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What’s Your Preference: Financial Freedom or Retirement?

What’s Your Preference: Financial Freedom or Retirement?

A self-directed IRA can get you to both with investments in alternative assets

Retirement for American workers—how it looks, what we want and how we get there—is changing. Franklin Templeton’s recent Voice of the American Worker Survey* revealed that the majority of those surveyed said that path to retirement, and how retirement looks, is different for everyone.

In fact, 80% of survey respondents indicated “traditional retirement” is not an accurate expectation for most people, and 75% said their future financial goals have changed over the past five years.Of note: while more than three-quarters (76%) of survey participants said that the goal of achieving financial freedom appeals to them, only a little over half felt it was achievable. In regard to retirement, specifically—69% found retirement appealing, and 61% thought retirement was likely to be more achievable.

Financial freedom connotes being able to live the life you want with enough savings, investments and cash to do so; of course, this means different things to everyone. So does retirement, which could mean a full stoppage of work, or working part-time—perhaps trying out a new avocation—with time for hobbies and traveling; again, carrying different significance to each individual. This article in Forbes talks about these concepts in greater detail.

In the Franklin Templeton study, “financial independence” was reported to feel more empowering than “retirement” by 81% of participants, especially among women. Respondents also viewed retirement through the lens of their overall well-being.

Financial independence and a comfortable retirement? Self-directing might get you there.

Where do YOU stand on financial freedom vs. retirement? At Next Generation, our clients are working on their financial goals using self-directed IRAs (and other types of retirement accounts) as a retirement wealth-building strategy. With a self-directed IRA, investors can include a range of alternative assets, building a more diverse retirement portfolio and meeting their long-term financial goals through these tax-advantaged retirement plans.

Whether you plan to completely retire, cut back on your work, or continue working well into your 70s or longer, you can map out your road to strong financial health by investing in assets you already know and understand, such as real estate, precious metals, private equity, notes, cryptocurrency and more. When you open a self-directed IRA with Next Generation, you’ll also have access to all your statements and reports to track your goals and make well-informed investment decisions—backed by a third-party administrator that handles all mandatory filing and a custodian that holds the assets.

As you work out a long-term financial plan with your trusted advisor—and determine what financial freedom means to you and the lifestyle you desire during retirement—we invite you to learn more about how and why a self-directed IRA could be a powerful part of your plan. At Next Generation, we’re here to help. You may schedule a complimentary education session with someone from our team, email NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com or call 888.857.8058 with your questions about self-direction and the many types of alternative assets these plans allow.

*The Harris Poll conducted the study on behalf of Franklin Templeton in October 2020 among 1,007 employed U.S. adults, all of whom had some form of retirement savings. 

It’s a New Year – Do You Have a New Outlook on Your Retirement?

The new year often brings promises and resolutions to create new habits, get back to something we enjoy, or try something new. Why not apply the “new year, new you” mindset to your retirement planning as well?

Do any of these scenarios sound like you?

Get a new plan for your retirement in the new year with a self-directed IRA

Self-directed investors are those who are comfortable making their own investment decisions (that’s where the “self-directed” part comes into play), and who are knowledgeable about (and often experienced in) investing in various alternative assets. For example, you:

  1. Already invest in real estate (residential, commercial, industrial, raw land, etc.)
  2. Understand how to make a secured or unsecured loan with interest and terms
  3. Are involved in private equity funding
  4. Trade in agricultural or energy commodities
  5. Buy and sell cryptocurrency
  6. Are passionate about investing in social causes

The list goes on and is as diverse as the investors who self-directed their retirement plans.

Open a new self-directed IRA at Next Generation

Whether you’re just starting out with your self-directed IRA or have one that needs some catchup contributions, Next Generation is here to help. As a self-directed retirement plan custodian and administrator, we work with investors who wish to include alternative assets in their self-directed IRAs. Our clients understand that this strategy enables them to diversify their retirement portfolios with investments they already know and understand, while also providing a hedge against stock market volatility and the same tax advantages as regular retirement plans.

