How tax laws affect investments discussion

retirement planning. Beginning as early as age, about what are their dreams for retirement? What goals are important for living during the retirement years? The individual should write their retirement plan and have it available to update when needed.


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People are living longer and having better health than ever before. “We’re gained 25 years since 1900. That extra time is added to midlife. We have a second middle age – a period beginning at age 50 to 75” (Kanchier 2002). Often retirement hits before a person is ready? What are the dreams for the future? What is important to one person will be entirely different to another person. That is why determining and designing a strategic retirement plan at an early age is vital to reaching those dreams. The time to do this is “now” and not “later.” Begin today.

Introduction/Background: Here Are Some Facts To Consider About the Retirement Game:

By beginning an early retirement plan, a person can create the kind of work and lifestyle you want. You can study, travel, establish a business, restructure or modify a current position, do volunteer work or pursue leisure activities that give you a sense of purpose and feelings of accomplishment, confidence and usefulness” (Kanchier 2002). Most people do not realize there is a second “mid-life” period where they can accomplish dreams during this period of life. There is time to start college or begin a new business. The point is people should begin as early as possible to think about their dreams, whether they accomplish during the second “mid-life” or during their senior years.

Problem Statement:

The problem is that people procrastinate because they lack the knowledge of how to design a retirement plan or feel that they lack the money to put into savings for retirement.

Purpose: The purpose of a retirement plan is to save money in various ways including stocks and bonds for the dreams of retirement. This retirement plan can begin at age twenty or at sixty, but the sooner the plan is written the better chance of having the retirement funds when they are needed.

Literature Review:

Beginning the retirement plan by asking questions:

Begin by asking these questions:

Are there dreams to settle in a specific state or country in retirement? If so, begin to investigate the areas. Perhaps make a few short trips to the area. Begin saving for this with the goal of traveling there when retirement comes.

Are there dreams to open a business? Have a second career? Start taking courses at the local college. Volunteering is a great way to learn about a career field.

Be a person who is willing to dream, to make choices, and be brave.

Perhaps there are dreams to do some of the above, think about these now while there is time to take action to accomplish your dreams:

Women are twice as likely to live in poverty” (Isaacson 2002).

Half of the elderly women living alone have incomes of less than 10,000 per year” (Isaacson 2002).

Only 20% of baby boom women will be financially stable in retirement.

33% of women avoid making investment decisions for fear of making mistakes” (Isaacson 2000).

Good News: Begin the strategic retirement plan now. Do not wait until mid-life or the second mid-life. What is wrong with now? People say that they should save, but they procrastinate until it is too late. “Procrastination is the number one problem” (Isaacson 2002). An early retirement plan should be started in the 20’s.

First, Investment Terms

Understanding Investment terms is important before beginning any retirement plan. One site on the web that might be useful is are a few terms and definitions (Rogers 2002):

401 (K): A type of pension plan that allows employees to contribute a portion of their salaries to retirement investments on a tax-deferred basis.

Bear Market: A prolonged period of declining stock prices.

Bull Market: A prolonged period of rising stock prices.

Blue Chip Stock: Stock of large, well-known companies.

CD: Certificate of Deposit: A debt instrument issued by a bank that usually pays interest. The date of the maturity ranges from a few weeks to several years.

DOW: Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) – A popular index to measure and report value changes in representative stock groupings. “The Dow” is a price-weighted average of 30 actively traded blue chip stocks primarily of industrial companies.

Diversification: Spreading risk by putting assets in several categories of investments-stocks, bonds, and money market instruments so that any effects of weakening or failure in one area will not be overly serious to the total investment in the (diverse) portfolio.

Beginning a retirement plan:

At age twenty, do these:

Begin with an employer’s retirement program. Most of the time when an employee puts in so much money, the employer will match the funds. “Be sure to contribute enough to get the full matching contribution, otherwise you’re passing up ‘free’ money” (Isaacson 2002).

Be willing to sacrifice some money today so you can have your retirement dreams. Set goals for the future. Here are a few ways to save money: Put money in the 401 (k) plan at work, cut your long-distance calls, use a consolidating loan to refinance student loans to save on interest, change your tax withholding (W-4) to take out less money, and lower spending by eating at home (Fitzpatrick 2002).

Become educated about stocks and bonds.

Learn how tax laws affect investments.

Try saving at least four percent on the retirement plan.

Open an IRA account. Put as much money as possible in the 401(k).

Pay off credit cards and put that in retirement.

Strategic Planning at Age Thirty:

Slow down on spending especially on credit cards.

If a retirement plan has not been started, now is the time to begin.

