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Ret plans - info for employees

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[Guidance Overview] U.S. Treasury Launches myRA (My Retirement Account) to Help Bridge America's Retirement Savings Gap
"People can get information about myRA and sign up for an account at myRA is now available nationwide with multiple ways for people to start saving: [1] Paycheck. Set up automatic direct deposit contributions to myRA through an employer. [2] NEW: Checking or savings account. Now savers can fund a myRA account directly by setting up recurring or one-time contributions from a checking or savings account. [3] NEW: Federal tax refund. At tax time, direct all or a portion of a federal tax refund to myRA." (U.S. Department of the Treasury)
[Official Guidance] Fact Sheet: Key Facts About myRA (PDF)
"Many people want to save, but haven't found an easy way to get started. According to a 2015 Federal Reserve Report, 31 percent of non-retired people said they have no retirement savings or pension whatsoever. The U.S. Department of the Treasury developed myRA to make it easy for people to start saving for the future.... myRA is a Roth IRA that could be a good fit for people who: [1] Don't have access to a retirement savings plan at work or lack other options to save; [2] Want to save but haven't found an easy way to get started; [3] Earn an annual income below $131,000 if single, or $193,000, if married filing jointly." (U.S. Department of the Treasury)
How to Save for Retirement While Paying Off Student Loans
"Between the realities of today's retirement saving environment and the relatively young age of millennials, a fiduciary needs to be able to explain, in a convincing manner, why student debt cannot impede retirement saving. Indeed, the first question often asked by this generation is 'Why save now?' " (Fiduciary News)
What's Really Scaring U.S. This Halloween: Financial Wellness
"[T]here's a 55% chance you fear not having enough money in retirement (versus 37% for losing your job and 25% for gaining weight).... [O]nly 19% of employees who took a financial wellness assessment last year reported being on track for retirement. The unprepared fall into three categories: the unknowns, the underfunded, and the under-confident." (Financial Finesse)
Six Steps to Bring Financial Wellness to the Workplace
47 presentation slides. "[1] Understand the financial landscape. [2] Define financial wellness for your organization. [3] Lean on best practices. [4] Explore established and emerging solutions. [5] Overcome challenges. [6] Build a business case." (Benz Communications and State Street Global Advisors, via American Benefits Council)
[Opinion] Supersize Your 401(k) Accumulation With One Strategy
"Not only are 401(k)s dangerous vehicles for most people -- they consistently lose money in them -- they are loaded with middlemen fees. Most people never calculate how much these fees eat into their retirement plans.... [T]he more you automate, the lesser the chance of you getting in the way of consistent saving. Robo-plans are here to stay. You just have to pull the switch to make them work." (John Wasik in Forbes)
Seven Tips Present-Day Retirees Wished They Had Known When They Were 24
"Start early, not late ... Cut spending and keep your eye on the retirement ball ... Invest wisely (i.e. for the long term) ... Warren Buffet says pick a stock and stick with it ... If you don't have time, hire a professional ... Keep a lot of cash for when the market goes down ... Don't panic and stick it out." (Fiduciary News)
Haven't Saved Enough? Move to Harlingen, Texas
" 'I'll go out on a limb and venture that moving to Harlingen, Texas, which boasts the lowest cost of living in the country, is not a realistic option for most future retirees,' IRI President and CEO Cathy Weatherford said. 'But many Boomers will have to make some tough decisions. The good news ... is that there are some things Boomers can do to boost their savings and reduce expenses. Then by constructing a strategy -- using a combination of retirement income sources -- they can have a plan in place to meet their retirement needs.' " [14-page study, entitled Baby Boomers and Retirement Planning Strategy.] (Insured Retirement Institute [IRI])
Finances and Benefits Continue to Bewilder American Workers
"Four in 10 Americans admit knowing little or nothing about their employee benefits ... Millennials, Gen Xers, parents and low-income Americans find it difficult to manage finances, and many say issues with personal finance distract them while they're at work....[E]mployees indicate they are struggling to know whether they are on track to retire comfortably or how much money they should be spending on their employer-provided benefits." [Survey findings available online as 22 presentation slides from MassMutual.] (PLANSPONSOR)
Beefing Up Advice Options for Workplace Retirement Plans
