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Retirement, investments, financial planning for every stage of life—learn about it all here at Invested,
a blog from your Wealth Management Advisors at Kirtland Financial Services.

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Investments Retirement

Only about 23% of American workers say they are "very confident" they will have enough money to live comfortably throughout retirement.¹ To help reduce such uncertainty in your life, consider these five common investment pitfalls—and how you might avoid them.

Mistake #1: Waiting to Maximize Your Contributions
The sooner you start contributing the maximum amount allowed by your employer-sponsored retirement plan, the better your chances for building a significant savings cushion. By starting early, you allow more time for your contributions -- and potential earnings -- to compound, or build upon themselves, on a tax-deferred basis.

Mistake #2: Ignoring Specific Financial Goals
It is difficult to create an effective investment plan without first targeting a specific dollar amount and recognizing how much time you have to pursue that goal. To enjoy the same quality of life in retirement that you have become accustomed to during your prime earning years, you may need the equivalent of 80% or more of your final working year's salary for each year of retirement.

Mistake #3: Fearing Stock Volatility
It is true that stock investments face a greater risk of short-term price swings than fixed-income investments. However, stocks have historically produced stronger earnings over the long term.² In general, the longer your investment time horizon, the more you might consider adding stock funds to your portfolio.

Mistake #4: Timing the Market
Some investors try to base investment decisions on daily price swings. But unless you have a crystal ball, "timing the market" could be very risky. A better idea might be to buy and hold investments for several years.

Mistake #5: Failing to Diversify
Investing in just one fund or asset class could subject your investment portfolio to unnecessary risk. Spreading your money over a well-chosen mix of investments may help reduce the potential for loss during periods of market volatility. Diversification may offset losses in any one investment or asset category by taking advantage of possible gains elsewhere.³

Now that you are aware of these five common investment errors, consider yourself lucky: You are ready to potentially benefit from other people's experiences—without making the same mistakes.

Adding the guidance of a Wealth Management Advisor can help you navigate your investment decisions as part of a larger financial plan for retirement. Make an appointment online today or call 505-254-4363. We’re here to help!

 
1. Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute, "The 2019 Retirement Confidence Survey," 2019.
2. Source: SS&C Technologies, Inc. Stocks are represented by total returns from Standard & Poor's Composite Index of 500 Stocks, an unmanaged index generally considered representative of the U.S. stock market. Fixed-income investments are represented by annual total returns of long-term (10+ years) Treasury bonds. Indexes do not take into account the fees and expenses associated with investing, and individuals cannot invest in any index. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. With any investment, it is possible to lose money.
3. Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss in any market.

Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error by DST Systems, Inc. or its sources, neither DST Systems, Inc. nor its sources guarantees the accuracy, adequacy, completeness or availability of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information. In no event shall DST Systems, Inc. be liable for any indirect, special or consequential damages in connection with subscriber's or others' use of the content.

© 2020 DST Systems, Inc. Reproduction in whole or in part prohibited, except by permission. All rights reserved. Not responsible for any errors or omissions.

 

Investments
The markets are offering a wild ride for investors recently. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to duck and cover.
  
Be Willing To Take Advantage of Market Downturns
Anyone can look good during a bull market. Smart investors are prepared to weather the inevitable rough patches, and even the best aren't successful all the time. When the market goes off the tracks, knowing why you originally made a specific investment can help you evaluate whether those reasons still hold, regardless of what the overall market is doing.

If you no longer want to hold an investment, you could take a tax loss, if that's a possibility. Selling locks in any losses on an investment, but it also generates cash that can be used to purchase other investments that may be available at an appealing discount. Sound research might turn up buying opportunities on stocks that have dropped for reasons that have nothing to do with the company's fundamentals. In a down market, most stocks are available at lower prices, but some are better bargains than others.

