Archive for May, 2014

Get The Best Up-To-Date Retirement Information For IRAs and 401ks

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Our Social Keyboard

Staying current with the retirement industry can be tough and even overwhelming. We want to make sure that we supply you with the best information so that your retirement can be what you always dreamed of. Beyond the general retirement information we specifically work to give you the best information in regards to the types of retirement accounts that available to you. Our expertise is working with IRAs and 401ks that allow you to invest in non-traditional investments. Most investment firms only allow you to invest in stocks and bonds with your retirement accounts. The IRS allows for many more investment types so why be strapped by a firm telling you that you can only invest in stocks and bonds? You don't have to be. With a self directed IRA and self directed 401k there are plenty of investment opportunities open to you. We want to keep you up-to-date as quickly as possible with the best information as possible. The following social accounts are for your benefit. Please follow us, enjoy the retirement and self directed account information and feel free to ask us any questions you may have.

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We are here to help inform you so that you can know everything you need to know to be able to invest how you want for your retirement. Of course we offer more than just information. We are your one stop shop for non-traditional investments in self directed accounts. We will help set up your self directed account or transfer your current IRA/401k into a self directed account. Contact us for more information so you can set up and invest with your retirement account today.


Gold Professionals Say Now Is The Time To Buy

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Buy Gold Today

Your retirement accounts can be invested in so many different things with so many different types of investments out there what do you invest in? Many times those setting up self directed IRAs and 401ks already have an idea what they want to invest in with their IRA or 401k. There are times though when you know you want to invest in something other than stocks and bonds but you just aren't sure what direction to go in. There are other times that when you have already invested in the majority of things you wanted to with your IRA but you have some extra money that you aren't sure what to do with.  Investing in precious metals could be a great option for you. Right now could be a great time to buy gold and so you may want to think about investing in gold while signs point to costs going up for gold.

The following video from CNBC suggests that gold could be a great buy right now and that there is a good chance that it is headed up soon.

Gold could be a great investment right now. The previous video points out that the price right now is a great price to buy at and that more than likely is only going up from here. With those reasons alone gold could be the investment your retirement needs. Typically when investing in gold through your IRA it is called a gold IRA or a gold backed IRA. What else makes gold a great long-term investment for your retirement account? The following are more reasons gold is a great investment as well as some some great rules to help you invest more wisely in gold or silver through a self directed IRA or 401k.

  • Always buy from a reputable source.
  • You cannot buy rare or collector coins inside of an IRA.
  • Make sure the depository where your IRA funds are stored is insured and secured.
  • Choose an IRA custodian who has a good reputation and track record.
  • All metals stored in a Self Directed IRA are kept private.
  • You cannot store metals at your house without it being considered a distribution.

Check out our article on gold and silver in your retirement account for more info on why gold is a great option for your retirement account.


It’s Easy To Invest In What You Want With An IRA Or 401k

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

Alternative Investments

Investing in your retirement should be as easy as possible. You shouldn't have to worry about the setting up your account or all the ins and outs of paperwork. It should be done for you in a timely and easy manner. At Accuplan Benefits Services we are your one stop shop for alternative investing with your retirement accounts. We specialize in self directed IRAs and self directed 401ks. If you are new to self directed investing with your IRA and 401k you are in for a treat. A self directed IRA and 401k allow you to invest in things other than the typical stocks and bonds. You are able to invest in things like real estate and gold but you aren't limited to just those investments. As long as you follow the rules set up by the IRS you can invest in just about anything.

Why haven't you heard of this before? Mainly because some of the most popular financial firms don't allow for these types of investments. The biggest reasons why they may not allow for these types of alternative investments can be different depending on the firm but the most common reaons they don't allow for these types of investments are because they make money buy pushing other investment options to you or because it simply isn't their expertise. Regardless of the reasons you must find someone that does allow for alternative investment options through a self directed account. Accuplan Benefits Services fills this void. Investing in alternative investments is as easy as these 5 simple steps.

  • Step 1 – Fill Out Application

    • Use our online account application and setup your account in minutes or download the application and print the document.
  • Step 2- Photo ID

    • If you filled out your application online you only need to send us a copy of your photo ID. If you printed out your application we need you to send it to us along with a copy of your photo ID.
  • Step 3- Transfer Funds

    • We have your funds transferred per the transfer request instructions.
  • Step 4- Direction Of Investment

    • Complete our Direction of Investment form along with the supporting investment documents.
  • Step 5- Investments Funded

    • We fund your investment per the Direction of Investment form.