"[Managed account advisers] can answer questions that go beyond asset allocation -- everything from Social Security claiming strategies to advice about drawing down funds. [They] can even do some hand-holding when markets take a nosedive.... Eighty-six percent of plan sponsors pick TDFs as their default option for participants who do not make investment elections on their own ... [M]anaged account services make up just 3 percent of default plan sponsor choices." (The Fiscal Times)
Retirement Planning in an Uncertain World, Part 2
"The Actuarial Approach anticipates that a retiree's assets and liabilities will be re-measured at least once a year to adjust the retiree's budget for differences between actual and assumed experience, for differences between actual and assumed spending and for changes in assumptions. This re-measurement process is essential for keeping the retiree on track.... Depending on the proportion of a retiree's spending budget that is derived from accumulated savings invested in risky assets, differences between actual and assumed investment returns can have a significant effect on the retiree's spending budget." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
Ways to Deal with Market Losses in Retirement, Part Two: What to Do After the Market Recovers
"[1] Allocate appropriately.... [2] Maintain conservative withdrawal assumptions ... [3] Implement a bucket strategy for your retirement income needs." (Pension Consultants, Inc.)
Six Reasons You Were Automatically Enrolled in a Target-Date Fund
"[1] A diversified fund.... [2] Ease of use.... [3] Limiting liability.... [4] Age appropriateness.... [5] Investment performance and costs.... [6] Difficulty switching funds." (U.S. News & World Report)
Here's How Wide the Retirement Gap Is Between Men and Women
"Financial Finesse, which provides financial education programs to more than 600 organizations, examined data on median income, retirement savings, life expectancy, 401(k) salary deferral rates, and projected health-care costs for a woman and a man, each 45 years old. The goal: Figure out how much each needed in order to retire at age 65 and live on 70 percent of his or her pre-retirement income. The gap that emerged between the sexes: 26 percent. A man's retirement shortfall was more than $212,000. A woman's? More than $268,000." (Bloomberg)
What I Learned About My 401(k): A Twenty-Something's Guide
"[F]ind out how much of your income your company will match.... Set up automatic increases.... Don't be afraid of stocks.... Know what it's costing you.... Think before you quit." (
EBSA Fact Sheet: Retirement Initiatives Announced at White House Conference on Aging
"The regulation that the Department will propose by the end of 2015 will clarify how states can move forward with state-sponsored retirement savings programs, including with respect to requirements to automatically enroll employees and for employers to offer coverage, in ways that are consistent with federal laws governing employee benefit plans.... As part of a broader initiative designed to increase awareness and availability of lifetime income options in defined contribution plans, the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration ... published a Field Assistance Bulletin clarifying the duty of an employer in selecting and monitoring an annuity provider for benefit distributions from 401(k) and other defined contribution plans under its Annuity Selection Safe Harbor regulation." (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL])
Can Technology Solve the Mystery of 401(k) Fees?
"[An] Israeli startup named FeeX says it has a solution: an automated service that calculates the fees in your old 401(k)s and recommends whether a rollover (and which kind) makes sense. Users create an account and connect it to their old and new 401(k) plans, then FeeX calculates how much, if anything, a rollover would save. Sometimes, FeeX data show, your money should stay sitting in an old 401(k). Large employers, in particular, often offer excellent, low-cost plans." (Bloomberg)
Financial Planning for LGBT Couples After U.S. v. Windsor and Obergefell v. Hodges (PDF)
12 pages; includes checklist. "As a result of these new rulings, employee benefits and financial planning strategies once available only to opposite-sex married couples are now available to same-sex married couples. This paper highlights several of the changes that have taken place, including changes to Social Security eligibility, and details how same-sex couples may wish to incorporate them into their financial planning." (Prudential)
What to Do When Your Employer Stops Matching 401(k) Contributions
"Even if your employer has stopped matching, your best course of action is to continue your monthly contributions. In fact, you would be wise to make up the difference lost in your employer matching! You can continue these larger contributions to your 401(k) or you might set up another account outside of your 401(k) ... A ROTH can make sense if you believe your tax rate is likely to be higher in retirement than it is now." (Certified Financial Planner [CFP] Board of Standards, Inc.)
