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Ret plans - info for employees


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[Official Guidance] Text of DOL FAQs for Participants and Beneficiaries Following Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and the California Wildfires (PDF)
22 Q&As. "My employer's place of business is closed. I cannot locate my plan administrator. Who do I contact to file a claim for benefits, or to obtain replacement identification documents? ... I think I may be losing my health coverage as a result of the events of one of the hurricanes or the California Wildfires. What can I do to obtain other health coverage? ... My employer's place of business is closed due to the events of one of the hurricanes or the California Wildfires. Who should I contact to file a claim for retirement benefits or make sure that I will continue to receive my pension payments on time? ... How can I make changes in the way my 401(k) plan account is invested if it was affected by the events of one of the hurricanes or the California Wildfires? ... If my employer faces economic difficulties as a result of the events of one of the hurricanes or the California Wildfires, can my employer terminate my retirement plan, and if so, what happens to my benefits? ... All of the records concerning my employment with the retirement plan sponsor and my participation in the retirement plan were destroyed as a result of the events of one of the hurricanes or the California Wildfires. What do I do?" [Editor's note: this document seems to supercede the FAQs for Participants and Beneficiaries Following Hurricane Harvey issued Aug. 29, 2017. It seems to contain few new provisions with respect to such persons, if any.] (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL])
[Official Guidance] Text of DOL FAQs for Participants and Beneficiaries Following Hurricane Maria (PDF)
23 Q&As. "The Department is issuing these FAQs to assist employee benefit plans, plan sponsors, employers and employees who were impacted by the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria to better understand their rights and responsibilities under ERISA with respect to their ERISA covered employee benefit plans. In addition to providing this general guidance, the Department has also provided an extension of time for certain notices required to be provided under ERISA for those impacted by these disasters." (Employee Benefits Security Administration [EBSA], U.S. Department of Labor [DOL])
Impact of Borrowing from Your Retirement Plan
"This calculator can help you make a more informed decision about whether a loan is the right approach for your financial situation." (Smart About Money)
Younger Workers Expect to Mostly Fund Their Own Retirement
"[W]orkers aged 25 to 37 expect that 65% of their retirement income will come from their own savings and other personal sources, as opposed to just Social Security. Older generations, meanwhile, continue to be more reliant on those benefits ... [T]hat 65% figure ... is pretty on-target, assuming Social Security doesn't face sizable cuts in the future." (Fox Business)
Why You Shouldn't Borrow from Your 401(k) Account
"In effect, the loan offsets one of the chief benefits of a 401(k), the upfront tax deduction. But what if you're not in a pinch? Would it make sense to use a 401(k) loan as a convenient alternative to a loan with a higher rate? It might seem that way if interest rates were the only consideration, but those lost investment gains should be counted too. With big U.S. stocks in the Standard & Poor's 500 index up more than 15 percent this year, someone who borrowed $50,000 Jan. 1 would have missed out on about $7,500 in gains. And paid interest on top of that." (U.S. News & World Report)
60-Day Rollovers: What Happens When Multiple Checks Have Been Issued?
"Individuals who receive multiple distributions from their IRA can generally roll over only one of the distributions as a 60-day rollover within a 12 month period.... There is one exception to this part of the rule. If an individual receives more than one check, from the same IRA, on the same day, then all distributions can be rolled over. This could happen if a custodian issues a separate check for separate investments in one IRA.... On the flip side of the 60-day rollover transaction, an individual can do as many deposits as they wish in order to complete a 60-day rollover." (Slott Report)
How Much Will Borrowing from your 401(k) Cost You?
