Q: My husband and I are 40. We are both employed and are able to live on either ones single income. We currently have 100K – 80% in mutual funds and 20% in stocks saved for retirement. We also have $122k combined in 401k and IRA mutual fund accounts. If one of us quits our job and we contribute the max to a single 401K and the annual $2k for both IRA accounts (and pay off a mortgage, our only debt) until we’re 60, How much are we likely to end up with? Do we need a financial advisor? We are not great at financial decisions.
A: It’s a little hard to know because you didn’t include your annual salary. But typically, the maximum for a 401(k) is $10,500. If you tack on another $4,000, you’re saving close to $15,000 every year.
According to the Money Magazine calculator, at www.money.com, you will have $1.034 million saved in the next twenty years. I put in an 8 percent return, and that you are in the 27.5 percent tax bracket on one income, though this may be a little low. I suggest you visit www.money.com, click on Calculators, and play with the scenario yourself.
Q: I just recently retired from a job I had worked for twenty four years to start working for a new company that I will be eventually working for myself. I have decided to defer acceptance of my retirement benefit, and my 401k, and let them continue to grow with the company I previously worked for. I have had some difficulty finding a financial advice about retirement, and tax savings plans with the income that I will be earning at my new job. I would further like advice on education savings plans for our three month old daughter. I have made some calls to some local financial advice firms, and have only found one person interested in talking with me on a fee only basis for $200 pre hr. and he said the he does not usually see clients on a fee only term.
A: You can call 888-FEE ONLY which is the number of the national association of personal financial advisors, which has only fee-only advisors as members. They can direct you further.
Q: Probably you’ve been asked this question time and time again since the market took a dive last year but I obviously missed the answer.
If I contribute 7% of my salary to my 401K weekly in this bearish market am I better off a.) changing my contribution to 2% until the market picks up or since it appears that I’ve been consistent in losing my bundle over the last 1 1/2 years or b.) leaving it at 7% allowing me to buy into more at a lower cost or c.) increasing it to 8 or 10% while the market’s low and changing it back to 7% when the market picks up again?
What is your opinion?
A: No one can time the market. Not the professionals, and not anyone you know who hangs out at the water cooler. (If they could, they wouldn’t be there). So I’m in favor of continuing your regular investment strategy in good times and bad. In fact, you might increase your contribution during the bad times because you’ll just buy more at a lower overall price.
Q: We are just average people with an average income. We make an IRA contribution each year and have in the past put the contributions in either a fidelity Magellan fund or a Janus fund. With all of the turmoil in the stock market–would these type of funds be a wise choice or could you recommend something else? I am 37 and my husband is 38. Thanks in advance for the reply–we need to make a decision by the 15th for this years contribution.
A: I think the fact that you’re investing on a regular basis is excellent. You have a window of at least 30 years until you retire, and over time, these funds should provide an excellent return. Magellan invests in about 300 companies, typically big blue chips and some tech stocks. Janus is much more aggressive, and indeed, some of their funds are down 50 percent or more this year.
The point is, both are good funds, and your steady investment over time will serve you well. If you are looking to diversify, I’d invest in an S&P 500 index fund.