As retirement day approaches, your company’s human resources division might prompt you regarding how to proceed with your pension funds. Family and co-workers will suggest a range of options. Nevertheless until you have a clear idea on how well you see yourself sailing through your retirement years, avoid making permanent decisions. Irreversible decisions are the ones that cause significant loss of your pension funds to taxes, or reduce how you may obtain your money. It is just not necessary to make this kind of decision until you’re comfortable with doing so, to ensure that they fit properly into your retirement plans.
Annuitizing (opting for monthly lifetime payments) the pension funds is an irreversible choice. Not just does it eliminate access to your principal for other choices, you lock in a lower amount than you would should you make the same decisions at a later age (the older you are, the higher the payments from any annuitization option). Again, hold off till you clarify your retirement plans.
A decision to merely cash out your organization pension funds would most likely trash 1/3 of it to taxes. That is simply because a large one-time addition to your income would force you right into a much higher tax bracket. Delay this decision. And realize when you do need that money; there are less taxing ways to access it.
You are able to delay your choices by rolling your pension funds directly into an IRA (assuming that the lump sum withdrawal option is available). Doing this will not set off any taxation on your savings, will preserve complete protection against creditor claims (in the case of bankruptcy), and will offer you the option to invest those financial savings in almost any way you want. Your IRA may allow withdrawal choices for your beneficiary – should you die suddenly – that your company plan doesn’t offer.
Note that if you like the lifetime payment option, you can always purchase a commercial annuity in your IRA and get the same (or even greater benefit) that your company offers.
Lastly, be sure to not rush investing your IRA pension funds too conservatively. At sixty-five, you have an average of seventeen years of life expectancy (50% of individuals who reach age sixty-five pass away by age 82, 50% pass away after age 82). That is obviously a ‘long term’ investing period during which inflation can significantly cut in to the value of your portfolio. So don’t opt for 1% certificates a the bank. Seek out the assistance of a retirement advisor to build a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds.
Rushing into an overly conservative portfolio balance can rob you of the growth that, historically, equity investing can provide you over the long run. You’ll need that growth to extend – or at least preserve – the ‘after inflation’ worth of your portfolio. Be aware that no investment strategy could assure a hedge against inflation or profit, and investments with higher return potential have higher risk of loss.
Lay Out Your Retirement Strategies
When concerns of work and challenges of your imminent retirement subside, map out a fair course for the pension funds. These days, many people intend to gradually phase into full-time retirement. Perhaps have a long vacation first to relax. Then try a part-time job to determine what is pleasant work for you. Perhaps develop a second profession for a while.
It is best to test different options that will help you elucidate what you wish to accomplish, and what you could do. Doing so will give you a better concept of how much retirement income you need – and when.