There also are other ways to reap some benefit from a down market. If the value of your IRA or 401(k) has dropped dramatically, you likely won't be able to harvest a tax benefit from those losses, because taxes generally aren't owed on those accounts until the money is withdrawn. However, if you've considered converting a tax-deferred plan to a Roth IRA, a lower account balance might make a conversion more attractive. Though the conversion would trigger income taxes in the year of the conversion, the tax would be calculated on the reduced value of your account. With some expert help, you can determine whether and when such a conversion might be advantageous.

Continuing To Invest May Help You Stay On Course
In the current market environment, the value of your holdings may be fluctuating widely — and it's natural to feel tentative about further investment. But regularly adding to an account that's designed for a long-term goal may cushion the emotional impact of market swings. If losses are offset even in part by new savings, the bottom-line number on your statement might not be quite so discouraging. And a basic principle of investing is that buying during a down market may help your portfolio grow when the market turns upward again.

If you are investing a specific amount regularly regardless of fluctuating price levels (as in a typical workplace retirement plan), you are practicing dollar-cost averaging. Using this approach, you may be getting a bargain by continuing to buy when prices are down. However, you should consider your financial psychological ability to continue purchases through periods of fluctuating price levels or economic distress; dollar-cost averaging loses much of its benefit if you stop just when prices are reduced. And it can't guarantee a profit or protect against a loss.

If you can't bring yourself to invest during this period of uncertainty, try not to let the volatility derail your savings program completely. If necessary to help address your concerns, you could continue to save, but direct new savings into a cash-alternative investment until your comfort level rises. Though you might not be buying at a discount, you could be accumulating cash reserves that could be invested when you're ready. The key is not to let short-term anxiety make you forget your long-term plan.
 
A volatile market is never easy to endure, but learning from it can better prepare you and your portfolio to weather and take advantage of the market's ups and downs. For more information on these strategies, contact us. We're here to help.

Book your appointment with a Wealth Management Advisor today by calling 505-254-4363 or online at KirtlandFCU.org/Schedule.

 
All investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal, and there is no guarantee that any investment strategy will be successful. Although there is no assurance that working with a financial professional will improve investment results, a professional can evaluate your objectives and available resources and help you consider appropriate long-term financial strategies. To qualify for the tax-free and penalty-free withdrawal of earnings (and assets converted to a Roth), Roth IRA distributions must meet a five-year holding requirement, and the distribution must take place after age 59½ (with some exceptions). Under current tax law, if all conditions are met, the account will incur no further income tax liability for the rest of the owner's lifetime or for the lifetime of the owner's heirs, regardless of how much growth the account experiences.

Investments

The longest bull market in history lasted almost 11 years before coronavirus fears and the realities of a seriously disrupted U.S. economy brought it to an end. 

If you are losing sleep over volatility driven by a cascade of disheartening news, it may help to remember that the stock market is historically cyclical. There have been 10 bear markets (prior to this one) since 1950, and the market has recovered eventually every time. 

Bear markets are typically defined as declines of 20% or more from the most recent high, and bull markets are increases of 20% or more from the bear market low. But there is no official declaration, so in some cases there are different interpretations regarding when these cycles begin and end. 
  
On average, bull markets lasted longer (1,955 days) than bear markets (431 days) over this period, and the average bull market advance (172.0%) was greater than the average bear market decline (-34.2%).
 
Bear Market Since 1950 Calendar Days to Bottom U.S. Stock Market Decline (S&P 500 Index)
August 1956 to October 1957 444 -21.5%
December 1961 to June 1962 196 -28.0%
February 1966 to October 1966 240 -22.2%
November 1968 to May 1970 543 -36.1%
January 1973 to October 1974 630 -48.2%
November 1980 to August 1982 622 -27.1%
August 1987 to December 1987 101 -33.5%
July 1990 to October 1990 87 -19.9%*
March 2000 to October 2002 929 -49.1%
October 2007 to March 2009 517 -56.8%
*The intraday low marked a decline of -20.2%, so this cycle is often considered a bear market.

