Logan is a CPA with a Masters Degree in Taxation from the University of Southern California. He has been featured in publications such as Debt.com. He has nearly 10 years of public accounting experience, including 5 with professional services firm Ernst & Young where he consulted with multinational companies and high net worth individuals on their tax situations. He launched Money Done Right in 2017 to communicate modern ideas on earning, saving, and investing money.
Hi, it’s probably been brought up before, but the statement “you can’t touch pre-tax retirement accounts without a penalty until 59.5” is incorrect. You can touch the traditional 401k accounts with a SEPP (substantially equal payment plan), and not pay the 10 percent penalty. You can also touch a Roth without the 10 penalty using the same strategy, although I understand you will pay taxes so you lose the Roth’s advantage. When I found this out, I stopped contributing to Roths because I wanted to retire early. Who knows if they will even live to age 59.5? So many people don’t!
However, until we get another reset in valuations (I’m calculating a 40% to 50% correction is justified ), I’ve moved largely to the sidelines. Beginning in July 2013, I began slowly reducing equity exposure and am now sitting firm at 40% with the balance in various forms of 5 yr cd’s and short duration bonds. This is down from over 60% when I ramped up to take advantage of the March 2009 lows.
Hannah UnplannedFinance That’s a good way of putting it, Hannah. I would say it’s better to get into the investing game before an emergency comes up, of course, so that your investment income is a bit more stable (hopefully). They’re good parts to include in your whole plan, which should be a balanced one. I was coming at this from more of a “how to prepare” perspective.
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In focusing on your wealth management goals, investment income is obviously critical but you might fund your goals from wider sources of income.  A typical long-term portfolio might produce about half its return as income and the other half as capital growth, though in times of duress the capital growth component wanes.  In this low-interest rate climate, some sources of income have become quite expensive and may prove disappointing against your spending needs.  But by tax efficiently and sustainably drawing income from wider sources, you might meet your goals while more prudently balancing risk against reward.
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