These are the typical steps to investing in alternative investments with an IRA or 401k.

For more information about self directed investing with your retirement accounts contact us today. We are here to help you get the most out of your retirement account.


Are Women Or Men More Likely To Live In Poverty During Retirement

Monday, May 19th, 2014

Who is more likely to go into poverty while in retirement? Men or women?

After doing my scrape of the financial news as I usually do I came across a subject that I have covered before, "Far more women than men are finding themselves in poverty during their retirement years". As I have covered this before I will share some of my previous insights along with some new ones to hopefully shed some light as to why women are at a much higher risk than men to live in poverty during retirement.

Women Earn & Save Less

This is the obvious assumption that most would point to and while it is a big factor it isn't the only. Regardless, you still need to keep in mind that women typically make 77 cents to every dollar a man makes. Because of this their Social Security is affected along with the ability to save for retirement.  

Women Have Part-Time Jobs

Female workers make up roughly two-thirds of all part-time employees. The majority of these jobs don't even come with some type of employer-sponsored retirement benefits.

This is just another reason as to why they are more likely to fall into poverty while in retirement.

Women Work Less

The average length women work is roughly 12 years less than men do over the whole course of their careers according to AARP. Do you know how Social Security benefits are figured out? They are based on a worker's top 35 years of earnings. Leaving the work force while you are at the top of your game could hinder your Social Security benefits. 12 years is a significant amount of time and plays a roll into why women are more susceptible to poverty while in retirement.

Living Longer Means Higher Costs

Women on average live longer than men. Living longer means that you'll need more money over the long haul. Over time the cost of medical hasn't been going down but up. Which means the longer you live typically the more you will pay to medical costs.

These are just a few of the reasons as to why women are more likely to fall into poverty while in retirement but there happens to be a few more reasons that are far more alarming to me. The following are some of the biggest and most worrisome issues that need to be corrected now to help women get on track with their retirement.

Percent of Pay To Retirement Accounts

The percent of pay they are putting into retirement accounts is less than men. Why are they putting in less? Is there anything that could possibly explain why women are putting in a lower percent of their pay than men? Yes, there is actually something that could point as to why women are doing this. It could be because women compared to men typically understate how much they are going to need for retirement. Add that to the fact that women typically live longer and health costs are rising and you have a recipe for disaster. You must overestimate how much you are going to need because it is much better to come to retirement realizing you have more than you need than not enough.

Not Taking Advantage of Retirement Accounts

Another alarming factor that needs to be corrected is that women are not taking full advantage of contribution matches from their employee as often as men do. It is hard to even find companies that offer retirement plans and match options. If you happen to be available for a company retirement plan take advantage especially if the company offers a match. If you aren't taking full advantage of a match you are missing out on free money. I am not sure why women are not taking full advantage of contribution matches as often as men but it may play back to the previous issue that women tend to underestimate how much they are actually going to need for retirement. If that is the case they more than likely just don't think they need it and will be fine when retirement comes.

It is sad to hear the facts that women are more likely to fall into poverty during retirement than men. In fact, it is sad to hear anyone fall into poverty during retirement. Retirement is supposed to be the time where we can actually enjoy the fruits of our labors. It is supposed to be a time of happiness and relaxation. Now it doesn't need to be perfect but don't we want it to be the best we can make it? Now is the time to start planning for your retirement. Take advantage of time while you still have it. To start the planning process check out


Set Up Your Retirement Plan

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Retirement Guide

Retirement planning can be quite tough and overwhelming. Where do you start? With so much information out there how do you know you are getting the right information? My first advice is that if you are reading this you are on the right track because you probably care about your retirement and want to make the most of your retirement. If you are worried about retirement planning information you can probably weed out the bad information yourself. As a general rule if it seems like something that would generally improve your retirement then it probably is decent information. As for me here at Accuplan Benefits Services I only give advice that I myself try to keep and believe in. There are financial planners out there that only recommend investments or plans that only benefit them but that they wouldn't invest in themselves. If you financial planner is recommending something but wouldn't invest in it himself/herself you will want to take a longer look at if to see if it is truly a wise decision for you. The following are the ideas I believe in and try to follow for my retirement plan.

