Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and retirement planning

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and Its Impact on Your Retirement

As a watered-down version of the Build Back Better Act of 2021, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is set to be signed by President this week. The bill is designed to reduce the deficit and lower inflation while investing in domestic energy production and lower prescription drug costs. On top of the deficit reduction projected to be more than $290 billion, this bill allows Medicare to negotiate lower drug costs and extends the Affordable Care Act program through 2025. The goal: lower consumer costs and help the nation reduce emissions long-term.

Once signed into law, how will my retirement be impacted?

Your retirement will be impact someway somehow.

The deficit reduction is intended to fight inflation by cutting the taxes Americans are paying. With the capability to reduce inflation, your retirement income will have more spending power, and we will eventually hopefully enter a period of deflation. However, there is a slim chance we will see a dent in inflation this year with this bill.

Since Medicare will be able to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies the savings will impact retirees directly. In addition, a $2000 out-of-pocket cap for Medicare enrollees buying prescriptions comes along with preventative vaccines being free.

Moreover, since the ACA program is being extended, the Covid-19 subsidies helping make insurance more affordable for some Americans. Good news: this is most applicable to those who had to retire early and aren’t eligible for Medicare just yet.

With the focus of the Inflation Reduction Act being partially on cleaner energy investments, business and consumers can participate in clean energy investment incentives, too. Businesses themselves can receive a tax credit for clean energy manufacturing, and another tax credit for wind and solar energy production. Consumers get to enjoy the tax credit incentives for greener options for investing in renewable energy and further tax credits for buying electric cars, new and used.

READ MORE

After Taxes Now, Tax-Free Later: Roth 401(k)

Tax-advantaged has quite the ring to it, doesn’t it? Unlike the tax-advantages a traditional 401(k) offers—funded with pretax wages—a Roth 401(k) is funded with after tax wages. Income tax has already been paid so when it comes to withdrawing in retirement, your money is withdrawn tax-free.

What exactly is a Roth 401(k)? Created in 2006, Roth 401(k)s are employer-sponsored retirement savings accounts that use after-tax money.

How They Work

While employer-sponsored, enrollment and participation in Roth 401(k)s is entirely voluntary. Payroll deducts the special funds after taxes have been taken out each paycheck. Some employers may offer matches for Roth 401(k)s.

In comparison, a traditional 401(k) and a Roth 401(k) have different tax-advantages. A traditional 401(k) reduces an employee’s gross annual income, providing a tax break now. However, regular income taxes will be due upon withdrawal during retirement. A Roth 401(k) requires income tax be paid but reduces an individual’s annual net income. But after the money is placed into the Roth account, no further taxes are owed when taken during retirement—this includes profits earned.

Much like the traditional 401(k), a Roth 4010(k) is subject to contribution limits and is based off the investor’s age per guidelines of the IRS. For 2022, an individual may contribute up to $20,5000. Those over 50 are permitted a catch-up contribution of $6500. Another perk Roth 401(k)s offer is no income limit.

Withdrawal Special Considerations

Certain criteria must be met for withdrawals to be tax-free.

  • The Roth 401(k) must be at least 5 years old.
  • Withdrawals must occur when the account holder is at least 59 ½. If before, account holder must has passed or experiencing qualifying disability.

Roth 401(k)s do require required minimum distributions. Once you are 72 the first RMD from your Roth 401(k) must be taken by the first April after you turn 72. If you are still working for the company who sponsors the retirement account, you may hold off taking a distribution.

Advantages and Disadvantages Summary

Pros:

  • Helps those who may be in a higher tax bracket during retirement (which is commonly seen)
  • Distributions are tax-free.
  • Earnings grow tax-free.

Cons:

  • Uses after-tax dollars, meaning during working years you are out that money
  • Contributions do not limit taxable income

Roth 401(k)s and Market Volatility

Sadly, you can lose money since a 401(k) is an investment into the market. However, most employers offer low-risk options like government bonds. You are always welcome to work with the plan sponsor and stir up your investment yield and risk.

READ MORE
Retirement & Cryptocurrency

What You Need to Know About Cryptocurrency and Your Retirement

Started as a small project, cryptocurrency has become a large and continuously growing part of the finance industry. These blockchain tokens are making way into retirement planning slowly. Recently, some major companies have opened their doors to cryptocurrency as an investment option. If you are considering cryptocurrency for your retirement planning, you need to know the risks that come with crypto assets.