"The NCPA's 401(k) Borrowing Calculator can help you determine how much a 401(k) loan will cost in terms of lost savings and investment opportunities. The calculator will: [1] Make annual comparisons of your projected 401(k) balance, with and without a loan, from the year you borrow until the year you retire. [2] Compare your monthly income when you retire, with and without a loan, based on a 30-year fixed annuity." (National Center for Policy Analysis [NCPA])
Funding Your Retirement
"When it's time to tap savings, some use the income their portfolio generates to support spending, or don't have a plan to use all sources of return and to use their assets in a coordinated way to generate the cash flow desired. That brings us to the final step of retirement planning--distribution.... Aim to cover essentials with predictable income sources ... Fund discretionary expenses with fluctuating income ... Generate cash flow when you rebalance your portfolio." (Charles Schwab)
Can Knowledge Empower Women to Save More for Retirement?
"This study assesses the role of financial knowledge and empowerment in contributing to the gender gap in savings. [The authors] evaluate the effects of financial education delivered to women in the workplace ... [and] estimate that a multi-media education effort increased participation in retirement savings by 2.6 percentage points, closing the gender gap by more than half. This result is partially explained by pre-existing trends." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
[Official Guidance] Text of IRS Publication 3125: An Important Message for Taxpayers with IRAs -- The IRS Does Not 'Approve' IRA Investments (PDF)
Rev. Sept. 2017. "If you have an Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA), you should be alert to questionable advertisements and solicitations for 'IRS Approved' or 'IRA Approved' investments. These advertisements or solicitations, often for highly speculative or non-traditional types of investments, mislead by falsely claiming that the IRS has approved a particular investment." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
Planning for Retirement: Financial Areas of Focus for Empty Nesters
"There are some key steps parents should consider that may help to improve retirement readiness when children leave home. [1] Increase contributions to retirement accounts.... [2] Convert IRA and 401(k) dollars into Roth dollars.... [3] Save more in Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).... [4] Convert IRA assets to HSA assets.... [5] Start planning to maximize Social Security benefits.... [6] Consider the role permanent life insurance can play to reduce risk.... [7] Pay down housing debt.... [8] Engage a financial advisor." (Prudential)
Retirement Account Loan Strategies
"[T]hings you should do before submitting your loan request[:] [1] Model the loan to make sure it doesn't put too much of a strain on your current cash flow.... [2] Compare this to your budget and adjust spending as needed. [3] Run a retirement projection to see if you are on track to reach your retirement goals. If not, determine what changes you can make now to get on track." (Financial Finesse)
Open Enrollment for Employees: How to Get the Most Out of Your Benefits in 2018
"[S]ome employers don't include retirement benefits on the menu of available health and welfare benefit options during open enrollment season ... [Y]ou might have to take matters into your own hands when it comes to your employer-sponsored retirement plan during open enrollment season.... [E]mployees who are saving for retirement, with access to a HDHP, should consider participating in their employer's HDHP, so that they can take advantage of the HSA offered with it.... [C]onsider critical illness coverage, if offered by your employer ... [M]any employers offer incentives around open enrollment for participation in health screenings, health risk assessments, and wellness activities -- this can essentially put more money back into the employee's pocket, with the added benefit of helping the employee to better understand and manage health risks." (Fidelity)
Text of IRS Publication 4482: 403(b) Tax-Sheltered Annuities for Participants (PDF)
Revised Aug. 2017. "As a participant in a 403(b) plan, you need to be familiar with the tax rules governing your 403(b) annuity so you can: [1] maximize your retirement benefits, [2] comply with the law, and [3] avoid additional taxes and penalties." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
Why Paying 401(k) Loan Interest to Yourself Is a Bad Investment
"[P]aying yourself 5% loan interest doesn't actually generate a 5% return, because the borrower that receives the loan interest is also the one paying the loan interest. Which means paying 401(k) loan interest to yourself is really nothing more than a way to transfer money into your 401(k) plan. Except unlike a traditional 401(k) contribution, it's not even tax deductible! And as long as the loan is in place, the borrower loses the ability to actually invest and grow the money ... which means borrowing from a 401(k) plan to pay yourself interest really just results in losing out on any growth whatsoever!" (Nerd's Eye View)
Do's and Don'ts for Beneficiary Designations
"Do: Start with how you feel.... Recognize the benefits accorded to spousal beneficiaries.... Make sure your beneficiary designations sync up with other parts of your estate plan.... Name contingent and/or partial beneficiaries.... Consider charities or other nonprofits.... Make beneficiary designation checkups part of your portfolio review.... Don't: Leave assets to minor children without understanding what that means.... Leave assets to loved ones with special needs without considering the ramifications.... Designate to someone who's not the end owner.... Stop with tax-advantaged assets.... Make inadvertent beneficiary designations." (Morningstar)
Major Behavioral Determinant of 401(k) Saving Success
"54 percent of participants with a written plan increased their 401k contributions in the past year, compared with only 33 percent of those without a written plan. Fully half of those with a written plan have rebalanced their 401k portfolio, while only 24 percent of those without a plan did." (401K Specialist)
Should You Use a Robo Advisor for Retirement Investing?
