Posts Taged retirement-planning

5 Tips for Navigating Medicare in Retirement

One of the main concerns about retirement is health care. As healthcare costs continue to rise, medical bills may quickly derail your retirement plan. The good news is when you turn 65, you will be able to apply for Medicare, which provides you with coverage for some of the larger bills you may face during your retirement. Though navigating Medicare is a little tricky, the following tips can make the process less daunting.

1. Watch Your Dates

There are deadlines for Medicare. The first is the Initial Enrollment Period. If you sign up during this time, you can avoid a significant amount of hassle. This enrollment period starts three months before you turn 65 and extends until three months after. Failing to sign up on time may result in up to $6,500 more in premiums over 20 years. This occurs because you may be assessed a 10 percent penalty for each year that passes without enrollment.1

2. Find the Correct Doctor

A change in insurance may mean you need to change physicians. Providers have the option of accepting the Medicare program in different ways or not accepting it at all. If your doctor is a participating provider, they agree to the Medicare fee and will take that as the entire covered portion, which means you will likely only be responsible for 20%. If your doctor is a non-participating provider, they will accept Medicare as a form of payment but may charge you up to 15% more, which you will have to pay out of pocket.1

You may also want to consider switching to a doctor that specializes in geriatrics so that they have more experience in issues that you may encounter as you age.

3. Understand All the Benefits

There are many benefits of Medicare that people often overlook. These benefits are designed to make your life easier and help you stay on top of your health. With Medicare, you are entitled to an annual wellness visit where your doctor will perform a physical and order any necessary screenings. If you have difficulty traveling to appointments, you might take advantage of Medicare’s virtual consultations. They also offer nutritional counseling as part of your plan.1

4. Schedule Procedures Strategically

If you are close to retirement and have an upcoming procedure planned, you may want to compare the costs between your current plan and Medicare. In some cases, Medicare may offer more coverage for the procedure, so it may be beneficial to wait if possible.2


5. Keep Good Medical Records

Good medical records will help your physicians and healthcare facilities properly manage your conditions. Keeping proper records may also prevent you from overpaying as well. Just like any insurance, Medicare is confusing when it comes to billing, and mistakes will happen. Keep track of your explanation of benefits and payments to ensure you don’t double-pay or overpay for appointments and procedures.2



Important Disclosures:
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however LPL Financial makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.
This article was prepared by WriterAccess.
LPL Tracking # 1-05305304.
17 Tips on How Best to Use Medicare, AARP,
25 Medicare Tips for New Retirees,,

Figuring Out a 401(k) Strategy That Works for You

Matching your tolerance for risk with your investment objectives


Everyone wants a comfortable retirement, but the road you take there will depend on your specific situation. When you invest, you assume a certain level of risk (but like everyone you’re hoping that your holdings will increase in value).

One of the most challenging aspects of investing involves matching your tolerance for risk with your investment objectives.

Beyond Your 401(k)

Have you taken the time to really project the amount of money you may need in retirement? While setting aside a percentage of your income in a 401(k) is an important step, chances are you will need more than current limitations may allow you to save. Most people supplement their employer-sponsored retirement benefits and Social Security income with personal investments. In order to develop a fitting plan, you need to have your goals in sight.

In 2022, your elective deferral (contribution) limit for your 401(k) is $20,500. If you’re age 50 or older, you may save an additional $6,500. While the contribution often rises in upcoming years and your employer may match contributions above this limit, will your employer-sponsored plan allow you to save enough? Cast your net as far as possible—can you contribute to your 401(k) and afford to invest in other opportunities? Increasing your savings rate now may help you later.

Asset Allocation and Diversification

Are you an aggressive, moderate, or conservative investor? Your answer probably depends in large part on your stage in life and your financial resources, and will most likely change over time.

Aggressive investors tend to have a longer time frame—as many as 35 years or more to save and invest until they reach retirement—and a greater capacity to withstand loss. For example (the following percentages will vary greatly by investor and their definition of the terms aggressive and conservative investments), stocks may account for 85% of a relatively aggressive portfolio compared to 40% for a more conservative portfolio. As investors near retirement, their asset allocation strategies generally change to account for lower risk tolerance and an emphasis on income over growth.

