Invest in Your Story: 7 Accounts to Optimize Saving
Updated: Feb 16
A long term investment strategy is a plan for your future. It aligns with the chapters of your memoir yet to be lived. Like that of making any plan, you first need to determine what will be written on the pages of your memoir. To get started, visualize what you desire from your golden years.
The desires can be as simple as not worrying about cash flow when you retire with your loved ones. Or, they may be more ambitious. You may want to learn how to fly a plane. Or, if you enjoy vacationing with extended family, you purchase a vacation home off the coast of Lake Michigan to enjoy with future generations of family. If you like to dream further ahead, you can even plan to pass on the property to your children in a trust. This will allow your grandchildren and children to continue to build memories long after you’ve left this beautiful planet.
Now that you have a few goals, the next step is to create a plan to reach each goal. This process requires your dedication, proper funding, as well as some maintenance costs. If you decide to take up flying, you may have to sign up for lessons. But, you may want to start investing now to purchase a plane.
The journey to meeting your goals may require more than merely funding your 401k plans and IRAs. It involves understanding future insurance needs, planning for tax obligations, reviewing asset allocations and diversification of investment portfolios. It should also include creating a strategy for your years without employment or passing the family business to your heirs.
Throughout the month of March, we will touch upon the different items you should address in your 40s, 50s, and 60s. For this week, we consider 7 accounts that can help maximize your savings toward the future. As a bonus for our loyal readers, you can download our checklist that will guide you in answering What Accounts Should I Consider If I Want to Save More?
7 Accounts to Optimize Saving
When you find yourself a need to invest towards the future, there are various accounts to consider.
Typical advice for an emergency savings fund is to have 6 months of liquidity available at all times. There are factors that may move this milestone. For example, if you’ve a spouse or partner and both of you have secure full-time positions then you may need only 3 months of living expenses available in a savings account. If you own a business with uncertain cash flows, 12 months might be more appropriate.
If you’ve access to a Flexible Savings Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) consider making a contribution. These are tax-deductible savings vehicles. Most FSA require funds to be spent or lost, while an HSA can be carried over year to year. With health costs being one of the most expensive costs incurred during retirement, it is well worth it to take advantage of an HSA.
If you’ve a retirement plan offered through your employer make sure you are contributing enough to maximize the amount of any match offered by the employer. Afterwards, contribute to an IRA (traditional if you need to lower your taxes today and Roth if you’d like to lower future tax payments).
If your employer offers an employee stock purchase plan (espp) or an employee stock ownership plan (esop) consider participating and review your selling strategy in advance. Lowering your tax bill and diversifying your esop to create a steady stream of retirement income are important objectives. Speak with your financial planner or CPA to create a plan.
Business Owner Savings
If you are a business owner you can contribute up to $58,000 ($64,500 if age 50 or over) in a 401k. And if you’ve children, offering them paid positions within the business can allow them to learn responsibility, save on their own and be taxed at their lower income bracket.
Accounts To Help Future Generations
If children or grandchildren are part of your family, consider giving them funds towards their 529 college savings plan each year. If you are interested in funding activities such as starting a business or learning a new skill for future generations, then consider a dynasty trust. A dynasty trust is created to pass wealth from generation to generation without incurring transfer taxes, such as estate and gift taxes.
Tax-Deferred Insurance Options
Have you considered the benefits of an annuity? Earnings on the premium paid can grow tax-deferred until the money is withdrawn. Have you looked into the benefits of buying a cash value life insurance policy? Death benefits are not taxable to your heirs and may be used to pay estate taxes.
Other Account Considerations
If you have maximized your tax-deferred accounts, and still are looking for additional wealth building opportunities, consider the benefits of a taxable brokerage account. And if you are charitably inclined, look into a Donor Advised Fund
Are you comfortable with your progress towards retirement? How about helping future generations meet their financial goals? If you have a net worth over $2 million and need help from a wealth manager, the Peak Wealth Planning team can assist you.
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About the Author
Peter Newman is a Chartered Financial Advisor (CFA) and president of Peak Wealth Planning. He works with individuals nationwide that have accumulated wealth through company stock, ESOP shares, real estate, or running a business. Peter applies his unique background to help clients achieve their specific goals and enjoy peace of mind.
Peak Wealth Planning provides concierge services to meet your wealth management needs. Services include: financial planning, investment management, esop diversification, retirement income, insurance, and estate planning advice. Peak Wealth Planning is a fee-based financial advisor based in Champaign, Illinois, and Fraser, Colorado.