The bottom line is that neither the ups nor the downs last forever, even if they feel as though they will. During the worst downturns, there were short-term rallies and buying opportunities. And in some cases, people have profited over time by investing carefully just when things seemed bleakest. 

If you're reconsidering your current investment strategy, a volatile market is probably the worst time to turn your portfolio inside out. Dramatic price swings can magnify the impact of a wholesale restructuring if the timing of that move is a little off. A well-thought-out asset allocation and diversification strategy is still the fundamental basis of good investment planning. Changes in your portfolio don't necessarily need to happen all at once. Try not to let fear derail your long-term goals. 
  
No matter where the market goes, the team at Kirtland Financial Services is here for you, delivering the support and financial guidance you need.

Book your appointment with a Wealth Management Advisor today by calling 505-254-4363 or online at KirtlandFCU.org/Schedule

 
The return and principal value of stocks fluctuate with changes in market conditions. Shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Asset allocation and diversification are methods used to help manage investment risk; they do not guarantee a profit or protect against investment loss. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged group of securities that is considered to be representative of the U.S. stock market in general. The performance of an unmanaged index is not indicative of the performance of any specific investment. Individuals cannot invest directly in an index. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Actual results will vary. Source: Yahoo! Finance, 2020 (data for the period 6/13/1949 to 3/12/2020) The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial advisor prior to investing. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax planning or legal advice. We suggest that you consult with a qualified tax or legal advisor. LPL Financial Representatives offer access to Trust Services through The Private Trust Company N.A., an affiliate of LPL Financial.

Investments

During this time, it may be somewhat comforting to remember that you are not alone. Everyone is wondering what the immediate future holds for the impact of the COVID-19 virus. Everyone else has the same fears and anxiety that you are feeling right now.

When it comes to your investments, all you can really control is how you react. Sticking to sound, fundamental investing principles and staying the course will help you make it through this difficult time. Here are some practical tips for surviving market volatility in the face of what may seem like an extraordinary crisis right now.

Avoid Hitting the Panic Button
During this time, it’s very tempting (and very normal) to think about getting out of the stock market. Especially on March 16, when the S&P 500 suffered its worst decline since the 1987 stock market crash (also known as Black Monday). But selling solely because the stock market has suffered a big decline over a very short period of time may be the worst thing you can do.

It’s understandable if you’re struggling to keep fear in perspective right now. Over time, however, the stock market has historically risen despite economic woes, terrorism, the burst of the housing bubble in 2008 and countless other calamities. Investors should try to always separate their emotions from the investment decision-making process. What seems like a massive global catastrophe one day may likely become a distant memory a few years down the road. After all, when was the last time you thought about Black Monday (if you are even old enough to remember it)? Or the Great Recession?

Keep a Long Term Perspective
For many people, a retirement account such as an IRA may be their largest investment asset. And that’s probably the one you are most concerned about right now. Keep in mind that if you are investing for a long-term goal such as retirement, which may not begin for two or three decades — and could last two or three decades — you should have plenty of time to ride out this current market downturn. The same may be true with regard to some intermediate-term financial goals you may have, such as saving to buy a home, start a family or fund a college education.


Maintain a Diversified Portfolio
Having a percentage of your portfolio spread among stocks, bonds, and cash assets is the core principle of diversification. Doing so helps manage your risk because historically not all parts of the market move in the same direction at the same time. Losses in one asset category (such as stocks) may be mitigated by gains in another (such as bonds and cash)1 .

Consider This a Great Buying Opportunity
Experienced investors often view bear markets as great buying opportunities because the valuations of good companies get hammered down due to circumstances beyond their control — such as what is happening now with the airlines, hotels, oil companies and many other industries and sectors. If you’re looking to put some extra cash you may have to work, this may be a good time to consider value stocks and stock funds.

