Author Archives: Claire Harrison

Claire Harrison
Claire Harrison is a Campaign Manager at blooom. A high-fiver, thinker, and coffee drinker, Claire loves the Oxford comma and clean design. She’s werkin’ hard to help people learn about their retirement savings and how easy blooom is to use.

Don’t Sit: How to Rollover Your 401k

Congrats! You’ve landed a new job (never a doubt) and didn’t even have to list us as a reference (Oh, the accolades we would’ve thrown your way). While you’re busy getting acclimated to your new work digs, if you have a 401k with your previous employer, don’t forget to bring it with you, along with your trusty stapler. Here are a couple options on how to roll it over:    

Direct rollover to new company plan

If you plan on performing a direct rollover of your old account, first check to make sure your new employer’s retirement plan will accept 401k rollovers. If so, contact the 401k administrator at your new company for a new account address [Example: ABC 401k Plan FBO (for the benefit of) YOUR NAME]. Once you fill out all required paperwork, your 401k funds will either be transferred directly from your old plan to the new plan, or mailed to you as a check made out to the new account address. Just make sure to turn it over to your new company’s 401k administrator.

Rollover to an IRA

You can also roll over your 401k to a traditional IRA, either by transferring the funds to your existing traditional IRA, or by opening a new IRA to receive the funds. No dollar limit is required for either one. You can also roll over – or convert – your non-Roth 401k money to a Roth IRA. The taxable portion of your distribution from the 401k plan will be included in your income at the time of the rollover.

Leave it where it is.

Sometimes the best move you can make with your 401k is to not make any move at all. At least for the time being. For instance, If you’re happy with the investment alternatives your former job offers, or if you need some more time deciding your next move, or if your new company requires a certain amount of time before you can participate in their 401k plan, you may be able to simply leave your 401k where it is.  

Cash out.

Please advise, we only recommend this as a “last resort” option. After you leave your previous employer, you can choose to withdraw your 401k funds in a lump sum after leaving your previous employer. To do this, request that your 401k plan administrator cut you a check. While the check amount will look great in your hands, remember that cashing out could put a dent in your retirement savings, plus you may be faced with significant taxes and penalties in the short term, too.

Of course, not all 401k plans are created equal. So before you make a final decision, we’ll help you choose the best fit for your retirement goals. Hey, it’s what we’re here for, so let’s chat.  

Read More

Before Booking Your Summer Getaway …

These Money Moves Can Keep You From Sweating the Details on Vacation 

In the heat of summer, it’s hard not to daydream about lounging on sandy beaches and sipping on your favorite frozen concoction. But is taking a summer vacation realistic for you? Before you start planning your escape, consider these vital financial moves first before spending on your next getaway. 

Pad that emergency fund.

Did you know four out of every ten Americans can’t afford a $400 emergency, according to a report from the Federal Reserve Board? Before you hit the road on that summer trip, make sure you’re saving cash to cover any unexpected injuries, illnesses or life-threatening home repairs. Once you have at least $1,000 saved, congratulations! You’re doing better than most. From there, commit to saving at least three to six months of living expenses to ensure you’re protected against any future emergencies.

Don’t be tardy paying down student debt.

Student loans are becoming more and more of a necessary evil for many Americans seeking higher education. The average student loan debt for a graduate in 2017 was $39,400, according to Student Loan Hero. Ensure you have a plan to pay back your debt that works within your budget before you start looking at vacation destinations.

Stay focused on future you.

We all know we should be saving as much as we can for retirement. But if you’re looking for a hard number, 10% to 15% of your income is a good rule of thumb. Once you’ve established the habit of saving for retirement, it’s important to save the right way – by investing in a mix of stocks and bonds in line with your age and risk tolerance. This is where blooom helps.

Save for vacay before spending on vacay.  

Taking a summer vacation is more of a luxury than a cultural norm, according to a recent survey from Bankrate. Forty-nine percent of Americans don’t plan to take a vacation this summer, and one in four survey respondents are not taking a summer vacation because they can’t afford it. Only 36% of respondents who get paid vacation days plan to use all of them this year. So how can you get that well-deserved R&R?

If you think you might have to stay home until next summer, consider changing your destination and/or accommodations to something more practical first. Check out the New York Times’ recent article about the 11 Ways to Save Money When Booking Travel for valuable tips and tricks to maximize your vacation budget.

Read More
Pig playing soccer goalkeeper

Kick in More Now for Retirement: That’s the GOOOOOAAAALLLLL

Right now, in the thick of the FIFA World Cup, teams from across the globe are vying for the coveted gold trophy with the World Cup Final match taking place on July 15th. While these world-class soccer players aren’t likely focused on making any (ahem) BIG saves for retirement right now, they should be. According to the Telegraph, the average soccer career lasts only eight years with a standard retirement age of 35.

A More Offensive Game Plan

Considering the average World Cup player right now is in their mid-to-late 20s, according to Statista, these professional athletes need to be kicking in as much savings as they can to set themselves up for a successful financial life and a sustainable retirement. There’s only one Ronaldo, one Messi, one Beckham, so establishing the financial security needed to retire after a less-than-a-decade career can feel too far out of reach for most others.