Buy a house even if you are single.

Teach children the basics of money management.

If the spouse handles the finances, learn how he/she handles it.

Strategic Planning at Age Forty:

Review any investments that have been made.

Increase retirement savings to at least 10 per cent of the income.

If there is not any investing or saving, definitely begin now.

Update the retirement plan as needed.

Fifty is the Age to Get Serious About Retirement Planning:

Do not be so conservative. Be willing to put money in both stock and bonds.

Utilize the catch-up that some companies have. If possible, put an additional $500 in the IRA.

Purchase long-term care Insurance.

Invest for growth.

Update retirement plan as needed.

Retirement or Re-career

Make serious plans for retirement.

Put more into the retirement fund.

Revise your will.

Retired? Begin some college courses for a second career.

Think about how to spend the retirement years.

Building a Strategic Retirement Plan

Choose a financial advisor to look at the retirement plan and be willing to accept the changes he/she suggests. People of retirement age were hit hardest by falling stock recently. It is important to have stock in more than one place. Stocks and bonds are important in the retirement plan. Seek professional help. Some companies offer free professional help with retirement planning and in buying stocks and bonds. “A law that took effect in January (part of last year’s massive tax cut measure) allows employers to offer not just education related to your company plan but also broader “retirement advice” to you and your spouse individually, as a fringe benefit. This means your employer could take a tax deduction for the cost, and you wouldn’t have to pay taxes on the value of the advice/benefit you receive” (Hoffman 2002). Take advantage of this if possible. Read about financial planning. Subscribe to some “Money” magazines. Do an analysis of your retirement plan. Here are some examples of how stocks and bonds have lowered:

401 (k)s and How Account Balances Can Shrink (McNamee 2002):

Average assets per 401 (k) Participant at yearend:

Data: Cerulli Associates

Bear Markets:

The bear market has slashed the portfolios of workers and retirees alike — but it’s retirees who are bearing the blunt” (McNamee 2002). The last two years have been difficult for those in retirement. A question was asked to adults about their savings for retirement and they said:

In the last two years, has the value for your savings for retirement increased: Retirees said that it had increased by 30%. Workers said that it had increased by 33%. Many stated that it had decreased by over 50% from retirees and workers. Many feel that they are confident that their retirement fund will be enough when they retire, but over 30% of the people said that it might not be. This is something that must be considered in making and updating the retirement plan.

401 (k) and 403 (b)

These are both employer-based plans and have been named for the sections of the tax code that created them. They allow employees to save pretax dollars for retirement. For instance, out of a 35% combined federal and state tax budget — every $1,000 you save cuts just $650 from your take-home pay. The other $350 would have gone to the IRS and your state’s treasury. Some companies match part of the worker’s contributions (Fitzpatrick 2002). Beginning in 2002, there will be a tax credit that will give more incentive to contribute to a 401 (k). This credit is aimed for workers who have the most difficulty in saving for retirement – the low-income worker.

The bear market has inflicted enough pain on retirement savings” (Tergesen 2002). Raises have an affect on retirement funds. If a person does not get his 3% raise, it may not seem like much. However, losing even a small amount of salary can add up to big amounts when it comes to retirement savings. It is important to know whether the impact has an affect on the retirement nest egg (Tergesen 2002). Even little changes can add up over a period of several years, so knowing this can help to add to the retirement plan in other ways.

How Pay Freezes Can Cool Retirement Savings (Tergesen 2002):

Value of 401 (k)

Age Without Freeze With Freeze

Data: Jack VanDerhei, professor at Temple University’s Fox School of Business & Management)

Principal Protected Funds:

Who wouldn’t like an investment that allows you to participate in a stock market recovery while guaranteeing that you’ll get your money back if the market continues to fall? That’s exactly what a small but growing number of mutual fund, generally known as principal protected funds, promise if you leave your money with them for a set period, usually 5 to 10 years” (Tergesen 93). It’s like letting your money sleep at night and knowing it will be there the next morning. The method is using a combination of stocks and bonds. Investment managers like Scudder or ING are just two firms that offer this service. However, a person can do this by himself. The majority of the money goes into bonds that mature in five years.

Principal Protection

Put about 80% of $100,000 in zero-coupon government bonds that will mature in five years at the value of $100,000. Put $20,000 into stocks. This is how it would look in five years:

Market Return Portfolio Value

80% Bonds/20% Stocks 100% Stocks

The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.)

