How to protect an employee's 401(k) from the markets: Retirement Scan

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

Don't panic! How to protect your 401(k) from the markets
401(k) participants can protect their portfolio from market volatility by understanding investment types and their vulnerability to market movements, according to this article on Fox Business. Investors should also rebalance their portfolio and consider investing in foreign markets. "Don't worry about inflation and rates skyrocketing. Worry about yield reaching products with credit risk and alternative investments and spending too much time in cash. Avoid trendy ways to minimize risk like low volatility ETFs," an expert says.
Retirees should look beyond their investments for income planning
Retirees should expect their retirement portfolio to change in value over the years, and may opt to adopt a variable spending strategy to income planning, an expert writes on Forbes. While variable spending strategies offer different withdrawal rules, the initial spending rate can increase depending on how much retirees are willing to reduce their spending, the expert says. "The bottom line should be how potential spending reductions from a portfolio will impact the overall lifestyle of the retiree, with all non-portfolio sources of income taken into consideration."

Poverty among seniors has dropped
A report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the number of seniors living in poverty decreased to 8.8% in 2015 from 10% in 2014, according to this article on Money. Based on the bureau's supplemental report that includes factors that are not in its official report, the poverty rate among seniors for 2015 is 13.7%, thanks mostly to the rising out-of-pocket healthcare costs. However, this supplemental poverty rate for seniors last year decreased from 14.4% in 2014.

Here's how much the richest Americans have saved for retirement
A report from the Economic Policy Institute shows a widening retirement gap between rich and poor households, according to this article on CNBC. "Participation in retirement savings plans is highly unequal across income groups," the report states. "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." Retirement account savings of the median working-age family amounted to just $5,000, compared with $116,000 saved by the 80th percentile family and $274,000 by the 90th percentile family.

How to lower the tax hit on IRA distributions
Retirement investors should find strategies to reduce required minimum distributions from their IRAs and minimize the tax liability, writes a wealth advisor in The Wall Street Journal. One strategy is to treat their retirement portfolio "as a singular total and to focus on the location of the assets they choose to hold in it," the expert says. This would mean changing the asset allocation in the IRA and brokerage accounts to achieve the overall asset allocation set for the entire portfolio, resulting in lower IRA returns and consequently lower RMDs in the future, the expert explains. "This leads to lower taxable income, especially if these lower RMDs also cause less Social Security benefit to be taxable."

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