With a 401(k), you become responsible for managing your portfolio, not your employer. While one aspect of a retirement savings plan is investing for the long term, it is still important to stay involved and make adjustments as needed. Choosing to be an active money manager rather than a passive investor can help you maintain the appropriate allocation strategies and pursue your long-term goals.

Remember that it may be important to diversify within asset categories. For example, spread your equity investments among large-cap, mid-cap, and small-cap stocks, as well as vary your fixed-income investments with different types of bonds and cash holdings. The diversification strategy you choose for your 401(k) should complement your strategies for investments outside of your retirement plan.

Tax Considerations

Because retirement plans offer tax benefits, they carry certain restrictions, such as when withdrawals can be made without penalty. While funds in a 401(k) are made with pre-tax dollars and have the potential for tax-deferred growth, withdrawals made before the age of 59½ may be subject to a 10% Federal income tax penalty, in addition to the ordinary income tax that will be due.

Some 401(k) plans are featuring the Roth 401(k) too. If your employer offers this option, you may be able to designate all or part of your elective salary deferrals to a Roth account. Although contributions are made with after-tax dollars, earnings and distributions are tax free, provided you have held the account for five years and are at least 59½ years old when you access funds.

If you’re looking to save specifically for retirement, in addition to your 401(k), consider a Roth IRA, which allows earnings to grow tax free. While contributions are made with after-tax dollars, your withdrawals will be tax free provided you are older than age 59½ and have owned the account for five years. Early withdrawals may be subject to a 10% Federal income tax penalty, unless you qualify for an exemption. Certain income limits apply.

Taking advantage of the tax benefits retirement arrangements offer is a valuable strategy, but also consider building more liquidity and flexibility into your overall savings and investment plan. In the event you need access to funds before retirement, have a contingency plan such as an emergency cash reserve and relatively liquid investments. However, keep in mind how accessing savings in the short term will affect your long-term goals.

As you look toward retirement, consider increasing your overall savings rate, maintaining appropriate asset allocation and diversification strategies, and planning for taxes. Over time, your investments will inevitably be affected by legislative reform and market swings, but with a long-term outlook and continued involvement you are better positioned to manage the fluctuations and changes to work towards your objectives.

Investment returns and principal values will change due to market conditions and, as a result, when shares are redeemed, they may be worth more or less than their original cost. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.



Important Disclosures
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual security. To determine which investment(s) may be appropriate for you, consult your financial professional prior to investing.
Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee return or eliminate risk in all market environments.
Asset allocation does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss.
There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
The Roth IRA offers tax deferral on any earnings in the account. Withdrawals from the account may be tax free, as long as they are considered qualified. Limitations and restrictions may apply. Withdrawals prior to age 59 ½ or prior to the account being opened for 5 years, whichever is later, may result in a 10% IRS penalty tax. Future tax laws can change at any time and may impact the benefits of Roth IRAs. Their tax treatment may change.
This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor.
This article was prepared by AdviceIQ.
LPL Tracking #1-05306507

5 Compelling Reasons to Rethink Social Security

Relying extensively on social security may not meet your retirement needs


When it comes to planning for retirement, Social Security benefits have traditionally been viewed as a safety net for many individuals. However, in recent years, there has been growing concern about the long-term viability and sustainability of the Social Security system.

As a result, it is becoming increasingly important for individuals to reconsider relying solely on Social Security benefits as a retirement plan. Here are five compelling reasons why you should not solely depend on Social Security as part of your retirement plan.

Uncertain Future

One of the key reasons to be cautious about relying heavily on Social Security benefits is the uncertainty surrounding the future of the program. The Social Security Administration has projected that the trust funds supporting the system will be depleted by 2034. While this doesn’t mean that Social Security will disappear entirely, it does suggest that future benefits may be significantly reduced. Depending solely on a benefit that might be subject to cuts or modifications is a risky proposition.