Off the pitch, the savings a typical 35 year old should’ve netted at this point has received a lot of attention lately. A study published from Fidelity recommended having twice your annual salary saved for retirement by age 35. Considering the weight of student debt and the outsized cost of housing plaguing millennials, this number feels very out of reach for most of the population in or nearing their 30s.

While the amount you save is vital, what isn’t gameplanned enough is how you’re saving. You can argue that you can save all you want, but if you’re simply holding your savings in cash, it won’t be in the position to grow enough to enable you to retire. After you establish the habit of saving, you must maximize your ability to grow your investments.

More Coaching Required

Two big determinants of investment growth are derived from minimizing fees and maximizing returns, and Americans need help with both. Data from the Census Bureau suggests that 79 percent of Americans work for an employer that sponsors a 401k-style retirement plan, but only 27 percent know how much they’re paying in fees on their 401k accounts, according to a study by TD Ameritrade.

Fortunately, by hiring blooom as your trusted advisor, you can rest assured that we’re working on your behalf to reduce investment fees wherever we can. We make managing your 401k simple, smart and affordable by leveraging the right funds for your goals with lower fees to optimize your retirement savings, no matter what age you are. That’s our GOOOOAAAALLLLL.

Not a blooom member? Here’s your best shot … join now.

Read More

The fees are falling! The fees are falling!

You might say our tried-and-true way to a healthier 401k is starting to catch on – partly through the leveraging of lower fund fees. According to a recent report from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, a growing number of lawsuits against plan sponsors (employers) are starting to put the spotlight on hidden fees hitched to high-cost funds.

This is obviously a good thing, but just remember: Although this is leading some companies to tweak their fund offerings with lower fees, they still may not have their employees’ best interests in mind, but rather to avoid getting hit with further litigation. What’s more, because of the lack of specific guidance from the Labor Department, employers may not even know of their rules violations until the agency comes after them or they’re greeted with a lawsuit.
Of course, the fallout from increased litigation could lead to lower fund fees for many employees, but it could eventually leave an opposite impact on those with a 401k plan who work at smaller companies.

That’s because the largest plans with the most assets are usually the ones more able to negotiate lower fees, with small employers least equipped to handle the complexities of fund fees. Plus, as the threat of litigation escalates, so too could the potential threat of a discontinuation of smaller 401k plans altogether.

Fortunately, with blooom as your trusted advisor, you can rest easy knowing we’re making the most of what’s available to you by reducing fees wherever we can. We make managing your 401k simple, smart and affordable by leveraging the right funds with lower fees to optimize your retirement savings.

Read More

401k Q&A

The following questions are real, and we hope our answers are real helpful. See what’s on the enquiring minds of our actual members as we tackle anything and everything (you’ll see) happening with regards to their – and your – 401k.

 

“I’m on vacation and turned on the news this morning. I’m four years away from retirement and wondering what you’re going to do with my account if/when Trump starts WWIII.”

My first most important piece of advice for you while you’re on vacation, especially given everything going on in the world right now is to avoid the TV and as much access to the outside world as possible. Secondly, even in the unlikely event that we were to find ourselves in the middle of WWIII, no one knows what that would mean for stocks. I think we can be pretty certain that in the short term we’d see some significant volatility, but shockingly, stocks have actually done extremely well historically during just about every major war. History can be comforting, but there are of course no promises that another war would see the same results for stocks. Rather than trying to guess or panic and risking future growth on your account IN retirement, it’s important to remember that this is exactly why global diversification using both stocks AND bonds is so important. A heavy portion of your account should be held in fixed income, which potentially reduces any stress to your portfolio.

 

“Since Bitcoin is under $10k again, I want in. How can I do that in my 401k? And tell me why I shouldn’t. It is the future of money after all.”

Don’t mistake Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for an investment, especially in an account with a very high priority goal like retirement. First off, you’re not going to have a way to get exposure to cryptocurrencies in your 401k as things stand today. And even if you could, I wouldn’t put anything into Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies that you wouldn’t be okay losing all of within your first 20 minutes of entering a casino.

 

“I was wondering if medical marijuana stocks are worth betting on in their current early stages. I would love some more insight on who to keep my eyes on.”

We’ll be blunt: Although individual stocks are outside our area of expertise, any investment in a single stock or sector is going to carry a higher risk than a diversified portfolio. So, it’s important to keep the investment to a small portion of your overall wealth. There may be some funds or ETFs targeted at the sector, and that would be a good way to diversify more than a single stock. In most emerging sectors, it’s very hard to predict which companies in that sector are going to succeed. You could be right on the success of the sector, but pick the wrong stocks within that sector and miss the gains entirely. A sector fund or ETF is a good way to minimize that risk.

 

*The information is provided for discussion purposes only and should not be considered as advice for your investments. Investing involves risk. Your investments are subject to loss of principal and are not guaranteed.

Read More
1 3 4 5 6