How to Develop an Investment Plan for Retirement
"Figure out how your investments will impact the lifestyle you desire.... Come up with a withdrawal strategy.... Consider the tax consequences.... Consider having a professional help you draft the plan.... Accept that your plan will change." (U.S. News & World Report)
Five Key Risks to Your Retirement Nest Egg
"[U]nless your action plan includes strategies to address Five Key Risks, that nest egg you're working so hard to build up may not be enough.... Inflation... Overconcentration... Volatility... Medical Expenses... Longevity." (Pension Consultants, Inc.)
A Job Hunter's Guide to Getting the Best Retirement Plan
"To get the answers you need to make an informed decision, here are four questions that financial advisers suggest you ask about a company's retirement program, ranked in order of importance. Is there a retirement plan at all? ... How much does the company kick in? ... How long do I need to wait? ... What are the fees like?" (Bloomberg)
Advisors Urged to Help Clients Rethink Retirement Savings
"Jan Scott Gundersen, managing director of advisory services at TIAA-CREF, noted that many investors are actively seeking out information on how to prepare for retirement ... He argues that advisors can help their clients think through their retirement needs by moving away from the focus on a lump sum savings total, and instead presenting their retirement picture in terms of how much income their savings would generate. Then he counsels advisors to talk to their clients about their goals for retirement, and to explain how spending patterns can change throughout those years." (Financial Planning)
Eight Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Pension Lump Sum Distribution Offer
"What benefit options are available? ... How was the lump sum calculated? ... What is the relative value of the lump sum versus the monthly annuity? ... What are potential positive and negative ramifications of accepting the lump sum? ... What are the tax implications of accepting a lump sum? ... What is the role of the [PBGC] and what level of protection does PBGC provide on each benefit option? ... What are the instructions for either accepting or rejecting the lump sum offer? ... Who can be contacted for more information or assistance?" (Forbes)
Retirement Planning Through the Decades
" 'Imagine taking a 30-year vacation and the amount of time it would take you to plan what you're going to do and for you to fund it-- that's what planning for retirement is about,' says Rebekah Barsch, vice president at Northwestern Mutual.... The sooner you begin to save though, the more time you'll have on your side.... Experts provide guidance on steps to take during each decade." (Fox Business)
Women Need Retirement Planning Nudge
"Nearly half (48%) of men have calculated the amount of assets and investments they will have available to spend in retirement, but only 40% of women have done so. Two-thirds (66%) of men have determined what their Social Security benefits would be at different retirement ages, compared to 63% of women. Fifty-four percent of men have determined what their income will be in retirement, while 53% of women have done the same. Forty-eight percent of men have determined what their expenses will be in retirement, versus 47% of women." (PLANSPONSOR)
Maximizing Your Lifetime Social Security Benefits (PDF)
"You can boost your annual payments significantly by waiting to claim your Social Security benefits until age 70. [A table] shows the yearly increase based on the year of your birth. For those born between 1943 and 1954, waiting until you are 70 will give you 32% more in annual benefits than if you took them at your full retirement age of 66, and 76% more than you would receive by taking them at age 62." (Bronfman E.L. Rothschild)
Why Women Need to Save More and How to Get Started
"The first step is to take advantage of any retirement plans that might be offered through your employer. Find out what options your employer offers and what you need to do to maximize those benefits. If you are already in a plan, are you contributing at least enough to get any matching contributions from your employer? ... [If] you are staring at an empty savings account and starting from scratch, the most important thing you can do is find ways to save each day and start to build up your savings." (Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement [WISER])
