Many employers allow their employees to contribute to an annuity program. This becomes an investment option in a salary reduction retirement plan. Under this plan your current taxable salary is reduced and in addition it accumulates tax-deferred earnings. Some companies have added annuities to their retirement list. If you work for a non-profit organization you'll probably be able to choose either a fixed or variable annuity or both. If you have a small business, or work for yourself, you can invest in a qualified annuity by setting up a Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) or a Keogh. Many financial plans are available that you can adopt or you can use a specialist to create a plan for you.
If you want to invest in the stock market but don’t have a large enough portfolio to achieve the diversity you want through individual stock purchases, mutual funds may provide the solution you are looking for. Mutual funds are a collection of stocks designed to meet a stated investment objective or strategy. For instance, you may be able to choose between a fund that holds small- or mid-sized companies, large blue chip companies, or government bonds. Some funds are designed to provide growth, others to give you income.
In years past, it was often realistic for retirees to base the majority of their retirement income on Social Security benefits and traditional employer sponsored pension benefits.
Unfortunately, Social Security retirement benefits have gradually been reduced in real terms, and the age one needs to attain in order to qualify for retirement benefits has been increasing steadily. iven current retirement trends, these retirement benefits will continue to be more and more difficult for the government to fund.
If you purchased your home paying less than 20% down, chances are you had to purchase “mortgage insurance” in order to qualify for your loan. A mortgage insurance policy protects the bank in the event they are forced to repossess your house and sell it at a loss. As with most other types of insurance, you pay a monthly premium on top of your monthly mortgage payment for this policy. A mortgage insurance policy provides the means for purchasing a house you may otherwise be unable to afford, due to a limited down payment.
Under the recently enacted Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, generating long term capital gains or acquiring dividend income could be two of your big opportunities to save on taxes. Be aware that the Act of 2003 created “sunset provisions”, however, meaning that the tax rates on both capital gains and dividends may go up again unless congress acts to extend the rates. The lower rates are currently only legislated through 2010.
In addition to providing qualified plans to employees, many business owners implement nonqualified alternatives in order to supplement retirement benefits. These selective benefit plans are generally offered to key employees and owners. One popular nonqualified benefit is deferred compensation.
Most qualified retirement plans offer significant tax benefits for those willing to follow a few IRS specified rules. The government wants to make these plans (401(k)s, Keoghs, SEPs and traditional IRAs) available for specific needs, and has established tax law to help eliminate potential abuses of these tax advantaged investment alternatives.