"A robo advisor may be a good fit for your IRA or taxable investments if you want to automate your investing and don't want to be involved in day-to-day decision making. Robo advisors generally aim to perform in line with the market, rather than trying to beat it, in order to capture market gains. If you want to make more customized decisions about your investments or try to beat the market, you might want to work with an investment professional." (U.S. News & World Report)
Catch 22 Situations With Retirement Plan Distributions
"Sometimes you need a particular form of distribution to achieve a certain tax result, but the retirement plan doesn't allow it. Or sometimes the tax law seems to say opposite things about the same distribution.... Retiring between age 55 and age 59 1/2.... 401(k) hardship distribution subject to the 10% penalty.... Estate wants to use the five-year payout." (Natalie Choate, in Morningstar Advisor)
Retirement Calculators: Three Good Options
"Calculators aren't capable of providing a bullet-proof analysis of the complex factors and future unknowns that will determine whether someone has done the planning and saving required to ensure a financially secure retirement. With that caveat, Squared Away found three calculators ... that do a good job. They met our criteria of being reliable, free, and easy to use. Many other calculators were quickly eliminated, because they were indecipherable or created issues on the first try." (Squared Away Blog, by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)
Roth 401(k) Contributions May Be Better Than Traditional Pre-Tax 401(k)
"Assume one participant makes 10% traditional pre-tax contributions and another makes 10% Roth 401k contributions for their entire careers. Also, assume that they invest in the same funds and have the same earnings experience. Let's say they both end up with $1 million at retirement. The Roth 401k plan participant truly has $1 million, however, the traditional 401k plan participant has $1 million minus state and federal taxes. A huge difference." (Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants)
Questions to Ask When Your Company Changes Its 401(k)
"[1] Why are we changing retirement plans? ... [2] How will the new options compare to the old program's funds? ... [3] What kind of 'glitches' can I expect from the switch?... [4] What are the key dates during a 401(k) switch?... [5] Are you going to keep me in the loop during the change process? ... [6] Should I change my beneficiary forms?" (U.S. News & World Report)
401(k) Distribution Rules: Frequently Asked Questions
"When am I eligible for a 401(k) distribution? ... What's a hardship distribution? ... When can I rollover a 401(k) distribution? ... Can I leave my money in my 401(k) plan after I terminate employment? ... When must I start taking Required Minimum Distributions from my 401(k) account? ... How are 401(k) distributions taxed? ... How are distributions of Roth 401(k) deferrals taxed?" (Employee Fiduciary)
Why Wait to Retire to Take Control of Your 401(k)?
"If you're 59-1/2 years old and still working, you have the ability to roll over money from your 401(k) into an IRA.... There are four reasons why you should consider an in-service rollover: [1] You are in control of your money.... [2] An IRA gives you more investment options to choose from.... [3] There are more safe havens for your money in an IRA.... [4] You can automatically set up your account as a multigenerational IRA (or 'stretch IRA')." (Chad Slagle, via Kiplinger)
Your Retirement Plan: Set It, But Don't Forget It
"When it comes to planning for retirement, there are three commonly automated arrangements that warrant a one-off, stop-and-think review from time to time: beneficiary designations, plan participation and investment allocation." (Certified Financial Planner [CFP] Board of Standards, Inc.)
