Retirement In Sight: Your Second Act Could Start Before 60

Many baby boomers are vowing to work past age 65, even into their 70s. You may be one of them, and you may realize that ambition. Keep in mind, though, that some people end up retiring before 60 and not by choice. If you sense that could happen to you, think about some of the moves you could make regarding your retirement income and savings.

Your need for income streams could be immediate if you retire in your late 50s. You will be too young to claim Social Security; you may have to rely on your retirement savings earlier than you planned. The good news is that the IRS lets you take withdrawals from common employer-sponsored retirement plans without penalty starting at age 55, providing that you have stopped working for that organization or business.

You can also access funds in taxable investment accounts at any time without penalty. The IRS does commonly assess a 10% penalty when you make a withdrawal from a traditional IRA prior to age 59½. Exceptions occur when the money is used for qualified medical expenses, college tuition, or a first-time home purchase (up to $10,000 may be withdrawn penalty-free in that last instance). There is another way to potentially avoid this 10% penalty—you could arrange, and strictly follow, a schedule of substantially equal periodic payments (SEPPs) from the IRA.

Roth retirement accounts allow you to withdraw a sum equivalent to your account contributions at any time without taxation or penalties, but premature distributions of the account earnings are subject to tax. You could also make catch-up contributions to these accounts in your 50s, which may help enhance your degree of savings. You could ask for a raise; a higher annual salary would help in the calculation of your future Social Security benefits. You should also strive to maintain your health and arrange private health insurance if you are not covered through a spouse or partner’s plan.[1.2]

The Right Way to Tell Your Boss That You Are Retiring

What is the proper etiquette when it comes to notifying your company about your choice to retire? What should the email or letter say, and when should you send it?

The best retirement letters convey gratitude to an employer, thanking them for the privilege of working for a firm or creating a career. They can mention personal accomplishments, preferably presented in the context of the company’s team efforts. In no way should they reference any past slights or present complaints.

Yes, it is OK to mention upcoming adventures or retirement pursuits. It is also perfectly fine to indicate an interest in consulting or part-time work. Your employer may want you to phase out of your career gradually, and your letter can note this option and the aspects of your work that you have always enjoyed the most (dropping a hint about future consulting work).

As for the timing, dig out your employee handbook and see if it mentions a guideline. Follow it if time permits. A few months of notice is wise; give a year’s notice, and you may find yourself getting shut out of meetings about upcoming projects and developments.

Lastly, be sure that you are in position to qualify for any pension or company benefits you may be entitled to, and make sure you have health insurance for the transition if you are not yet eligible for Medicare.[3]

On the Bright Side

Fidelity Investments says that during the second quarter, 168,000 of its workplace retirement plan accounts contained balances of $1 million or more. This is a 41% improvement over Q2 2017, when 119,000 of its accounts reached or surpassed the $1 million threshold.[4]

Registered Representative, Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advisor Representative, Lighthouse Financial, LLC., a Registered Investment Advisor. Cambridge and Lighthouse Financial, LLC., are not affiliated.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty.

Citations
1 – fool.com/retirement/2018/08/25/in-your-50s-do-these-3-things-to-plan-for-your-ret.aspx [8/25/18]
2 – nerdwallet.com/article/ira-vs-401k-retirement-accounts [4/30/18]
3 – money.usnews.com/money/retirement/second-careers/articles/2018-09-04/how-to-write-a-retirement-letter-to-your-employer [9/4/18]
4 – cnbc.com/2018/08/16/the-number-of-401k-plan-millionaires-hits-new-high.html [8/16/18]

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