Keep on Dollar Cost Averaging
The principle of dollar cost averaging means you simply commit to investing the same dollar amount on a regular basis. When the price of shares in a stock or investment portfolio drops (like it is now) — you’re actually buying more shares. Conversely, when the price goes up, you’ll be buying fewer shares. Over the long term, this provides you with an opportunity to actually lower your average cost per share2 . If you haven’t already, setting up an automatic savings program for your IRA (versus making one annual contribution) or other investments may make sense.

Be Real About Your Tolerance For Risk
When you started saving for retirement or other financial goals, you went through the process of assessing your comfort level with risk and made investment decisions accordingly. However, you probably never thought your risk tolerance would be tested like it is right now. If you are literally not able to sleep at night right now due to all the market volatility, that’s probably the most reliable sign that you may need to consider a larger allocation to more conservative investments. However…make sure you consider the next and final tip before you do anything!

Think, Reflect, Sleep on it….and Consider Talking to a Financial Professional
If you are strongly considering making changes to your investments, do so in a thoughtful way and after careful consideration. And if you haven’t already, consider talking with your Wealth Management Advisor at Kirtland Financial Services. We are here to give you the perspective and guidance you need to help weather this storm. Don’t hesitate to call us today at 505-254-4363 or learn more at Kirtland Financial Services.

 
1. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
2. Dollar cost averaging involves continuous investment in securities regardless of fluctuation in price levels of such securities. An investor should consider their ability to continue purchasing through fluctuating price levels. Such a plan does not assure a profit and does not protect against loss in declining markets.

This material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC.

Investments Savings Retirement

Investing is risky! Right?

Not necessarily. You have many options for investing your money, each with a different potential for risk and return. Many options offer the potential for higher returns but pose a risk to your principal balance. Other investing options, such as the Market-Linked Certificate of Deposit (CD), offer a more conservative path for potentially growing your money.

Kirtland Financial Services can help you invest in several different ways—including Market-Linked CDs.

A Market Linked CD offers principal protection at maturity with the potential for market participation.

WHO MIGHT CONSIDER A MARKET-LINKED CD?
  • Anyone who has suffered market losses in the past and is hesitant to risk principal again.
  • Anyone who is searching for growth potential beyond the constraints of traditional savings methods.
  • Retirees and others who are in risk-averse situations.
ARE MARKET-LINKED CDs INSURED?
Yes, Market-Linked CDs carry federal deposit insurance administered by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and are backed by the full faith and credit of the US Government up to a maximum amount for all deposits held in the same legal capacity per depository institution. In general, the FDIC feature guarantees principal of, and any accrued interest on, the Market-Linked CDs up to $250,000 if held to maturity.

 
The Wealth Management Advisors at Kirtland Financial Services are ready to discuss the ins and outs of Market-Linked CDs as a possible investment in your overall financial strategy.

Let the team at Kirtland Financial Services help you focus your goals and make an investment plan that’s right for you and your situation.

Make your appointment now!



 
Principal protection is the return of an investor’s initial principal amount if held to maturity. MLCDs should be purchased with the intention of holding until maturity. Some MLCDs may offer an early redemption opportunity, allowing holders the option to redeem prior to maturity. Generally, MLCDs held to maturity are entitled to full return of the principal amount invested. A secondary market for the MLCDs may develop, although there is no guarantee that any person will maintain a secondary market. The value of the MLCD sold prior to maturity in the secondary market will be subject to the prevailing marketing conditions and may include a transaction charge. The sale proceeds may be less or more than the original purchase amount paid. Market-Linked CDs are FDIC insured up to the FDIC limits. Any amount that exceeds the FDIC limits is subject to the credit and claims paying ability of the issuer.

Subject to particular offering documentation. Participation in any underlying or linked product is subject to certain caps and restrictions. There is no guarantee of return above principal. Return of principal is subject to the credit risk of the issuer.

Investments Retirement

Think of your favorite recipe.

How many ingredients does it have—just a few or is the dish more complex? What methods and tools do you need to make it? And once you have your ingredients mixed together, do you taste-test along the way to see if you need to make any adjustments?