Demographic Challenges

The aging population is placing immense strain on the Social Security system. As baby boomers retire and life expectancy continues to rise, there is an increasing number of retirees relative to the number of workers paying into the system.

This demographic shift is expected to result in a decline in the worker-to-beneficiary ratio, potentially leading to reduced benefits in the future. Relying solely on Social Security benefits means exposing yourself to the risk of diminished financial support in retirement.

Inadequate Replacement Income

Social Security benefits were never intended to replace one’s entire income in retirement. The formula used to calculate benefits replaces a higher percentage of income for lower earners and a lower percentage for higher earners. For individuals with higher incomes or those who have invested in building substantial retirement savings, relying solely on Social Security benefits may not provide the financial security needed to maintain their desired standard of living. It is essential to consider other income sources and savings to supplement your retirement plan.

Rising Healthcare Costs

Healthcare expenses are a significant concern for retirees, and Social Security benefits alone may not be sufficient to cover these costs adequately. As medical advancements and inflation drive healthcare costs higher, individuals may find themselves struggling to afford necessary medical care and long-term care services. Planning for retirement should include provisions for healthcare expenses, which may necessitate seeking additional sources of income beyond Social Security benefits.

Lack of Control

Dependence on Social Security benefits puts your financial future in the hands of government policy and economic factors beyond your control. Changes to legislation, such as adjustments to the retirement age or modifications to benefit formulas, can have a substantial impact on the amount of benefits you receive.

By diversifying your retirement plan and not solely relying on Social Security, you gain more control over your financial destiny, allowing you to adapt to changing circumstances.

Your Financial Professional

While Social Security benefits can be an important part of retirement income, relying solely on them may not be sufficient to meet your financial needs.

Engaging the services of a financial professional can provide valuable expertise, tailored advice, and a comprehensive approach to retirement planning. By understanding your unique goals, creating a diversified investment strategy, managing tax efficiency, and providing ongoing guidance, a financial advisor can help you build a robust retirement plan that goes beyond accounting for Social Security benefits.

Investing in professional assistance today can set you on the path towards pursuing a confident and fulfilling retirement tomorrow.



Important Disclosures
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
No investment strategy or risk management technique can guarantee return or eliminate risk in all market environments.
There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.
This article was prepared by FMeX.
LPL Tracking #1-05373781

Ask an Advisor: How Much Do I Need for Retirement?


David: 00:08

Hello, I’m David Hemler, and we’re here with Jake Sturgill on our Ask An Advisor series with Puckett & Sturgill Financial Group. And Jake, one of the questions that I know you’re often asked as well as I am is: how much do I need to retire?

Jake: 00:23

Saving for retirement is an incredibly complex decision and conversation. And, to your point exactly, it’s got to be one of the most common questions that we’re asked. And there’s a lot of rules of thumb out there. But, at the end of the day, it’s an incredibly personal decision, and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach.

David: 00:42

Those rules of thumbs, they can be both a benefit and maybe, at times, a detriment as well. Yeah.

Jake: 00:48

Especially if you don’t understand the decisions and the pros and cons involved with all the decisions. Some basic tenets that you are going to want to consider and then really factor into this decision-making framework are: what sort of lifestyle do you want to live? In other words, how much money do you think you’d like to spend? When would you like to retire? And how long do you think you’re going to need that money to last? Because, at the end of the day, nobody knows when their final day will be. There’s no way of predicting that, but these are all critical elements.

David: 01:19

A lot of pieces to the puzzle to put together, figuring it all out.

Jake: 01:24

Absolutely, but I think if you’re like most people, you don’t want to necessarily live a lesser standard of living, you want to maintain your standard of living throughout retirement.

David: 01:34

I know I’ve read and see a lot of things in the literature in financial planning about this 60 to 80% of your preretirement income needed in retirement. Would you agree with that rule of thumb? Does that fit into the picture a lot?