Choosing the Savings Strategy That's Right for You (PDF)
"Depending on a person's current health, family history, and lifestyle, he or she may be more or less inclined to maximize savings for medical expenses. Depending on a person's charitable giving strategy or the size of her or his family, she or he may be more or less likely to buy life insurance. Income and age make a difference, as well. That said, there is a general savings hierarchy that some experts suggest as a way to start thinking about a strategy." (Lockton)
Planning for a Safe Withdrawal Rate: Introducing the Actuarial Budget Benchmark (ABB)
"Your Actuarial Budget Benchmark is a relatively transparent annual calculation of your recurring spending budget in retirement based on your spending goals and your data, but based on a specific set of assumptions about the future, that may change each year. The calculation is designed to approximate the market value of your future spending liabilities.... The ABB can also help [to balance] a retiree's desires to avoid unnecessary fluctuations in spending and mitigate sequence of return risk." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
The Basics of Target Date Funds
"Target-date funds can help retirement investors solve a few problems. With so many options on a retirement savings plan menu, it is hard to know what to choose. But selecting good investments is only one part: Investors must also pay attention to overall portfolio diversification and not take on too much risk by being concentrated too heavily in any one area.... That's where target-date funds come in." (Morningstar)
Which 401(k) Strategies Work Best?
"The most effective tools in retirement savings are not bells and whistles. They are simple, quiet and consistent.... [1] Putting savings on auto-pilot.... [2] Higher savings rates.... [3] Keeping costs low." (Forbes)
The 411 On Your 401(k): What You Should Know About Your Retirement Savings
"[1] How much money am I saving? ... [2] Do my contributions automatically increase? ... [3] Do I have a Roth option in my 401(k) plan? ... [4] Can I access my money while I am working? ... [5] How do I take my money out when I retire?" (Forbes)
The Dangers of Planning on Working Longer
"[N]early two-thirds of retirees left the workforce earlier than expected because they were laid off, reorg-ed out of a position, or due to general unhappiness with a job.... [On] a company-wide level, delayed retirement can increase overall workforce costs by 1 percent to 1.5 percent.... [That] goes a long way in explaining why employers may be more inclined to focus on 'financial wellness' strategies to get workers ready to retire sooner than programs to help workers delay retirement." (CNBC)
The Biggest 401(k) Participant Misperceptions
"I only need to contribute up to the maximum company match ... It is OK to take a participant loan ... Rolling a 401k account into an IRA is a good idea ... My 401k account is a good way to save for college, a first home, etc.... I should stop making 401k contributions when the stock market crashes ... Actively trading my 401k account will help me maximize my account balance ... Indexing is always superior to active management ... Target date funds are not good investments ... Money market funds are good investments ... I can contribute less because I will make my investments will work harder." (Lawton Retirement Plan Consultants)
Quiz: Do You Get the Most Out of Your Benefits?