These considerations are just as important for your investment and retirements plans as they are for your favorite dish. Some goals are more complex, requiring more varied avenues to work toward them. Your situation may require more time and different strategies to plan for retirement than another person’s, and that’s okay! And you absolutely want to “taste-test” your plans by meeting with your Wealth Management Advisor to make sure you’re on track or to make any adjustments to try to get back on course.

If you’re getting closer to your planned retirement age, check in with the Wealth Management Advisors to see if your retirement is on track by considering each step of the retirement checklist:

Retirement Budget
Understand what your income will look like in retirement so you can confidently spend your money.

Emergency Savings
The threat of emergencies doesn’t go away just because you’re no longer at risk for a job loss. Prepare by saving three to six months’ living expenses in an easily-liquidated source.

Taxes
Have a sound tax strategy will help you through the process of spending your retirement funds.

Lifestyle & Location
Have your plans for retirement changed regarding your housing options and location? If so, you may want to revisit your strategy.

Retirement Strategy
Planning the ‘when’ when it comes to tapping your 401(k), TSP or other retirement plan savings is a major part of being retirement-ready.1 And don’t forget about old retirement accounts from past employers! Use this time to bring all your retirement accounts together into one strategy. Make sure you're including all your past retirement accounts in your retirement strategy.

Estate Strategy
Retirement inevitably ends with your passing. Be ready for that day by planning how you want your assets to be distributed and who will handle your estate when you’re gone. Ask your Wealth Management Advisor about the exclusive Life Notes estate planning book from Kirtland Financial Services to help record your plan!

Health Insurance
Understand your options with Medicare and build a strategy for healthcare-related expenses.

Extended Care
Many retirees face health issues that require them to spend a portion of their retirement in long-term care facilities. Make sure you’ve planned for the possibility.
 
Social Security
Make sure you know how Social Security will factor into your income strategy.

Bucket List
It’s the best part of retirement! What are your goals and priorities going to be in retirement? Check in with your Wealth Management Advisor to help you stay on track.

Planning—following your recipe—can help you work toward a great final product. From the time you walk into your first job all the way through to deciding what will happen to your estate when you’re gone, planning helps you focus on your goals, not just react.

The professionals at Kirtland Financial Services specialize in helping you identify long-term goals and educating you on your options for working toward those goals. With a broad view of all your options, you will be able to more confidently make choices that are right for you.

Let Kirtland Financial Services help you with:
  • PROTECTION PLANNING - Do you have the right insurance options in place to protect your assets?
  • TAX PLANNING - How will tax laws impact you? 
  • INVESTMENTS - You have many options to try to grow your savings.
  • RETIREMENT PLANNING - It’s never too early to start.
  • ESTATE PLANNING  - Plan for the future you won’t see.
Work toward a delicious retirement!  Schedule your appointment today. 

 
1. Distributions from 401(k) plans and most other employer-sponsored retirement plans 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 70½, you must begin taking required minimum distributions.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
 

Investments Retirement


What kind of role can a financial professional play for an investor? The answer: a very important one. While the value of such a relationship is hard to quantify, the intangible benefits may be significant and long lasting.

A good financial professional can help an investor interpret today’s financial climate, define goals, and assess progress toward those goals. Alone, an investor may be challenged to do any of this effectively. Moreover, an uncounseled investor may make self-defeating decisions.

Some investors never turn to a financial professional. They concede that there might be some value in maintaining such a relationship, but they ultimately decide to go it alone. That may be a mistake.
 
No investor is infallible. Investors can feel that way during a great market year, when every decision seems to work out well. In long bull markets, investors risk becoming overconfident. The big-picture narrative of Wall Street can be forgotten, along with the reality that the market has occasional bad years.

This is when irrational exuberance can creep in. A sudden market shock may lead an investor into other irrational behaviors. Perhaps stocks sink rapidly, and an investor realizes (too late) that a portfolio is over weighted in equities. Or, perhaps an investor panics during a correction, selling low only to buy high after the market rebounds.
 