Jake: 01:47

Certainly, and I think it’s well-documented that you don’t necessarily need to replace all of your income in retirement. Because, after all, in retirement you’re not going to be saving for a retirement. You might pay a little bit less in taxes, and you might even spend less or just spend differently than you were in those years saving up to retirement.

David: 02:05

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Where do we go from here then, Jake?

Jake: 02:08

I would encourage you to meet with your financial advisor to get an objective opinion and look at things like: how much have you accumulated so far? What’s your asset allocation? What’s your savings rate? And what’s your time to retirement?

David: 02:22

Mm-hmm (affirmative). So, a lot of pieces to this puzzle for us to figure out. And we, the folks here at Puckett & Sturgill, the advisors, we’re happy to help you. Just give us a call, or click on our email and send us a question of your own. Thanks.

It’s Your Turn to Ask

    Savings Rates for Retirement

    As you plan for retirement, there are a few items that may get a larger amount of your attention as you try to fit everything into place. Things like your ideal retirement date, investment performance, and predicted retirement budget are likely some of the top considerations that come to mind when you think of your retirement plans.

    However, as you look toward your retirement, it’s important to remember an essential factor that sometimes gets pushed to the side: savings rates.


    What is a Savings Rate?

    According to Investopedia, a savings rate “is a measurement of the amount of money, expressed as a percentage or ratio, that a person deducts from his disposable personal income to set aside as a nest egg or for retirement”. The amount you save will generally goes directly into various savings vehicles such as your bank account, 401(k), IRA, and taxable investment accounts so that when you ultimately retire you have accumulated enough money to pay for your future living expenses.

    What Savings Rate Should I Aim For?

    There are lots of rules of thumb regarding savings rates. How much you need to save is often a reflection on the type of lifestyle you want to live, your current age, your current assets, and your remaining time to retirement. Unfortunately, these generic rules sometimes lead to generic recommendations that may or may not suit your needs.

    You may have seen figures of the “ideal” percentage that investors should aim for when saving for retirement, but these recommendations are certainly not ideal for everyone. Depending on your age and personal income, this percentage could vary. It’s important to find the figure that works for your lifestyle, this year and in years to come.

    Younger individuals with more time to work and save will often need to set less money aside, as a percentage, annually than older individuals who are coming up on their retirement years. For those close to retirement age and without significant existing savings, a more aggressive saving rate may be ideal.

    Additionally, individuals with particularly high annual income may find that they need to set aside yearly savings at a higher rate than those with lower incomes, if they desire to maintain a similar standard of living into their retirement years. Again, this can vary, depending on whether existing savings or outside payouts are at play.

    What Else Should I Consider?

    As with the other factors playing into retirement planning, it’s important not to view savings rates in isolation. Focusing too hard on this one part of the puzzle could leave you open to making poor decisions regarding other components of your retirement plan.

    Ultimately, you want to consider your personal savings rate as one of the tools that will help you to achieve the retirement lifestyle that you wish to live. Considerations of retirement age, location, standard of living, hobbies, healthcare needs, and more are important factors that make your individual retirement plan unique.

    If you plan to live a lifestyle fairly similar to the one you enjoy now, setting a dedicated portion of your annual income now can help you to fund your needs in the future. Savings rates are a helpful tool that can give you guidance in determining what amount of savings makes sense for your desired goals.

    If you’d like to learn more about planning for your retirement, contact Jake Sturgill today for a consultation!

      3 Career Transition Options to Consider

      Going from full-time employment to retirement is a major transition, both personally and professionally. With modern life expectancies and new medical breakthroughs every year, statistically speaking, you may look forward to a longer retirement than any previous generation.

      But with that extended retirement come some challenging questions: How much do I need to save for an extra 5-10 years of retirement? Will I get bored of early-bird specials and parcheesi every day for 25 or more years?

      For many retirees, a planned career transition that extends the working years by some measure into the retirement period makes sense both personally and financially. After all, a job can be about so much more than the paycheck. Working as you transition to, or even during, retirement can provide fulfillment and allow you professional flexibility that suits your changing lifestyle.

