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Women and Retirement Perceptions

Irene Smith is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™, Certified Financial Planner® and Certified Public Accountant with Smith Financial Management. Earlier in July, we hosted one of her fantastic seminars, A Woman’s Journey To Financial Independence. On August 16th, we will be hosting another of her seminars, Wine Tasting and Real Estate. The event is free, but space is limited. Please RSVP no later than August 10 if you wish to attend. Click here for more information.

WOMEN & RETIREMENT PERCEPTIONS: Will the reality of retirement live up to expectations?

Presented by Irene Smith

In January 2011, Merrill Lynch released the results of a survey asking baby boomers with $250,000+ in investable assets about their retirement hopes. There were some interesting across-the-board findings – 70% of those polled expected to work at least part-time, and 84% felt their retirements would be more comfortable and dynamic than those of their parents. Yet it was the collective response of women in the 1,000-investor study that drew the most attention.1,2

Women envision a very active retirement. Volunteering and travel registered as major priorities for women, more so than for men: 64% of women said they wanted to get more involved in their communities, 62% planned to devote more time to philanthropy, and 86% planned to travel when retired. Additionally, 14% of the women surveyed said that they wanted to start a business after their careers ended.2

Women are more concerned than men about running out of money. While 52% of male respondents were unsure that their retirement assets would last a lifetime, 63% of women polled were worried about outliving their money. Additionally, 70% of the women surveyed said they worried about rising healthcare costs.2

Will reality prove disappointing? Too many women approach retirement unprepared, with too little saved or invested. You can cite two major reasons for that.

1. The multiyear absence of some women from the workplace (which can coincide with peak earning years, lessening the rate of retirement plan contributions)
2. A notable earnings gap (full-time working women earn 78 cents for every dollar men earn, which may reflect everything from gender inequality in career paths to wage discrimination).3

Another factor may be conservative investing. While you can take on too much risk in your portfolio and pay the price, there may also be a cost for assuming too little risk – your portfolio may not be able to produce returns that keep up with inflation. The federal Consumer Price Index from June 2011 shows annualized inflation at 3.6%.4

How are you investing and saving to pursue your retirement dream? Is there a strategy in place with realistic objectives? A chat with a financial professional may lead to the discovery of creative new ways to pursue your retirement ambitions.

Securities, advisory services and insurance products are offered through Investment Centers of America, Inc. (ICA), member FINRA/SIPC and a Registered Investment Advisor, and affiliated insurance agencies. ICA and Smith Financial Management are separate companies.

This material was prepared by MarketingLibrary.Net Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty.

Citations.
1 – reuters.com/article/2011/01/31/us-retirement-study-idUSTRE70U3E820110131 [1/31/11]
2 – mediaroom.bankofamerica.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=234503&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1521693&highlight [1/31/11]
3 – civilrights.org/archives/2009/04/291-equal-pay-day.html [4/29/09]
4 – online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304521304576447641965268196.html [7/15/11]

Financial Check-Up (Part 2 of 4)

Jim Cagle is a CPA with Allegent Group in Woodland Hills.  He has twenty-five years of experience in taxation, business management and directing audits, reviews and compilations with an eye towards measuring and improving the health of business.  Jim has particular expertise in real estate, entertainment, and photo finishing industries.

In honor of the new tax season, Ron and Robert have conducted a four-part interview with Mr. Cagle. Last week they left off talking about the difference between a tax credit and a tax deduction.  In this second interview we’ll find out whether or not childcare expenses are a tax deduction, if there is a difference between childcare expenses and dependent-care expenses, and what kind of expenses qualify as tax credits.

Like what you heard? Subscribe to Ron and Robert on Divorce on iTunes.

Missed last week? Click HERE to listen to it now.

Time to Tattle on Crooked Spouses

Hi everybody,

It’s tax time for us accountants, but that is not what this post is about – well, not exactly.  Actually, it’s to tattle on the law abiding (and crooked) spouses and apprise family law professionals of three income tax changes coming in 2011 that can affect spousal support and estate planning (aka dying expectations).

1.     Depreciation Expense – It’s possible for businesses to buy and deduct up to $125,000 of the cost of business property (furniture, fixtures and equipment).  Yes, there are some phaseout limitations, but it’s worth knowing about this IRS rule.  Why?  Haven’t you ever questioned the cause for that dip in earnings for that business owner spouse?  Most of us look at the obvious answer– unrecorded cash.  But maybe you should look below the top line and peek at the purchase depreciation expense.  Some of it might be added back and included in cash flow, which in turn will increase income available for support to that giving spouse.

2.     Social Security Withholding – Speaking of support, for 2011 only, the legislation reduced the rate for the Social Security portion of payroll taxes to 10.4% by reducing the employee rate from 6.2% to 4.2% (the employer’s portion remains at 6.2%).  This translates to hundreds of dollars for each of your clients to use and spend on their support payments.

3.     Estate Taxes – The government reinstated the estate tax, with an estate tax rate of 35% for estates over $5 million (adjusted for inflation after 2011).  Your estate is not tax free to entitled children or heirs as it was in 2010, but it’s still cheaper to die now than it was only a few years ago.

With all this good tax news, I hope you all make lots of money and I wish you all Happy Holidays and a kind and healthy New Year.

Steven B. Garelick, CPA/ABV/CFF, CVA, CFS
MEDIATOR, COLLABORATIVE
email: SBGarelickCPA@gmail.com
tel (818) 601-4707 <<>> (626) 441-1040
fax (818) 884-2641 <<>> (626) 441-1090*

*Post updated to reflect Mr. Garelick’s new contact information.

Roth IRA Conversion Strategies

Today we will hear from Irene Smith, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and an affiliate of The Law Collaborative. Irene is a member of the Institute of Divorce Financial Analysts and the Los Angeles Collaborative Family Law Association. She served on the board of the American Women Society of Certified Public Accounts – Los Angeles Chapter, and was the scholarship committee chairperson for the Chapter. She is a frequent speaker on the subjects of financial planning, risk management and financial fitness strategies for women. She holds the designations of Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™, Certified Financial Planner® and Certified Public Accountant. You can visit Irene’s website at www.SmithFinancialManagement.com.

Sincerely,
Ron and Robert

Roth IRA Conversion Strategies

Traditional IRAs offer some great advantages, such as tax-deductible contributions and tax-deferred growth. However, with tax-free growth of earnings, tax-free qualified withdrawals and no required minimum distributions for original account owners, Roth IRAs offer remarkable benefits.

Beginning in 2010, the modified adjusted gross income limit for ROTH IRA conversions no longer applies. To help relieve tax liabilities on IRA conversions, investors who convert in 2010 have the unique opportunity to pay the taxes on conversion with their 2010 income tax return or elect to pay the taxes over the following two years, 2011 and 2012.

If no withdrawal is needed from a retirement account, Roth IRA conversion can transform the account from a retirement vehicle to a wealth transfer tool. Since there are no required minimum distributions (RMD) with Roth IRAs, the account can continue to grow tax free throughout your retirement. Eventually, you can pass it on to your beneficiaries, giving them growth potential and tax-free access to this portion of their inheritance. They will need to take RMDs, but the RMDs will be income tax-free.

Another strategy may apply if you have experienced a loss in the value of your qualified retirement plan or traditional IRA. You could convert the account to a Roth IRA while the markets are down, and pay taxes with non-retirement funds. As the markets recover, the recovered investment loss and any additional investment growth would be tax free, as would any qualified distributions you choose to take in retirement.

Now is the time to talk to your tax and financial advisor to formulate a game plan.

Irene Smith

To contact Irene, email her at Irene.Smith@InvestmentCenters.com