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Tag Archive | "retirement"

Thank you


Thanks to Cedar Springs Mill & Supply, Inc. friends, family and customers for a wonderful retirement party. With the many cards and best wishes, it made for a memorable day. It has been a wonderful 21 years.

Thank you!

Emma Gebhardt & Lynn Green

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Retirement Party for Emma Gebhardt & Lynn Green


The staff at Cedar Springs Mill & Supply Inc will be hosting a retirement party for Emma Gebhardt and Lynn Green. The party will be Saturday, January 28th, 2012 from 3:00-5:00 PM at the American Legion in Cedar Springs. Coffee, punch, cake and snacks will be served. Please come and help us celebrate twenty plus years of service for these great ladies. No gifts please, just memories.

Sam and the staff at the mill.

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Get Credit for Your Retirement Savings Contributions


You may be eligible for a tax credit if you make eligible contributions to an employer-sponsored retirement plan or to an individual retirement arrangement.  Here are six things the IRS wants you to know about the Savers Credit:

1. Income Limits The Savers Credit, formally known as the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, applies to individuals with a filing status and income of:
•    Single, married filing separately, or qualifying widow(er), with income up to $27,750
•    Head of Household with income up to $41,625
•    Married Filing Jointly, with incomes up to $55,500

2. Eligibility requirements To be eligible for the credit you must have been born before January 2, 1992, you cannot have been a full-time student during the calendar year and cannot be claimed as a dependent on another person’s return.

3. Credit amount If you make eligible contributions to a qualified IRA, 401(k) and certain other retirement plans, you may be able to take a credit of up to $1,000 or up to $2,000 if filing jointly. The credit is a percentage of the qualifying contribution amount, with the highest rate for taxpayers with the least income.
4. Distributions When figuring this credit, you generally must subtract the amount of distributions you have received from your retirement plans from the contributions you have made. This rule applies to distributions received in the two years before the year the credit is claimed, the year the credit is claimed, and the period after the end of the credit year but before the due date – including extensions – for filing the return for the credit year.

5. Other tax benefits The Retirement Savings Contributions Credit is in addition to other tax benefits which may result from the retirement contributions. For example, most workers at these income levels may deduct all or part of their contributions to a traditional IRA. Contributions to a regular 401(k) plan are not subject to income tax until withdrawn from the plan.

6. Forms to use To claim the credit use Form 8880, Credit for Qualified Retirement Savings Contributions.
For more information, review IRS Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements (IRAs), Publication 4703, Retirement Savings Contributions Credit, and Form 8880. Publications and forms can be downloaded at www.irs.gov or ordered by calling 800-TAX-FORM (800-829-3676).

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What’s your financial personality?


Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Understanding it could help your retirement nest egg grow

(Family Features)
More than 90 percent of people aged 44 to 75 feel the United States is facing a retirement crisis, yet most have a limited understanding of how much money they’ll need and fear they’ll outlive their income, according to a 2010 survey from Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America (Allianz Life).
The study, “Reclaiming the Future: Challenging Retirement Income Perceptions,” found that although 61 percent of these people fear outliving their money in retirement more than death, nearly one third (31 percent) say they are not too clear about what their expenses will be in retirement, and 36 percent have no idea if their income will last.
“These results are troubling not only because people are fearful about retirement income, but also because of how little they know about how much money they’ll need,” said Gary C. Bhojwani, president and CEO of Allianz Life. “We hope that this study will shed some light on the issue and inspire Americans to take control of their retirement planning today.”

Your Financial Personality

Nearly half (47.2 percent) of baby boomers aged 56 to 62 could be at risk of not having sufficient retirement income to pay for basic retirement expenditures as well as uninsured health care costs, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
Understanding your financial personality can help you take the appropriate steps to start building a better financial future.

Overwhelmed

• Tends to be in financial survival mode.
• Has high credit card debt and meager assets.
• Feels unprepared for retirement.
The overwhelmed personality is unsure when — or if — they’ll be able to retire. And when they do, they expect to significantly reduce their living expenses and possibly to continue working.
What to do:
• Get control of spending.
Keep track of your spending during the next month — everything from rent or mortgage to your morning coffee at the café down the street. Looking at those expenses will show you how extra spending begins to add up. A $5 lunch every weekday can cost you nearly $1,300 over the course of a year. That $1,300 could help you get closer to your financial goals — if you stop spending it. You can find helpful expense tracking and spending worksheets at www.smartaboutmoney.org.
• Reduce debt.
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling recommends paying at least double the minimum required credit card payment. High interest rates and only paying the minimum due will cause you to pay more in interest and extend the term of your debt. For example, if you have a credit card balance of $3,000, with a 17 percent APR, it will take you 126 months to pay it off, and you will pay $2,241 in interest charges alone. Calculate the true cost of paying just the minimum at www.creditcard.com.
• Strategize savings and investment.
The National Endowment for Financial Education recommends saving money in three categories — money for an emergency fund, money for short-term purchases, and money for long-term goals, such as retirement. Emergency fund and short-term spending money should be kept in a savings or money market account that is easily accessible. Long-term funds can be invested in mutual funds, stocks or bonds. Paying yourself first — putting money aside before you spend any — is one of the best ways to start a strong retirement planning program.