It is no secret that the crypto ecosystem is fickle, and in retirement planning it is important to monitor and reduce risk so your assets last 20-40 years. However, cryptocurrency may offer retirees a solid diversification option.

The Newest of New Paradigm

While trends have been observed, analysists are still studying the ups and downs of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Some experts will say that it is too risky to invest while others will say by not investing you are losing out even with the rules still being written and changing often. Cryptocurrency may offer diversification to your retirement portfolio. The risk lies within your decision to invest or not.

Market Volatility

You are likely very familiar with the success story of Bitcoin and Ethereum. Just this year alone cryptocurrencies have fluctuated significantly. In 2021, Bitcoin dropped $30,000 in value within 3-months.

New Cryptos Launched Often

There are over 13,5000 cryptocurrencies in existence. Some are considered overvalued, others undervalued, and others are predicted to be “just right” for long-term investments. But there are new cryptocurrencies added on the market daily, so when investing choose wisely.

Traditional Accounts & Crypto

Only a few plan sponsors allow for cryptocurrency to be invested in for retirement. There are options under cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin IRA or Bitcoin 401(k). You may rollover funds into a self-directed IRA that allows crypto investments if you qualify. Please note, a lot of the cryptocurrency ecosystem is not government regulated and poses greater risk than typical market stocks and investments.

Taxes & Recording

Record keeping is very important within cryptocurrency gains and losses. Within the USA, cryptocurrency is taxed the same as any other gain or losses on stock for long-term and short-term. However, the recordkeeping and reporting are not as established as with regular trade assets. It is primarily on you to keep accurate records.

The Exchanges & Brokerages

Cryptocurrency is traded on a crypto exchange mostly, but you can trade through a broker. While more expensive, brokers are often much less confusing. Purchasing directly on the exchange can get complicated fast.

At-Risk for Hacking & Theft

Unfortunately, being unregulated means cryptocurrencies are not as protected. There is a greater risk for theft and hacking. Heedless of your storage method—keep investment in the exchange, use external storage device, or store offline—there is a need to have extra precautions in place.

READ MORE

Working Smarter, Not Harder: Leveraging Your Life Insurance Policy

An unconventional strategy for retirement, to maximize your life insurance policy is premium finance. Premium finance is where policyholders will pay substantial premiums via borrowing from a third-party lender—tying up the bank’s money versus your own capital. With some premium finance loans regular payments may begin shortly after the origination of the loan. However, there is a choice to capitalize interest into the arrangement with the expectation that the cash-value growth of the life insurance will outperform the accruing loan interest.

Premium financed life insurance allows the policyholder to purchase significantly more life insurance for a fraction of what is needed to support such a massive policy. This strategy keeps the policyholder’s other assets free to perform and produces an impressively tax-free internal rate of return for seemingly nothing out-of-pocket.

Ideally, the best method for premium financed life insurance polices is to create a compounding snowball effect for the cash value growth. The policy takes on the loan using built-in features. Moreover, it is when and if, the compounding cash value overcomes the hurdle of the premium finance loan’s interest rate. Future policy distributions may become death benefits to heirs, be tax-exempt retirement income, or possibly both.

How does premium financing work?

An affluent or emerging affluent individual with generally good health and a reputable credit rating may apply for a life insurance policy—be it for estate planning or retirement planning. For premium financing to occur, most of these policies will be whole life insurance or indexed-universal due to their stability and ability to offer higher loan-to-value ratio. With strong, long-term performance, the financed insurance policy will be funded at a maximum premium allowance for the first 4-7 years.

Depending on the situation, sometimes the borrower will pay the first premium themselves to avoid the need to post collateral. Often borrowers will involve a 3rd party lender to the larger premiums with the intent to begin interest-only payments directly to the lender. However, to fully capitalize on premium financing, borrowers roll the accruing interest into the loan with the high hopes the cash growth will outdo the finance loan.

This goes to say, the policyholder should prepare for posting collateral. If designed correctly, the life insurance can serve as the collateral due to its cash value growth.

Benefits to Premium Financed Life Insurance Policies:

  1. Ability to keep other assets active and growing.
  2. Replaces need to pay insurance premiums during your high-income working years.
  3. Potential for extremely positive arbitrage between cash value growth and premium finance loan rate.
  4. Potential of tax-exempt retirement income or greater death benefit payout.
  5. More cash value that compounds for you, not against you.

For more information on premium finance benefits and qualifications, listen to The Retirement Risk Show’s “Premium Finance: A Leveraging Method of Life Insurance” episode.

READ MORE