      Here are a few career transition options you might consider:

      Part-Time Employment

      Transitioning from your full-time job to retirement may be as simple as paring down your role as a full-time employee and taking on certain responsibilities as a part-time one. If you appreciate the benefits at your current job or love your company’s mission, it may be worthwhile to explore what a part-time employment option might look like.

      On the other hand, you may want to look at part-time employment in an entirely different field. If you’re eager to escape office life but want a steady paycheck that will keep you from dipping too far into your savings, look into part- or flex-time jobs in your community.


      Have an old idea that refuses to let go? Maybe your retirement transitional period is the time to flex your entrepreneurial muscle and see what happens.

      Whether your new time flexibility allows you to spend more time turning a beloved craft into a full-fledged artisan brand or you want to chronicle your retirement travels on a monetized blog, there are endless options for exploring entrepreneurship during your retirement. If you plan carefully, you may even be able to supplement some of your retirement income needs with income from your small business.


      Many retired professionals find themselves facing retirement with not only too much time on their hands, but too much knowledge that simply has no outlet. If you want to put your years of industry knowledge to good use, you may consider consulting or coaching.

      Business consultants have the ability to control their schedules by choosing which projects to take and how many they want to take on during a year. They can also command a decent hourly or per-project rate that can offset retirement expenses and help to support a robust retirement lifestyle. If you have already have people asking you for advice during your spare time or have unique skills to offer to the next generation, consulting might be a worthwhile career transition option.

      When considering a career transition option, it’s important to look at the big picture: where do you see yourself in your retirement years? While an extra paycheck might be nice, if the idea of working during your retirement or postponing full-fledged retirement as you phase out of the career world makes you uneasy, then you may want to consider other ways to meet your retirement ideals.

      As always, when piecing together the unique components of your retirement, it’s important to consult your financial advisor. They can provide insight to your retirement budget, feasibility of retirement dates, and ways to fill financial gaps in your retirement plan.

      To get started with your personalized retirement plan, contact Jake Sturgill today for a consultation!

        How will rising healtcare costs impact my retirement planning?

        Your retirement planning is comprised of many factors that make up the amount of money you need to save for retirement and the income streams that can help you pursue that figure. As you’re building or reviewing your financial targets, you need to consider how individual expenses will contribute to the whole.

        For many retirees, one of these big numbers is the amount that they need to set aside for healthcare expenses. Let’s face it: healthcare is expensive and costs are only on the rise.

        You need to be proactive in meeting the challenge of rising healthcare costs in order to avoid costly mistakes in your retirement planning. Easier said than done? Maybe not.

        Today we’re going to look at the question: How will rising healthcare costs impact my retirement planning? If you’re ready to learn more about this essential component of your retirement planning, grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive in!

        Assess Your Needs

        As with all aspects of financial planning, you can’t adequately plan for what you need until you know what it is that you need. To plan for healthcare costs in retirement, you will work around a few factors. These include:

        • You and your spouse’s continuing health coverage,
        • Your intended length of retirement,
        • Your health (and your spouse’s health)
        • Family medical history

        Obviously these factors vary from investor to investor. Your financial advisor can provide some guidance in parsing out your healthcare situation and help you to get a better idea of what your savings should look like.

        Look at Your Health Coverage Options

        While you should expect your healthcare costs to rise during retirement, thanks to a combination of increasing healthcare expenses and your own aging, you will not need to shoulder the entire burden of your retirement healthcare expenses.

        In the United States, retirees have the option of receiving Medicare as part of their Social Security benefit. This federal health insurance is designed to help retirees offset some of their healthcare expenses, but still leaves premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket expenses to your budget.

        In addition to applying for Medicare, you’ll want to carefully consider which Plan fits your needs the best — and you’ll want to review this information during each open enrollment period. You may also want to consider supplemental insurance options, like MediGap or private insurance, to keep your healthcare budget on track.

        Understand the Balance

        Your healthcare costs in retirement will probably not be evenly spaced each month, from the moment that you retire onward. Instead, you will probably experience what most retirees do: an increase in healthcare expenses the older that you get.