The turn of the calendar page is a great time to consider opening a new self-directed retirement account and start putting your investing expertise to work through a tax-advantaged plan. We offer client education through webinars, on our blog, and  complimentary education sessions to help you evaluate if self-direction is the right direction for your retirement goals. If you have a specific question or want to know more, you may also contact the Next Generation team by phone at 888.857.8058 or by email at NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com.

Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Affected Business Owners and Retirement Readiness?

COVID-19 has affected the American economy across a number of sectors and business owners nationwide are feeling the effects. Last month, TD Wealth released the results of a survey conducted in July among 1,296 business owners and individuals in two groups: high-net-worth business owners and individuals with investable assets of more than $500,000, and mass affluent business owners and individuals with investable assets between $100,000 and $499,000. The survey was about the pandemic’s impact on revenue and how or if that affected their retirement planning.

However, 85% of respondents said they had not altered their retirement planning in spite of the pandemic’s negative economic effects on their businesses. Further, it appears they feel retirement-ready:

The TD Wealth survey also showed that together, retirement savings and investment portfolios comprised more than half of the retirement income across all survey respondents.

Get Retirement Ready with Self-Directed Retirement Plans

Savvy business owners already know a lot about running their businesses and are already comfortable making decisions that affect their operations every day. They could be building a diverse retirement portfolio with a range of alternative assets they also know a lot about—and make their own investment decisions regarding those assets—with a self-directed retirement plan.

Business owners may open several types of self-directed retirement plans based on their business situations, with all having the same benefits as their traditional counterparts but with added advantages—the ability to include nontraditional investments they already know and understand, and create a hedge against stock market volatility.

SEP IRA: SEP stands for Simplified Employee Pension plan; it’s an easy, flexible, option if you are self-employed, or a partner or owner of a corporation with 25 or fewer employees.

SIMPLE IRA: For larger companies of up to 100 employees, the Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees enables employers to make contributions towards their retirement as well as their employees’ retirement.

Solo 401k: The individual/solo 401(k) is for sole proprietors who employ only themselves, their spouse, or partners. It has deduction and contribution benefits similar to a regular 401(k).

At Next Generation, we offer free education to help individuals make informed decisions about which type of self-directed retirement plan to open—including Traditional and Roth IRAs as well as health savings accounts (HSAs) and education savings accounts (ESAs). We always recommend you speak to a trusted financial or tax advisor who knows your specific financial situation to determine if, as a business owner, a SEP IRA, SIMPLE IRA, or Solo(k) will be the plan to help you meet your financial goals.

Once you decide which type of account to open, we make it easy with our starter kits and detailed instructions for funding a new account. As a self-directed investor the rest is up to you—selecting and researching the alternative assets you wish to include, conducting your full due diligence on each investment, and then providing Next Generation with instructions to execute the transaction.

If you are interested in learning more about self-direction as a retirement strategy, please sign up for a complimentary educational session with one of our representatives. Alternatively, you may contact our team directly via phone at 1.888.857.8058 or email NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com.

Will Social Security Benefits Support Your Retirement Age?

Although individuals can claim Social Security benefits as early as age 62, the retirement age associated with full Social Security benefits had been 65 for many years. That marker has been creeping up over time, with the number currently set at age 67 for people born in 1960 or later. The goal has been to encourage Americans to retire later; the Social Security Trust Fund is only solvent through 2037 and delaying benefits will help shore up the fund.

However, according to a paper titled, “How Sticky is Retirement Behavior in the U.S.? Responses to Changes in the Full Retirement Age,” the increase in full retirement age is not stopping many Americans from retiring and claiming Social Security at the age of 65. The study, published by the National Bureaus of Economic Research (and reported in Investment News) posits that Congress needs to develop new policies – in addition to increasing full retirement age –  to get Americans to retire later.

Adding to this conundrum is the effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the economy and personal finances, with historic levels of unemployment or reduced work. It’s unclear right now how this will play out, but one writer foresees trouble ahead for people born in 1960—who are turning 60 years old this year—because of how Social Security benefits are calculated.