Young People Who Want to Have a Lot of Money in Retirement Better Understand This Chart
"Young people just joining the labor force can reasonably expect they won't have a pension waiting for them come retirement. We've moved to the age of 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts, which gives us more control over our future.... Compound interest is a friend to young people, if they start saving early." (Business Insider)
401(k) Participant Behavior in a Volatile Economy
"Using administrative tax records and household surveys, [the authors] examine how participants responded to these periods of economic expansions and contractions by documenting changes in 401(k) participation, contributions, and contribution rates from 1990 to 2009. Controlling for earnings, job changes, and other household factors, [the authors] find that workers reduce their 401(k) participation and contributions during recessions. Changes in participant behavior during the Great Recession, in particular, could lower 401(k) assets of the typical 30-year-old by as much as 8% at age 62." (Urban Institute)
401(k) Investors: Avoid These 20 Mistakes
"Plans offered by small employers may be larded with extra administrative fees or high-cost funds, and their lineups may skimp on core asset classes such as international equity or fixed income. Participants can also run into unforced errors -- for example, not paying enough attention to asset allocation when making their investment selection, or cashing out their money when they change jobs.... In short, 401(k) plans invite the potential for plenty of goofs. Here are 20 common ones, as well as tips on avoiding those mistakes." (Morningstar)
How to Save More Money for Retirement
"Let's look at several hypothetical 401(k) investors and see what happens if they contribute just 1% more of their salary to their 401(k) until retirement at age 67.... Our examples assume that the investors' salaries grow 1.5% a year -- adjusted for inflation -- which will boost their contribution amounts along the way.... Take a look at the chart ... to see what a difference a small increase can make." (Fidelity)
Crunching the Numbers on That Lump Sum Optional Form of Payment (or Lump Sum Buyout Offer)
"[I]nterest rates to determine lump sums are currently very low, and retirees may be legitimately tempted by the amount of the lump sum offer they may be eligible to receive and roll over to an IRA.... Since pension plan lump sum offers are based on unisex mortality assumptions (and will therefore be equal in amount for males and females of the same age with the same benefits) and annuity rates from insurance companies are higher for females than males, a pension lump sum offer will almost always be more favorable for males than females when measured as a percentage of the market value of the annuity." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
Breaking Up (the Pension) Is Hard to Do
"The following methods for splitting a pension 50/50 have strikingly different outcomes for the participant in the pension plan and for his or her former spouse: Defined contribution plans: Tracing assets ... Subtraction ... Coverture ... Defined benefit plans: Dividing benefit payments ... Carve-out ... Value and offset." (SquaredAway Blog, by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
The Best Online Tools for Retirement Planning and Living
"A growing array of apps and websites make it easier to complete many of the most basic -- and most important -- tasks, from saving money and creating legal documents to figuring out a second career and where to live. There are tools for people nearing or in retirement, and for people just starting to think about it. There are apps that help couples set up budgets and stick to them, websites that rebalance 401(k) allocations, and calculators that offer a better-than-educated guess as to how long that nest egg is going to have to last." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)
Are You Mentally Fit Enough to Plan for Retirement?
"In this era of 'self-directed' retirement (no pensions, you make all the investment choices) postponing making a real plan poses a particular risk to future security. Not only are the logistics of planning hard enough -- when to collect Social Security, how to budget for expenses, what to do with savings -- but the decline in cognition that accompanies normal aging has a measurable negative impact on the ability to make sound financial decisions." (Money)
Are Target Date Funds a Ticking Time Bomb?