        This makes it a little tricky to plan for retirement healthcare costs, since you won’t be feeling the pain of increased medical bills until later on. When planning your monthly income, you’ll want to find a strategy that allows you to set funds aside for a healthcare rainy day fund. Sure, you may not need it until you’re a decade or more into your retirement, but when the rainy day comes, you’ll be thanking yourself for setting the funds aside.

        While the retirement healthcare question is multifaceted and there are certain unknowns that can’t be entirely accounted for, you can create a game plan that allows you to save to the best of your ability and that provides a cushion for those unseen needs that may arise. Your financial advisor can provide a wealth of knowledge and advice to help you establish a financial strategy for meeting you healthcare needs in retirement.

        Want to learn more about retirement planning and the financial advising process? Check out our Ask an Advisor section to hear our CFPs answer questions from readers like you — or submit a question of your own for us to cover in a later segment!

          Your Mid-Year Financial Check-In

          Keeping an eye on your financial health and investment performance is essential for staying on track for meeting your financial goals. To stay up to date, it’s important to schedule regular meetings with your financial advisor – and a mid-year meeting may be just the right place to start.

          As summer comes to a close, it’s an ideal time for a financial tuneup. In addition to any personal questions and concerns you may have concerning your portfolio, here are some areas to check on when you meet with your financial advisor.

          Review Your Investments

          The only thing that’s certain about your investment portfolio is that it will always be changing. Over time and as markets fluctuate, certain investments may perform better than others. To stay on course with your financial benchmarks, you need to keep track of how your investments are performing.

          Your financial advisor can help you monitor portfolio performance and provide direction when you have questions or concerns. If you decide it’s time to take a different approach to your investment mix, your advisor can help you explore different options that might make sense for your situation.

          Take a Look at Your Tax Obligations

          It’s a good idea to take a mid-year review of your tax obligations and formulate a tax strategy before you file next tax season. A financial professional can provide the guidance you need to review your situation and try to avoid any surprises once the new year rolls around.

          As you work through your tax strategy, you will want to review your lifestyle and income to see whether there are any factors that could impact your potential tax return. Factors like a career change, a new home, or retirement could make a big difference when it comes time to file.

          Mid-year is also an ideal time to tweak your strategy in order to offset your tax liability. You can defer funds to charitable giving and retirement investing or look into other strategies in seeking to maximize your potential return.

          Make Adjustments as Necessary

          Likely, after reviewing your income, investments, tax liability, and other factors, you’ll probably have some questions. Perhaps you’ll feel the need to make an adjustment here or reconsider an investment there.

          Your financial advisor is the ideal partner for working through these mid-year changes. Not only can your advisor help you to work through paperwork and get into the details of your specific portfolio, but they can also provide professional guidance to interpret how your financial activity aligns with your financial goals and benchmarks.

          By taking advantage of periodic check-ins – such as the mid-year meeting -, you can keep a finger on the pulse of your financial performance and hopefully avoid major surprises. Even when unexpected events occur, your advisor can help you navigate the outcome by bringing a more neutral perspective to balance any emotionality you might be tempted to act upon.

          Are you ready for your mid-year financial check-in? Contact Puckett & Sturgill Financial Group today to schedule a consultation.

            Investment Options for Building Your Retirement Portfolio

            You probably already know the importance of setting money aside for retirement. But with so many investment options available, it can be tricky to determine which mix makes the most sense for your needs and goals.

            To make matters even more complicated, there’s no single investment strategy that is ideal for every investor. In fact, even when you’ve decided on a strategy, you may later find that it’s not as well-suited to your needs as you initially thought.

            While the best course of action for planning for retirement is to align yourself with a trusted financial professional who can help you sort through your retirement needs and investment choices, it’s good to know what options you have available to you. Here are some retirement investments you may consider:

            Retirement Income Funds

            A retirement income fund is, as the name implies, a managed investment that has the goal to produce income for use during retirement. Typically, these funds are comprised of a portfolio that features stocks, bonds, and other variable investments, in a similar fashion to a mutual fund, but are available exclusively to individuals of retirement age.