This may cause many Americans to re-evaluate their retirement timeline, as they may need to work longer as a financial necessity. This is especially true for those who have not been contributing to a retirement plan.

Build a more supportive portfolio with a self-directed IRA

Many people already understand that Social Security may not be there for them throughout their retirement years or be sufficient to rely on as a sole source of retirement income. As a result, most have retirement plans to support them in their later years. For those who’ve been planning for retirement with a self-directed IRA as part of their portfolio, they understand the need to take control of their retirement planning and diversify their investment allocations.

Self-direction enables investors to include a broad array of non-publicly traded, alternative assets within their IRAs, which provide a hedge against stock market volatility while building retirement wealth. It’s a proactive approach for individuals who are comfortable making their own investment decisions, and who understand nontraditional investments such as real estate, private equity, precious metals, lending, partnerships and  more.

Are you looking to shift your retirement strategy to include alternative assets you already know and understand? Do you want to develop a retirement portfolio that reflects your interests or an area of expertise? If you’re comfortable making your own investment decisions, it’s a great time to plan your retirement from a different perspective. You’ll find a plethora of information about self-directed IRAs on our website. If you have questions about how to get started, you can schedule a complimentary educational session with someone from our team.  Alternatively, you can contact us directly via phone at 888.857.8058 or email at NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com.

Retirement Planning in the Face of the COVID-19 Pandemic

We are all aware of the widespread economic impact that the lockdowns instituted to curb COVID-19 have had on U.S. businesses and taxpayers, which has moved Americans to rethink their retirement planning strategies.

Given the spikes in unemployment or reduction in wages experienced by millions of people – and unpredictable stock market performance, which so many rely upon for their retirement wealth – the pandemic is causing disruptions beyond the everyday.

Ken Dychtwald, founder and CEO of Age Wave, reported in an article on ThinkAdvisor said, “The pandemic has had the biggest impact on what we used to think of as retirement because now all the pieces on the table are moving around. It’s brought to light the importance of matching health span to life span. People are thinking more and more about the importance of health and what they can do to optimize it.”

Health spans, lifespans, and retirement lifestyles

Americans have enjoyed longer lifespans over the generations and have had to plan on saving more for retirement to enjoy their lifestyles for longer periods of time. However, COVID-19 has older adults also thinking more about their health. As Dychtwald puts it, they have suddenly been thrust into thinking about what matters most in life. He feels that for many people, the psychological impact of the pandemic has been not only to consider what happens if they die, but how they want to live their lives—more streamlined, pared down to the essentials of a good life, and optimizing their health.

That said, according to Dychtwald, there’s more optimizing to do for retirees in the realms of technology and financial literacy. He says this population needs to adapt to and adopt technology to connect to new ways of socializing, access medical care (via telemedicine), or research financial information. A Pew Research study reported that only 62% of Americans over age 75 use the internet and 28% use or feel comfortable connecting to social media. And when it comes to financial health, Dychtwald notes many retirees don’t understand their options for retirement savings and what it all means, including Social Security benefits.

So where does retirement planning come into this new pandemic-colored picture?

A new post-pandemic lifestyle?

For many people, they’ve been experiencing a quieter, simpler lifestyle in the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns and safety guidelines— and may be re-evaluating what their retirement looks like. Will it include more travel or less travel? Time spent with loved ones or more time for hobbies or volunteering? Staying in a sprawling home or downsizing to a cozy bungalow, moving to an urban environment from the suburbs or getting that cabin in the woods?

Given the business closures—even temporary ones—business owners who may have been putting off retirement before the pandemic might be looking at retiring earlier than originally planned … and are taking a fresh look at their retirement accounts and how the funds are invested.

Taking control of your financial future with self-directed IRAs

Luckily for self-directed investors, they’re connecting, researching, and are savvy about the types of investments they’re including within their retirement accounts. Rather than rely on the ups and downs of the stock market or tolerate sluggish returns on Treasuries, self-directed investors are taking stock of their goals, perhaps shifting their priorities, and planning for the future—despite these uncertain times—with nontraditional investments such as real estate, private equity, secured and unsecured loans, hedge funds, precious metals and many more.

