In this ongoing series, Goldstone Financial Group principals Michael and Anthony Pellegrino answer personal finance questions from the residents of Chicago. This episode centers on employer-sponsored retirement accounts — and, more specifically, the strategies a retiree can use to grow the money they save further.
How limited am I to my company’s 401K options?
MICHAEL PELLEGRINO: Unfortunately, you probably are relatively limited. Most people only have a few options available when they sign on to a company 401(k) plan. If you do enroll, it’s crucial that you contribute — and if your employer offers a match, take them up on it! That’s free money in your account. Aside from that, I’d suggest working with an advisor to see if you’re eligible to make an IRA or Roth contribution.
ANTHONY PELLEGRINO: Another factor to consider is age. Most people assume that they can’t touch their 401(k) while they’re working, but you have more options once you reach 59.5 years of age. If you’re still working and contributing at that point, a fiduciary could help you put together an in-service rollover. You can go in and access some part or all of your 401(k) and then roll over those funds to an IRA. At that point, you have more options for your investment — and you don’t have to stop contributing to your 401(k), either! You’ll have two buckets to grow your investment, instead of one.
Should I leave my old 401k with my past employer?
MICHAEL PELLEGRINO: That’s one option, but you may have others. It’s important to look at the specifics of your 401(k) before you make any decisions. Again, though, an employer-sponsored plan is going to limit your options. It might be worth looking into rolling the money over into other investment vehicles — an IRA account, for example.
Should I take out money from my pension fund from a previous employer, or should I leave it there to grow over time?
ANTHONY PELLEGRINO: Those of us at Goldstone Financial Group specialize in these “lump-sum pension option rollovers.” People come to us all the time to ask about lump-sum buyouts, wondering whether they should take their pension money out all at once or access it in installments as “income” in retirement. In our view, a pension is just a large annuity. Once you start drawing income, you give up all access to its liquidity. You’re locked into that model, and you have no way to move the money you’ve saved into other investment vehicles. Worse, a pension does not come with death benefits — if a retiree were to pass on after spending decades with a company, their family would get nothing.
MICHAEL PELLEGRINO: As fiduciaries, we can create a comparison of your options and help you determine whether you should keep your 401(k) as is or roll those funds over into another investment vehicle.
Anthony Pellegrino, Goldstone Financial Group founder and firm principal, has dedicated his practice not only to helping individuals plan for their financial future but also remaining by their side as a partner in achieving their desired results. When Goldstone Financial Group helps a client prepare for retirement, they aren’t afraid to talk about the worst-case scenarios.
“Everyone likes to hope for the best – heck, we like to hope for the best,” Anthony Pellegrino says, “But we have to think about the practical issues, too. The last outcome we want is for a client to put away money every day for two, even three decades and then find themselves struggling to pay their bills after an unexpected and financially catastrophic life event.”
When it comes to money, most people prefer a predictable approach; they feel secure with the regular schedule of a paycheck or the guarantee of a reliable income. There are some who may find a thrill in the possibility of a riskier and potentially more profitable investment, but their worry exceeds their optimism. Understanding the actual level of risk can make a huge difference.
The calculated risks investments demand isn’t for everyone. However, for Goldstone Financial Group founder and principal Anthony Pellegrino, assessing risk is a way of life. Anthony Pellegrino has built his career on determining good investments from bad investments while guiding his clients towards a secure financial future. Assessing and determining the level of risk in investments, he explains is one of the most important aspects of his job – mainly because many of the people he connects with do not realize how risky their portfolio really is.
When most people save for retirement, they do so with the expectation that after they cash their last paycheck, they will have enough money in savings and investment assets to carry them through the entirety of their lives. They feel secure in knowing that they have money tucked away, so they rarely consider the worst-case scenarios.
What if they face a massive investment loss shortly before or after their retirement? What do they do if they spend most of their savings in the first decade of retirement, only to live another ten years?
Without a steady paycheck, retirees don’t have a fixed source of monthly income or a way to guarantee that they will be able to pay their bills during their sunset years. They need a plan – and Goldstone Financial Group is prepared to offer a few suggestions.
In this episode, firm principal Anthony Pellegrino provides a few insights into how those planning for retirement can establish a predictable income stream before they lose the security of their monthly paycheck.