Resilient

• Still working.
• Moderate income, moderate assets.
• Concerned about outliving income.
The resilient personality tends to be in their late 50s and is worried that the U.S. is entering a major economic depression. They know they need to invest for retirement, but might not have time to save enough.
What to do:
• Reduce spending.
Here again, examining your spending habits can pay off. Look at what you’re spending, particularly on bigger ticket items. Having that money automatically deducted from your paycheck and put into a retirement, savings or investment account now will help you build your nest egg for the future. The American Institute of CPAs has a Benefits of Spending Less Calculator that shows you how much your budget reductions could be worth (www.360financialliteracy.org).
• Delay Social Security benefits.
If you start receiving benefits before your full retirement age, your benefits will be reduced. For example, according to the Social Security Administration, if you choose to retire at age 62, it could result in a reduction as much as 30 percent. You’ll get your largest benefits at age 70. Calculate your benefits at www.ssa.gov.
• Invest now.
Are you contributing as much as you can to your 401(k) at work? Do you have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)? If you are 50 or older before 2011, you can contribute up to $6,000 to your IRA account each year. Consulting with a financial planner is a good way to navigate your options and figure out a solid investment strategy. Get tips on choosing a financial planner from the Financial Planning Association at www.fpaforfinancialplanning.org.

Distracted

• Has the highest income, but net worth has dropped.
• Has cut back spending, but not changed retirement or investment strategies.
• Does not have a plan for growing savings.
This group is the youngest (40s to 50s), generally counts on receiving full Social Security benefits and is relying on 401(k)s more than any other group. While they are worried that their savings won’t be adequate for the future, they are content to live for today.
What to do:
• Evaluate your retirement plans.
Do you have realistic expectations for your retirement lifestyle? It’s time to get a better handle on how much you’ll really need to retire, especially if you don’t take inflation into account. Use the Ball Park Estimate at www.choosetosave.org to see if your plans fit your budget, or if you need to adjust your plans.
• Reexamine investments.
Give your 401(k) a checkup. Is it growing enough? The site www.morningstar.com tracks mutual fund growth and can show you how well yours are performing. Look at all your investments and make sure they are growing. If not, it may be time for a change.
• Make changes to secure retirement income.
Living longer than expected, unforeseen health problems, job loss, more market downturns, and inflation can all drain away retirement funds before you know it. Protecting your assets and guarding against outliving them needs to be a priority. “In our study,” said Bhojwani, “the majority of respondents said that the safety of their money matters more now than it did a few years ago. The attributes people are looking for now in investments are the ability to create a stable, predictable standard of living, and the ability to provide a guaranteed income stream for life — one that won’t lose value. Without realizing it, they described an annuity-like solution.”
An annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company. In exchange for your purchase payment, the insurance company provides you income, either immediately or sometime in the future. To find out more about annuities and whether they are a good fit for you, visit www.allianzlife.com.
Whatever your age, whatever your financial personality, it’s time to give your retirement plans a checkup and take action to secure the nest egg you’ve worked so hard for.

Retirement Resources

• Retirement Nest Egg Calculator — www.aarp.org
• Guidebook to Help Late Savers Prepare for Retirement — National Endowment for Financial Education — www.smartaboutmoney.org
• Saving on a Tight Budget — www.americasaves.org
• Advice on Getting Out of Debt — National Foundation for Credit Counseling — www.debtadvice.org

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Free Social Security retirement seminar


Social Security is sponsoring a free retirement seminar for those thinking about retiring in the near future. If you have questions regarding your benefits, you may want to attend. Social Security public affairs specialist Vonda VanTil will be the presenter providing information on how to file for benefits, how a retirement benefit is calculated, how spouses benefits are calculated, how to work and receive benefits at the same time, widow(er)s benefits, Medicare and much more! The seminar will be November 10 at 6pm at the City of Walker Ice and Fitness Center, Grand Rapids. To RSVP email vonda.vantil@ssa.gov or send a notice to Vonda, SSA, 50 College SE, Grand Rapids MI 49503. Space is limited.

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Tools to help you decide when to retire


By: Vonda VanTil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist

These days, everyone is taking a new look at their finances — and no one is looking more closely than the millions of baby boomers who are nearing retirement age. While some boomers expected to retire at one of the traditional milestones, such as age 62, the current economy is forcing many of them to re-evaluate their plans. Many are wondering if they should work longer, or how their Social Security benefit – or their spouse’s benefit – would be affected if they continued working.

As most workers know, your choice of a retirement age—from 62 to 70—can dramatically affect your monthly Social Security benefit amount.

If you choose to start receiving benefits early, the monthly payments will be reduced based on the number of months you receive benefits before you reach your full retirement age. The rate of reduction will depend on the year you were born.  For example, those born between 1943 and 1954 receive a maximum reduction of 25 percent.

If you wait until your full retirement age, your benefits will not be reduced. If you should choose to delay retirement, your benefit will increase up to eight percent a year from your full retirement age until age 70. However, there is no additional benefit increase after you reach age 70, even if you continue to delay taking benefits.

There is an online calculator, called the Retirement Estimator, which can provide immediate retirement benefit estimates to help plan for your retirement. To use the Retirement Estimator, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/estimator.

Vonda VanTil is the public affairs specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 50 College SE, Grand Rapids MI 49503 or via email at vonda.vantil@ssa.gov.

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