A growing number of retirement planning experts are joining the chorus of people saying 401(k) plans no longer make sense for savers in recent articles on Motley Fool, Bloomberg, MarketWatch, and other major publications.
They’re lamenting that one of the biggest appeals of the 401(k) – the ability to make contributions with untaxed dollars in exchange for tax-deferred growth and withdrawals – is disappearing.
The national debt was already skyrocketing before the pandemic spurred the biggest fiscal stimulus programs in history. And a surge in unemployment has lowered tax revenue for federal and state governments.
What do governments typically do to counter budget deficits?
They raise taxes, of course!
And as taxes rise, deferring them in a 401(k) or IRA means you’ll pay more later – potentially a lot more.
Even before the pandemic, the Center for Retirement Research said people lose 25%-33% of the value of their 401(k) to taxes… and most people are shocked when it happens because they forget they’ll owe the IRS taxes on every penny they’ve put in and every penny of growth they’ve deferred.
Do you know what the tax rates will be in 20 or 30 years from now? For that matter, do you know what they’ll be next year or in two years?
[Read more…] “Why More Experts Are Now Saying It’s Time to Ditch Your 401(k)”
Herbert Whitehouse was one of the first proponents of the 401(k) 35 years ago, when he was a human resources executive at Johnson & Johnson.
Today the 65-year-old Whitehouse says he will have to work into his mid-70s if he wants to maintain his standard of living, after his own 401(k) took a hit in 2008.
Whitehouse is one of a chorus of early 401(k) supporters who have changed their minds.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reveals how pre-retirees at all income levels are falling short – way short – of the amount of money they need to have to be able to retire.
Fully half of those between ages 50-64 have less than one year of their income saved.
The top 10% (those making $251,000 or more annually) have an average of only two years of their income saved.
The article mentions that “financial experts recommend that people amass at least eight times their annual salary to retire.”
Those “experts” ought to have their heads examined, because even a $1 million nest-egg would provide you only $28,000 a year at the current recommended withdrawal rate of 2.8% per year. [Read more…] “Why Most Early Proponents of the 401(k) Now Say It’s a Failure”
In my first blog about costly retirement planning traps, I explained how conventional retirement plans put you in jeopardy of losing money you absolutely cannot afford to lose. Just because all the other lemmings choose to dive over the cliff, doesn’t mean you have to!
Now let’s look at the gremlins of conventional retirement plans that are decimating the nest egg you’re trying to build: FEES.
Do you even know how much you’re paying in fees each year for your retirement account? If you’re like most Americans, you don’t have a clue. The Employee Benefit Research Institute found that only half of 401(k) plan participants even noticed the fee information stuffed in the 14-page disclosure (that requires a magnifying glass to read and 3 years of law school to understand).
And almost no one makes any changes to their plan if they do read the fee disclosures.
Most folks just don’t think fees are all that important. Or, they think they’re unavoidable – sort of like death and taxes.
Wrong on both counts!
[Read more…] “How Hidden Fees Are Sabotaging Your Retirement Plan”
The problem isn’t so much what people don’t know, the problem is what people think they know that just ain’t so.”
— Will Rogers
Remember when you were absolutely certain about something that turned out to be false? Like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. Or how about the witch that hides under your bed waiting to attack so you have to flip the light switch then spring into your bed before she gets you? (Okay, maybe that one’s just me.)
In honor of National Financial Literacy Month, let me just debunk a few “things you know that just ain’t so”:
1. You’ll come out ahead by deferring your taxes, and that’s one of the prime benefits of retirement plans such as 401(k)s and IRAs
[Read more…] “5 Financial Myths that Are Destroying Your Wealth”
While doing my research for my new book (The Bank On Yourself Revolution, to be published on February 11), I came across four stunning new wealth-killing revelations about 401(k)’s and IRA’s.
If you have money in one of these plans, I urge you to read this advice about your 401K and/or IRA today to find out how to protect yourself from making costly mistakes:
Wealth-Killer #1: The fees you’re paying may be much higher than you think
I’ve written in the past about how Congress passed a law in 2006 protecting employers from liability as long as they automatically put employees’ contributions into certain types of mutual funds, known as “default” investments.
Target-date funds (TDF’s) have emerged as the default investment of choice. Unfortunately, they’ve also proven to be very risky AND they’re among the most costly mutual funds you can buy. (Would it surprise you to learn the mutual-fund industry lobbied Congress to get that law passed and make sure their interests were protected? Didn’t think so.)
So last month, an article in Forbes (“The Trouble With Target Funds”) revealed that, according to the prospectus of one popular target-date fund, your projected fees and expenses for each $10,000 invested is $2,478 over a ten-year period (assuming it grows at 5% a year).
That’s 25% of your savings!
So, if you had $300,000 in that fund for ten years, you’d get soaked for – are you sitting down? – $74,340! (And that’s just over a ten-year period!) It also doesn’t take into account all the other fees you’re charged in a 401(k).
The author of this article concluded…
[Read more…] “Important 401K and IRA Advice”
Here are summaries of four of the most interesting and thought-provoking items that have crossed my desk this week…
Forbes Magazine Shocker: Why your 401(k) isn’t what it’s cracked up to be!
A stunning article appeared in this week’s Forbes.1 Here are a few of the revelations you absolutely must know about, if you participate in a 401(k):
- 71% of 401(k) investors believe – wrongly – they pay nothing to participate in their plan, according to a recent survey
- On average, participants in small plans (which includes 90% of all employees) pay 1.9% in fees annually!
- Even paying fees of just 1.5% could wipe out one-third of your nest-egg
- In spite of all the noise about “fixing” the 401(k) through new disclosure rules that will be going into effect, they “could cause some 401(k) services to get even more costly.”