Ubiquity

Category: Ubiquity Insights

Get the latest information and insights on retirement planning and 401k investing from the experts at Ubiquity Retirement & Savings. Get important news that can affect your retirement, along with tips and advice from our team of experts. Call Ubiquity today for a Free Consultation at 855.466.5825.

Here at Ubiquity Retirement + Savings, our heart goes out to our fellow members of the small business community as we all deal with the impacts of the ongoing global health challenge and market volatility. As we navigate this challenging time together, we’re committed to providing you with information, resources, and support along the way.

On March 27th 2020, the U.S. government passed the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (the CARES Act) to help businesses, families, and individuals make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis.

The $2 trillion package is the largest financial assistance bill ever and sets aside $350 billion specifically to help small businesses affected by the pandemic.

We broke down the provisions that most impact small business owners, like you.

Paycheck Protection Program

One of the most emotionally and financially difficult challenges facing small business owners right now is retaining their employees. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) created by CARES was created to incentivize small businesses to not lay off workers and to rehire laid-off workers that lost jobs due to COVID-19 disruptions.

How does the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) work?

Currently, the Small Business Association (SBA) guarantees small business loans that are given out by a network of more than 800 lenders across the U.S. The Paycheck Protection Program creates a special kind of emergency loan that can be forgiven when used to maintain payroll through June. This program also expands the lending network beyond just the SBA so that more banks, credit unions, and lenders can issue those loans.

If your business continues paying employees at normal levels during the eight weeks following the origination of the loan, then the amount they spent on payroll costs (excluding costs for any compensation above $100,000 annually), mortgage interest, rent payments and utility payments can be combined and that portion of the loan will be forgiven.

Ultimately, the goal of the PPP is to help more workers remain employed, affected small businesses stay afloat, and our economy snap-back quickly after the crisis.

This program would be retroactive to February 15, 2020, in order to help bring workers who may have already been laid off back onto payrolls. Loans are available through June 30, 2020.

What types of businesses are eligible?

The Paycheck Protection Program offers loans for:

  • Small businesses with fewer than 500 employees, including self-employed, sole proprietors, and freelance and gig economy workers
  • 501(c)(3) non-profits with fewer than 500 workers
  • Veteran organizations
  • Small businesses (and other eligible entities) will be able to apply if they were harmed by COVID-19 between February 15, 2020 and June 30, 2020.

How much money can I borrow?

PPP loans can be up to 2.5 times monthly payroll expense for full-time employees with a salary cap of $10 million. Salaries capped at $100,000 per employee in the calculation.

Want to determine for your organization’s loan cap? Calculate your average total monthly payroll expense for full time employees over the last 12 months. Exclude individual salary amounts above the $100,000 cap, payroll and income taxes, and salaries of employees outside the U.S., and contractors. Your business or nonprofit is eligible for 2.5 times this amount, up to $10 million.

Will they check my credit score?

All loan terms will be the same for everyone. No personal guarantee or collateral is required for PPP loans. The lenders are expected to defer fees, principal and interest for no less than six months, and no more than one year.

What can I use a PPP loan for?

You should use the proceeds from these loans on your:

  • Payroll costs, including benefits;
  • Interest on mortgage obligations, incurred before February 15, 2020;
  • Rent, under lease agreements in force before February 15, 2020; and
  • Utilities, for which service began before February 15, 2020.

How can I apply?

  • Contact your bank today to find out if they are an approved SBA lender. If they’re not, the SBA Lender Match tool will help you find one in your area.
  • Applications for borrowers can be found here
  • Starting April 3, 2020 small businesses can begin applying for PPP loans through existing SBA lenders.
  • Starting April 10, 2020 independent contractors and self-employed individuals can begin applying for PPP loans through existing SBA lenders.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Emergency Economic Injury Grants

The Small Business Association’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with financial aid after major, detrimental events. The program provides low-interest loans of up to $2 million dollars to help businesses overcome temporary loss of revenue and get back on their feet.

CARES expanded this existing program to more types of small businesses, made it easier to apply and ensured that EIDLs smaller than $200,000 can be approved without a personal guarantee.

The expanded EIDL loan program also offers up to a $10,000 emergency cash advance that may not need to be paid back. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.

Who is eligible?

  • Small businesses with fewer than 500 employees, including self-employed, sole proprietors, and freelance and gig economy workers
  • Non-profits, including 501(c)(6)s with fewer than 500 workers
  • Tribal businesses, cooperatives, and Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) with fewer than 500 employees.

How can I get an SBA disaster loan for COVID-19 related aid?

You can apply online directly with the SBA by clicking here.

Be prepared with some financial information and supporting documentation related to your business including: tax returns, last year’s financial statements, a year-to-date financial statement, property leases, and a working knowledge of your business and personal credit score. You can find the full list of supporting documentation at the bottom of your application form.

Can my business get an EIDL and a Paycheck Protection Program loan?