"Many fiduciary advisers see TDFs as fraught with issues.... The appearance of simplicity best explains the popularity of TDFs, but it also suggests their problem.... There has long existed a viable alternative to TDFs... 'Target Risk funds or "lifestyle" funds match the risk profile of the investor (or rather the investor selects the lifestyle fund that matches his or her risk profile),' says [investment advisor] Francesca E. Federico.... Target risk funds have the advantage over target date funds in that they are easier to support the retirement saver's personal goals." (Fiduciary News)
U.S. Retirement Security Isn't Getting Any Better
"The 2015 Natixis Global Retirement Security Index put Switzerland at the No. 1 spot in its annual ranking of the well-being and 'life conditions' that pre-retirees and retirees can expect across 150 countries. The prospects for current and aspiring retirees in America is less good: The U.S. is stuck at No. 19, where it's been for the past three years." (Bloomberg)
IRS Releases 2015 Form 1042-S Instructions
"The IRS has released the detailed 2015 instructions for Form 1042-S, Foreign Person's U.S. Source Income Subject to Withholding. The form is to report amounts paid from IRAs and retirement plans to certain foreign persons, including nonresident aliens. One noteworthy change is that beginning January 1, 2016, if disbursements are paid to multiple accounts, each payment will require a separate Form 1042-S. Formerly, such amounts having the same income code could be aggregated on a single Form 1042-S." (Ascensus)
2013 Retirement Survey Key Findings and Issues: Experiencing Change in Retirement (PDF)
"This report presents findings from the 2013 Risks and Process of Retirement Survey, specifically those relating to the phases of retirement. 'Phases of retirement' refers to changes that take place during retirement. The report uses quotations from the series of focus groups to illustrate the findings and addresses factors relating to how people decide to retire and to changes in lifestyle and needs over the course of retirement, including paid employment and housing." (Society of Actuaries)
[Opinion] PBGC Report Highlights Importance of Pension Counseling
"We at the Pension Rights Center have long recognized the important role that U.S. Administration on Aging's Pension Counseling and Information Program (PCIP) plays in protecting the legal rights of retirees and their families. So we were gratified to see that sentiment echoed by Constance Donovan, the [PBGC's] Participant and Plan Sponsor Advocate, in her inaugural report." (Pension Rights Center)
Don't Focus on a Single Assumption When Determining Your Annual Withdrawal
"Yes, it is more conservative to assume higher levels of future inflation, all other things being equal, but higher assumed levels of inflation combined with even higher levels of assumed investment return and/or shorter life expectancies can produce withdrawal rates that are more aggressive (higher) than assumption combinations that involve lower assumed rates of inflation. If there are no other fixed income annuity/pension sources of income that need to be coordinated within the spending budget, it is generally sufficient to focus on real (after-inflation) levels of investment return, not nominal levels." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
For Some 3M Retirees, Crowdsourcing Is Key to Pension Decision
"In the DIY financial planning world, online forums allow strangers to offer back-of-the-envelope calculations and opinions ranging from sober advice to conspiracy theories and warnings of a global economic collapse. But individual participants also take away what they want." (StarTribune)
Americans Want Monthly Retirement Income But Don't Know How to Get It (PDF)
"84 percent of Americans say having a guarantee of monthly income for the rest of their life is important to them. Nearly half (48 percent, up from 34 percent in 2014) say that having guaranteed income to cover living costs should be the primary goal for their retirement plan.... But ... only 14 percent have actually purchased an annuity, which is the only way to ensure income that retirees can't outlive. Furthermore, many Americans (44 percent) are unsure if their current retirement plan even offers them the option of receiving a monthly paycheck in retirement." (TIAA-CREF)
Selling Savings the Amazon Way
"[I]t's no surprise how quickly employees give up when they're encouraged to save more in their retirement plans, yet then have to complete a long process to do so.... [Vanguard has] developed 'nudges' for savings, including Meet Your Match and Recommended Savings Rate.... Both nudges use a sophisticated combination of plan design information and participant data to make a specific recommendation to an employee logging into the retirement plans site. This information includes match structure, contribution source information, participant compensation data, participant savings rate, and more." (Vanguard)
[Opinion] Six Things 401(k) Participants Need to Know
"Our industry spends a lot of time and money educating workers about the advantages and mechanics of saving for retirement. But here are six things [that] too often go unsaid. [1] Your 401(k) isn't free.... [2] That employer match isn't 'free' either.... [3] Saving to the level of the match is probably not enough.... [4] How much you save is more important than how you invest what you save.... [5] If you've never tried to figure out how much you'll need to live in retirement, you may not live very comfortably in retirement.... [6] If you don't know what you're doing, get help." (Nevin Adams, via LinkedIn)
Accumulators: Are Your Retirement Savings on Track?