            Retirement income funds offer the option of a monthly payout, which is appealing to investors looking to budget for their anticipated retirement income needs. Funds are also available at any time, should the investor require a withdrawal at a certain point.

            Investors might consider retirement income funds if they anticipate that they will require a month-to-month income replacement at some point during their retirement years but don’t want to spend time continually keeping tabs on their investments. Of course, there’s no guarantee of a monthly payout from a retirement income fund, which is why it’s important to work with a financial professional who can understand the nuances of your investment fund, even if managing the details isn’t your specialty. There is risk, including possible loss of principal. You will need to make sure that the asset allocation is suitable.


            Annuities are another popular retirement planning vehicle because they, too, offer the benefit of a monthly payout. Many investors find the option to budget monthly around this type of income a boon to successful retirement planning.

            While annuities are insurance products, rather than actual investments in the technical sense, they are often considered part of the investment mix because the benefits they offer can be combined with a robust investment portfolio. There are a few different types of annuities out there and some are more appealing for retirement planning purposes.

            A popular choice for retirement is an immediate annuity, which begins paying out as soon as you contribute your initial investment. For investors already enjoying their retirement years, this type of annuity is appealing because the benefits are felt right away.

            Another option that some use to fill their retirement portfolio is the variable annuity, which allows you some freedom to customize the annuity mix. While this may seem like an appealing option, it’s important to scrutinize the details of any annuity you consider, in order to avoid incurring unnecessary fees or hidden charges.

            Fixed and Variable annuities are suitable for long-term investing, such as retirement investing. Gains from tax-deferred investments are taxable as ordinary income upon withdrawal. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company. Withdrawals made prior to age 59 ½ are subject to a 10% IRS penalty tax and surrender charges may apply. Variable annuities are subject to market risk and may lose value.


            Bonds are somewhat lower-risk investments that offer payout in two ways: first, on monthly interest accrued, and second, on a return of investment at the end of the bond period. These investments are offered by the government and municipalities, so they’re particularly well-backed and should provide the expected payout amount throughout the agreed-upon terms.

            When considering bonds as a retirement investment, you may want to consider a “bond ladder” that contains multiple bond investments with varying maturity dates. This way, you’ll earn back investment dollars at different maturity dates throughout the years of your retirement.

            Bonds are subject to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rates rise and bonds are subject to availability and change in price. Bond yields are subject to change. Certain call or special redemption features may exist which could impact yield.

            Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

            For some, the idea of investing in tangible assets makes sense as part of the retirement investment mix. Real estate investments are a popular choice for investing, and with Real Estate Investment Trusts or REITs, you can have ownership in a basket of properties. Investing in Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) involves special risks such as potential illiquidity and may not be suitable for all investors. There is no assurance that the investment objectives of this program will be attained.

            Managed Funds

            Managed funds are another popular choice for retirement investing because they give you the flexibility to pick and choose your investment categories without the day-to-day need to oversee markets and performance. While we mentioned retirement income funds – a type of managed fund – above, it’s important to recognize that there are many other investment options for planning for your retirement.

            Depending on your age and asset availability, you may have a variety of managed funds from which to choose when establishing your retirement portfolio. There are a lot of different ways to narrow down which managed fund(s) may work for your situation, but trying to sift through options without missing important details or contrasts can be overwhelming.

            As with any type of investing activity, it’s always a good idea to consult your financial advisor when it comes to sorting through your options for managed funds. They have the experience and expertise to give you some ideas of what to look for and what to avoid when comparing and contrasting your investment options.

            Are You Ready to Start Your Retirement Planning Journey?

            If you’re inspired to start your retirement plans or review an existing retirement portfolio, it’s time to reach out and take that next step. Working with a CFP® professional can give you the boost you need to sort out your retirement goals and establish targets for your future spending needs.