Yes, small businesses can get both an EIDL and a Paycheck Protection Program loan as long as they don’t pay for the same expenses. If you have questions about your specific situation or eligibility, be sure to check with your financial advisor or lender to address any questions you may have.

Small Business Tax Provisions

The CARES Act makes select changes to taxes and tax policies in order to ease the burden on businesses impacted by COVID-19.

Key changes tax changes effecting small business owners include:

Delayed Tax Date

Taxpayers now have an extra three months to both file and pay their taxes! The typical April 15th tax deadline, for both businesses and individuals, has been extended 90 days to July 15, 2020.

Employee Retention Credit

Eligible businesses can receive a refundable 50% tax credit on wages up to $10,000 per employee.

The credit can be obtained on wages paid from March 13, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
Businesses are eligible for an employee retention tax credit if:

  1.  Your business operations were fully or partially suspended due to a COVID-19 shut-down order or
  2. Your gross receipts declined by more than 50% compared to the same quarter in the prior year

The credit can be obtained on wages paid or incurred from March 13, 2020 through December 31, 2020.

Delayed Payroll Tax Payments

Businesses and self-employed individuals can delay their payroll tax payments. These payments, the employer share of Social Security tax owed for 2020, can instead be deferred and paid over the next two years. Fifty percent must be paid by the end of 2021 and 50% must be paid by the end of 2022.

(Note: The ability to defer these taxes does not apply to a business that has a Paycheck Protection loan forgiven.)

Where can I learn more?

As we continue to navigate these challenging times, Ubiquity is committed to helping you stay invested in a brighter future. We believe in the power of our small business community and we’re confident in our ability to be here for our clients, partners, and savers, every step of the way.

Relief Calculator

$

Estimated Payment: $3,900

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Please note that the IRS determines the official amount, for more information please visit the IRS FAQs page.

Small business owners face unique financial challenges.

In addition to managing your own finances, you must also focus on your employee’s financial wellbeing to ensure team success. In fact, according to a 2019 John Hancock study, 55% of workers say they worry about their personal finances more than once a week at work.

A trending benefit in today’s workforce is to offer a financial wellness program as an employee benefit. These programs focus on financial education and help to create a culture of financial literacy and awareness. In turn, this builds a strong foundation for employee happiness and retention.

Focusing on financial wellness at your organization can benefit both employees and business owners in very different ways. Use these tips to help guide the areas you want to improve on and strategies that may make your business financially healthier.

 

Empower your employees with financial wellness and confidence.

Get Started

Monitor Your Finances

Did you know nearly 1 in 4 of small businesses fail because of a lack of strength from the leadership team?

There are so many moving parts when operating a business that you can’t expect to do them all yourself. It’s easy to let your own personal financial health take a back seat while you’re focused on building your business.

Luckily, there are many options that make it convenient to manage personal finances. From personal banking to financial planning, apps are abundant.

Small business banking options reduce the pains and cost of financial management. You can better keep track of your spending and transactions. You can also keep your personal and business finances separate from each other.

As a business owner, you should know where your money is coming from and going. This clarity around your financial basics can strengthen your planning and strategy.

Don’t Neglect Your Salary

Running a small business is no walk in the park. It takes passion and dedication to get a business off the ground.

Unfortunately, small business owners tend to invest all their time and energy into their business. This can result in other areas of their personal life or business getting neglected.

Starting out, small business owners are prepared to work for free to support their growth. What most don’t realize is that they should determine their salary ahead of time. Then, once their business is profitable, they can start paying themselves the salary they deserve.

To determine your salary, take the following into consideration:

  • Your mortgage payments
  • Outstanding debt like student loans, car payments, credit cards, etc.
  • Groceries
  • And other fixed and variable expenses.

While no entrepreneur wants to dwell on it, it’s important to remember that roughly 20% of small businesses fail within their first year. 33% will fail within two years.

By including your salary in your business finances early on, you can protect yourself. Even if your business takes a downturn, your personal finances won’t be affected.

Conduct an ROI Analysis

Small business owners tend to struggle when calculating a return on investment (ROI). ROI is a key performance indicator. It helps measure success over time and to keep their finances in check. Using the right cash flow method is important when determining your profitability with expenditures.

Knowing your ROI, you can make smarter choices for your business. Investing too heavily or lightly can greatly affect your business trajectory.

Investing in technology like financial tools is a business expense. And it often gets pushed down the to-do list from small business owners. However, these tools can provide value and maximize your finances in many ways.

Invest Wisely

Speaking of investing—The best thing that you can do for your business is to invest in it.

The term “investment” often sparks fear in any startup, freelancer, or entrepreneur’s mind. This is because the first thought you’ll likely have is, “What if I fail or lose all my money?” This is especially true when your finances don’t match your business plan and goals. It’s important you do your research and find areas where investing makes sense.

