Companies seeking to reduce costs continue to offload pension liabilities at a record pace. Pension buyouts swelled to $23 billion in 2017, a 68 percent increase over the prior year. With rising interest rates and lower corporate taxes, an increasing number of companies are seeing their pension funding levels rise enough to make transferring their pension liabilities to an insurance company through terminal funding and other pension risk transfer strategies.
The highly anticipated Tax Cuts and Job Act signed into law in December 2018 is the most significant tax legislation enacted since the 1980s. Most taxpayers across the spectrum – both individual and business – come out ahead with the reduction in tax rates, the increase in the standard deduction, and the business income deduction for many small businesses. The tax treatment of investment income from capital gains and dividends is left untouched. The tax advantages of annuities, long considered a target of policymakers as a source of new tax revenue, also escaped unscathed. For now, annuities maintain their tax-favored status and remain a viable investment option and planning tool for many different purposes.
For Investors on the glide path to retirement, they have a nine-year bull market to thank for rescuing their retirement plans. In 2017, the surging stock market produced double-digit gains in all sectors except energy, which means, if you were invested in stocks, you did well. For pre-retirees preparing to transition into retirement over the next five to ten years, it may be the perfect opportunity to lock in some gains and protect them to maximize future income.
All retirees must plan today for the possibility that they will experience significant long-term care health expenditures. Large unplanned expenses, such as those relating to long-term care, have the potential to wreak havoc on a retirement income plan.
When long-term care insurance (LTCI) was first introduced more than 40 years ago, the first baby boomers were in their early thirties. Back then it was a popular product because it was a reasonably priced way for young and healthy boomers to protect their assets against likely need for long-term care.
Establishing an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) is a great way to build retirement assets and being able to designate beneficiaries simplifies the issue of passing it on after death. However, a lot can happen once it is passed on to the primary beneficiary (usually the spouse) and beyond to contingent beneficiaries (the children) that can produce harmful, unintended consequences. If leaving a legacy that can endure is your goal, simply naming beneficiaries on your IRA is not the way to go.
In the context of an asset allocation strategy, bonds serve two primary purposes: 1) to provide steady income and 2) to counter the volatility of the equity portion of the portfolio and provide stability. How has that been working for you?