I want to talk about Four Strategies To Help You Get The Most Out Of Your 401K Plan.
As many of you know if you’ve watched any of my other videos you know that the 401K plan is not necessarily my favorite savings vehicle for retirement, but there are a couple of reasons why you might still want to do a 401K plan.
Number one is the Company Match. If your company’s matching you any portion of your 401K contributions, that’s basically free money. That’s very hard to pass up. I would definitely make sure that you’re taking advantage of your 401K plan at least enough to do that full match.
The second one is at that There Are Higher Contribution Limits on a 401K Plan Versus an IRA Account. For an IRA Account if you’re under 50 for 2017 you can contribute $5,500 a year. If you’re over 50 usually it goes up to $6,500 a year, but a 401K plan you can contribute $18,000 if you’re under 50 and you can contribute $24,000 a year if your 50 years old or older, so the higher contribution limits are another reason that the 401K plan might make sense.
The final one is There’s No Income Restrictions on 401K Plans, so anybody pretty much can contribute to a 401K plan regardless of your income where as as you probably know and I’ve talked about this in some other videos that if you make too much money you may lose your ability to contribute to a traditional IRA Account and take a tax deduction or if you make too much money you may not be able to contribute to a Roth IRA Account at all.
Even then, there may still be some reasons that you want to do the 401K plan and so here are the four strategies to make sure you’re getting the most out of it. We just talked about it but the match. Again make sure that if you have a match make sure you’re contributing at least enough to get that full matching contribution from your company.
Another option that may be available in your 401K plan it’s getting more more popular, but there could be a self directed 401K option. And basically what this is it’s a separate account within your 401K plan that can give you access to a whole bunch of additional investment options that are not part of the name 401K menu. So as you know one of the reasons that I don’t like 401K plans sometimes is because they have a very limited investment menu, so having that self-directed option opens up that to give you some more investment choices.
The third one is in-service withdrawals. So again because you may be limited on what you can invest in inside your 401K plans and there may be fees on the 401K plan as well you could look into the option of doing what’s called an in-service withdrawal and some companies allow you to move sometimes all or a portion of your 401K plan over into your own self-directed IRA Account even while you’re still working even before retirement. Again there may be advantages and disadvantages to doing this, so make sure you check with that and make sure you understand the fees and the options available before you do something like that, but the in-service withdrawal may be another opportunity for that.
The fourth one is some 401K plans offer an after-tax savings option. This is something that allows you to even go above and beyond the regular 401K contribution limits and up until very recently this is something that even I personally never really paid a lot of attention to because there was really no advantage to it, but there was a recent IRS tax ruling back in 2014 that made some clarifications to a previously gray area pertaining to 401K Rollovers, so the after tax account, just to give you a little bit of a idea of how that works, it’s money that goes into your 401K plan on an after tax basis, so you’re not getting any immediate tax advantage to that. The money grows tax-deferred which means that normally if you left it in there you would have to pay taxes on any gains or growth that you have inside the after tax account and then you know, pay taxes when you pull that money out, so the ruling changed that IRS came out with back in 2014 is now you can take the monies that are in your after-tax portion of your 401K plan, you can role those out directly into a Roth IRA account. So this is an opportunity for a lot of people that normally don’t qualify to make a contribution to a Roth IRA Account because they make too much money. It’s also an opportunity for people that want to save over and above the traditional 401K contribution limits because if you’re under 50 some plans actually allow you to contribute up to $53,000 into the combination of your pre-tax 401K or Roth 401K contributions plus your company match, plus any after tax contributions can go up to as much as $53,000. If you’re 50 years old or older, that number could be as high as $59,000. I know that may be a little bit confusing, but that is a great opportunity and if you’re in that position where you have that after-tax savings there are some really potentially great strategies that you might be able to utilize as a result of that recent tax ruling,
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A little about me…
Hi I’m Bill Lethemon the founder of Lethemon Financial and the Chief Content Creator here on the MoneyEvolution.com blog.
Over the course of my 22 year career as a financial advisor, I have worked with hundreds of individuals one on one, and given retirement planning presentations to thousands, helping them work towards their retirement goals.