A one-stop in-retirement portfolio-maintenance regimen: Retirement Scan

Our daily roundup of retirement news your clients may be thinking about.

A one-stop in-retirement portfolio-maintenance regimen
Retired investors who opt for a hands-on approach to managing their investments are advised to streamline their portfolio maintenance into a cohesive regimen that they can roll out toward the year's end, writes an expert in Morningstar. This regimen may start with reviewing their portfolio's ability to generate income to cover their expenses for the current year, and then proceed to determining the portfolio cash flow needs in the following year and to evaluating required minimum distributions (for those who reach 70 1/2). If necessary, retirees may then assess other sources of cash flow, and move on to reviewing their investment portfolio, after which they can decide where to make withdrawals or reinvest assets based on the portfolio assessment.
Why the typical retirement withdrawal strategy is wrong
Using the conventional withdrawal strategy, which allows retirees to tap into their taxable accounts first before taking distributions from tax-deferred and tax-exempt accounts, may not be the right approach for many clients, writes an investment adviser in Kiplinger. Not all people move to a lower tax bracket after retirement despite a decrease in taxable income, as they may no longer qualify for tax deductions by this age, the expert writes. "The optimum strategy is to fill your tax bracket, but not bump up to the next. So you have to project out—what will your tax bracket be for the rest or your life? Then, go back and start over, looking at different formulas and distribution sequences."

States step in to prod reluctant retirement savers
Several states are considering a proposal that would require automatic enrollment of private sector employees with no access to workplace retirement plans into IRAs, according to this article on CBS Moneywatch. This happened after a similar proposal failed to clear Congress because the idea lacked bipartisan support and was opposed by the financial services industry. Experts estimated that about 50% of workers have inadequate savings to maintain their current lifestyle through the golden years, with about 50% of employees having no access to a pension or a retirement savings plan. “If an employer doesn’t offer a retirement savings plan, people don’t save. As a result, half of America isn’t saving for retirement.”

Here's how much the average American family has saved for retirement
A report from the Economic Policy Institute shows that nearly 50% of households hold no retirement savings accounts, according to this article on CNBC. "The large gap between mean retirement savings ($95,776) and median retirement savings ($5,000) indicates inequality — that the large account balances of families with the most savings are driving up the average for all families," wrote the researchers. "Participation in retirement savings plans is highly unequal across income groups. In 2013, nearly nine in 10 families in the top income fifth had retirement account savings, compared with fewer than one in 10 families in the bottom income fifth."

Is your 401(k) a rip-off? One easy way to tell
Some 401(k) plans may charge hefty investment costs that can hurt the participants' retirement prospects, according to this article on Forbes. 401(k) plans sponsored by small employers are more likely than those sponsored by bigger companies to impose greater fees. While competition among providers is driving down the costs, many employers fail to shop around for a vendor that offers lower fees. Workers are advised to ask their employer about the all-in expense fees in their 401(k) plan and demand the company to bid out the plan to other providers to reduce the costs.

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