"If you scored a 9 or higher, congratulations! Chances are that you see your employee benefits as an integral part of your overall compensation. If you scored an 8 or lower, you may be leaving money on the table by not taking full advantage of everything your employer offers. If you have access to financial coaching via your workplace financial wellness program, consider setting up a time to talk to a planner about how you can fully maximize the value of your employee benefits." (Financial Finesse)
Know What to Expect from Social Security Benefit Estimators
"[If] participants use one of the free tools analyzed in this report, they will likely receive reasonably accurate benefits estimates. However, depending on the tool, participants may be more or less likely to absorb, draw meaningful inferences about and act on information. Therefore, the differences in the way Social Security benefit estimators communicate results is key, because when it comes to retirement planning, accurate information is worth little without understanding and action." (Corporate Insight)
A New Measure of Financial Literacy: The Personal Finance Index (PDF)
26 pages. "U.S. adults are split 50/50 between those who could and those who could not answer over one-half of the P-Fin Index questions correctly.... Personal finance knowledge is lowest in the area of comprehending risk; on average, 39% of these questions were answered correctly.... While 10% of young adults (under age [45] have a relatively high level of financial literacy, 30% have a relatively low level." (TIAA Institute and Global Financial Literacy Excellence Center (GFLEC))
Why You Shouldn't Stick With Your 401(k) Plan's Default Settings
"Sticking with a low default savings rate might cause you to miss out on part of the 401(k) match your employer offers.... [T]he more money you save up to the annual contribution limit, the bigger the dollar value of your tax break.... [C]heck out whether the target-date fund's underlying investments, the rate at which the fund grows more conservative and the fees charged suit your risk tolerance and investment needs." (U.S. News & World Report)
The Actuarial Approach: Much More Than Just a Measure of Where You Stand Financially
"The funded ratio proposed by [Russ Hill, Sam Pittman, and Bob French] divides assets by aspirational liabilities (the individual's spending goals) to help the individual determine where he or she stands in meeting retirement goals and how much the individual's assets would need to be to meet these goals.... [I]ndividuals can also use this basic actuarial equation to develop an actuarially calculated spending budget for the current year[.]" (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
How Much Do You Know When It Comes to Preparing for Retirement?
"Even if there is some debate among professionals around how much the average person needs to save, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of respondents underestimated how much is needed.... [N]early half (47 percent) underestimated how big an impact relatively small savings can have over time.... Thirty-eight percent of Americans estimated they would only need to make their hard-earned savings last for about 12-17 years, which could leave some at risk of running out of money in retirement.... While 17 percent of respondents answered [correctly that housing would be the largest expense in retirement] (and 13 percent of those aged 55-65), a larger number of respondents (69 percent) thought health care would be the largest expense." (Fidelity)
Text of SEC Investor Bulletin: Robo-Advisers
"Before making a decision about whether to invest through a robo-adviser, or in deciding which robo-adviser might be best for you, you should do your own research. Make sure the robo-adviser and the investment portfolio it puts together for you are a good match for your investment needs and goals, and that you understand the potential costs, risks, and benefits of using that particular robo-adviser. [This bulletin highlights] some issues you may want to consider in making these important decisions." (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission)
Guide to Retirement, 2017 Edition
44 detailed presentation slides. Topics: [1] Retirement landscape: Factors that shape today's retirement experience; [2] Saving behaviors and best practices while saving for retirement; [3] Spending considerations for living in retirement; [4] Investing: Building a retirement portfolio. (J.P. Morgan Asset Management)
How to Avoid Borrowing from Your Retirement Plan
"Don't think of your retirement account as a giant ATM.... Have an emergency fund.... Consider other options." (Financial Finesse)
Using Interactive 'Nutrition Labels' for Financial Products to Assist Decision Making for Long-term Saving (PDF)
29 pages. "[The authors] developed an interactive information label to assist consumers with retirement saving decision-making.... 450 users [were exposed] to one of four user interface conditions in a retirement saving simulator where they made 35 yearly decisions under changing circumstances. [The authors] found significantly better ability of users to reach their goals with the information label. Furthermore, users who interacted with the label made better decisions than those who were presented with a static information label. Lastly, [they] found the label particularly effective in helping novice savers." (Junius Gunaratne and Oded Nov, New York University)
Four Keys to Winning the Financial Security Game
