The New Gradual Retirement

Working a little (or a lot) after 60 may become the norm. Do we really want to retire at 65? Not according to the latest annual retirement survey from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies which gauges the outlook of American workers. It found that 51% of us plan to work part-time once retired. Moreover, 64% of workers 60 and older wanted to work at least a little after 65 and 18% had no intention of retiring.1 Are financial needs shaping these responses? Not entirely. While 61% of all those polled in the Transamerica survey cited income and employer-sponsored health benefits as major reasons to stay employed in the “third act” of life, 34% of respondents said they wanted to keep working because they enjoy their occupation or like the social and mental engagement of the workplace.1 It seems “retirement” and “work” are no longer mutually exclusive. Not all of us have sufficiently large retirement nest eggs, so we strive to stay employed – to let our savings compound a little more, and to leave us with fewer years of retirement to fund. We want to keep working into our mid-sixties because of two other realities as well. If you...
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Bag Lady Syndrome

You must avoid it. Think about tomorrow, not just today. No woman wants to end up a “bag lady” – impoverished, out of options, left to fend for herself on the streets. Only a tiny percentage of women from affluent households will experience this retirement nightmare, but that does not mean the risk should be dismissed. This is the financial circumstance you may fear more than any other. What can you do to counter that fear and guard against running out of money in retirement? The first step is to plan. You must plan with the knowledge that you might outlive your spouse; that you might spend some, or even all, of your retirement alone. Because of your potentially longer lifespan and the lack of a spousal safety net, it is not unreasonable to assume that you may need 150% of the retirement money that a man in your situation might need. That may be stunning, but it is worth realizing. Imagine your children having to bear the financial burden of taking care of you when you are elderly. If you have no children, imagine having to rely on welfare and Medicaid at that time. Surely that is not the...
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Are There Really Tax-Free Retirement Plan Distributions?

A look at some popular & obscure options for receiving money with little or no tax. Will you receive tax-free money in retirement? Some retirees do. You should know about some of your options for tax-free retirement distributions, some of which are less publicized than others. Qualified distributions from Roth accounts are tax-free. If you own a Roth IRA or have a Roth retirement account at work, you can take a tax-free distribution from that IRA or workplace retirement plan once you are older than 59½ and have held the account for at least five tax years. One other nice perk: original owners of Roth IRAs never have to take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) during their lifetimes. (Owners of employer-sponsored Roth retirement accounts are required to take RMDs.)1,2 Trustee-to-trustee transfers of retirement plan money occur without being taxed. In a rollover of this kind, the custodian financial firm that hosts your workplace retirement plan account makes a payment directly out of the account to an IRA you have waiting, with not a penny in taxes levied or withheld. Trustee-to-trustee transfers of IRAs work the same way.3 If you are older than 80, you might get a tax break on a...
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