Retirement Planning

Retirement is one of lifes biggest worries and retirement plans play a crucial role in providing a source of income in a persons retired years. Retirement can span up to a third of a lifetime. Retirement plans are much like saving for a 25-year vacation. To afford an expense of that magnitude a person needs to start planning early. Age has a critical impact on ones ability to save.

The Social Security system, company retirement policies and personal lifetime savings are the three sources from where funds are drawn to pay for expenses after retirement. There are several plans that benefit employers and employees alike. A qualified retirement plan is a plan that meets the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). The plan attracts many tax benefits.

A plan that does not meet the requirements of the IRC or ERISA is known as a non-qualified retirement plan. These plans are typically used to provide deferred compensation to key employees. The plan allows wider flexibility to an employer and therefore, they do not receive tax deductions until the employee receives proceeds from the plan.

A defined benefit plan is a traditional company pension plan. The retirement benefit is determinable as a dollar amount or as a percentage of wages. These plans are funded entirely by the employer and the responsibility for payment of the accompanying benefits rests with the employer.

A defined contribution plan is a retirement plan in which the contribution is defined, but the ultimate amount of benefit to be paid is not. The actual benefit at the time of retirement depends on the amount contributed over the years and on the investment performance of the account through the years. In this retirement plan, the investment risk may rest solely with the employee. These plans are known by various names such as money purchase, profit sharing, 401(k), or 403(b) plans.

An Individual Retirement Arrangement (IRA) is a personal retirement savings plan available to any individual, regardless of age, who receives taxable compensation during the year. Wages, salaries, fees, tips, bonuses, commissions and taxable alimony are all included.

Retirement plans are a long-term goal that requires steady, long-term saving. To ensure a comfortable retired life, studying and participating in at least some of the various retirement investment plans is critical.


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