Often, investors grow impatient and try to time the market. Poor market timing may explain this divergence, according to financial research firm DALBAR.

In 2018, the average equity fund investor lost twice as much as the S&P 500. In January of 2019, investors were buyers again for only the 4th month out of the last 20. The average investor bought into an 8% advance in January and managed to outperform the S&P 500 by 0.57%. However, DALBAR, Inc. notes that a pat on the back may not be in order.

“This is a time where the average investor really needs coaching and perspective from a trusted expert. These last 6 to 8 months have been a silent killer of an investor’s portfolio. The average investor may be feeling like they successfully timed the market this time. After all, they sold during the horrible month of December and bought during the recovery of January.” said Cory Clark, Chief Marketing Officer at DALBAR, Inc. “This view can only perpetuate emotional investing and lead to devastating effects. The average investor lost a significant portion of their portfolio value in the second half of 2018 and January’s gains served only as a numbing agent to hide the sting that lies beneath.”

The other risk is that of financial nearsightedness. When an investor flies solo, chasing yield and “making money” too often become the top pursuits. The thinking is short term.

A good financial professional may help a committed investor and retirement saver stay on track. He or she can help the investor set a course for the long term, based on a defined investment policy and target asset allocations with an eye on major financial goals. The client’s best interest is paramount.

As the investor-professional relationship unfolds, the investor may begin to notice the intangible ways the professional provides value. Insight and knowledge inform investment selection and portfolio construction. The professional helps explain the subtleties of investment classes and how potential risk often relates to potential reward. Perhaps most importantly, the professional can help the client get past the “noise” and “buzz” of the financial markets to see what is really important to his or her financial life.
 
This is the value a financial professional helps brings to the table. You cannot quantify it in dollar terms, but you can certainly appreciate it over time.

The Wealth Management Advisors of Kirtland Financial Services value the client relationships above all else. Come meet the team, and experience the difference having a professional can make in your financial planning.

Learn more about Kirtland Financial Services now. 

Your first consultation is FREE. 

MAKE YOUR APPOINTMENT TODAY!

 
This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. 

DALBAR’S 2018 Quantitative Analysis of Investor Behavior (QAIB) study examines real investor returns from equity, fixed income and money market mutual funds from January 1984 through December 2018. The study was originally conducted by DALBAR, Inc. in 1994 and was the first to investigate how mutual fund investors’ behavior affects the returns they actually earn. The average equity investor return is measured using equity fund flows. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Citations. 1 - zacksim.com/heres-investors-underperform-market/ [5/22/17]

Investments Retirement Estate Planning

Where are all your important documents? Are they centralized and organized so you (or your family) could easily find needed information. Now is the time to get it together!

Before retirement begins, gather what you need. Put as much documentation as you can in one place, for you and those you love. It could be a password-protected online vault; it could be a file cabinet; it could be a file folder. Regardless of your method, by centralizing the location of important papers you are saving yourself from disorganization and headaches in the future.
 
What should go in the vault, cabinet or folder(s)? Crucial financial information and more. You will want to include:

  • Those quarterly/annual statements. Recent performance paperwork for IRAs, 401(k)s, funds, brokerage accounts and so forth. Include the statements from the latest quarter and the statements from the end of the previous calendar year (that is, the last Q4 statement you received). You no longer get paper statements? Print out the equivalent, or if you really want to minimize clutter, just print out the links to the online statements. (Someone is going to need your passwords, of course.) These documents can also become handy in figuring out a retirement income distribution strategy.

  • Healthcare benefit info. Are you enrolled in Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan? Are you in a group health plan? Do you pay for your own health coverage? Own a long-term care policy? Gather the policies together in your new retirement command center and include related literature so you can study their benefit summaries, coverage options, and rules and regulations. Contact info for insurers, HMOs, your doctor(s) and the insurance agent who sold you a particular policy should also go in here.