Investing doesn’t only mean buying tools and equipment to help your business grow. It can also mean investing in financial tools and wellness products.

Financial wellness tools can help you make better sense of your own finances. They can also guide your employees to smarter financial decisions.

Financial Wellness for Employees

Your employees also need financial guidance. A majority of Americans are stressed about their personal finances.

Financial wellness programs give employees financial guidance when they need it. This can help them make smarter, more confident financial decisions.

These platforms include education, strategies, and personalized guidance on a variety of financial topics.

As you build your organization, keeping financial wellness top of mind is smart.

A strong financial wellness can reduce stress and create a clearer path to success.

Want to learn more?

We’ve partnered with Edukate to help small business employers and employees plan for their retirements fully. Click here to read our previous conversation with their team about how financial wellness programs can help set your small business apart. 

The SECURE Act, which stands for the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act, is the biggest piece of retirement legislation in over a decade. Provisions from the bill, which originally passed through the House in May 2019, were wrapped into a larger government spending package and signed into law on December 20, 2019.

This piece of important retirement legislation includes policy changes to retirement plans, annuities, pension plans, and 529 college savings accounts.

Key changes from The SECURE Act include:

  • Increasing tax credits for small business owners to set up and run retirement plans
  • Introducing incentives for new plans with auto-enrollment
  • Raising the required minimum distribution (RMD) age for retirement accounts to 72 (up from 70½)
  • Allowing long-term, part-time workers to participate in 401(k) plans
  • Expanding options for multiple, unrelated businesses to partner under a single retirement plan (MEPs)
  • Permitting parents to withdraw up to $5,000 from retirement accounts penalty-free within a year of birth or adoption
  • Allowing withdrawals from 529 plans to repay student loans

Most SECURE Act provisions went into effect on January 1, 2020. Let’s dive deeper into some of the biggest changes ahead for retirement savers and small business owners:

Small business owners can receive a tax credit for starting a retirement plan, up to $16,500

  • Small business owners who haven’t established a retirement plan are in luck! The new law provides a start-up retirement plan credit for smaller employers of $250 per non-highly compensated employee eligible to participate in a workplace retirement plan at work. The minimum credit is $500 and the maximum credit is $5,000.
  • This credit would apply to small businesses with up to 100 employees over a 3-year period beginning after December 31, 2019 and applies to 401k, SIMPLE, SEP, and profit-sharing plans.
  • If your retirement plan includes automatic enrollment to encourage participation, you may also receive an additional credit of up to $500 for the first three years of the plan. This new credit is also available to employers that convert an existing 401k plan to an automatic enrollment design.

Cut through the complexity of choosing and customizing the right 401(k) for your small business. Get an instant quote.

How many employees do you have?
I am a sole proprietor
(just me/or my business partner/spouse)

Required minimum distributions (RMDs) now begin at age 72

  • Americans are living and working longer than ever before, and this change reflects that shift. Savers will no longer be required to withdraw assets from IRAs and 401ks at age 70½.
  • RMDs now begin at age 72 for individuals who turn 70½ in 2020.
  • If you turned age 70½ in 2019 and have already begun taking your RMDs, we recommend speaking to your financial advisor regarding any 2020 distributions.

You can make IRA contributions beyond age 70½

  • As with the new RMD rule, the SECURE Act addresses the increasing number of Americans working past traditional retirement age.
  • As of the 2020 tax year, you can continue to contribute to your traditional IRA past age 70½, as long as you are still working.
  • Savers can make their 2020 tax year contributions until April 15, 2021.

Small business owners will find it easier to pool together to offer retirement plans

  • According to a 2018 study by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 40 million private-sector employees do not have access to a retirement plan through their workplace.
  • In an attempt to increase retirement access, the new law allows unrelated businesses to join together under an open multiple employer program called a MEP.
  • The new law, which goes into effect in 2021, eliminates the IRS’s “one bad apple” rule. This removes the risk of being penalized if one employer in your group fails to satisfy the tax qualification rules for the MEP.

Inherited IRA distributions must be taken within 10 years

  • Previously, if you inherited an IRA or 401k, you could “stretch” your distributions and tax payments out over your life expectancy. This allowed beneficiaries to use stretch IRAs as reliable income sources as they benefited from the tax-advantaged gains.
  • Rules have changed for IRAs inherited from original owners who have passed away on or after January 1, 2020. Beneficiaries, generally, must withdraw all plan assets from an inherited retirement plan within 10 years following the death of the account holder.
  • The 10-year rule does not apply to: a surviving spouse or a minor child; a disabled or chronically ill beneficiary; and beneficiaries who are less than 10 years younger than the original IRA owner or 401k participant.
  • If you have an IRA that you planned to leave to beneficiaries, we recommend working with your estate planning attorney or financial advisor to address how might this change your strategy.
  • If you’re a beneficiary who has inherited an IRA or 401k and the original owner passed away prior to January 1, 2020, you don’t need to make any changes.