            Additionally, working with a professional advisor can provide you with insight to investments that are better-suited to you (or you and your spouse) specifically, depending on your goals, values, and risk tolerance. Your retirement portfolio should be diverse, but not to the point of recklessness. With careful cultivation and portfolio management, you can stay on top of the various components that comprise your unique retirement portfolio.

            At Puckett & Sturgill Financial Group, we have plenty of experience in connecting investors with retirement planning tools and investment strategies that are customized to their needs specifically. We would love to meet with you and discuss your retirement needs and answer your questions. Connect today to get started on planning your retirement portfolio!

              The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

              Government bonds and Treasury bills are guaranteed by the US government as to the timely payment of principal and interest and, if held to maturity, offer a fixed rate of return and fixed principal value.

              Municipal bonds are subject to availability and change in price. They are subject to market and interest rate risk if sold prior to maturity. Bond values will decline as interest rates rise. Interest income may be subject to the alternative minimum tax. Municipal bonds are federally tax-free but other state and local taxes may apply. If sold prior to maturity, capital gains tax could apply.

              What Does the SECURE Act Mean for Annuities and Your 401(k)?

              Your retirement plans require review and tweaking from time to time. Sometimes, you need to take a step back and review because of life changes on your end. Other times, outside factors, like changing retirement legislation require your attention.

              If you’ve been following the news, you’ve probably heard about the SECURE Act. This is a proposed retirement reform that’s poised to be signed into law and will have an impact on some of your retirement planning activities, should it become law.

              While there are a few main areas where the SECURE Act will make a difference in your retirement planning, one big component of this reform is how it’ll impact annuities and 401(k) planning. If you’re curious about how this could change your retirement portfolio or open new investment opportunities, read on to see how you may be able to anticipate the effects of this reform.

              Annuities and the 401(k) Mix

              Currently, many 401(k) providers don’t add annuities to their plans because annuities are considered a riskier investment and place an unwelcome amount of liability in the provider’s hands. Annuity payouts can fail to materialize, which hurts the investors relying on them as part of their retirement package. Under current laws, plan providers have the fiduciary responsibility to cover the loss of an annuity, which makes them an unpopular part of the 401(k) mix.

              Under certain provisions of the SECURE Act, the responsibility for a failed annuity shifts from the retirement plan provider to the insurance company that offers the annuity. With this shift in liability, we may see more annuities pop up in different retirement packages.

              What are the Prospective Benefits to Investors?

              If you’re looking to add new investments to your retirement portfolio or are investing for the first time, you probably want to know: what’s in it for me?

              Annuities can be an option for investors looking for a long-term plan to payout over a certain period of time. Investors who don’t have a whole lot set away in retirement accounts may enjoy the prospect of reliable monthly income, especially if they don’t have other investments that may provide a similar payout.

              What are Some Potential Problems to Look For?

              As an investor, you want to be aware of the investments that comprise any retirement package that you invest in. If your employer offers annuities as part of your investment options, you should be able to trust that they are worthy of your consideration. However, there is a certain risk that employers will not have the insight to provide annuity options that are particularly beneficial for you as an investor.

              There’s also a likelihood that annuities as part of the 401(k) mix will incur extra fees on the investor’s end, as annuity plans tend to come with certain expenses that are often passed onto the consumer. Additionally, as part of the 401(k) mix, annuities may add more limitations to the amount of money you can draw from your retirement account or the age at which you can take these withdrawals.

              Have You Reviewed Your Retirement Plan?

              An essential factor in choosing your retirement portfolio mix is understanding your options and making decisions that are best suited to meeting your future financial goals. There’s never a bad time to review your existing retirement plan to monitor its performance and change your investment mix, if necessary.

              If you’re new to retirement planning and want to learn more about how to invest for your long-term financial planning, contact Jacob Sturgill Financial today for a consultation!

                Fixed and Variable annuities are suitable for long-term investing, such as retirement investing. Gains from tax-deferred investments are taxable as ordinary income upon withdrawal. Guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company. Withdrawals made prior to age 59 ½ are subject to a 10% IRS penalty tax and surrender charges may apply. Variable annuities are subject to market risk and may lose value.