  • Life insurance info. Do you have a straight term insurance policy with no potential for cash value whatsoever? Keep a record of when the level premiums end. If you have a whole life policy, you need paperwork communicating the death benefit, the present cash value in the policy and the required monthly premiums.

  • Beneficiary designation forms. Few pre-retirees realize that beneficiary designations often take priority over requests made in a will when it comes to 401(k)s, 403(b)s and IRAs. Hopefully, you have retained copies of these forms. If not, you can request them from the account custodians and review the choices you have made. Are they choices you would still make today? By reviewing them in the company of a retirement planner or an attorney, you can gauge the tax efficiency of the eventual transfer of assets.1

  • Social Security basics. If you have not claimed benefits yet, put your Social Security card, your W-2 form from last year, certified copies of your birth certificate, marriage license or divorce papers in one place, and military discharge paperwork and a copy of your W-2 form for last year (or Schedule SE and Schedule C plus 1040 form, if you work for yourself), and military discharge papers or proof of citizenship, if applicable. Take a look at your Social Security statement that tracks your accrued benefits (online or hard copy) and make a screengrab of it or print it out.2

  • Pension matters. Will you receive a bona fide pension in retirement? If so, you want to collect any special letters or bulletins from your employer. You want your Individual Benefit Statement telling you about the benefits you have earned and for which you may become eligible; you also want the Summary Plan Description and contact info for someone at the employee benefits department where you worked.

  • Real estate documents. Gather up your deed, mortgage docs, property tax statements and homeowner insurance policy. Also, make a list of the contents of your home and their estimated value – you may be away from your home more in retirement, so those items may be more vulnerable as a consequence.

  • Estate planning paperwork. Put copies of your estate plan and any trust paperwork within the collection, and of course a will. In case of a crisis of mind or body, your loved ones may need to find a durable power of attorney or health care directive, so include those documents if you have them and let them know where to find them.

  • Tax returns. Should you only keep your 1040 and state return from the previous year? How about those for the past seven years? Or have you kept every one since 1982 or 1974? At the very least, you should have a copy of returns from the prior year in this collection.

  • A list of your digital assets. We all have them now, and they are far from trivial—the contents of a cloud, a photo library, or a Facebook page may be vital to your image or your business. Passwords must be compiled too, of course. 

This will take a little work, but you will be glad you did it someday. Consider this a Saturday morning or weekend project. It may lead to some discoveries and possibly prompt some alterations to your financial picture as you prepare for retirement.

Come talk to the Wealth Management Advisors at Kirtland Financial Services for a retirement check-up and make sure you’re on track!


MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
 
This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations:
1 - fpanet.org/ToolsResources/ArticlesBooksChecklists/Articles/Retirement/10EssentialDocumentsforRetirement/ [9/12/11]
2 - cbsnews.com/news/planning-for-retirement-take-inventory/ [3/18/13] )

Investments Retirement

As Americans, we can take pride in the many things we do well. But there’s one thing that we could all do better— saving for the future. 

If you are already saving for your retirement through your employer-sponsored savings plan, each contribution you make brings you closer to your retirement goal. But are you saving as much as you can? 

Given the uncertainty surrounding the Social Security system, maybe it’s time to rethink your own saving habits. 
  1. Apply a raise or bonus to retirement savings. Boosting your contribution rate with each increase in pay you receive to move you closer to the maximum contribution allowed by your employer—$18,500 to a 401(k) plan (workers age 50 and older may add an additional $6,000 in catch-up contributions, subject to plan limits). 
  2. Cut back household expenses. Small savings can add up. Set up a monthly budget of income and expenses to help you find ways to cut back more. 
  3. Forgo a tax refund. If you typically get a tax refund, consider revising your W-4 form to reduce your withholding. Your paycheck will grow, allowing you to increase the amount you save in your employer’s retirement plan. 
It really doesn't matter how you save. The important thing is to build your retirement account in ways that work for you.
 
The team at Kirtland Financial Services is ready to help you put together a retirement plan that works for you. And your initial consultation is absolutely free!

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