You can withdraw money from your retirement account penalty-free upon the birth or adoption of a child

  • Bringing a new member into the family can be expensive. The SECURE Act allows savers to take a “birth or adoption distribution” of up to $5,000 from a qualified retirement plan, such as a 401k or an IRA, without incurring an early withdrawal penalty.
  • This distribution must be taken within one year of the date of birth or adoption finalization.
  • If the parents have separate retirement accounts, they can each withdraw $5,000 to help defray the cost of a new child.

529 funds can now be used to pay down student loan debt

  • Sometimes families have funds remaining in their college savings plans after their student graduates. Under the new law, you can now use a 529 savings account to pay up to $10,000 in student debt over the course of the student’s lifetime.
  • To expand the benefit of tax-advantaged college plans to those who take vocational training, a 529 savings plan may now also be used to pay for qualified apprenticeship programs.

Increased penalty for failure to file federal returns

  • Failed to file your tax returns? You may now face a steeper punishment. The Secure Act increases the penalty for failure to file affected federal tax returns to the lesser of: (1) $400 or (2) 100% of the amount of tax due.
  • There are also increased penalties for failure to file retirement plan returns, including a higher IRS Form 5500 non-filer penalty.

How else could The SECURE Act impact your retirement?

  • Raising the cap on auto enrollment contributions from 10% to 15% in employer-sponsored retirement plans

If you were automatically enrolled in your retirement plan at work, your plan also may have an automatic escalation feature that increases your retirement contributions each year. Under the new law, the amount withheld for your retirement account could go up every year until you are contributing 15% of your income to your retirement savings plan.

The bottom line on the SECURE Act

Changes in life, the tax code, and your own financial circumstances are common–and are a good reminder to update your retirement and estate planning strategies every few years. As the SECURE Act brings changes to retirement, take some time (and work with your financial advisor, if you have one) to help set personal and financial goals.

And if you’re a small business owner not opening a retirement plan, there’s never been a better time to take advantage of the tax benefits of a 401k. Connect to one of our retirement experts today to learn more.

Medical advancements have greatly improved our quality of health and have allowed us to live longer, extending our retirement years and related costs. Diligent savings combined with the many tools and resources available – such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and company-sponsored 401k’s, make it possible to protect today’s otherwise taxable earnings and save for our future. However, one very real and often overlooked threat to our hard-earned savings is the unexpected cost of long-term care and home health care. Are your IRA and 401k protected?

Many of us depend on the following for the security of our retirement savings:

  • Health Insurance
  • Social Security
  • Medicare
  • Personal savings

It’s important to realize that all of these do not ensure the protection of your hard-earned IRA and 401k savings from the potential costs of long-term care.  Hidden out-of-pocket costs for which can drastically impact these savings.

Our lifespan is now projected to extend up to 30+ years after retirement – 65 by traditional standards.

70% of us can anticipate needing some form of long-term care, according to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.  As older models of retirement planning are based on a shorter life expectancy, we now must consider how long-term care costs–and the tax burden of IRA and 401k withdrawals–can deplete your savings quickly and ruthlessly.

Ready to benefit from the tax benefits of an IRA or 401k?

Learn More

According to Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey, the projected annual cost for a senior living nursing home facility can easily reach $100,000/year, or over $8,000/month.

While this number should give most Americans a bit of anxiety, some still believe that they have nothing to fear if they have planned carefully with IRA and 401k savings. The catch is in the hidden details: taxes and penalties from taking funds out of your IRA and 401k sooner than your withdrawal schedule.  Paying for long-term care costs can quickly make your money disappear into thin air.

5 tips to avoid drawing funds from your IRA or 401k for long-term care costs.

1. Have a Plan

Avoid being overly confident about your control over the future of your health. In order to save money, many people skip planning for future long-term care costs, thinking: “I won’t need long-term care because my family will take care of me”, or, “IF something happens…my IRA and 401k is my insurance policy.”  This is a set-up for potential disaster.

Certainly, we have control over making good lifestyle choices to maintain optimal health, but none of us truly has total control over the course of our health and aging. Furthermore, don’t be misled into thinking that losing your independent living is limited to the elderly–health issues may arise anytime and could require a period of long-term care even before retirement.

Did you know that sizable withdrawals from your IRA or 401k within a single year can double or triple your tax rate? In some cases, this also means penalty fees if you need this money before age 65. Poor planning can have shattering consequences. Read more information on the downsides of using your IRA or 401k to cover out-of-pocket health care costs.

2. Take Preventative Measures

Take advantage of preventive medical tests available to you through your health and life insurance policies.  Early detection of illness can make a life changing difference in treatment outcomes and maintaining independent living – both of which could have a direct impact on your IRA and 401k resources.

