Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? Luke 14:28
Have you put much thought into your retirement strategy? Unfortunately, too many people don’t give this area of stewardship the attention it deserves. In Luke 14:28 we read a parable of simple planning habits that go a long way. There’s no question that we should approach our retirement planning with the same care. Planning for retirement doesn’t have to feel overwhelming. Just make sure you’re aware of what you should and shouldn’t do when defining your retirement strategy.
Cashing Out Between Jobs
If you’ve ever changed jobs, you know about the temptation to cash out your retirement plan. While it may not seem like much, taking just $1,000 as an early withdrawal can really hurt your retirement saving strategy. Not only does it reduce what you have set aside for your future, there are also financial penalties. If you’re under age 59½, you’ll have to pay a 10% penalty and the 401(k) company will generally withhold 20% for taxes. You’re much better off rolling the account over into an IRA or 403(b).
Retirement should be viewed as a marathon, not a sprint. Adjusting your entire retirement strategy based on the latest investment craze or the lure of a ‘guaranteed’ annuity can do more harm than good. In this case, the old saying, “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is,” couldn’t be more applicable. Before making a decision based on the idea of a higher return, first seek advice to make sure you’ve looked into all the fine print. Remember, higher returns are accompanied by higher risk.
Depending on a Spouse’s Retirement Plan
One of the most common misconceptions about saving for retirement is that only one spouse needs to have an account. While this might have worked for some people in the past, it’s not necessarily the best strategy for couples today. This is especially true if both spouses have an employer-sponsored retirement plan available through their work. Make sure you take advantage of any retirement match you can get through your employer-sponsored retirement plan.
Consolidate Old Retirement Accounts
Becoming financially organized is key to formulating a good retirement strategy. Part of that organization should include rolling over old 401(k) accounts from previous employers. Doing so could give you a better idea of where you stand when it comes to saving for retirement. Even more, you’ll likely eliminate some of the maintenance fees that you’re paying by keeping old accounts open.
Start Early. Start Now.
Compound interest is simple: the more time you have the greater your account will grow. A 25-year-old who starts to save now will need to put a much smaller amount into their account when compared to someone who is just starting at age 45. No, it’s not an exciting revelation. But it’s true. The earlier you start saving, the better off you’ll be in retirement. Regardless of your age, the right time to start is now.
Utilize Housing Allowance – MINISTERS ONLY
Ministers enjoy a special benefit that’s available through the 403(b) plan within their denominational retirement account. That benefit is called the Retired Ministers Housing Allowance. This allows ministers to receive tax-free withdrawals from their retirement account to cover housing expenses during their retirement years. Understanding this benefit could save you thousands of dollars in retirement and should be a strategy every minister should consider as they create their retirement plan.
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