"Because savings targets will be so sensitive to individual-specific inputs, online calculators that allow investors to adjust these inputs are the best way for investors to determine the adequacy of their savings rates.... Because all of these calculators are a bit different -- and because retirement readiness is such an important issue -- be prepared to sample a range of calculators rather than settling on just one. Also, focus on the most holistic tools you can find[.]" (Morningstar)
Beyond Retirement: Navigating Your Total Employee Benefits Package
"Even if you have been with the same company for years, it's important to reevaluate your needs and make sure you're getting the most out of your benefits. Here are some basic guidelines to help you understand what you need to consider: Retirement Plan ... Health Insurance ... Sick and Vacation Time ... Stock Options or Profit Sharing ... other perks." (AFS 401k Retirement Services)
Retirement Plans for Young People: Know Your Choices
"The first choice to consider is an employer-sponsored cash-or-deferred plan (such as a 401(k) plan) where the employer matches some or all of the employee's contribution.... The next best retirement plan for younger people is undoubtedly the Roth IRA.... The worst type of plan for the young person is the traditional IRA." (Morningstar)
How to Avoid Being Forced Out of Your Former Employer's 401(k)
"[If] it's been a while, it can sometimes be difficult to track down former accounts. The first step is to try to get in touch with your former employer. You can also request a Potential Private Pension Benefit Information notice from the Social Security Administration to see if they have any information on file about your former 401(k) plan. The SSA says that between 2004 and 2013 workers left more than 16 million accounts containing $5,000 or less in the plans of former employers cumulatively totaling $8.5 billion." (U.S. News & World Report)
Financial Wellness: The Next Frontier In Wellness Programs (PDF)
16 pages. "Much attention has been given to the financial risk of outliving one's assets in retirement, but many employees underestimate three more immediate risks -- premature death, illness or injury, and out-of-pocket expenses -- which could cripple their financial well-being tomorrow, next week, or next month. Employees that are not adequately protected against these risks may need to start paying their day-to-day expenses by incurring credit card debt, using lines of credit, or taking loans from their 401(k) plans. Accordingly, this paper focuses on the first three, more immediate threats listed above that may occur during employees' working years." (Prudential)
Does Retirement Make You Happy? A Simultaneous Equations Approach (PDF)
"[The authors] find that depressive symptoms are negatively related to retirement while life satisfaction is positively related. Remarkably, income does not seem to have a significant effect on depression or life satisfaction. This is in contrast with the correlations in the raw data that show significant relations between income and depression and life satisfaction." (University of Michigan Retirement Research Center)
How Much Can I Afford to Spend in Retirement? Time to Determine Your Spending Budget for 2015
"[T]his post will illustrate the Actuarial Approach for Richard Retiree, the hypothetical retiree we last looked in our post of December 27, 2013 when we developed a spending budget for him for 2014.... In addition to receiving $20,000 of Social Security benefits and $15,000 of annuity payments during 2014, Richard's accumulated savings earned $61,944. He spent $60,000 during 2014 ($5,766 less than his budget), so his total accumulated savings at the end of 2014 are $921,853 ... He is now age 67.... While investment in equities during the last two years has resulted in significant gains to him, he worries that he might not be able to cover his essential expenses if the markets suffer significant losses." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
[Guidance Overview] IRS Retirement News for Employers, December 18, 2014 (PDF)
Topics include: Plan sponsors: [1] Set up a plan by December 31; [2] Retirement plan records; [3] Form 5500-SUP; [4] Plan check-ups -- a retirement plan needs regular care; and [5] Correcting common Roth contribution mistakes. Plan participants: [1] Types of retirement plan contributions; [2] Limit your elective deferrals to the annual amount; [3] Saver's credit; [4] IRA year-end reminders; [5] Required minimum distributions; [6] Changes to the IRA one-rollover-per-year rule. Updated: [1] Mark your calendar -- deadlines for retirement plans; [2] Updates from Department of Labor; [3] Publication 1-EP, Understanding the Employee Plans Examination Process (10-2014); [4] Publication 1020, Appeal Procedures Employee Plans Examinations (11-2014); [5] Publication 4810, Specifications for Electronic Filing of Form 8955-SSA, Annual Registration Statement Identifying Separated Participants With Deferred Vested Benefits. (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
What Do Plan Participants Consider When Choosing a Financial Advisor?