As you prepare to enroll in Medicare Part B (around age 65), make yourself aware of and plan to use preventative doctor visits that are covered with no copay for the first 12 months of enrollment. Read more information on what Medicare covers for preventative services.

3. Educate Yourself

Use resources online and in your community to educate yourself on the details of long-term care costs – it’s expensive! Learn everything you can about your entitlement to free and affordable Medicare and Medicaid health plans. Some are optional and require a premium with some copay, but these supplemental plans are far less expensive and could serve you well in saving money down the road.

While these plans do not cover long-term care costs, they will help protect your IRA and 401k by covering many other medical and prescription costs, including preventative and medical treatments:

  • Medicare (required)
  • Medicare Supplemental Insurance (optional/supplements Medicare enrollment)
  • Medicaid (for qualifying low-income only)
  • Medigap (optional/supplements Medicare)
  • Medicare Advantage plans (optional/supplements Medicare)

Make it a priority to be in close touch with these plans’ enrollment deadlines since they all differ, and missing their deadlines can have significant consequences on your access and coverage.  These plans can help protect you from having to draw funds from your IRA or 401k savings. Make a calendar to help you remember deadlines for when the time comes. Click to learn more about enrollment deadlines.

4. Consider Supplemental Insurance

In order to be truly well prepared for unexpected long-term care costs, look into a supplemental “back-up plan” that’s right for you. A private long-term care insurance policy covers much of what traditional health insurance does not, including: care coordination, home modification, adult day-care, assisted living facilities, and even nursing home care.

However, it is fairly expensive and there is no guarantee that your application will be accepted due to preexisting conditions. You’ll want to consult with an independent insurance broker while you’re still fairly healthy (ages 50-60) to determine if this option is right for you and your budget.

Fortunately, there is now a growing marketplace for more affordable supplemental alternatives that are well worth looking into as well:

  • Friends and Family Care
  • Short-term Care (Convalescent) insurance
  • Critical Care and Critical Illness insurance
  • Life Insurance with a LTC Rider
  • Annuities with Long-Term Care Riders
  • Deferred Annuities for after Retirement
  • Medical Savings Account

For more information on insurance alternatives, visit https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/100515/4-best-alternatives-longterm-care-insurance.asp

https://www.dummies.com/health/long-term-care-provided-by-family-or-friends/

5. Take Accountability

When you consider the reality of what needing long-term care means, think about the possibility that you may become quite disabled and unable to be accountable for making sound decisions. The responsibility often falls upon your family.

This could be in a variety of ways: tending to your daily care, taking on your financial burdens, and making difficult decisions related to everything from your medical care to the management of your personal finances. Having plans laid out in advance can offer peace of mind for everyone.

A living will (which can assign things like advance directives and power of attorney) is one of the ways to help the family protect you, and your IRA or 401k, when you aren’t able to yourself. Click here to learn more information on drawing up legally binding online wills that circumvent expensive attorney fees.

Year End Retirement Savings Resources: From the horses mouth

 

As we prepare to close out 2019, it’s important to stay focused on your financial goals during this very busy time of year. 

Our team of experts spoke with some of the country’s leading financial news sources to share how retirement savers can get in shape for a strong start to 2020. Here are our top suggestions: 

If You Aren’t Participating In Your Company’s Retirement Savings Plan, Enroll.

When it comes to saving for retirement, the hardest but most important step is getting started, according to our Founder and CEO Chad Parks. 

Chad spoke with Grow, a personal finance site affiliated with CNBC, to explain why it’s critical to reconsider taking advantage of your workplace retirement benefits during open enrollment season, which typically occurs during the last few months of the year. Chad also explained the benefits of contributing to a 401(k) and why, even if your company isn’t offering a match, it pays to participate and take advantage of tax savings.  

Increase Contributions to Your Retirement Savings Account.

Every fall, the IRS announces new contribution limits for retirement savings accounts for the upcoming year. These guidelines are incredibly important for savers as new restrictions, or lack thereof, can have a big impact on your nest egg over time. 

In the new year, 401(k) participants will be able to contribute an extra $500 to their accounts for a total annual limit of $19,500, while the annual contribution limit for IRA accounts remains unchanged at $6,000.

FoxBusiness.com and Bankrate sought expert insight from our Senior Vice President, Andrew Meadows, on these new contribution limits for 2020. He explained why that extra $500 of wiggle room might not seem like a lot for 401(k) savers, but it will make a big difference over time thanks to the magic of compound interest. 

Calculate Your Anticipated Rate of Return for Retirement. 

While it’s critical to consider your savings rate for the upcoming calendar year, it’s equally important to start thinking about how much income you’ll need in retirement. Have you taken into account recurring expenses, such as car payments, in addition to surprise expenses like medical bills? 

Chad recently spoke with MarketWatch to explain why neglecting future expenses is one of the biggest oversights for savers and how you can structure your savings strategy now to properly account for this. 

Pay Yourself First and Prioritize Retirement Savings. 