While this retirement strategy is not for everyone, many individuals are seeking a hedge against stock market volatility (such as the recent market turbulence wrought by the pandemic), portfolio diversification and better control over their investment returns – all benefits offered by self-directed IRAs.

Are you looking to shift your retirement strategy to include alternative assets you already know and understand? Do you want to develop a retirement portfolio that reflects your interests or an area of expertise? If you’re comfortable making your own investment decisions, it’s a great time to plan your retirement from a different perspective. You’ll find a plethora of information about self-directed IRAs on our website; and if you have questions about how to get started, you can schedule a complimentary educational session with someone from our team.  Alternatively, you can contact us directly via phone at 888.857.8058 or email at NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com.

Americans are Working Longer

Recent research from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies* shows that Americans are working longer, with 54 percent saying they expect to work past age 65 or never retire at all. Twenty-two percent of respondents said they plan to retire either at age 65 or later, and 22 percent plan to retire earlier.

While there are personal factors around why Americans are working longer – such as maintaining social connections, longer lifespan and emotional health – financial factors are also part of this story. In the U.S., it’s often not having enough saved for retirement and Social Security concerns; three-quarters of the workers surveyed said they are worried that Social Security will not be available when they retire.

Global expectations around retirement age are very interesting to look at and compare with U.S. figures. Transamerica conducted additional research across 15 countries, in collaboration with the Aegon Center for Longevity and Retirement. While the current expected age of retirement in the U.S. is 66 (shared by the United Kingdom and Australia), it is 65 in many European countries and Canada, 60 in India, and 58 in Turkey and China. The findings are based on 14,400 workers and 1,600 retired people surveyed online between 22 January and 14 February 2019.

However, as we know, the average retirement age is rising in the U.S.; for Americans born in 1960 and later, it is 67. The Netherlands is already there and according to the study, France, Spain and Poland are planning to move their retirement age to 67 as well.

Americans are Working Longer, but a Self-Directed IRA Can Help Make the Most of Your Employment and Retirement Timelines

In the Transamerica/Aegon global study, a majority of respondents said they envision an active retirement, where work and leisure can co-exist. Sixty percent cited travel and 57 percent cited spending time with family and friends as important retirement goals; 49 percent said they look forward to pursuing new hobbies. Additionally, 27 percent aspired to do volunteer work and 26 percent planned to include some form of paid work. The two biggest retirement concerns were declining physical health and running out of money.

Whether you retire at age 65 or 66, or continue to work in some capacity well into your retirement years, you can make the most of your retirement savings through self-direction. A self-directed IRA allows you to include many alternative assets, which are not allowed in typical retirement plans, and build a more diverse retirement portfolio. This also allows investors to hedge against the volatility of the stock market, and include nontraditional investments they already know and understand. Why limit yourself to stocks and bonds when you can invest in real estate, precious metals, promissory notes, private equity and joint ventures—and have more control over your returns—within a self-directed IRA?

At Next Generation, we help individuals make the most of their retirement savings and live up to their retirement goals through self-directed retirement plans. If you’re someone who’s comfortable making your own investment decisions and conducting your full due diligence about certain types of investments, you may benefit from self-direction.

Plus, with the SECURE Act provisions that enable workers to continue contributing to a Traditional IRA for a longer timeline, and delay taking required minimum distributions from their plans until age 72, there’s more time to build up one’s retirement nest egg with a broad array of nontraditional investments.

Want to learn more? Sign up for a complimentary educational session about self-directed IRAs with one of our knowledgeable representatives. Alternatively, you can call us directly at 888.857.8058 or email NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com.

*Online survey conducted between October 26 and December 11, 2018 among a nationally representative sample of 5,923 workers who were U.S. residents, age 18 or older; and full-time or part-time workers who are not self-employed and work in a for-profit company employing one or more people.