According to Pellegrino, one of the best options available to retirees today are annuities. These investment vehicles come in all varieties, each with their pros and cons. An annuity that works for one person may be financially damaging for another – and as such, it is essential to consult a certified fiduciary before signing up for one. In this video, however, Anthony Pellegrino provides two examples of annuities that may be helpful for some retirees.
At age 60, you place $250,000 in an annuity account. This account will give you a bonus of six, seven, or even eight percent for signing up if you agree to a ten-year term. Throughout the decade, that percentage bonus will generate an additional $28,000 for your retirement fund.
Some annuity packages also come with a Home Healthcare Doubler, which would effectively double your income during the years that you might need assistance with two or more of the six active daily living (ADL) needs such as bathing, eating, or walking. It is worth noting that the doubler benefits only apply up until a set age ceiling; after that, the income provided would revert to the original amount.
Let’s assume that you place that same $250,000 in a different variety of account. In this scenario, you have the security of a floor beneath your initial contribution. Even better, the annuity is designed with a built-in inflationary hedge. Every time the market trends upward, you will see your annual income increase by the same percentage – and when the market trends downward, your income remains fixed at its previous yearly amount. As a bonus, these accounts can also be structured to include a clause for spousal continuation, which would allow the account holder’s spouse to take ownership of the annuity if they pass away.
Most retirees hope to build and build – but they don’t have a plan in place for establishing a stable income stream. Goldstone Financial Group can help! Reach out today to consult with a certified fiduciary.
Many investment professionals, including Warren Buffett, advise investors to buy and hold a diversified portfolio of stocks … and hold and hold. But with today’s record-long bull market, maybe it’s time to try tactical asset management instead.
When is the last time you took a look at how your investment portfolio is performing — and then did something about it?
If your answer is “Hmmm … not lately,” you’re not alone.
Too many people still have the old-school mentality that if they buy a diverse bunch of mutual funds and stocks — spreading out their money into several different buckets — they’ve done what they can to protect themselves against a big drop in the market. They buy and hope — and hope and hope — that by the time they retire, there will be more money in those buckets than when they started.
The Old Buy and Hold Approach Strategy
Who can blame them, when that’s been the prevailing investment theory for more than 60 years? Whenever the market starts to wobble, they’re told: “Don’t worry about it; stick with it. You’re in for the long haul.” Even billionaire Warren Buffett, the “Oracle of Omaha,” tells nervous investors not to watch the market too closely and says that buy-and-hold is still the best strategy.
It may not be. It may be an antiquated approach.
The markets have changed; we’re in a global economy. When something happens overseas — Brexit, for example, or debt or stock shifts in Greece or China — we feel it here. It may not make sense to buy and hold certain investments long term, possibly riding them as they go down. If you have stocks that appear to have run their course, why not take some of the chips off the table and pull some of the profits while you can? Sure, there are exceptions, but sometimes if you hold onto a winner too long, it can become a loser.
Many investors learned this lesson the hard way in 2008 and 2009.
People have come to our firm who used the buy-and-hold strategy then and thought they were safe. They experienced 30%, 40%, or even 50% losses during those years.
A Different Way of Approaching Investing
We talk to them about potentially taking a more active approach with tactical asset management.
Tactical asset management strategy is 100% math-based. It uses short-term and long-term averages to monitor the market, and when the two averages cross over, it’s a signal to become either defensive or bullish. Money managers use technical analysis to move to the sidelines into cash when the market statistical indicators look bleak and to buy back in when their market indicators improve.
Timing the market is never a sure thing, and investors who try to do it blindly can get burned if they let their emotions rule their decisions. However tactical asset management takes the emotional side out the market and focuses on the technical and fundamental aspects instead. That analytical approach can potentially eliminate riding a bull market too long.
Get the Help You Need to Actively Monitor Your Portfolio
So many people get caught up in life and forget about their investment accounts. The years fly by, and they remain passive about their investments until retirement closes in. (Although many don’t lessen the risk even then – you see Baby Boomers who still have almost everything in a bunch of stocks and mutual funds that carry risk.)
Find someone who will help watch your money with you. Look for a financial adviser who is held to a fiduciary standard, who is legally and ethically bound to put your interests first.
Don’t put it off any longer. This bull market may be running on wobbly legs, and hope isn’t going to prop it up.