Let’s face it. With pensions nearly extinct and Social Security funding at risk, we have to rely on ourselves to establish and fortify our nest eggs. Thankfully, millennial savers have already accepted this reality according to a recent study from Wells Fargo

Chad joined Yahoo! Finance live and on-set to urge all savers to keep these realities in mind as we move into the new decade. He explained why putting retirement savings as a top-line item on your budget can set you up for success in the new year and beyond.

For more timely retirement savings tips and guidance from our team, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube

We spoke our partners, the investment professionals at Kaye Captial Management, to deep dive into retirement savings strategies for surviving the market’s ups and downs.

In general, how do market downturns impact 401k accounts?

Investing in the stock market comes with inherent risks, including market volatility. One key to mitigating these risks is to take a long-term approach to investing. Retirement plans, like 401ks, should be seen as long-term investments that can handle market downturns, especially for younger participants. Think about the mountain of a stock market graph—although there are fluctuations downward, the general trend is positive. As such, sit tight with market downturns, because a well-diversified portfolio should net a positive return over the long term.

For individuals closer to retirement, choose assets with less risk to maintain principal. Because you have a shorter time horizon, selecting lower risk assets may not generate a high yield, but should help you retire comfortably by preserving principal.

How should 401k investors react to market volatility?

Market fluctuations are part of the game when it comes to investing. If you are properly diversified and you are able to stomach the volatility, you will be better off in the long-term.

Participants who are not in target-date funds or models should rebalance their portfolios during market volatility to make sure their accounts have appropriate risk parameters.

How does market volatility impact retirement savers over 50, or those close to retirement?

Market volatility is more impactful for those over 50 because they have a shorter time horizon for investment than younger participants. However, those over 50 tend to know what it’s like to go through market fluctuations, so they understand that although the market can be is volatile short-term, investing for the long-term can contribute to the growth of your nest egg. A participant over 50 is better served to invest in less-risky assets to preserve their principal. By doing so, they mitigate the potential for a major crash just before retirement.

People close to retirement do not have the luxury of waiting out volatility. Older savers should look at their total portfolio risk exposure and decide if they are comfortable with the risks they are taking in their portfolios.

What steps should retirement savers take now to prepare for a potential market downturn?

Rebalance your portfolios, or ensure your investment third party accommodates automatic rebalancing, to ensure proper diversification to mitigate short-term market downturns. Modern portfolio theory dictates that diversifying your portfolio among asset classes allows for a much more consistent and stable return on investment. Rebalancing annually also ensures the participant that they are properly diversified.

Savers should consistently monitor their portfolios and rebalance them to the correct risk tolerance they believe is right for them. You cannot predict a market turndown, but you can prepare by ensuring your portfolio has the appropriate amount of risk for the return you expect.

Generally, how important a consideration is age when planning for retirement as part of a couple? Is this something couples tend to overlook?

Investing early, and often as a couple, can dramatically impact your success for retirement and is often overlooked at a young age. Compounding interest generated over time benefits those who save early and can put you well ahead of your peers, helping you retire on time.

More important than age is creating a financial plan and sticking to it. Understanding where your money is going on a daily basis and creating a plan for the future is necessary for success. Each person is different; some want to work until they are 70 while others want to retire at 60. Creating a plan and sticking to it will help couples identify the best time to retire.

This blog serves as information material from Kaye Capital Management (“KCM”) and does not serve as investment advice or recommendations by KCM or Ubiquity Retirement + Savings (“KCM”). Please remember that past investment performance is not be indicative of future results.  Different types of investments are associated with varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Kaye Capital Management (“KCM”), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this newsletter will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from KCM or Ubiquity.  To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.  Both Ubiquity and KCM are neither law firms nor certified public accounting firms and no portion of the newsletter content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.  A copy of the KCM’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing their independent advisory services and fees is available upon request. Ubiquity is not affiliated with any independent services you may solicit from KCM.

This week we were excited to announce the launch of CensiblyYours Financial Wellness Tools, our newest innovation to help small business employers and employees make the most of their retirement plan and improve their overall financial health.

As part of our new suite of offerings, we’re providing participating savers access to Edukate, a fintech benefits platform that empowers employees through personalized financial education and guidance. So what exactly is financial wellness and how does it create a more productive, engaged workforce? We sat down with the experts at Edukate to discuss how investing in your employees’ financial well-being can set your business apart in the marketplace.

Define what financial wellness means to Edukate.

The concept of financial wellness can be a bit overwhelming as there are a number of definitions out there.

At Edukate, we believe financial wellness is the relationship between a person and their money.

A financially healthy employee is actively managing their day to day spending, is confident as to how they can protect themselves from future unexpected life events and is saving for their financial freedom.

How can companies adopt and promote financial wellness in 2019?

Open enrollment isn’t the only time you can make a difference in how your employees interact with their benefits.

