Our Guest Blogger this week is Kris Gray of Integrity Financial Group based in Bellevue, WA. IFC works with individuals and business owners to help them plan their investment and retirement strategies.
With the holidays approaching and the New Year around the corner, now is an ideal time to consider making necessary changes to your company’s qualified retirement plan for 2010. As a boutique 401(k) advisory firm, we are quite familiar with the different strategies small business owners might implement at this time. There was some sweeping legislation and pension reform passed in 2006 that impacts qualified plans, and would necessitate a more in-depth review if that has not happened in the last couple of years. When you couple the current monetary and fiscal policy decisions with the volatility of the stock market in the last two years, only a fraction of the retirement plans that I come in contact with are maximizing the tax benefits that are available under the Internal Revenue Code, and have a sound investment strategies that includes hedges against a weakening dollar.
Here are a few thoughts from my desk to yours:
1. Make sure that your current retirement plan has investment options that include inflation hedges (like TIPS or Commodities) and a wide array of USD hedges (like global funds).
2. Take advantage of after-tax investments (as a tax hedge) such as Roth 401k, as it is fairly predictable that future taxes will likely be higher than they are now.
3. If you have a SIMPLE IRA consider adopting a 401k plan on January 1. You cannot change in the middle of the plan year, so if you don’t make the change now, it will be another year before you can. A SIMPLE IRA or a SEP IRA do not have a Roth component.
4. If you need access to your retirement account money for a short-term fix, set-up a 401k and roll your IRAs into the plan and take a loan from your account with no penalties or tax (just remember that you will need to pay the loan back in at least 5 years).
5. If you have an IRA, consider converting part of it next year to a Roth IRA, as the income limitations are removed for 2010…particularly if we see a downward slide in the markets between now and then.
The national debt just crossed $12,000,000,000,000, and our deficit spending is looking to nearly double that over the coming decade. The unfunded obligations of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are staggering. There is more to comment on here, but I would say that today’s small business owner must use prudence in their tax, investment, and legal planning to ensure a legacy for their families and friends.
Integrity Financial Corporation helps business owners evaluate and make smart financial planning decisions on behalf of their business. Visit our website at www.ifclegacy.com.