no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to contribute more to your account and bolster your future retirement security.
Here are 10 things you need to know about these retirement plans.
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Talk With A Financial Advisor
Still have questions about your 401 and what a 401 loan would mean for your financial future? The best thing you can do is talk to a qualified financial advisor you can trust.
Our SmartVestor program can connect you with a financial advisor you can turn to for sound advice. That way, you dont have to make these huge financial decisions on your own.
About the author
Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners.
How To Avoid 401 Early Withdrawal Penalties
There are certain exceptions that allow you to take early withdrawals from your 401 and avoid the 10% early withdrawal tax penalty if you arent yet age 59 ½. Some of these include:
Medical expenses that exceed 10% of your adjusted gross income
If you leave your employer at age 55 or older
A Qualified Domestic Retirement Order issued as part of a divorce or court-approved separation.
Even if you can escape the additional 10% tax penalty, you still have to pay taxes on your withdrawal from a traditional 401. owner owes no income tax and the recipient can defer taxes by rolling the distribution into an IRA.)
Which Retirement Plan Is Best For You
In many cases you simply wont have a choice of retirement plans. Youll have to take what your employer offers, whether thats a 401, a 403, a defined-benefit plan or something else. But you can supplement that with an IRA, which is available to anyone regardless of their employer.
Heres a comparison of the pros and cons of a few retirement plans.
Roll Your 401 Balance Into Ira
Another possibility is for you to roll the balance over into an IRA. When moving the money, make sure you initiate a trustee-to-trustee transfer rather than withdrawing the funds and then depositing them into a new IRA. Many IRA custodians allow you to open a new account and designate it as a rollover IRA so you dont have to worry about contribution limits or taxes. When rolling your 401 balance into an IRA, make sure you place traditional 401 funds in a traditional IRA, and Roth funds in a Roth IRA.
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Contact An Expert With Questions About How To Use Your 401 After Retirement
Its natural to approach retirement with questions and worries about how it will work out. Bogart Wealth has built a skilled staff of independent investment advisors who can help you determine how to use your 401, so you can avoid running out of money once you retire.
We have a long track record of helping our clients realize a secure and comfortable way of life after theyre done working. Contact our team today for expert advice on how to use your 401 after retirement.
Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Plans
Unless youre a top executive in the C-suite, you can pretty much forget about being offered an NQDC plan. There are two main types: One looks like a 401 plan with salary deferrals and a company match, and the other is solely funded by the employer.
The catch is that most often the latter one is not really funded. The employer puts in writing a mere promise to pay and may make bookkeeping entries and set aside funds, but those funds are subject to claims by creditors.
Pros: The benefit is you can save money on a tax-deferred basis, but the employer cant take a tax deduction for its contribution until you start paying income tax on withdrawals.
Cons: They dont offer as much security, because the future promise to pay relies on the solvency of the company.
Theres some risk that you wont get your payments if the company has financial problems, says Littell.
What it means to you: For executives with access to an NQDC plan in addition to a 401 plan, Littells advice is to max out the 401 contributions first. Then if the company is financially secure, contribute to the NQDC plan if its set up like a 401 with a match.
If You Dont Have A Pension
…dont panic! While a workplace pension is great asset if you have one, its still possible to have a sustainable plan for your retirement income without one. Work with your financial advisor to make sure youre making the most of the resources you do have, like your personal savings and investments, or government retirement income.
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A 401 Is One Source Of Retirement Income
Remember that a 401 on its own is not a retirement income plan. While itâs certainly a smart way to save for your future and plays an integral part in building your nest egg, a 401 is just one source of income in retirement.
A plan to create income in retirement will certainly take your 401 into consideration. But it should also include income withdrawals from other accounts like IRAs, Roth IRAs, investments, cash value built up within a whole life insurance policy and cash reserves. Your retirement plan will also include income from Social Security, and may include income from annuities and pensions. By having multiple streams of income, you can more efficiently generate retirement income by strategically leaning on different sources at different times. This approach can help you minimize taxes while balancing the need to grow your investments and generate reliable income that will last through your retirement.
There Are Contribution Limits For 401s
The IRS sets an annual limit on how much money you can set aside in a 401. That limit can change because it is adjusted for inflation. For 2021, you can put away $19,500. Those 50 or older by year-end can contribute an extra $6,500. Check out the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s 401 Save the Max Calculator, which will tell you how much you need to save each pay period to max out your annual contribution to your 401. If you cannot afford to contribute the maximum, try to contribute at least enough to take full advantage of an employer match .
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Review Different Retirement Income Strategies
You need to consider where your monthly retirement income will come from and how much of it will come from your savings. This income should exceed your expenses, so youll need to account for those too. Consider your housing, transportation, health care, food, travel, entertainment, and personal expenses.