"[F]or nearly nine-in-ten (89 percent) of retirement plan participants, honesty and trustworthiness are the most important criteria in choosing a financial advisor. Eighty-five percent of retirement plan participants surveyed ... place the highest premium on a financial advisor's transparency and being kept in the look on what they are doing in regard to their investments. For eight-in-ten, a financial advisor's investment track record and fees or commissions charged are the most important factors in choosing an advisor. Other factors retirement plan participants consider important when choosing an advisor include having access to products from a variety of different companies (73 percent), website and online services offered (63 percent) and the renown of the financial advisor's brand or company (61 percent)." (Spectrem Group)
401(k) Tips for Job Hoppers
"Here's how to make the most of a 401(k) plan as a short-term employee: Sign up as soon as the waiting period ends.... Watch out for 401(k) match delays.... Meet savings requirements.... Don't leave before you're vested.... Simplify your accounts.... Avoid cashing out." (U.S. News & World Report)
The New Way to Measure Your 401(k)
"[I]nvestors could get a clearer picture of whether they are nearing their retirement-savings goals by focusing less on the dollar amounts they've accumulated and more on how much income that money can generate in the future. A lump-sum figure, the thinking goes, doesn't tell you much more than how well your portfolio has fared and how much you have saved. The new approach -- known as projected income -- would show instead what your current balance would pay out as income beginning at a certain age." (The Wall Street Journal; subscription may be required)
Tips on Making the Most of Your First 401(k)
"While many employers do a good job of educating their employees about how to use their plans, others do not -- or perhaps employees simply aren't listening. About 52 million Americans participated in 401(k) plans in 2012, yet many still are not saving enough for retirement or have developed bad habits, such as taking out loans that inhibit the growth of their accounts.... [Here are] tips on everything from saving enough to picking the right investments to simply taking the long view about the whole process." (Morningstar)
So You Think You're Financially Prepared to Retire? Here Are Spreadsheet Tools to Test That Assumption
"Generally [this author's focus] is to help individuals who are already retired establish an annual spending budget.... This post is aimed at individuals who are close to retirement but are unsure of whether they have sufficient financial assets to meet their needs throughout retirement.... [T]he first step ... is to determine your spending needs in retirement.... The second step ... is to determine your total expected income for a year from all sources ... This is where the spreadsheet tools available on this website come into play." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
Half of Employees Approaching Retirement Wish They Had Started Saving Sooner
"More than half (52 percent) of people approaching retirement (age 55-64) say they wish they had started saving for the future sooner ... Many say they wish they had made smarter financial decisions earlier in their career, including saving more of their paycheck (47 percent) and investing their savings more aggressively (34 percent).... Forty-five percent of respondents age 55-64 say financial readiness is the most important factor in determining when they will retire.... Only 35 percent say they saved in an IRA or met with a financial advisor, 32 percent have calculated the income they would need for each year of their retirement, and 12 percent have saved in a healthcare savings account." [Also available: Executive Summary presentation slides.] (TIAA-CREF)

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