"As individuals get close to retirement or reach retirement, their financial priorities generally shift somewhat. While they still must grow their assets (generally by investing them), they must also protect their (now presumably much more significant) assets to make sure that they last for the rest of their lives.... In addition to possibly investing their assets more conservatively than younger individuals, retirees and near-retirees will generally select different forms of insurance than younger individuals to protect against relevant risks." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
Designers of Retirement Calculators Strive for Better Fidelity to Real Life
"To improve the accuracy of their forecasts, developers of calculators are using more complex formulas for model's assumption on the rate of return on investment assets.... To address volatility, some calculators perform a Monte Carlo simulation of a range of outcomes randomly chosen.... Some models base their rate of return on historic market data on the performance of asset classes over the past century. If the future is not like the past, then the accuracy of this approach will suffer." (Mind Over Market)
Rise in Interest Rates Lowers the Cost of Retirement Income
"Today, investors are enjoying retirement income costs lower by as much as 14% versus a few months ago ... which helps investors estimate how much annual retirement income their current savings can generate starting at age 65." (planadviser)
Why Retirement Calculators Disagree on How Much You Need to Retire
"If you plan to use a retirement calculator you should keep in mind that retirement calculators rely on assumptions about the future that may turn out to be wrong ... Retired software developer Darren Kirkpatrick tested several calculators in 2012 and found the forecasts less than convincing.... Some calculators err by relying on inflation rates that are too low for the long term and err again by assuming a rate of return on investments that may be too high. '[That] gives you a bit of insight into where you stand financially today, but it tells you virtually nothing about what will happen in the future,' he has stated." (Mind Over Market)
What Employees Need to Know About Section 457 Plans
"As with 401(k) plans, participants in 457 plans have pretax contributions deducted from their paychecks.... Unlike the majority of large-company 401(k) plans, however, most 457 plans don't match employee contributions. Public-sector employees are more likely to receive a traditional pension than private-sector workers. Those two factors may explain why only about 55 percent of public-sector employees with access to a 457 plan contribute to it." (Chicago Tribune; subscription may be required)
Avoid Disaster When Designating Beneficiaries on Your Retirement Plan
"What happens if there is no beneficiary designation or the named beneficiary or beneficiaries predeceased the account owner? ... What else can go wrong ... Beneficiary designations are incomplete ... Beneficiary designations name an obsolete beneficiary ... Beneficiary designations aren't thought through.... While any beneficiary has the option of taking the entire account balance immediately, doing so means lumping the income in one year which can result in paying tax at higher marginal rates, and foregoing the benefits of stretch-out. [Certain options] provide the opportunity to avoid or minimize unfortunate results[.]" (Moss Adams)
Pre-Retirement Checkup: What You Should Do in the Five Years Before You Retire
"Looking at savings, Social Security claiming strategies and other financial issues is a key part of your checkup. But you also want to consider lifestyle issues such as when you'll want to stop working full time and how you plan to spend your time instead." (U.S. News & World Report)
[Guidance Overview] IRS News Release 16-171: Plan Now to Get Full Benefit of Saver's Credit; Tax Credit Helps Low- and Moderate-Income Workers Save for Retirement (PDF)
"The saver's credit helps offset part of the first $2,000 workers voluntarily contribute to IRAs and 401(k) plans and similar workplace retirement programs. Also known as the retirement savings contributions credit, the saver's credit is available in addition to any other tax savings that apply." (Internal Revenue Service [IRS])
Insights Into Retirement Planning Behavior (PDF)
"Only one-in-five [plan participants] (20%) said they reviewed or made adjustments to their retirement plan in the last year.... [M]ore than twice as many reviewed or made adjustments to their phone, cable and/or internet service (43%) or social media account profiles (43%).... During the past year, millennials were nearly four times as likely (63%) to update their social media profiles than they were to review or make adjustments to a retirement plan (17%)." (Voya Financial)
A Comparison of Free Online Tools for Individuals Deciding When to Claim Social Security Benefits
"This note provides information on six publicly available online retirement planning tools that focus primarily or exclusively on the Social Security claiming decision. It explains their advantages and limitations, what types of information the tools require of the user (inputs), and what types of information the tools provide (outputs).... The six tools ... are available to the public, do not require the user to create an account with the organization, and are free to use." (U.S. Social Security Administration [SSA])
Fact Sheet: What Is a Qualified Domestic Relations Order and Why Should I Care?