Setting Up Your Retirement Plan

As you begin to start thinking about your retirement it is vital to take all the appropriate steps to make sure you get the most from your retirement. Time is one of the biggest assets for retirement planning. The earlier you start planning and saving for retirement the bigger impact you can have on your retirement. Start today and take advantage of time. Figuring out where to start can be hard so hopefully some of these steps will help you jump start your retirement whether you are retiring in in 5 years, 15 years or even more than 30 years. While there are plenty of retirement planners who can help you with the whole process I don't believe that you should solely rely on their input. If you do use a retirement planner knowing these tips can help you with checks/balances for your retirement planner. You are the person that cares most about your retirement the more input and knowledge you can bring to the table the better you will be prepared for retirement.

Start Gathering Info

Start figuring out the data and gathering as much information about where you are at currently. Some simple questions to ask yourself are:
Do I have anything saved currently in any retirement accounts? If so, how much?
Does my employer offer any retirement benefits/plans? Do they offer a match? Are you contributing? Are you maximizing the match?
When Do you plan on retiring? 62 is the earliest you can start drawing from Social Security and 70 is the latest.
These are some of the basic questions you need to know to start the planning process.

Figure Out Your Retirement Goal

Once you know the answers to the above questions you can start to plan your retirement more accurately. You can also start using some online calculators that are actually pretty good at helping you figure out how much you are going to need by the time you retire and if you will actually be able to hit that goal. Currently my favorite calculator is by CNNMoney go check it out. You can also read about all the details that make up the calculator. It is a lot more in-depth than it looks. I like it because it is easy to use and still packs a bunch of data. I also like the retirement calculator by Bloomberg check it out. You can use these both of these calculators to compare and contrast as far as to where you should actually be for your own retirement and how much you have to contribute each year to get there. One you have a decent idea of where you need to be by the time you retire you can then move to the next step of the process.

Set Up Budget To Accomplish Goal Contributions

Now that you know what your yearly contributions are start contributing!  If you feel like that is a whole lot easier said than done and you aren't sure you'll be able to contribute the amount you need to each year then you must look at the numbers. Look at your financial situation. How much are you spending and how much are you saving? If you aren't saving enough to be able to make your contributions what are you spending your money on? Are you spending on wants or needs? You must be really honest about this step. If you are not honest about this step and don't take measures to cut your spending on the items/services that aren't vital to your life (Cable TV is more than likely a want) than you have a good chance that you're going to be short on your yearly contributions. In order to get to where you need to be for your retirement you may need to downsize certain things and you might even need to change your lifestyle dramatically. Retirement is important though and you don't want to arrive at retirement wishing you saved a lot more money, especially when many of us spend a lot of money on stuff that doesn't matter nor that gives us lasting memories. Another important thing to do when creating your budget is to figure out how much you need to contribute on a per-pay-check basis. If your company offers retirement benefits setting up a per-pay-check contribution to your retirement account is quite easy. They may also offer a certain % match. It is wise to at least max out the contribution so you get the full match.  It is a very smart decision to contribute on a per-pay-check basis because it is so much easier to spend extra money when you have it in your wallet or bank account. If your company doesn't offer retirement benefits and you're contributing to your own set up automatic payments to your retirement account that way you won't have to worry about spending it and it will force you to live off of a smaller amount. it is amazing how resourceful we can be when we have to be!

Contribute To The Best Retirement Account For Your Situation

Making sure you have the best retirement account for your situation is important. If you work for a company that offers retirement benefits it is most wise to contribute to that account. Those accounts are 401k accounts. If you do not the next most popular option is the IRA. 401ks and IRAs are basically the same thing except that 401ks are company sponsored plans. One of the biggest questions you'll have to answer for your account is whether you want a traditional or Roth account, whether it be a 401k or an IRA. Knowing the differences between a traditional and Roth is quite important to have the best nest egg as possible. To find out which account is right for your read more at Which Is Right For You? Traditional Or Roth? The same basic rules apply to 401ks and IRAs

