Don’t Miss These Year-End Retirement-Planning Deadlines

It’s not too late to ensure that your retirement planning is on track to maximize tax savings before the end of 2017. Understanding end-of-year deadlines can help you maximize your tax savings as well as prepare for another year of saving. “Tax planning should really start in January, not in November or December,” says Randall Luebke, a financial planner at Lifetime Paradigm. “That said, if you do wait, be sure to do everything you can to reduce the taxes you pay.” Now is the time to accelerate your tax-deductible expenses and put off receiving taxable income. Here are some tips. Consider Roth Accounts If you’ve been thinking about converting a traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, it’s a good time to make a decision and act because you must file forms by the end of the year. With Dec. 31 falling on a Sunday in 2017, experts recommend aiming for …

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Focusing on Employees’ Personal Financial Well-Being Pays Off

Personal finances can have a huge impact on your employees’ overall well-being. When you care about your employees and your organization, it’s a no-brainer — you make sure you’re including financial well-being in all workplace well-being efforts. According to PwC’s 2017 Employee Financial Wellness Survey, financial stress is costing companies. 53% of all employees are stressed about their finances. Nearly 1/3 of all employees are distracted by personal financial issues while at work. Almost 1/2 of them spend 3 hours or more each week handling personal finances at work. Those who are stressed about finances miss work on account of their personal financial issues and often cite health issues caused by financial stress. “These findings are concerning and potentially significant for companies looking to evaluate the return on investment of a financial wellness program,” wrote Kent E. Allison, a PwC Partner and National Practice Leader. But, let’s be honest, there is more at …

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Make the Most of Your Pretax Deductions

Don’t set it and forget it when it comes to pretax contributions. The money that comes out of your paycheck before taxes can work for you, but only if you manage it properly. Many employees mismanage or underutilize the pretax deduction programs that employers offer, says Joe Holberg, founder and CEO of Holberg Financial, so it’s important to learn as much as you can about your options. “The first major step is to know what is available to you. This is when you read the nitty-gritty paperwork, reach out to the HR person and figure out what portions of the pretax opportunities make sense for you.” Follow this checklist to get the most out of your pretax deductions. HSAs You can get a health savings account only if you have a high-deductible health plan — but once you open the account, it sticks with you even if you change jobs. …

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What Does the Future Hold for the Fiduciary Rule?

The U.S. Labor Department’s so-called fiduciary rule, proposed during the Obama administration, would change the status of some financial professionals under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). It was originally supposed to be implemented in phases earlier this year but ran into delays and reviews. Now, Rep. Ann Wagner, a Republican from Missouri, has introduced a bill that would make some changes to the latest ruling, including giving the Securities and Exchange Commission the lead on fiduciary regulation, in place of the DOL. “The fiduciary rule in its current form renders all investment professionals who work with retirement plans or advise retirement plans [as] fiduciaries under the ERISA definition,” says Raphael Katz, a partner at the law firm Sadowski Katz. This results in a strict standard against self-dealing, he says — but that could change. Here’s what you need to know. The Proposed Change Wagner and financial industry proponents …

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The Basics of Retirement Plan Fees

You know that putting away money for retirement is important, but do you know what it really costs to manage it on your behalf? Retirement plan fees vary widely, and it’s not always easy to get your hands on hard numbers, which can be frustrating. “The most important thing is to not let your frustration with the lack of transparency when it comes to fees keep you from taking action,” says Desmond Henry, founder of Afflora Financial Life Planning. “At the end of day, employer-sponsored retirement plans are a great benefit that oftentimes includes employer match contributions to help you save for your retirement.” Here’s what you need to know. You May Find That Fees Come in Many Forms Just looking for “fees” on the information you get from the plan sponsor won’t tell you what you’re looking for, because they’re not always called “fees.” Fees may be paid by …

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