According to the U.S. Census Bureau, people today can expect to live longer in retirement than ever before. Increased life expectancies mean we?ll all probably have to do a better job of planning for our retirement and protecting our estate assets than previous generations. Working out a sound retirement plan now?before you need it?may help achieve retirement and other important financial goals.
Creating a retirement plan can help with a comfortable retirement. In drawing up your retirement plan you should take into consideration your:
- Anticipated costs of living during retirement
- Current retirement assets
- Current retirement savings and investments
- Expected rates of investment, and present and potential inflation rates
Once this information is determined, you can calculate any shortfall between projected retirement income and anticipated costs of living during your retirement. It's important to plan so that you have enough assets to get you through, not merely to, retirement. You might include in your comprehensive retirement plan such elements as:
- 401(k) plans
- Roth or traditional IRAs
- Education savings plans
- Life insurance or annuities
- Tax-advantaged investments
Most of us already know that our estate includes every asset and debt we have. However, few of us probably also realize that:
- Federal tax rates begin at 45% and rise to 47% for estates valued at $1,500,000 or more for 2005
- Estate taxes are due within nine months of death
To help meet estimated future needs, investors can employ the following strategies:
- Updating current estate plans
- Titling assets to maximize credit available against federal estate taxes
- Purchasing life insurance to cover estate tax and settlement costs
- Establishing certain irrevocable trusts, which may help remove assets from your taxable estate
- Making gifts of $11,000 or less to reduce the value of your estate
In short, talking with a financial and tax advisor regarding the adequacy of current estate and retirement plans is an essential first step for anyone interested in leaving behind a lasting personal and financial legacy.
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