How to know if you have the best Investment strategy for your future

Investing and managing retirement funds can be intimidating and confusing, but they are necessary to strengthen your financial health.

Amsterdam News | 1/14/2021, 6:20 p.m.
A financial roadmap is the most important part of a successful financial future, and retirement should be a component of ...
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Finances FYI Presented by JPMorgan Chase

A financial roadmap is the most important part of a successful financial future, and retirement should be a component of this. Being deliberate about creating the right financial roadmap for your family starts with asking yourself what YOU are saving for. Your financial roadmap should be joint conversation with your spouse if you’re married, and everyone should update their financial roadmap once a year.

“It’s not trying to time the market, it’s time in the market that will give your money more opportunity to grow, and when we sit with clients and dig deep on that question of goals, that’s when we find out what many are really saving for,” said Barry Simmons, Managing Director and Eastern Divisional Director at J.P. Morgan Wealth Management.

Below are some tips to help get you started.

Get talking!

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 80% of Black American households rely solely on a Black woman’s income. That was the statistic that drove JPMorgan Chase to launch an initiative called Currency Conversations in partnership with Essence Magazine. The program was created to inspire sisters, mothers, grandmothers, and aunts to talk about and take action on their financial goals. In 2019 the partnership engaged nearly 16,000 black women to talk about basic personal finance topics and how to get on a path to building wealth.

“As Black Americans gain more knowledge and resources regarding talking about finances we can begin to overcome the historical disadvantages and inequities so many have been burdened with as it relates to money, and we can learn from one another,” said Simmons.

Understanding the Stock Market

It’s a common misconception that people need to have a lot of money to be able to invest. This isn’t true, and no amount is too little to start. It’s not a conversation of how much money you need to start, but rather how much you can afford in the beginning.

“Less than 40% of Black Americans own assets like mutual or index funds, but this is where a financial advisor can be particularly helpful,” said Simmons. “He or she can help determine which investment options are most appropriate for your specific goals. For example, do you want to have enough money for a child’s college tuition, or do you want to retire by a specific age. An advisor will also make sure you have diversification in your investment strategy”

Diversification ensures that you have a balanced mix of investment products to help mitigate risk. The different types of risk include time in the market, type of investment (mutual funds, bonds, stocks, etc.) interest rates and not being diversified.

Managing Retirement Savings

As soon as you start working, start thinking about retirement, especially if you have an employer sponsored plan. Making regular contributions, big or small, can help you stay on track. This will also take out the guess work of deciding when to invest.

However, if you leave a company what should do with your retirement account? Before you leave one company for another, it’s essential to consider your specific financial goals to help you asset what to do with your assets. Making the wrong decision could cost you money in the short or term and have more significant ramifications around tax time.

Read on for our guide to managing an old retirement plan. You might be surprised at some of the options you have, and they could end up saving you big.

Leave It

One option consider is leaving the plan with your old employer until you retire. Most companies allow former employees to keep retirement accounts with them, and then open another an account with your new employer. Opening an account with your new company is especially important if the business will match contributions. Leaving an account open will retain a tax advantage for your money, and if you’re happy with the old portfolio there may be no reason to make a change. If your former employer does not allow you to remain with their plan, and you’ve already contributed over $5,000, they must help you roll over the funds into an IRA.

IRA Rollover

One of the more popular choices is to have funds directly transferred into a Roth or traditional IRA, both of which give you more investment options than a standard retirement account. Which one you choose depends on your tax bracket and future financial goals. In a Roth IRA, you contribute after-tax earnings, allowing you to withdraw without taxes or penalties after a certain age. A Roth will also enable your savings to grow tax-free.

In a traditional IRA, savings become tax-deferred, and withdrawals are taxed as current income. If you’re anticipating a higher income post-retirement, a Roth IRA is probably your best bet if you meet eligibility requirements.

Transferring

Perhaps the most popular choice for retirement plans is to transfer your funds over to your new employer. Transferring the total balance to a new employer’s plan can help you maintain tax-deferred status on your savings. Although, make sure to take the time to research and study both options in detail. Growth potential should be your top consideration. If your old account has better prospects, and you can handle managing multiple accounts, consider staying with your old employer. Pay close attention to access details as well, and if you incur high penalties for withdraws, it may not be worth switching and instead you should leave it and open a new one.

Planning for retirement is one of the best things you can do for your financial future - it’s worth your time and money to be familiar with your options. Make sure to review all retirement plan details thoroughly, and speak to a professional. A secure retirement can be realized when you make educated decisions with your assets.

Finances FYI is presented by JPMorgan Chase.