What to Expect to Pay During Retirement

Americans love to spend money and that includes the people who are retired. Most people try to save money for retirement and look forward to the time when they can sit back and relax. However, even those who save for retirement fail to realize how much actual money is needed. “It’s essential to get an idea of what you need to be saving today to pay for tomorrow” (Kiplinger 14). Kinlinger’s Personal Finance has created a worksheet to help with this purpose or go to are the steps:

How much income will you need?

How much will social security and a pension pay?

How much do you need?

Protect against inflation.

How much have you already got?

Will your home contribute?

How much more do you need?

Table 1 Money-growth and Inflation Factors









1.16 1.22 1.34 1.47 1.61 1.76

10 1.34 1.48 1.79 2.16 2.59 3.11

15 1.56 1.8-2.4-2.17 4.18 5.47

20 1.81 2.19 3.21 4.66 6.73 9.65

25 2.09 2.67 4.29 6.85-10.83-17.00

Table 2 Nest eggs for $100 a month






25 $130,400 $11,000 $95,000

30 137,200 114,900 98,200

35 141,700 117,300 99,200

40 144,800 118,700 100,100

Table 3 Saving Target Factors







0.0143 0.0136 0.013 0.0123

10 0.0061 0.0055 0.005 0.0045

15 0.0035 0.0029 0.0025 0.0021

20 0.0022 0.0017 0.0013 0.0011

25 0.0015 0.0011 0.0008 0.0006 copyright of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance).

Income for Life

Once a person retires, their retirement plan fund must last through the person’s lifetime. There are different ways to do this. One way is “Do-it-yourself” withdrawals. This approach can be as simple as withdrawing money when it is needed or wanted (Updegrav 88). Or, withdrawing a certain amount of the retirement fund and adjust it each year for inflation to keep the purchasing power needed. The advantage to this is having the control of the retirement fund. If emergencies arise, money can easily be withdrawn. However, the problem is that the temptation to withdraw all the funds out of the retirement will be tempting at times. “People tend to underestimate their longevity and overestimate the withdrawal rate their portfolio can sustain and that’s a dangerous combination” (Undegrav 88). One way to prevent this is to reduce the withdrawal rate.

The Hybrid Solution

Now one way to keep the retirement fund growing is to invest part of the money into stocks or bonds. Using any of the methods will help the retirement fund to last longer. Perhaps seeing a financial advisor for advice might be wise. However, no method is a guaranteed way of keeping the retirement fund long enough without careful budgeting and saving. Investing the assets is the best way of keeping the targeted withdrawals continuing.

Government Offer consideration that can be made is to wait to retire until age 70 and the government offers an incentive for this procrastination. “For each year you delay between age 65 and 70, you get a credit that will increase your payments by 6.5%. Wait until you’re 67 to claim benefits, for example, and you’ll get a 13% bonus; hold off until you’re 70 and five years’ worth of credits will boost your checks by 32.5%” Henry 2002). When you consider that a person who might be eligible for $1,660 would wait for five years, their checks would be $2,200. The question might be asked, “Is a bird in the hand worth two in the bush?” It might depend upon health and financial status.

Where to Retire part of retirement is selecting where to retire. Some states give more breaks on taxes than other states. Some things to remember is that there are some activities offered free or at reduced costs to seniors. Check to see if restaurants, entertainment places, spas, or etc. give reduced rates for seniors (Woods 2002). Are there golf course, pools, tennis courts, or other activities in the city where retirement is planned? Here is a list of questions that could be mailed to the Chamber of Commerce in the city that you are considering: (Woods 2002):

Location. Consider whether the property is close to shopping, the post office, libraries, cultural centers, hospitals, churches, and an airport.

Cost of Living. How do the prices compare to the present area? Consider the cost of groceries, auto and homeowners insurance, etc.

Weather/Climate. Will this be a comfortable location year-round?

Taxes. Check out homeowner’s taxes, sales tax, auto taxes, etc.

Crime/security/safety. How safe is the area? How much crime and especially crime related to senior citizens.

Health Care. What types of health care are available and the cost? Compare this to what is being paid now.

This list can be added to before sending it. Little things often become the big when it comes to changes. Consider joining the AARP. They have discounts on different items that can save money as a senior citizen (Kasriel 2002). Mary Beth Franklin states that measuring the property-tax burden is important. “For retirees living on a fixed income, taxes can claim an increasing share of the household budget each year, causing some to ponder a move to Florida or Texas, which impose no state income tax” (2002). Definitely different types of taxes is important in considering the best place to live.

Web sites to check before designing the retirement plan:

At Finance-war ( you can register for a week of free access. They have a “Quizzard” that inputs the target value of your retirement plan and your desired retirement spending level and asset allocation. After all, it is free.

Another free web site is the mPower Personal Advisor retirement planner at investment advice costs $20 for a year.