Platforms like Edukate are breaking the mold of having to roll out benefits during open enrollment. The majority of Edukate’s plans are implemented outside of an open enrollment period.

When you’re looking for a financial wellness benefit, it’s important to find a platform that meets the specific needs of your organization.

For example, if employees aren’t participating in your 401k, find out why. Employees may cite reasons such as not fully understanding the program or that they have other financial concerns they want to address first.

A strong financial wellness platform for your organization can educate users on how to use their 401k program and how they can tackle other debts or financial stressors to be able to start participating.

Typically, employees only hear about voluntary benefits right after launch or when they’re just starting at a company. To keep employees engaged, we recommend quarterly campaigns to ensure employees understand and feel empowered to use their benefits.

What are the key components to a company’s financial wellness program?

Like any benefit, a financial wellness program should be easy to access, administer, and use.

At Edukate, we focus on three key areas for success.

The first is employee engagement. Many employees never engage with their benefits because they’re boring and uninviting. By offering personalized guidance and interactive content, we’ve rethought employee engagement from the ground up.

The next is platform scalability. Edukate makes it easy to customize your employees’ experience, communicate with them, and get in-depth insights into how they are doing.

Lastly, is system integration. We are a one-stop benefits destination for employees by providing guidance for financial challenges and connecting them with the employer benefits that matter to them most— all while cultivating a culture of positive wellness.

Why is financial wellness important for employee retention?

There are plenty of statistics about how financial stress affects employee engagement and productivity.

When an employee is disengaged at work, the organization suffers. Lackluster productivity, absenteeism, and negative attitudes are common side effects.

When you offer benefits that employees need and want, they’re more likely to use them.

And if those benefits can help employees reduce their financial stress, productivity and engagement increases. When employees feel empowered by their benefits offerings, sentiments about their employer increase as well.

For some employees, this favorable perception of their employer drives loyalty to the organization.

The same survey also found that many employees would prefer more robust benefits offerings over an increase in salary.

Happy employees are productive employees.

How does achieving financial wellness work in tandem with saving for retirement?

Edukate’s approach to financial wellness is to help employees navigate every aspect of their financial lives, including managing their spending and saving habits, preparing for the future, and saving for retirement.

By helping employees address their financial stressors and feel more confident with their financial decisions, we believe that employees can better prepare for the future.

As employees learn about their personal finances, Edukate recommends existing employer benefits like retirement accounts to help them achieve their goals.

How does Edukate help promote financial wellness, and what inspired the company to pursue this mission?

Edukate was created with a belief that traditional retirement and financial education are broken and that there were better ways to help employees achieve their financial goals.

At Edukate, we empower employees to practice confident decision making to best utilize the benefits that matter to them most.

We accomplish this by offering an exceptional online platform that connects employees with education, tools, and benefits most relevant to their needs.

What has been the biggest barrier for small business to provide financial wellness benefits?

Even though financial wellness benefits can provide a positive return on investment, securing budget for a new benefits platform can be tough.

When working with small businesses, we work to find ways to rollout financial wellness in phases to different employee groups to give HR managers room to grow the program over time.

Why was a partnership with Ubiquity important to your company?

Partnering with Ubiquity offered Edukate a way to scale a financial wellness resource to smaller employers.

We recognize the need for small business owners to provide robust benefits to their employees. Nearly 90% of employees in the US work for employers with fewer than 20 employees.

Because retirement planning is one of the key focus areas of Edukate’s platform, partnering with Ubiquity helps us connect employees with the resources they need to fully prepare for retirement.

This blog serves as information material from Edukate and does not serve as investment advice or financial recommendations by Edukate or Ubiquity Retirement + Savings (“Ubiquity”). To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with and independent professional advisor.  Both Ubiquity and Edukate are neither law firms nor certified public accounting firms and no portion of the newsletter content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.

For as different as Millennials and Baby Boomers are, they have one major thing in common. They both dream of a secure retirement someday.

There has been a lot of talk from retirement experts that millennials won’t be able to retire on time. But when you look at the statistics, the message isn’t as doom and gloom. Millennials are actually saving almost as much for their futures as baby boomers are. Boomers currently save, on average, 9% of their survey, while millennial are saving 8%. Their contributions also increase at a much higher rate than boomers. (Though it’s easy to attribute the discrepancy to the rapid change in salary at the beginning of your career.)

According to The 18th Annual TransAmerica survey, about three in 10 workers have dipped into a retirement account for an early withdrawal or loan from a 401(K) or similar account. Boomers are far more likely to have done so than their younger counterparts. About 36% of Boomers have taken a loan, while the same is true for only 28% of Millennials.

Procrastination is, unsurprisingly, a trend most prevalent among young workers. About 54% of Millennials prefer not to think about retirement investing until they get closer to their retirement date. Among Baby Boomers, significantly closer to their magic retirement age, that number is about 25%.

