Retain Five Years’ Worth of Spending in Financial Accounts
An IRA retirement account is a great way to have control over what stocks are being invested in. The owner of the account has the power of decision regarding what stocks to buy and how much to contribute. Currently, the stock market is a bear market, and equity indexed annuity until the bulls arrive, the best thing to do is use funds from a cash reserve. Financial advisors suggest avoiding any sales of stocks. The vice-president of Charles Schwab & Co. suggests that each investor should have at least 5 years’ worth of spending money in available financial accounts. During the first year, cash deposits and mutual funds should be used. Following that year, long-term certificates of deposit and short-term bonds should be used.
If you are still in the work force, take part of your paycheck and place it into a liquid account. Continue making contributions to your traditional IRA accounts, as well as any other retirement accounts you may hold. This includes Traditional IRA retirement accounts and Roth IRA accounts. If you are retired and are using your retirement savings to live on, the best thing to do is place mutual fund distributions into a money-market fund. This is the best alternative to reinvesting.
Home Equity & Line of Credit Investments
If you do not want to dip into your accounts, a home-equity loan is a great way to get some emergency funds. It may be difficult to get a line of credit due to the falling home values, but your lender may approve the loan, especially if you have a lot of equity in the home. If you already have a line of credit, it may be beneficial to consider taking the money out and placing it in safe investments. John Ulzheimer, the president of consumer education at Credit.com, warns individuals that this process will reflect the debt on your credit report.
Cash Funds Investments
Despite the failing stock market, there are safe places for cash. Banks are one of the safest places to place your cash funds. Through the end of this year, Congress has raised the federal limit for deposit insurance. It reflects an increase from $100,000 to $250,000. Yet another safe place for cash with guaranteed principle protection and guaranteed tax free rates of return is Roth on Roids.
Certificates of Deposit Investments
Still another safe investment is certificates of deposit. These are usually available through small banks and credit unions. It is also possible to get a good deal on a certificate through an online bank.
Money Funds Investments
If you have new funds, watch for funds with high yields. They are usually more risky than other investments. The best way to keep your money safe is to choose a money fund that offers a yield that is within a few points of the target rate set by the Federal Reserve’s federal funds rate.
After reviewing your entire portfolio, which should include your IRA retirement account, mutual funds, bonds and other stock investments, there are still other things to consider. Making sure you will maintain the money you have already saved for retirement is the ultimate goal here.
Take any steps possible to raise your credit score. This can be done by consolidating debt and reducing the number of credit cards you use, especially those with high interest. A good credit score will be a huge asset in the future.
Withdrawing from your IRA?
Individuals that planned for retirement by opening an IRA account may be on the losing end these days. Typically, to make use of IRA retirement income, the rule of thumb is to withdraw 4% of the retirement savings during the first year of retirement. Each following year should increase by 3%. It may not be in the best interest of retirees to follow this rule during the bear market. How much you are able to withdraw will depend on the IRA withdrawal rules. They differ for traditional and Roth IRA accounts.
The suggested 4% may be too much for recent retirees. If they withdraw while the market is declining, it will be very difficult to recoup these losses. This is where a Roth IRA can be of benefit. Based on Roth IRA rules, there are no required withdrawals when an individual reaches 70 ½, and the person can continue to contribute to the account. This is a great way to continue saving and building your nest egg for when the market begins to climb again.
Those who were planning to retire soon may want to reconsider their decision. Working for another year or two will not only provide you with steady income, but will also aid in building your current portfolio and raising the amounts in your IRA accounts.
Save on Taxes: Transferring from Traditional to Roth IRA
Do whatever is possible to save on taxes. One way to do this is to undo a Roth IRA conversion. If your IRA account has decreased because of the market, you will be paying taxes on the amount that has been lost. For example, if you began with $100,000 in traditional IRA accounts, the accounts are now worth less because of the market downfall. If you converted to a Roth IRA, the beginning balance of the accounts for the year would be taxed. That means you would be taxed on the $100,000, not the lesser amount that is currently in the accounts.
Despite the downward spiral of the economy, there are ways to continue saving and ways to protect your retirement savings. Even with their limitations, IRA retirement accounts continue to be one of the best options when planning for retirement, regardless of the stock market standings.