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Retirement

What To Do With Your Pension Plan

Enjoy your 8 free chapters from Prechter’s Conquer the Crash — the book that foresaw what others have missed.

By Editorial Staff

There is no question that Robert Prechter’s Conquer the Crash foresaw and explained nearly every chapter of today’s financial crisis, years before it happened. Enjoy your 8 free chapters from the book with this free Club EWI report; here’s a quick excerpt from chapter 23, “What To Do With Your Pension Plan.” Note especially the last two paragraphs.

Make sure you fully understand all aspects of your government’s individual retirement plans. In the U.S., this includes such structures as IRAs, 401Ks and Keoghs. If you anticipate severe system-wide financial and political stresses, you may decide to liquidate any such plans and pay whatever penalty is required. Why?

Because there are strings attached to the perk of having your money sheltered from taxes. You may do only what the government allows you to do with the money. It restricts certain investments and can change the list at any time. It charges a penalty for early withdrawal and can change the amount of the penalty at any time.

What is the worst that could happen? In Argentina, the government continued to spend more than it took in until it went broke trying to pay the interest on its debt. In December 2001, it seized $2.3 billion dollars worth of deposits in private pension funds to pay its bills.

In the 1930s, the world heard a lot of populist rhetoric about why “rich” people should be plundered for the public good. It is easy to imagine such talk in the next crisis, directed at requiring wealthy people to forfeit their retirement savings for the good of the nation.

With the retirement setup in the U.S., the government need not be as direct as Argentina’s. It need merely assert, after a stock market fall decimates many people’s savings, that stocks are too risky to hold for retirement purposes. Under the guise of protecting you, it could ban stocks and perhaps other investments in tax-exempt pension plans and restrict assets to one category: “safe” long-term U.S. Treasury bonds.

Then it could raise the penalty of early withdrawal to 100 percent. Bingo. The government will have seized the entire $2 trillion — or what’s left of it given a crash — that today is held in government-sponsored, tax-deferred 401K private pension plans. I’m not saying it will happen, but it could, and wouldn’t you rather have your money safely under your own discretion?

Read the rest of Conquer the Crash Chapter 23, “What To Do With Your Pension Plan,” online now, free!  Right now, you can download the 8-chapter Conquer the Crash Collection, free. It includes:
Chapter 10: Money, Credit And The Federal Reserve Banking System
Chapter 13: Can The Fed Stop Deflation?
Chapter 23: What To do With Your Pension Plan
Chapter 28: How To Identify A Safe Haven
Chapter 29: Calling In Loans & Paying Off Debt
Chapter 30: What You Should Do If You Run A Business
Chapter 32: Should You Rely On The Government To Protect You?
Chapter 33: Short List of Imperative ‘Do’s’ & ‘Don’ts”

Visit Elliott Wave International to learn more about the free Conquer the Crash Collection.


Elliott Wave International (EWI) is the world’s largest market forecasting firm. EWI’s 20-plus analysts provide around-the-clock forecasts of every major market in the world via the internet and proprietary web systems like Reuters and Bloomberg. EWI’s educational services include conferences, workshops, webinars, video tapes, special reports, books and one of the internet’s richest free content programs, Club EWI.

$1 Million May Not be Enough for Retirement

by Joe Mont
provided by TheStreet.com

Conventional wisdom says you need to save $1 million for retirement.

That target may be easy to remember, but it falls short of the true cost of what’s required for post-career comfort. Longer life spans, the threat of inflation and the uncertain future of Social Security benefits make this long-touted savings advice inadequate for most, advisers say.

Scottrade recently polled 226 registered investment advisers on the topic and found that 71% don’t believe $1 million is enough for the average American family. Most said families need to save double, or more than triple, the amount.

“Younger generations, especially, need to set their retirement goals higher than other generations and start saving as early as possible,” says Craig Hogan, Scottrade’s director of customer-relationship management and reporting.

The survey solicited opinions about the current investment habits of Americans. Questions were broken down by generations to determine advisers’ opinions on average investment goals in today’s dollars for various groups.

Generation Y (ages 18 to 26) needs to save at least $2 million, according to 77% of advisers. Forty percent put the figure at $3 million.

Nearly half of advisers (46%) said Generation X (ages 27 to 42) should at least double the $1 million goal. Twenty-two percent suggested more than $3 million.

For Boomers (ages 43 to 64), 35% recommended $2 million to $3 million. Thirty percent suggested $1.5 million to $2 million.

According to Scottrade’s analysis, seniors are the only generation that may come close to needing only $1 million. Forty-four percent of advisers said $500,000 to $1.5 million is sufficient for average families in that age bracket.

Bill Smith, president of Ohio-based Great Lakes Retirement Group, is among the advisers who took part in the survey. As he sees it, too many people rely on online retirement calculators. Much of that guidance uses a target based on making do with 70% to 80% of pre-retirement income.

“I’ve never been a big fan of planning to earn less in retirement than you are making now,” he says. “I’d like to see an individual continue making the same amount of retirement as when he was working. Who wants to set themselves up in retirement to make less?”

While most people will spend less when they retire, inflation or the onset of a long-term illness could wipe out savings without proper protection or planning.

That said, there’s no secret to meeting a retirement goal: maximize your contribution rate, have a greater tolerance for risk when you’re younger and downshift to bonds as you grow older. Successful preparation, however, begins with setting a realistic goal and understanding your true financial picture.

Debt needs to be carefully considered as well as leaving money for the kids.

“There are two extremes,” Smith says. “There are individuals who say, ‘We don’t care if we have anything left the day we die — we are OK with that last check bouncing when we are gone.’ Then there are the individuals who don’t do anything in retirement because all of their decisions are made around, ‘I’ve got to leave it for the kids.’ ”

— Reported by Joe Mont in Boston.

Copyrighted, TheStreet.Com. All rights reserved.

Retirement

Overview

Types of Retirement Accounts

  • 401(k)
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • SEP IRA

Articles

Resources

Pension Rights Center: The Pension Rights Center is the country’s only consumer organization dedicated solely to protecting and promoting the pension rights of American workers, retirees and their families.

Motley Fool Retirement Center:

Morningstar 401k Guide: Your 401(k) may end up being your largest retirement asset. That’s why it’s crucial for you to make the most of it. Here are the key questions that anyone investing in a 401(k) needs to ask–and answer.

WiserAdvisor: Their sophisticated matching system is designed to objectively help individuals quickly and easily find the ideal retirement advisor to meet their unique needs. It’s free and confidential, takes just 5 minutes, there’s no obligation, and you select the specific advisors you want to be contacted by.

ThirdAge: Guide to retirement planning.