Keep in mind that you can delay your Social Security benefits. You can start receiving them at age 62 until age 72, and the monthly benefit rises for each month you delay. This means those who wait until age 70 can collect the highest monthly Social Security payout possible.
Move Your 401 To A New Employer
You can usually move your 401 balance to your new employer’s plan. As with an IRA rollover, this maintains the account’s tax-deferred status and avoids immediate taxes.
It could be a wise move if the employee isn’t comfortable with making the investment decisions involved in managing a rollover IRA and would rather leave some of that work to the new plan’s administrator.
When Is The Money Yours
Some types of matching employer contributions are subject to a vesting schedule. The money is there in your account, but you’ll only get to keep a portion of what the company put in for you if you leave your job before you’re 100% vested. You always get to keep any of the money that you personally put into the plan.
Options For Using Your 401 When You Retire
The options you have associated with your 401 after you retire are the same as any other 401 participant who terminates employment. In IRS terminology, this is called “separation from service,” which refers to any reason for leaving your job whether you quit, got laid off or retired.
After a 401 participant separates from service, they have several options for their 401 savings. Here are five options and IRS rules to specifically be aware of.
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When You Retire You Have To Decide What To Do With Your 401 Money Generally Speaking You Will Have Some If Not All Of The Following Five Choices: Leave Your Money Parked In The Plan Take A Lump
Keep in mind, not all employers allow retired workers to remain participants in their 401 plan, but if yours does, here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of the various distribution options:
If you need a wad of cash right away, this option will serve that purpose. There are two key downsides: you forfeit the benefits of tax-deferred compounding by cashing out all at once and you’ll have to pay income taxes on your distribution for the tax year in which you take it, which can be a big bite out of your nest egg all at once.
Leave the money as is
Financial advisers often recommend retirees tap taxable accounts first in order to keep as much money growing tax-deferred as possible.
So if you’re retiring and have money outside of your 401 that you plan to live on, you may leave your account untouched until you’re 70-1/2. That’s when Uncle Sam requires all retirees to begin taking mandatory annual distributions from their 401s and traditional IRAs.
Of course, if your plan’s investment choices are very limited or have performed poorly relative to their peers, you might be better off rolling the money into an IRA.
Rolling money into an IRA
This is the option often recommended by financial advisers since an IRA offers greater investment choice and control, and is especially recommended if your plan has few investment options and not very good ones at that.
There are two advantages your 401 has over an IRA.
Leave Your 401 With Your Old Employer
Some 401 plans let you leave your money right where it is after you leave the company. However, as you move through your career, this means you will need to keep track of multiple 401 accounts. Some employers require you to withdraw or rollover your 401 within a set period of time after youve left your job.
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Changes Made Under The Secure Act
The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act was passed in 2019 and made some changes to how 401ks are distributed after death.
Previously, you could implement what was called a Stretch IRA. This meant that your beneficiaries could take distributions from your IRA over their lifetime. This allowed the money to grow tax-deferred for many years.
Under the SECURE Act, this is no longer allowed. Now, most beneficiaries must take distributions from an inherited 401k within 10 years of the account holders death.
There are some exceptions to this rule. If the beneficiary is a spouse, then they can still take distributions over their lifetime. And if the beneficiary is a minor child, they can take distributions over their lifetime until they reach the age of majority .
Other exceptions include beneficiaries who are disabled or chronically ill and beneficiaries who are not more than 10 years younger than the account holder.
Leave Your 401 With The Old Employer
In many cases, employers will permit a departing employee to keep a 401 account in their old plan indefinitely, although the employee can’t make any further contributions to it. This generally applies to accounts worth at least $5,000. In the case of smaller accounts, the employer may give the employee no choice but to move the money elsewhere.
Leaving 401 money where it is can make sense if the old employer’s plan is well managed and the employee is satisfied with the investment choices it offers. The danger is that employees who change jobs over the course of their careers can leave a trail of old 401 plans and may forget about one or more of them. Their heirs might also be unaware of the existence of the accounts.
You May Have A Roth 401 Option
Another choice to consider: a Roth 401. Not all plans offer the Roth option, but if yours does, you are allowed to put in after-tax money in exchange for tax-free growth and tax-free withdrawals in the future.
You can choose to divide your annual contribution between the traditional 401 and the Roth 401. Any employer match will go into a traditional 401.
According to a survey conducted by global advisory firm Willis Towers Watson, seven in 10 employers offered a Roth option within their 401 in 2018. You’ll have to pay tax based on the investments’ value at the time of the in-plan conversion. But beware: Unlike IRA Roth conversions, you can’t undo a 401 Roth conversion — the decision is irrevocable.