Get a RISE Out of Your Retirement Savings

You’ve been contributing to your IRA or employer-sponsored retirement plan—but are you retirement-ready or on track to be? Many Americans are not saving enough, or quickly enough, to sail smoothly into a comfortable retirement. Moreover, they are not properly calculating their anticipated expenses during their later years.

The Retirement Income Security Evaluation (RISE) is an online tool that evaluates where individuals are along their path to retirement in terms of their savings and their necessary income needed for the future. Based on data you provide, RISE gives you a score that measures how well you’ll be able to live on what you have saved today. The tool was developed by a provider of actuarial products and services and is provided by the Alliance for Lifetime Income, a non-profit organization. It’s flexible, so users can adjust data to see how they’d fare based on different financial information.

Consumers are asked to input their expected Social Security income, pension income if relevant, current savings, and their monthly living and medical expenses. The tool then calculates a score that tells users how well they can expect to live based on today’s numbers. Many people may be surprised by the gap their score reveals, since health care expenses are often left out of the equation—and can run into the thousands annually in a person’s later years. Plus, depending on the source, financial institutions recommend having up to 10 times your pre-retirement annual income in your retirement plans as a savings benchmark.

Knowing your score and where you stand can help you gauge whether you may need to ramp up your savings or—in the case of self-directed investors—further diversify your retirement portfolio with alternative assets.

Self-direction empowers individuals to achieve their retirement goals in more unique ways, by including nontraditional investments in their plans. These investments—such as real estate, private equity, unsecured or secured loans, precious metals, and more—have the potential to return greater ROI than the stock market and provide a hedge against market volatility. Savvy investors who are comfortable making their own investment decisions can invest in what they already know and understand, and take advantage of certain market opportunities.

If you’re thinking about how to boost your retirement score through self-direction, you can learn more about this strategy in one of Next Generation’s complimentary educational sessions. Or, you can contact our team with any questions about self-directed IRAs and the many types of nontraditional investments these plans allow. We’re available via phone at 1-888-857-8058 or email: NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com.

DISCLAIMER

Next Generation Trust Company (“NGTC”) does not review the merits or legitimacy of any investment. NGTC does not endorse or recommend any companies, products, services or investments. NGTC does not provide any financial, legal or investment advice.

If the services of NGTC were recommended by any third party, such persons or entities are not in any way affiliated with NGTC. All information provided is for educational purposes only. All parties are encouraged to consult with their professional advisors prior to making any investments. 

Next Generation Services (NGS) is a third-party administrator of self-directed retirement plans, located in Roseland, New Jersey. NGS handles all the back office administration, record keeping, mandatory reporting, and transaction support. Accounts are named with Next Generation Trust Company as the custodian and holder of assets, for benefit of the individual account. 

NGS does not review the merits or legitimacy of any investment. NGS does not endorse or recommend any companies, products, services or investments. NGS does not provide any financial, legal or investment advice.

If the services of NGS were recommended by any third party, such persons or entities are not in any way affiliated with NGS. Next Generation Services is not a “fiduciary” as defined in the IRC, ERISA, and/or any applicable federal, state or local laws. All information provided is for educational purposes only. All parties are encouraged to consult with their professional advisors prior to making any investments.

 

Raising the RMD, Repaying Student Loans and Other Potential Changes to Retirement Accounts

Helping Americans save more for retirement is very much on the mind of Congress.

In the spring, Senators Ben Cardin of Maryland and Rob Portman of Ohio reintroduced legislation (Retirement Security and Savings Act of 2019) that proposes raising the required minimum distribution (RMD) age for retirement accounts to 75, with increases to be phased in over several years from age 70½. Additionally, it would potentially increase savings in 401(k)s and IRAs, help with small employer coverage for part-time workers, and remove obstacles for including lifetime income options in retirement plans.

NOTE: Currently, account holders of Traditional IRAs and SEP IRAs must start taking required minimum distributions no later than 70-1/2 but this rule does not apply to Roth IRAs, Coverdell ESAs and some other plans.