If you want to learn more about 401 (k), try the ( has useful information concerning 401 (k).

Do you want to learn more about bonds? Try site covers both corporate and municipal bonds.

Want to know information about Medicare? Try includes everything about Medicare basics.

Want to know more about retirement living? Check out Kiplinger’s Retirement Report online at’sreport.There’sadvice.

Data Collection Method:

The research can be done by giving both seniors and working employees a copy of Kiplinger’s worksheets. This information will determine the difference in how seniors and employees feel about having a retirement plan. A questionnaire can be used to obtain information concerning how employees and seniors feel what they have as their retirement income is enough or not enough.

Target Population:

The target population will be senior citizens and working people from young to mid-life.

Scope & Limitations of the Study:

Some people will not want to answer the questionnaire or the worksheet while others may not be totally honest with their answers.


The worksheet and questionnaire will have limits due to the fact that most people will not discuss financial matters, but by selecting a variety of senior citizens, mid-life employees, and young couples it should give a 80% correction. The Data Analysis will be determined by comparing both the worksheet and questionnaires.

The Retirement Plan

Retirement plans are important for employees regardless of their age. A person can begin to design their retirement plans as early as age twenty or when they become interested in savings for their dreams during retirement.


Fitzpatrick, Seamas. Fall 2002 “Treasure Hunt” Retirement Planning Vol. 56 Issue 9 p. 70

Fitzpatrick, Seamus. Fall 2002 “Your Smorgasbord of Choices” Retirement Planning Vol. 56 Issue 9 p. 10

Franklin, Mary Beth. Fall 2002 “Where You Stay = What You Pay” Retirement Planning Vol. 56 Issue 9 p. 74

Henry, Ed. Fall 2002. “No Reason to Wait” Retirement Planning Vol. 56 Issue 9 P. 56

Hoffman, Ellen. Aug 2, 2002 “The Best Benefit You’re Not Getting” Business Week Online p. N

Isaacson, Kathleen. Jul/Aug 2002 “Winning the Retirement Game Whatever Your Age” Women in Business Vol. 54 Issue 4 p. 24

Kanchier, Carole. Jul/Aug 2002. “Retirement Has Many Definitions” Women in Business Vol. 54 Issue 4 p. 20

Kasriel, Paul L. Sep 2002 “Implications of Exploding AARP Membership” ABA Banking Journal Vol. 94 Issue 9 p. 76

Kosnett, Jeffrey R. Fall 2002 “The Big Squeeze” Retirement Planning Vol. 56 Issue 9 p. 60

McCormally, Kevin. Fall 2002 “It’s All Yours” Retirement Planning Vol. 56 Issue 9 p. 30

McNamee, Mike. July 29, 2002 “Retirement: Avoiding a Panic Attack” Business Week Issue 3793 p. 86

Retirement Price Tag” Fall 2002 Retirement Planning Vol. 56 Issue 9 p. 14

Rogers, John W. Jr. Sep 30, 2002 “Knowledge of Stock Market Key to Investing and Preparing for Retirement” Jet Vol. 102 Issue 15 p. 56

Solheim, Mark. Fall 2002 “Best of the Net” Retirement Planning Vol. 56 Issue 9 p. 118

Tergesen, Anne. July 29, 2002 “Playing Catch-Up When Your Salary Stalls” Issue 3793 p. 92

Tergesen, Anne. July 29, 2002 “Taking the Downside Out of Investing” Business Week Issue 3793 p. 93

Undegrav, Walter. July 2002. “INC ($) ME For Life” Money Vol. 31 Issue 7 p. 88

Woods, Pat. Sep/Oct 2002 “Retire America” Travel America Vol. 18 Issue 2 p. 58

Woods, Pat. Sep/Oct 2002 “So, Where’s It Going to Be? Making the Right Retirement Choices” Travel America Vol. 18 Issue 2 p. 50

The writer says that an individual is living two “mid” life periods which gives time to begin their retirement plan by beginning early in life.

Planning for this mid-life period gives people hope that they can accomplish their dreams eventually in life.

Realizing your dreams and facing the facts is important in building a strategic plan. Without knowledge dreams become dreams and not action.

The problem is that most employers are not using this because they are responsible to know the advisers that are used and this takes their time.

It seems many 401 (k)s have fallen during the last three years. That is why having more than one fund is best.

A person can easily do this by himself and save on fees from companies. It works easy with most of the money put into bonds with 20% into stocks. If you lose the stocks, in five-years the money will still be the same after the bonds mature.

They give individuals the person to use their forms to figure their retirement needs and can be found at

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