Want to learn more? See our roundup below!

The looming retirement crisis is a term that sounds ominous – and it is. Millions of Americans dream of a retirement that includes their hobbies and loved ones. Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that many of those dreamers will never actually get to retire because of a seriously inadequate nest egg that is supposed to sustain them through their twilight years.

America needs to wake up and realize we have a serious problem on our hands. It’s not an abstract one, but rather an issue that has specific origins. We have no chance of reversing the problem without figuring out how we got to this point and what we need to do to prevent the looming retirement crisis.

Here are the main obstacles we face:

1. Coverage

Study after study has shown the easiest and most effective way for people to save for retirement is through an employer-sponsored retirement plan, whether it’s a 401k, IRA or another vehicle.

Over 40 million employees – especially those working at small businesses, don’t have access to a work-sponsored retirement savings plan.

Our solution? Mandated retirement savings plans. State governments are getting involved in this solution, but more needs to be done so that all workers have the opportunity to save at work.

2. Participation rates

Even among employees with the opportunity to save at work, there is an alarmingly low participation rate of only 52 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The retirement industry and government need to find a way to get people to utilize their plans and save money for their future. When employees have to opt for a plan, many wrongfully assume they need the money more now than they will later.

Our solution? Auto-enrollment. Research indicates that when people are auto-enrolled in a retirement plan, they stick with it after seeing how easy it is to use and its benefits.

 

 

3. Saving enough

In an earlier post, we discussed the new reality of retirement savings sources: Pensions are basically extinct, and Social Security is unstable. That means you alone are responsible for saving enough to last you through retirement.

The problem is that most people’s nest eggs are underfunded. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 57 percent of workers report that the total value of their family’s savings and investments is less than $25,000 (this figure does not include the equity in their home or a defined benefit plan). Of that group, 28 percent of people have less than $1,000 saved.

Our solution? Auto-increasing savings amounts. For workers enrolled in a defined contribution plan, it is difficult to remember to keep increasing their deferral rate; plus, many people second-guess the decision as they believe they need the money more now than they will later. By auto-escalating deferral rates, we can help people save more without putting the burden on them to elect to save more.

4. Investing appropriately

Investment selection and portfolio allocation both seem to trip up savers very frequently – and with good reason. After all, most people don’t have expertise in the markets, and yet their future ultimately depends on these very complicated concepts and products.

It’s no surprise we are concerned that people are not investing appropriately for their age, risk tolerance or current market conditions. How can you know what is considered appropriate for you when you’re tasked with doing this on your own?

Our solution? Cost-effective professional advice. When there is a plumbing issue in your house, you call a professional plumber. It’s that same logic that should encourage the retirement industry and employers to offer professional resources to assist savers with their investment selection and ensure its suitability for their unique situation and goals.

Download Ubiquity’s Definitive Guide to Small Business 401k

Our book club is currently reading Daniel H. Pink’s To Sell Is Human, and this week’s reading surfaced an interesting tidbit of information: we find it hard to relate to future versions of ourselves.

“To those estranged from their future selves, saving is like a choice between spending money today or giving it to a stranger years from now.” – HERSHFIELD et al.

Is this why so many of us live for today, unknowingly aligning ourselves with the philosophy of Epicurus, which states that pleasure is the greatest good?

We can’t escape the rules of cause-and-effect; what we do today has downstream consequences.

The donuts, the late night ice cream sneaks, the stubborn adherence to a strict policy of no exercise. These choices that I made years ago are affecting me today.

I have proof. I’m sure others can relate.

What, then, can be done to save our future self? Are we doomed to forgo sacrifice instead of pleasure, planning instead of impulse?

No.

“Light Strokes, Fell great Oaks.” – Benjamin Franklin

Just as my impulsive behavior years ago is the bane of my waist-line today, the Krispy Cremes, baby back ribs and el grande pork burritos I eat or do not eat today could harangue my figure a year from now.

If I make small modifications and compromises, like eating light meals two or three times a week, forgoing a $4.50 mocha, maybe not eating out as much, and possibly using the extra money I save to invest in my 401(k) plan, and maybe, just maybe running around the block a few times a week and doing push-ups before going to sleep, I might be in better shape a decade from now had I not made these small adjustments.

What do you think? If you can take a small series of actions that lead to a great payoff, would you do it?

Will you?

close

Read Ubiquity’s 3 Steps to Building Financial Security in an Economic Downturn

Read Now
Read the Definitive Guide to Small Business 401k
Download Your 401k Guide Now

© 2020 Ubiquity Retirement + Savings
Privacy Policy
44 Montgomery Street, Suite 3060
San Francisco, CA 94104
Support: 855.401.4357

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn YouTube

© 2020 Ubiquity Retirement + Savings
Privacy Policy
44 Montgomery Street, Suite 3060
San Francisco, CA 94104
Support: 855.401.4357

Credit Card Logos