"A retirement plan can be the largest asset in a marriage. Nonetheless, retirement plans are often forgotten or overlooked during divorce, in part because divorce is so complicated and in part because a divorce can occur years before retirement -- and who's thinking about retirement when it's 10 or 20 years down the road? If they don't have the right kind of court order, people going though divorce could neglect a significant portion of the marital assets and put themselves at risk of economic insecurity in retirement." (Pension Rights Center)
Using Multiple 'Data Points' to Determine How Much You Should Spend
"[While] the development of a reasonable spending budget is an important part of an individual's spending decision process, it is but one 'data point' of several that may be considered.... [O]ther possible data points that may also be useful in your spending decision process[:] Applying the ABC ... The ABC with recommended assumptions ... ABC run-out tabs ... ABC 5-year projection tab ... Historical record ... Your gut instinct." (Ken Steiner, FSA Retired)
What to Consider When Investing in Target Date Retirement Funds
"Any given glide path may be too steep for some people and too shallow for others, depending on their circumstances. As an investor, you can compensate for that by choosing funds dated later or earlier than your targeted retirement date. If the 2030 fund gets too conservative too fast for your taste, for example, you could choose the 2040 fund instead." (Los Angeles Times; free registration may be required)
Three Retirement Plan Head Scratchers (PDF)
"[W]hen it comes to saving for retirement, sometimes the decisions that come after enrolling in your employer's plan can be as difficult as making that initial choice to save. How do you know you are making the right decision from a tax perspective? What about other benefits options? And what if you need money? Is your retirement plan the best place to get it? The answers to these questions are unique to you and your personal situation, but a few rules of thumb can help." (Lockton)
Getting the Facts Straight about Qualified Plan Loans
"[Is] it worth taking a loan from your retirement plan? In short, no. However, it is still important to weigh the options of taking such a loan. [This article describes] the major pros and cons of taking loans from your employer's retirement plan." (Castle Rock Investment Company)
How to Calculate the Value of Your Benefits
"It's 'open enrollment' season ... [and] a good time ... to estimate how much the benefits you choose are worth to you: Health Insurance (typically $5,000 -- $30,000) ... Retirement Plan (typically 3-6 percent of your salary in matching contributions) ... Stock Purchase Plan (typically 10 to 15 percent of market value per share purchased) ... Disability Insurance ($2,000 to $5,000 per year) ... Life Insurance ($250 to $500 per year) ... Employer Contribution to FICA (7.65 percent of salary) ... Unemployment Insurance (0.3-1.5 percent of salary) ... Your company may offer other benefits such as tuition reimbursement, pre-paid legal assistance, commuter benefits, health and wellness programs, access to group long term care insurance[.]" (Financial Finesse)
SEC Provides Free Online Financial Planning Tools
Tools at the SEC's Investor.gov web site include: 401(k) and IRA Minimum Distribution Calculator; Compound Interest Calculator and Savings Goal Calculator; Social Security Retirement Estimator; Retirement Ballpark Estimator; Mutual Fund Analyzer; 529 Expense Analyzer; and a link to a searchable database of investment advisers who have filed Form ADV. (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission)
How Does Student Debt Affect Early-Career Retirement Saving?
"The estimated relationship between student debt and participating in a retirement plan ... is small and statistically insignificant ... Contrary to expectations, individuals with a large loan balance who were offered a plan are more likely to accept it, though the estimated relationship is small. Some evidence indicates that bachelor's degree-holders who have student loans have lower retirement assets at age 30, though the estimates are statistically insignificant, and retirement assets levels are unrelated to the size of their student loan balances." (Center for Retirement Research at Boston College)

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