Now That You Are Contributing Figure Out Your Investments

So you have started contributing to your retirement account but what are you investing in? Most retirement accounts are invested in stocks and bonds but you don't have to be limited to only those investments. Most retirement professionals suggest a diversified portfolio. A diversified portfolio is crucial to minimize a down economy. You may want to diversify with more tangible investments. These tangible investments are called non-traditional investments and some of the most popular non-traditional investments are real estate, gold, silver and private placements. In order to invest some of your retirement into these types of accounts you must set up a self directed IRA or self directed 401k with a custodian that allows self directed investing. Regardless of the type of investments you want to be invested in with your retirement account it is important that you know what you are invested in. You may find out that you are not comfortable with the investments you currently have and that is ok because there are lots of options. The more you know the more you can benefit your retirement.

These Changes That Can Affect Your Retirement

There are plenty of things that can affect your retirement in a negative or even positive way but these are a few you need to remember because they can have a big negative impact on your retirement account.

  • Your Lifestyle- As you age so does your lifestyle and because of that the retirement you want may be completely different than it was 10 years earlier. You change over time so make sure that your retirement plan stays up to par with those changes.
  • Your Career- While it is obvious that your career has a lot to do with how great your retirement can be but what about the length of the career? As you get closer to retirement you may get burnt out much quicker. You may have had the idea to retire at 65 but because of current work conditions or even health you may retire before that original retirement date. If this is the case for you you must change your retirement plan and expectations. You more than likely won't have the same amount you originally planned for and because of that won't be able to receive as much each year.
  • Inflation- If you aren't paying attention to inflation then you could arrive at retirement realizing that much of what you thought you had won't go nearly as far and because of infaltion.
  • Time- You may think about holding off saving for retirement until you are making more money and can then contribute more to your retirement plan. This is very bad idea and one of the worst things you can do for your retirement. Starting today has a huge impact on your retirement. I as well as many other retirement professionals wrote about how important it is to start early. If your curious to see how it really breaks down money wise take a loot at, Excuses That Can Ruin Your Retirement.

Things To Keep In Mind

Keep these things in mind when planning for your retirement and to make sure you are doing what is best for your retirement.

  • Get the best deal with social security- Those who were born between 1943 and 1954 have a full retirement age of 66 and those born after that time at 67. If you were to claim Social Security at 62 you would get 25% less than if you waited until 66. Even more shocking is the fact that if you were to wait until 70 (you can't defer any longer than this)  you would receive 76% more than at 62. The longer you wait to take Social Security the bigger affect it will have on your retirement. The longer you can hold out from claiming Social Security the less you'll need to withdrawal from your retirement accounts when you finally do claim Social Security.
  • How much will you withdrawal each year during retirement-  Most retirement planners suggest a 4% rule but with so many variables there is still a possibility that you could run out of money before you retire. Lowering your withdrawal percent to 3% can drastically prolong your money. Make sure you aren't taking too much out each year when you finally retire. The least amount possible will allow it to last longer.
  • Health costs- Health care costs typically rise the older you get. Let's look at the facts, men who typically pay the average amount on prescriptions needs $122,000 saved by the time he retires. A women would need $139,000. This is just for prescriptions! The thing to remember with this is that you'll have higher health care costs in retirement. Make sure your nest egg can handle it all.
  • As you age your spending goes down- All things aren't grim. Don't just assume because you just started retirement and your spending seems too high that your money won't last. The older you get the less dependencies you'll have. There is some light at the end of the tunnel!

Hopefully these steps and thoughts have helped you reevaluate or set up your retirement plan. One last bit of advice would be to seriously rehash your retirement plan at least every 5 years. Go through every step of the process and make sure you are still heading in the right direction. Make sure that if your lifestyle has changed that you put that into your retirement. You need to look at every aspect of your retirement during this reevaluation. The closer you get to retirement the more vital this checkup gets. If you can do a yearly checkup of your retirement plan that would be ideally but no less than every 5 years because things change and you need to keep your retirement in tune with that change.

Retirement is such an important step in our journey we call life. Make the best of your retirement by taking the time to plan as much of your retirement as possible. If you need more retirement information, especially information about self directed IRAs and 401ks please feel free to contact us today. We are here to help diversify your retirment by allowing you to invest in what you want through self directed retirement accounts.