A different bill, Retirement Parity for Student Loans Act, contains a provision that would enable workers to make student loan payments while their employers make matching contributions into their retirement account “as if the student loan payments were salary contributions.” These elements give Americans more time and more financial freedom to save for retirement.

The House of Representatives has also been looking at retirement legislation; in late May, the House passed the SECURE Act—Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement, which currently awaits passage in the Senate. The bill’s significant retirement policy changes are designed to improve access to financial products in order to encourage more Americans to save for retirement. It also contains incentives for employers to expand access to 401(k) plans, particularly to employees of small businesses and part-time employees.

 

Is a self-directed IRA on your mind?

 

Here are some reasons why it should be:

 

If you’re thinking about opening a self-directed IRA of any kind, please register for a complimentary educational session with one of our knowledgeable representatives. Alternatively, you can call our team directly at 888.857.8058 or email NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com with any questions.

Are Your Grown Kids Affecting Your Retirement Future?

We’ve all heard about boomerang children who come back to the nest after college—not yet financially independent, and sometimes staying for longer than parents expect. A financial security survey from Bankrate in early April shows that in many cases, those kids are costing parents their retirement savings. Data reveals a trend of financial co-dependence between parents and children—whether through prolonged education, helping with housing costs, or other high expenses.

All this “help” is hurting Generation X and Baby Boomer parents who should be funneling funds into their own retirement accounts instead. According to the survey, 50 percent of respondents in those generational age groups say they have sacrificed or are sacrificing their own retirement savings in order to help their adult children with finances.

What’s the right age to cover one’s bills?
Survey respondents comprised the Silent Generation down to Gen Z. Most felt that 18 or 19 year-olds (and in some cases, 20 year-olds) should take on their own car payments and auto insurance, cell phone bills, and credit card bills. All generations agreed the average age to start paying for one’s own subscription services is 20 years-old.

The higher the bills, the older the age for when individuals should begin paying on their own, such as age 23 for health insurance premiums as well as student loans. Housing costs (rent or mortgage) also had a higher average age overall, at 21 years old.

Time to pay less and save more

As noted above, the April Bankrate survey found that half of Americans are putting their own retirement savings at risk by covering their grown childrens’ expenses; and a March 2019 survey found that more than 20 percent of working Americans aren’t saving any money for retirement, emergencies, or other financial goals. Major barriers to saving included insufficient wage growth and large debt payments. For those covering grown kids’ expenses, the rising cost of a college and post-graduate education (often felt necessary to be more prepared to enter the workforce) is significant here.

But is it worth sacrificing one’s financial future to provide a financial safety net for children who could be working, at least part time—especially as one approaches retirement?

While each family has a personal perspective on this growing trend, no one can dispute the importance of preparing for a comfortable retirement. One way to combat the “boomerang child” syndrome is to self-direct one’s retirement account, and grow tax-advantaged income through investments in alternative assets such as real estate, commodities, precious metals, private equity, unsecured and secured loans, and more.

Take control of your retirement with a self-directed IRA

Self-directed investors not only know and understand certain nontraditional investments, they are comfortable making their own investment decisions. A powerful decision to make is to start controlling your retirement savings through a self-directed IRA.

Even putting a little money into a self-directed IRA every month as you wean your kids off your wallet will enable you to build a more diverse retirement portfolio. Set the example and who knows? Maybe when junior is ready to be on her own, she’ll open a self-directed retirement plan too and start investing in land or energy, a Broadway show, a startup company, or any of the creative ways to boost retirement wealth through self-direction. 

Next Generation makes it easier for you and your adult kids to get started. Our helpful team can answer your questions about self-direction in general or your account in particular. And our newsletter subscription is always available so you can learn more.

Contact Next Generation at NewAccounts@NextGenerationTrust.com or 1.888.857.8058 for assistance. We can’t help you get your kids out of the house but we can help you take more control over your investment returns through self-direction.

Alternatively, you can register for a complimentary educational session with one of our representatives.